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Shields in melee


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Are attack and parry combined into a single skill in BRP? In RQ3 they were always separate skills, so it was better to have sword attack and shield parry. Combining the two into one skill for a single weapon changes the balance so you're better off with just a sword as that's just a single skill. MRQ goes one step further so you can have one combined "Sword & Shield" skill. If you don't want that, I think you might need to boost the effectiveness of shields somehow to compensate.

Are there any problems in BRP with using a one-handed weapon to both attack and parry in the same round? If so, would you still be better off using two swords just to get away with a single skill, or are offhand parries with a sword subject to an offhand penalty?

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Are attack and parry combined into a single skill in BRP? In RQ3 they were always separate skills, so it was better to have sword attack and shield parry. Combining the two into one skill for a single weapon changes the balance so you're better off with just a sword as that's just a single skill. MRQ goes one step further so you can have one combined "Sword & Shield" skill. If you don't want that, I think you might need to boost the effectiveness of shields somehow to compensate.

No, still separate skills. One of the suggestions upthread were to combine them, giving a bonus to parry if using a shield.

Are there any problems in BRP with using a one-handed weapon to both attack and parry in the same round? If so, would you still be better off using two swords just to get away with a single skill, or are offhand parries with a sword subject to an offhand penalty?

No problems with attack and parry in same round, as long as the attack and parry doesn't occur on the same SR/DEX Rank. That is verbotten. Offhand incurs a penalty unless the skill is learned with that hand... Shield, Main-Gauche, etc.

SDLeary

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No, still separate skills.

Actually, BRP gives the option of having individual Weapon skills combining Attack & Parry, which I suspect is quite popular. At least I use it.

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Actually, BRP gives the option of having individual Weapon skills combining Attack & Parry, which I suspect is quite popular. At least I use it.

Yes, but only with the same weapon. If using a different weapon or a shield to parry, the skills are separate. Bad assumption on my part though that the Phil was asking about skill use with shields (or other off-hand parrying device) on re-reading his question.

SDLeary

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Yes [bRP has an option to combine Attack & Parry], but only with the same weapon. If using a different weapon or a shield to parry, the skills are separate.

Just trying to clarify things. I think a large part of this recurring problem is there are various different options it has to be solved for - in different ways.

Maybe if we first decided which is the 'best' (most realistic?) combat-rules option...

... and solve this problem for that, then tweaks for alternative options that some people prefer might be easier to work out.

So - a question for those who 'do it for real' - do separate Attack & Parry skills actually make sense? E.g. If you trained up in Sword-and-Shield, but lost your shield in combat, would your sword-parrying then be noticeably inferior? Or would your sword (attack) skill mean you could still parry with that pretty well anyway?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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No, they do not make sense. You can see that the person with the highest actual combat skill %ile around here (Pete Nash) never uses separate combat skills. He did, however (in MRQ2, sorry TGFKARQ2) subsume all attacks and parries in a single combat style %ile. I think it is the best solution, if you think of it: when they teach you how to swordfight, they teach you all moves used by a certain school.

However, this leaves two open points:

a) BRP does not have Combat Styles, so either you introduce them or the Shield skill produces trouble

B) If you have been trained to use sword&shield, and you do not have a shield, you are at a disadvantage in the real world - the stance and moves when using a shield are totally different.

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No, they do not make sense...

I suspected so, being aware of Mr Nash making a combined sword&shield skill in TGFKAMRQ2. (Gosh we need a shorthand for that - maybe a symbol? Movement Rune? ;)) But I also suspect many people like having separate Attack/Parry skills (for the apparently realistic detail?) - so a few more opinions from RW practitioners wouldn't go amiss...

B) If you have been trained to use sword&shield, and you do not have a shield, you are at a disadvantage in the real world - the stance and moves when using a shield are totally different.

Hmmm... but presumably the reverse is also true: if trained in sword only, picking up a shield would give a disadvantage? Could be hard to persuade people of that!

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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I think the Stormbringer 1 separate attack/parry with selected bits from Elric

! work best and simulate favorite movies and books best, i.e. are the most fun. Some of the later rules as in MRQ2 are getting somewhat too involved for me. I esp. don't care for the combat styles.

Realism isn't as important as good illusion that lets the story be fun without agonizing over rules trivia, as many in the hobby do.

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Hmmm... but presumably the reverse is also true: if trained in sword only, picking up a shield would give a disadvantage? Could be hard to persuade people of that!

Actually, I suspect they simplified the rule in MRQ (in origin it was: if you lack one of the two weapons that make up your style, you are at -20%) because I pointed out this fact. In truth, if you are trained in 1-hand weapon parry and you have a shield, it hampers you. Your training tells you to keep your weapon towards your enemy, but using the shield requires that you keep that towards your enemy. Can become messy. People who have not actually tried will not believe it, but in fact it works this way.

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I can definitely see that since it changes your whole body angle and what parts of your body you need to defend.

I'd be really curious to find out from some (non-SCA, real steel) sword fighters how a 2H swordsman compares to 1H sword and shield. I'd want to know if one has a clear advantage over the other. I bet these guys would have some thoughts on it:

http://www.youtube.com/user/DamianLakomski#p/u/1/Ll1HIXwfF8Y

I wonder if the heavier hits from the 2H sword getting through armor outweigh the benefits of the shield?

129/420

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I'd be really curious to find out from some (non-SCA, real steel) sword fighters how a 2H swordsman compares to 1H sword and shield. I'd want to know if one has a clear advantage over the other. I bet these guys would have some thoughts on it:

I also fight with real steel too. ;)

The biggest problem with recreating the advantages of a 2h sword over sword & shield comes down to its historical use. In reality the greatsword wasn't often used against sword and shield in a historical context. It was originally designed to be used against heavily armoured opponents lacking a shield. By the late Middle Ages it was utilised on the battlefield as a weapon to break up pike or spear formations, or even cavalry. One can ask whether this was because a shieldman had an inherent advantage or was it simply that armour had improved so greatly so shields had fallen out of use?

From both my research of the existent Fechtbuch and hands on experience a trained 2h swordsman wouldn't fight like the guys in the video you provided a link too, which was little more than thuggish bashing. Instead there would be threats, thrusts, throws, trips and a myriad of other techniques to counter the defensive advantage of the shield. There is more to a great weapon than heavier blows. Yes a great or longsword can potentially hack a wooden shield apart, but from personal experience it can also become lodged in the wood too, preventing the weapon from being used or even bending when trying to yank it free. In the meantime the shieldman will be doing other things himself.

Like all comparisons whether one weapon has an advantage over another all depends on the style of how the weapon is used, the situation of the encounter (single combat or battlefield), the armour being worn, and the comparative skills, experience and fear of the users.

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In truth, if you are trained in 1-hand weapon parry and you have a shield, it hampers you. Your training tells you to keep your weapon towards your enemy, but using the shield requires that you keep that towards your enemy.

If you are used to fight with a one hand weapon (e.g. longsword) or with a one

hand weapon and a small parry weapon (e.g. rapier and dagger), but not trained

in the use of a shield, that d****d thing also gets in the way of all the "unarmed

martial arts" elements of your style which use the "off hand", and which are far

more important in a realistic fight than most people tend to believe.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I'd want to know if one has a clear advantage over the other.

From my experience, no, the advantages and disadvantages tend to balance out.

For example, in my view a serious disadvantage of a two hand sword is the com-

paratively high mass, and therefore comparatively high inertia, which usually leads

to a somewhat slow fighting style, while someone with one hand sword and shield

can attack with both in quick succession, which usually results in a faster fighting

style.

Edited by rust

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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The biggest problem with recreating the advantages of a 2h sword over sword & shield comes down to its historical use. In reality the greatsword wasn't often used against sword and shield in a historical context.

I cannot aggree more. The problem is, there's an "ancient weapons" table, where there should be... at the very least 3. You have renaissance weapons side by side with stuff thats out of use for 700+ years. So, war hammer you say? Ok, that one is for use against plate armour, and it only became popular when plates were common, and shields fell out of fashion.

If we are playing that, you may have a longsword (bastard sword in the rules?) but no chance at a rapier, YET... Or maybe the rapier in the rules is not a rapier?

They suffer the same problem as "light revolver". What the heck is a broadsword? A real broadsword is like... XVII-XVIII century!!! Then again, it may be a spatha, a viking sword, a knight sword... Maybe the bastard is the knight sword and the greatsword is the longsword? Or is the bastard the longsword (and every sword from the celts 500bc to 1200 ad is 1D8+1) and the greatsword is a zweilhander or claymore?

The problem with "generic" weapons like that is that armors are NOT suppossed to be generic. Or maybe they are?

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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Narl - I've a copy of Hans Talhoffer's book. 15th century woodcuts of judicial duels. Very cool, though a good 600 years later than the Viking game you plan on running:) Remind me to dig it out when you come over to game on Wednesday.

Sounds interesting. I'd like to take a look at it. Thanks!

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The problem with "generic" weapons like that is that armors are NOT suppossed to be generic. Or maybe they are?

First of all, most players game in fantasy settings, where you WILL find shields, greatswords and rapiers together, just used by different races. So the "ancient" weapon table makes sense. You have to eliminate some items from it only when you play in the Real World .

Secondly, armors are less generic than weapons, but they are still a bit generic anyway. The banded armor used by the Romans is not the same as that used by later populations. The Romans themselves used plate cuirasses, but it is rather different from the one used by Renaissance soldiers (or modern cuirassiers - plate cuirasses and helms are still used, although for scenic purposes, by the Italian army).

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They suffer the same problem as "light revolver". What the heck is a broadsword? A real broadsword is like... XVII-XVIII century!!! Then again, it may be a spatha, a viking sword, a knight sword... Maybe the bastard is the knight sword and the greatsword is the longsword? Or is the bastard the longsword (and every sword from the celts 500bc to 1200 ad is 1D8+1) and the greatsword is a zweilhander or claymore?

Indeed - in the MRQ2 weapons table, the Bastard Sword does a little more damage than a Broadsword, is a little cheaper, a little easier to use on the STR requirement, and in all other ways exactly the same. Well, it has 2 fewer Hit Points, but that's rarely relevant. In other words, anyone that chooses a Broadsword over a Bastard Sword is doing so purely for aesthetic or cultural reasons.

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The alternative to the generic weapon names and descriptions, which are indeed

more confusing than useful for historical settings, would probably be something

like the Oakeshott Typology, but I doubt that gamers would like such a scientific

approach:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakeshott_typology

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Actually, BRP gives the option of having individual Weapon skills combining Attack & Parry, which I suspect is quite popular. At least I use it.

I always thought of the separate A% & P% in RQ3 as rather odd, as it would be incredibly difficult to become a master swordsman with 100% attack if you didn't have a similar level of parrying skill :)

Personally when a simpler option is presented in BRP I always use it. As simplicity in play but remaining gritty BRPs main selling point to me.

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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.

. . .

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.

The many comments regarding how things were done in different cultures at different times seems to be an important point to remember when trying to figure out what is "most real," if realism is something you want. I happen to like historical based settings because you at least start with a combination of things like weapon and armor choices that, however unlikely, actually happened. Pete Nash commented above about using great swords against pikes in the late middle ages. As far as what was going happening on the other side of the world, I would point out that Tsukahara Bokuden, a "sword saint" from the 16th century, was famous for having one time been able to cut through the shaft of a naginata in a duel. If Bokuden was famous for having done it once, you can be sure it was rare in the extreme. [One problem with trying to cut a wooden shaft or staff is that your sword could get stuck and then the other person may be able to twist his weapon to break your blade or at least pull it out of your hand.]

As far as how effective a parry could be, I think this again depends entirely on the particular setting: what sorts of sword is parrying what. The sorts of swords you describe may not be very good. But again to use the example of Japanese practice: The traditional Japanese sword has a razor sharp, very brittle edge on one side and using that edge to parry would be a disaster. But the unsharpened edge is thicker (and the blade is less brittle away from the cutting edge) and so you could twist your blade so that your unsharpened edge contacted sharpened edge of your enemy's sword. And unless you're a knucklehead, you parry by using your blade at an angle to deflect your opponent's blow rather than trying to block it.

I have driven myself half crazy by trying to tinker with the combat system for "realism." But, as many have pointed out many times, the 12 second combat round is a very long time, and the various skill rolls must represent numerous movements of body and weapon rather than just one attempted strike to be countered by one attempted parry/block. Trying to inject "realism" by worrying too much about what actually happens during a real strike and a real dodge or parry, may be doomed because it is trying to inject specific detail into an abstract approximation of something. But that does not stop us from trying, of course . . . :)

It just occurred to me that this "abstract" long combat round is a factor favoring RosenMcStern's Celestial Empire solution of combining weapon and shield skills (if I understand him rightly): The rolls resolve a more abstract question like "did I get the better of my opponent" rather than something like "first I do this, then he does that, then I . . . )

Edited by Smoking Frog

My avatar is the personal glyph of Siyaj K'ak' a.k.a. "Smoking Frog."

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The alternative to the generic weapon names and descriptions, which are indeed

more confusing than useful for historical settings, would probably be something

like the Oakeshott Typology, but I doubt that gamers would like such a scientific

approach:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakeshott_typology

There is also the difficulty of trying to decide when the differences between two swords (or any other sort of weapon) are enough for them to be treated differently in game terms.

If you have a European historically based setting, you could use general terms that encompass more than one subtype recognized by Oakeshott. I'm stealing the following entirely from Wikipedia (arming sword and longsword), so to the extent it's not right, please, no one impale me, I'm just using it as an example.

From 1000 to 1350, the most common sword is the one-handed war sword or "arming sword," Oakeshott's Type XI, XII, and XIII.

From 1250 to 1350, in addition to a war sword, you can also get a slightly larger hand-and-a-half "great sword," Oakeshott's Type XIIa and XIIIa.

From 1350 to 1550, arming swords become rare and the "great sword" develops into the hand-and-a-half "longsword" for which Wikipedia lists 10 (!) Oakeshott subtypes.

If you want to distinguish a 14th c "longsword" around 34 inches [Type XX or XXa] from a 14th c "longsword" around 39 inches [Type XVIIIa], you can just call one "longsword" and one "bastard sword," or something else, and give them slightly different stats.

My point is that you can probably use this system and "shield" the players from the underlying details. They need never know that you've tried to impose an historical basis on them.

My avatar is the personal glyph of Siyaj K'ak' a.k.a. "Smoking Frog."

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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.

I beg to differ. All you have to be doing is having a fight where someone does not roll a higher quality result than the other. That's not that hard. A skill of 95% can go a long time before the attacker rolls a higher quality result than the defender, and if he doesn't, the attack does nothing.

Edit: From reading comments you made later, I have to suggest that the rules you're using may well not be the by-the-book BRP rules. One problem we always have on this board is that most people who've been using BRP based systems for a long time have house rules they've long since forgotten are house rules, rules from any number of separate incarnations of BRP, and so on, all of which may differ from what the Yellow Book actually says, but people don't even consciously realize that.

Edited by Nightshade
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Indeed - in the MRQ2 weapons table, the Bastard Sword does a little more damage than a Broadsword, is a little cheaper, a little easier to use on the STR requirement, and in all other ways exactly the same. Well, it has 2 fewer Hit Points, but that's rarely relevant. In other words, anyone that chooses a Broadsword over a Bastard Sword is doing so purely for aesthetic or cultural reasons.

This is an old problem; back in the RQ2 days, the only people in many groups I saw who used a broadsword were those too weak to use the bastardsword one-handed.

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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.

Even if you make them separate, there's no real benefit to not making it sword parry, since shields don't do any better a job of parrying weapon attacks than the sword would. All the worse since the benefit the shield does provide against missiles isn't skill dependent.

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