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I am trying to understand the third rank in the Parkour merit tree, "Wall Run" (Tribes Of The Moon -- Page 98)

First of all it is important to put the normal rules of climbing here first:

Climbing an object requires a number of successes in an instant or extended action. Your character can climb 10 feet with each success rolled. Objects that are 10 feet or less in height can be climbed as an instant action. Rolls may be modified based on the availability of hand- and footholds, sheerness or slipperiness of the slope, and wind conditions, all at the Storyteller's discretion. By the same token, if the character chooses to take his time and pick his way carefully up the incline, each minute added to the roll provides a +1 modifier, to a maximum of +3. Thus, if a character takes his time and each roll represents three minutes of effort instead of one, a +2 modifier is added to each roll.

And then also the Wall Run merit:

Wall Run -- Your character has mastered the quick wall-run and leaping climb techniques of parkour. When using Athletics to climb, your character is capable of scaling heights of 10 feet + five feet per dot in Athletics as an instant action (rather than the normal 10 feet), though every full 10 feet beyond the first imposes a -1 dice penalty.


There are two parts of this that I want clarification on:

your character is capable of scaling heights of 10 feet + five feet per dot in Athletics as an instant action (rather than the normal 10 feet)

Does this mean that if my character has say, 4 Athletics, he will scale 30 feet for each success rolled? If so, this means a character could scale 90 feet in one round with only 3 successes. This is way more than he could run or jump, and I feel I might be misunderstanding it.

though every full 10 feet beyond the first imposes a -1 dice penalty

This seems a bit confusing because normally I would think that when climbing say, the side of a building, you would roll each round to see how much you have climbed. But here it seems to say that I must first decide how far I want to climb in that round, and this distance gives me a penalty? So if I wanted to climb only 50 feet, and I had 4 Athletics, I would get -4 dice penalty. And say I had 2 successes, that means I could travel 60 feet? It seems a bit silly the ratio of this bonus/penalty.

Can someone clarify these rules please?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The Wall Run perk changes only one part of the normal rules; this part:

Objects that are 10 feet or less in height can be climbed as an instant action.

Without Wall Run, you can climb an obstacle 10 feet or less as an instant action, and any other obstacle takes time.

With Wall Run, you can climb an obstacle that is 10 feet plus five feet per dot of Athletics as an instant action, but any other height of obstacle takes the normal amount of time and uses the normal climbing rules.

So with Athletics 4, you can attempt to climb a 30-foot wall as an instant action, but because it's 20 feet higher than what you could normally do, it's at a -2 dice penalty. If you want to climb a 35-foot wall you have to do it as an extended action, not using Wall Run. You still only progress 10 feet per success.

At the Storyteller's discretion, you might be able to do a run-and-leap at the beginning of an extended climb, if there is a handhold or something low enough to be withing the reach of a Wall Run instant action—effectively, if the obstacle can be divided into a short obstacle with a taller obstacle above it, so that you can Wall Run the first obstacle to get into a secure position to start a slow extended-contest climb of the upper obstacle.

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The "-1 dice penalty for every full 10ft after the first" is weird though, since obstacles passed as an instant action don't seem to require a dice roll –  Cristol.GdM Mar 30 at 17:43
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@Scrollmaster They do still: "Climbing an object requires a number of successes in an instant or extended action. Your character can climb 10 feet with each success rolled." So a 10 foot wall needs one success and a 30 foot Wall Run needs three. The instant/extended action difference is a matter of how long it takes. –  SevenSidedDie Mar 30 at 17:54

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