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Old 08-27-2007, 03:24 PM   #1
lambda
 
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Default What does main-gauche buy me?

I'm coming back to GURPS after not having played in probably 7 or 8 years. I'm constructing a character, and would like to have some interesting fencing abilities, so I looked into getting Sabre and Main-Gauche, along with Knife for when I don't have the sabre on hand. However, after taking a look at the combat rules, I'm kind of confused about how Main-Gauche would actually help me without also buying double weapon attack and off-hand ability. As far as I can recall (I don't have the book in front of me right now), Main-Gauche eliminates the penalty for parrying with an off-handed weapon, and that's about it. If I just spent the points on my main weapon skill instead, I could be better at parrying with my main weapon than the off-hand weapon, so the main-gauche skill would be useless. Am I missing something? As I said, I don't have the books in front of me right now, so I could very well have just missed something critical.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lambda
As far as I can recall (I don't have the book in front of me right now), Main-Gauche eliminates the penalty for parrying with an off-handed weapon, and that's about it. If I just spent the points on my main weapon skill instead, I could be better at parrying with my main weapon than the off-hand weapon, so the main-gauche skill would be useless. Am I missing something?
Well, there's the fact that you've got a limited number of parries per turn with any given weapon. If you're expecting to defend against multiple attacks per turn or need to do all-out defense, having main-gauche isn't a bad idea.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lambda
As far as I can recall (I don't have the book in front of me right now), Main-Gauche eliminates the penalty for parrying with an off-handed weapon, and that's about it. If I just spent the points on my main weapon skill instead, I could be better at parrying with my main weapon than the off-hand weapon, so the main-gauche skill would be useless. Am I missing something?
It depends on the fighting style* and the number of attacks coming in.
Having an additional parry with the off-hand allows you to parry another attack at full skill, so if your opponent(s) attacks you twice, you get two full skill parries.

If you're attacked 4 times, then you can parry twice with each hand and only take the penalty for the second parry on each hand instead of taking a second, third and fourth parry penalty.

*And, if you full out lunge (MA option) and give up your parry with your main weapon, you still get to parry with your Main-Gauche.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company
Well, there's the fact that you've got a limited number of parries per turn with any given weapon. If you're expecting to defend against multiple attacks per turn or need to do all-out defense, having main-gauche isn't a bad idea.
Hmm, maybe that's what I missed. I didn't see any limits on the number of parries per weapon. That would make it useful, though in more limited circumstances (defending against multiple enemies or all-out attacks).
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

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Originally Posted by lambda
Hmm, maybe that's what I missed. I didn't see any limits on the number of parries per weapon. That would make it useful, though in more limited circumstances (defending against multiple enemies or all-out attacks).
Keep in mind too that most fencers will also Rapid Strike, which turns one attack into two, top notch fencers will often have a level of the Extra Attack advantage and some cinematic styles will often use the Dual-Weapon Attack Techniques.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

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Originally Posted by lambda
Hmm, maybe that's what I missed. I didn't see any limits on the number of parries per weapon. That would make it useful, though in more limited circumstances (defending against multiple enemies or all-out attacks).
Not just All Out Attacks or groups. Anyone can try Rapid Strikes, and if you're in a culture that uses the Main Gauche, I would expect to face opponents who are dual wielding and may periodically try a Dual Weapon Attack without going for an All Out.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

GURPS Martial Arts is very likely to alter the parameters this answers is based on and I recommend that you get it before building a fencer. It's chock full of options for fighting, treats fencing in some detail and allows your to build precisely the fighting style you want.

What then Main-Gauche skill gives you is the ability to use it in the off-hand without penalties and to use a Knife-sized weapon with a penalty to Parry. With Main-Gauche, you shouldn't need the Knife skill.

But what Main-Gauche mostly gives you is Knife skill with a French accent. ;)
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

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Originally Posted by Icelander
GURPS Martial Arts is very likely to alter the parameters this answers is based on and I recommend that you get it before building a fencer. It's chock full of options for fighting, treats fencing in some detail and allows your to build precisely the fighting style you want.
Well, I'm really throwing fencing into a game where fencing isn't likely to be too common, so I don't need to deal with it in all that much detail. This is a game set in the Serenity universe, and I'm from a world where fencing was common but am now in a situation where fists & guns are more common; my fencing skill is a bit of an oddity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
What then Main-Gauche skill gives you is the ability to use it in the off-hand without penalties and to use a Knife-sized weapon with a penalty to Parry. With Main-Gauche, you shouldn't need the Knife skill.

But what Main-Gauche mostly gives you is Knife skill with a French accent. ;)
Oh, I didn't realize that Main-Gauche could be used for regular fighting in the dominant hand; I thought it was only for parrying in the off-hand.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

Don't forget that Main-Gauche qualifies as a fencing skill, which gives the twin benefits of allowing +3 rather than +1 when you retreat whilst parrying, and halving the penalty for multiple parries with the same weapon. Add that to the ability to ignore the -4 to DX/-2 to Parry with the off hand, and the further ability to ignore the usual -1 when parrying with a knife, and the main-gauche is an exceedingly potent defensive weapon. Moreover, when doing anything short of an All-Out Attack that commits your main weapon in such a way that it can't parry, the main-gauche retains all of these benefits. Thus, you can do nutty things like flying lunges and sword tosses with your rapier, and still parry like mad.

Offensively, Main-Gauche isn't any more potent than Knife. It requires Off-Hand Weapon Training to be really effective, and Dual-Weapon Attack to be even more effective . . . just like Knife. And while it's handy in close combat, it's no more handy than Knife.

But that's as it should be. Generally, the main-gauche is compared to the buckler, cloak, and other parrying weapons. It's only rarely considered a useful part of offense. If what you want is lots of offense, do what some real rapierists did and carry two rapiers instead. Just be careful in close combat. Also, be rich . . . a rapier isn't cheap like a main-gauche is.
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Old 08-27-2007, 08:40 PM   #10
lambda
 
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Default Re: What does main-gauche buy me?

Thanks for all your help! Now, let me see if I understand how this all adds up, now that I have the book in front of me.

Say I have Saber at 12 and Main-Gauche at 12, and don't have the Knife skill. This would mean that my parries were as follows:
First parry (saber): 9
(with retreat): 12
Second parry (knife): 9
(with retreat): 12

Whereas if I didn't have Main-Gauche or the knife to parry with, it would be:
First parry (saber): 9
(with retreat): 12
Second parry (saber): 7
(with retreat): 10

Also, I'm wondering about what people have mentioned about using Main-Gauche offensively. Icelander and Kromm have mentioned using Main-Gauche offensively, but under "Main-Gauche" it says "To wield a knife as a primary weapon, use Knife skill". So, if I want to be able to just use the Knife alone as a weapon, would Main-Gauche help at all (other than for defaulting Knife), or would I need Knife, too? And if I'm using a sword and a knife, and want to do a dual-weapon attack, would I use my Knife skill or Main-Gauche skill for the knife side of the attack?
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