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Using two weapons in melee


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Hello friends.

The recent thread about shields and armor points has highlighted several interesting solutions to handle the advantages a shield gives in combat without making it too overpowered if compared with a parrying weapon. However, I am still wondering whether it would be a good idea to give extra advantages to a character who uses two weapons. In the current rules such a character has little or no advantages over a single-weapon user, as the main advantage is the fact that he has a spare weapon if one breaks.

Has anyone any suggestions about how to make two-weapon combat more unique without making it too overpowered (or making too many changes to the rules)?

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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Well, a cheap-and-cheerful advantage if you use Strike Ranks is that the second weapon can parry in the same strike rank as you attack - which you can't do with a single weapon only.

Not sure if there's a corresponding rule with DEX ranks - it would be a good one to have. Obviously this is no different from shield behavior, but it's worth enumerating the advantages which two weapons have over one weapon, for example.

A minor houserule would be allowing a riposte - IE if you critical parry you can attack back immediately, but only with a weapon in your off-hand. I think this is the SB5 rule, off the top of my head.

A second houserule might be to allow multiple attacks *against the same target* by dividing the skill roll in 2 if you wield 2 weapons - the current "multiple attacks over 100%" rule requires you attack different targets, but assumes you're wielding only 1 weapon.

A third houserule might be to allow a "Full Offense" tactic, like "Full Defense" only in reverse - you give up all your dodges and parries but get to make two attacks. You require two weapons to do this - you can't do "Full Offense" with a single weapon.

Just a few preliminary thoughts.



"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

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Again in the realms of houserules rather than RAW:

An Extra Action

Joe Average gets 2 actions (1 Attack and 1 Parry, 1 Attack and 1 Dodge, 1 Parry and 1 Dodge)

Having an extra weapon OR SHIELD gives another ATTACK or PARRY with that weapon (or if unarmed)


A Critical Parry allows for a Riposte if carrying an off hand weapon (or if unarmed but not mix-match i.e. Riposte with a punch) (nicked from Elric!)

A successful Parry with a Shield allows a Riposte with other weapon (nicked from translation of French Conan BASIC rules possibly this makes Shields too useful so depending on setting this could be reigned in to a Special Shield Parry allows a Riposte)

A successful Parry allows for a Riposte for a Master (nicked from SBIII although in new BRP Master should probably be 101%+ not 90%+ partly for consistency and partly as a Master Swordsman now only needs to raise 1 'Sword' skill rather than 2 'Sword Attack' and 'Sword Parry')


Rule Zero: Don't be on fire

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Well, a cheap-and-cheerful advantage if you use Strike Ranks is that the second weapon can parry in the same strike rank as you attack - which you can't do with a single weapon only.

Not sure if there's a corresponding rule with DEX ranks - it would be a good one to have.

Yep. In fact this is one of our houserules that we wanted to post to the Wiki, but I have been too laz.. er, busy writing stats for Anime robots to actually do it. I will do that after a bit more of playtesting.

Proud member of the Evil CompetitionTM

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I have recently converted to brp a long lasting campain originated in rq3 and lately in rq4.

I am very happy of the results, combats are really much more fluid and dangerous and depend more on skill than equipment.

I have abandoned Strike ranks for dex and int rank and find the result satisfactory.

I have introduced some house rules:

1) you cannot attack and parry on the same dex rank with the same weapon and any attempt to dodge in the same dex rank of an attack are difficult (1/2%)

2) damage modifier applied to bows are limited by the type of bow

3) if a character is brought to 0 or negative general hp he/she must roll con x5 or die if sucessful he/she must subtract -1hp to general hp and reroll next round, if general hp reach - total hp the character dies

4) crushing special does not break parryng weapon and stuns only if the head hit location is rolled (we use hit locations)

5) the bastard sword does 1d8+1 one handed and 1d10+1 two handed

We where considering some special rules for shields and to give the two weapons user a chance of sacrificing all defensive actions to gain a consistent bonus to his attack (+ the skill of the secondary weapon or + the special of the secondary weapon)

I apologise for my english...


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To put some perspective on this, these are my opinions on the benefit of two weapons.

This is based on my exposure to Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido, some Kendo sparring, some Niten Ichi Ryu kenjutsu and some Katori Shinto Ryu kenjutsu. I have also read several books on kenjutsu and Japanese martial arts including The Book of Five Rings.

Miyamoto Musashi developed his Niten Ichi Ryu two sword technique from desperation. That is, when outnumbered and in a situation where death was likely, it made no sense to die with a sheathed weapon.

Therefore, two swords make a lot of sense when outnumbered.

1. For one thing, it allows you to cover a wider arc for both defense and offence. It is harder for your enemies to attack your non weapon side. It allows you to strike equally to the left and right without sacrificing your guard.

2. Parrying is much easier when using two sword by crossing them.

3. You can strike while you parry and your opponent will be unable to parry as his weapon is entangled with your other one.

4. Feinting is easier with two weapons.

There is none of the common misconceptions about 'gaining' an additional attack as in D&D.

It could be easy to convert some of the above into house rules. However it pretty much feels like 'normal' combat.

Likes to sneak around


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I'm not sure this helps with a dedicated parrying weapon used only to parry (but then, dedicated parrying weapons without special features that enhanced them) but I'd think normally if you just permit the second weapon to trade-in its parry for a second attack at desire would be plenty of reason to carry one.

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The following rule is stuck firmly in my head after 10+ years running RQ3. I know the new BRP works differently, but please bear with me.

Each character has two actions per melee round. Two, period. There is no penalty for multiple parries because you can't normally do multiple parries, except as noted below.

Usually, one is an attack and the other is defensive (parry or dodge). However, you can't use a weapon twice for the same action in the same round. You can attack once and parry once with your sword, but you can't attack twice or parry twice with the same sword.

Using two weapons gives you the option of attacking twice OR parrying twice, once with each weapon (especially useful when outnumbered, but that's not the point). Either option uses up both your actions for the round. Faced with three or more opponents, you're generally screwed.

Being outnumbered is a bad thing. And methinks it should be. YMMV.

That's all. Just my 2 Eurocents.

BRP Zero Ed #136/420

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal death in judgement."

- The Fellowship of the Ring

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