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Old 10-31-2019, 04:18 PM   #21
MikMod
 
Join Date: May 2019
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
If someone has a long pole and is holding it pointed at someone outside the pole's reach, and the other person tries to move (at whatever speed) towards the pole-weapon holder going right up the firmly-held pole (i.e. on a hit), they're going to either be stopped, skewered, or else have to shove the pole-holder back using whatever body part was hit by the pole, and if the pole is sharp... well, to me that's obviously a very damage-risking thing to do, even with no particular speed.
Im interested how you rationalize or imagine the lack of any additional damage when the pole weapon user charges (but only two hexes) at someone and they don't move?
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:54 PM   #22
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

Anyway, I find all this irritating when I contemplate the details, but in practice I just play RAW and it works out reasonably well. The game stats out various weapons, shields and armor to be balanced, not realistic. It is kind of amazing that the end result has at least as much versimilitude as other games. Pole arms have nerfed damage, but then again they can deliver a normal attack at 2 hex range, which is very helpful in skirmish fights (i.e., where there are more than 2 people on the battle field). And their extra die of damage on a charge is often a difference maker, just because the outcomes of damage in TFT has some very sharp thresholds. Your odds of scoring a knock down on a halberd charge are significantly better than on a bastard sword hit. Basically, pole weapons are valid choices and work differently from other weapons in a way that is interesting, but in the end they don't have game-changing advantages over other weapons. I think that was really the design goal.
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:50 PM   #23
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

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Originally Posted by MikMod View Post
Im interested how you rationalize or imagine the lack of any additional damage when the pole weapon user charges (but only two hexes) at someone and they don't move?
I've never liked the 3-hex straight line idea, and prefer to not use that rule at all.

If I had to rationalize it, I'd say it's an abstract limit that requires some space to do an offensive charge attack effectively. It seems to me that a pole-weapon user has a clear advantage against someone else who is trying to close with them past the tip of their polearm, but if the polearm user is trying to close the range on someone else, that potentially gives up that situation - the target isn't moving their body towards the polearm, so the pole-arm user has to move their body towards the target to get solid leverage for a good skewering, which is harder.

But even if I thought that was important to represent, I don't think the 3-hex straight requirement works well anyway, because TFT has a shared movement phase for an entire side, that doesn't require a side to explain how they coordinate their movements at all. With enough MA and open ground, any number of polearm users are allowed to say they are making 3-hex straight-line charges through the same space. I.e. It seems like a weak/weird way to try to apply a space/movement requirement.

Last edited by Skarg; 10-31-2019 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:48 AM   #24
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

From my first gaming group, my fellow GM and I brought up this very debate with an arms instructor we met at a SCA event in the late eighties. He had just given a demonstration on swords and shields when we cornered him, and he was very polite and helpful.

We laid out the TFT pole weapon rules for him, explaining the damage bonus for charge attacks, and got his opinion on how realistic this would be.

He shook his head no, then gave us a personal demonstration on how to use a halberd. He explained that to maximize damage, you would never want to level it at an enemy and run at them to attempt skewering them. Impalement is not the goal.

The real business end of all pole axes is the blade, and it is most effectively used from up close and adjacent. He taught us to hold the halberd across our bodies, while facing slightly sideways to the target. You grip the pole with your hands about 3 feet apart, and using your hip as the fulcrum you pivot the pole across your body with a rolling motion. This snaps the blade towards the enemy with considerably greater force and speed than you could muster any other way. "Now this" he said, "is what will give you your double damage -- charging would be just silly."

Despite my friend and me being completely convinced, we went back to our group and stuck to the RAW because that was easier :)

Actually the RAW may well still be realistic for the spear and javelin, neither of which can do any real damage without impaling, but the heavier pole arms and any pole axes really work differently than a spear. In regular combat they should probably do more damage than they do, and in charge attacks less then they do.

Just having read the wikipedia article on the halberd, there's reason to question the defensive bonuses we give to pole arms as well. They did have a neat trick though that isn't reflected in the rules anywhere: that "hook" on the opposite side of the axe blade was apparently quite effective at pulling horsemen off their mounts.

I agree though that realism is not the only goal in game design. Lumping all the pole weapons into one "class" that all follow the same rules has its advantages when it comes to playing the game. If TFT didn't lump things together, it wouldn't play anything like it does. The rules are a set of clever compromises all to enhance playability.
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:55 AM   #25
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

Nice story, Steve. I'd like to hear what he'd say about spears.

That's more like how halberds work in GURPS. You can use them like spears, but the most damaging attacks are swings. The reach still applies, and the situation can end up being tactically similar to a TFT charge attack or defense in that someone with a sword needs to somehow get past the halberd's reach without getting destroyed before they'll be able to attack.

In any case, I think what is not indicated is reducing a halberd to a two-handed ST 13 weapon that only does 2d and needs to win initiative to be likely to get an advantage for its length.

If one wanted to model the halberd based on the explanation, it could be ST 13 2d+2 or 3d-2, which can be used like a 1d+1 spear in charges, or can "jab" (actually swing) at two-hexes for the higher damage amount.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:10 PM   #26
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

You definitely need to step over to GURPS if you want to scratch your itch for more realistic functional stats for weapons and armor. The LE revision offered an opening for porting over some of that to TFT, and it probably could have been done without fundamentally changing the game. But that ship has sailed.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:16 PM   #27
hcobb
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

To get into the mechanisms of how different weapons work, axe vs sword vs spear would require the shorter turn length of GURPS also so we'd have weapons that took X seconds to ready instead of 5 second turns.

So keep the charge attack rules as written, so long as swordsmen are afforded the charge defend.
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Old 11-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #28
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: 3 hex charge pole weapon rule

Honestly, it is a miracle that the granular details of combat in TFT feel as realistic and interesting as they do, given the abstract nature of the game.
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