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Some people have no problem with the very high friends in melee bonus. Some people have no issue with the fact that high initiative gives a rather small bonus in melee combat (tie goes to attacker).

For the rest of you: What if one applied the friends in melee bonus for successive engagements between actions.

For example: hand-to-hand master wins big initiative and takes out girl scout #1
GS #2 attacks with -1/+1 bonus. Hurt.
GS #3 attacks with -2/+2 bonus. Hurt?
GS #4 attacks with -3/+3 bonus. Wins?
GS #5 attacks with -4/+4 bonus. Wins.

Second action: HTH master starts all over again with no penalties. If HTH master attacks GS #1 (assuming she's conscious) through GS #5, (s)he gets the -1/+1 bonus (because the GS hasn't had another action yet).

With only 2 opponents, the bonuses in their second engagement would cancel each other out.

This does 2 things. It sorely handicaps the friends in melee bonus without removing it and it makes multiple actions really good. I do realize that it would create an advantage to delaying action and attacking second on your first action and first on your second, but it is my understanding that waiting for an opponent to make the first move is a common and valid technique. On top of this, I would even remove the tie-goes-to-the-attacker rule. "No net successes = a success" never made sense to me anyway. A boxing match between 2 strong men could last more than 60 seconds with true ties.

It's not canon, but is it workable?
We must remember that Melee Combat in SR remains abstract. Each maneuver or option (while they may be called something with a similar RL name, they remain abstract concepts). Making the first move in the initiative sense may not be necessarily making an attack in the actual combat.

Yes, if you wish to shift the advantage to the single fast and highly skilled person, then your House Rule works.
Yes, toturi, you are absolutely correct. It is abstract, I was mostly trying to give insanely fast guy a real advantage over incredibly slow guy while simultaneously hurting the watcher attack pack™ strategy.

P. S. I did make a mistake. With only 2 combatants, the second attacker has a -1/+1 bonus with this house rule. They don't cancel out because his/her action resets the penalty to 0 while the 1st attacker gets a penalty.

It makes me think of a story I heard from a friend about 2 champion swordsmen. They stared at each other for (insert long period of time here). One of them twitched just a little and his enemy slew him. Must've wasted a simple action on sniffling. wobble.gif
John Campbell
Most single-sword bouts I've seen or fought have been like that. They seldom go more than two blows. Committing to an attack leaves you wide open to counterattack, and it's faster to switch from defense to offense than from offense to defense. That means that if you're the first one to throw a blow, you'd better make it count, because if you don't, the odds are very good that your opponent will kill you with his riposte. And that means that good single-sword fighters tend to avoid being the first to throw a blow, unless they think their opponent is distracted or otherwise providing an opportunity. So they stand and stare at each other until one of them thinks he has a momentary opening, or just gets sick of waiting, and launches his attack. And he either lands it and kills his opponent, or his opponent blocks and ripostes and kills him.

That's also why, all else being equal, two-weapon styles own single-sword. The ability to block and attack simultaneously makes attacking much safer for them.
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