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Weapon Skills Errata?


Nightshade

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I'm now about to play in a campaign based on the new BRP version, and we've run into a problem; I couldn't find anything about this with searc, though I have trouble believing it hasn't come up before.

Discussion of the Weapon Skills in the books seems to usually assume the skills will be clumped by category (and the example opposition is written up this way); yet the skill bases for the weapons are all individual (for example the bases on the polearms range from 5 to 15%). As such, if you're using the category skills rather than individual skills, there's nothing to use as a base.

Has Jason said anything about this?

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I'm now about to play in a campaign based on the new BRP version, and we've run into a problem; I couldn't find anything about this with searc, though I have trouble believing it hasn't come up before.

Discussion of the Weapon Skills in the books seems to usually assume the skills will be clumped by category (and the example opposition is written up this way); yet the skill bases for the weapons are all individual (for example the bases on the polearms range from 5 to 15%). As such, if you're using the category skills rather than individual skills, there's nothing to use as a base.

Has Jason said anything about this?

This is actually not unique to the current BRP, this was an issue in RQIII as well. The way we handled it was that the base was what you learned on, and if you pick up another weapon in that category your skill was modified by the difference in the base chance.

This was actually a factor most often when someone was picking up a weapon on a battlefield after their "Cultural" weapon had broken. Otherwise the difference between say a broadsword and bastard sword one handed would be minimal, provided the STR and DEX requirements were met.

SDLeary

NOTE: Cultural weapons in RQIII were sometimes based on the category, so obviously this would have not been an issue with those weapons

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This is actually not unique to the current BRP, this was an issue in RQIII as well. The way we handled it was that the base was what you learned on, and if you pick up another weapon in that category your skill was modified by the difference in the base chance.

This was actually a factor most often when someone was picking up a weapon on a battlefield after their "Cultural" weapon had broken. Otherwise the difference between say a broadsword and bastard sword one handed would be minimal, provided the STR and DEX requirements were met.

SDLeary

NOTE: Cultural weapons in RQIII were sometimes based on the category, so obviously this would have not been an issue with those weapons

I'd vaguely remembered it being such back then, but as you note, the cultural weapons categories were usually used as the base there, so the individual weapon bases relatively rarely came up. But the individual weapons seem the only ones listed here, so we're not quite sure what to do.

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The answer is very simple and is on p. 258 as usual. It depends on the level of granularity you desire in your game. If you are happy with your heroes having a skill of Melee Weapon (Axe), then use the base chance for the axe he has trained with since their youth as their base chance and add experience to it, then in game use it as their skill with all axes. If you want to have Close Combat (Battleaxe) as different from Close Combat (Great Axe) then record the skill this way on the character sheet and when a character uses a different axe apply a slight modifier based on the difference between base chances for the specific weapons, as explained on p. 258.

I recommend the former option, which is more similar to the Cultural Weapon concept found in RQ3.

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The answer is very simple and is on p. 258 as usual. It depends on the level of granularity you desire in your game. If you are happy with your heroes having a skill of Melee Weapon (Axe), then use the base chance for the axe he has trained with since their youth as their base chance and add experience to it, then in game use it as their skill with all axes. If you want to have Close Combat (Battleaxe) as different from Close Combat (Great Axe) then record the skill this way on the character sheet and when a character uses a different axe apply a slight modifier based on the difference between base chances for the specific weapons, as explained on p. 258.

I recommend the former option, which is more similar to the Cultural Weapon concept found in RQ3.

That's all fine and good, but it still doesn't tell you what the by-the-book answer to the question of what the base skill value for, say, 1H Axe is presumed to be; if you're listing that on a sheet, what do you list it based on? (And its not a trivial question, since that effects what the advancement roll will be).

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That's all fine and good, but it still doesn't tell you what the by-the-book answer to the question of what the base skill value for, say, 1H Axe is presumed to be; if you're listing that on a sheet, what do you list it based on? (And its not a trivial question, since that effects what the advancement roll will be).

I would say thats up to the GM. It could be based on setting, culture, or a combination of the two. You would have learned with one weapon, but then should be able to apply the skill to all weapons of that category.

SDLeary

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That's all fine and good, but it still doesn't tell you what the by-the-book answer to the question of what the base skill value for, say, 1H Axe is presumed to be; if you're listing that on a sheet, what do you list it based on? (And its not a trivial question, since that effects what the advancement roll will be).

Exactly the same as it used to be in RQ3 when you used a non-cultural weapon. You take one specific weapon and use its base chance as your base chance in the whole weapon category. Note also that weapons in the same category usually have the same base percentile now, unlike in RQ3.

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In other words, your take is that there is no by-the-book answer?

The BRP Book already has so many options the GM has to choose between, just this one more doesn't matter.

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Exactly the same as it used to be in RQ3 when you used a non-cultural weapon. You take one specific weapon and use its base chance as your base chance in the whole weapon category. Note also that weapons in the same category usually have the same base percentile now, unlike in RQ3.

Several don't, specifically the polearms.

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What I did in my games was just change the definition of the weapon tables

For example, instead of...

Weapon/ Base

Short Sword/ 15

Long Sword/ 15

Great Sword/ 05

Bastard Sword/ 10

I taught my players to look at the table differently. They now see it as...

Weapon/ Base/ Diff

Short Sword/ 15/ +0

Long Sword/ 15/ +0

Great Sword/ 15/ -10

Bastard Sword/ 15/ -5

In other words, Sword has a Base of 15%, and each weapon varies in difficulty. The end result is the same. It just makes it easier to visualize.

Edit: I didn't do this with the weapon tables in Classic Fantasy as I wanted the tables to match those of other BRP products and I figured each individual GM already has his or her method of dealing with it.

Rod

Edited by threedeesix

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Turns out Jason actually has a discussion of this, on page 258, and its essentially what a couple people have suggested. The only part I can disagree with is the "don't apply a penalty" clause, since that seems to be asking for people to always take skill with the higher base weapons and then change out.

The advantage given is a huge 10% if you choose Broadsword at character creation and then switch to Greatsword in game. The increase in realism is not worth the nuisance of remembering to which skill this +/- 10% applies. It is way better to apply a Difficult penalty to the skill during the first session the character uses the bigger weapon if the player is actively trying to exploit the rule to gain a +10% in Greatsword. Some people may like applying +/- modifiers every other roll, but it is generally not worth the effort. Just make it simple and have all Sword skills be the same.

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The advantage given is a huge 10% if you choose Broadsword at character creation and then switch to Greatsword in

At lower end games I don't consider that trivial in BRP, actually, nor do most people I've played with; the difference between 40% and 50% is pretty noticable.

game. The increase in realism is not worth the nuisance of remembering to which skill this +/- 10% applies. It is way better to apply a Difficult

As long as you list the skill by the weapon normally used (and face it, most characters tend to use the same weapon the majority of the time) and only have to adjust when either changing to a new weapon or the random occasion when you've temporarily lots the old one, I don't see it as being any appreciable more work. All you have to do is actually remember that your listing of "Broadsword" does actually apply to the whole group on those relatively rare occasions when you have need to change. This strikes me as less work than having to remember the modifier during the course of a whole game, honestly.

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I was referring to the fact of applying the modifier at all, not to record it.

Players usually wield the same weapon all the time. But I have found several circumstances when some switching happens. For instance, in my last Glorantha game we had a two-handed sword wielder who had the problem of looking too conspicuous while walking around with a greatsword in Lunar occupied Jonstown, so he switched to a bastard sword. And when magic weapons start to abound, it is common to have two swords with different magical properties.

At this level, it is just a matter of taste what to use and whether to bother using penalties. And Jason, as always wisely, has provided more than one option for how to handle this. No matter how much your struggle to be realistic or simple, there is no way to handle this matter and make everybody happy. :lol:

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I was referring to the fact of applying the modifier at all, not to record it.

Players usually wield the same weapon all the time. But I have found several circumstances when some switching happens. For instance, in my last Glorantha game we had a two-handed sword wielder who had the problem of looking too conspicuous while walking around with a greatsword in Lunar occupied Jonstown, so he switched to a bastard sword. And when magic weapons start to abound, it is common to have two swords with different magical properties.

I'm not going to deny your experiences, but I can't say I've ever seen it be frequent enough to be a problem for the minor bits of bookeeping we're talking about (and frankly, I haven't seen enough magic swords, barring the old RQ matrices, for there to be any likelyhood someone would have two both worth carrying). The three reasons I've ever seen someone to switch between weapons (barring a ranged and melee weapon, which won't normally be the same skill anyway) are threefold; one has lost or had one's prefered one destroyed and can't immediately replace it, one has increased Strength and/or Dex and is moving up to a prefered one, or the occasional case of a two-handed weapon user getting an arm disabled. Other than transitory forms of the first and third (broken weapons or a disabled arm), none of the three happen frequently, and two-handed only weapon users haven't in the past been so common that the third was common at all (I acknowldege that with the difference in how RQ and the modern BRP handle shields, it may be more attractive now).

At this level, it is just a matter of taste what to use and whether to bother using penalties. And Jason, as always wisely, has provided more than one option for how to handle this. No matter how much your struggle to be realistic or simple, there is no way to handle this matter and make everybody happy. :lol:

You probably could have just used the last half of this last sentence and been accurate. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Given a 2nd edition of BRP with more leeway to change things, I'd probably do the following:

Skill groups are well-defined and come with a base skill.

All weapons in that skill group have the same base skill.

GMs wishing for more detail will apply per-weapon modifiers to the skill base.

Well, now that I understand what's happening, the way its currently done isn't that big a deal; it provides a bit of ability to game the system (train up using a lower base weapon and then shift to a higher base one), but the differences aren't so profound its a game-breaker.

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