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Wolfpack Six

Using a Weapon without a Corresponding Skill

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Hello,

Let's say there's a knight who gets into a fight.  Doesn't really matter with whom.

This knight is a reasonably accomplished swordsman (Sword skill 16), but for some reason he doesn't have his sword with him.  There is an axe nearby, but our knight unfortunately has no Axe skill.

Can he use the axe as a weapon, even if he doesn't have the Axe skill?

Is there a/what is the rule that addresses situations such as these?

Thanks,

WP6

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To the best of my knowledge there is no unskilled rules in KAP 

Since he didn't have the skill he is reliant on modifiers to boost the skill to a usable number as there is no unskilled rules in RAW and a skill of 0 or less is an automatic fail.

You are just rolling to see if there is a fumble.

The GM could give a +3-5 to represent the players martial knowledge, but that all I would due in my game. 

Edited by tenchi2a

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5 hours ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Can he use the axe as a weapon, even if he doesn't have the Axe skill?

As tenchi2a said, there are currently no weapon skill defaults in KAP. The knight could pick up the axe and do Uncontrolled attacks which are +10 unopposed, if memory serves, but he would first have to suffer an unopposed attack from the opponent. Better than rolling on 0 skill, though.

This does fail a reality test for me. In our games, we adopted flat 10 weapon defaults for the knights, indicating their martial learning and crossover between different weapons, and flat 5 for ladies and everyone else, since swinging a weapon is not rocket science. I would, however, be more inclined to base the default on DEX (either DEX/2 or DEX-5, I am actually veering towards the latter since it gives each DEX point a benefit), to strengthen that statistic some and also since brawling comes out of DEX, too.

I have also seen suggestions of using highest Weapon/2 as a default but I dislike that, since it encourages specializing into a single weapon even more. I prefer giving DEX more of a role.

Edited by Morien

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1 hour ago, Morien said:

This does fail a reality test for me. In our games, we adopted flat 10 weapon defaults for the knights, indicating their martial learning and crossover between different weapons, and flat 5 for ladies and everyone else, since swinging a weapon is not rocket science. I would, however, be more inclined to base the default on DEX (either DEX/2 or DEX-5, I am actually veering towards the latter since it gives each DEX point a benefit), to strengthen that statistic some and also since brawling comes out of DEX, too.

You'd have to take into account the fact DEX/2 or DEX-5 is likely to be above most base skill values given in character creation rules, and DEX can change over time. A knight with DEX 18 is going to have 4 or 8 more points in his base sword skill than one with 10, for instance.

A solution would be to have a handful of melee skills (perhaps One handed weapons, Two handed weapons, Brawl). Each individual weapon would require training, though, and a character without proper training would get a -5 to his skill.

Edited by Mugen

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9 hours ago, Morien said:

The knight could pick up the axe and do Uncontrolled attacks which are +10 unopposed, if memory serves, but he would first have to suffer an unopposed attack from the opponent. 

But what skill would the Uncontrolled (Berserk?) attack be based on?

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Page 99 of 5.2 says:

Quote

Your character sheet lists every Skill and Combat Skill common to the Cymric culture. Non-standard Combat Skills like Great Axe are not printed, and all such Skills are assumed to start with a value of 0.

then page 115:

Quote

 

Values of Zero and Less

Due to modifiers a statistic might be temporarily reduced to zero or less. In such circumstances the character automatically fails, but must still roll since he has an increased chance to Fumble. Each point of the Skill below zero increases the chance to Fumble by one point. Fumble is normally a roll of 20. If a modified Skill is –4, then a Fumble results when anything from 16 to 20 is rolled.

 

I always give a +5 Modifier to non-standard combat skills if the weapon is similar to their normal weapon - an axe swings a bit like a sword and their sword skill is above 5. When they spend an experience point to gain the skill, it then starts at 1 as they have to unlearn sword fighting.

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51 minutes ago, Wolfpack Six said:

But what skill would the Uncontrolled (Berserk?) attack be based on?

By RAW, 0.

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12 hours ago, Mugen said:

You'd have to take into account the fact DEX/2 or DEX-5 is likely to be above most base skill values given in character creation rules, and DEX can change over time. A knight with DEX 18 is going to have 4 or 8 more points in his base sword skill than one with 10, for instance.

Not a problem.

Having a higher DEX default than a starting skill is not a problem. Obviously the default would be higher than skill 0, that's the whole point. But yes, some of the defaults would be higher than the weapon skills that already have some points in starting skills. DEX 18 with DEX/18 default would cap at 9, so below 10, but yes, DEX-5 would mean that your default is higher than your starting skill in Sword and Lance. Which is fine, in my book. You have earned those higher skills.

Also, I would allow training up from the default. If your DEX default is 6, and you spend 4 skill points on it, you end up with Skill 10. A huge hurdle for my players investing points on new weapon skills is that the weapon skills are nigh useless up to 15 or so. There is simply no point using Mace 10 if you have Sword 15. But Mace 15 vs. Sword 16... then you might prefer using a mace against another knight and keep your Sword as a secondary weapon if your mace breaks.

As for the change in DEX, easy. The vast majority of the time you would not be increasing DEX much after the beginning anyway, mostly just make up for Major Wounds. But even if you do, you simply use the higher of the skill or the default to roll. And once you have points in the skill, it doesn't go down if DEX drops.Similarly, the skill itself doesn't go up. So if you have Sword 15 and the default increases from 5 to 6, this has no effect on skills that are 6 or more. It does have an effect on Skill 5, because then you'd roll against Default 6, and if you get a check, I would allow rolling as if the skill is 6 to see if it increases to 7.

The even simpler option would be to just give the DEX default in the beginning for all weapon skills and ignore DEX changes in the future. But I don't think the above would be too difficult to GM, either.

 

Edited by Morien

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On 7/11/2019 at 9:28 PM, Wolfpack Six said:

Is there a/what is the rule that addresses situations such as these?

As everyone has already pointed out, according to the rules the knight would forthwith a 0 skill in axe. Also as Morien has already pointed out, the knight could opt for the "all-out" attack option to get a +10 skill. He could also possible invoke inspiration for +10 to skill (I think I mentioned that first).

Once again bring Morien's name up, his idea of using DEX/2 as a default for several skills (including weapon skills) and  APP/2 as a default for the courtly skills is one of the ideas that several of us have been considering in order to try and put DEX and APP more on par with SIZ, CON and STR. The situation you presented would be a great example where such a rule would be a huge boon. 

 

 

 

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I find the starting skill of 0 ridiculous, especially for knights.  Older versions of KAP had default skills for most weapons, that were also quite low.  I've always just used 1/2 dex as a minimum.  However, realistically, smacking someone with an axe really isn't a that different from smacking them with a sword.  I just can't see a huge difference in axe & shield vs. sword & shield vs mace & shield.  I also tend to use Best Weapon - 5, maxing at 15.  So a knight with sword 20 would default to mace 15.  Of course YPMV.  

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1 hour ago, fulk said:

I also tend to use Best Weapon - 5, maxing at 15

As I said above, I dislike that option, since it encourages to specialize even more on a single Weapon and then just default everything from that. After all, when you push Sword from 15 to 16, you get free increase of 1 point in ALL other weapons, whereas if you put your training into single secondary weapon, you only increase it by 1d6+1 or whatever houserule you are using (we ended with flat 5) with no benefit for other weapons.

At that point, I would be tempted to just do away with individual weapon skills altogether and just have Melee and Missile and let the Player decide his primary weapon in each. All other weapons are -1, and each time the PK goes up a skill level, he can change his primary weapon.

But the DEX/2 or DEX-5 base default works quite nicely.

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There is the old RQ rule of related skills working at half skill. That does mean than improving Sword would improve something related (like Axe), but at half skill it would take quite a lot to be good at the related weapon. 

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I am more for the idea of a flat 5 for martial training.

This gets that a Sword has things in common with an Axe but is welded in a different way.

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On 7/12/2019 at 1:10 PM, Morien said:
On 7/12/2019 at 12:19 PM, Wolfpack Six said:

But what skill would the Uncontrolled (Berserk?) attack be based on?

By RAW, 0.

The more I think about it, the more I think perhaps using the Berserk rules is a decent option.

While you get a +10 modifier (albeit to a zero-level skill), you have to let the enemy attack you first, unopposed; and if he hits, he can damage you, knock you out, or kill you before you got to strike.  I suppose that could represent the lack of nuance in fighting with an unfamiliar weapon.

If your character survives the encounter, I'd think that would be a noteworthy success (surviving a lethal encounter fighting with an unfamiliar weapon) and he'd get an experience check.  Rolling higher than zero gets that character to a "1" in that particular skill; therefore, he's no longer unskilled.

Seems like a workable solution.

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8 hours ago, Wolfpack Six said:

Seems like a workable solution.

It is what is in the rules currently, but as you no doubt have noticed, many of us find low weapon skills very displeasing. For instance, as fulk points out, just because you are suddenly holding a mace instead of a sword, that shouldn't mean that you lose all sense of your footwork and especially shieldwork. Also, you won't get the experience roll until the end of the year, in Winter Phase, and a skill of 1 is nigh useless. You really need at least 10 to even consider it an option unless you don't have an other choice (and 15 if you actually expect to win). I would rather fight with Dagger 10 than Axe 1 any day of the week, and probably choose defensive if it is a melee situation and one of the other PKs might come and help later.

Just throwing this out there as another possible houserule for weapon & shield combination: Your offensive default is your best weapon & shield -10. But your defense is still calculated on full skill. What does this mean? It means that if your skill is 20 and you pick an unfamiliar weapon, then you will only cause damage if you WIN (i.e. roll higher than the enemy's success) with a roll of 10 or less (with 10 being a critical hit). You'd parry with your full skill, so any roll from 11 to 19 could be a defensive win, as with the defensive maneuver. 20 is a fumble, since it is based on your weapon skill, not your shield skill.

That was just from the top of my head and it does suffer from the Primary Skill default problem that I dislike, as well as being more fiddly than fulk's flat -5. But I figured I'd throw it out there if someone finds it interesting and wants to try it out.

Oh, speaking of... I don't know if you guys do this, but in our game, if you are unarmed but with a shield and fighting defensively, we allow you to use your highest one-handed weapon skill to represent the shield work. Anyone else do this?

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11 minutes ago, Morien said:

Just throwing this out there as another possible houserule for weapon & shield combination: Your offensive default is your best weapon & shield -10. But your defense is still calculated on full skill. What does this mean? It means that if your skill is 20 and you pick an unfamiliar weapon, then you will only cause damage if you WIN (i.e. roll higher than the enemy's success) with a roll of 10 or less (with 10 being a critical hit). You'd parry with your full skill, so any roll from 11 to 19 could be a defensive win, as with the defensive maneuver. 20 is a fumble, since it is based on your weapon skill, not your shield skill.

 

It's not a bad idea overall, but it is more fiddly than I would like. I think a default (-5, -10, 1/2 current skill etc) makes more sense for other reasons too.  Your shield work depends a bit on your axe work.  If you over extend, because you are unfamiliar with weight and balance of the axe, your defense will be lower.  Plus...its just more simple.

Personally, for me, have a decent default makes it more likely that I will use an axe or mace in some circumstances and thereby actually advance them through experience rolls.

 

As always YPMV.

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18 hours ago, Morien said:

It is what is in the rules currently, but as you no doubt have noticed, many of us find low weapon skills very displeasing. For instance, as fulk points out, just because you are suddenly holding a mace instead of a sword, that shouldn't mean that you lose all sense of your footwork and especially shieldwork.

Yes, plus realistically it doesn't take much skill to successfully hit somebody with an object. if it did the homicide rate in the real would would drop dramatically. It's not like most of the axe murders around today have any sort of combat training, and two kids with Nerf swords will hit each other, a lot

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I think the takeaway is:  weapons skills shouldn't start at zero and you should get some credit for being a good fighter in general...how you model that depends on your version of Pendragon.

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, plus realistically it doesn't take much skill to successfully hit somebody with an object. if it did the homicide rate in the real would would drop dramatically. It's not like most of the axe murders around today have any sort of combat training, and two kids with Nerf swords will hit each other, a lot

 

1 hour ago, fulk said:

I think the takeaway is:  weapons skills shouldn't start at zero and you should get some credit for being a good fighter in general...how you model that depends on your version of Pendragon.

This all comes down to where your level of "Suspension of disbelief" comes in.

I always just assumed that he was looking at this from a "if you are a knight and you are swinging your sword it is at someone who also has martial training" perspective.

If you look at it that way a person trained with a Arming sword who picks up a battleaxe is not going to be as comfortable with it and telegraph most of his moves with it to a trained warrior.

This will leave them unbalanced and provide way to many openings for his opponent to exploit for him to be effective in combat.

Or he will use the axe like a sword which outside the similarity of sharp end at target, would not function well.

Now this in no way means I agree with the 0 skill level, it does make me think that anything around skill level 10 is to much, as this is the starting point for the sword skill at age 21 if you don't spend your starting points on it. So that's why at most I would allow its uses at skill level 5.

But that's just my two cents.

 

Edited by tenchi2a

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26 minutes ago, tenchi2a said:

Now this in no way means I agree with the 0 skill level, it does make me think that anything around skill level 10 is to much, as this is the starting point for the sword skill at age 21 if you don't spend your starting points on it. So that's why at most I would allow its uses at skill level 5.

But that's just my two cents.

 

In the end, whatever works in your game. 

I'm for a higher default for several reasons.   If you look at late medieval and early rinascimento fencing manuals (Fiore, Marozzo) one of the things they point out is that the principles defense (footwork etc) are the same. The guards, footwork, etc for a pole axe are the same as for a longsword, etc. Some like Pietro Monte point out that everybody knows that you can use a one-handed sword more or less the same way as a longsword/bastard sword, so he's not going to talk about 1-h swords.  These manuals also show that fighters trained and were aware of a range of weapons.  I assume, in a KAP environment, that knights are familiar with swords, maces, and axes, but prefer one. So dropping to 5 as a starting point, seems unrealistic. YPMV

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1 hour ago, fulk said:

In the end, whatever works in your game. 

I'm for a higher default for several reasons.   If you look at late medieval and early rinascimento fencing manuals (Fiore, Marozzo) one of the things they point out is that the principles defense (footwork etc) are the same. The guards, footwork, etc for a pole axe are the same as for a longsword, etc. Some like Pietro Monte point out that everybody knows that you can use a one-handed sword more or less the same way as a longsword/bastard sword, so he's not going to talk about 1-h swords.  These manuals also show that fighters trained and were aware of a range of weapons.  I assume, in a KAP environment, that knights are familiar with swords, maces, and axes, but prefer one. So dropping to 5 as a starting point, seems unrealistic. YPMV

Statements like this make me face-palm.

Most of these names don't come close to representing the type of swords that people think.

I blame D&D for this.

What most games call a sword/one-handed sword is an arming sword. one-handed sword has never truly been a term to represent a type of sword.

The term Long sword also doesn't represent any one type of sword and handle length, it represent the length of the blade and can be a one-handed/hand and a half/ or two-handed sword.

The name bastard sword has nothing to due with any physical characteristics of the sword, It represents a lack of knowledge of its place of origin. Thus the uses of the name bastard.

Also there are major differences in stances, orientation, and footwork just with swords between how one uses it with or without a shield.

Like, contrary to movie depiction it was common for a swordsman to hold the hilt with one hand and the base of the blade with the other when not using a shield. This allowed them to use the sword for defense as well as attack.

And from my area of knowledge, you use a katana way differently then a naginata. So the idea that you would use a pole axe the same as a sword seems wrong on way to many level for me.

Anyway back to the OP topic

 As I said, from the games starting skills we can assume that level 10 in a skill represents a knights minimum level of sword skill. To pick up a axe and just have that level of skill without training brakes "Suspension of disbelief" for me. To me I am being generous giving an unskilled knight 5 in the game, as I look at the fact that if he wanted during character creation he could have obtained the skill with basic creation points, not even using previous experience. Then you have the issues of, if he get the skill later in the game it starts at 1 which again  brakes  "Suspension of disbelief" for me. That said play it how you want.

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3 hours ago, fulk said:

In the end, whatever works in your game. 

I'm for a higher default for several reasons.   If you look at late medieval and early rinascimento fencing manuals (Fiore, Marozzo) one of the things they point out is that the principles defense (footwork etc) are the same. The guards, footwork, etc for a pole axe are the same as for a longsword, etc. Some like Pietro Monte point out that everybody knows that you can use a one-handed sword more or less the same way as a longsword/bastard sword, so he's not going to talk about 1-h swords.  These manuals also show that fighters trained and were aware of a range of weapons.  I assume, in a KAP environment, that knights are familiar with swords, maces, and axes, but prefer one. So dropping to 5 as a starting point, seems unrealistic. YPMV

It's not just about stance and guards. It's about where you target and the angle of impact of the blow. You can't target weak spots in the armour with a mace in the same way that can with a sword. What would be a glancing blow with  a sword would cave in armour with a mace. 

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4 hours ago, fulk said:

I assume, in a KAP environment, that knights are familiar with swords, maces, and axes, but prefer one. So dropping to 5 as a starting point, seems unrealistic.

Maybe the thing to do is to use the starting value for Sword, Axe, or Mace, and allow players to use that for all those skills at the beginning of the game (as a sort of default level); but as their characters gain experience using each weapon individually, they will improve separately.

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3 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

Statements like this make me face-palm.

 

I defer to your utterly superior knowledge and intelligence. 

You can argue about longsword* and poleaxe with Fiore dei Liberi (1409) who explicitly shows that the guards for a poleaxe are the same as the guards for sword (with two hands) and that one can also use the same guards with a spear. You can argue with Petro Monte (~1500 or so) about 1H vs 2H swords.   He notes that the principles of the sword in two hands applies to the sword in one hand, although he does also list a differences too.  Of course, these examples aren't specifically relevant to the early period in KAP.    

Nevertheless, all the details aside, no one is suggesting that things are exactly the same. Weapons have different weights, lengths, strengths and weaknesses.

It is a matter of how big a penalty you think applies for shifting from a sword and shield to a mace and shield, or whatever. Clearly you like a bigger drop.  I just don't think the penalty should be as large when shifting between weapons that are used similarly. Of course there are some differences between a sword and a mace, but dropping from Sword 20 to Mace 5 seems too much as it ignores all the experience about combat in general that the knight has gained moving from 10 at the start of chargen to 20 after years of experience. 

I would set the penalty based on similarity of use between the weapons.  For example, I don't think being good with a lance would give you much aptitude with a dagger.  

Regardless, KAP is a simple game mechanically.  You can chose a -5 or a -10 or base 5 pretty easily. YPMV. 

* (in modern English parlance, or hand and a half, or bastard, or spada in due mani, spadone, or sword in two hands, I agree contemporaries didn't use the terms longsword or bastard sword, mostly just 'sword' in translation)

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55 minutes ago, fulk said:

I defer to your utterly superior knowledge and intelligence. 

Quote

* (in modern English parlance, or hand and a half, or bastard, or spada in due mani, spadone, or sword in two hands, I agree contemporaries didn't use the terms longsword or bastard sword, mostly just 'sword' in translation)

Just to be clear, as giving it a second read I did come off a little harsh.

This was a build-up of dealing with gamers whos only knowledge of swords came from D&D. Same goes for armor LOL.

Quote

You can argue about longsword* and poleaxe with Fiore dei Liberi (1409) who explicitly shows that the guards for a poleaxe are the same as the guards for sword (with two hands) and that one can also use the same guards with a spear. You can argue with Petro Monte (~1500 or so) about 1H vs 2H swords.   He notes that the principles of the sword in two hands applies to the sword in one hand, although he does also list a differences too.  Of course, these examples aren't specifically relevant to the early period in KAP.    

Nevertheless, all the details aside, no one is suggesting that things are exactly the same. Weapons have different weights, lengths, strengths and weaknesses.

It is a matter of how big a penalty you think applies for shifting from a sword and shield to a mace and shield, or whatever. Clearly you like a bigger drop.  I just don't think the penalty should be as large when shifting between weapons that are used similarly. Of course there are some differences between a sword and a mace, but dropping from Sword 20 to Mace 5 seems too much as it ignores all the experience about combat in general that the knight has gained moving from 10 at the start of chargen to 20 after years of experience. 

I would set the penalty based on similarity of use between the weapons.  For example, I don't think being good with a lance would give you much aptitude with a dagger.  

Regardless, KAP is a simple game mechanically.  You can chose a -5 or a -10 or base 5 pretty easily. YPMV. 

As I said I just feel that 10 is to high.

In truth, I think 5 is to high also, but look at it as a compemies between the 2 or 3 I think its worth and 10, to at least make it playable.

Edited by tenchi2a

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