Alternate Multiple Actions

Smoothing out the bumps in RuneQuests's multiple actions system 

The Problem

 Characters with even one extra attack per round have a huge advantage in MRQ. Another issue is that some creatures that naturally attack with multiple limbs simultaneously, and used to get advantages in previous RQ editions, lose out in the new system and as a result are significantly less threatening in the new game. In fact, they're pushovers.

The Patch

Each action after the first, made with the same weapon (limb, etc) in the same round, suffers a cumulative -10% penalty. This applies to both attack and parry actions equally. It also applies to Dodge, with each successive dodge action in a round suffering a cumulative penalty of -10%.

Example:

Gorbals the mercenary has a sword skill at 88%, Dodge 60% and Unarmed Combat at 55%. Gorbals walked straight into a hungry Lion in the undergrowth unawares, and both instinctively attack. The lion has Bite 60% and Claw 60% and dodge 45%.

In Round 1 Gorbals gets initiative. He attacks with his sword at 88% chance and the Lion dodges at 45%. The Lion then bites at 60%, while Gorbals parries with his sword at 78% (it's his second action with the sword). Next Gorbals attacks with his sword at 68%, while the Lion dodges at 35%. In return the Lion claws at Gorbals at 60%, while Gorbals uses his dodge at 60% to avoid the blow. etc.

Advantages 

This reduces the advantage from multiple actions, and also encourages a mixture of attack and defence actions. Characters with a flexible set of combat skills will benefit, as do creatures and monsters with multiple attack options, such as big cats, but also Scorpion men and Manticores.

Note how Gorbals uses his sowrd for one parry, but then switches to dodge as his sword skill deteriorates. This simulates how an opponent, when faced with many attacks and parries from a single weapon learns the attacker's style and focuses in on that source of danger. If you're opponent never knows where the next attack is coming from, they can't prepare for it as well. This tweak greatly rewards interesting tactical moves and creative play.

Side Effects

 One trick pony characters such as sword-and-dodge merchants suffer a little from these changes, but look at the films. You often see them using improvised weapons as well, or launching a well-timed kick or punch when an opponent is least expecting it. Also historically such characters often used cloaks, daggers, etc as an adjunct to a rapier say. It's a case where less really is less.

When applying a new rules such as this to an existing game, I would recommend GMs to allow the players to adjust their character stats a little where needed so that the characters stay competitive. It's only fair.