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Shields in melee

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A warrior with 50% sword skill fighting an orc can parry successful blows with his sword using the 50% sword skill. So on average he'll be successful in parrying half of the orc's successful blows.

Now try the same situation but the warrior also has a shield with skill 30%. I can't see anywhere in the rules where the shield increases the defence (i.e. increases the chance to parry) of the warrior and yet intuition tells me that this time he should be able to parry more than half of the orc's successful blows.

Any thoughts on the above?

Possible options:

a) allow one shield parry attempt per round for those PCs and NPCs that have equipped a shield. This is in addition to the parry/dodge action.

or

B) Add the skills together when making the parry attempt. i.e. in the example above the parry would be at 80%. This would seem to make shields too effective.

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Now try the same situation but the warrior also has a shield with skill 30%. I can't see anywhere in the rules where the shield increases the defence (i.e. increases the chance to parry) of the warrior and yet intuition tells me that this time he should be able to parry more than half of the orc's successful blows.

Any thoughts on the above?

Your warrior with a Sword skill of 50 % uses the sword to parry an attack. Now

a second parry with the sword would be at - 30 %, giving him only a 20 % chan-

ce to parry the second attack. However, he also has his shield and his Shield

skill of 30 %, so he can use the shield to parry that second attack, with a chan-

ce that is 10 % better than the one he would now have with the sword.

It seems to me that this does improve his defence.

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I like the rule from BRP Rome: Life and Death of the Republic. It's designed for when you're using hit locations, and it allows you to use half your shield's APs as armor covering a number of hit locations the character is principally defending. It stacks with armor, and counts even without a parry, or if they parry fails. All shields protect the shield arm. Small shields cover one additional location, medium shields cover two additional, and large shields cover three additional. The players picks the additional locations, which must be adjacent, and can change from round to round. The player can also crouch behind his shield for maximum coverage, doubling the number of additional locations covered, but can do nothing else except advance at a slow walk.

Edited by Philotomy
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In Elric!/Stormbringer 5, shields also act as cover vs. missiles, allow a riposte with the sword on a critical parry (they are considered weapons), and may be used in a shield rush to knock an opponent down. As well, they tend to have more hit points and are tougher to damage than weapons. It doesn't all come down to the skill percentage for the sword vs. the shield...shields are pretty useful war tools at any percentage.

Grab a pdf of Elric! at drive thru, it is one of the best iterations of BRP for combat out there. THE best, IMO.

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Also, your warrior can always use his Shield skill at the same chance, which makes him independent from the actual weapon he is currently using. There might always be a situation where you have to use an unfavorable weapon, but yiur shield skill will always be available.

We had a shield discussion a few months ago, so if you do a forum search it will show up. There were lots of ideas and answers in it as well. :)

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Your warrior with a Sword skill of 50 % uses the sword to parry an attack. Now

a second parry with the sword would be at - 30 %, giving him only a 20 % chan-

ce to parry the second attack. However, he also has his shield and his Shield

skill of 30 %, so he can use the shield to parry that second attack, with a chan-

ce that is 10 % better than the one he would now have with the sword.

It seems to me that this does improve his defence.

Hm, interesting point of view ... I always had the impression that the -30% subtraction is cumulative, regardless if you use different skills to parry - Dodge and Parry do stack, so why shouldn't two different combat skills ...

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Hm, interesting point of view ...

It seems more plausible to me, because otherwise techniques where the secon-

dary weapon is a dedicated parry weapon, like fighting with sword and shield or

fencing with rapier and dagger, would not work in any remotely realistic way, es-

pecially when there are two or more opponents.

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It seems more plausible to me, because otherwise techniques where the secon-

dary weapon is a dedicated parry weapon, like fighting with sword and shield or

fencing with rapier and dagger, would not work in any remotely realistic way, es-

pecially when there are two or more opponents.

I've always run it like Pansophy. My house rule has been shield and main guache suffer a -20% per attack instead of the -30%.

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I've been considering this same issue for a Viking game I've been planning. This is one area of the BRP rules that I feel really is an issue.

Why put points in shield when you get the same effect and benefits with just a single weapon and no shield? Without adding in some sort of benefit for a shield, I see no reason rules-wise not to take a 2H weapon instead. The 2H wielder can parry just as well as the sword and board warrior, deal out more damage, penetrate more armor, plus have another 50+ skill points to put somewhere else. I want the sword and shield warrior to have some advantage in terms of defense.

The rules have you subtracting -30% with each parry after the first, regardless of whether you switch from sword to shield or parry with your shield more than once. I considered adding in a "free" parry with the shield, so that it wouldn't get the -30% after the first parry (i.e. get two parries at full shield skill, after that they get -30% per parry), but this only benefits a shield user if they are facing multiple opponents/attacks, and I'd like to see the shield grant a benefit even in one-on-one fights.

I also considered making shield parries Easy, since parrying with a shield is just, well, easier, right? But I think this is likely too much of a benefit and would seriously slow down some fights.

I have two options I'm considering right now:

1. Give all parries made with shields a +20% bonus. I don't want to increase the base chance or the skill rating, but just give all shield parries +20% to the chance. Increasing the base chance or skill rating would slow advancement and do nothing for starting characters (who would still be limited to starting at 75% at Normal or 90% at Heroic).

So, a serious sword and board warrior starting at Normal power would likely have 75% in Sword and 75% in Shield. Fighting one opponent, he is going to parry with the shield at 95%, a substantial benefit that reflects the advantage of a shield but not unreasonable. If he gets attacked by three opponents, he can parry each at 95%/65%/35%.

2. Using Complementary Skills. Another option I'm considering is treating a shield and a 1H weapon as Complementary Skills, per the optional rule on page 50. The same 75% Sword/75% Shield warrior would get the benefit of each skill complementing the other with 1/5 of the skill rating, or a 15% bonus in this case, reflecting the advantages to both attack and defense that a shield offers. He attacks at 90% and parries at 90%. This rule could also be extended to warriors wielding two weapons to give them some advantage since the rules don't offer any currently.

Using the complementary skills option would also have things scaling better than the flat 20%.

Thoughts on either of these possibilities?

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After trying to boost shields within the BGB framework in my "Savage North" game last year and being somewhat unsatisfied with the results I think my position now is that I'm simply going to re-instate something like the Elric! rules.

When success levels of Attack and Parry are tied, roll normal damage. If the damage is less than the hit points of a parrying sheidl or weapon (which is designed to be parried with), nothing happens (a weapon NOT designed to parry with loses that many hit points). If the damage exceeds the parrying objects hit points by 1 it breaks (if it's a weapon) or loses 1 hit point (if it's a shield). If the damage exceeds the parrying object s hit points by more than 1, it breaks (if a weapon) and the damage goes through to the target or reduces the parrying objects hit points by the excess (if the parrying object is a shield).

Cheers,

Nick

Edited by NickMiddleton

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To my mind it would make more sense to remove the parry skill from BRP altogether and simply grant a +20% or 30% to parry rolls on your main weapon skill when you have a shield. Perhaps saying that any parry roll below 20 or 30 (as appropriate) impacted on the shield thus using the shields HPs instead of the main weapon.

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To my mind it would make more sense to remove the parry skill from BRP altogether and simply grant a +20% or 30% to parry rolls on your main weapon skill when you have a shield. Perhaps saying that any parry roll below 20 or 30 (as appropriate) impacted on the shield thus using the shields HPs instead of the main weapon.

I like this for simplification, but in this case, how would you use the shield as an attacking weapon?

SDLeary

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I've indicated before that I find the benefits of shields in BRP a little underwhelming, but there are all kinds of pitfalls with making shield skill too much better, the simplest being that it can produce semi-eternal deadlocks in one on one combats, something BRP is already a tiny bit prone to.

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They work just fine in my game...better than any other game rules I've tried. For several decades now.

If you have 'semi-eternal deadlocks' ?!? you are not doing something right.

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Shields worked great in RQ3 combat - the isse that arises now is the people want to combine weapon attacks and parries (as per the BRP RAW rules), meaning that it's more economical when building a character to put all your points in 'sword' and no points in 'shield'.

If you use separate attack and parry skills, the the question becomes one of whether to put points into 'sword parry' or shield parry', and suddenly shields make much more sense.

This is one aspect of the new rules that I feel wasn't handled well.

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If the damage exceeds the parrying object shit points by 1 it breaks (if it's a weapon) or loses 1 hit point (if it's a shield).

Uhmmm, if I was playing a fighter type character, I would rather not employ a weapon that has such an attribute. :D

Going back to seriousness, two-weapon use is perhaps the only point in the BGB that I found lacking. The best solution I can find is to use the rule that goes with Strike Ranks (you cannot attack and parry with the same weapon in the same SR) with DEX ranks, too. If you know how to employ your weapons, a 1-weapon user is toast. Still, this rule is hard to exploit for novice players.

Other solutions can be devised. I think the best approach is that used in Wayfarer (TGFKARQII): combat style includes both weapon and shield use. Please note that it is the solution used in The Celestial Empire, too: there is no separate Shield skill. The solution provided in Rome was added by Pete when I had him put hit locations back in (the original manuscript had locationless stats): several Ancient suits of armour use shields statically to replace armor pieces, rather than use it to block.

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They work just fine in my game...better than any other game rules I've tried. For several decades now.

If you have 'semi-eternal deadlocks' ?!? you are not doing something right.

Probably not implementing the "feinting" houserule.

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I like this for simplification, but in this case, how would you use the shield as an attacking weapon?

SDLeary

Just use the main weapon percentage with the off hand modifer.

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I am also slightly disappointed with the treatment which why have these house rules.

1. A shield is a dedicated defensive weapon. All shield parries are Easy.

2. 2 handed shafted weapons are too big and heavy to succesfully parrya lighter edged weapon. All parries are Difficult.

3. Edged weapons suffer damage whern used to parry Large weapons.

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I could agree about parrying much larger weapons being Difficult, but rules 2. and 3. are rather unrealistic. Remember that parrying with a weapons implies anticipating, not blocking, a blow, and defending with a pole weapon is essentially keeping your foe at bay with the weapon point aimed at him, not intercepting the attack with the shaft..

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I could agree about parrying much larger weapons being Difficult, but rules 2. and 3. are rather unrealistic. Remember that parrying with a weapons implies anticipating, not blocking, a blow, and defending with a pole weapon is essentially keeping your foe at bay with the weapon point aimed at him, not intercepting the attack with the shaft..

YMMV

In my fantasy world....

Swords can chip easily, dull and even shatter or bend. To parry with them, especially large and heavy 2 handed weapons would be inviting disaster.

Shields are designed to take a battering and although they will break, are better for blocking / parrying than a sword. In BRP, however, its a tit for tat combat which makes shields a bit worthless. To me, the best time to attack an opponent, is the moment, you have just parried him and control his weapon via your parrying weapon. Whether it is shield or main gauche makes no difference. A single weapon user, is most vulnerable at that point. But in BRP with fixed initiative, it is a given that the slower opponent will attack second and will not be able to attack in the same SR/ DEX Rank he parries.

The last point is the tricky one for an rpg. Long weapons have an advantage so long as a short weapon user doesn't close. The video below is a good example.

However, in BRP, the closing rules are not very clear, and mechanistically reverts to tit for tat. I was thinking of great hammers, picks, halberds and axes, more than spear or naginata (sword on a stick) which are indeed quick.

There are some shaft parries, and you may get away with one or two, but I am quite certain that the wooden poles can be eventually cut by a sword or axe. None of the SCA type videos will show this, since they don't use sharp swords.

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