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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 71 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Separating Weapon Skills  (Read 2572 times)
Thomas Tamblyn
Member

Posts: 105


« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2003, 08:20:01 AM »

I'm going to pick up on a different issue here.

The point of having multiple different weapon skills (or a system to accomplish the same goals) is so you know how skilled your character is with what weapons, right?

Who cares.

Seriously and 100% literally.  Who is there that cares?  How often does it come up in an rpg, whether its the most ahrdcore simulation, a competitive dungeoncrawl or a sprawling epic, does a character have to use something other than his own weapon?

Not just in rpgs either, read a book or watch a film.  The only times characters use different weapons is because that is their Schtick.  Jackie chan uses EVERYTHING as a weapon.  Conan is a consumate warrior trained in all weapons, Aragorn uses a bow and a longsword (oh, and a bruning torch - sue me).

Even in a D&D-like situation where characters are forced to use the weapons they find (in the case of d&d its because of the importance of magic weapons) simple social pressures will ensure that there's something for everyone - everyone hates to be the axe expert when all you find is magic swords.

I'd sat hat the issue is so rare that regardless of the level of detail you want, its not a situation worth worrying about.

Why not just givethe character one skill (melee weapons level X) and say"I use weapon X and weapon Y".  Not even "I am skilled in..."  if the weapon they use isn't right, they get a penalty.  If its important to have more deatil then add another stage where if its not right but seems pretty similer, you get a lesser penalty.

Just something you might want to think about.
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John Kim
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Posts: 1805


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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2003, 09:01:36 AM »

It seems to me that the careful subdivision of weapons seems to over-emphasize specialization.  Now, I am not an expert in combat, but my readings of military history and training are in line with Shreyas Sampat's suggestions.  That is, the effectiveness of a soldier in fighting in any age is primarily determined by aggression, coolness-under-fire, and real combat experience.  Weapon training is important, but secondary.  

My experience with skill-based RPGs is that they generally fail to reflect this: combat effectiveness reduces to weapon skill and perhaps defense skill.  The most effective fighters are the ones who narrowly buy up their primary weapon skill as high as possible.  This principle of design remains true even where point spending isn't necessary, I think because buying up many different weapon skills is forgotten or considered unimportant.  For example, Aragorn in Decipher's Lord of the Rings RPG has zero skill if unarmed or armed with a club -- because combat ability consists of ten or so separate weapon skills.  

My approach to this has generally been to have a single "Armed Combat" skill.  Characters can buy up a specialization within that skill, but with diminishing returns compared to just buying up the main skill.  If you want a more detailed approach in the name of realism, be careful that you don't end up with something that is less realistic.
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- John
Jake Norwood
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Posts: 2261


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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2003, 10:35:51 AM »

Hey all. I can say a little about this.

Here's some general and historically supported basics:

-All polearms are essentially the same. Really.
-All swords are essentially the same, although there are some differences in mechanics between one-and-two handed use. These differences can be overcome in two months of half-ass training.
-All weapons that are heavy at one end (axes, maces) are esentially the same, although each one has it's own gimmicks.
-Historically a fighter would train in wrestling, dagger, single sword, long (bastard) sword, staff/spear, long axe, sword and buckler, and whatever else was in vogue in his day or country. All of them.
-A fighter wasn't considered worth his salt if he couldn't fight with all of the above. It's true that he'd be better at some than others, but he would need to be familiar with them all to qualify as a swordsman or anything else.
-Fighting is fighting. Give a good fighter a rubber chicken and he can easily take out a non-fighter with a extra-long halberd +17 against rubber chickens.

All this information is based on the German, Itallian, and English fighting systems from 1200-1600 +/-, and to a much lesser degree my own experiences.

Hope that helps.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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epweissengruber
Member

Posts: 311

I like games! and theory! and The Forge!


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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2003, 11:57:04 AM »

The use of a weapon in formation is absolutely nothing like a 1 on 1 duel.
And army of knife wielders would be useless against massed polearms.  A fast mo-fo with a butter knife and a serious hate-on could take out a Vatican Guard in 2 shakes.
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redcrow
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2003, 06:49:17 PM »

Jake,

Thanx for the input.  Your response was just the kind of info I was looking for.
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simon_hibbs
Member

Posts: 678


« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2003, 04:50:38 AM »

Quote from: ThreeGee

Something most people overlook is that the first time you pick up any unfamiliar weapon (by which I mean you have not practiced with that individual weapon) you will suck with it. Greater experience allows you to pick up the nuances more quickly. You would not play baseball with some random bat and you would not go into a fight with some random weapon.


Conversely let's say we have two characetrs that have been captured by brigands. One is an experienced soldier and veterain of many battles, the other is a troubador with no combat experience. They find themselves facing off agianst each other, but the only weapons to hand are Poleaxes. Neither of them has ever handled a poleaxe before.

Who do you reckon will win? Any game system in which the Soldier doesn't almost automaticaly make marmalade out of the troubador (assuming he stands and fights) just isn't trying.

Getting into the nitty gritty of weapon types and styles and relative advantages and efficiency against different types of armour, etc, etc is a 'how long is a piece of string' type question. It can be as long and as knotted as you like, but it's still just a piece of string.


Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
Eamon Voss
Member

Posts: 108


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« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2003, 08:40:48 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
Hey all. I can say a little about this.

Here's some general and historically supported basics:

-All polearms are essentially the same. Really.
-All swords are essentially the same, although there are some differences in mechanics between one-and-two handed use. These differences can be overcome in two months of half-ass training.
-All weapons that are heavy at one end (axes, maces) are esentially the same, although each one has it's own gimmicks.
-Historically a fighter would train in wrestling, dagger, single sword, long (bastard) sword, staff/spear, long axe, sword and buckler, and whatever else was in vogue in his day or country. All of them.
-A fighter wasn't considered worth his salt if he couldn't fight with all of the above. It's true that he'd be better at some than others, but he would need to be familiar with them all to qualify as a swordsman or anything else.
-Fighting is fighting. Give a good fighter a rubber chicken and he can easily take out a non-fighter with a extra-long halberd +17 against rubber chickens.

All this information is based on the German, Itallian, and English fighting systems from 1200-1600 +/-, and to a much lesser degree my own experiences.

Hope that helps.

Jake


I'll back up Jake on this post 100%.  And my 8 years of weapons experience is predominantly Asian.
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Realism in a melee game is not a matter of critical hit charts, but rather the ability to impart upon the player the dynamism of combat.
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