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Brian Stanfield

Weapon Speed

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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.

 

 

In a generic set of rules, I'd agree, but for a campaign, I am considering making unarmed people have a bonus, to encourage the use and show the difference between lugging a weapon around and being completely free.

 

Some weapons can be pretty big and fast, or small and sluggish, though and that's where judgment, experience, and logic come in.  And Pole Arms aren't as awkward as they are sometimes portrayed, either.

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In a generic set of rules, I'd agree, but for a campaign, I am considering making unarmed people have a bonus, to encourage the use and show the difference between lugging a weapon around and being completely free.

 

Some weapons can be pretty big and fast, or small and sluggish, though and that's where judgment, experience, and logic come in.  And Pole Arms aren't as awkward as they are sometimes portrayed, either.

Well, one man's penalty is another man's bonus, I suppose! If you're giving bonuses, however, to unarmed (and I'm assuming unarmored) characters, what is the baseline? What state of armament counts as neither bonus nor penalty?

 

I like what you're thinking, though. Armor was a privilege and not a standard for most of the pre-modern world, and it opens up more role playing opportunities when characters aren't walking tanks and combat actually has mortal consequences.

 

I agree with the pole arms, by the way, although I always pick on them for my examples. I think a spear, properly used, may be the most useful and lethal of weapons available.

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Right now I'm looking at just 3 categories of quick ordinary and slow, with things like unarmed and fist wraps getting a +1 to certain maneuvers, and slow taking a -1 penalty.  Not a significant difference, but enough to be noticed in with a lot of attacks.

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I think a lot of people are underestimating the speed of a two handed weapon like a great sword.  You use a grip where the hands are spread apart on the hilt.  One hand basically holds the weapon and the other pivots the weapon.  The weapon is mostly held in front of your stomach. A small movement with the end hand results in a large movement of the blade.  The end of the blade is moving a lot faster than the part near the hilt.  This is basic physics; it’s the same thing as the fact that the outer part of the wheel is moving faster than the inside.

 

You can use the middle and lower part of the blade to block with and to keep you opponent at bay.  The over the head full body swings are almost never done.  They are more of a Hollywood thing, than something done in actual combat.  For the most part you never raise your hand higher than your shoulders. 

 

In reality a person with a dagger vs a great sword is at a severe disadvantage.  It is very difficult for them to get a shot in at all without exposing themselves to hit from the person with the great sword.  What really matters is the skill of the people involved.  If the person with the dagger is more skilled he will probably win, if the person with the great sword is more skill then more than likely he will be the winner. 

 

The types of things people are suggesting seem to be how an expert with the smaller weapon can do.  These types of things should be purchased as talents. 

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That's two kinds of categories: reach and speed.  Just physics and observation shows that you cannot move a huge heavy object as swiftly as a light, small one.  That's how the world works.  I can stab something a good five times before you get one good hit in with a zweihander.  But those five stabs are going to do little to no damage against a tough or heavily armored target, while the zweihander will do significant damage.  However, modern computer gaming for example greatly overstates the differences in speed and their effectiveness to the point where in games like EverQuest, haste was everything, and a low damage fast weapon was always better than a high damage slow one.

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Just now, Christopher R Taylor said:

  I can stab something a good five times before you get one good hit in with a zweihander.

 

As I've already pointed out, no, you can't. What you CAN possibly do is get in five stabs before the warrior with the zweihander gets in a second blow.

 

What people seem to find hard to understand is that the weapon that allows you to attack MORE OFTEN is not necessarily the same as the weapon that allows you to attack FIRST.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says something about rabbit holes

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Str min should balance out weapon speeds
but reach is still a major factor to overcome

the way to get the upper hand would be to Parry/Block first, then you have the advantage on the next phase should your rapier survive the great sword hitting it

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As I've already pointed out, no, you can't. What you CAN possibly do is get in five stabs before the warrior with the zweihander gets in a second blow.

 

I invite you to test out this theory.  Start at range with both weapons at rest, see how many times you're hit by the foam dagger before you get the foam zweihander to tell a single blow.

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As a spin-off of STR Min for weapons, should some weapons have a DEX Min? Or maybe a DEX Min instead of a STR Min? 

 

For example, using a Rapier effectively isn't so much about STR, as it is to swiftly and accurately position it. Same with a Whip and various other light, "fast" weapons. In these cases maybe the weapon should have a DEX Min the user must meet or exceed to use effectively, rather then a STR Min. 

 

Taking it another step further, maybe extra damage with these weapons should be calculated by how much the users DEX exceeds the DEX Min, in the same way excess STR above the STR Min currently adds to damage. 

 

Maybe break your weapons up into two categories, STR based weapons and DEX based weapons. 

 

STR based weapons are done as normal. Dex based weapons to their extra damage based on how much the users DEX exceeds the DEX min of the weapon. 

 

Better yet, give all weapons a STR and DEX Min and the character can choose which one he is using for each attack. That way he/she could hack with a rapier (using STR) or go for finesse and use the DEX method for extra damage. 

 

In fact, just make the STR Min also the DEX Min to save time, so low STR Min weapons (a dagger) in the hands of someone with a high DEX can be just as deadly as in the hands of someone with a high STR, just in a different way. High STR Min weapons are obviously heavier, so require more DEX to accurately use so most time it is best to just use STR for attacking, but possibly a chracter with very high DEX could accurately use a two-handed sword for more then just hack and slash.

 

That way both strong and dexterous characters have their own style/feel to them.

 

 

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The thing everyone seems to be ignoring is the fact that in combat you are not just standing still and trading blows.  In combat you are constantly shifting position to avoid being hit, or to give yourself an advantage.  Even if you move 0 meters you are still moving within the hex.  This is simulated in the game by DCV.  You are also using your weapon to defend yourself even if you are not blocking.  This is also part of DCV; part of it is also what you are doing in combat.  When I use a skill level with swords for DCV I am using my weapon defend myself against your attack. 

 

If I have zweihander and you have a dagger I can easily step back a step without actually moving and be out of your range, while you are still well within my range.  I can also knock your weapon out of alignment so you need to spend time recovering.  You also need to be very careful in how you approach me or I am going to hit you.  All these things are normal parts of combat that does not require any special maneuver to perform.  These types of things severely limit how often the person with the dagger can actually attack.  Sure if you are willing to allow the person with the zweihander to go first and put yourself at 0 DCV you may be able to attack a couple of times before I can return the attack.

 

As to physics and moving the object that is a false assumption.  If I am using a pivot maneuver I only have to move my hands on hilt a small distance but the end of my sword will move a farther and faster than the hilt.  It takes me the same amount of time to move my hands six inches as it does the person with the dagger.  The person with the dagger moves his dagger 6 inches; I move the end of my sword much farther than six inches. 

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20 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

I invite you to test out this theory.  Start at range with both weapons at rest, see how many times you're hit by the foam dagger before you get the foam zweihander to tell a single blow.

 

A zweihander in a "rest" position was typically either over the shoulder if you were traveling

langk1.jpg

 

or setting directly in front of you if you were standing still

2hndlandsk.JPG

 

From the shouldered position, it's fairly quick to get the sword into play, especially if I'm choosing to strike with the hilt or quillions or use half-swording techniques.

 

From resting-in-front position, it might take longer to get the sword into an attack position (though not as long as you might think), but it's already well positioned to start parrying, especially from a half-sword grip.

 

If you're interested, you can get more info on great swords here:

http://www.thearma.org/essays/2HGS.html

 

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22 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

I invite you to test out this theory.  Start at range with both weapons at rest, see how many times you're hit by the foam dagger before you get the foam zweihander to tell a single blow.

 

I'm in Indianapolis.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And neither I nor the palindromedary have foam weapons.

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Of course, there's also Historic/Renaissance European Martial Arts folks who've tried this out for themselves and posted videos:

 

Broadsword vs Smallsword (since someone mentioned Rob Roy):

https://youtu.be/i15NJRo57Ko

 

Paired daggers vs Longsword:

https://youtu.be/CFqXkYdAFXs

 

Another paired daggers vs Longsword:

https://youtu.be/QvZQR_qIGvg

 

Paired daggers vs Rapier:

https://youtu.be/fXTrrlykdz0

 

Rapier vs Longsword:

https://youtu.be/6r7VWIQCHvM

 

There's a whole host of videos like this from the various H/REMA groups that have been sharing the old manuals and testing the techniques out.  They can be quite eye-opening.

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I think one difficulty that is coming up comes from making the base for comparison a two handed sword versus a dagger.

 

Historically, there's not a lot of manuals recommending being the one with the dagger alone unless one is already inside range. There is plenty of discussion of what one can possibly do if one is the dagger wielder not yet in that range, but that discussion is in context of solving that problem, not pretending it's not a problem.

 

Dealing with how the game reality of a long sword may deal with the game reality of a two handed sword might yield a more concise, cogent approach.

 

It is generally the case that the long sword is a strong balance between 'useful against armor' and 'fast enough in unarmored combat against other weapons'. While the previous posts are correct about how a the pivot use of two handed weapons mitigates one aspect of the weight issue, it does not mitigate the problem of the momentum at the end of the pivot. The only motion that matters is not the total movement, but the movement that defends or attacks, so at the end of an attack, heavier weapons tend to be slower to recover despite two handed use. Now, some long swords face the same issue, being one handed and, in the case of some long swords, weightier, but, this is mitigated in many cases by having the second hand available for a shield, which heavily defends a large section of the fighter, or a knife, or for grabbing the opponent or their weapon.

 

I just think trying to base the rule around the extreme examples makes it harder. Reach, speed, and ability to penetrate armor seem to be the three aspects of note, Lucius is absolutely correct that the speed does not solve the reach problem, and so the weapon with reach, by definition, will have the first chance to attack at its range, regardless of the speed of the shorter weapon, since it is not at its range.

 

To counter that, it is movement, not weapon speed, that the knife wielder needs to actually attack first against the two handed sword, and especially the long sword. This is purely talking in terms of a realistic baseline, obviously in superheroic or legendary level games, one can simply up DEX and do it that way.

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When it comes to recovery time many two handed weapons actually have faster recovery time than a one handed weapon.  When I block with a two handed weapon I will block so that your weapon goes away from your body, and my weapon is between your weapon and your body.  This allows me to reverse my swing and attack you while you are exposed.  My heavier weapon and greater leverage from using it two handed allows me to move your one handed weapon so that you have to move your whole arm to recover.  I on the other hand simply have to reverse my pivot. 

 

Another technique to use is when you see your opponent is about to block you, you do not resist.  Instead of trying to stop his blow you let his sword push yours back, while you step back to avoid the blow.  You then use his own momentum again him.  This is particularly effective because often the other person overextends and is not able to defend himself.

 

The other thing to consider is how easy it is to defend yourself with a two handed weapon.  I can simply hold the weapon in a normal stance and keep the person with the dagger at bay.  If they come in to attack me they expose themselves to my attack.  Often they have to move around me to be able to get in a shot.  Since I only need to shift my position slightly this means they are moving significantly farther than I am.  Obviously the time they are spending in maneuvering around me limits the number of attacks they can get. 

 

Even in the hero system there is a lot of abstraction to combat.  While it is not as pronounced as say Pathfinder there is still some abstraction.  Much of what is being discussed here is beyond the scope game mechanics. 

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5 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

 

Even in the hero system there is a lot of abstraction to combat.  While it is not as pronounced as say Pathfinder there is still some abstraction.  Much of what is being discussed here is beyond the scope of game mechanics. 

Some things bear repeating.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Like palindromedary taglines

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All of this new discussion is helping me realize how applicable the weapon length rules really are (HS2 202 or FHC 173). Everything else breaks down to extra skills, etc., rather than inherent weapon limitations. Thanks again for the wonderful observations!

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I think discussions like this are fun, because, as a bit of a tinkerer who is designing an rpg, they raise questions that fall into a spectrum of 'is the best solution for me and my games essentially builds, tinkering with the game mechanics, or a combination of the two?'

 

In this sense, while it may or may not be true that the mechanics are or aren't immediately suited to the task, this doesn't mean there's no value in tinkering with them if one feels they aren't, and it's probably good for the system itself to have people attempting to do so, even if more often than not, the attempts fail.

 

I don't view any game mechanics as self-referential in any useful way. In the case of Hero, I think they are referential to:

  1. What players will see as sufficiently realistic to not suspend disbelief
  2. Modes of play that are cinematic
  3. A balance between executing the previous two without making gameplay burdensome

In this sense, using the example at hand, rules for weapon length work well for the two handed sword at its ideal range, but inside of that, likely due to number 3 above, I'm not aware of the mechanics that fulfill number 1, which is,  while there are a few moves a two handed weapon can do in close range, the vast majority of their repertoire is actually not useful in that range, whereas in close range, knives are superior because they do retain all possible attacks.

 

Oddly, short weapons not having their own range reward seems to not be in keeping with #1, realism, or #2, cinematic feel(since movies have always included a ton of people pulling the knife or shorter blade in-close, such as Aragorn in LOTR, Commodus in Gladiator, far back into movies starring folks like Basil Rathbone and Errol Flynn). I'm not even sure the reason for its exclusion in many games is tied to #3 as much as being something to do with rpg history, and that the granddaddy pretty much relegated the knife to a sad position. It would be an added mechanic, but oddly, the cost and burden of modelling is often put on the knife, not on the long weapons intrinsically being more limited in close range.

 

As a base, I tend toward seeing the reach rules sufficiently representing the difficulty of getting to the inside of someone using a longer weapon than your own when action is occurring at the ideal range for that weapon. It's a decent mechanic.

 

Now, if, from the outside, one wants a knife fighter who can bypass a two-handed sword at that range, I think that is the perfect sort of case for 'you are wanting something special, and so you should build it and pay for it'. But I do not see it as fulfilling the spirit of what the mechanics are meant for, fulfilling 1,2, and 3 above, to make that knife wielder pay for a bonus that really should be the two-handed sword's limitation in close range.

 

So, my view on the original question is, reach rules work well as the base mechanic for the two-handed sword at it's range, but applying a limitation to long weapons(which would also lower their cost) that reduces their DEX or DCV/OCV or some combination when closer is the appropriate mechanic that places the cost where it should fall, which should not be on the knife. From their, the superb knife fighting character would then spend points to capitalize on this, but not be forced to create a mechanic that shouldn't be his or her burden to bear.

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And actually, contrary to my original post, I now think that, for ease of play, splitting the difference between long swords and two handed swords should not be the focus. It is specifically the knife that the mechanics cheese badly, but the only reason is because there is no penalty for the longer weapons in close that I am aware of.

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4 hours ago, TheDarkness said:

And actually, contrary to my original post, I now think that, for ease of play, splitting the difference between long swords and two handed swords should not be the focus. It is specifically the knife that the mechanics cheese badly, but the only reason is because there is no penalty for the longer weapons in close that I am aware of.

 

Check out the rules on HS2 page 202. It gives a rationale for longer weapons vs. shorter weapons, etc., that actually seem sufficient to all three of your considerations above. 

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