Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I've been stewing on this problem for a while, and would like to put it to the group.How would relative weapon speed have an effect on combat, and how can it be simulated? 

 

In other words, Let's say a big strong barbarian with a giant two-handed sword goes against a quick rogue with a dagger. One chop with the sword and combat is over, right? Except that the quick guy with a dagger should probably be able to ventilate the barbarian before he gets one chop in. 

 

Let's assume they both have a SPD of 4, and have equal dexterities of 18. I can think of a couple of ways to simulate how a dagger can be quicker to the "first punch" than the sword:

  • Buy up the dexterity for the rogue. He gets to attack first.
  • In addition to higher DEX, add auto-fire as a skill for the rogue, so he can get several shots in.

That's about it. It works, but what to do if both characters are truly equal in stats? Shouldn't the choice of weapon carry more consequence? 

 

The weapon length rules accommodate this in some ways, allowing for the longer weapon to fend off the shorter until the shorter weapon gets inside the range of the longer. But this is only a partial solution to what I'm looking for. But it really should matter that you choose a short sword versus a long sword, and their effects should be more than the number of dice rolled for damage. The quickness and maneuverability of the weapon should play more of a roll, otherwise all the weapons basically play the same in the game. 

 

Anybody have any more ideas? Maybe I'm missing a rule or a discussion that already covers this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have toyed with this quite a bit, and I haven't come up with an answer I find satisfactory.  My first instinct is to give weapons DEX penalties, so big, heavy ones slow down when you act in combat but... headache for the GM who has to keep track of all this crap.  It works, but it also requires shifting around people's DEX rank every time they pick up a different weapon.

 

I know that people who play around with faux medieval weaponry say there's no real difference but I also know from personal experience that there really is: small, light weapons are faster to engage in combat with than big heavy ones.  You just cannot hit as many times or as swiftly in a given time period with a halberd as you can with brass knuckles.  But I can't come up with an easy to use system that's simple to implement and that I like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could think about arsing around with the speed chart. Faster weapons could go a segment earlier than the slow ones.

 

So the SPD 4, rapier armed rogue goes on 2,5,8 and 11 rather than 3,6,9 and 12. The mattock weilding ogre goes on 4,7,10 and last on 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm generally not a fan of 'speed factors' since there's a lot more to "imitative" than relative weapon weights.  Reach is a huge part of it and is largely ignored by most games.  My own experience with fencing and kickboxing has taught me how even as little as a few inches reach advantage can be very difficult to overcome against a skilled opponent.  If someone has longer reach, they can hit you while you literally cannot hit them.  Even when you close, they can still hit you (especially when you take into account such tactics as half-swording, pommel strikes, quillon strikes, using a hafted weapon as a quarterstaff and so on).  So, I really don't think relative weapon weight should be the primary (let alone the only) factor in determining how "fast" a weapon is.

 

In any case, even if you are a fan of lighter=faster or you take into account weight, reach and versatility in deciding weapon speed, as Chris Taylor points out it's generally more of a bookkeeping headache than it's worth.  Oftentimes, the character choosing the lighter weapon already has the higher DEX and SPD anyway, so you won't notice the difference.

 

If you still want to give it a try, give faster weapons limited Lightning Reflexes and CSLs to counter Multi-Attack penalties as part of their write-up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could base it off the Required Hands Limitation. 2-handers take a -1 penalty to DEX for purposes of initiative. Weapons that need 1 1/2 hands don't take a penalty but automatically lose ties with 1-handers. Characters that are strong enough to wield large weapons with one hand don't get the initiative penalty either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do really like the idea of a weapon getting +1 penalty level for multiple attacks, that would represent a weapon you can get in there fast with, but only if you're skilled with it.  Its a little bit of bookwork, but not as much trouble as mucking with the hit list

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure of the value-add of this, but there's already a Hurry maneuver that let's someone up their DEX in a Phase just to go first, and it only applies to that Phase, at the cost of a 1-1 trade-off with OCV.

 

So perhaps lighter weapons have a lighter Hurry penalty, and heavier ones don't?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm generally not a fan of 'speed factors' since there's a lot more to "imitative" than relative weapon weights. Reach is a huge part of it and is largely ignored by most games. My own experience with fencing and kickboxing has taught me how even as little as a few inches reach advantage can be very difficult to overcome against a skilled opponent. If someone has longer reach, they can hit you while you literally cannot hit them. Even when you close, they can still hit you (especially when you take into account such tactics as half-swording, pommel strikes, quillon strikes, using a hafted weapon as a quarterstaff and so on). So, I really don't think relative weapon weight should be the primary (let alone the only) factor in determining how "fast" a weapon is.

 

In any case, even if you are a fan of lighter=faster or you take into account weight, reach and versatility in deciding weapon speed, as Chris Taylor points out it's generally more of a bookkeeping headache than it's worth. Oftentimes, the character choosing the lighter weapon already has the higher DEX and SPD anyway, so you won't notice the difference.

 

If you still want to give it a try, give faster weapons limited Lightning Reflexes and CSLs to counter Multi-Attack penalties as part of their write-up.

Good points all around. There are already versatile weapon length rules, and I kinda like them as a good way to simulate slipping an attack and getting inside an opponent's comfortable range, or the opposite extreme, keeping someone at bay. As you say, even in traditional martial training there are close combat alternatives: the full range of a kick won't work in kickboxing once someone closes, but a knee is one hella alternative; someone may parry your sword strike, but a pommel counter is awfully effective, and so on.

 

It's not so much a weapon's weight that matters, but it's "wieldiness" that matters (I think you may have assumed I meant weight, which I don't). As Chris says, a halberd is not as efficient once in close range as brass knuckles because it becomes unwieldy, not because of its weight. I'm curious how to simulate this. Like you, I have experience in martial arts and know that there is always more to the story, but in game terms it would be nice to at least have a baseline to work with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could base it off the Required Hands Limitation. 2-handers take a -1 penalty to DEX for purposes of initiative. Weapons that need 1 1/2 hands don't take a penalty but automatically lose ties with 1-handers. Characters that are strong enough to wield large weapons with one hand don't get the initiative penalty either.

 

This is interesting. It's sorta what I was getting at with the DEX rules, but may be too simple for what I'm looking at. It is, however, a start, and is better than what I've got so far!

 

I do really like the idea of a weapon getting +1 penalty level for multiple attacks, that would represent a weapon you can get in there fast with, but only if you're skilled with it.  Its a little bit of bookwork, but not as much trouble as mucking with the hit list

 

This is good too. I'm thinking, though, rather than give a +1 or more for different weapons, it might be more efficient to give -1 or more for bigger weapons. The reason I say this is because if you're adding bonuses, where do you begin? Start with the biggest, longest, most awkward weapon you can think of and then work up from there? What happens when you get to short weapons versus empty hand? I think that maybe if it's in reverse, beginning with a fist or a dagger at -0 and then work down from there, you have an unlimited number of possibilities as you get longer, more awkward, etc., without any limit.

 

Not sure of the value-add of this, but there's already a Hurry maneuver that let's someone up their DEX in a Phase just to go first, and it only applies to that Phase, at the cost of a 1-1 trade-off with OCV.

 

So perhaps lighter weapons have a lighter Hurry penalty, and heavier ones don't?

 

I didn't know about the hurry maneuver. Is that an Advanced Player's Guide addition, or am I just dense? I like it as a starting point. 

 

So, maybe I should expand the rapid fire rule to include the type of weapon used and penalties for longer more unwieldy weapons? Hurrying would be a good start, and then subtractions to DEX for weapon unwieldiness regarding who attacks first, and also OCV subtractions based on the same considerations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I've been stewing on this problem for a while, and would like to put it to the group.How would relative weapon speed have an effect on combat, and how can it be simulated? 

 

In other words, Let's say a big strong barbarian with a giant two-handed sword goes against a quick rogue with a dagger. One chop with the sword and combat is over, right? Except that the quick guy with a dagger should probably be able to ventilate the barbarian before he gets one chop in. 

No. He shouldn't. See below.

 

;

The weapon length rules accommodate this in some ways, allowing for the longer weapon to fend off the shorter until the shorter weapon gets inside the range of the longer.

Yes, exactly.

 

The problem is "Weapon speed" means two different things that get conflated but should not be confused with each other.

 

Will the guy with the dagger attack MORE OFTEN in a given span of time, compared to the guy with the ax? YES.

 

Will the guy with the dagger get to attack FIRST compared to the guy with the ax? NO.

 

Now, I have found it's easy to fall into a rabbit hole of detail if one starts obsessing about this sort of thing, but I do agree that there should be differentiation between weapon types. So here are a few ideas I have used.

 

First, the quintessential ultralight weapons, daggers and knives, get Autofire. The warrior using the dagger may not get in first strike but when he does strike, if he rolls well enough, he might hit up to five times. Maybe you can give a shortsword two shot Autofire.

 

Long weapons and missile weapons get an "Initiative bonus" (Lightning Reflexes built into the weapon.)

 

Long weapons also get Reach (Stretching built into the weapon)

 

Weapons like an axe or mace, that are swung and are at least moderately heavy, must be "readied" for use; that is, they take an Initiative bonus if ready to strike, but once used, it takes a half phase to get it into position for use again. If the attack roll was over, I think I set it at 14, then it takes a FULL phase to ready the weapon. (I buy weapons as Powers - useful if one wants a special or magical version to have the base version written up - and simulated this with Clips of Recoverable Charges and a Fast Draw Skill built into the weapon and a note to treat the attack roll as the roll for the Fast Draw.) A character could take a version of the Fast Draw Skill ("stacking" with the default "Skill" of the weapon) that reduces the time to ready the weapon to zero phase or half phase rather than half phase or full phase.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Don't get me started on palindromedary mounted weapons....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm thinking, though, rather than give a +1 or more for different weapons, it might be more efficient to give -1 or more for bigger weapons. The reason I say this is because if you're adding bonuses, where do you begin?

 

The way I'd approach it is to start at a baseline: this weapon is average and has neither bonus nor penalty, then you work away from that.  That weapon is faster, this one is slower.

 

However the drawback is: does an unarmed person get a bonus?  Netzilla's point about reach applies here: your hands are super fast but don't give you any reach at all, so no bonus.  Light, fast weapons with some reach give you the best bonus while slow, heavy weapons with little reach have the heaviest penalty.

 

So perhaps lighter weapons have a lighter Hurry penalty, and heavier ones don't?

 

This is a great idea, too: to benefit people when they want to be faster rather than presume it always happens.  I like this a lot, too.  Great brainstorm folks :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend a custom system of DEX Penalties based on the STR minimum to use the weapons (no more than a -3 at worst).  I would never give a weapon a 'bonus' per se.  Just allow characters to either purchase Limited PSL's to offset the DEX penalty or purchase an 'Advanced' Weapon Familiarity to eliminate the penalties.  Still use the weapon length rules of course.

 

:)

HM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There would be room for a whole slew of rules to enhance the combat options IF you wanted that to be the focus of your game. HERO does not have default solutions for guarding a door, for example, or preventing someone running past you. It would be quite easy to build a lot of these things as powers, low end available as Everyman and points spent to make them more reliable.

 

If I am hunkering down, defending and holding my ground, I should be able to reliably hold things up long enough for my friends to escape.

 

I should be able, if I am good enough/strong enough be able to drive someone back, even if I am not damaging them.

 

I should be able to sacrifice ground or combat advantage to avoid damage, or vice versa.

 

In all these things, weapons would advantage or limit what was possible. It would require a decent amount of work to get it all in place but it would become a very rich, diverse set of options for combat based on hand to hand weapons. Fights would take a long time and become even more strategic. Which is not a terrible thing in the right games.

 

Doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could base it off the Required Hands Limitation. 2-handers take a -1 penalty to DEX for purposes of initiative. Weapons that need 1 1/2 hands don't take a penalty but automatically lose ties with 1-handers. Characters that are strong enough to wield large weapons with one hand don't get the initiative penalty either.

 

 

This is interesting. It's sorta what I was getting at with the DEX rules, but may be too simple for what I'm looking at. It is, however, a start, and is better than what I've got so far!

 

The simplicity was deliberate. I was trying to avoid bogging down play with too many calculations, especially those that might cancel each other out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

if i were to do the Autofire option, i would have something like +1 hit per +5 or something, rather than the standard Autofire of +1 hit per +2

 

 

At which point it's seldom going to come into play and almost never going to mean more than a single extra hit.

 

I could see putting it at +1 hit per 3 pts the roll made by.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary thinks "autofire" sounds like vehicular arson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would recommend a custom system of DEX Penalties based on the STR minimum to use the weapons (no more than a -3 at worst).  I would never give a weapon a 'bonus' per se.  Just allow characters to either purchase Limited PSL's to offset the DEX penalty or purchase an 'Advanced' Weapon Familiarity to eliminate the penalties.  Still use the weapon length rules of course.

 

:)

HM

 

This was kicking around the back of my mind too, although I think I'd push what you're saying a little more: DEX penalties would be based on how much STR one has over the minimum required, so again, the penalty is not the weapon itself but the person using it. So an ogre with a two-handed sword is strong enough to actually use it like a short sword, etc. Maybe this is what you already had in mind, but I thought I'd clarify. I like the idea of PSLs and quick draw and other things people have brought up as skills rather than weapon penalties. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was kicking around the back of my mind too, although I think I'd push what you're saying a little more: DEX penalties would be based on how much STR one has over the minimum required, so again, the penalty is not the weapon itself but the person using it. So an ogre with a two-handed sword is strong enough to actually use it like a short sword, etc. Maybe this is what you already had in mind, but I thought I'd clarify. I like the idea of PLSs and quick draw and other things people have brought up as skills rather than weapon penalties. 

 

I was also thinking of the sword duel from Rob Roy where even Blocking was essentially costing Rob additional END to keep pace with Archibald's pace of attack. 

 

HM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That actually brings up a very odd mechanic which I have seen in real life but would be sticky in Hero: Pushing your Speed.  In sheer desperation you can try to act faster, at cost.  But since Speed costs no endurance and the rules about when you can change your speed are kind of complicated and limiting, it doesn't really work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I just wanted to represent some of the possible effects of "Weapon Speed" without rewriting every weapon in the game, I might just apply the OCV penalties from Unequal Reach (FHC 173) to the Character's Initiative as well. That way a character with a longer weapon has a slight initiative advantage against an opponent with a shorter reach until said opponent made it past the character's guard.

However, conditional changes to initiative are a pain in the assets to keep track of. So I wouldn't bother with such a house rule at all personally. Likewise I usually discourage Character's from having highly conditional forms of Lightning Reflexes as well.

 

HERO does not have default solutions for guarding a door, for example, or preventing someone running past you. It would be quite easy to build a lot of these things as powers, low end available as Everyman and points spent to make them more reliable.

If I am hunkering down, defending and holding my ground, I should be able to reliably hold things up long enough for my friends to escape.

There actually is a rule for guarding an area, see FHC 183. Basically you hold an attack to attack when someone enters your immediate area, and the target suffers 1/2 DCV unless they entered the area specifically to attack you.

If you have something like Legsweep or Martial Throw, Guarding An Area could be used to prevent passage fairly effectively, and if you don't you can still attempt a Grab or Trip maneuver against them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are looking for weapon speed, I'd say, you can get the thief Lighting Reflexes with his daggers, to go first maybe at DEX 20 or so. You then get him Two-Weapon Fighting and Rapid Attack, and a few combat skill levels with daggers to offset the multiple attack, and he could do something sneaky like running up to the barbarian before he can attack, and strike him two or three times ... and hopefully hit. Of course, the inevitable counter attack will follow, so play defensive.

 

This method however, describes a trained combatant who is masterfully practiced at using her daggers. It is not so much weapon speed, but personal training in using a weapon very fast.  It is entirely possible for the barbarian to be just as good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There actually is a rule for guarding an area, see FHC 183. Basically you hold an attack to attack when someone enters your immediate area, and the target suffers 1/2 DCV unless they entered the area specifically to attack you.

If you have something like Legsweep or Martial Throw, Guarding An Area could be used to prevent passage fairly effectively, and if you don't you can still attempt a Grab or Trip maneuver against them.

Oh no, you are not pulling me into this one....there have been a couple of threads debating this at length...

 

I need to go look at the rule but it sounds to me like it suffers from the issue that other such tactics do, it does not provide an effective block to movement. I have given defender type fighters the ability to buy a power that effectively creates a barrier across an area which disappears if an attacker can win in an OCV vs OCV roll. In the meantime the passageway is really blocked. :-)

 

Though I am now WELL off topic....

 

Doc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the best way to represent weapon speed differences -- and they do exist in real life, just not as significantly as in computer games -- is not to use dex rank at all.  Assign them penalties or bonuses to certain kinds of activity, such as less of a penalty to multiple attack maneuvers for fast weapons.  

 

That gives you a sense of a weapon that can be used quickly rather than a weapon that is innately faster.  There's nothing faster about a dagger than a halberd in and of its self.  You can use a halberd pretty quickly, its just that you can use a dagger more quickly, if you choose to.  

 

This approach helps avoid the annoyance and complication of varying DEX ranks and keeps things simple.

 

Mind you, an innately swift sword with a bonus to OCV and Lightning Reflexes as an enchantment is a possibility, as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the best way to represent weapon speed differences -- and they do exist in real life, just not as significantly as in computer games -- is not to use dex rank at all.  Assign them penalties or bonuses to certain kinds of activity, such as less of a penalty to multiple attack maneuvers for fast weapons.  

 

That gives you a sense of a weapon that can be used quickly rather than a weapon that is innately faster.  There's nothing faster about a dagger than a halberd in and of its self.  You can use a halberd pretty quickly, its just that you can use a dagger more quickly, if you choose to.  

 

This approach helps avoid the annoyance and complication of varying DEX ranks and keeps things simple.

 

Mind you, an innately swift sword with a bonus to OCV and Lightning Reflexes as an enchantment is a possibility, as well.

In this case I prefer increasing the penalty for a slower weapon rather than reducing the penalty for a quick one. The multiple attack maneuver is penalized as an action, regardless of the weapon. The action itself shouldn't become easier with a quicker weapon, but rather get harder with a slower one. Again, I think defining what is faster and slower becomes the primary challenge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×