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Old 05-18-2016, 02:41 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2010
Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

OK quick reply will try and expand later (when I get to work) EDIT: OK I've added a bit more.

One thing some of the stuff I mention below is in supplements namely Martial Arts and Martial Arts: Gladiators. I recommend both but especially the former if you're going to get into more detailed h-t-h combat with lots of clever tactics etc.

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Okay, so we've been playing, and things have been great, but we've noticed a few... irregularities. This post covers four major questions I've got.

1. Hitboxes
So we're considering moving from narratively-determined hitboxes to rolled/called hitboxes, because we want to make combat more lethal, and we've decided that we need hit locations to implement wounds, crippling damage, etc.
However, we've realized something strange: A trained swordsman would definitely keep as much of his body away from the enemy as possible, but nevertheless the enemy can still call a shot against his back left foot, and as far as I know there is no avenue for the swordsman to "improve" his dodge; his front left hand is at much risk as back left foot. I am aware of the fencing weapon parry being +3, easier to ready, etc. But this means that, as far as I can tell, a trained gladiator swordsman can't improve his chances of dodging with stance or skill, except by getting combat reflexes.

There are rules in Martial Arts: Gladiators for angled stances that presents one side and denies the other. And also for focussed defence which focuses your defence against one side at the expense of the other.

Improving dodge is matter of either doing so directly by improving the underlying stats or taking enhanced defence: dodge, or taking manoeuvres that allow to you to dodge better (Defensive attack, or All our Defence, retreat etc)

Also not sure what you mean by "fencing parry being +3 easier"? Its better in combination with retreat than others, and it get less penalties for multiple parries in a turn (it comes with some down sides as well though)

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
2. Impaling Weapons
We have a spear-wielder, and he is a killing machine. We don't use combat distance very strictly, but we do have a rule that if someone is too close he has to shove, hit with the butt of the spear, retreat, etc. Is there some kind of bonus to parrying spears, avoiding them, or something else? Because he has impaling damage, any successful attacks he makes automatically do really severe damage, and usually the enemies are stuck on his spear and as such are further incapacitated.
Is that pretty normal? Or is combat distance the ceiling on impaling weapons? Some guidance here would be nice.

Spears are good, cheap and effective weapons. But you might want to enforce the reach rules especially the rule for swapping between reach ranges (depending on what spear they are using). Get into Close combat range will hurt him as well. But also armour, every point of DR will stop 2 points of Imp injury.

What kind of ST's are we talking about here, that can make a significant difference (especially with RAW)

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Additionally, he has SL14 with spear, which honestly I feel is preposterous because he's a merchant and not a gladiator, but that's his own character. This means he almost never fails his attacks, and as a result pretty much just mows down foes. Some guidance/comments would be appreciated.
Skill 14 is a pretty professional level. There's a chap who posts here called Douglas Cole who does some excellent stuff for GURPS here and in Pyramid articles. He has an equally excellent Blog, Here's a page he did on skill levels for melee.

What are you giving his opponents in terms of defences? Assuming no other factors someone with a skill of 12 and a medium (2DB) shield should be parrying him at Parry 11 or 63% of the time. Shields are great, also those tactics for helping increase dodge above will help his opponents to stay alive as well.

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
3. Rigid armor
I have a judgment call to ask about for rigid armor. The blunt trauma mechanic only applies to flexible armor, and only if all the damage is absorbed. Because almost all other weapons are cutting/impaling, this puts crushing weapons at a pretty clear disadvantage.
Actually the blunt trauma rules favours Cr weapons, so how are you applying it?

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Historically, maces/warhammers were used explicitly to deal with plate armor, but GURPS doesn't seem to reconcile this.
There is lots of thread that go into detail about this, but in short maces weren't (but they are better at it than say swords due to that higher damage, but then swords were really bad at it). Warhammers and other weapons that are often billed as anti-plate weapon went about it by targeting weak spots, tripping, levering etc rather than smashing through it.

However in general you do have an issue that by RAW ST based hand held weapons will quickly start giving unrealistic effects against armour as ST increases. This issue and how to tackle it is regular topic here, you will be able to find threads pretty easily.

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
My friend suggests that maces are designed to deal with higher DR, rigid armor with their straight bonus damage. However, a steel breastplate is DR 5. Which means that my guy, with a weapon explicitly designed to counter rigid armor, with his 1d+3 damage, can only do a maximum of 4 damage to a knight's chest. This just seems incongruous to me, considering that in all-knight situations, typical weaponry was pretty much entirely maces or warpicks.
Well 4 points of damage is pretty good (IMO). But what maces and Cr weapon in general are good against is one of the most popular and long lived armour types in history, mail. Mail was around for far, far longer than full plate and in GURPS most types of mail get a -2 DR reduction vs. Cr damage.

Originally Posted by electrum View Post
4. Hit chances
We have a lot of narrative explaining away of missed strikes as "he manages to curl himself away from you, and the sword narrowly passes in front of his chest." This seems a little strange considering we're all warriors. Is this the result of no one taking "evaluate" maneuvers? Or is this the difference between SL10, SL11, and SL12, as I see 12 describing professional skill level?
Not quite sure what you mean here, you have just missing (i.e. failing the skill roll) but as you point out above once you get to skill 12+ and no other mods applying its pretty easy to be on target.

But you also have defences succeeding. Take that Skill 14 merchant you mentioned earlier. Yes he'll be on target 91% of the time, but he'll also succeed on his normal parry with just that skill 50% of the time.

So your descriptions will change accordingly.

Anyway cheers and let me know if all that makes sense and/or you have more questions


Last edited by Tomsdad; 05-19-2016 at 04:42 AM.
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