Kainguru did combat take as long as it was rumoured too?
Traditionally, BRP combat has been pretty quick and deadly. Especially in RuneQuest. You don't have HP bloat, but you do have armor and parry/dodge. I imagine that with very high parry/dodge skills, it could be a whiff-fest from time to time. But once a hit gets through, it can be quite ouch-y.
I played a lot of StormBringer/Elric years ago, I don't recall it being particularly egregious. But most of my memories float around early RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu.
I think what contributed to the complaints of long combat was the initiative system. Especially in RQ3... everyone went on strike ranks, and each round your strike rank was modified by what you wanted to do and what weapon you were wielding or spell you were casting... sometimes your strike rank would get pushed into the next round, depending on what you wanted to do. It was somewhat realistic, from what I remember, but something of a pain to track and play every round.
In the BRP SRD, you act on your DEX rank; if you move up to half your total movement, you act on one-half your DEX, and if you move between half and your full move, you act on one-quarter your DEX. Rounds start at highest DEX and count down from there. That seems much more sensible to me than the strike ranks of old.
So if I had a DEX of 12, and wanted to run half-way across a room and then stab an orc, I'd be making that attack at rank 6. If I was going toe-to-toe with that orc and wasn't planning on moving at all, I'd make my attack at rank 12.
Here's the whiff-fest part: I attack the orc; he parries. If we get equal results, no damage is done. That can get whiffy.
However, if I attack the orc and get a "special" success, he parries and gets a regular success, the orcs armor value is subtracted from the damage, any extra "goes through". So even on a successful parry or dodge, depending on the attack roll and armor worn, your foe can still take some damage. And if no extra damage "goes through", it does damage the armor, so eventually it'll wear down.
I can't say that BRP combat is faster than D&D combat... especially at high D&D levels... but it's much more FUN.
At least... IMHO. 🙂
Kainguru nd remain entirely aghast at how few people have ever read even Elric
It's a crime, isn't it? Loved the Elric books. I will state that Elric was the only series of the Eternal Champion novels I read.