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This has been debated and I'm not presumptuous enough to think I know better than playtested rules.......but I'm having a problem with the way shields are represented in RQG. I think the main hurdle coming from RQII is the combining of parry and attack skills for weapons. I've read and appreciate the arguments for carrying a shield, being cost, the very limited passive protection against missiles and conserving hit points on the primary weapon but that's all minor and conditional. Shields were historically a primary defense in melee and they're just not set up to be that in RQG, where parrying with primary weapon would almost always be the safer preference (the HP of large shields notwithstanding.....a buckler should still be useful), particularly with the additional disadvantages of shield ENC and loss of capacity to use a 2 handed weapon.

I'm not a big house ruler but I want to see shields have more utility and desirability in my game. I like simplicity and going back to different attack and parry weapon skills is not the way to go, neither is adjusting HP for all weapons and shields to make shields stronger and weapons weaker...too much work and I don't know what that would do to balance.

My inclination for a simple solution is to halve the weapon skill for purposes of parrying if the player indicated that they would be using that weapon to attack at statement of intent (with the 20% reduction for subsequent parries in the round). Obviously if they stated that they would not attack with the weapon and focus on parrying with it, then they would get their full skill for the parry. This would give players a decision to make, bring primary weapon parrying down to or less than the starting skill level of most shields (assuming it's being used to attack) and raise the utility of shields, particularly in situations where the player is likely to have to parry multiple attacks in a round.

Respectfully, I don't need convincing that the RQG shield rules are fine as they are (I've read the debates and for me they're not convincing for my Glorantha) but I'm curious if anyone else has tried something similar in play or if anybody else has come up with other variants that they find work for them.

 

Thanks,

 

Brent.

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One option would be to increase the defensive HP of a shield, or, alternatively, decrease the HP of weapons.

It seems wrong to me that a broadsword parries as much damage as a medium shield.

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1 hour ago, BrentS said:

My inclination for a simple solution is to halve the weapon skill for purposes of parrying if the player indicated that they would be using that weapon to attack at statement of intent (with the 20% reduction for subsequent parries in the round). Obviously if they stated that they would not attack with the weapon and focus on parrying with it, then they would get their full skill for the parry.

That is not a bad solution at all but it does heavily penalize fighters fighting with 2-handed weapons, or only one 1-handed weapon, compared to weapon-and-shield or two-weapons fighting.

My own house rule went to other way. Instead of penalizing non-shield user, I decided to reward them. 

First, all shields have a defensive bonus based on size of shield. The DB is applied when shield blocking but not when attacking. Small shields have +20% Defensive Bonus, medium shields +30% and large shield +40%.

Second, I consider the shield statistics on p.217 are for hide shields. Wicker shields have an extra +1 HP and wood shields have an extra +2 HP. I feel, that combined with the benefit they give against range attacks that these two additions make the shields worth their while.

Edited by DreadDomain
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10 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

One option would be to increase the defensive HP of a shield, or, alternatively, decrease the HP of weapons.

It seems wrong to me that a broadsword parries as much damage as a medium shield.

Crossposted!! :)

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2 hours ago, BrentS said:

I don't need convincing that the RQG shield rules

The rules aren't clear as to which hit location takes damage if it gets through the parrying weapon/shield.

We play it that if you use a shield to parry, its the shield arm that's hit, and if its a weapon, it's knocked aside and the excess damage goes to the rolled location.  Which sort of feels right, to me at least.

However, that gives a big advantage to shields, as, the bug blow that would normally take you out (crits or big damage specials), has gone to your shield arm, so you often live to fight another day.

So, if you think that's a home ruling, and it adds to the thread, great.  But if that's Rules As Written and you're still not happy, apologies for disturbing the thread!

 

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1 hour ago, DreadDomain said:

That is not a bad solution at all but it does heavily penalize fighters fighting with 2-handed weapons, or only one 1-handed weapon, compared to weapon-and-shield or two-weapons fighting.

My own house rule went to other way. Instead of penalizing non-shield user, I decided to reward them. 

First, all shields have a defensive bonus based on size of shield. The DB is applied when shield blocking but not when attacking. Small shields have +20% Defensive Bonus, medium shields +30% and large shield +40%.

Second, I consider the shield statistics on p.217 are for hide shields. Wicker shields have an extra +1 HP and wood shields have an extra +2 HP. I feel, that combined with the benefit they give against range attacks that these two additions make the shields worth their while.

Thanks, you're certainly right about it penalising 1H and 2H weapon users without shields, and I hadn't considered that...although I guess that does further enhance the utility and desirability of the shield in melee, which was the intention. Note that single weapon users can still parry at full percentage if they don't use that weapon to attack (a good option while spell casting or if fighting a delaying action while waiting for help or healing) and they can still parry with the weapon even if they do attack, just not as well. This might be another benefit for weapon masters with skills > 100%. I think 2H weapon users already benefit from the additional damage they inflict so there's a trade off. It also might give Dodge a bit more love. Finally, it also raises the utility of an off-handed weapon for parrying (just like the shield) if using double weapon technique. I know I'm rationalising my own proposal further but it's feeling more right to me. I'll have to use it to see.

 

I'm intrigued by the Defense Bonus idea. Does this mean reduction in the attacker's To Hit % (like the old Defense in RQ II) or a flat bonus to shield skill?

 

Brent.

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Shields being a defense against missile weapons shouldn't be ignored. Fast moving missile weapon users are deadly. Especially mounted archers or darkness fond trollkin slingers. 

Large and medium shields offer significant protection cheaply compared to armour. 

Shield walls are a thing. Hard to hold your spot without one. 

There are more details on shields likely to be coming but I'm not sure yet what impact that will have on rules.... 

Edited by Thaz
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43 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

The rules aren't clear as to which hit location takes damage if it gets through the parrying weapon/shield.

We play it that if you use a shield to parry, its the shield arm that's hit, and if its a weapon, it's knocked aside and the excess damage goes to the rolled location.  Which sort of feels right, to me at least.

However, that gives a big advantage to shields, as, the bug blow that would normally take you out (crits or big damage specials), has gone to your shield arm, so you often live to fight another day.

So, if you think that's a home ruling, and it adds to the thread, great.  But if that's Rules As Written and you're still not happy, apologies for disturbing the thread!

 

No apologies required, Stephen. Thanks for the idea.

I still don't think I'd be comfortable with the idea that a shield's purpose is to get you arm shattered, rather than your head. It is another possible incremental benefit if played that way, but not from the logic of a fighter's point of view. I imagine they would be choosing to use a shield because it improves protection of their whole body (including their left arm 😀) from a  variety of attacks.

 

Brent.

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34 minutes ago, Thaz said:

Shields being a defense against missile weapons shouldn't be ignored. Fast moving missile weapon users are deadly. Especially mounted archers or darkness fond trollkin slingers. 

Large and medium shields offer significant protection cheaply compared to armour. 

Shield walls are a thing. Hard to hold your spot without one. 

There are more details on shields likely to be coming but I'm not sure yet what impact that will have on rules.... 

Thanks, I wasn't ignoring it but there's a simulation gap if the logic for carrying a shield is purely missile defense, when for historical parallels it was also an important defensive consideration in melee.....and to justify its use mechanically in melee as the rules stand requires some pretty stretched arguments (not that they're not valid, they just don't outweigh the risk benefit of parrying a potentially fatal blow with your 95% broadsword instead of your 45% medium shield).

Hoplite phalanxes or Germanic shield walls are certainly an important consideration, but they're military battle formations, not appropriate in the context of  open order fighting that will be happening in the majority of RQ adventures......not for Vasana as invariably pictured with her pelte.

I am interested to hear that there might be more details coming that might expand on shield use. Has that been suggested somewhere?

 

Brent.

 

Edited by BrentS
Typos

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19 minutes ago, BrentS said:

I'm intrigued by the Defense Bonus idea. Does this mean reduction in the attacker's To Hit % (like the old Defense in RQ II) or a flat bonus to shield skill?

No, it is an addition to your Shield skill when you parry. A character with Medium Shield 67%, would attack at 67% but would parry with their shield at 97%. It's a pretty big advantage.   

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2 minutes ago, BrentS said:

parrying a potentially fatal blow with you 95% primary weapon instead of your 45%

My character is pretty equal in sword and shield, in the 90-100% range.  She fought at the Duel at Dangerford (vs. Robustus).  She got lucky and criticaled her Air Inspiration to her broadsword.  Even though she had Earth Shield, one of the best spells in the game, she still parried with her sword.  (And won)

The Inspiration skills hugely favor weapons over shields.

 

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4 hours ago, BrentS said:

I think the main hurdle coming from RQII is the combining of parry and attack skills for weapons.

One option could be going to full Combat Styles route and fold Shield skill into Weapon attack and parry, like they did in Mythras RQ, I think it was? I really liked not having to worry about a ton of different skills or, check hunting, to keep my character useful with all of the different weapons they had available. 

Edited by HreshtIronBorne
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Just now, HreshtIronBorne said:

One option could be going to full Combat Stules route and fold Shield skill into Weapon attack and parry, like they did in Mythras RQ, I think it was? I really liked not having to worry about a ton of different skills or, check hunting, to keep my character useful with all of the different weapons they had available. 

If you read the Design Notes put together by Jeff while they were designing RQG, I believe this is the route they were going. Not sure why they changed their minds.

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4 hours ago, BrentS said:

My inclination for a simple solution is to halve the weapon skill for purposes of parrying if the player indicated that they would be using that weapon to attack at statement of intent

My understanding was that if you attack with a thing, you can't parry with that thing. I'm happy to assume you know the rules better than I do (especially since my group has a tendency to rely on random houserules and badly-memorized shenanigans), but that's how we've played and it works alright. Two-handed weapons were an exception, because that's how they're meant to be used.

It's worth noting that my players' Humakti has taken to carrying a spare sword, explicitly to use for parrying while under the effects of Sword Trance. It feels weird that the highest HP parrying object currently available for the game is an iron broadsword or kopis (18 HP). At least, as far as I can recall.

I think another important element of the shield & weapon rules, as designed, is that gear is more likely to get damaged in this edition. Shields are comparatively cheap and replaceable. Ostensibly monetary values are lower in this game too, but adventures still seem to give out a substantial amount of loot in my opinion. My group thought weapon-breakage sounded unfun and like an unnecessary layer of complexity, so we haven't been playing with those rules. I can't attest to how they impact play.

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7 minutes ago, Crel said:

My understanding was that if you attack with a thing, you can't parry with that thing.

Yeah thats not RAW in the rules. It would make 2 Handed Weapons rather useless unless you also had high dodge and speaking as a HEMA type makes little intuitive sense. But hey your table your rules right? 

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I feel that the simplest solution is increase the Base chance for using shields. They are all currently 15; perhaps 20, 25 & 30. It should be fundamentally easier to parry with a shield than with a sword (more than the 5 extra base points you get)

Originally I wrangled with the shield rules, but then realised that highly skilled swordsmen probably wound't use one where as your basic foot soldier would rely more on their shield. When creating stock NPC's I tend to drop more points in to Shield than attack

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I follow the rules because I don't know how important is a shield in fight.

in mass combat I see the advantage of a shield (against missile, or for tactical organization) but in a duel ? Of course price is a good point, but to save your life ?

I mean, in real life :

Is it easier to block with a shield than dodge the attack ?

Is it easier to block with a shield than block with a weapon ?

If you use your weapon to parry , do you have less opportunity to attack with it ?

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40 minutes ago, Thaz said:

But hey your table your rules right?

I try to be pretty careful about at least stating whether it's the book's rule or my table's rule when I'm here, but sometimes I just plain can't remember. :D

Who knows if the rule will change in six months? Not me...

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6 minutes ago, Psullie said:

I feel that the simplest solution is increase the Base chance for using shields.

I think that's a fair call. And the larger the shield the easier it is to block or indeed bash with. Assuming you can lift it. Bronze Age shields got really large in places. 

I'm pretty sure they will still be used by many skilled fighters however :- First of all it's how you learn and start. Second you really don't want your sword or spear breaking. Third in most fights there's an exchange of missile weapons before and after hand to hand. You really don't want to be soaking javelins, arrows and slingstones before fighting. That hail of missile weapons is deadly if you don't have a shield. Do you even get to hand to hand without one? 

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5 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I mean, in real life :

Is it easier to block with a shield than dodge the attack ?

Is it easier to block with a shield than block with a weapon ?

If you use your weapon to parry , do you have less opportunity to attack with it ?

a)Yes. By quite a lot

b)yes, by quite a lot

c)yes, unless you are very skilled.

I tend to not use shields much these days because I fight medieval in full plate armour. Without a shield I get hit a lot more but I can take it because of the plate. 

(20+ years combat experience with medieval and so on) 

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19 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I mean, in real life :

Is it easier to block with a shield than dodge the attack ?

Is it easier to block with a shield than block with a weapon ?

If you use your weapon to parry , do you have less opportunity to attack with it ?

After 10 years fencing, including 2 french championship (of course without shield) and several ones of medieval fencing:

1 - Yes, by far, especially if you are encumbered (by armor, for instance).

2 - Yes, by far. Shield are designed to protect and parry. The only other weapon I have used that is designed to parry is the Main Gauche. All other are designed to for attack, even if they are used also to parry.

3 - Mostly yes, except if you are very good or if your weapon and the one of your opponent are very light (i.e. fencing foils or sword). In addition, attacking with a weapon makes the parry more difficult. This is essentially a matter of physics: If you swing your axe or broadsword, the sheer inertia makes parrying at the same time, shortly before or shortly after a very difficult thing.

 

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17 minutes ago, Kloster said:

After 10 years fencing, including 2 french championship (of course without shield) and several ones of medieval fencing:

1 - Yes, by far, especially if you are encumbered (by armor, for instance).

2 - Yes, by fared also to parry.. Shield are designed to protect and parry. The only other weapon I have used that is designed to parry is the Main Gauche. All other are designed to for attack, even if they are us

3 - Mostly yes, except if you are very good or if your weapon and the one of your opponent are very light (i.e. fencing foils or sword). In addition, attacking with a weapon makes the parry more difficult. This is essentially a matter of physics: If you swing your axe or broadsword, the sheer inertia makes parrying at the same time, shortly before or shortly after a very difficult thing.

 

Interesting we gave basically the same answer from different fighting backgrounds.   I'd add that there are weapons that include active defense and attack at the same time Quarterstaff and Montante (Great Sword) spring to mind but they are very much skill based. Whereas blocking with a shield is very simple. High skill with shield lets you do some very clever stuff but for safety then having a Norman Kite shield between you and that guy with a sword is a heck of a lot safer than a staff say!

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6 hours ago, BrentS said:

This has been debated and I'm not presumptuous enough to think I know better than playtested rules.......

I am, though! So onwards!

6 hours ago, BrentS said:

This has been debated and I'm not presumptuous enough to think I know better than playtested rules.......but I'm having a problem with the way shields are represented in RQG. I think the main hurdle coming from RQII is the combining of parry and attack skills for weapons. I've read and appreciate the arguments for carrying a shield, being cost, the very limited passive protection against missiles and conserving hit points on the primary weapon but that's all minor and conditional. Shields were historically a primary defense in melee and they're just not set up to be that in RQG, where parrying with primary weapon would almost always be the safer preference (the HP of large shields notwithstanding.....a buckler should still be useful), particularly with the additional disadvantages of shield ENC and loss of capacity to use a 2 handed weapon.

I basically agree. Apart from projectile weapon protection (and the economy of getting to discard broken shields), a big two-handed weapon is just better in every way (I removed Greatsword partly from historical reasons, but mostly as a balance problem - it's just so good). Shields aren't as good as they should be, and bucklers are just sorry. Even shield-walls are only really productive for less competent fighters (so smart move for the fyrd, less impressive for Solar Phalanxes).

Bucklers are good, not utter garbage as in RQG.

And don't even get me started on how silly shields are for Humakti under the current rules! That takes the issues and squares them!

6 hours ago, BrentS said:

I'm not a big house ruler but I want to see shields have more utility and desirability in my game. I like simplicity and going back to different attack and parry weapon skills is not the way to go, neither is adjusting HP for all weapons and shields to make shields stronger and weapons weaker...too much work and I don't know what that would do to balance.

My inclination for a simple solution is to halve the weapon skill for purposes of parrying if the player indicated that they would be using that weapon to attack at statement of intent (with the 20% reduction for subsequent parries in the round). Obviously if they stated that they would not attack with the weapon and focus on parrying with it, then they would get their full skill for the parry. This would give players a decision to make, bring primary weapon parrying down to or less than the starting skill level of most shields (assuming it's being used to attack) and raise the utility of shields, particularly in situations where the player is likely to have to parry multiple attacks in a round.

I'm not sure this is what I would go with - rather, I would implement a house-rule that makes shields just better. It's so much easier to block with a shield than a weapon (example: spear versus sword is a massacre due to reach, while spear+shield vs. sword+shield is a balanced fight). In the Icelandic sagas, it's mentioned how sword and shield versus just sword is a truly giant advantage, and that the shieldless guy is usually doomed. 

Not sure exactly how to do it, though. Giving a shield a huge base chance (like 50%) would be a small-scale move. Or you could say that each parry and each attack subtracts 20% from the Sword skill.

You didn't bring up something I thought you would - how the shield materials table fails when it comes to balance and interest. As all large shields are the same, it's a no-brainer to pick the lighter. My solution is to make shield size decide what areas it covers, while shield material provides the shield hit points. It should be patently obvious that a large wicker shield will break a lot easier than a small metal buckler. So you could have a large wicker shield that covers your body well but only has 8 HP - still good against most missile weapons, but will get chopped up badly in close combat.  

And as a final point, shields are ridiculously expensive in the RQG rules. A wooden shield is a basic carpentry item, and you basically expect to have to make a new one after a fight. In a viking duel, you get three of them, for one fight! It shouldn't cost a large part of a farmer's yearly income!

Edited by Akhôrahil
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16 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

You didn't bring up something I thought you would - how the shield materials table fails when it comes to balance and interest. As all large shields are the same, it's a no-brainer to pick the lighter. My solution is to make shield size decide what areas it covers, while shield material provides the shield hit points. It should be patently obvious that a large wicker shield will break a lot easier than a small metal buckler. So you could have a large wicker shield that covers your body well but only has 8 HP - still good against most missile weapons, but will get chopped up badly in close combat. 

Wicker shields are still in use today, at least by Indian police. I have seen the abuse they can take and I can ensure they resisted far more than I expected. The real problem of wicker shields is, as discovered the hard way by Persian army, they are almost useless when used against narrow , pointy things, such as pikes/sarissa used by Macedonians. I agree with your other comments, but I am not sure the extra work is worth it.

My personal solution is to go back to separate skills for attack and parry, avoiding the fact that a good attacker is automatically a good defender with his main weapon (this was my case with a foil. I would say around 80% attack and around 50% parry). Added to a higher base with shields (due to construction/design), the whole problem is solved.

16 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

Even shield-walls are only really productive for less competent fighters (so smart move for the fyrd, less impressive for Solar Phalanxes).

I would not qualify the Wisigoth and Romans that fought Attila under Aetius as 'less competent fighters'. The only reason Macedonians reduced the size of their shields was to allow a 2 handed sarissa. Hoplitic phalanx used large (and heavy) shields, and their shield wall tactics were quite efficient to protect the soldiers.

Edited by Kloster
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23 minutes ago, Kloster said:

I would not qualify the Wisigoth and Romans that fought Attila under Aetius as 'less competent fighters'. The only reason Macedonians reduced the size of their shields was to allow a 2 handed sarissa. Hoplitic phalanx used large (and heavy) shields, and their shield wall tactics were quite efficient to protect the soldiers.

I meant under the RQG rules, not in reality. In reality, a shield wall (whether it's hoplites, legionnaires or fyrdmen) is awesome, and anyone who tries to charge it wielding longswords will have a bad day.

RQG gives you auto-parry to certain hit locations, and no parry otherwise. This means that a shield wall is great if you suck and worse than not having one if you're good (which, to be fair, explains why Orlanthi farmers stand in the fyrd while the weaponthanes are mostly outside it). Yelmalio with pikes alter this, though.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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