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Old 10-01-2018, 12:53 AM   #11
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
The more I’ve studied various martial arts the more I tend to agree with this general concept.
How far can we generalise Defaults being Techniques instead of Skills?

I've come to a similar conclusion before, but found it a bit awkward to be saying that using a weapon is sometimes a Skill, sometimes a Technique, depending on how you bought it.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
The easiest way to handle it is to treat the penalty for defaulting as a Technique...
However this rather makes a mockery of the "Improving skills from Default" rules.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
However this rather makes a mockery of the "Improving skills from Default" rules.
Unfortunately, they're already kind of a mockery, as Varyon explained. There's no incentive to improve defaulted skills when improving the master skill does the same job.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
The problem the spear master runs into is that GURPS skill defaults are kind of broken. A character with Spear-16 has Staff-14. He can spend [8] to change this to Spear-16, Staff-16 (putting the points into Staff), or he can spend [8] to change this to Spear-18, Staff-16 (putting the points into Spear). It's pretty obvious the latter is the better option, to the extent that the former is a laughable idea, but then you can never (unless wanting to basically throw points away) have a character who is equally good with spears and staves.
There is a point missing to this analysis: you need to have points in Staff to get the +2 to parry that is one of the main benefits of the skill (B173). If he buys up Staff, he has a 13 parry available. If he buys Spear instead, he only has a 12 parry. You're effectively trading a +2 to attacks for an extra +1 on the defensive. It's still not good enough (you'd get the same result from buying Enhanced Parry for 5 points), but it's not entirely laughable.
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Old 10-01-2018, 07:04 AM   #15
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by Gnaskar View Post
There is a point missing to this analysis: you need to have points in Staff to get the +2 to parry that is one of the main benefits of the skill (B173). If he buys up Staff, he has a 13 parry available. If he buys Spear instead, he only has a 12 parry. You're effectively trading a +2 to attacks for an extra +1 on the defensive. It's still not good enough (you'd get the same result from buying Enhanced Parry for 5 points), but it's not entirely laughable.
That only changes things very slightly - under the RAW, the spear master has the choice between spending [8] to have Spear-16 and Staff-16, or [9] to have Spear-18 and Staff-16. Personally, I treat defaulting from an attribute as not getting the benefits of a skill, but defaulting from another skill to do so, but I don't think that's supported by RAW.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:17 AM   #16
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by Maz View Post
I would suggest you look at techniques. Stuff like swipe and trip and armed shoves/slams. Also targeted attack.
Btw. There is a perk that let you switch a weapon to another skill so you could use spear with staff skill.
Another good perk is grip mastery so you can switch to reverse grip for added dam.
Yes, that's actually exactly what I'm looking at (assuming you mean Sweep). I'm creating a non-lethal Spear Master, so Sweep for downing foes and Targeted Attack for disarming them. Trip and slams might be interesting. I think you also mean the aforementioned Form Mastery, which I'm using. I'll look up Grip Mastery, too. Thanks for the tips!



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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
I had always assumed that one could use a spear as a staff with the staff [...]
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Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
I think your numbers are off here. The -2 to use a spear as a staff is only the default penalty - there's no extra penalty to use a spear as a staff besides that [...]
Yes! Thank you both! I counted the -2 twice, and that's what threw me off. That basically solves the whole issue, since now it's possible to skip spending points in Staff, go for Form Mastery, use the spear as a staff at -2 skill, which is -1 in parry and +2 for staff, so +1 parry for the Form Mastery. Thank you again!



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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
The problem the spear master runs into is that GURPS skill defaults are kind of broken. A character with Spear-16 has Staff-14. He can spend [8] to change this to Spear-16, Staff-16 (putting the points into Staff), or he can spend [8] to change this to Spear-18, Staff-16 (putting the points into Spear). It's pretty obvious the latter is the better option, to the extent that the former is a laughable idea, but then you can never (unless wanting to basically throw points away) have a character who is equally good with spears and staves.
The easiest way to handle it is to treat the penalty for defaulting as a Technique, probably Hard. Now your spear master has a choice - he can grab Form Mastery and boost his Staff up to the same level as Spear for [4] ([1] for Form Mastery, [3] to negate the -2 with a Hard Technique), or he can spend those [4] to get a +1 to Spear (with Staff along for the ride, although he can't switch freely between the skills).
Yeah, that's a very good point, and an even better solution! Don't mind if I steal that idea for my next game :)



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Originally Posted by Gnaskar View Post
[...] you need to have points in Staff to get the +2 to parry that is one of the main benefits of the skill (B173)[...]
First of all, where does it say this? (Genuinely asking, in case the lack of disbelief is distorted across the internet.)
Secondly, "points" as in... 1+ CP, even if it doesn't make a difference at higher levels, right?

I don't know about RAW, but IRL I feel like I'd still get the +2 bonus for parrying, even though I've never touched a staff for combat training purposes. I'll report back after next time I'm assaulted by a sword-toting maniac and happen to have a staff in my back pocket.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post
First of all, where does it say this? (Genuinely asking, in case the lack of disbelief is distorted across the internet.)
Secondly, "points" as in... 1+ CP, even if it doesn't make a difference at higher levels, right?
The relevant text is on Basic Set:Characters p. 173: "To enjoy these benefits [improved damage, special defenses, etc.], you must spend at least one point on the skill." So it looks like a single point is all you need. I don't have enough knowledge or experience to argue whether the requirement is realistic or not, but it's cheap enough not to be too onerous.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Spear Master

How about just dumping tons of points into Staff skill, and using the 1-point perk Weapon Adaptation (Spear to Staff). That's how I'd make a spear master who did staff-like stuff all the time. This would also allow you to use a Short Spear, which I assume is like an Iklwa or something, which is a much more handy weapon with a shield. I had a thread about something similar with polearms once.

Speaking of which, then for just one more point get Weapon Adaptation (Polearm to Staff) and you're death incarnate with any sort of stick in your hands. Unless of course it's a short, balanced stick that uses Broadsword skill. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

All of the staff weapons in MA have a thrust attack on the stat line, so there really is no issue at all with the "staffs are for clubbing, spears are for jabbing" argument. It's false. There should be no penalty for jabbing using Staff skill. In fact such jabs are a standard technique of every staff form I've ever heard of.

Last edited by acrosome; 10-01-2018 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:32 PM   #19
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post
Yes, that's actually exactly what I'm looking at (assuming you mean Sweep). I'm creating a non-lethal Spear Master, so Sweep for downing foes and Targeted Attack for disarming them. Trip and slams might be interesting. I think you also mean the aforementioned Form Mastery, which I'm using. I'll look up Grip Mastery, too. Thanks for the tips!
Ok. At my books and a proper computer now. Yes I misremembered some of them. You are right I meant Sweep and yes armed slams. Ad to that Armed grapple and you got some good none-lethal options with a staff/spear.

And no, I wasn't talking about Form Mastery. Form Mastery lets you switch between two different skills a weapon can be used with.
What I was talking about was Weapon Adaptation. This lets you use a weapon with a different skill. For instance, use a spear - using spear-stats with staff skill. So you can thrust for imp dam with staff skill. Or a shortsword with smallsword (fencing) skill.


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Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post
First of all, where does it say this? (Genuinely asking, in case the lack of disbelief is distorted across the internet.)
Secondly, "points" as in... 1+ CP, even if it doesn't make a difference at higher levels, right?

I don't know about RAW, but IRL I feel like I'd still get the +2 bonus for parrying, even though I've never touched a staff for combat training purposes. I'll report back after next time I'm assaulted by a sword-toting maniac and happen to have a staff in my back pocket.
I am not sure this is explicitly stated but you can see it in the weapons tables of Martial Arts and Low Tech. At least for polearms. Interestingly enough there is no stats for using a spear with staff skill. But I remember asking - Kromm I think - and got the answer that "that's because a spear is basically a staff already".

Here for instance a spear used using Spear skill has: thrust+3 imp. Reach:1,2* and Parry:0.
So when using staff skill it would have: Thr+2 cr/Sw+2 cr. Reach 1,2 and Parry:+2.



Now normally to change between using a weapon with one skill to another. such as going from Spear to Staff takes a Ready action.
Form Mastery allow you to change this almost freely. So you can attack with it in "Spear mode" and then go back to "Staff mode" for that sweet +2 parry. The drawback is that it requires two skills; spear for attack, staff for defense.
This is where Weapon Adaptation comes into play. With this you can fight using "spear stats" but using Staff skill. So now you only need one skill.

Additionally you can add Reverse Grip-technique. (I mentioned Grip Mastery and that's fun too, but not what I was actually thinking off when I mentioned it). Anyway with the Reverse Grip-Technique you can change to reverse grip freely (assuming you make the roll).


Adding all of these three. Means you can buy only one skill. Then stay in Staff-grip for that +2 parry. Then once you need to attack you change to spear-mode and reverse grip to make a thr+4 impaling.
Or as I would prefer -> Sweep, to knock him down, then reverse grip and stab him in the vitals (or eye). If your a weapon master you could do this as a single Rapid Strike!

(reverse grip is also good if locked in CC. If you grab the spear in one hand reverse grip it becomes reach C and suffer no CC penalty).


... I may have munckined a bit with spear-fighting in GURPS before.

Last edited by Maz; 10-01-2018 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: Spear Master

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Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post
Yeah, that's a very good point, and an even better solution! Don't mind if I steal that idea for my next game :)
Only fair, considering I stole the idea of using Techniques for buying up from defaults from another forum user some time ago.

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The appropriately-named Alternate Guns Specialties and Techniques from Pyramid #3/65.

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Originally Posted by FeiLin View Post
I don't know about RAW, but IRL I feel like I'd still get the +2 bonus for parrying, even though I've never touched a staff for combat training purposes.
Most real-world two-handed spear training is going to involve a lot of teaching what GURPS calls Staff (or, more likely, Staff Art or Staff Sport). Indeed, looking at the spear martial arts styles, the ones that don't have Staff as a primary skill are almost invariably those where the spear is used one-handed alongside a shield. Bayonet fighting is an outlier, but that's probably largely due to rifles not being great staves. Honestly, using Spear as One-Handed Spear (grabbing with another hand being more akin to a Defensive Grip than actually switching to another skill) and possibly making it DX/E, then using Staff as Two-Handed Spear (and letting it use the pointy end for thrusts, instead of only the blunt end), would make a lot of sense.
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