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Ripostes


Jason D

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I've been asked by a couple of fine folks to "officially" write up the rules for the Riposte in BRP, so here goes:

Riposte

A riposte is a hand-to-hand attack that immediately follows a successful parry. When your character becomes a master (a skill rating of 91%+) with a hand-to-hand weapon skill (or attack and parry if attacks and parry skill ratings are being handled separately), he or she can attempt to riposte attacks. To riposte, your character must have made a successful parry with a hand-to-hand weapon against a hand-to-hand weapon attack. If the parry is successful, he or she can immediately make a counterattack--a riposte--against the attacker. The riposte is resolved as a normal attack, and the original attacker can attempt to parry the riposte.

A riposte can be attempted once per successful parry made by your character, though each subsequent riposte is at a cumulative -30% (just as parries are so modified). The riposte does not take the place of a normal attack, but any penalties for multiple ripostes will modify your normal attack if has not already occurred. If your character has already attacked in a round, the initial riposte is at a cumulative -30% per prior attack.

Clarifications

  • A shield can be used as a riposting weapon.
  • A Brawl attack (fist or kick, etc.) can be used to riposte.
  • The weapon riposting must be the weapon the parry is made with. Your character cannot parry an attack with one weapon and riposte with another.
  • When penalties for multiple parries or ripostes reduce a chance to 0%, no further actions of that type may be attempted in that combat round.
  • Multiple parries and ripostes accumulate penalties separately. Keep attack/riposte penalties separate from parry penalties - they don't stack together.
  • Each riposte attempt costs 1 DEX rank. If the character has not gone already in the round, his or her DEX rank is reduced by the number of riposte attempts. At 0 DEX ranks, no further actions can be attempted in that combat round.
  • A riposte can be parried and riposted in turn, and that riposte can be parried and riposted. Keep track of penalties and DEX rank costs.

Differences from the Stormbringer (1st-4th edition) Riposte rules

  • In Stormbringer, the riposte is available at 90%+. It's 91%+ here, to make it synchronous with the normal rating plateau for skill mastery as presented on page 49 of the core rulebook.
  • SB doesn't impose a DEX rating cost. I feel it's necessary to provide some balancing factor... a mob of people attacking a master can conceivably harass him enough that his attack is delayed somewhat.
  • SB is unclear about whether ripostes can be parried. Any fencer will tell you that it is indeed possible. The penalties for multiple ripostes will keep it from turning into an infinite cycle of attack > parry > riposte > parry > riposte > parry > etc., although that sort of back-and-forth exchange is (in my opinion) more realistic than limiting exchanges. It will also enliven (and shorten) conflicts between highly-skilled combatants.
  • SB doesn't present any guidelines on using ripostes with shields or two-weapon combat. I added clarification on these issues.
  • SB has the penalty for multiple ripostes at -20%. I've made it -30% to be in line with BRP multiple action and parry penalties.

These are what I believe are the most workable rules, though they are in no way shape or form graven in stone.

They'll appear with Interplanetary in the section on Fencing. Any future monograph/supplement authors are more-than-welcome to include these as-is, or in a modified state to best suit your requirements.

Feedback is welcome and encouraged. I'm going to make this a "living" post, editing and adding to it as revisions and requests for clarifications come in.

Edited by Jason Durall
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Do you mean -30% instead of -20% since that follows the parry and dodge rules?

though each subsequent attack (the riposte roll) is at a cumulative -20%, just as if it were a parry.

I ask as maintaining the culmulative -30% scaling makes the rule more intuitive to my mind. Yes -20% makes ripsostes more likely to succeed, but -30% makes the rule easier to track and remember.

A few questions:

1. Does a riposte use a strike rank if using the SR rules? or does it 'cost' a number of strike ranks as per the base attack?

2. Is there an 'off-hand' (riposting) weapon/attack penalty?

3. Can ripostes be attempted with empty hand attacks (ie fist)?

4. the second and additional ripostes suffer the penalties to both the parry (as normal) and risposte/attack rolls (-20% or possibly -30%)

Edited by leonmallett

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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And just to throw in a wrench, here are my current houserules(until I get my grubby hands om Interplanetary):

Riposte rules / 2-weapon fighting:

-If using a shield(or other specifically designed weapon), a special or better parry that beats the attack allows an immidiate counterattack with your primary weapon. When using a shield, you are never penalized for using the offhand for parrying.

-If you use another combo of two weapons, you must have at least expert-level(75+) skill in both weapons. If DEX is 16 or more, only journeyman-level(50+) skill is needed. Attacks and parries with the offhand are hard. Alternatively, you may opt to brawl or grapple, but this can quickly backfire against an armed opponent.

-If you are using a single weapon, it requires mastery(100+) to riposte.

-Dodging will not provide these bonuses, but a special or better dodge will allow you to disengage from combat if you so choose.

-Limited to one riposte/rnd.

I don't use separate skills with the right and left hand weapon.

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Do you mean -30% instead of -20% since that follows the parry and dodge rules?

I ask as maintaining the culmulative -30% scaling makes the rule more intuitive to my mind. Yes -20% makes ripsostes more likely to succeed, but -30% makes the rule easier to track and remember.

Curse me for posting before checking the BRP rules, rather than just looking at SB. Yes, it should be -30% for consistency's sake. Amended!

1. Does a riposte use a strike rank if using the SR rules? or does it 'cost' a number of strike ranks as per the base attack?

Good question. I would think yes, and suggest a SR cost of 1 per riposte. That's a tentative suggestion, though... I rarely use the SR system and welcome players who're more enthusiastic about it to chime in.

2. Is there an 'off-hand' (riposting) weapon/attack penalty?

I think not. As noted above, the riposting and parrying weapon must be the same weapon.

I see no reason to penalize a character additionally if they're parrying with an off-hand and riposting with it. It is assumed that skill in a weapon means you're using it in the your proficient method possible (i.e., in the hand you trained to use it in). The rules for two-weapon fighting suggest someone making attacks in an untrained off-hand suffer as if the attacks are Difficult. GMs wishing additional "realism" may incur off-hand penalties if they wish.

3. Can ripostes be attempted with empty hand attacks (ie fist)?

I see no reason why not. Amended!

4. the second and additional ripostes suffer the penalties to both the parry (as normal) and risposte/attack rolls (-20% or possibly -30%)

Clarified above!

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This is very close to what I've been doing in my game. The only differences are I allow it at 75% Parry and the skill is actually named Parry/Riposte (more generous), it costs DEX rank 3 for each use (more harsh) and each riposte scales down the attack value 50% (more harsh). I think I like the "official" version better, but it's too late for this current campaign.

121/420

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...

They'll appear with Interplanetary in the section on Fencing. Any future monograph/supplement authors are more-than-welcome to include these as-is, or in a modified state to best suit your requirements.

...

Including those of us whose works are still in the stages of writing? :thumb:

You would be credited of course. :D

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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and parry if attacks and parry skill ratings are being handled separately), he or she can attempt to riposte attacks.

Could we add the option of allowing a riposte at any skill level on a special roll, as per Rod's version of the rules?

The riposte is resolved as a normal attack, and the original attacker can attempt to parry the riposte.

Important note: the "no parry with the same weapon on the same SR as the attack" is present in the SR system, so a one-weapon-user could still be unable to parry the riposte - he could dodge it. This should be clarified: is the riposte considered to happen in the same SR or DEX Rank?

[*]A Brawl attack (fist or kick, etc.) can be used to riposte.

It will happen rather often in Dragon Lines, if I understood Charles's intentions correctly.

[*]The weapon riposting must be the weapon the parry is made with. Your character cannot parry an attack with one weapon and riposte with another.

Why? I know this can become messy rules-wise, but this is a viable tactics IRL. Or so they say.

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...Important note: the "no parry with the same weapon on the same SR as the attack" is present in the SR system, so a one-weapon-user could still be unable to parry the riposte - he could dodge it. This should be clarified: is the riposte considered to happen in the same SR or DEX Rank?

...

If a riposte has a SR cost/value (perhaps a nominal straike rank value of 1, for example), then it would occur according to the strike rank sequence, and the situation would be clear.

As DEX ranks feel like the action occurs and then the 'cost' in ranks is met, then it would be that the riposte occurs simulatneously with the provoking attack, yes?

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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Could we add the option of allowing a riposte at any skill level on a special roll, as per Rod's version of the rules?

I'd like to avoid changing the fundamental nature of BRP combat as it currently stands with such a rule, without playtesting it considerably.

I see no reason, however, that it shouldn't be introduced as an optional rule.

Important note: the "no parry with the same weapon on the same SR as the attack" is present in the SR system, so a one-weapon-user could still be unable to parry the riposte - he could dodge it. This should be clarified: is the riposte considered to happen in the same SR or DEX Rank?

The riposte should occur on the modified DEX or SR, otherwise ripostes are technically impossible as per the existing rules, as you point out.

Why? I know this can become messy rules-wise, but this is a viable tactics IRL. Or so they say.

The Stormbringer riposting rules assume you're parrying with the weapon you're riposting with. The example assumes the same. Traditional fencing assumes that the parry and riposte is done with a single weapon.

It can also be, as you say, messier.

And on a personal note, my experience with fencing and kendo steered me away from thinking that two weapons was a superior method of fighting than a single weapon. I look at the evidence of history, where the overwhelming majority of medieval and fencing fighting techniques emphasized a single weapon or a single weapon and shield, and in most cases, I prefer rules that support my observation of the real world.

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...And on a personal note, my experience with fencing and kendo steered me away from thinking that two weapons was a superior method of fighting than a single weapon. I look at the evidence of history, where the overwhelming majority of medieval and fencing fighting techniques emphasized a single weapon or a single weapon and shield, and in most cases, I prefer rules that support my observation of the real world.

So what we need is a compatible but seperate rule for main-gauche/nitō-wada fighting styles? Hmmm. Maybe?

Edited by leonmallett

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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So what we need is a compatible but seperate rule for main-gauche/nitō-wada fighting styles? Hmmm. Maybe?

I'd rather come up with a solid basic rule and make special-case exceptions to it than a complex rule to start with.

As it stands, there is no reason a character can't parry with one weapon and attack with another (using a rapier and main gauche, for example). This is covered exhaustively in 'Two Weapons' on pages 233-234 of the core rulebook. The rule presented above only prohibits riposting with two weapons.

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I'd rather come up with a solid basic rule and make special-case exceptions to it than a complex rule to start with.

As it stands, there is no reason a character can't parry with one weapon and attack with another (using a rapier and main gauche, for example). This is covered exhaustively in 'Two Weapons' on pages 233-234 of the core rulebook. The rule presented above only prohibits riposting with two weapons.

The basic outline for riposts does seem sound, with the penalties for multiple attacks to limit the scope, but...

A problem that I see with this is that most weapon and shield tactics were based on responding with the primary weapon. Parry... holding attacking weapon aside, striking with primary. Much of what you see in individual combats, wether from main or off hand, are responses to what the other combatant just did. This is why combatants do disengage and circle periodically to re asses attack strategy and look for new avenues of attack (taking us to a new combat round).

The only other way I see to handle this is to limit ripostes to a single attempt, regardless of skill, on a special or better parry, moving all advanced techniques from eastern and western fencing into Martial Arts type skills.

SDLeary

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A problem that I see with this is that most weapon and shield tactics were based on responding with the primary weapon. Parry... holding attacking weapon aside, striking with primary. Much of what you see in individual combats, wether from main or off hand, are responses to what the other combatant just did. This is why combatants do disengage and circle periodically to re asses attack strategy and look for new avenues of attack (taking us to a new combat round).

The only other way I see to handle this is to limit ripostes to a single attempt, regardless of skill, on a special or better parry, moving all advanced techniques from eastern and western fencing into Martial Arts type skills.

Speaking from my own experience in fencing and battle re-enactment (the latter being far more limited experience, I must admit) bouts can go attack-parry-riposte-attack-parry-riposte-attack-parry or for even more and it tends to be the better fighters that keep pressing for an opening. So I wouldn't want to limit ripostes to only one per round, myself.

I do have issues with a riposte being possible with a secondary weapon such as an off-hand dagger or a shield, though. Most of the time, as others have said, those are used to hold an opponent's primary weapon at bay while you move in with your own primary weapon. I'd be tempted to say that ripostes can only be made if you parry with your primary weapon.

They are excellent rules, though, and seem to match actual fencing quite well. :thumb:

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Speaking from my own experience in fencing and battle re-enactment (the latter being far more limited experience, I must admit) bouts can go attack-parry-riposte-attack-parry-riposte-attack-parry or for even more and it tends to be the better fighters that keep pressing for an opening. So I wouldn't want to limit ripostes to only one per round, myself.

I do have issues with a riposte being possible with a secondary weapon such as an off-hand dagger or a shield, though. Most of the time, as others have said, those are used to hold an opponent's primary weapon at bay while you move in with your own primary weapon. I'd be tempted to say that ripostes can only be made if you parry with your primary weapon.

I think that normally they should only be made with the primary weapon, again because the off hand item, wether shield or secondary weapon, is holding the opponent open. Because this doesn't really happen with each series of strokes, I would say that it should only be allowed on a special or better, or perhaps at an initial -30% (extra action penalty?). A penalty like this would still make it possible, but only really useful to the more skilled.

Now being able to riposte with your primary weapon, if you parried with it, should be an advanced technique or martial art. I can train with a rapier or arming sword, and get really really good at hitting things and damaging them, but it certainly does not mean that I know how to fence (a martial art). This is the kind of difference that you see between a farmer who might know how to use a spear well, and a warrior who has had extensive training in its use.

They are excellent rules, though, and seem to match actual fencing quite well. :thumb:

Agreed, just need a bit more work.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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...Now being able to riposte with your primary weapon, if you parried with it, should be an advanced technique or martial art. I can train with a rapier or arming sword, and get really really good at hitting things and damaging them, but it certainly does not mean that I know how to fence (a martial art). This is the kind of difference that you see between a farmer who might know how to use a spear well, and a warrior who has had extensive training in its use...

SDLeary

That requisite expertise is covered by the requirement for mastery level of skill (91% plus) in Jason's original post.

Edited by leonmallett

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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That requisite expertise is covered by the requirement for mastery level of skill (91% plus) in Jason's original post.

Honestly, I can see a bandit leader who can "use a sword" and have a 91% or better chance to hit with it. That still doesn't mean he knows how to fence, just basic attack and parry.

SDLeary

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Honestly, I can see a bandit leader who can "use a sword" and have a 91% or better chance to hit with it. That still doesn't mean he knows how to fence, just basic attack and parry.

SDLeary

Maybe think of it as more then simply a fencing technique, rather as a technique of general counter-attack that can be cultivated through expertise (remember the rule is not exclusive to fencing weapons only).

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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OK, I see that my posts have been somewhat muddled (sorry, strange work things going on and I'm tired). :)

I propose the Clarifications read:

Clarifications

  • The weapon riposting must be the characters primary weapon or a Brawl attack.
  • When penalties for multiple parries or ripostes reduce a chance to 0%, no further actions of that type may be attempted in that combat round.
  • Multiple parries and ripostes accumulate penalties separately. Keep attack/riposte penalties separate from parry penalties - they don't stack together.
  • Each riposte attempt costs 1 DEX rank. If the character has not gone already in the round, his or her DEX rank is reduced by the number of riposte attempts. At 0 DEX ranks, no further actions can be attempted in that combat round.
  • A riposte can be parried and riposted in turn, and that riposte can be parried and riposted. Keep track of penalties and DEX rank costs.

SDLeary

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OK, I see that my posts have been somewhat muddled (sorry, strange work things going on and I'm tired). :)

I propose the Clarifications read:

Clarifications

  • The weapon riposting must be the characters primary weapon or a Brawl attack.
  • When penalties for multiple parries or ripostes reduce a chance to 0%, no further actions of that type may be attempted in that combat round.
  • Multiple parries and ripostes accumulate penalties separately. Keep attack/riposte penalties separate from parry penalties - they don't stack together.
  • Each riposte attempt costs 1 DEX rank. If the character has not gone already in the round, his or her DEX rank is reduced by the number of riposte attempts. At 0 DEX ranks, no further actions can be attempted in that combat round.
  • A riposte can be parried and riposted in turn, and that riposte can be parried and riposted. Keep track of penalties and DEX rank costs.

SDLeary

Why make it complicated? The proposed rule is really a generic rule for any sort of counter-attack with any sort of weapon. It's not specific to fencing.

Why not just say that a riposte/counter-attack is an attack using a defensive reaction. A riposte thus subtracts 30% from your next defense (just like any parry or dodge) and the attack can be any sort of attack. I see no need to bother with DEX ranks and so on. After all, a regular attack doesn't consist of mostly doing nothing except on your DEX rank, the DEX rank is just a handy method of ordering who does what when. It seems to me that the essence of BRP is about using fairly quick and simple ways of resolving issues with minimal book-keeping.

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Why make it complicated? The proposed rule is really a generic rule for any sort of counter-attack with any sort of weapon. It's not specific to fencing.

Why not just say that a riposte/counter-attack is an attack using a defensive reaction. A riposte thus subtracts 30% from your next defense (just like any parry or dodge) and the attack can be any sort of attack. I see no need to bother with DEX ranks and so on. After all, a regular attack doesn't consist of mostly doing nothing except on your DEX rank, the DEX rank is just a handy method of ordering who does what when. It seems to me that the essence of BRP is about using fairly quick and simple ways of resolving issues with minimal book-keeping.

I would certainly not have any issue with that. Nice and simple... and nicked! :D

I think the issue for me at least, more than anything else, was that the proposed rule would only allow the counterattack with the weapon that had done the parrying, which is not the way most fighting OTHER than fencing of one type or another is done.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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I would certainly not have any issue with that. Nice and simple... and nicked! :D

This is a stereotypical simulation for two 99%ers though I forget whether in BRP defences are declared before the attack is rolled or after. Assuming Before then what you get is:

A attack, B parry.

B riposte @-30, A parry

A riposte @-30, B parry @-60

B possible riposte @-90, A (chooses not to parry in order to save better parry)

B attack, A parry -60

This means that there's an advantage to going second as you may get more attacks and your later 'real' attack should find your opponent being quite open.

If defences are declared after the result of an attack roll is known then the situation is more even. The other aspect of this is that two master duellists will be resolving 3-4 attacks each action rather than the normal one. Fights will also finish much more quickly in game time as an average combat round between two masters will probably have around 5 attacks to resolve. Note as well that the defences fall more quickly than the offences so a disabling attack will probably happen more quickly too.

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This is a stereotypical simulation for two 99%ers though I forget whether in BRP defences are declared before the attack is rolled or after. Assuming Before then what you get is:

A attack, B parry.

B riposte @-30, A parry

A riposte @-30, B parry @-60

B possible riposte @-90, A (chooses not to parry in order to save better parry)

B attack, A parry -60

This means that there's an advantage to going second as you may get more attacks and your later 'real' attack should find your opponent being quite open.

I think you are misunderstanding the rule - or I am. My interpretation of your example:

A attack, B parry.

B riposte (first riposte/attack in the round), A parry

A riposte @-30 (since A has already attacked), B parry @-30 (second parry)

B possible riposte @-30 (second riposte), A (chooses not to parry in order to save better parry)

B attack @-60 (third attack in round due to two previous ripostes), A parry @-30 (second parry in round)

The parry and ripostes are separate when figuring out the -30% rule, and

ripostes affect your normal combat attack should it not have occurred yet.

Relevant parts of the rule:

The riposte does not take the place of a normal attack, but any penalties for multiple ripostes will modify your normal attack if has not already occurred.

Multiple parries and ripostes accumulate penalties separately. Keep attack/riposte penalties separate from parry penalties - they don't stack together.

Ian

Edited by vagabond
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I think you are misunderstanding the rule - or I am. My interpretation of your example:

Ian

I was picking up on a different suggestion. It seemed to me that the riposte rule was getting complicated and starting to require all sorts of book-keeping so I suggested something simpler.

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