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Shields, Dodge, Parrys and Stuff [that doesn't add up and i HATE to houserule!]


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It seems that besides missile combat, shields are utterly useless, and dodge > parry in any situation.

The dodge-parry thing i can understand (and live with).

-> Parry does not work against 2xSIZ opponents, and gets the weapon damaged

-> Dodge is another skill to devote points to

Still, at similar skill levels a character would never parry (as opossed to RQIII where dodge was reserved to huge opponents like dragons and crocs and dinosaurs and trolls with crush).

What are your thoughts about that?

For the shield thingies, I'm thinking on giving them an armor bonus (like helmets), and base chance = to missile parry chance. That should make them usable without even having to invest in them, and experience checks should do the trick after that.

They would be very desirable, with minimum fuss rule-wise.

What do you guys think?

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I thought that Shields were a bit poo in RQ, and when (trying to) run straight RQII couldn't see why anyone would choose a Shield for Parrying, so gave the user extra APs in Shield Arm plus some other locations (dependent on Shield size) and it worked tres smoothly, so I reckon the bonus APs a la Headgear would work very well.

I'm sure I've seen the Base Chance as Chance to Parry* Missiles rule before, but cannot for the life of me remember whether 'tis canon or houserule

Other option (or not if you hate houserules) is give a chap holding a Shield an extra, free, full skill Attack or Parry with that Shield. Not sure that I'd do that as well as extra APs rule

* grrrr BLOCK, Block not Parry, grrr

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Ive no problem with house rules "per se", but my RQIII game ended up with more house rules than vanilla rules! So i'd rather stick to RAW with the gold book for a while (unless something is utterly broken, don't touch it!).

At the moment i think ill need to house rule this issue and magic.

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The way I see shields, is that it is a lot easier parrying / blocking with a shield than with a weapon. Right there, I'd say that if you use a shield to parry, you'd be using 2xskill% and chances for crits / specials are doubled. The size of the shield would matter but that is reflected in the base chance.

So for example assuming separate attack / parry skills someone allocating 30% skill points to parry would parry at (Skill + base chance) x 2.

This makes shields attractive as it is very skill point efficient refecting how easy it is to use relatively speaking.

Shield attack would be difficult unless in close combat.

I also see the value of the 'slung shield' rule where it is mostly used in a passive capacity, such as in a shield wall or when covering an ally from missile fire.

In that case, either prive base chance to parry (no hit locations) or allocate cover to 2 or 3 hit locations (depending on size) and add addtional armour points.

Ofcourse, to dodge is always better except when you get hit.

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historically shields were used for blocking an attack and weapons were used to attack. This is because weapons got jagged too easily if used for parry - and no one wielding a battle-axe would even have tried to use it for blocking, because most of them used wooden shafts.

So, with this in mind and using the optional rule for splitting up attack and defence in different skills, shields are very attractive as they have a high base chance.

In a Fantasy setting I would not even bother with shields. Usually no hero use one, they are heros for a reason.

In a Historical setting I would use the split attack/parry option which makes shields very attractive in addition to Dodge. Also make use of the weapon damage as shown in the Attack/Defence Matrix.

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One thing I noted on page 205 regarding shield is this:

Shields do not generally lose hit points when struck by normal blows . . . Usually, only powerful blows (special successes or better) will damage a shield.

This rule isn't reflected in the combat table for some reason but it does give a nice advantage to using a shield.

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The Attack and Defense Matrix states if a 'weapon' or 'weapon or shield' takes a hit. So it is in there. :)

I should look at the combat table next time before I make such statements! Thanks for pointing it out. :)

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Another thing to remember is that parrying skills (shield or weapon) aren't reduced by Encumbrance, while Dodge is.

Also, one has to note that by the book there's only a single weapon skill, not separate attack and parries, so if you have a weapon skill at decent and plan to parry with it, you don't need to increase a separate skill.

(This doesn't help shields of course,. which is one reason I think they do need a houserule).

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My houserule is that shields and parrying weapons are good at riposting(not sure it's really a word..).

A good(special+) shield-parry will grant you a counter-attack(or, alternatively, a good weapon-parry grants you a shieldbash-counter).

Same with longer weapons(polearms, spears etc). A good parry allows you to get distance automatically, so that an opponent will have to close again.

I've found that this doesn't gimp the lone swordsman too much, while giving people a reason to develop skill in several different weapons, as well as lugging a buckler around.

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I personally like the shield rules within the basic system. Shields are hardier than most weapons because they are expected to take the brunt of the damage, hence why their hp are bulkier. They allow the parrying of attacks that would normally be tough to do with weapons. Plus a good 'ol shield bash is alot of fun. Most of my fantasy characters use a shield...it's like a staple item on my good aligned warriors!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Where are those extra HP? The shields have like... 22 HP? and the normal weapons have like... 20 :S

AND you lose 2 HP each time a parry bests you, maybe 4 once in a full moon... In any case both the sword or shield will outlast your character!!!

Maybe i misread something???

For the HP to be of any use, they should be lowered by X each time you successfully parried, and if they outparried your attack they should roll weapon damage vs. yours; then maybe shields would be worth considering.

ATM the HP rules for weapons are (in my opinion) unnecessary bookkeeping.

Cheers,

Alex

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Another point in favor of shields - that bash attack can cause knockback. So, if you riposte with your shield, or just bash attack, you can also disengage from combat with that aprticular foe, or even gain the upper hand by knocking him down.

Ian

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I don't really like the rule about shields being harder to damage - in real life, shields get tatty pretty quickly. I think the key should be how parrying is not good for your weapon, but that doesn't deal with two-weapon use. Why use a buckler when you can use a main gauche? In my experience shields are also bloody heavy, which is why I always liked that story about the detective rune priest in the RQII Companion.

How were shields used historically?

<delves into the intertubes>

A lot of the time formations seem to be important for large shields, i.e. the shield wall. So it's not about individual combat but military massed-rank fighting. Long shields are useful for covering bodyparts when riding, so I like the extra AP idea. Small shields, on the other hand, tend to be light and not especially tough, and are definitely parrying rather than blocking weapons (think Zulu shields).

Sorry for the rambling blathering, but the upshot IMO is that adventurers have very little business lugging a shield about. :P

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I don't really like the rule about shields being harder to damage - in real life, shields get tatty pretty quickly.

Yep, quite a few medieval duelling rules mention the number of shields the

combattants may use during a duel, implying that many types of shields we-

re of the disposable kind.

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THe downside would be that the shield should get beat up a bit faster than a weapon, say an extra point or two off HP.

I suspect that an attempt to block an attack by something like a greataxe, a halberd or a maul

with a wooden shield should have more serious consequences for the shield, probably even for

the shield arm of the combattant holding the shield - there seem to be more than a few reports

about shield arms broken because of the impact of a heavy weapon on the shield.

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A lot of the time formations seem to be important for large shields, i.e. the shield wall. So it's not about individual combat but military massed-rank fighting. Long shields are useful for covering bodyparts when riding, so I like the extra AP idea. Small shields, on the other hand, tend to be light and not especially tough, and are definitely parrying rather than blocking weapons (think Zulu shields).

The problem is, this would mean shields were only useful for formation fighting, and that's actually far from the only place historically where they were used. In fact, they pretty clearly predate formation fighting.

Truth is, they should just flat out be easier to use on the whole; heavy or no, having more surface area to block and deflect with is an advantage, weight or no.

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I suspect that an attempt to block an attack by something like a greataxe, a halberd or a maul

with a wooden shield should have more serious consequences for the shield, probably even for

the shield arm of the combattant holding the shield - there seem to be more than a few reports

about shield arms broken because of the impact of a heavy weapon on the shield.

That's kind of a generic problem with sufficiently heavy weapons and anything armor-like; there's a reason some versions of BRP have played games with armor protection against weapons that do most of their damage from raw kinetic impact.

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