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Old 11-18-2016, 07:18 PM   #1
TheOneTrueClockWorK
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Default Thoughts on some house rules?

There's a few house rules I'm thinking about implementing in my game, and I'd like the opinions of the forums.

Combat Skills

The Shortsword skill would be merged with Broadsword to create One-Handed Sword (DX/A). All fencing skills minus Main-Gauche would be merged in Fencing Sword (DX/A). Main-Gauche would be renamed Fencing Knife (DX/A), and would lose its off-hand parry bonus, as well as the elimination of parrying penalties with small knives, which both could be regained via a perk named Parrying Dagger Training. The Knife (DX/E) skill would have an additional -1 penalty to parry, on top of any penalty the knife already has, as a result of less training to defend with a knife. Staff and Polearm skill would simply be merged into a Polearm (DX/A) skill. Spears could use the Spear (DX/A) skill for one or two-handed use, or the Polearm (DX/A) skill for two-handed use only.

Familiarity rules would then replace the penalty for using weapons typically in a different skill.

I still need to work out how defaults would change.

Two-Handed Weapon Damage

Weapons wielded in a two-handed grip deal and additional +1 damage per die of basic damage after the first. This is to help two-handed weapons scale better with high strength.

Two-Handed Grip

Any one-handed weapon may be wielded with two hands by placing the off hand overtop of the main hand, on the wrist, on the pommel, etc. This is awkward, giving -2 to attack, but giving +1 to damage as well as allowing the Two-Handed Weapon Damage rule to be used. In this case, use the better of the One- or Two-Handed weapon skill. If the weapon has a longer grip designed to accommodate two-handed use, such as a longsword or an axe, you may simply opt to use the weapons standard two-handed use rules.

Assuming this grip takes a ready maneuver, unless you have Grip Mastery (MA50).

Defensive Stance

This is a modification to Defensive Grip (MA109). This does not require a two-handed grip. Instead, the fighter holds his weapon out and the rest of his body back, or diagonally in front of him if he is wielding a polearm or spear. This makes it easier to parry frontal attacks, but tougher to parry any other attack. The fighter gains a +1 to parry attacks from the front, but a -1 to parry attacks from anywhere else.

With a two-handed weapon, this usually involves widening the grip. A fighter may widen the grip on their two-handed weapon, such as by gripping the ricaso or sliding one hand up a polearm. This effectively reinforces the weapon, giving -1 to odds of breakage, while also reducing the arc of swing, giving -2 to hit with a wild swing and giving the worse of -2 or -1 per die to damage with swinging attacks. However, they do not need to do this.

A sword user may place one hand near the end of the sword. This gives all the benefits of the extended grip on a two-handed weapon, with the addition of giving +1 to hit on thrusts, as well as removing -1 to hit an armored foe. This reduced damage further, however, and gives -1 per die to thrusting damage, along with the worse of -3 or -2 per die to damage on a swing.

Assuming this stance requires a ready maneuver, Grip Mastery reduces this to a free action.

Parrying Flails

Flails are parried at -4, and still blocked at -2, but any weapon weighing less than two pounds is not substantial enough to parry a flail at all. If a weapon weighing less than two pounds is held two-handed, it may parry flails at the usual penalty.


Thoughts on these? I have some others, and I may post them later, but I'm out of time right now.
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Old 11-18-2016, 07:47 PM   #2
TheOneTrueClockWorK
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

Okay, I've got a few minutes. I'm thinking about making the extended/half-sword grip under their own section, separate but combinable with defensive stance. In addition, because extended grip effectively balances the weapon, it would give +1 to skill, not cumulative with a balanced weapon. Half-sword grip should also say Reach C.
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Old 11-19-2016, 05:23 AM   #3
Maz
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

I have done the same with sword and fencing skills, as well as a few more. It works fine.

The Twohanded grip makes good sense. Just be aware that it makes swing attack even more powerful compared to thrust attacks. It doesn't really make anything unbalanced, it just means your players are almost never going to make thrust attacks unless you introduce some other house rules.

A Defensive stance like that is actually mention in some pyramid article if I remember correctly. Or maybe it was some Kromm note. It's fine for big skirmishes with many combatants, but in a one-on-one situation it's simply +1 to parry since there are no real drawbacks to it.

As for parrying flails. Isn't that part of Cross-parry in Mratial Art already? Or do I remember some Kromm note stating you could "cross parry" with a one-handed weapon held in two hands? I t seems familiar.

Great minds think alike :)
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:43 AM   #4
aesir23
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
There's a few house rules I'm thinking about implementing in my game, and I'd like the opinions of the forums.

Combat Skills

The Shortsword skill would be merged with Broadsword to create One-Handed Sword (DX/A). All fencing skills minus Main-Gauche would be merged in Fencing Sword (DX/A). Main-Gauche would be renamed Fencing Knife (DX/A), and would lose its off-hand parry bonus, as well as the elimination of parrying penalties with small knives, which both could be regained via a perk named Parrying Dagger Training. The Knife (DX/E) skill would have an additional -1 penalty to parry, on top of any penalty the knife already has, as a result of less training to defend with a knife. Staff and Polearm skill would simply be merged into a Polearm (DX/A) skill. Spears could use the Spear (DX/A) skill for one or two-handed use, or the Polearm (DX/A) skill for two-handed use only.

Familiarity rules would then replace the penalty for using weapons typically in a different skill.
Most of these make fine sense to me. I certainly have no problem merging one-handed swords and fencing skills. Personally, I went the other way with pole-weapons--merging staff and spear and keeping unbalanced polearms separate (similar to the sword v. axe/mace distinction.)

I don't entirely agree with how you've nerfed the Main-Gauche, however. It's already a poor buy compared to simply increasing your main weapon skill.

Instead, I'd suggest getting rid of the Main Gauche skill entirely, and allowing people to buy the Parrying Dagger Perk to upgrade their knife skill. I'd seriously consider doing the same thing with fencing weapons, e.g. players buy One-Handed Sword plus a Fencing Perk in order to get the improved parries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
Two-Handed Weapon Damage

Weapons wielded in a two-handed grip deal and additional +1 damage per die of basic damage after the first. This is to help two-handed weapons scale better with high strength.
I'm iffy on the realism of this, but I don't think it breaks anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
Two-Handed Grip

Any one-handed weapon may be wielded with two hands by placing the off hand overtop of the main hand, on the wrist, on the pommel, etc. This is awkward, giving -2 to attack, but giving +1 to damage as well as allowing the Two-Handed Weapon Damage rule to be used. In this case, use the better of the One- or Two-Handed weapon skill. If the weapon has a longer grip designed to accommodate two-handed use, such as a longsword or an axe, you may simply opt to use the weapons standard two-handed use rules.

Assuming this grip takes a ready maneuver, unless you have Grip Mastery (MA50).
Yeah, I like this fine. I'd make it a technique even so players can buy off the attack penalty if they want.

However, I wouldn't have it replace Defensive Grip--I'd just make it a separate option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
Defensive Stance
A sword user may place one hand near the end of the sword. This gives all the benefits of the extended grip on a two-handed weapon, with the addition of giving +1 to hit on thrusts, as well as removing -1 to hit an armored foe. This reduced damage further, however, and gives -1 per die to thrusting damage, along with the worse of -3 or -2 per die to damage on a swing.
Most of this seems okay--it just allows you to gain some of the benefits of defensive grip without using two-hands on your weapon (you could even replace fencing skills with One-Handed Sword held in a one-handed defensive grip). This bit doesn't make sense to me. I like the general bonus to hit with a thrust while half-swording, but not the reduction to damage, that makes no sense and isn't born out by my experience with historical fencing.

Is the "-1 to hit an armored foe" referring to targeting chinks, or do you have a house rule that assesses a penalty to hit foes in armor?
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Old 11-19-2016, 02:55 PM   #5
TheOneTrueClockWorK
 
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

Quote:
The Twohanded grip makes good sense. Just be aware that it makes swing attack even more powerful compared to thrust attacks. It doesn't really make anything unbalanced, it just means your players are almost never going to make thrust attacks unless you introduce some other house rules.
Do you have any thoughts on balancing this?

Quote:
Most of these make fine sense to me. I certainly have no problem merging one-handed swords and fencing skills. Personally, I went the other way with pole-weapons--merging staff and spear and keeping unbalanced polearms separate (similar to the sword v. axe/mace distinction.)

I don't entirely agree with how you've nerfed the Main-Gauche, however. It's already a poor buy compared to simply increasing your main weapon skill.

Instead, I'd suggest getting rid of the Main Gauche skill entirely, and allowing people to buy the Parrying Dagger Perk to upgrade their knife skill. I'd seriously consider doing the same thing with fencing weapons, e.g. players buy One-Handed Sword plus a Fencing Perk in order to get the improved parries.
I wanted to group staff and polearm together because they're usually used in a similar way. For example, I do a little bit of Japanese martial arts, and I find that the naginata and bo are usually used in a very similar fashion. I imagine that would hold true for a quarterstaff and glaive or halberd.

As for the main-gauche skill, I wanted it to fit more of an arnis style of knife fighting, as I feel that would be more appropriate for those who might use a knife as a back-up or even primary.

Creating the main-gauche or fencing skills via a perk is interesting. How would this fit into a fencer who has only ever trained in that style of fighting, though? For example, if someone learns to use a smallsword, and that's all they've ever learned, they need an extra point for a perk, and can apparently switch their stance into a more military way of fighting, despite that being a very different style? Or am I misinterpreting something?

Quote:
Yeah, I like this fine. I'd make it a technique even so players can buy off the attack penalty if they want.

However, I wouldn't have it replace Defensive Grip--I'd just make it a separate option.
Would you suggest to leave defensive grip as it is then, but give an option to one or two hand, rather than require two-handing?


Quote:
Most of this seems okay--it just allows you to gain some of the benefits of defensive grip without using two-hands on your weapon (you could even replace fencing skills with One-Handed Sword held in a one-handed defensive grip). This bit doesn't make sense to me. I like the general bonus to hit with a thrust while half-swording, but not the reduction to damage, that makes no sense and isn't born out by my experience with historical fencing.

Is the "-1 to hit an armored foe" referring to targeting chinks, or do you have a house rule that assesses a penalty to hit foes in armor?
Would allows a Fencing stance with the One-Handed Sword skill not be weird? That would imply that those with military, battlefield training can use and easily understand the stances and tight footwork of a fencer.

Good point on the half-sword thrusting damage. I was iffy with that one as well. And yes, that's meant to be -1 to target chinks in the armor. I don't know why I wrote it like I did?
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Old 11-19-2016, 04:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
As for the main-gauche skill, I wanted it to fit more of an arnis style of knife fighting, as I feel that would be more appropriate for those who might use a knife as a back-up or even primary.
Okay, so you wanted a skill that had the bonus to retreating parries and reduced penalties to multiple parries, but still has the -2 penalty for parrying with a nice and off-hand parry penalties. Sure, I can see that as a viable middle ground between knife and Main Gauche. The problem for me is that, if I want to use a parrying dagger with my rapier, it's now more expensive--and it was already more expensive than it should be for the scant benefits.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
Creating the main-gauche or fencing skills via a perk is interesting. How would this fit into a fencer who has only ever trained in that style of fighting, though? For example, if someone learns to use a smallsword, and that's all they've ever learned, they need an extra point for a perk, and can apparently switch their stance into a more military way of fighting, despite that being a very different style? Or am I misinterpreting something?
Well in reality, the differences aren't that great (although, to be fair, I know next to nothing about smallsword). I train in, among other things, Italian Rapier and Scottish Broadsword. There are good reasons for the different style associated with the different weapons, but, in a pinch, I could absolutely use Rapier Fencing techniques with Broadsword and vice-versa. In fact, I don't own a broadsword, so when I want to practice my broadsword techniques at home, I just use my rapier (with a slight adjustment in grip). The Rapier has better reach and will therefore thrust better, the Broadsword is better at cutting, but that doesn't matter because both styles teach how to cut and how to thrust.

So, if you have a character with One-Handed Sword and the perk Fencing (one-handed sword), the simplest thing to do would be to say, "you only get the bonus to retreating parries and the reduced penalties on multiple parries if you are using a fencing weapon and are unencumbered."

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Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
Would allows a Fencing stance with the One-Handed Sword skill not be weird? That would imply that those with military, battlefield training can use and easily understand the stances and tight footwork of a fencer.
Meh, my opinion is that the defensive superiority of fencing weapons is greatly exaggerated in GURPS (especially the rapier, which weighs as much or more than most of what GURPS calls broadswords). Any fighter could realistically enjoy superior ability to safely retreat and parry multiple attacks by fighting with their weapon extended between themselves and their opponent. The realistic pay-off is that cutting well is very difficult from that position. (17th century Rapier master Nicoletto Giganti teaches a couple of techniques where the sword is held up by the ear to facilitate powerful cuts at the sacrifice of some protection).

If you were to go this route, I'd suggest getting rid of the Fencing/Non-fencing distinction entirely and simply replace it with a note in the Style descriptions (e.g. "Italian Rapier practitioners fought almost exclusively in a one-handed defensive stance and favored the thrust over the cut.")
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Old 11-19-2016, 05:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

Quote:
If you were to go this route, I'd suggest getting rid of the Fencing/Non-fencing distinction entirely and simply replace it with a note in the Style descriptions (e.g. "Italian Rapier practitioners fought almost exclusively in a one-handed defensive stance and favored the thrust over the cut.")
That's a good idea, I think. So then you would suggest that rather than a one-handed defensive grip getting a +1/-1 to parry, it gains the benefits of fencing instead?
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

I just had another interesting idea. Every fighting style I've seen or heard of has had footwork and evasion as a basic skill. So, I would propose the following rule: any weapon without the Unbalanced or Unready statistic has improved retreating bonuses with no uncumberance penalty. In addition, any weapon wielded with one hand may be held out in a central position with a bladed body. This haves parrying penalties with a weapon without Unbalanced or Unready, or simply allows improved retreating bonuses with a Unbalanced or Unready weapon. Any weapon held like this has encumbrance as a penalty to parries.
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

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Originally Posted by TheOneTrueClockWorK View Post
That's a good idea, I think. So then you would suggest that rather than a one-handed defensive grip getting a +1/-1 to parry, it gains the benefits of fencing instead?
Perhaps both!

It's not at all unrealistic to suggest that the traditional sword-forward fencing stance wouldn't be great for defending against attacks from the side. Giganti (again), suggests a different approach in the section of his manual where he describes how to fight multiple attackers.
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Thoughts on some house rules?

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Perhaps both!

It's not at all unrealistic to suggest that the traditional sword-forward fencing stance wouldn't be great for defending against attacks from the side. Giganti (again), suggests a different approach in the section of his manual where he describes how to fight multiple attackers.
Good point! So, here's my current approach, along with the post I mentioned before:

Any one-handed weapon may adopt a "fencing stance." This involves placing the weapon in a more central position between the user and his foe, while blading his body and tightening his feet. This allows a weapon with Unbalanced or Unready property to gain improved retreating bonuses to parries, and allows other weapons to halve the penalties for multiple parries, but only from the front.

The fighter also gains the +1/-1 to parries in the same way as the Defensive Grip.

This is compatible with the two-handed Defensive Grip, but only if the weapon is being used with a one-handed skill. The parry bonus does not stack.

Encumbrance penalties apply to all parries in this case, and may lower retreating bonuses beneath +1.

Assuming this stance is a Ready maneuver.
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