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Question regarding shields


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Some quick considerations:

When you use the "A weapon cannot attack and parry on the same DEX/Strike Rank" rule, do not forget that a cunning two-weapon user can wait until his opponent's DEX rank in order to exploit this effect. It is a tactic you would use in a real combat.

The real drawback of 2-handed weapons is that they are in fact unfit for anything other than mass combat. A guard or soldier can use a halberd, but there is no way an adventurer could practically walk around with one. It simply cannot be sheathed. And you don't enter a tavern with one. So the idea is that your adventurers walk around with swords or short axes/maces. Long weapons and shields are used only in the wildernes or in battle. Note that this is true of a large shield, too.

This ignores a number of two handed weapons such as many asian flexible weapons or the quarterstaff.

That said, the fact that the rules incentive using two weapons, rather than weapon and shield, is not a flaw. Using two weapons is a good technique. On a battlefield, you would certainly prefer weapon and shield, while in a one on one duel a dagger can be almost as effective.

Against a subset of attacks, perhaps, but I'm unconvinced when you're defending against heavier striking weapons such as maces or axes.

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That's only true if all those result occur equally often, which I never said nor implied.

Near enough. But it hardly matters. If as Rosen points out, a higher-Dex combatant can delay (with two weapons or weapon & shield) until the Dex-rank of his (single-weapon-wielding) opponent - then the "can't parry on the same Dex Rank as attacking" rule IS significant. (Which is what began this little argument, if I remember correctly, so long ago...)

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Unless, of course, the lower Dex opponent sees him do this and also delays. In the end, while only the higher Dex opponent can take advantage of the rule, he can, in the end, only do so if the lower Dex one lets him; otherwise he just waits himself to swing, and can parry fine. Or alternatively swings at the same time and accepts that neither gets to parry. In a multiple on one fight he could wait until the lower Dex strikes and do so, but then, being two-on-oned has sucked in most versions of BRP.

But Rosen's comment notwithstanding, my point was that the higher Dex attacker himself rarely has to worry about this, which he would in a strike rank system because the strike ranks pile up far more. The Dex, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily do so even if point spend is in use, and certainly doesn't if its rolled. But in the strike rank system, the rather large categories that produce the 7 strike rank attack will mean a lot of people get caught by that one.

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Or alternatively swings at the same time and accepts that neither gets to parry.

The case in point is Single Weapon (probably 2-handed) versus Weapon & Shield/Secondary Weapon - so he would get to parry.

Does this 'Delay Rule' (which frankly I was unaware of before) not apply under the Strike Ranks system? If it does, then the single-weapon wielder could delay one SR if necessary to avoid the problem (and then we're back to the same case as under Dex Ranks).

Interesting point that the higher-Dex combatant wouldn't have to worry about it - leading to higher-Dex characters favouring single weapons, perhaps? That sounds possibly realistic.

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The case in point is Single Weapon (probably 2-handed) versus Weapon & Shield/Secondary Weapon - so he would get to parry.

Does this 'Delay Rule' (which frankly I was unaware of before) not apply under the Strike Ranks system? If it does, then the single-weapon wielder could delay one SR if necessary to avoid the problem (and then we're back to the same case as under Dex Ranks).

Sure. My reference was that it was only less likely to come up simply as a consequence of the normal strike rank as compared to normal Dex range. It requires a pretty high or low Dex and/or Size to land outside the 7 expected (or a long weapon) but there's a fair range of meaningful Dex ranks, so it won't come up all the time there (and when it does, it'll probably be among people in the middle of the pile of Dex).

I just think its generally kind of a stupid rule, since as I noted it means that the fairly routine case of a single sword fencer is prohibitively painful unless you assume all fencers use dodge rather than parry.

Interesting point that the higher-Dex combatant wouldn't have to worry about it - leading to higher-Dex characters favouring single weapons, perhaps? That sounds possibly realistic.

I still think, however, it produces a situation where certainly historically present but not dominant tactics become overwhelmingly attractive, though. There's certainly some advantages to rapier and main-gauche or sword and cloak techniques, or even the two-swords fencing methods, but with this rule in place they become virtually the only viable ones, espeically if using strike ranks.

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So, I am not as deep into the rules as most you who post here seem to be. But I am not seeing anything here that makes it seem worth spending points in shield. You still seem better off parrying. Especially if you compare the BRP shield rules to the RQ shield rules.

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As long as you're using an offhand weapon, I think you're quite correct. If you want shields to be attractive outside of shield walls or the small benefit against missiles, I recommend doing what we did; give a modifier to parry based on shield size (not a change in base; that washes out in advancement).

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to drag this up again, but its been very interesting reading!

I'm going to run with this rule and see how it goes: When using a shield for parrying the -30% penalties for parries after the first is halved.

Any thoughts?

Nick

Edited by NickD
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  • 1 month later...

As long as you're using an offhand weapon, I think you're quite correct. If you want shields to be attractive outside of shield walls or the small benefit against missiles, I recommend doing what we did; give a modifier to parry based on shield size (not a change in base; that washes out in advancement).

Nightshade, could you provide the parry modifiers that you use for shields? Are they working well for you?

Thank you!

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Its hard to say how its working; as it turns out, only one character in the group uses a shield (the setting is sort of borderline post-renaissance in technology, so a lot of people use longarms and among melee skills its worked out that three of us use two-handed weapons) but what we do is simple: add 5% per each shield size. This means a typical medium shield adds 15% as a modifier, which at least makes it have some point when used against melee weapons as compared to an off-hand weapon.

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