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About Khanwulf

  • Rank
    Advanced Member


  • RPG Biography
    Kicked off with Car Wars in the 80s and Battletech in early 90s, followed by DnD, Paranoia, Marvel and all that through White Wolf products. Last real table play was in 2004, but the internet is good for folks who are distant or mobile. My games are typified anymore by extensive research and writing, especially since they're play-by-post.
  • Current games
    King Arthur Pendragon, Chronicles of Darkness, Marvel Super Heroes Role-Playing (FASERIP)
  • Blurb
    I'm an international development project professional with a business masters who's worked all over the world and acquired odd perspectives on the same. History, stories and the "systems of systems" that make up things catch my fancy.
  1. Thank you for alerting on this, and for making it a blog and not a podcast or video. I'm old-fashioned and like to read these. Completely. It will be done. --Khanwulf
  2. Ok, however which characteristic is the target for that chaste inspiration? I mean you're not rolling chaste for the PJ's action choice, but to inspire something else? Just curious how it's worked as I once inadvertently did something similar with a directed list trait... Before rereading on it.
  3. I don't have PV, but see what maneuvers are possible. I have a house one that reduces the number of opponents who can engage. Something that removes or reduces shield impact, or that trips--both when fighting defensively, could be handy. Likewise, you idea of trading skill for reduced armor based on the target's armor penalty is interesting. But the issue with all of these is that armor dex penalties are stiff and make it unlikely to pass a roll, so one won't be attempted unless knights are unarmored. This counter-intuitive result is what canned the double-feint in KAP. Maybe DEX can be treated as more of point pool, and tradeoffs be tested with a weapons roll if total dex (including armor penalties) is high enough?
  4. Ok so the net result is that raises increase the floor and the assumption is that there is enough skill use to justify holding a skill level even if play does not call for increase. That's fair. I'm being pedantic so it can be written up for individuals not reading threads and avoid provoking "arbitrary checks". All in all there seems good reason to play a "dex monkey" type now, even without special maneuvers that tend to go with the trope. That and the "face".
  5. The other piece of information, danced around by Atgxtg in his comment, is that Vortigern succeeded in bending the ears of the Pictish bodyguard to Constans such that they thought they and everyone else would be better off with Constans dead and Vortigern in charge. Now Picts are not alien to the concept of the oath, or they would not have been selected as bodyguards, so there must have been some foundation for them--in close proximity to Constans--to conclude that he did not fit at least their view of the king, and Vortigern was better. It had to be subtle enough of a manipulation, as well, that Vortigern could act all shocked afterwards and quickly have the treacherous Picts executed. The flight of Ambrosius and Uther could have been prudence by their caretaker more than necessity ahead of Vortigern's blades--we don't know for sure. This assumes, by the way, that Vortigern actually did attempt to manipulate the Picts toward his ends (which is a given in most accounts, but need not be in your KAP). He could have simply been a good chancellor and expressed the king's generosity toward the bodyguards, only to be misunderstood as they hatched their own plot. One thing we have to acknowledge from the sources is that Ambrosius had very good PR. He succeeded in smearing Vortigern's name so thoroughly ahead of his return to Britain that we still do not know what the man was actually named! Only in areas that look like Vortigern's ancestral lands do we see alternate treatments that hold him up as a competent and wise leader. Yet: he was selected as the High King by the other nobles, and if they truly thought him weak or smarmy they would have thrust themselves (or Cunedda) forward as alternative candidates. So... there is a LOT that a GM can do to craft their picture of these characters. YPWV. --Khanwulf
  6. @Hzark10 in another thread you permit Traits and Passions to inspire. As in, be the source stat for checking if inspiration occurs, yes? That's... different, since Passions are normally the only source of inspiration. Now applying the bonus: that's less of a significant choice. But how have you found sourcing inspiration to go in playing using a trait-based approach? (Assuming I understand correctly.) --Khanwulf
  7. Looks feasible. So stat raises after character creation do not raise skills? I'm fine with that. Also the pick of one skill to 15 remains? It's likely that more players will decide to raise a secondary skill using that choice, especially if they choose to go with higher DEX, planning on putting the first few years' skill points into weaponry. A viable approach. --Khanwulf
  8. Personally I dislike telling players "you should have planned better". This, by someone who plans excessively. It's just not realistic, and a given player doesn't need to hurdle of understanding mechanics intimately to jump into Arthurian legend. It needs to be accessible. No they don't, but speaking as someone getting older--you do get slower and that makes a difference. I'm ok with a lowering of an attribute through age/wounds to cause a decrease in skill, assuming that the relationship with the skill is linearly established at start. As it is here. No sir. Explaining to a player is not the answer. And let's please acknowledge that the objective is to change the "wastage" of points into DEX, APP or whatever. An investment in an attribute should be valuable on its face, with the benefits clear and measurable even if not always equal. Yes but what is it tough? Because if your DEX and APP drop too far you become bedridden and unplayable? Not sufficient--that happens to STR and SIZ and CON with much more direct impact on knightly effectiveness. I'm willing to build-in reasons why you don't want to lose *any* attribute. And after posting I realized that PV uses Presence as an actual stat name. I'm using it generically. It is literally personal magnetism through appearance, in KAP. Only because STR is already core to knightly skills in the form of critical derived attributes like damage. Again, my point at least is to holistically examine stat impact. Also, if weapon skills are DEX-based, yet damage is STR-based, then you already have additional attributes built-in to the equation. Yes, we have APP, DEX, CON and knowledge, where Greg specifically structured KAP to remove the mental attributes and assign them to the player. They are modeled through skills that deal with memory, domain knowledge and reasoning. Then they should be sinking the skill points that they would otherwise spend on Orate, into Recognize. With this like of arrangement there will be a higher base level for courtly skills and I'm quite OK asking a specialist to raise up other skills that are important but more knowledge-based through yearly training. There needs to be balance. Agreed, it needs to be tested--or at least modeled with several cases both expected and extreme. I'm opposed to incorporating Traits into the base of skills, as they are supposed to be personality. --Khanwulf
  9. Say: childbirth table is STR-based and survival is CON-based?
  10. I'm not following the conversion thread here, but what I was referring to is the situation where you have, say, 20 DEX at start: (selecting DEX for sake of example, could be APP) 1. Your base dagger skill is 10. You raise it one (1) point during play. It is 11. 2. Your raise DEX two more points. It is 22. Your base dagger skill now equals the raise and the raise is wiped out. 3. You take a mortal wound and lose 4 points of DEX. Your base dagger skill drops two points. Is it now 9. Since your raise was "lost" your dagger skill is 9. --Or should it be 10? There are two problems from a player's perspective with this scenario, which is not as unlikely as you might think. First, the player will expect that when DEX goes up and the base increases it will raise the boat, not overwrite the skill increase. Second, if there is a drop he will expect the skill investment to return. A side point: clearly damage to DEX is going to be something PK anguish over, as it will hit ALL weapon skills and make knights slower and troubled. This is... actually realistic and I like it! On to @Atgxtg's table of skills: let me make a few suggestions. I've marked my modifications in red. Ok, so basically APP is your presence stat. An individual with high APP will do better in social activities because people will pay more attention to how they feel about being around them than the technical results of, say, the dance or game. CON is for endurance and focus, where getting tired would cause loss of focus. Swimming is an endurance activity--or STR, but I don't think any skill should be STR-based. DEX is fine, except playing instruments should be in it. I could see Play as APP, but technical skill is actually more important when you're trying to fill a room of knights with something worthwhile from your instrument. Added Industry I'm fine with the rest of the skill being no-attribute. These are knowledge-based by and large. I've added Battle and Siege here as they were missing and should not be DEX-based. Thoughts? --Khanwulf
  11. Ok, I get it: so APP and DEX create a floor value for the skills, meaning that the most efficient use of points is in raising them early before checks and training are applied. Are applied training points tracked separately from the skill base? So if a wound kicks in training keeps soil from dropping as much? Oh and: "boys will laugh at girls when they're not funny". Quite sure what's happening is that physical characteristics are covering for relative lack of skill.
  12. Ok, so then that's a benefit to raising APP, per the other discussion. And DEX, which is also fine. Players can know that they may bump up the DEX or APP skills on every even number. You may end up with situations, however, where a player puts 1d6+1 training points in, and then bumps the attribute and sends the skill to 16--is that a problem? Why don't you do up a table, and then the different cultures could be just assigned modifiers of +/-1 or 2 based on what they are good at, or not.
  13. I'm aware of that, and am for the same reason very disinclined on making the sword weaker. Regardless of the role of the knight as a lance-charging tank, the sword is their iconic symbol and I'm not going to anger the spirits of the Sarmatians by opposing that. It might be enough to provide cover effects to a shieldwall. Once knights wore plate you were not going to injure them short of hitting them really hard at one point (spear, on a charge), breaking the plate (hammers), doing enough blunt-force trauma armor didn't matter (maces), or controlling them long enough to find weak spots (grappling + dagger). Even their helms were shaped to repel arrows. Prior to plate, chain needed either blunt force or a very short point to catch the riveted links and force them sharply apart. Swords needed to be sharp and pointy to do real work, but have always been fantastic when the opponents are unarmored or lightly armored (ie. Napoleonic lancers), or blows could be delivered with skill toward vulnerable bits (ie. by professional warriors--knights). So spear men in KAP could... carry their spears 2H and use them to avoid being reflexively penalized during a cavalry charge (per the infantry square/line), and then switch to 1H use in a wall. That's... theoretical flexibility, since actually organizing either tactic would happen only once/battle unless the troops are highly disciplined professionals. Is there anything else that can be provided to sword that would better illustrate their utility rather than having them break everything in sight? On that note, do you have evidence from Greg's comments or the sources why that was selected as sword's particular niche? It has such a detrimental effect on the value of all other weapons I think there must be a more substantial underlying reason. I think the more playtime is spent before Boy King, the more the setting tries to feel like a post-Roman Britain historical simulation. That's part of the problem. Then you get through the Anarchy and civil wars and people settle down and have enough time and margin to be chivarlic. When KAP was designed it started with Boy King, and has been extended backwards from there. Now the early knights are "elite mounted warriors" and Ambrosius brings the stirrup to Britain! On spear/lance skill: Cymrics get spear expertise that does exactly that--conflate the two. Every other culture has to pay double and isn't going to be using spears unless they are trumped-up warriors (Picts and Saxons maybe). On the note of Saxons, they ride but fight on foot until after Badon, when Arthur civilizes them and forces their sons to behave like knights (learning to use lances, presumably). If you conflate the two skills then you remove BoK&L's contribution to Cymric super-power. (This may or may not be a problem.) Ok, do not want to create a Roman armaments argument. The point was that there is utility in the dagger as a quick-draw item that would get it used more. As is, why pull it out when you could search around and re-arm with a more substantial weapon? So we're agreed, that if used in grapple is halves armor, and it may be readied for free. Grappling in general is as undignified as brawling, and I think you could say that if you are engaged in it you may not split your skill to defend from others who may be attempting to relieve their comrade. That right there would hurt enough to make it not the first choice tactic. --Khanwulf
  14. This ended up in another thread and really deserves its own, as weapons treatment in KAP is another of the sore points: Text by @Atgxtg No, but feel free to start one. Daggers and Spears could use a little love. The problem is a 1H spear doesn't have a reach advantage, becuase you generally have to choke up on the grip. A 2H spear would. I was watching some reenactments on youtube, one in particular by Lindybeige where he ran dozens of spear vs sword tests and based on his results (which are only one sample, but most of the other experienced reenact ors no youtube seem to have a similar option): 2H Spear vs Sword is a big advantage for the spear- the spear won every match, and this was with reenactors who spent little time with a spear and some time with a sword.. is much more even. In fact the advantage shifted to the sword, since the swordsman could use his shield to push the spear out of the way while stepping in to finish the job. Formation fighting that is a group of guys with 1H Spear & Shield vs another group with Sword and Shield favored the spearmen again, as the spearmen could cover each over and help each other out. I did up some tables with reflexive modifiers that seemed to fit with the sample data, but am hesitant to use it in play, as it would tend to favor footmen with greatspears over mounted knights with swords. So like the longbow, schiltron, Swiss pikemen, and firearms it is probably best glossed over and ignored until the last few years of the campaign. I can did it up and post it. The modifiers are significant, based on the data, and that's assuming that the sowrdmen and spearmen were equally skilled, when in fact the swordmen were more skiled (so the modifiers would be higher) . One big problem IMO is the sword breaking non-swords on a tie. It's fine normally, but since a critical =20 then a Swordman with a 25 skill fighting someone with a non-sword with a 25 skill means a lot more broken weapons, as all those critical become ties and broken weapons. I'd do something similar but probably only increase the normal shield bonus (-5) up to -7 as there is only a partial overlap of shields and coverage. *End Atgxtg* Ok, so while the formatting is broken above, let me elaborate a bit. First, philosophically I'd rather modify KAP as little as possible. I've tried injecting complex additional systems into it and have not liked the results. KAP is streamlined and fast and intended to take care of everything that knights care about, well. But: the incentives distort things more than a tad, and this thread is to discuss fixes to that. Backing through things in no particular order: (#3) Non-sword weapons should not break on fumble--we've discussed this before. The fix is to make them break on the much less-likely combination of fumble+crit. This moves the probability from 1/20 to 1/400, though as opponent's skill increases the probability slides more toward 1/20. (#4) Shields have a certain value because of their size and the assumption that their user is interposing the shield actively. A shieldwall is an intentionally dense overlapping of shields in order to remove opening for attack. The shield value is overcome by axes, which is a combination of their "reach around" effect and intent on splintering shields. Cover in KAP is for interposing objects to reduce the opening for attack. A shield wall seems to me to be more of an effort to create cover in the field, in combination with a bunch of pointy things directed at the enemy. From what we know of reenactments and history, shield walls were a deuce to break and took a lot of time in shoving and poking--or very little if you could find a weak point and exploit it. This again looks more like cover to me than a higher shield value, as cover flat reduces the probability that the enemy will land a hit and thus makes their efforts more ineffectual, while shield just means the target doesn't get hurt so bad. A group of trained warriors using a shieldwall (ala Romans) could have cover up to -10, but the principle is simple enough that peasants can do it: bunch up and keep your shield in place! (#1) Daggers don't need a lot of attention. They need to be specifically useful under the circumstances where they would be used. In this case KAP has already provided grappling as their point to shine, so my suggestion simply ensures they have an effect that overcomes armor. It also means dagger skill could be used instead of a DEX check after initiating a grapple (which, unfortunately, makes DEX less useful again). Dagger a free readiness action means that you don't have to be unarmed or take the re-arming penalty so long as you carry a dagger, so it's useful in a pinch. Further, if you're a legionnaire, you can ready your gladius (dagger) immediately after throwing pilum. So it makes sense to arm your legion shieldwall with short swords. (#2) Spears. Spears have been humanity's main battlefield weapon up until the proliferation of gunpowder. Swords have been a popular backup. Why? Because spears give reach, play well in shield walls, have duel hunting purposes, are cheap, and have lovely armor-penetrating points. We still use them as bayonets. So KAP really should reflect some of these basic reasons. Knights used spears/lances for as long as they could, and then switched to backup weapons when the spear became unfeasible. Footmen carried spears primarily and a variety of cheap backup weapons. Spear and shield is not as effective as two-handed spear at range, true. But it still provides the opportunity to gain reach while also using a shieldwall. I could see applying reach the first round if used 2-handed, and not if one-handed, such that there would be a decision on whether to haft-up the spear and go with more protection, or stick it out there and aim to keep your opponent at range. That said, KAP applies the +5 situational bonus even to attacking opponents who fall down (and it's reflexive), so I'm not uncomfortable with what I've proposed above. All this said, the real danger during a spearfight is not wounding from the fellow in front of you, it's their bud with a spear ganking you from the side (at range) when you didn't assign a roll to them. --Khanwulf
  15. I've seen the same videos, observed reenactments myself, and generally read literature by folks who've put their bread-and-butter into writing on it. I think we're in the same place you and I, but differ on how fiddly to make a correction to KAP's overly-generalized approach to the weapons. I'll make a thread for this.
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