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Old 05-18-2016, 02:13 AM   #1
electrum
 
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Default Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?
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Old 05-18-2016, 02:41 AM   #2
Tomsdad
 
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.


Quote:
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)

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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)

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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.



Quote:
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?



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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.

Quote:
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.


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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

TD

Last edited by Tomsdad; 05-19-2016 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:31 AM   #3
electrum
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad
Actually the blunt trauma rules favours Cr weapons, so how are you applying it?
Yes, the blunt trauma rule does favor Cr weapons, but the issue is that, according to my book (Basic Set 4E), blunt trauma only happens when the victim is wearing flexible armor and all of the damage is absorbed by the armor. Taking your example of a mail shirt, that means that they only suffer blunt trauma if I deal either a 1 or a 2 before DR. Sure, blunt trauma accumulates twice as fast for Cr weapons, but the effect is so narrowly applied that it feels pretty useless. If I'm relying on a 5-to-1 damage conversion to defeat an enemy by pecking at him with 2s and 1s, I would say that is a poor weapon. Almost worse than a dagger, even.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad
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)
Yeah, that's what I meant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad
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.
I will have to look those up. We additionally realized a sort of odd strategy: If one of your arms gets crippled, it's already useless. So why not turn to face the enemy with that arm and let him pummel on it some more? According to most of the rules that arm can't inflict more damage to you as a whole unless he lands another crippling hit, so statistically it's advantageous to use your arm as a literal meatshield if you have nothing else. Is that correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad
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.
We've had issues in the past with combat taking too long due to too many enemies, too strong, dodge too readily, etc. So we've taken up a sort of house mook rule which makes them pretty weak. I'll have to take into account the shield giving 1/2DB though. That would definitely turn the tables on him a little.


Speaking of active defenses, we realized that one of our PCs took a cloak because he thought it was cool, and it has been giving him +1DB this whole time and we didn't realize. Because that +1DB is quite impactful we're using damage to shields. What are some typical rules for when that's targeted? It doesn't really make a lot of sense to me to say that a successful parry or block by the DB of the cloak means that I parried with the cloak. A dodge would, however. Also, do you prioritize hitting the cloak first, then the shield?
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:06 AM   #4
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Yes, the blunt trauma rule does favor Cr weapons, but the issue is that, according to my book (Basic Set 4E), blunt trauma only happens when the victim is wearing flexible armor and all of the damage is absorbed by the armor. Taking your example of a mail shirt, that means that they only suffer blunt trauma if I deal either a 1 or a 2 before DR. Sure, blunt trauma accumulates twice as fast for Cr weapons, but the effect is so narrowly applied that it feels pretty useless. If I'm relying on a 5-to-1 damage conversion to defeat an enemy by pecking at him with 2s and 1s, I would say that is a poor weapon. Almost worse than a dagger, even.
You'll still do better with a mace against mail though.
OK quick set up: ST10 3lb Broadsword (1d+1 cut) and ST10 3lb small Mace (1d+2 cr)

Both vs. DR5 mail


The sword on average does 4.5 and won't beat the mail

The mace on average does 5.5 but the mail is only DR3 vs. Cr so will actually do damage on average.

Now as I said this get's into a big topic about hand held ST derived damage vs. DR, but I'm trying to stick to basic RAW for the moment!


Just quickly blunt trauma is almost a red herring at this level as it's unlikely to apply. You have to do at least 5 points of Cr damage against flexible DR that will stop all that Cr damage (or 10 for Cut/Imp attacks which is even less likely).


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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
I will have to look those up. We additionally realized a sort of odd strategy: If one of your arms gets crippled, it's already useless. So why not turn to face the enemy with that arm and let him pummel on it some more? According to most of the rules that arm can't inflict more damage to you as a whole unless he lands another crippling hit, so statistically it's advantageous to use your arm as a literal meatshield if you have nothing else. Is that correct?
In theory yes, but the reality is unless your opponent actively decides to target that crippled arm it won't get hit. Well unless you use random locations in which case yes it's a soak location in terms of nothing else getting hit. Personally I'd still apply a stun penalty for getting hit in an already crippled limb even if there was no HP loss (it will still hurt a lot).

The stance rules in MA:G add a bit of detail in that turning side on and having your weapon in your trailing hand can effect that weapons reach so you might end up negatively effecting your ability to fight.


The reality is for more low level fights having an arm crippled is pretty much going to be the end of a fight. Or certainly the beginning of the end

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
We've had issues in the past with combat taking too long due to too many enemies, too strong, dodge too readily, etc. So we've taken up a sort of house mook rule which makes them pretty weak. I'll have to take into account the shield giving 1/2DB though. That would definitely turn the tables on him a little.
Mook rules are pretty common, and to be fair they are designed towards your PCs hitting often and ending fights quickly, which is what this chap seem's to be doing.

The corollary is the GURPS combat system also gives various ways to fight defensively. Should you ever want to draw your combats out give your mooks big DB3 shields, and the shield wall training perk.


Quote:
Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Speaking of active defenses, we realized that one of our PCs took a cloak because he thought it was cool, and it has been giving him +1DB this whole time and we didn't realize. Because that +1DB is quite impactful we're using damage to shields. What are some typical rules for when that's targeted? It doesn't really make a lot of sense to me to say that a successful parry or block by the DB of the cloak means that I parried with the cloak. A dodge would, however. Also, do you prioritize hitting the cloak first, then the shield?
Sorry I'm not quite sure what you are asking. There are rules for damaging shields pg 484 & 287 (and cloaks pg 484 & 184).


But you seem to be talking about using a cloak and shield at the same time (which I guess you could do one in either hand, I'd allow the defender to chose which took the potential damage in the case it came up)?

Last edited by Tomsdad; 05-18-2016 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:38 AM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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.
As Tomsdad has noted, there are options in Gladiators for denying the foe access to one side or the other of your body.

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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 great weapons. While they're mostly restricted to thrust damage (used with Staff they can be swung), at typical ST's their bonus to damage offsets their lack of swing damage. There aren't really any spear-specific rules.

However, I should note that, unless using a barbed head, thrust impaling weapons don't get stuck like swing impaling weapons do - the default assumption for a spear strike is that you stab and withdraw (leaving your weapon free to Parry incoming attacks). If the character opts to use a barbed head (which makes thrust impaling attacks get stuck just like swing impaling ones do), keep in mind that while his spear is in his foe's gut, it's going to be extremely awkward - if not outright impossible - to Parry with it, and he can't Retreat without abandoning his weapon.

Quote:
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.
Depends heavily on your campaign. Spear-14 is appropriate for a moderately elite spearman. If the character were a soldier before becoming a merchant, I wouldn't even blink at the choice, even in a high-realism game. If he's been a merchant all his life, he needs something in his backstory to explain why he's so good - simply training heavily for one reason or another ("So that when I see a pirate, I can kill it!") could be justification enough.

Mowing down his foes is due to your houserules that make mowing down foes easy. If your issue is that the other characters have rather low levels of skill and thus tend to miss frequently, consider Telegraphic Attacks from Martial Arts - these greatly increase your hit chance but make it easier for enemies to defend. The spearman still has an advantage over his less-skilled allies, as he can either attack without giving his foes a better chance to defend or can burn the bonus from TA to target hit locations.

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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.
In Low Tech, such weapons have better damage than their cut/imp relatives (and leave swords in the dust), which indeed gives them better armor penetration. Low Tech also has an optional rule where cutting damage that doesn't at least double the target's DR value actually gets downgraded to crushing, which brings the two closer in terms of injury.

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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?
In real fights (or even just sparring, honestly), it's very easy to misjudge distance, for your foe to move out of the way of an attack accidentally (perhaps while maneuvering to get into position for his own attack), and so forth.

And, yeah, at skill 10, 11, and 12, you're likely to see a decent number of outright misses - 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 of all attacks, respectively. Evaluate, Telegraphic Attack, and Committed/All Out Attacks can give you bonuses to help offset this.

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Yes, the blunt trauma rule does favor Cr weapons, but the issue is that, according to my book (Basic Set 4E), blunt trauma only happens when the victim is wearing flexible armor and all of the damage is absorbed by the armor. Taking your example of a mail shirt, that means that they only suffer blunt trauma if I deal either a 1 or a 2 before DR. Sure, blunt trauma accumulates twice as fast for Cr weapons, but the effect is so narrowly applied that it feels pretty useless. If I'm relying on a 5-to-1 damage conversion to defeat an enemy by pecking at him with 2s and 1s, I would say that is a poor weapon. Almost worse than a dagger, even.
That's pretty much a non-issue, honestly. Yes, blunt trauma only comes into play if you don't penetrate armor - but your crushing attack still has a better chance of penetrating armor to start with, which matters far more than piddling blunt trauma.

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
We additionally realized a sort of odd strategy: If one of your arms gets crippled, it's already useless. So why not turn to face the enemy with that arm and let him pummel on it some more? According to most of the rules that arm can't inflict more damage to you as a whole unless he lands another crippling hit, so statistically it's advantageous to use your arm as a literal meatshield if you have nothing else. Is that correct?
There are no rules for shielding a part of your body with another part of your body, no. Such rules would be welcome (and would probably come down to something like a Brawling Parry with a bonus for getting your arm actually hit rather than using it to knock the attack aside), but wouldn't apply here - your arm is crippled, so you can't very well put it between yourself and an attack, and a uselessly-flopping arm isn't really going to get in the way of someone's attack.

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
Speaking of active defenses, we realized that one of our PCs took a cloak because he thought it was cool, and it has been giving him +1DB this whole time and we didn't realize. Because that +1DB is quite impactful we're using damage to shields. What are some typical rules for when that's targeted? It doesn't really make a lot of sense to me to say that a successful parry or block by the DB of the cloak means that I parried with the cloak. A dodge would, however. Also, do you prioritize hitting the cloak first, then the shield?
First off, you don't get that +1 DB just for wearing a cloak - you must be wielding it in one of your hands (with it draped over your arm). Secondly, DB from multiple sources - say, a guy with two shields, or a shield and a cloak - do not stack, rather you just use whichever gives the better bonus. Finally, the way I interpret it, here's what combat looks like with a shield or cloak: If you Dodge/Parry without DB coming into play, this is a normal Dodge/Parry (you get out of the way, or you deflect the attack with your weapon). If you Block without DB coming into play, this means you deflected the attack off of the shield/cloak. If you Dodge/Parry with MoS=(DB-1) or lower, you weren't quite able to get out of the way or fully deflect the attack, but it hit your shield/cloak rather than hitting you directly. If you Block with MoS=(DB-1) or lower, you caught the attack on your shield/cloak, rather than deflecting it off of it.
Do note that cloaks have rather low Cover DR, meaning when it gets hit, it typically just means you get a little extra DR (1 or 2) rather than the attack actually being stopped by the cloak. Shields, on the other hand, typically have sufficient Cover DR to negate attacks up until the shield breaks.
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Old 05-18-2016, 09:42 AM   #6
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 05-18-2016 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:26 AM   #7
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
... Such rules would be welcome (and would probably come down to something like a Brawling Parry with a bonus for getting your arm actually hit rather than using it to knock the attack aside), ...
The Harsh Realism for Unarmed Fighters box in MA (pg 124) has a better take on this than Campaigns:

Parrying Weapons: Unarmed combat
skills – including Judo and Karate –
parry weapons, swung or otherwise, at
-3. Failure by 3 or less means the parry
still “succeeds” in the sense that you got
your limb in the way. The attacker hits
the parrying limb instead of his intended
target, and rolls his usual damage. In close
combat (only), ignore this drawback
for Judo and Karate parries vs. rigid
crushing weapons – clubs, sticks, etc.


But as you say wouldn't matter in the case of trying to do so with a crippled limb
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Old 05-18-2016, 12:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrum
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.
I fail to see your problem with blunt trauma. First, blunt trauma only applies to flexible armor and in the Basic Set those flexible armors are specifically called out by being marked with an asterisk. Flexible armor applies to most damage types, it doesn't matter if it's crushing, cutting, impaling or any of the various piercing attacks, they're all affected by the blunt trauma rule. As per Basic Set (p379) blunt trauma requires a full 5 points of damage to be absorbed by the armor in order to inflict 1 point of blunt trauma injury for a crushing weapon but a full 10 points of damage to be absorbed by the armor in order to inflict 1 point of blunt trauma injury for any of the other mentioned types of damage. It also specifies that no blunt injury damage occurs if any damage actually gets through the flexible armor's DR.

So, let's pick a couple of weapons (thrusting broadsword, mace and flintlock pistol) and see how they do against rigid and non-rigid armor. For our purposes everybody is ST 10 for basic damage and skill doesn't matter since we're assuming a successful hit. This gives us 1d+1 cut or 1d imp for our thrusting broadsword depending on whether we slash or thrust with it, 1d+3 cr with our mace and 2d-1 with a .51 flintlock pistol.


A double mail hauberk is flexible armor with DR5/3.

If we slash with our broadsword, we will only penetrate the armor on a roll of 5 or 6, which will allow either 1 or 2 points of damage to get through and it is multiplied by 1.5, so we do either 2 or 3 points of injury.
If we roll a 4, then we do 5 points of damage which is fully absorbed by the armor and, as it is not 10 full points of damage, no blunt trauma injury occurs.
Since nothing in the blunt trauma rules implies that the damage accumulates from round to round, we can never give blunt trauma from a ST 10 character wielding this weapon in that manner.
The average injury done by our thrusting broadsword when it slashes against a double mail hauberk is ([0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 2 + 3] = 5/6 points of injury.

If we thrust with our broadsword, we only penetrate the armor on a roll of 6, which will allow 1 point of damage to get through and it is multiplied by 2, so we do 2 points of damage.
If we roll a 5, that damage is fully absorbed by the armor and again, as it isn’t 10 full points of damage, there is no blunt trauma injury.
The average injury done by our thrusting broadsword when it is thrust against a double mail hauberk is [0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 2] = 2/6 points of injury.

The .51 flintlock pistol penetrates the armor on a roll of 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12, which allows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 points of damage to penetrate and it is multiplied by 1.5 for 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 or 9 points of injury.
A roll of 6 will be fully absorbed and again, it is less than 10 full points of damage, so no blunt trauma occurs.
The average injury done by our pistol when fired against a double mail hauberk is
[0 + 0x2 + 0x3 + 0x4 + 0x5 + 2x6 + 3x5 + 5x4 + 6x3 + 8x2 + 9x1] = [12 + 15 + 20 + 18 + 16 + 9] =
90/36 = 2 3/6 points of injury.

Because our mace is a crushing weapon, the double mail hauberk only gets DR 3.
The mace penetrates on a roll of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 doing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 points of damage which is multiplied by 1 for the same number of points of injury.
Since the mace always penetrates, the blunt trauma rules never come into play.
The average damage done by our mace when it strikes against a double mail hauberk is
[1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6] = 21/6 = 3 3/6 points of injury.

A heavy steel corselet is rigid armor with DR 7. Since it is rigid armor, blunt trauma doesn’t apply. I.E., if no damage actually penetrates the armor, no damage is taken.

If we slash with the thrusting broadsword and roll a 6, we do 7 points of damage which is completely absorbed by the DR of the armor, so no damage gets through.
The average damage done by our thrusting broadsword when slashing a heavy steel corselet is 0 points of injury.

If we thrust with our thrusting broadsword and roll a 6, we do 6 points of damage which is completely absorbed by the DR of the armor, so no damage is done.
The average damage done by our thrusting broadsword when thrusting is 0 points of injury.

If we fire our .51 flintlock pistol, we penetrate the armor on a roll of 9, 10, 11 or 12, doing 1, 2, 3 or 4 points of damage which is multiplied by 1.5 for 2, 3, 5 or 6 points of damage.
The average damage done by our pistol when fired into a heavy steel corselet is
[0x1 + 0x2 + 0x3 + 0x4 + 0x5 + 0x6 + 0x5 + 1x4 + 2x3 + 3x2 + 4x1] = [4 + 6 + 6 + 4] =
20/36 points of injury.

Our mace penetrates the armor on a roll of 5 or 6 for 1 or 2 points of damage multiplied by 1 for the same points of injury.
The average damage done by our mace when it strikes a heavy steel corselet is
[0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 1 + 2] =3/6 points of injury.

Since none of our worked examples caused any blunt trauma injury, let’s do an example that does invoke those rules.
The armor is a TL 9 Tactical Suit which is flexible armor with DR 20/10 and we’ll use two weapons, a maul wielded by a ST 13 warrior and a 5.56 mm TL7 Assault Rifle.
The maul does 2d+3 damage and the assault rifle does 5d.

The armor is DR 10 to the maul which then penetrates it on a roll of 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12, doing 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 points of damage which is multiplied by 1 for the same number of points of injury.
On a roll of 7, 10 full points of damage are done but fully absorbed by the armor thereby doing 2 points of blunt trauma injury (1 for each full 5 points of absorbed damage).
A roll of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 does 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 points of damage which is fully absorbed by the armor and as all of these amount to a full 5 points of damage each inflicts 1 point of blunt trauma injury.
The average damage done by the maul is
[1x5 + 2x4 + 3x3 + 4x2 + 5x1] = [5 + 8 + 9 + 8 + 5] = 35/36 points of damage from penetration and
[1x1 + 1x2 + 1x3 + 1x4 + 1x5 + 2x6] = [1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 12] =
27/36 points from blunt injury trauma where the weapon didn’t penetrate the armor
for a grand total of 1 26/36 points of injury.

The armor is DR 20 to the assault rifle which then penetrates it on a roll of 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 or 30 doing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 points of damage multiplied by 1 for the same number of points of injury.
On a roll of 20, 20 points of damage are done but fully absorbed by the armor doing 2 points of blunt trauma injury (1 for each full 10 points of injury).
A roll of 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19 is also fully absorbed by the armor and as all of these amount to 10 full points of damage each inflicts 1 point of blunt trauma injury.
The average damage done by the assault rifle is:
[1x540 + 2x420 + 3x305 + 4x205 + 5x126 + 6x70 + 7x35 + 8x15 + 9x5 + 10x1] = [540 + 840 + 915 + 820 + 630 + 420 + 245 + 120 + 45 + 10] =
4585/7776 points of injury from penetration and
[1x126 + 1x205 + 1x305 + 1x420 + 1x540 + 1x651 + 1x735 + 1x780 + 1x780 + 1x735 + 2x651] = [126 + 205 + 305 + 420 + 540 + 651 + 735 + 780 + 780 + 735 + 1302] =
6579/7776 points of blunt trauma injury where the bullet did not penetrate the armor
for a grand total of 1 3388/7776 points of injury.

From these examples we can see a few things:

First, the mace was a better choice than either the thrusting broadsword or the flintlock pistol against the double mail hauberk, doing 140% times as much damage on average compared with the pistol and either 420% or 1050% as much damage on average compared with the thrusting sword, depending on how it was employed.

Second, the mace was an infinitely better choice against the heavy steel corselet compared to the thrusting broadsword which couldn’t penetrate it at all and marginally worse than the pistol at 90% of the pistol’s average damage.

Third, blunt trauma injuries increased the average damage from the maul by, very roughly, 50% and more than doubled the average damage caused by the assault rifle. Put the other way around, flexible armor let anywhere from 150% to more than 200% damage through as to compared to rigid armor with the same DR, solely as a result of rigid armor providing complete protection against blunt trauma injuries.

Last edited by Curmudgeon; 05-18-2016 at 02:14 PM. Reason: reformatted for easier reading
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Old 05-18-2016, 02:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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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 should be pretty good, but I'm surprised you're finding them this impressive. What other weapons are around? A sword can generally do most of what a spear can and more...

With the way GURPS damage works, thrust impaling damage often doesn't measure up well compared to swing cutting damage, especially at higher ST levels or (bizarrely, though addressed by some optional rules) against armor.

Distance is slightly more of an issue for spears than for some other melee weapons, but unless you're using one of the longer spear types not a lot and with the right perk that can be mitigated. Somebody that fights really close in can get inside your reach, but that's just as true if you use a sword, mace, or axe. (And they probably can't stay there long enough to be a problem unless you're unwilling or unable to move, or they grab you to stop you from moving.)
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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 outright misses rarely, but why aren't people making successful active defenses? Even with no particular combat aptitudes, a raw Basic Speed 5 gets you Dodge 8 which combined with retreating gives a Dodge 11. Any remotely serious fighter should have that, at least, unless they're encumbered by armor (which ought to have a useful chance to stop the spear) or a heavy shield (which will make their defenses better than this).
Quote:
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.
Swung crushing weapons do lots of damage, which is how they defeat rigid armor. Blunt trauma is mostly irrelevant against humans in historical armor. It's more likely to matter if you let people have some kind of ultratech flexible armor which somehow still has lots of DR vs crushing damage.
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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?
That's a dodge, not a miss, honestly.

The thing to remember about people who are at least somewhat competent fighters missing blows is this: it only happens because they're trying to do other things at the same time.

If all you care about is hitting the target, you do a Telegraphic All Out Attack (Determined), for +8 to hit, and even with skill 10 you're at approximately never failing. In a real fight, you also usually want to not get hit, so you don't All Out Attack much, and you don't want your target to easily dodge, so if you're good enough to hit without it you don't usually Telegraphic Attack either. And thus if you're only moderately good rather than having skill at 16+, sometimes trying to avoid getting hit or making your move completely obvious to the target is enough of a distraction that you don't manage to actually land the blow.
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
You'll still do better with a mace against mail though.
OK quick set up: ST10 3lb Broadsword (1d+1 cut) and ST10 3lb small Mace (1d+2 cr)

Both vs. DR5 mail


The sword on average does 4.5 and won't beat the mail

The mace on average does 5.5 but the mail is only DR3 vs. Cr so will actually do damage on average.
I see. Your post combined with the very extensive post (which I won't quote here) by Curmudgeon really changed how I saw melee. That does considerably change things.
We won't need it since we're TL2 (and I don't think we're going to encounter lorica segmentata-type armor, either, but what are the recommended rules for making combat against soldiers wearing this armor doable? I suppose integrate the "chinks in the armor" rules, right? What else could be done?

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Mook rules are pretty common, and to be fair they are designed towards your PCs hitting often and ending fights quickly, which is what this chap seem's to be doing.

The corollary is the GURPS combat system also gives various ways to fight defensively. Should you ever want to draw your combats out give your mooks big DB3 shields, and the shield wall training perk.
I'm really fond of the idea of giving the mooks big shields. I definitely think it would encourage tactical thinking and increase the overall lethality of combat. I'm not trying to get my PCs killed, just make them less gung-ho about charging in with 75 character points toward armed palace guards, you know?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Sorry I'm not quite sure what you are asking. There are rules for damaging shields pg 484 & 287 (and cloaks pg 484 & 184).


But you seem to be talking about using a cloak and shield at the same time (which I guess you could do one in either hand, I'd allow the defender to chose which took the potential damage in the case it came up)?
Oh I see. I did not realize that a cloak was a wielded weapon. It just didn't seem obvious. That was due to the fact that I never really understood what "cloak and dagger" really looked like as a fighting style. A little bit of research and looking at manuals has cleared that up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Swung crushing weapons do lots of damage, which is how they defeat rigid armor. Blunt trauma is mostly irrelevant against humans in historical armor. It's more likely to matter if you let people have some kind of ultratech flexible armor which somehow still has lots of DR vs crushing damage.
It's clear now that blunt trauma only applies in that kind of situation. The manuals don't make that very obvious, though. I know they did it for the sake of brevity, but without knowledge of those ballistic vest-type armors it did make the rule seem strange.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
However, I should note that, unless using a barbed head, thrust impaling weapons don't get stuck like swing impaling weapons do - the default assumption for a spear strike is that you stab and withdraw (leaving your weapon free to Parry incoming attacks). If the character opts to use a barbed head (which makes thrust impaling attacks get stuck just like swing impaling ones do), keep in mind that while his spear is in his foe's gut, it's going to be extremely awkward - if not outright impossible - to Parry with it, and he can't Retreat without abandoning his weapon.
I'll take the advice that he has to explicitly leave his spear there. But I think he'll be tempted to continue to leave the spear in, because it's our common-sense style of play that the guy is probably stunned from the hit (usually he's dealing 4-8 damage per strike) or at least at a massive disadvantage, and the PCs gang up on this guy and get him. Do you think an impaled enemy would be more capable of retaliating, even with the spear still lodged in his gut?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
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.
How do you think it should be taken then, if a PC just says "oh yeah well my guy's no idiot, of course he's going to take a fencing stance"? AFAIK there's no specific skill I can require. I don't like to just say "narratively, your guy is a pirate, not a fencer. He's not trained as a fencer and has no reason to know this. You can't do it"

And as for the former, that's how I've been dealing with it so far. It sometimes feels muddy and "hacked together" when we do it that way, like we're missing an aspect of how it would really turn out.

This thread has so far made it clear that I need to read the whole of low-tech, at least!
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