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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

The Halbard does. As does KAP4's Coriseach.

Halberd, like Great Spear, only negates the -5 malus against a horseman. It does NOT grant you any bonus when poking at a footman armed with a sword. That is my point. The other suggestions here would give a Spear a big advantage over a Sword even when both are on foot. Which I think is unwarranted when shields and/or heavy armor is in play, which is pretty much all the time when the PKs are involved.

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Username and Morien, thanks to the both of you.   Username, where is the Quarterstaff referenced?  Is that something you made up?

Quite a lot of the stuff on username's document are things he made up- not that that is a bad thing, just that a lot of it is house ruled stuff.  Yeah, it is the one with the infamous compound

As a houserule, my spears cancels the malus for being on foot against cavalry, but the knight still have all his bonus. So a knight with sword 16 on his charger against 1 spearmen (10), will roll at 2

1 hour ago, Morien said:

Halberd, like Great Spear, only negates the -5 malus against a horseman. It does NOT grant you any bonus when poking at a footman armed with a sword. That is my point. The other suggestions here would give a Spear a big advantage over a Sword even when both are on foot.

I don't think woflpack's closing idea helps the spearman much at all. 

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Which I think is unwarranted when shields and/or heavy armor is in play, which is pretty much all the time when the PKs are involved.

Shields and armor do change things considerably. One thing that I've allowed in the past is to let people with spears attack from the second rank. It doesn't come up open, but is very useful when defending a gate or some such, since now the closing swords/axman has to deal with multiple opponents, and, the way I ran it, couldn't reach the back rank guys. 

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8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Alright, but that is the key snag, as far as the game mechanics go. By RAW a swordsman fighting defenaviely has a greater chance of breaking the opponent's weapon. I don't like that, but it is how it works by RAW.

I get that.  And I get that breaking an opponent's weapon is really the signature "power" of the sword, RAW; but, honestly, it seems unrealistic to me... and even in this case, I mean even in the context of Arthurian fiction.  I haven't re-read the source material in quite some time, but I just don't remember swords breaking other weapons as much of a "thing" at all.

Like I said, I'll address it separately, probably in a different thread.  This one has gone totally off the rails as it is!

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

THat isn't much of an advantage for the spearman though. Unless the spearman is very good his chance of a crtical is the same as his chance of a fumble, and most hits won't do much against an opponent with good armor and a shield. 

Maybe not.  But even if the spearman doesn't do much, if any, damage against a more heavily armed swordsman, he will at least have fended him off for another round.  This would possibly allow for another opponent to engage the swordsman, too.

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Plus if the opponent is well armored he could just run up with his shield in front and take the hit. Warriors in good armor  actually did that against a single spearman

Sure.  That could happen.  Depending on the situation, it might be a reasonable risk to take.  I'm not trying to dictate specific tactics.  I'm more interested in modeling the weapons with perhaps a bit more realism.  I think if you do that, the tactics will flow as a logical consequence.

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Well the way you have it stated, that the opponent must close and  the requirment to fight defensively eliminated the option. 

What I'm trying to say is, say you have two opponents, A and B.  A is armed with a sword (Sw) and B is armed with a spear (Sp).  They are both fighting on foot and I am trying to come up with a simple scheme to reflect the reach advantage a spearman would have, initially.

B (Sp), exploiting his reach, is trying to keep his opponent at bay.  Maybe B (Sp) is just trying to keep poking A (Sw) and take him out of the fight before A can close and hit B with his sword.  Maybe B is trying to keep A at bay so a comrade can engage him as well.  Maybe there's another reason.

In game terms, I envision B is attacking normally (not fighting defensively).  A, being kept at spear's length, needs to get past the spear point before he can strike B with his sword.  So, in game terms I'm saying maybe A fights defensively, with a success meaning that the spear is deflected out of the way and, next turn, A can actually try to hit B with his sword (attack normally); failure meaning that the spear is still keeping A at length, and A has to keep fighting defensively until he succeeds.

So, in order for the combatant A to close, he must fight defensively first, win one round, at which point he can actually close and do damage to B.

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I think that the fighting defenatively thing should be optional for the swordman. Maybe he just can't do damage on the first turn or something would be better. 

Perhaps it should be optional if the swordsman is concerned about taking so much damage that he wouldn't be able to hit his opponent.  In other words, don't force the defensive fighting: if the swordsman is willing to accept the risk of damage, then that's okay, too.

Still, even if a swordsman were willing to accept the risk, he could end up impaled anyhow and unable to damage his opponent.

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Or maybe just have Spears trump DEX in determining the order of damage. So the spearman does damage before the opponent. 

The second one (Spears trump DEX in order of damage) is intriguing.  The point I am trying to make about the reach advantage of spears is that, using that advantage, the spearman could theoretically neutralize a sword-wielding opponent before that opponent got within range to do damage.  It's similar, on a much smaller scale, to how missile troops can damage shock (hand-to-hand/melee) troops before they can do damage.

And I understand the genre favors the sword-wielding knights.  That, to me, is not an over-riding concern at this point.

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

In previous editions of Pendragon, a character who fought defensively did normal (not double) damage on a critical success. This was dropped because a character with 20+ skill might opt to fight defensively all the time, and end up being better offensively due to the increased chance of criticals. Fore example if two characters have a 20 skill then either has a 50% chance of winning a given round of combat. If one fought defensively, it would be a 30 vs a 20, ans the odds would shift to something like 55%/22.5% chance of either doing damage, greatly shifting the odds in favor of the guy fighting defensively. Combine that with inspriation or the hieght bonus and some players could be automatically getting a crit. 

 

8 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Oh I get that. It's just that the way the game mechanics work, I don't think the rule change would actually benefit the spearman. The bonus his opponent gets from fighting defensively reduces the chance of the spearman winning, ensures the benefits of a shield for when the spearman does win (16-20 points of armor will make most hits bounce), and increases the chances of ties slightly (problematic against swords). 

Unless the spearman has a very high skill or does a lot of damage, this actually helps his opponent.

The thought just occurred to me: the kind of thing I'm talking about is the potential for a sword-armed combatant to be impaled/stopped at the end of a spear.  There's already a mechanic in place for this sort of thing: the Boar Spear mechanic.

So maybe you have a scenario where: A (Sw) attacks B (Sp).  To get past the spearpoint he can either (1) fight defensively and try to knock the spear aside, or (2) accept the risk of damage and try to close regardless.

If (1) is successful, A attacks normally next turn.  If (1) is unsuccessful, A has the same options.

If (2) is successful, A strikes and does damage normally.  If (2) is unsuccessful, A could potentially be impaled like a boar on a boar spear.

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13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

I get that.  And I get that breaking an opponent's weapon is really the signature "power" of the sword, RAW; but, honestly, it seems unrealistic to me... and even in this case, I mean even in the context of Arthurian fiction.  I haven't re-read the source material in quite some time, but I just don't remember swords breaking other weapons as much of a "thing" at all.

It's is unrealistic, and it is a bit unrealistic in context too. I think Greg wanted to make sword a bit better than the other weapons. It's only with the crtical = 20 rule shwere it becomes overpowerwing. Back in KAP1, when it was a bit more vauge, we used to assume the die rolls had to be a natural tie. 

 

Awhile back I did up a version of Harn's Weapon Quality rules. In that game when weapons might break you roll against the Weapon Quality of the lower quality weapon to see if it breaks, and if it doesn't you check for the higher quality weapon. Swords tend to have a higher WQ and so break less. It works, is nice, but adds another layer of complexity that players migth not like. I can post it if anyone is interested.

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Like I said, I'll address it separately, probably in a different thread.  This one has gone totally off the rails as it is!

Don't worry about it. That's what threads are for. I mena this is about weapons in the game so a variant weapon rule seems to fit the thread.

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Maybe not.  But even if the spearman doesn't do much, if any, damage against a more heavily armed swordsman, he will at least have fended him off for another round.  This would possibly allow for another opponent to engage the swordsman, too.

Maybe but that could work both ways. But overall I don't think the benefit is all that great for the spearman. 

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Sure.  That could happen.  Depending on the situation, it might be a reasonable risk to take.  I'm not trying to dictate specific tactics.  I'm more interested in modeling the weapons with perhaps a bit more realism.  I think if you do that, the tactics will flow as a logical consequence.

Yes, but it is a bit of a tradeoff. Something like reach rules would be more realistic, but would add to complexity. I'll look over the Close Combat rules from RuneQuest (Pendragon's parent system) and see if it could help. 

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

What I'm trying to say is, say you have two opponents, A and B.  A is armed with a sword (Sw) and B is armed with a spear (Sp).  They are both fighting on foot and I am trying to come up with a simple scheme to reflect the reach advantage a spearman would have, initially.

I get that. It's just modelling that in game terms. Between the effect modifiers have to crticals, the tie rules, and he fact than Pendragon combines attack and parry into a single roll, it gets complicated. 

Frankly, if you wanted to keep it simple and didn't mind changing the combat rules, just give an advantage modifier to the spearman. Say +2/-2 normally, or possibly +5/-5 if the opponent doesn't have a shield. But that will shift the balance of power towards the spear.

 

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

B (Sp), exploiting his reach, is trying to keep his opponent at bay.  Maybe B (Sp) is just trying to keep poking A (Sw) and take him out of the fight before A can close and hit B with his sword.  Maybe B is trying to keep A at bay so a comrade can engage him as well.  Maybe there's another reason.

Maybethe best way to mirror that would be to adapt the Evasion rules (page 145) and say that the closing character has to win to get in close instead of to escape, but negate the bonus to the spearman's roll if he can't or won't backpedal.

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

In game terms, I envision B is attacking normally (not fighting defensively).  A, being kept at spear's length, needs to get past the spear point before he can strike B with his sword.  So, in game terms I'm saying maybe A fights defensively, with a success meaning that the spear is deflected out of the way and, next turn, A can actually try to hit B with his sword (attack normally); failure meaning that the spear is still keeping A at length, and A has to keep fighting defensively until he succeeds.

So, in order for the combatant A to close, he must fight defensively first, win one round, at which point he can actually close and do damage to B.

Yes, but the fighting defenviely bit throws the odds towards the swordsman. If I were the spearman I wouldn't want to "bonus". 

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Perhaps it should be optional if the swordsman is concerned about taking so much damage that he wouldn't be able to hit his opponent.  In other words, don't force the defensive fighting: if the swordsman is willing to accept the risk of damage, then that's okay, too.

Still, even if a swordsman were willing to accept the risk, he could end up impaled anyhow and unable to damage his opponent.

Yes I think it's better not to force the tactic, since fighting defensively helps the "wrong" side. Using the Evasion rule to maneuver instead both sounds closer to what you want (the spearman is actually trying to prevent the closing), and favors the spearman more (he gets a +5/-5 advantage).

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

The second one (Spears trump DEX in order of damage) is intriguing.  The point I am trying to make about the reach advantage of spears is that, using that advantage, the spearman could theoretically neutralize a sword-wielding opponent before that opponent got within range to do damage.  It's similar, on a much smaller scale, to how missile troops can damage shock (hand-to-hand/melee) troops before they can do damage.

And I understand the genre favors the sword-wielding knights.  That, to me, is not an over-riding concern at this point.

Oh, I get what you are trying to model. I'm just saying that your proposed solution doesn't help the spearman. Plus, as Morien pointed out earlier, it does open  a can of worms. Greatspear vs spear, for instance.  

I still think it's a bad thing to do , since if it works right, it will lead to  be a lot of situations where it will be used against your players and ultimately kill more of them, but my concern here is just in terms of what will achieve the effect you desire. I think defensive fighting helps the swordsman too much, plus I don't think it makes all that sense in terms of the actual action. It's like I don't see someone charging "defensively" into combat. It would seem to me that if the swordman wants to close he is going to have to put himself at greater risk, not less.Without the +10 modifier the advantage shifts back to the spearman, as it essentially becomes an almost free attack.

13 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

The thought just occurred to me: the kind of thing I'm talking about is the potential for a sword-armed combatant to be impaled/stopped at the end of a spear.  There's already a mechanic in place for this sort of thing: the Boar Spear mechanic.

So maybe you have a scenario where: A (Sw) attacks B (Sp).  To get past the spearpoint he can either (1) fight defensively and try to knock the spear aside, or (2) accept the risk of damage and try to close regardless.

If (1) is successful, A attacks normally next turn.  If (1) is unsuccessful, A has the same options.

If (2) is successful, A strikes and does damage normally.  If (2) is unsuccessful, A could potentially be impaled like a boar on a boar spear.

Yes, except the boarspear mechanic is designed to hold a skewered boar at bay, not beat the boar in the intial clash.. I think even if you tried it knights would just take the hit, and rely upon thier armor. 

 

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1 hour ago, SaxBasilisk said:

FYI, Stormbringer has some rules regarding weapon length which are at least derived from another BRP game. They're too long to type in here, but they might be of interest.

So does RuneQuest 3. The difficulties in adapting them to Pendragon are:

  1. Pendragon combines attacks and parries into one fighting roll, where as BRP keeps them separate.
  2. Skill over 20 in Pendragon radically increases the chance of a critical success.
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On 2/21/2020 at 11:57 PM, Atgxtg said:

It's is unrealistic, and it is a bit unrealistic in context too. I think Greg wanted to make sword a bit better than the other weapons. It's only with the crtical = 20 rule shwere it becomes overpowerwing. Back in KAP1, when it was a bit more vauge, we used to assume the die rolls had to be a natural tie. 

Just as an aside, aside from Greg Stafford's desire to just use the sword breaking other weapons mechanic as his way of giving them their own distinct advantage, it seems predicated on the notion that only swords were all-metal and, therefore, not prone to breakage and "harder" on other weapons.  The thing is that there were all-metal maces (probably even more devastating to other weapons if they clashed); and even weapons with wooden handles would have metal strips along their length to protect them from breakage.  So, to me breakage is, to use a video game term, "OP" (overpowered).

 

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Awhile back I did up a version of Harn's Weapon Quality rules. In that game when weapons might break you roll against the Weapon Quality of the lower quality weapon to see if it breaks, and if it doesn't you check for the higher quality weapon. Swords tend to have a higher WQ and so break less. It works, is nice, but adds another layer of complexity that players migth not like. I can post it if anyone is interested.

I like weapon quality rules in principle, but in practice they do seem to go towards the extreme end of complexity.  Still, I enjoy the creative process that goes into coming up with ideas even if I don't use them; so feel free to post your rules.  I for one would read them.

 

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Something like reach rules would be more realistic, but would add to complexity. I'll look over the Close Combat rules from RuneQuest (Pendragon's parent system) and see if it could help. 

RQ6 has weapon reach rules.  They seem pretty simple and appear to be analogous to using the Evade tactic, in KAP5.x, as you suggested.

 

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Frankly, if you wanted to keep it simple and didn't mind changing the combat rules, just give an advantage modifier to the spearman. Say +2/-2 normally, or possibly +5/-5 if the opponent doesn't have a shield. But that will shift the balance of power towards the spear.

Well, I'm not too concerned about shifting the balance of power towards the spear, again in principle, if it makes sense (to me).  Also, I think the balance of power is only temporary -- i.e., only as long as the spearman keeps the swordsman at bay.  Once the swordsman is within spear-length, that balance shifts in the other direction because the length is no longer an advantage.

 

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Maybethe best way to mirror that would be to adapt the Evasion rules (page 145) and say that the closing character has to win to get in close instead of to escape, but negate the bonus to the spearman's roll if he can't or won't backpedal.

Been thinking about this for a while.  As I mentioned above, it seems like a viable option.  I like it because it's a rule you can adapt and apply to a different situation and not have to make up something from scratch.

The other thing I've been thinking about in the whole spear reach advantage thing is that its only an advantage as long as the foe is intimidated/concerned about the damage a spearpoint could do.  Against a fully armored knight with a shield, I don't know that a lone spearman would provide that kind of intimidation factor.  The knight might be just as inclined to try to accept the possibility of damage (esp. being soaked up by/mitigated by his armor) and just charge in.

Which is why I thought maybe the boar spear mechanic could be adaptable.  Or maybe an Impale rule, like in RQ3.  Knight decides he's not going to evade the spearpoint but just charge.  If he takes a certain amount of/too much damage, he gets stuck on the end of a spear.  I mean, that ought to be the result of a failed charge past a spearpoint, and charging past the spearpoint ought to be an option, even if it might be a foolish one, depending on the situation.

 

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Yes, but the fighting defenviely bit throws the odds towards the swordsman. If I were the spearman I wouldn't want to "bonus". 

Well, the +10 bonus to the swordsman definitely improves his odds.  But then he's not trying to hit his opponent, but get past his opponents spear so he can hit his opponent in the next attack.  That's why I suggested it.  Using a spear against a foe who is worried about getting impaled buys time.  If a swordsman has to spend a round deflecting the spearpoint -- even with a +10 that the spearman doesnt get -- I don't know that, that's such a bad thing.

 

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Yes I think it's better not to force the tactic, since fighting defensively helps the "wrong" side. Using the Evasion rule to maneuver instead both sounds closer to what you want (the spearman is actually trying to prevent the closing), and favors the spearman more (he gets a +5/-5 advantage).

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I kind of like it.  Need to think about it a little more.

 

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Oh, I get what you are trying to model. I'm just saying that your proposed solution doesn't help the spearman. Plus, as Morien pointed out earlier, it does open  a can of worms. Greatspear vs spear, for instance.  

Well, Great Spears ("pikes") were way longer than ordinary spears.  So, I can see someone making the argument that the same sort of dynamic should apply in that kind of situation.

 

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I still think it's a bad thing to do , since if it works right, it will lead to  be a lot of situations where it will be used against your players and ultimately kill more of them, but my concern here is just in terms of what will achieve the effect you desire.

I know.  The effect I'm going for is to give a spearman a temporary/initial advantage against an opponent armed with a significantly shorter weapon.  How to do that is the question...

 

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Yes, except the boarspear mechanic is designed to hold a skewered boar at bay, not beat the boar in the intial clash.. I think even if you tried it knights would just take the hit, and rely upon thier armor. 

Again, the more I think about it, the more I think that there will probably be more than a few knights who just say the hell with it and just charge, spearpoints be damned.  So, another aspect is to make the spearpoint an effective deterrent: something that all but the best armed, best armored, most highly-trained and experienced knights would hesitate to challenge without hesitation.

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1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Just as an aside, aside from Greg Stafford's desire to just use the sword breaking other weapons mechanic as his way of giving them their own distinct advantage, it seems predicated on the notion that only swords were all-metal and, therefore, not prone to breakage and "harder" on other weapons.  The thing is that there were all-metal maces (probably even more devastating to other weapons if they clashed); and even weapons with wooden handles would have metal strips along their length to protect them from breakage.  So, to me breakage is, to use a video game term, "OP" (overpowered).

It is overpowered. Deliberately so. Pretty much all of the weapon bonuses are overpowered or have exceptions or reasons to alter them. For instance mail with padding is actually pretty good at soaking blunt impacts. 

BTW, all metal weapons do exist in K&L, but with a peanlalty.

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

I like weapon quality rules in principle, but in practice they do seem to go towards the extreme end of complexity.  Still, I enjoy the creative process that goes into coming up with ideas even if I don't use them; so feel free to post your rules.  I for one would read them.

Well the rules are pretty simple, each weapon has a Weapon Quality (WQ). When the combat rolls tie, the weapon with the lower WQ checks for breakage first. If if doesn't break then the one with the higher WQ checks for breakage. That's about it. I've got a table of Weapon Qualities somewhere. A spear was WQ 13 (so it didn't break on a 1-13 on 1d20) a sword WQ15,  and a shield WQ17.

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

RQ6 has weapon reach rules.  They seem pretty simple and appear to be analogous to using the Evade tactic, in KAP5.x, as you suggested.

It's tricky to port over due to the combined attack & parry and higher crtical chances in Pendragon.

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Well, I'm not too concerned about shifting the balance of power towards the spear, again in principle, if it makes sense (to me).  Also, I think the balance of power is only temporary -- i.e., only as long as the spearman keeps the swordsman at bay.  Once the swordsman is within spear-length, that balance shifts in the other direction because the length is no longer an advantage.

Well in the real world the advantage mostly goes away if the combatants have shields,  or the swordsman is armored. That's something Morien raised eariler and a good reason not to change things much, since PKs will be shielded and/or armored.

Also, realistically, once in close, the spearman would drop the spear and draw a shortsword or knife. 

 

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Been thinking about this for a while.  As I mentioned above, it seems like a viable option.  I like it because it's a rule you can adapt and apply to a different situation and not have to make up something from scratch.

 

The other thing I've been thinking about in the whole spear reach advantage thing is that its only an advantage as long as the foe is intimidated/concerned about the damage a spearpoint could do.  Against a fully armored knight with a shield, I don't know that a lone spearman would provide that kind of intimidation factor.  The knight might be just as inclined to try to accept the possibility of damage (esp. being soaked up by/mitigated by his armor) and just charge in.

Exactly. What tends to happen is the swordman hits the speartip with his shield and just rushes up. The spearman usually can't recover fast enough to maintian the advantage. If you are really keen on seeing how this plays out look up Lindybiege's Long version of his Spear vs. Sword video. He kept score and it shows both how good the advantage is, and how quickly it goes away. It also shows just how much of an advantage spear are in formation.

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Which is why I thought maybe the boar spear mechanic could be adaptable.  Or maybe an Impale rule, like in RQ3.  Knight decides he's not going to evade the spearpoint but just charge.  If he takes a certain amount of/too much damage, he gets stuck on the end of a spear.  I mean, that ought to be the result of a failed charge past a spearpoint, and charging past the spearpoint ought to be an option, even if it might be a foolish one, depending on the situation.

Well in the RAW there in the uncontrolled attack which does just that. The character takes the hit and if he can still attack he does. 

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Well, the +10 bonus to the swordsman definitely improves his odds.  But then he's not trying to hit his opponent, but get past his opponents spear so he can hit his opponent in the next attack.  That's why I suggested it.  Using a spear against a foe who is worried about getting impaled buys time.  If a swordsman has to spend a round deflecting the spearpoint -- even with a +10 that the spearman doesnt get -- I don't know that, that's such a bad thing.

Yes but the +10 pretty much prevents the spearman from hitting. I think you'd be better off if you gave the spearman a bonus until they close. Something like the +5/-5 advantage. Then the swordsman could either fight normally, with a disadvantage, fight defensively with both at +5, or do an uncontrolled attack to close but take the hit. 

That would seem to give you exactly what you are looking for with very little rule changes-just a +5/-5 reflexive modifier.

 

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I kind of like it.  Need to think about it a little more.

LOL! THat's what I meant before about a GM being hesitant about a change. Often the first idea that seems good doesn't work out as intended. It why I try to think things through before introducing a rule change. That way I don't have to change it again if it doesn't work out. 

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Well, Great Spears ("pikes") were way longer than ordinary spears.  So, I can see someone making the argument that the same sort of dynamic should apply in that kind of situation.

 

Certainly. There is a thread about that in the RQ section. But unless they were in formation the Pike quickly become unwieldy.

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

I know.  The effect I'm going for is to give a spearman a temporary/initial advantage against an opponent armed with a significantly shorter weapon.  How to do that is the question...

Exactly. You want it simple, and you want it to give you a particular sort of result. IMO either the evasion rules or a flat +5/-5 reach bonus to the spearman have a chance of accomplsihing that. BTW, if it helps, giants can ingore the +5/-5 from a lance change due to reach.

1 hour ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Again, the more I think about it, the more I think that there will probably be more than a few knights who just say the hell with it and just charge, spearpoints be damned.  So, another aspect is to make the spearpoint an effective deterrent: something that all but the best armed, best armored, most highly-trained and experienced knights would hesitate to challenge without hesitation.

Well historically, if the knights were on foot, they wouldn't really hesitate. Armor and shield will soak the hit -at least long enough to get in close. The spear is more intimating against mounted opponents, since a set spear could prove nasty. Unfortunately horse damage hasn't kept up with character damage over the years. Back in KAP 1  the typical knight did 4d6 or even 3d6 and a  charger doing 6d6 was impressive. Now the typical knight does 5d6, and many do 6d6-the same as the charger! Horses need about a 2d6 increase in damage to keep lances dangerous like they used to be. Now if the spearman could do 8d6 with a set spear, the knights would hesitate.

Alternately, if the spearmen attack the horses rather than the riders, then the knight could risk loosing their mounts. In fact it's actually tough to get the horses to charge spearpoints because horses aren't stupid.

 

Now just to raise a realsitic objection here, one of the reason why Greg didn't include that in the game is because most spearmen are not disciplined enough to keep in formation when charged. I think that is one of the reasons why the special elite units that pop up in the Book of Armies have great combat skills. They might not actually have a 25 skill, just a 20 with a good situational modifier from their special training and  tactics. In game terms the effect is the same.

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On 2/17/2020 at 11:27 AM, Tizun Thane said:

The short answer is: sword is the best weapon!

That was actually a problem for my players, as they felt they couldn't focus on another 1 handed weapon on the long term, and have a character with a different fighting style from their previous one.

We also experienced a lot of fumbles, to the extent that a recurring joke was that they should stop use grease to clean their swords...

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Currently 6 PKs:

1 Axe

1 Mace

1 Spear

3 Swords (one of which is magical, so that quite explains why that Player is always prioritizing his characters' Sword skill)

We have seen also a Great Axe (1 PK).

Maces and Axes have shown up earlier as well, but Maces are going to go down in popularity in a hurry, as they are about to get technology-nerfed thanks to the plate armor.

Great Weapons (two-handed weapons) are generally disliked, since we don't allow them to be used from horseback (with an exception for Great Spear, which functions like a Lance). I guess we could just 'soft nerf' them with a -5 or -5/+5 modifier to represent the difficulty of swinging them from the saddle with your horse in the way.

We also have a host of house rules, in particular not treating all criticals as equal, so we avoid the critical vs. critical ties mostly. This helps to keep non-swords more feasible at high skills, but on the other hand, we don't usually have very high skills, either. We also changed ties so that it is a mutual hit, except if it is a sword vs. non-sword, in which case the sword breaks the other weapon AND causes a hit, too. The other weapon breaks and not do any damage. This boosts swords a bit, helping vs. the critical tie nerf.

Edited by Morien
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1 hour ago, Morien said:

This helps to keep non-swords more feasible at high skills, but on the other hand, we don't usually have very high skills, either.

Well, with Inspiration and combat stances, it's not very difficult to go beyond 20.

Edited by Mugen
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5 minutes ago, Mugen said:

Well, with Inspiration and combat postures, it's not very difficult to go beyond 20.

Especially when most PKS will start with a 15. In my campaign the players rapidly work to get their primary weapon skill to 20. This eliminates the chance of fumbling (barring modifiers), and ensures that they get the 6 points of added protection from their shield. 

Of the 10 player characters in the game, 7 use sword as their primary melee weapon, one uses a great axe (but appears to be migrating to greatsword), one alternates between sword and mace, and the last uses a magical spear that doesn't break.

But after seeing what happens to axe and spear wielding NPCs, most of the players stick with sword and shield. 

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1 hour ago, Mugen said:

Well, with Inspiration and combat stances, it's not very difficult to go beyond 20.

House rule: Inspiration is only +5, not +10. :)

Also, most of the important combat (i.e. knights) tends to at least start from equal footing (both mounted, or both on foot).

I wouldn't let Swords break other weapons on a Defensive critical tie, either. If you are not going to cause damage, you are not going to hack off the other weapon, either. Besides, it would be a super cheesy tactic to use otherwise.

But like I said, we handle skills above 20 and criticals differently from RAW anyway, so we don't have the issue of two skill 29 characters getting a tie 25% of the time, one murdering the other on a single stroke 50% of the time, and 25% normal hits. Instead, we get about 10% of murder (one crits, the other doesn't), 5% of tie (both roll the exact same thing), and 85% normal hits, as the skills are scaled back to 20, the lower skill excess above 20 being a penalty to the higher skilled combatant (so 29 vs 29 -> 29-9 = 20 both). And in the case of 25 vs. 20, we do calculate 19+5 as 24 rather than flat 20. So roll 19+5 vs. roll 20 means that the criticals cancel, leaving normal hit (24 > 20) against a partial success (20 < 24).

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2 hours ago, Morien said:

I wouldn't let Swords break other weapons on a Defensive critical tie, either. If you are not going to cause damage, you are not going to hack off the other weapon, either. Besides, it would be a super cheesy tactic to use otherwise.

Well, in previous editions (like the one I used in my campaign), you inflicted normal damage on a critical success when in Defensive stance...

Needless to say, a lot more players used that tactic...

2 hours ago, Morien said:

But like I said, we handle skills above 20 and criticals differently from RAW anyway, so we don't have the issue of two skill 29 characters getting a tie 25% of the time, one murdering the other on a single stroke 50% of the time, and 25% normal hits. Instead, we get about 10% of murder (one crits, the other doesn't), 5% of tie (both roll the exact same thing), and 85% normal hits, as the skills are scaled back to 20, the lower skill excess above 20 being a penalty to the higher skilled combatant (so 29 vs 29 -> 29-9 = 20 both). And in the case of 25 vs. 20, we do calculate 19+5 as 24 rather than flat 20. So roll 19+5 vs. roll 20 means that the criticals cancel, leaving normal hit (24 > 20) against a partial success (20 < 24).

I remember I wanted to change the rules for crits, but I don't remember the details. I remember I was influenced by HeroQuest, so it's possible my intent was that if both rolled a crit, the highest roll was the winner, but his roll was downgraded to a normal success.

Anyway, my players didn't want that change, because they had some pretty bad experiences with me a rules change in a previous game (but it was a homebrew system)...

On the other hand, one of my players put a lot of efforts in-game to obtain a "magical" mace that was unbreakable, so he was basically asking for a rules change in his favor...

3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Especially when most PKS will start with a 15. In my campaign the players rapidly work to get their primary weapon skill to 20. This eliminates the chance of fumbling (barring modifiers), and ensures that they get the 6 points of added protection from their shield. 

Of the 10 player characters in the game, 7 use sword as their primary melee weapon, one uses a great axe (but appears to be migrating to greatsword), one alternates between sword and mace, and the last uses a magical spear that doesn't break.

But after seeing what happens to axe and spear wielding NPCs, most of the players stick with sword and shield. 

That was exactly my experience, too. :D

Edited by Mugen
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  • 2 weeks later...

We made some house rules for weapons and armor 3-4 years ago, but it sounds like we went in an opposite direction from what you're describing. They have worked out great for us, but we may not have the same goals.

Our goals were:

  • We are not good at remembering fidly weapon rules, so most weapons should not have special rules
  • What weapon you use should be mostly a stylistic choice, and you should change between them when you want to
  • Normal swords shouldn't get outdated as a primary weapon. Historically that may make sense, but in Malory there are a lot of swords.
  • Combats should be shorter (fewer dice rolls)
  • Losing tests should have consequences, and crits shouldn't be the only way to win combats, so we want to give and take more damage
  • A crit should ALWAYS be dangerous, so we should improve crits from weak opponents

Because of this, we:

1) Reduced the number of melee weapon types to four, all of them using the same "melee" skill:

  • One-handed melee (no special rules)
  • Two-handed melee (+1d6 damage, no shield)
  • Daggers and improvised weapons (-1d6 damage)
  • Long spears and halberds (+1d6 damage, no shield, no penalty vs. horses, horses do not get bonus vs. them, not knightly)

 Making the long spear strictly better wasn't a problem, because the npc's using it would most often be weaker than the player knights.

 We kept a separate Lance skill, with a +5 lance charge.

2) Changed crits to a flat +15 damage. This way they would always be dangerous, we wouldn’t get any more "plink crits", crits from normal foot soldiers would do damage, and crits from very strong opponents wouldn't be autokill.

3) Reduced armor effectiveness, to make combats shorter. (shield 6, leather 4, chain 9, reinforced chain 10, partial plate 12, full plate 14, Gothic Plate 15)

4) Reduced horse damage, to make up for the reduced armor (courser 5d6, charger 6d6, andalusian charger 7d6 rare/normal from 519/540, destrier 8d6 rare/normal from 535/554), friesian destrier 9d6 rare from 558 )

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