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Wolfpack Six

Using a Weapon without a Corresponding Skill

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9 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

 

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...

I basically agree with you here, but I think rather than a 0 skill, which we all seem to dislike, the lack of traning could be handled in another way. Even something liek defaulting to DEX with a =5/+5 reflexive modifier would work better at reprsenting the telegraphing and such.

 

But I will say from real world experience I did get a few hits in on a trained swordsman while I was fairly green. Of course I took more than a few hits in the process, but it wasn't quite the runaway success that people expect. Apparently part of the problem is that untrained people tend to attempt (and occasionally succeed at) stuff that they shouldn't, and that can catch someone who knows better off guard. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, tenchi2a said:

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

 

No problem.  Same for my rebuttal.  Already forgot it. Can't even remember it.

In my experience, this issue comes up in KAP and RuneQuest related forums every so often.  Every one agrees there are some similarities and some differences.  Some people think the default should be big, others small.  I'm for generally smaller defaults.

Apart from historical reality, it is a game of course, I've found that something like -5 works well.  Players are more likely to diversify weapon skills if they actually can be reasonably proficient with alternates.  Going from sword 16 to mace 11 actually encourages some potential weapon switching, although your table  may vary.  Once you add in the vagaries of experience rolls, and cap the max skill from a default (for me at 15), you can get an array of weapon skills for more experience knights.  It all depends how your group plays though. 

F

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30 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

But I will say from real world experience I did get a few hits in on a trained swordsman while I was fairly green. Of course I took more than a few hits in the process, but it wasn't quite the runaway success that people expect. Apparently part of the problem is that untrained people tend to attempt (and occasionally succeed at) stuff that they shouldn't, and that can catch someone who knows better off guard. 

 

So I've been fencing for a couple of years (classical fencing, Italian dueling saber).  Hitting the maestro, if he doesn't want to get hit, is pretty hard, but he's not perfect.  One thing he always asks is, "would you have tried that if we had sharp weapons?"  The answer is usually no. You can hit any one if you're willing to be killed in the process, maybe.

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Do you (anyone) have any game systems that handle this topic well, in your opinion? Just curious. 

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11 minutes ago, fulk said:

So I've been fencing for a couple of years (classical fencing, Italian dueling saber).  Hitting the maestro, if he doesn't want to get hit, is pretty hard, but he's not perfect.  One thing he always asks is, "would you have tried that if we had sharp weapons?"  The answer is usually no. You can hit any one if you're willing to be killed in the process, maybe.

This tends to lead to another misconception brought on by movies,books, TV on the subject.

Getting through armor, wither it be Padded, Leather (which for the most part was two or more layers of leather with metal plates in-between), chain, or plate was a slime to none effect with most slashing/piercing weapons (sword, axes, spears,pikes, even arrows) with slime prone to taking vacations.

Most techniques relied on finding gaps in the armor or knocking them off their feet and using a dagger to end it.

From getting hit with way to many Bokkens, I can say that without armor landing a hit is all that is needed, but with armor you need to find the gaps.

I can still feel the pain lol.

45 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I basically agree with you here, but I think rather than a 0 skill, which we all seem to dislike, the lack of training could be handled in another way. Even something like defaulting to DEX with a =5/+5 reflexive modifier would work better at representing the telegraphing and such.

But I will say from real world experience I did get a few hits in on a trained swordsman while I was fairly green. Of course I took more than a few hits in the process, but it wasn't quite the runaway success that people expect. Apparently part of the problem is that untrained people tend to attempt (and occasionally succeed at) stuff that they shouldn't, and that can catch someone who knows better off guard. 

I'm guessing you mean -5/+5 here, if so,  yes I can see this as it would bring about the skill 5 average I was talking about and give an option for a higher skill level for the better skilled PC.

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40 minutes ago, fulk said:

Do you (anyone) have any game systems that handle this topic well, in your opinion? Just curious. 

GURPS handles this extremely well.

As skills are bought in a range of Attribute -3 to Attribute +5 and up cross-referenced by skill difficulty.

As a general rule, a skill defaults to its controlling attribute at -4 if Easy, -5 if Average, or -6 if Hard.

Some skills have no default level. For instance, Alchemy, Hypnotism and Karate are complex enough that
you cannot use them at all without training.

Example:

Impact Weapons

Axe/Mace (DX/average)

Default: Flail -4

Swords

Broadsword (DX/average)

Default: Rapier-4, Saber-4, Shortsword-2, or
Two-Handed Sword-4.

Knife (DX/Easy)

Defaults:  Main-Gauche-3, or Shortsword-3.

Edited by tenchi2a

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3 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

GURPS handles this extremely well.

Just to add, GURPS does have a separate shield skill and a dodge value, so the shield & (part of the) foot work are handled separately from your weapon skill. Weapon skill is just using your weapon, whereas in Pendragon, all three are wrapped up into the same skill.

Regarding the earlier point about skill levels, in KAP 5.2, a Farmer has Mace 8. I have difficulties justifying that a Knight would be less able to swing a club than a Farmer. Although I do also think that 8 is a bit too high for someone like a random farmer to just pick a club and start swinging, without any combat training at all.

Skill levels less than 5 are a good way to get killed. You really need Skill 10 to have a chance in combat, and I think Skill 15 should be relatively common for even newly-minted knights in their chosen weapon(s), and pretty much 15 or more for knights from mid-twenties onwards. Skill of 2-3 is next to useless, although it is obviously better than 0, which makes no sense whatsoever.

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One way to make low skills less abysmally bad would be to change the oppositions rules : In case both characters fail their roll, the highest roll wins, doing half damage.

5 hours ago, fulk said:

Do you (anyone) have any game systems that handle this topic well, in your opinion? Just curious. 

I think Paranoïa first edition did, with its skill trees.

For instance, it could have had 1 Broad "Melee" skill with branches "1 handed weapons" and "2 handed weapons". In turn, "1 handed weapons" would have had sub-branches "1H Sword", "1H Mace", "Dagger", and "1H Sword" would have had "Short Sword", "Broadsword", and so on...

So, a fighter could have had Melee 3, 1H Weapons 2, 1H Sword 1, Broadsword 3, Short sword 1, totalizing 9 levels when fighting with a broadsword, and 7 with a Short sword.

Neverheless, it's too fiddly for my tastes and I prefer to only have "trees" with only one level of specialization.

Edited by Mugen

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25 minutes ago, Mugen said:

One way to make low skills less abysmally bad would be to change the oppositions rules : In case both characters fail their roll, the highest roll wins, doing half damage.

Interesting suggestion, but I think it would make low skills even more lethal for the user, since someone with even skill 10 would be much more likely to slice and dice them, probably doing damage even on a 11+ roll.

There is a sorta way around the low skill already that does much of what you are suggesting, and it is the berserk attack, with mutually unopposed attacks with +10 to skill. I mean, if my opponent and I have skill 5, it is very much in my advantage to do Berserk attack at +10. His chance to hit is just 25%, while mine is 75%.

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7 minutes ago, Morien said:

Interesting suggestion, but I think it would make low skills even more lethal for the user, since someone with even skill 10 would be much more likely to slice and dice them, probably doing damage even on a 11+ roll.

Well, the "half damage" part should make it not very dangerous for an armoured knight. :)

7 minutes ago, Morien said:

There is a sorta way around the low skill already that does much of what you are suggesting, and it is the berserk attack, with mutually unopposed attacks with +10 to skill. I mean, if my opponent and I have skill 5, it is very much in my advantage to do Berserk attack at +10. His chance to hit is just 25%, while mine is 75%.

Yes, but if you and your opponent decide to simulteanously use Berserk or Defensive stance, we're back to the original opposed roll.

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2 hours ago, Mugen said:

One way to make low skills less abysmally bad would be to change the oppositions rules : In case both characters fail their roll, the highest roll wins, doing half damage.

I think Paranoïa first edition did, with its skill trees.

For instance, it could have had 1 Broad "Melee" skill with branches "1 handed weapons" and "2 handed weapons". In turn, "1 handed weapons" would have had sub-branches "1H Sword", "1H Mace", "Dagger", and "1H Sword" would have had "Short Sword", "Broadsword", and so on...

So, a fighter could have had Melee 3, 1H Weapons 2, 1H Sword 1, Broadsword 3, Short sword 1, totalizing 9 levels when fighting with a broadsword, and 7 with a Short sword.

Neverheless, it's too fiddly for my tastes and I prefer to only have "trees" with only one level of specialization.

Great game if you feel like having 8 characters in one sitting lol.

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10 hours ago, fulk said:

So I've been fencing for a couple of years (classical fencing, Italian dueling saber).  Hitting the maestro, if he doesn't want to get hit, is pretty hard, but he's not perfect.  One thing he always asks is, "would you have tried that if we had sharp weapons?"  The answer is usually no. You can hit any one if you're willing to be killed in the process, maybe.

Oh, agreed, a lot of it comes down to people trying stuff that they would never risk in areal fight because they aren't going to get killed in a practice fight.

 

In my particular case one of the reasons why I was more successful that I should have been was becuase I am left handed and stepped in a locked weapons in a way that a right hander wouldn't have. Then I had a knack for hitting his arm when he stepped back to disengage. It was more of a relfex move than an actual attack, but it wasn't something he expected from a novice. Mostly bad habits I picked up from old Errol Flynn movies!

 

 

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10 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

I'm guessing you mean -5/+5 here, if so,  yes I can see this as it would bring about the skill 5 average I was talking about and give an option for a higher skill level for the better skilled PC.

Yeah. The thing with skills \is that they tend to note not only relative skill but absolute skill and chance of success, but, realistically some things are much easier to do than others. Pretty much anybody can hit someone with a melee weapon almost all the time, if the opponent isn't trying to prevent it. If they are, then it gets more complicated and drawn out. 

The old RQ/KAP model of low skill fighters missing/failing with most of their attacks doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. I could easily see allowing the winner of a "failed" opposed roll to do normal damage. In real life I once clocked a friend in the side of the head really well with a shinai that way. I was actually swings to one side of him, to get him to step in the other direction (in RQ terms a feint, or "failed" attack roll), but he did a circular parry and turned what should have been a miss to his right side into a hit on his right side (basically he fumbled his parry). 

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10 hours ago, fulk said:

Do you (anyone) have any game systems that handle this topic well, in your opinion? Just curious. 

Maybe TSR's old SAGA system. Although it used cards instead of dice (it could easily have used a D10 and some sort of critical rule instead of the cards), and just treated everything as a modifier tot he final result, it worked.Opposed results were just compared and the higher result was the winner and did the difference in damage to the loser. FUDGE/FATE is similar is directly comapring results and having "default" results for each skill level, including unskilled, as did Castle Falkestein.

 

You could get a good idea of how it would work by using D20's Die+modifiers game mechanic with Pendragon's resolution, except you'd need to redefine partial success and failure (probably based on the difference between the winning and losing result).  Not that I'm advocating doing so, just giving an example.

Edited by Atgxtg

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23 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yeah. The thing with skills \is that they tend to note not only relative skill but absolute skill and chance of success, but, realistically some things are much easier to do than others. Pretty much anybody can hit someone with a melee weapon almost all the time, if the opponent isn't trying to prevent it. If they are, then it gets more complicated and drawn out. 

The old RQ/KAP model of low skill fighters missing/failing with most of their attacks doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. I could easily see allowing the winner of a "failed" opposed roll to do normal damage. In real life I once clocked a friend in the side of the head really well with a shinai that way. I was actually swings to one side of him, to get him to step in the other direction (in RQ terms a feint, or "failed" attack roll), but he did a circular parry and turned what should have been a miss to his right side into a hit on his right side (basically he fumbled his parry). 

It's also true for skills like Dance, or Climb, for instance, where a failure means you miserably fall on the ground (though Dance only hurts your self-esteem).

In my view, a failed skill roll should only mean that the character didn't manage to do what he wanted. With Dance, he's just not dancing very well, and with Climb, he can't progress.

With a Melee skill, he just does an ineffective attack, that is easy to defend against -except for incompetent fighters...

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11 hours ago, tenchi2a said:

Most techniques relied on finding gaps in the armor or knocking them off their feet and using a dagger to end it.

 

Absolutely.  There is a lot of wrestling (and half-swording) in the manuals that involve 'military' as opposed to 'civilian' fencing, especially in Fiore's work, which includes a whole section specifically on fighting in armor.  One uses the sword more like a can opener than anything else.  (My guess is that you're aware of this).  

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7 hours ago, Morien said:

Regarding the earlier point about skill levels, in KAP 5.2, a Farmer has Mace 8. I have difficulties justifying that a Knight would be less able to swing a club than a Farmer. Although I do also think that

 

As a related point, NPC skill levels are, I think, important for defining the world and your PKs place in it based on things like skills.  If a farmer has basically no military training, but Mace 8, a knight should start higher. If you inflate NPC skills, PKs will need/want to do the same. 

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I generally like the GURPS defaults.  I don't worry about that aspect being too complicated because the issue probably doesn't come up that often. GURPS overall is a bit more complicated than I like.  I can never figure out how many or what skills are appropriate for the setting.

Skill trees aren't too bad either, for the same reason.  Artesia, which is a Fuzion-based game, also uses skill trees -- Melee sKill and then specializing in something specific (sword) as the costs of increasing the base skill rise.

 

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8 hours ago, Morien said:

Just to add, GURPS does have a separate shield skill and a dodge value, so the shield & (part of the) foot work are handled separately from your weapon skill. Weapon skill is just using your weapon, whereas in Pendragon, all three are wrapped up into the same skill.

This would be true of early RuneQuest-based games too.

I'm not super fond of the separate shield (and maybe dodge) skills, but they do allow the character to port his/her defensive capabilities from one weapon to the next. 

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12 hours ago, Mugen said:

It's also true for skills like Dance, or Climb, for instance, where a failure means you miserably fall on the ground (though Dance only hurts your self-esteem).

Yup.

12 hours ago, Mugen said:

In my view, a failed skill roll should only mean that the character didn't manage to do what he wanted. With Dance, he's just not dancing very well, and with Climb, he can't progress.

In mine it should probably depend on just what he is attemtping and how difficult or easy it is. Yes the game does have modifiers to skill rolls, but thhey don't always fit the situation, especially with opposed rolls.

12 hours ago, Mugen said:

With a Melee skill, he just does an ineffective attack, that is easy to defend against -except for incompetent fighters...

Except that with the way KAP works, it's an ineffective attack that doesn't even have to be defended against  -even by incompetent fighters. 

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12 hours ago, fulk said:

I generally like the GURPS defaults. 

But GURPS uses a bell curve, so DEX-4 will mean very different things for a character with a 10 DEX (default 6, or about 9%) and one with an 18 DEX (default 14 or around a 91% success chance). 

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12 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

But GURPS uses a bell curve, so DEX-4 will mean very different things for a character with a 10 DEX (default 6, or about 9%) and one with an 18 DEX (default 14 or around a 91% success chance). 

True.  But you can't have everything.  :)   Plus, I'm not sure if that is a quirk or a feature...

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On 7/17/2019 at 5:55 AM, Atgxtg said:

Except that with the way KAP works, it's an ineffective attack that doesn't even have to be defended against  -even by incompetent fighters. 

Yep. Hence my post above where I say there should be a winner in opposed rolls in case both opponents fail their roll. :)

As a matter of fact, doing so would allow to have probabilities similar to what is found in d20 roll over games.

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21 hours ago, fulk said:

True.  But you can't have everything.  :)   Plus, I'm not sure if that is a quirk or a feature...

Well, when I played GURPS it did shock a lot of people that my 18 DEX character had a higher skill with their weapons, by default, than they had after spending points on those skills. IMO the default should be capped somewhere, much like in GURPS Supers, but probably a bit lower than in Supers and maybe vary based on the difficulty of the skill.

But as far a KAP goes, I think  the GURPS method wouldn't work that well, as the normal attribute range in KAP is much greater than in GURPS (where attributes tend to closer around the 7-15 range). 

5 hours ago, Mugen said:

Yep. Hence my post above where I say there should be a winner in opposed rolls in case both opponents fail their roll. :)

As a matter of fact, doing so would allow to have probabilities similar to what is found in d20 roll over games.

Yup, but probably also would give greater reason for just changing things to a D20+modifiers. The standard pass/fail game mechanic of KAP/BRP becomes unnecessary and can just be replaced with an opposing value (rolled or fixed).

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2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yup, but probably also would give greater reason for just changing things to a D20+modifiers. The standard pass/fail game mechanic of KAP/BRP becomes unnecessary and can just be replaced with an opposing value (rolled or fixed).

Well, Pendragon has the shield mechanism, for instance, and asks for less maths in most circumstances.

Of course, it is possible to implement the "shield mechanism" quite simply, with a "shield threshold" : if your (d20+skill) roll is inferior to your opponent's, but above Shield Threshold, substract 6 from damage.

Edited by Mugen

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