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Old 05-18-2016, 09:42 AM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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.
The GURPS designers had a choice: they could try to work out appropriate modifiers for a thrust to the foot from the rear left with a pitchfork gripped overhand against someone trained in Hoplomachia standing on slippery ground and aware of two enemies so and so ... or they could pick hit location modifiers which feel vaguely reasonable across a wide range of situations, from a gunfight to a fistfight. They understandably chose the latter.

Martial arts differ widely about what stance one should adopt in single combat, and in real fights much less chaotic than a typical fight in a RPG, those ideal stances tend to go out the window.

GURPS combat is not particularly realistic, but it gives ordinary people a way to resolve a wide variety of situations, and it makes it possible to translate between everyday language and GURPS jargon in a straightforward way. It does not create those issues of "you hit him with your blaster pistol, but not hit-hit, just inflicted Hit Points of damage" which more abstract systems create.

Styles which prefer to keep a hand and weapon forward are likely to get the Fencing bonuses to defence.

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.
Historically, maces/warhammers were used explicitly to deal with plate armor, but GURPS doesn't seem to reconcile this.
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.
When armoured warriors fought each other in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, they preferred lances and pollaxes and other big two-handed weapons, or using maces and hammers from horseback where the speed of the horse added force. Warriors often took many hits from those two-handed weapons and kept fighting. The blog A Commonplace Book has a handy collection of accounts of deeds of arms, summaries of experiments, etc.
"It is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." H. Beam Piper

Last edited by Polydamas; 05-18-2016 at 10:21 AM.
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