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Old 05-19-2016, 05:32 PM   #11
Polydamas
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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!
If GURPS was being written from scratch by historians of fencing, the Fencing skills might well be replaced with an option that represents leading with the weapon, point in line with the enemy, and trying to return to that stance as often as possible. This would offer bonuses to defence and in Who Strikes First, but expose the weapon and weapon hand to attacks and Beats and give some penalties to cutting attacks (damage penalty? bonus to parry them? I don't know). Historically, some fencers recommended relying on guardie basse strette (low guards with the point in line) when fencing with the staff or sword alone, and others did not ... they have many good features but some disadvantages, especially if the sword does not protect the sword hand very well.

At the end of this rules change, the skills Staff and Spear and Lance would probably be replaced with a single skill, just like Broadsword, Rapier, and Smallsword would become one. But my GURPS books are back in the Old Country. Some aspects of the GURPS combat mechanics date back to the 1980s when less was known and there was no community of experts in different subjects to help the authors do research or write the books themselves.
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Last edited by Polydamas; 05-19-2016 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:40 PM   #12
Ulzgoroth
 
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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
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?
Chinks in armor should probably be included but isn't likely to be relevant...the penalties to hit them are huge and your characters don't seem to have that kind of skill.

The simplest bypass for heavy armor is hitting where it isn't. On most armor that doesn't mean aiming for small gaps, it means aiming for entire hit locations that have no armor protection. Face, neck, abdomen if you're using the Low Tech version of the hit locations, and limbs all offer chances to make somebody's solid torso protection do nothing, for less penalty than targetting chinks and still dealing with half DR.

For really comprehensive suits you may need the smaller (and often still partially protected) armor gaps detailed in Low Tech. Frankly, dealing with that may be beyond your PCs' capabilities during anything like a fair fight. If they find themselves really needing to do it anyway, manufacturing an unfair shot by knocking the knight down, disarming them, and maybe grappling them before lining up for the kill may be best.

(At the point where somebody is down and having a dagger insinuated into their throat or armpit, they're fairly likely to try to surrender rather than play out the final gruesome steps. And people with that kind of armor usually can pay ransoms.)
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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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?
Leaving the spear in doesn't make the target any more likely to be stunned. It might serve to hamper their movement (though really they can probably pull themselves off it easily enough if they want to), compare whatever rules you've got for weapons that are supposed to get stuck.

In most contexts I would not expect the benefits to be worth effectively disarming a PC.
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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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"
Well, to get the bonuses GURPS associates with 'fencing', you need to be using an appropriate skill and weapon (Main-Gauche, Rapier, Saber, or Smallsword, and pick weapons with "F" in the parry column of their stat line).

Presenting one side or the other using the rules in Martial Arts: Gladiators doesn't require that. Once you actually look at the mechanical effects, your player's feeling that they'd have to be an idiot not to use it may be shaken, though...

(In particular, if you're presenting your weapon hand you're making it more likely you'll get that crippled and lose your weapon, which is bad. If you're presenting your off hand you're making it harder to parry, and maybe also reach targets, with your main hand.)
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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
This thread has so far made it clear that I need to read the whole of low-tech, at least!
A pretty good idea. You might also want to read large portions of Martial Arts, if you haven't.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:26 PM   #13
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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?

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, !
At TL2 anything that would pass for "heavy armor" in these here parts is not very likely. Whole body coverage with DR that will stop 1D+1 or so is n't seen historically until the cusp of TL3/4. Even then Feet and Hands (only -3 to hit each) are more lightly armored and also easily Crippled.

About the other thing note that with a 6 HP wound the guy is not only "com0on sense stunned" a 10 HP average guy is subject to the Knockdown and Stun rules (Campaigns p.420). Fail the HT roll and that dropping your weapon and falling down is a fight-ender in most LT melee situations.

Or Mr Armor Guy could fall down because you Crippled his Foot. That's the time to do an all Out Attack (Strong) and get +2 damage which is another way to penetrate that armor.

Before you invest a lot of time in reading LT and Martial Arts go through the Basic stuff about Hit Locations and damage and combat options in Campaigns first. There's a lot there.
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:48 AM   #14
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
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?
People have said the main one, basically unless you exceptionally skilled you best bet is hit where the amour isn't covering. Which at TL2 is probably limbs (or as depending on the rules your using the abdomen).



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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?
Absolutely, I run low power (75-100) dark ages stuff so I know exactly what you mean. And I find at the level you get lots of tactics because it unlikely there's going to be a huge stat advantage. Shield wall tactics come up a lot in my games.

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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.
Sorry I guess I grew up watching Oliver Reed slapping people about with his cloak in the 70's Musketeer's films* ; -)



*which are an odd mix of the historically good and historically ...less good!
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:41 AM   #15
Varyon
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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
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?
As others have noted, go for where the armor isn't. There's also the fact that, with GURPS have such high ST-based damage, even pretty decent armor means damage typically gets reduced rather than outright prevented. Lorica segmentata, for example, is around DR 3 (LT115), gives 1/6 protection to the Arms and Face (the latter is actually DR 4), 4/6 protection to the legs, and no protection to the Neck, Hands, or Feet (sandals actually give DR 1 to the feet from below, but that doesn't matter to your characters). If your merchant spearman is ST 10, he's doing either 1d imp or 1d+1 imp, depending on if he's using that spear one-handed or two-handed. Stabbing at the torso, he has a 50% or 67% chance of penetrating the armor (if going more in-depth, he can actually aim at the DR 2 abdomen at only -1 to hit, for 67% or 83% chance of penetration). He has the same probability of penetrating if he hits the armor of any of the partially-protected hit locations, but also has a chance of outright ignoring the DR - roll 1d6; anything but a 1 against the Arms (-2 to hit) or Face (-5 to hit) hits the unarmored part, and a 5 or 6 against the Legs (-2 to hit) does the same. Going for the Hands (-4), Feet (-4), or Neck (-5) are also viable, although those drop the character's hit probability to 50% or lower (before defenses). You can also attempt to grapple the foe to bring him down, or can trip him to make it less risky to follow up with a Telegraphic All Out (Strong or Determined, depending on if you're trying to penetrate or avoid armor) Attack.

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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?
First, unless the spear is barbed (which is a no-cost feature, so the player can just say "yeah, my dude's spear is totally barbed" and have it function as such from here on out), the spear doesn't get lodged, even if the character tries to have it do so (the foe can just stumble back a bit to get it out). Once it's stuck, you may wish to consider the foe as being grappled, with all that entails. If you want a more advanced treatment of how such grappling would work, Technical Grappling is useful - but you should be fine with just the default (IIRC) -4 to DX and unable to move without first breaking the grapple (which in this case requires the foe to either disarm you or pull the spear out himself, which deals half the injury it did going in).

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Originally Posted by electrum View Post
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"
"Fencing" refers to skills with Parry 0F - Rapier, Saber, Smallsword, Karate, etc. If the character isn't using such a skill, he doesn't get the Parry benefits for using a fencing stance.


A final note on why spears are awesome, if I may - a spear has a base cost of $40, while a Thrusting Broadsword has a base cost of $600. You can get a Fine, Balanced Spear for $560, for +1 to damage and to hit. At ST 10, your spear has a higher chance to hit and its thrust damage exceeds that of the sword and equals the sword's swing damage, and it still costs a bit less than the sword does. And you have the option of grabbing it in two hands for a further +1 damage and better Reach. As ST goes up, this isn't quite as good (swing damage increases faster than thrust), but it's still able to compete with the sword.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:55 AM   #16
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

As ST goes up and people pick up 'per die' bonuses like from Weapon Master or Tempered Glass the thrust weapons start to lose

Varyon (or others), would you mind discussing the merits (or not) of tip slashes vs limbs or homogenous foes like golems?
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:13 PM   #17
Varyon
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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Varyon (or others), would you mind discussing the merits (or not) of tip slashes vs limbs or homogenous foes like golems?
With a weapon designed for a Tip Slash (Short Spear or Heavy Spear), it's almost always a good idea to go for a tip slash if attacking limbs or foes with Unliving or Homogenous, as the -1 to damage is typically worth the x1.5 WM. With other weapons, that -2 to damage is a bigger hit, and may not be worth the x1.5. Once armor comes into play, you need to seriously weigh your options - those damage penalties mean you're less likely to penetrate in the first place, and 1 or 2 damage with a x1 WM is better than 0 damage with a x1.5 WM. If using the optional edge protection rules from Low Tech, tip slash is almost never a good idea against armor - you're quite unlikely to reach double DR (needed to get cutting rather than crushing damage), so you're better off getting the extra damage (and bleeding, if appropriate) from your impaling attack than using tip slash and hoping you roll high enough to fully get through armor.

In general, an average penetrating damage of 3.5 means a -1 to damage for x1.5 WM is just barely worth it - average injury goes from 3.5 to 3.75, minimum goes from 1 to 0, maximum goes from 6 to 7 (well, 7.5, but you always have to round down). You need average penetrating damage of around 6 before the -2 isn't a horrible deal - average injury stays at 6, minimum drops from 1 to 0, and maximum goes from 13 to 16 (16.5). Note here I'm assuming 1d after armor for 3.5, 2d-1 after armor for 6, and at least DR 1; if no DR is involved, minimum injury is 1 either way.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:04 PM   #18
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

So some who hits for 1d+6 imp would rather hit for 1d+4 cut, if they are facing DR 0 foes, as DR goes up it gets iffier?

On the spear topic, spears are wonderfully cheap. One of my characters is wielding a very fine, tempered glass, balanced, ornate +3, long spear with a lanyard, and is still quite affordable compared to nice swords

Skill 14 isn't lethal though. Once you start getting into the 20+ range is when lethal really starts to uptick . . . but remember even normal folks can dodge on 8 or less, more if they retreat . . . . so you need the skill to be deceptive to feel comfortable in actually landing any given hit
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:51 PM   #19
Varyon
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

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So some who hits for 1d+6 imp would rather hit for 1d+4 cut, if they are facing DR 0 foes, as DR goes up it gets iffier?
Sounds about right. 1d+6 imp means doing between 7 and 12 damage, for 7 and 12 injury against targets where WM gets downgraded to x1. 1d+4 cut means doing between 5 and 10 damage, but that becomes 7 and 15 injury, as WM would still be x1.5.

Without Edge Protection in play, you'll probably want to switch back to impaling at DR 4 (3-8, average 5.5 injury vs 1-9, average 5). With Edge Protection in play, you'll probably want to switch back at DR 3 (injury there is 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, average 6.5 for impaling; 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, average 6.17 for cutting).
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:53 PM   #20
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Default Re: Questions about hitboxes, impaling weapons, rigid armor, and hit chances

I read some of the other posts, an here is my 2 cents to add on this topic.

1. Hitboxes

Targeting the torso is almost always the worst place to hit on an individual in melee combat. If any body location can take punishment it's the torso.

It's almost always infinitely better to target non-torso locations. Breaking an arm makes counter attack useless. Breaking a leg leaves an individual laying on the ground. Hitting the head, even if only a single point of damage gets through, forces a HT roll for Knockdown and possible stunning.

That is all on RAW. Therefore the mace is king because you're garaunteed some injury against most armors, you have a chance to do Knockback (Every ST-2 increments of damage forces DX rolls with negative modifiers), and you you look like a badass holding a big hunk of metal. You club someone in the face and they get -5 to the HT roll! Check the text, I bolded the word most people miss in this sentence.

Quote:
Whenever you suffer a major
wound, and whenever you are struck
in the head (skull, face, or eye) or vitals
for enough injury to cause a shock
penalty (see Shock, p. 419), you must
make an immediate HT roll to avoid
knockdown and stunning.
So that means 1 point of injury (-1 shock penalty) is all that's needed to head, face or eyes to make someone possibly wind up prone and stunned.

You also forgot to mention retreating dodge which gives +3 to melee defense. If the average person without combat reflexes has 8 dodge, spending 1 fatigue for Feverish Defense and Retreating nets +5, giving them 13 to roll. 83% for the average person not to be hit at all! So as soon as you have any real HT or DX, and combat reflexes, you can pretty much dodge one attack every round no problem.

Parry, IMO, becomes MOST useful when an individual is reeling, or when they have high skill. When you are reeling your dodge becomes crap, but your parry is unaffected.

2. Spear

That's what armor is for. If your enemy avoids the attack it's not a killing machine any longer. 14 skill is nice when no one has a defense, but as soon as you are dealing with enemies that are avoiding your attack, you quickly wish you had 18 skill for Feints and Deceptive Attacks.

The Spear seeming so unstoppable is likely the fact the enemy is not making proper defenses.

3. Rigid Armor

There is a not so often used optional rule that you may want to add if armor becomes a problem. It's spending 1 FP to add damage to attacks (See Mighty Blows under Extra Effort).

In practice it can be the difference between an attack barely grazing someone and the attack being near lethal.

Let me give you an example:

A ST 12 character has a Mace with sw+3. This gives the wielder 1d+5. If his enemy has 5 DR this pretty much means 1d of injury. Average 3.5. However, if you add in the Might Blow, that's 1d+7 or average injury of 5.5. That's enough to cripple the average person's (ST 10) extremity and enough to outright kill someone with a head hit! With an upper range of 8 injury with someone wearing rigid plate! That +2 damage matters quite a bit!

With a spear (Thrust Damage) the damage to penetrate armor becomes much lower. A ST 12 individual with a Thr+3 spear is at 1d+2 damage. With 5 armor they are looking at many attacks not penetrating at all, and the ones getting through being marginal. They can use Might Blows to improve it, but the Mace is going to be the superior weapon against an armored individual.

4. Hit chances

If someone is a warrior they should have 13 skill minimum IMO. 10 to 12 for me means "This person has probably picked up and swung swords enough to know where the point end goes". This is mostly because 8-10 is default skill level for characters with decent DX.

Often times when you are newer to the GURPS System (Even I went through that) you think about the attack more the defense. So it seems when someone has 16 skill they'll never miss. I'm in a game right now where I have 23 skill in combat and miss regularly because the enemy defends well.

Defense is what keeps the combat going amid people with trained skill in weapons.

5. Throw More Foes on the Field

One thing lots of people who know GURPS combat will tell you, one highly skilled enemy can be taken down far easier than multiple mediocre enemies. Fighting 2 v 1, even against lesser skilled enemies changes the flow of combat quite a bit.

It's a good way to challenge your players if they now have to worry about being surrounded, and diminishing returns on parries and blocks. Everyone crit fails eventually on their defenses no matter how high they are.
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