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Old 05-31-2020, 11:21 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

Many historical martial arts styles teach using a big sword in the dominant hand and a smaller blade in the non-dominant hand. Examples include pairing the katana and wakizashi, or rapier and knife. But GURPS seems to treat these styles rather poorly--you'll generally be better off learning one sword skill with the Off-Hand Weapon Training perk, which will generally be necessary anyway unless your second sword skill is Main-Gauche. And Main-Gauche itself will usually not be a great deal, since Off-Hand Weapon Training will be cheaper than raising Main-Gauche to a decent level. The one exception I can think of is using Main-Gauche to get a fencing parry while using a non-fencing weapon in the main hand. Am I missing anything? There's possibly an issue here with GURPS not accurately modeling the downsides of trying to fight with two longer swords (two katanas, two rapiers, whatever) at once.
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Old 06-01-2020, 12:27 AM   #2
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

You are right about which is the most efficient use of skill points.

A couple of points though.


Having a secondary shorter weapon especially one with a C reach in it's reach range is really quite handy in GURPS combat. Because it gives you a lot of options to attack and respond with. That said having a spare empty hand is also useful at times. Especially as with some longer primary weapons moving from a one handed grip to a two handed grip can be useful at times in terms of different stat lines, but as well as that you have the grip options in Martial arts, two handed defensive grips etc



I think making off hand training 1 point for all weapons is a bit generous in realistic terms certainly when it comes to longer weapons. I.e I think realistically it's easier to off hand a knife than it is a katana. However as a game choice I can see why they made the change in MA from Characters (and Characters was still a blanket cost anyway). If I was going ti make a house rule I'd maybe say Off hand training perk costs as much as the weapon's highest reach in skill points (C still counting as 1). I may even be tempted to add an extra point's cost if it's a U weapon.

Also the Off hand training is a perk about using you non dominant hand it not about using two weapons at once. And using two weapons at once is not as easy as using a wepoan in you non dominant hand. There is IMO an extra level of difficulty in keeping two weapon in control at once than just one weapon albeit in your non dominant hand. But again it depends on the wepoan I think so I'm sure I'd create a second house rule for that on top of the one i suggested above. So maybe only apply the suggestion above if you are using two weapons at once. So say you just wanted to uses a katana in your non dominant hand it would cost you 1cp, but if you wanted to do so while using two at once it would cost 2cp. (and if you had only spent the 1cp you take -1 pen when trying to dual wield). This would basically make off hand training a tiered perk for longer weapons.


Ultimately though this is a house rule that makes it harder or more costly for people to do 'cool things', so bare that in mind!

Out of interest was dual wielding Katana and Wakizashi much of a thing historically?
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:18 AM   #3
Varyon
 
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

It might not be terribly inappropriate to have a penalty to attack and/or defend when using two long weapons, even when you aren't doing a Dual Weapon Attack (as the two weapons can get in the way of each other). Of course, even then there's the problem that GURPS arguably has too many weapon skills. For example, take a character with Broadsword at DX+4 [16]. If he wants to dual wield, he's got a choice between two broadswords, a broadsword and a shortsword, and a broadsword and a large knife.

For the first (broadsword+broadsword), he needs to spend [1] for offhand weapon training, and probably [3] to buy off the "dual wielding two long weapons" penalty (which I'd eyeball at -2, at least with Reach 1 weapons; longer ones may be a larger penalty); if he wants Reach C striking capabilities, he'll want to buy Close Combat (Broadsword) +2 [3], reducing his CC penalty to -2. All told, it's a cost of [17] to have Reach 1 with two weapons at DX+2, [20] to have Reach 1 with both weapons at DX+4, or [23] to have Reach 1 with two weapons at DX+4 and Reach C with two weapons at DX+2. This also has the benefit that any weapon-based Techniques he happens to buy (Targeted Attack, Counterattack, etc) applies equally well to both weapons at no additional charge.

For the second (broadsword+shortsword), he needs to get Shortsword as well, which defaults to Broadsword at -2. In theory, he'd need to spend [8] to get it up to the same level as Broadsword; in practice, he's better off spending [1] to count as trained in Shortsword (so he can use Techniques, at least at default) and rely on the default from Broadsword (as spending those same [8] on Broadsword would boost both Broadsword and Shortsword by +2). He also needs to spend [1] on off-hand weapon training for his shortsword. That's a cost of [18] to have Reach 1 with one weapon at DX+4, the other at DX+2. Using a long knife instead of a shortsword would also give him Reach C capabilities with his off-hand weapon at no further penalty. With the long knife, this is competitive with the two-broadsword build above, but arguably falls a bit short (shortsword/long knife don't deal as much damage as a thrusting broadsword).

For the third (broadsword+knife), he needs to get Knife in addition to Broadsword, and the two don't share a default. The above builds consistently give the Reach C weapon at DX+2, so we'll go with that. That costs [4] (Knife is Easy), and we need another [1] for off-hand weapon training, for a total of [21] to have Reach 1 with one weapon at DX+4, Reach C (or C,1 if we use a long knife, or the rather pitiful swing damage of the large knife) with the other weapon at DX+2. That gives at best the same capabilities as the second build above, and costs more, so is pretty much a non-option. I'll note I'd probably consider the build as costing only [+20] or maybe even [+19], however, as you'd be hard pressed to convince me to make a combatant who didn't have [1] or [2] in Knife (or Main-Gauche, if going the Parry F route).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
I think making off hand training 1 point for all weapons is a bit generous in realistic terms certainly when it comes to longer weapons. I.e I think realistically it's easier to off hand a knife than it is a katana. However as a game choice I can see why they made the change in MA from Characters (and Characters was still a blanket cost anyway). If I was going ti make a house rule I'd maybe say Off hand training perk costs as much as the weapon's highest reach in skill points (C still counting as 1). I may even be tempted to add an extra point's cost if it's a U weapon.
You quickly run into the wall that is Ambidexterity, which automatically removes the off-hand penalty for all weapons (and for operating machinery, writing, etc) and only costs [5]. That's the reason MA reduced the price - there's no good reason to charge characters just as much to have off-hand training with a single skill as having it with every skill.

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Out of interest was dual wielding Katana and Wakizashi much of a thing historically?
To the best of my knowledge, no - the wakizashi was a secondary weapon, for if you lost/broke your katana (which itself was largely a sidearm on the battlefield), or if you needed a shorter blade (say, for committing seppuku/harakiri). Miyamoto Musashi rather famously dual wielded on a few occasions, but from what I understand even he typically stuck to using a single weapon (which wasn't always a katana, he seemed to have a fondness for wooden swords of various sizes).
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:43 AM   #4
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
It might not be terribly inappropriate to have a penalty to attack and/or defend when using two long weapons, even when you aren't doing a Dual Weapon Attack (as the two weapons can get in the way of each other)
yep that's basically where I'm coming from

...

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
You quickly run into the wall that is Ambidexterity, which automatically removes the off-hand penalty for all weapons (and for operating machinery, writing, etc) and only costs [5]. That's the reason MA reduced the price - there's no good reason to charge characters just as much to have off-hand training with a single skill as having it with every skill.
Yeah that's one reason why I was thinking of keeping it to 2 points at most, but even then do it twice and you only 1 point away from ambidexterity anyway.


However that said again I think there's a distinction between your off hand being as good as dominate hand and being able to use two reach 1,2 weapons at the same time without any extra issue. So while I said I wouldn't do two house rules in my first post to make that distinction, I might still require a 1pt perk for ambidextrous people to use two reach 1,2 weapons at once. (It's not just about what hand your using but often how your employing your whole body this being in general more true for longer larger weapons).

But like I said this is really just putting up road block in front of being cool, so I'm not sure I'd worry about it even in my games that tend towards gritty low level stuff. Mainly because I also often see the kinds of benefits I described earlier to having a hand free anyway!



Ultimately I think realistically ambidexterity / handedness and its application is more a range than binary either/or situation. However again this is just a game, there's only so much detail worth going into here IMO.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
To the best of my knowledge, no - the wakizashi was a secondary weapon, for if you lost/broke your katana (which itself was largely a sidearm on the battlefield), or if you needed a shorter blade (say, for committing seppuku/harakiri). Miyamoto Musashi rather famously dual wielded on a few occasions, but from what I understand even he typically stuck to using a single weapon (which wasn't always a katana, he seemed to have a fondness for wooden swords of various sizes).
Yep that what I was thinking..
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:42 AM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Out of interest was dual wielding Katana and Wakizashi much of a thing historically?
In the Nito Ryu school (funded by Mushashi Miyamoto) in Martial Arts it was. Schools teaching this version of Kenjutsu/Kendo have existed for centuries and continue to thsi day.

Was it used much on Japanese battlefields? Who knows?
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Old 06-01-2020, 09:17 AM   #6
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

One thing I might have overlooked: I don't know how much of an advantage it is to have a Reach C weapon in hand at all times in case you get grappled. Normally trying to grapple holding a sword isn't the brightest thing to do, but there may be exceptions. Has anyone seen this turn out to be useful in an actual game?
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
One thing I might have overlooked: I don't know how much of an advantage it is to have a Reach C weapon in hand at all times in case you get grappled. Normally trying to grapple holding a sword isn't the brightest thing to do, but there may be exceptions. Has anyone seen this turn out to be useful in an actual game?
I have seen this turn out to be useful in actual fights. One hema tournament I went to in 2018 allowed daggers (not sharp and with rounded tips, most were either the cold steel sparring daggers or wooden ones from blackhorse armory or purpleheart). I did not have one cause I never trained or practiced with it on hand.

One of my matches went like this:

We come into distance, we oberhau and bind, we drive the blades and our hands up to block each other from doing a double cut, we attempt to grapple. He pulls out his dagger and stabs me in the head. The match is halted and he won.

It is very useful to have a secondary weapon on hand that can be used in close combat. While your opponent is trying to grapple you, you deny one side (GURPS Martial Arts, Gladiators) and use that side to fast draw (if you can) your dagger and then stab them.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

In general the way GURPS does weapon skills overly incentivizes hyper specializing in one weapon, though swords all default to each other so it's less inefficient than, say, both spear and sword.
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Old 06-01-2020, 01:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
In general the way GURPS does weapon skills overly incentivizes hyper specializing in one weapon, though swords all default to each other so it's less inefficient than, say, both spear and sword.
Someone not too long ago tried to redo the melee combat skills in the same way that the gun skills got treated in that one pyramid article. Can't recall which one.

That was a good step in trying to make the melee weapon skills better.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:07 PM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [Martial Arts] Are styles that require two sword skills a bad deal?

I have often thought about creating a VH skill for each weapon group.
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