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Everything that's wrong with BRP:s historic medieval weapons and shields


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On 5/21/2021 at 5:54 PM, Kloster said:

Completely agree. Another solution would be to have the shield have AP (how much damage they block) and HP (how much damage they can sustain). In that case, both are lowered by 1 point (to follow RQ3 rule) each time the AP are overcome. You can then have a wooden shield with 12 AP, but only 8 HP, for example.

Yeah, but I think it would be better just to give the shield 10 AP instead. 

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On 5/21/2021 at 9:53 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

Yeah the shield AP and HP is damaged first. Without any other bonus, i.e. your armor doesn't improve the shield AP.
Once the HP of the shield is brought to 0 the shield is knocked off... and normal AP and HP applies.

Yeah, that could work. I'm not sure if I wan't to work it that way- I'd need to see what the weapon damages and armor protection was first. I mean if a plasma cannon was doing 8d10 or some such, then a 20 AP shield probably wouldn't cut it. 

On 5/21/2021 at 9:53 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

It slightly different for spaceship I think. Where shield HP regenerate fast and damage reduction always applies, I believe, as long as the shield generator has not be destroyed. But it's close enough. And mechanic seems good too.

Yeah. I've played a few SCi-Fi RPGs and the shield as Hit points approach is the most common. It's a viable approach.

 

I suppose this comes down to just how closely you want to model Master of Orion. 

 

 

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On 5/22/2021 at 6:07 AM, lawrence.whitaker said:

Try it with fixed Action Points (either 2 or 3, it doesn't matter) ...

It is with some trepidation that I will argue with you... about your own game... 😱  🤔  😳

I assert that 2AP vs 3AP very much does matter.  Both are "balanced" within themselves, obviously; but I find them very different in "feel" at the table.

2AP defaults to PC's having a "balanced" one-attack / one-parry stance, and they can ONLY then choose full-offense (no parry) or full-defense (no atrack)

3AP forces the PC to take that 3rd as either an attack or a parry.  They have to be either fighting a bit more aggressively than "average" or a bit more defensively (but either choice still has a bit of the other (or occasionally some Other Action, like throwing a rope to an ally who has gone overboard, etc); or a VERY offensive full-offense, or MUCH harder-to-break full-defense (with 3 of either). 

It doesn't "matter" in the sense of neither being "broken," or even a "more fragile" mechanic.

But they feel different, and that does matter.

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22 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

As far as the bronze curiass goes -no protection to the armpits.

Correct. This is why I spoke of torso protection, and why the first gap I spoke before is the armpits. For me, hitting the gaps is a critical (no armor at all), whatever the level of protection.

24 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

A mail hauberk provided much better coverage and protection.

Much better coverage, for sure. Better protection, I don't think so.

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On 5/21/2021 at 7:08 PM, Barak Shathur said:

Which system are you talking about in this case?

RQ3

On 5/21/2021 at 7:08 PM, Barak Shathur said:

In RQ3, the shield APs seem about right to me

Do you think that a wooden shield is more resistant to breakage than a steel sword? The thing is, as shields are good for blocking attacks they get a high AP in RQ3, but a side effect of that makes them much tougher than they should be. 

 

 

On 5/21/2021 at 7:08 PM, Barak Shathur said:

 

. In BGB, both shield and weapon AP are way too high, but then again, like I said in the OP they ruined the parrying system by making a parry deflect all damage.

THe BGB relies too hevily on the combat system from Elric and CoC, IMO. But to be fair, RQ/BRB has always confused parries with blocks. A properly executed parry should deflect all damage, that is precisely what a parry is supposed to do. A block, on the other hand, sticks someting in front of the attack to take the hit instead of the blocker.  Parrying is harder than blocking though.

On 5/21/2021 at 7:08 PM, Barak Shathur said:

No difference between parrying a dagger or a greataxe.

In a real fight, the great axe is actually easier to parry than the dagger! There is so much more to parry. It's also risker, since if the defender messes up the parry it's probably going to end badly. 

 

The thing about a parry is that the defender doesn't try to stop the attack, but instead redirect it away from themselves. A bigger weapon like a great axe is easier to parry since there is a lot more shaft to work with.

On 5/21/2021 at 7:08 PM, Barak Shathur said:

The problem with reducing APs for weapons and shields is that adventurers wind up with deteriorating equipment while their NPC opponents always have just gotten their off the shelf, which seems a bit unfair.

Only if you run it that way. Nothing says that PCs acan get the equipment repaired or replaced, or that the NPCs can't show up with damaged equipment too. FOr the most part, I don't mind a character having to replace their shield fairly regularly. Shields were disposable. I'm not so thrilled about most weapons breaking that quickly, but I guess it really was a thing.

 

On 5/21/2021 at 7:08 PM, Barak Shathur said:

I really like the shield breakage system from the Swedish BRP game Drakar och Demoner Expert (I'm Swedish), where every point of damage that exceeds a shield's AP gives 1 on a d20 to break it. So exceed it by 5, it breaks if you roll 5 or under on a d20. Simple and brilliant.

I'm partial to the weapon breakage rules from Harn. In that system each weapon has a Weapon Quality Rating (WQ). When a weapon is used to block, you roll against the WQ on the weapon with the lower rating to see if it breaks. If it doesn't, then you roll against the weapon with the higher WQ to see if it breaks. It's fast, simple, and really makes high quality weapons worth their weight in gold. A  weapon with a really high WQ rating is nice not only because it is unlikely to break, but it is also more likely to break other weapons.

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5 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

THe BGB relies too hevily on the combat system from Elric and CoC, IMO. But to be fair, RQ/BRB has always confused parries with blocks. A properly executed parry should deflect all damage, that is precisely what a parry is supposed to do. A block, on the other hand, sticks someting in front of the attack to take the hit instead of the blocker.  Parrying is harder than blocking though.

Completely agree on both points.

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1 minute ago, Kloster said:

Correct. This is why I spoke of torso protection, and why the first gap I spoke before is the armpits. For me, hitting

the gaps is a critical (no armor at all), whatever the level of protection.

For me, it's not just hitting the gaps but also hitting a part of the body where the damage would be more significant. A dagger in the eye might not hit as hard as a great axe in the pinkie, but it certainly more lethal.

 

1 minute ago, Kloster said:

Much better coverage, for sure. Better protection, I don't think so.

Much better protection. The muscle curiass was more of a status thing. One of the reasons why mail stuck around forever was that it really is one of the best forms of armor out there, assuming that it's made properly and has proper padding.  Even when full plate came about, mail was still used to protect the areas that couldn't be covered by plate. 

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Just now, Kloster said:

Completely agree on both points.

To be fair here, it was a matter of personal preference. If I recall correctly the authors were more fans of the of Worlds of Wonder game system than RQ. So the BGB uses more of WoW, Stormbringer, and CoC as the base system rather than RQ.  It's a legitimate design choice, just not the one some of us would have preferred. Of couse, if they had made the base system more like RQ then fans of Elric, CoC, and WoW might not be as happy with it. So no matter what they did, it wasn't going to work for everyone. 

The nice thing is that it didn't have to. Anyone who prefers RQ3 rules to the BGB already has RQ3 and can just use it instead. Maybe port over some tidbits from the BGB if they want to (or even from some other BRP related game that they already have).  

Nothing stops us from running a Stormbringer  or Pendragon campaign the RQ3 rules. The stats and game mechanics are mostly compatible between BRP games. Although a Stormbringer campaign using the Pendragon rules  could be very interesting

 

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2 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

The muscle curiass was more of a status thing.

For romans, yes. For hoplites, no, it was simply the best available armor with the technology of the time. The linothorax is a good armor, but not as efficient (but much lighter and cheaper, and less restraining on moves).

4 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

One of the reasons why mail stuck around forever was that it really is one of the best forms of armor out there, assuming that it's made properly and has proper padding. 

Agreed, but another reason is that it was much cheaper than better armor.

23 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Even when full plate came about, mail was still used to protect the areas that couldn't be covered by plate. 

Yes, because plate is rigid, and in that case, mail protect the gaps and still allow moves. But the sheer fact that those armors were plate/cuirass (those are the same) with mail restricted to the gaps means that the plate is more efficient (but offers less coverage, as you noted).

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10 hours ago, Barak Shathur said:

I wasn't aware of the HEMA connection to Mythras, that's a fun fact. Thanks.

Pete is quite a competent swordsman (and weaponsmith). You can bet that his experience has transpired into the rules.

45 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

But is that a bad thing? 

 

 

Yes, it is. If "longer combat" does not mean that more events happen, but just that there are more turns spent in "I miss" or "he parried, no effect" events, then you are not using the time you spend at the table in an effective or entertaining way.

As Loz explained above, you may appreciate combat mechanics that leverage attrition, it is a matter of taste. But this combat model is not exactly... exciting. Nor does it leverage tactical thinking that much.

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36 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Much better protection. 

I would say no. Not at all. Mail is very effective at stopping slashes, but performs poorly against piercing and crushing weapons. It will still save your life but will not prevent incapacitation. Even when plate was not very common, everyone wore a helmet over the mail coif. Not doing so would be suicidal.

The real big advantage of mail is that you can make a "no gap" suit of it. Doing the same with plate or lamellar is incredibly expensive, and you would still have mail protecting some areas.

Have a look at some HEMA master videos. They all tell that mail is useful and convenient, and you would really wish to have it available in battle, but certainly not the best armour you can find.

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3 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

The real big advantage of mail is that you can make a "no gap" suit of it. Doing the same with plate or lamellar is incredibly expensive, and you would still have mail protecting some areas.

Thanks. Exactly my point.

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5 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Yes, it is. If "longer combat" does not mean that more events happen, but just that there are more turns spent in "I miss" or "he parried, no effect" events, then you are not using the time you spend at the table in an effective or entertaining way.

I disagree. Part of what makes a game fun and exciting is suspense, and a fight where both sides go back and forth parrying each other attacks is both effective and entertaining. Just look at any swashbuckling film, or even a lightsaber duel in Star Wars. Such encounters are fun in game because they show closely matched opponents.

 

5 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

As Loz explained above, you may appreciate combat mechanics that leverage attrition, it is a matter of taste.

Yes it is.

5 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

But this combat model is not exactly... exciting.

I'd say that is also a matter of taste. I know a lot of D&Ders who feel that RQ combat is boring because of all the parrying and "not much happening." Likewise I know RQ players who consider D&D combat to be boring because, thanks to increasing hit points, and no actual effects to being wounded, "not much is happening".

5 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Nor does it leverage tactical thinking that much.

Again, I disagree. It can leverage tactical thinking quite a bit. In fact, I'd say more so than many of the alternatives, where class and level tend to dominate tactics. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

Thanks. Exactly my point.

And mine as well. The key point here, and where this started was that a dagger isn't any better at getting through this than a spear,or even most swords,  yet the dagger has a higher minimum damage. As I said before, I'm not in favor of the adds that go with most weapons, as they tend to eliminate things from happening that should be possible, such as minor arm injuries that do not incapacitate a limb for an average person. But at 1d4+2 plus probably another 1d4 db, dagger hits have a better chance of incapacitating a limb than a sword. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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6 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah, that could work. I'm not sure if I wan't to work it that way- I'd need to see what the weapon damages and armor protection was first. I mean if a plasma cannon was doing 8d10 or some such, then a 20 AP shield probably wouldn't cut it. 

I don't have all my tables here (replying from work, oopsie) but the most dangerous hand held weapon does 3D10, at tech level 21 or something if I remember correctly.... can't remember exactly the damage of TL 13 weapon (which is what the game will be around) but it's probably close to 2D8. so nothing that big... (or maybe 2D10 with mods?)
I removed shotgun, because I just dont see where it damage could fits in my weapon per technology table. But I left burst fire weapon, which is close enough hey!

I did compress the damage. Even though I let the armor goes up. I gave most weapon ablative property though... (i.e. weapons destroy armors). It's why I rather not keep increasing the AP, even though I want shield.

 

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16 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I don't have all my tables here (replying from work, oopsie) but the most dangerous hand held weapon does 3D10, at tech level 21 or something if I remember correctly.

Okay. In that case do you have any special modifier for hi-tech weapons vs. low tech armor? A large shield in RQ3 could stop 16-18 points and that's just about average on 3D10. Unless you want the primitives to go all Ewok on the advanced troops.

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43 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Okay. In that case do you have any special modifier for hi-tech weapons vs. low tech armor? A large shield in RQ3 could stop 16-18 points and that's just about average on 3D10. Unless you want the primitives to go all Ewok on the advanced troops.

After a hiatus not progressing much on MoO booklet I am back at it! 🙂 
I was kind of blocked by trying to find an adventure format that pleased me, I wanted some fighting action, I also wanted good well equipped police forces hence relatively peaceful society, I was stumped... 😮 

Anyway, you raise an interesting point that I didn't give any thought to so far!
Also, as suggested somewhere around these forum I might make shield block easier (probably a bonus instead of advantage roll, or a minimum skill value) but reduce their AP/HP.

First thing first I have to say my base rifle blaster (TL 8 ) with its 2D8+4 damage and my base disintegrator rifle (TL17) with 3D8+4 (also know and plasma rifle in BRP, I switched disintegrator and plasma in pecking order) are relatively close to BRP values (BGB, page 256) 
And then they could have mod, like heavy version (require TL+2) with increase each dice one steps (ie. 2D10+4 or 3D10+4) or burst fire mod (TL+2).

But yea I gave weapon "power". It's a sort of vague extension of BRP special success effect toward Mythras special effect. But instead of a long list I have a short list of effect, mostly based on the weapon, that can also apply on normal success sometimes. For example they can both destroy armor (2 or 3 point at a time for blaster or disintegrator) and put things on fire and cause knockback.

So.. mmm.. probably gonna be alright, should not forget to review shields though! ^_^ 

 

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2 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Anyway, you raise an interesting point that I didn't give any thought to so far!

My suggestion would be to add in an Armor Piecing Effect (AP) to modrn weapons, and half low tech armor and shields against it. You could then upgrade the AP effect by Tech Level if you wanted, so that TL 8 blaster rifles might by AP/3 or /4 and so forth. That way a Legionnaire in Lamellar with a Large SHield doesn't shrug off blaster rifles.

2 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:


Also, as suggested somewhere around these forum I might make shield block easier (probably a bonus instead of advantage roll, or a minimum skill value) but reduce their AP/HP.

I believe that was me. The idea was that a shield block would be easy (x2 skill) instead of normal, but shields would stop less (about half RQ3 AP values). This would actually make shields a bit less durable, but not too bad, as there would be a lot more special successes which would extend the life of the shield a bit.

Another approach would be to do what Pete Nash did in his Rome books for BRP and Mythas, namely by allowing shields to cover several  hit locations like armor at half AP value in melee alike they can vs. missiles in RQ3. While the rules are different the net effect would appear to be very similar to reducing AP and easy shield block.

2 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

They all destroy armor (2 or 3 point at a time for blaster or disintegrator) and can put things on fire and cause knockback for blasters and also have burst fire mode.

That works but a big shield can soak a lot of damage before you hurt the warrior holding it. Maybe you could increase the effect vs. low tech armor? Say x2 or x3 vs. low tech stuff.

2 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

So.. mmm.. probably gonna be alright, should not forget to review shields though! ^_^ 

Sorry to make you worry,  but it's better for you to think about this stuff before you begin play than have it blindside you during a play session. I could just see a half dozen "primitive" lizard people with stone axes and hide shields slaughtering a group of explorers armed with "advanced" weaponry.

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2 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Sorry to make you worry,  but it's better for you to think about this stuff before you begin play than have it blindside you during a play session. I could just see a half dozen "primitive" lizard people with stone axes and hide shields slaughtering a group of explorers armed with "advanced" weaponry.

Totally... One of the reason I had a not so good experience with My Revolution D100 / Dark Elf campaign was, I realized, me not thinking ahead carefully of all the number involved....

That said, I am back to BRP now, fit my style better...

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40 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I believe that was me. The idea was that a shield block would be easy (x2 skill) instead of normal

I like the idea of multiplying skill values for difficulty.. however I have few problems with that:

1. the problem to ask my players to do math in game. some people really struggle with simple math, like multiplying a percentage by 2 or 0.5
2. it lacks the difficulty gradient, what if the shield is  little bit bigger or little bit smaller? +20%/+40%/+60% is easier and more gradual...
3. even in BGB sometimes you have a skill bonus/malus, sometimes a difficulty multiplier and I am not entirely clear when I should which and how to combine them

 

Incidentally, for shields, I am contemplating to be inspired by the way they work against arrow. Give each shield a rating and that is considered to be the player skill unless he has a better skill.

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36 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I like the idea of multiplying skill values for difficulty.. however I have few problems with that:

1. the problem to ask my players to do math in game. some people really struggle with simple math, like multiplying a percentage by 2 or 0.5
2. it lacks the difficulty gradient, what if the shield is  little bit bigger or little bit smaller? +20%/+40%/+60% is easier and more gradual...
3. even in BGB sometimes you have a skill bonus/malus, sometimes a difficulty multiplier and I am not entirely clear when I should which and how to combine them

 

Incidentally, for shields, I am contemplating to be inspired by the way they work against arrow. Give each shield a rating and that is considered to be the player skill unless he has a better skill.

I do both: broad assessment of challenge is a multiplier (Trivial / Easy / Routine / Hard / Improbable map to x5, x2, x1, x0.5 and x0.05); Impairments / Benefits are minor adjustments as a result of specific circumstances independent of broad difficulty that penalise or add to final target: minor / moderate / major (10 / 20 / 40).

A Sniper attempts a shot: overall, it’s hard ( skill x 0.5) but player decides to spend 15 DEX ranks Careful Aim spot rule: so gets a +40 benefit. (I’ve largely collapsed all the small adds / maluses into three step impairments / benefits.

No, before anyone asks. There is no rigid universal schema that distinguishes what gets assessed via difficulty and what as an impairment or benefit: they are as much as anything aesthetic judgements that help me and the player communicate what’s key in a particular resolution.

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52 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Totally... One of the reason I had a not so good experience with My Revolution D100 / Dark Elf campaign was, I realized, me not thinking ahead carefully of all the number involved....

I think every experienced GM has had some aweful experience when somethnig they never thought of (or forgot) came back to haunt them. I think we all get a little paranoid about it, but it's okay just as long as we don't let the players find out 'cuz they're out to get us.

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45 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I like the idea of multiplying skill values for difficulty.. however I have few problems with that:

Whatever method works. Even the CoC idea of bonus dice could be used if you wished. THe general idea is to make shield blocks easier than parries, but make shields a little less durable in the process. 

 

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