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Shields in melee

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A rapier was a civilian's dueling weapon, not a weapon of war. If the same per-

son would have gone to war he would have used a soldier's weapon, perhaps a

claymore in the case of a Scottish clansman. However, to wear a soldier's hea-

vy weapon in everyday use with civilian clothes would have been very uncom-

fortable and would have been seen as very barbaric.

For example, perhaps the most famous rapier duelists of world literature are

the French musketeers. However, their rapiers were dueling weapons, their

weapons of war were - as their name says - their muskets, they did not use

rapiers on the battlefield.

To give a fictional modern equivalent, you could appear in polite society with a

pistol in a shoulder holster, but if you enter the room with an assault rifle the

society will rapidly cease to be polite.

I stand corrected then :)

(still like the rapier more :P )

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(still like the rapier more :P )

So do I, it is a very elegant tool for getting rid of people. :)

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OK, when you said Greatsword, I was thinking Claymore or Swiss greatswords, not a longsword (bastard sword, hand-and-a-half sword, etc).

SDLeary

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Why limit it to dual wielding? Does a fencer without a main gauche lose his ability to riposte?

Because its easier to do with dual.

I'm not sure about him, but this is why I consider "fencing" a Martial Art in game terms. Riposte with a single weapon is a special or advanced technique; not something your "street" level RPG fighter is going to understand, but the Heroic level guy certainly will. I'd make the player spend the points if they want to be fancy.

SDLeary

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At the risk of being heretical, I would suggest that from its origins, a certain amount of non-reality was designed into BRP combat. When I read in the RQ2 and RQ3 books, and other places, that the authors were trying to model the sort of fighting that they experienced in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), I had to cringe a little. I have nothing against the SCA and I know plenty of people who have lots of fun doing it, but I don't know anyone who would claim that SCA fighting represents any sort of "realistic" combat. That is, it does not represent what people with real weapons and armor who were really trying to kill each other did historically or might do. I don't know that this represents a fundamental or unsolvable problem for people who want to tweak the system to make it more "realistic," but it does seem to at least point to an underlying issue with how the system was conceived.

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This could well be the case, at least there are parallels. For example, what I have

seen of SCA sword fights was typical stage combat and completely ignored most

of the historical techniques, especially all the martial arts maneuvers which histo-

rically were an important part of sword training.

To give an idea what I mean, here are demonstrations of typical maneuvers from

the historical books:

In my view it would indeed be very difficult to model this historical fighting style

with BRP, and the same is true for many other of the documented historical sty-

les.

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@ Icebrand

The video you linked shows a rapier and a longsword, not a greatsword.

It wobbles around like a jelly, it's not rigid at all. I don't think you can learn much about killing from watching people sparring with lightweight fencing weapons.

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It wobbles around like a jelly, it's not rigid at all. I don't think you can learn much about killing from watching people sparring with lightweight fencing weapons.

Swords are flexible, not rigid! Rigid breaks!

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It wobbles around like a jelly, it's not rigid at all. I don't think you can learn much about killing from watching people sparring with lightweight fencing weapons.

The "wobbly" one, used by the guy on the left, is the rapier. I suspect that it has

the blade of a modern fencing epee instead of a true, rigid rapier blade, which is

difficult and expensive to obtain. The way it is used in the video also looks more

like modern fencing than like any rapier style I have ever seen.

Real rapiers would look and behave like these:

Edited by rust

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Swords are flexible, not rigid! Rigid breaks!

Not really. Modern sport fencing blades are flexible to avoid or reduce injuries,

but historical fencing weapons were pretty rigid, so that a thrust could pene-

trate armour instead of just bending the blade.

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Swords are flexible, not rigid! Rigid breaks!

I think you're confusing brittleness with rigidity. When you make steel, you have a trade-off between a hard metal that can be made very sharp and resists dulling, and a softer metal that becomes dull much easier but is more resistant to breaking. It would be suicidal to take a limp noodle into combat.

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This could well be the case, at least there are parallels. For example, what I have

seen of SCA sword fights was typical stage combat and completely ignored most

of the historical techniques, especially all the martial arts maneuvers which histo-

rically were an important part of sword training.

To give an idea what I mean, here are demonstrations of typical maneuvers from

the historical books:

In my view it would indeed be very difficult to model this historical fighting style

with BRP, and the same is true for many other of the documented historical sty-

les.

Nice videos. I like seeing people doing very dynamic versions of sword fighting. Grappling in armor and with weapons was an important part of medieval Japanese martial arts. It seems that a very effective response to a well-armored opponent is throwing the guy down or tying him up, then sticking your weapon into a soft spot.

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Grappling in armor and with weapons was an important part of medieval Japanese martial arts.

It was the same in Europe, at least until the 18th century. A famous example is

Pascha's style from the 17th century, a rapier style which has the emphasis mo-

re on the "unarmed" martial arts than on the use of the weapon.

To quote Wikipedia:

In his 1657 work on rapier and unarmed combat, German master of arms Johan

Georg Pascha reveals an extraordinary range of unarmed techniques (which

some have said resemble styles of Chinese wing chun kung fu, due to its em-

phasis on rapid strikes at close range). This is generally considered to be a

distinct branch of kampfringen, sometimes called "Pascha's ringen".

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There's a nice series on History Channel called "Conquest" with different topics, one called "Knights in Armor". The series give a good view how weapons, crossbows, bows, axes, shields and armor was used during the ages.

My impression is, none of the weapons and shields are presented in a correct way in any RPG. There's no psychological effect of axes, no deadliness of a dagger and no unwieldiness of a morning star. Shields seemed to be the nearly only way to block in a relatively save way. You do not want to block a great axe with a sword - it's too terrifying having a foe bashing at you in an insane way.

To me shields seem to be used until plate armor was no longer of use, and shields were more a blocking than a parrying tool that was relatively easy to handle compared to parrying a blow with a morning star.

RPG wise? I would give a negative modifier to melee weapons when using them to parry without a shield. If using parrying as a separate skill, it would start at the weapons Base Skill minus that modifier.

The modifier could be in relation to the ENC value x10.

Yes, that would make some weapons unusable to use for parrying - that is where the Dodge skill come in then.

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The "wobbly" one, used by the guy on the left, is the rapier. I suspect that it has

the blade of a modern fencing epee instead of a true, rigid rapier blade, which is

difficult and expensive to obtain. The way it is used in the video also looks more

like modern fencing than like any rapier style I have ever seen.

Both blades were wobbling and bending. Search for videos of "cold steel greatsword" for a comparison.

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Both blades were wobbling and bending.

Ah, I did not look at the other one, I am only interested in rapiers. :)

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To me shields seem to be used until plate armor was no longer of use, and shields were more a blocking than a parrying tool that was relatively easy to handle compared to parrying a blow with a morning star.

I think it was a mix of block and parry. Some of the weapons used were even too

powerful to block them with the shield, for example a straight shield block against

a warhammer would probably have broken the shield arm. There must have been

some shield maneuvers to parry (= deflect) such weapons without absorbing the

full impact with a shield block.

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... for example a straight shield block against

a warhammer would probably have broken the shield arm. There must have been

some shield maneuvers to parry (= deflect) such weapons without absorbing the

full impact with a shield block.

If the hammer hits the middle of the shield where the arm is, then the arm could get hurt. A successful parry probably catches the blow away from the centre of the shield, lessening the impact on the arm, and the hammer glances off. So, how does BRP or MRQ handle a shield arm getting broken? If the hammer attack hits, the defender fails to parry, and Left Arm is rolled as location, that is probably a blow square on the centre of the shield where the arm is, possibly breaking the arm. Or, a critical hit ignoring shield armour would be an arm-breaker.

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If you don't use the optional hit locations rule another way to house rule shields so that they benefit a character in a one on one combat is to have them work like a helm does (helms add 1 point to the characters armor value). The point costs could be:

Small Shield +1 AP

Medium Shield +2 AP

Large Shield +3 AP

This feels more abstract fits in well with the core rules for hit point totals and is certainly easier in play.

Realism fans would say that not all blows hit the shield, however the same could be said for the helm +1 AP bonus which IIRC is a core rule.

Edited by Redge

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So basically people used rapiers cause they were really dumb, since someone with a claymore would just cut them in half?

Rob Roy (the film) has a scene where a hulking great Scottish barbarian duels with a claymore and a weedy English fop is asked if he likes the claymore "If I were killing a bull, then I might" (or something along those lines) is his reply, then he proceeds to take the barbarian apart with a great deal of ease.

Skill plays a very big part in a duel - you might have a stronger weapon, but if you can dodge around and avoid all the blows thenn your fancy rapier can still win the day.

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If you don't use the optional hit locations rule another way to house rule shields so that they benefit a character in a one on one combat is to have them work like a helm does (helms add 1 point to the characters armor value). The point costs could be:

Small Shield +1 AP

Medium Shield +2 AP

Large Shield +3 AP

This feels more abstract fits in well with the core rules for hit point totals and is certainly easier in play.

Realism fans would say that not all blows hit the shield, however the same could be said for the helm +1 AP bonus which IIRC is a core rule.

Retroquest uses +1AP for shield and +2AP for a big shield (one that can't be used on horseback).

Also, armors give AP based on material *and* cover (so a leather scale armor is 3 ap, a metal scale armor is 4 ap, a leather scale tunic is 4 ap and a metal scale tunic is 5 ap)

Ofc, hit locations are only used on major wounds.

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Skill plays a very big part in a duel - you might have a stronger weapon, but if you can dodge around and avoid all the blows thenn your fancy rapier can still win the day.

Until someone grabs the blade...

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Until someone grabs the blade...

I think "grabbing the blade" of a weapon like that is kind of a movie maneuver if you feel attached to your fingers =)

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If you don't use the optional hit locations rule another way to house rule shields so that they benefit a character in a one on one combat is to have them work like a helm does (helms add 1 point to the characters armor value). The point costs could be:

Small Shield +1 AP

Medium Shield +2 AP

Large Shield +3 AP

This feels more abstract fits in well with the core rules for hit point totals and is certainly easier in play.

Realism fans would say that not all blows hit the shield, however the same could be said for the helm +1 AP bonus which IIRC is a core rule.

This is very similar to how Pendragon handles things. Using a shield adds to your ability to withstand damage. Single roll for the "combat".

SDLeary

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It is more a factor of RQ (and consequently BRP) not being modeled to reflect rapier combat.

If/when all other things are equal (i.e. practically never), the rapier has a speed and flexibility advtage over the older, heavier weapons. But then, it didn't have to punch through heavy armor.

Another thing is that the hit point mechanic tends to quantify and exaggerate the importance of the "damage" stat in unrealistic ways. A sword that does 2D8 isn't twice as lethal as one that does 1D8 (or 1D6+1) in real life.

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