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Old 12-31-2014, 04:36 PM   #21
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
A tonfa and short staff can be assembled into a crutch for someone pretending to be crippled.
Good point. It's looking more and more that the tonfa's out of combat utility is an important consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
It's hard to imagine a place so restrictive on weapons that one would need to smuggle in sticks. Interesting ancient Chinese settings involving sneaking in to assassinate royalty might fit, I suppose.
Not smuggle in sticks, tonfa are after all a classic weapon to use under a weapon ban, but disguise sticks until you reach striking range. It's rare for people to take no notice that you are carrying around a stout and ergonomic length of wood.

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
If the goal is just to make it more mechanically appealing, you could always just declare it an ethnic badass weapon.
Yes I could, but I want realistic benefits. The alternative is to leave them as is not ethnic cool them. I'm hoping that putting it's features under greater magnification some niche benefits will emerge that will provide justifications for it's use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
...That's just not a reasonable expectation for regulation gear, I think. There's some reason it's the regulation gear, but it's very likely to be one at a policy or political level that is contrary or irrelevant to the PC's direct interests.
Well I don't expect it. I realize that a lot of regulation gear is chosen because it's cheaper or easier to learn. It's nice to try to find some kind of point that the players can point to as superior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
And, well, the tonfa does have a niche of 'superiority', if you let the term be flexible enough. You can use it both as a baton and as an arm-guard for 'unarmed' parries. Other weapons don't do that. It is true that that doesn't encourage specializing in Tonfa skill, but it is a merit of the tonfa as a weapon. Police in particular have significant potential use for both modes.
Well yes. It has a significant benefit for NPCs and it will show up with the occasional PC. I'd still like for it to have more value as it's own thing rather than a tool for unarmed fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
How so? It's got a bonus to a technique you usually won't use, and loses the reach C option on a thrust. It's better if you intend to really use those disarming moves, but do you?
It's got a real bonus which is useful even if it comes up rarely. The tonfa does thrust crushing at reach C so you can just punch with the jutte to replace that and wear something (or try to acquire a custom jutte with a at least somewhat enclosed hilt) to protect you from Hurting Yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
To me it seems like a nice bridge between fully unarmed and fully armed. The more realistic the combat, the more useful it is.
Using house rules that reduce damage, anything that improves unarmed force greatly improves effectiveness, as well as removing Karate's absurd ability to parry weapons without risk.
The psychological effects of using a one handed blunt weapon versus a more overtly lethal weapon like blades cannot be ignored in any situation not full out war.
You come at me with a sword, I know that you're trying to kill me, and I must fight with everything I have.
The thing to compare it against isn't a sword though. It's other one handed blunt weapons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Compared to the bulk of the alternatives, a tonfa really isn't a very good weapon. It was originally used because it was difficult to have access to anything better. Police forces likely adopted it because a) it's a less-lethal truncheon with a handguard and b) it can be used to enhance unarmed combat (and many cops are probably better at Brawling than Shortsword).

If you want tonfaguy to be a decent choice, then just like making sword-chuck guy a decent choice you're going to have to change some things. For tonfaguy, making access to weapons (and weapon-using skills) extremely restricted works. For both, letting the weapon be cinematically useful (in the case of sword-chucks, that's pretty much "usable at all") can give it a leg up. If you're looking for a good reason for realistic, armed-combat-oriented characters with reliable access to other weapons to use one, you'll likely be looking for a long time.
I'm looking for a good reason for guys using blunt mostly wooden weapons to use the tonfa instead of the other choices. Things like swords are being completely ignored.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
For wuxia or kung-fu-movie campaigns where everyone is expected to have a degree of skill in both armed and unarmed combat, a tonfa can be a remarkable point-saver, permitting a tonfa-dude to save something in the neighborhood of 2-12 points to invest somewhere else. That benefit isn't small: you can do a lot with those points.
Saving points is important for NPCs or incidental choices of PCs. Cost saving isn't the sort of thing PCs build around though.

Last edited by Sindri; 12-31-2014 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:50 PM   #22
DanHoward
 
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Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Cost saving isn't the sort of thing PCs build around though.
It is for my players.
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:59 PM   #23
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Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
It's got a real bonus which is useful even if it comes up rarely. The tonfa does thrust crushing at reach C so you can just punch with the jutte to replace that and wear something (or try to acquire a custom jutte with a at least somewhat enclosed hilt) to protect you from Hurting Yourself.
Punching doesn't do thr cr unless you're expecting your jutte to double as brass knuckles.

I'd argue that for most baton users, Disarming comes up never. Baton-using high-skill PCs are highly unrepresentative.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
I'm looking for a good reason for guys using blunt mostly wooden weapons to use the tonfa instead of the other choices. Things like swords are being completely ignored.
Seems to me like the Quarterstaff is likely to be king in that context...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Well yes. It has a significant benefit for NPCs and it will show up with the occasional PC. I'd still like for it to have more value as it's own thing rather than a tool for unarmed fighters.
It seems like you're trying to figure out what merits of the tonfa make it suitable for a purpose that there's no evidence that it is at all suitable for.
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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Saving points is important for NPCs or incidental choices of PCs. Cost saving isn't the sort of thing PCs build around though.
I strongly disagree with that, but if that's how your group approaches things we'll have to take that into consideration...
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:59 PM   #24
Sindri
 
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Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

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Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
It is for my players.
Well games are pretty different. In my experience when given a choice between a weapon with high maximum effectiveness and a weapon with lower maximum effectiveness but greater resource efficiency the best decision is for PCs to take the former because they can actually afford to sink resources into it until they hit the cap and operate in dangerous enough circumstances that the marginal increase in peak power is necessary while many NPCs will end up picking the latter.

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Punching doesn't do thr cr unless you're expecting your jutte to double as brass knuckles.
It's a fist load and operates like any other punching improving device.

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
I'd argue that for most baton users, Disarming comes up never. Baton-using high-skill PCs are highly unrepresentative.
Representation doesn't matter within the contest of PCs.

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Seems to me like the Quarterstaff is likely to be king in that context...
Quarterstaff is strong but other options such as the jutte or nunchaku are defensible.

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
It seems like you're trying to figure out what merits of the tonfa make it suitable for a purpose that there's no evidence that it is at all suitable for.
Well I can't know whether people have ideas for what niche it might occupy until I ask them. Plus kobujutsuka seem to perceive utility in it when they already train things like the bo, nunchaku and sai.

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
I strongly disagree with that, but if that's how your group approaches things we'll have to take that into consideration...
I'd appreciate that.

Last edited by Sindri; 12-31-2014 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:02 PM   #25
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Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

Point budgets are like hard drive space for computers. No matter how much you have, developers and new circumstances will push the limits.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:26 PM   #26
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Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

Quote:
The thing to compare it against isn't a sword though. It's other one handed blunt weapons.
So its competition, among one-handed blunt wooden weapons in the Basic Set, is:
Light Club (sw+1 or thr+1 cr, reach 1, parry 0, cost $5, weight 3, ST 10)
Nunchaku (sw+1 cr, reach 1, parry 0U, cost $20, weight 2, ST 7)
Baton (sw or thr cr, reach 1, parry 0, cost $20, weight 1, ST 6)
Short Staff (sw or thr cr, reach 1, parry 0F, cost $20, weight 1, ST 6)

A tonfa, by comparison, is:
Tonfa (sw cr, reach 1, parry 0, cost $40, weight 1.5, ST 7)
or Tonfa (th cr, reach C,1, parry 0, same)

A tonfa is the only one of these that can work both at close combat and at reach 1. It's the only one that can be used to attack and parry with Tonfa, Brawling, Karate, or DX at no penalty. It's the only one that can be used to attack with an Easy skill, or be used to attack at no default penalty without having any combat skills whatsoever. It's the only one that can switch to Reverse Grip at no penalty for the technique. And Martial Arts p. 61 notes it as an appropriate weapon for using the Arm Lock technique with: if I'm reading the technique description right, you can do this at full skill without needing to buy the technique up or buy a Special Setup perk.

With all this, you want more of a niche?
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:39 PM   #27
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Well games are pretty different. In my experience when given a choice between a weapon with high maximum effectiveness and a weapon with lower maximum effectiveness but greater resource efficiency the best decision is for PCs to take the former because they can actually afford to sink resources into it until they hit the cap and operate in dangerous enough circumstances that the marginal increase in peak power is necessary while many NPCs will end up picking the latter.
Where are you getting maximum effectiveness? Melee weapons don't have a maximum effectiveness, you can always get more out of them by throwing 4 more points into the skill.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:04 PM   #28
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toptomcat View Post
So its competition, among one-handed blunt wooden weapons in the Basic Set, is:
Light Club (sw+1 or thr+1 cr, reach 1, parry 0, cost $5, weight 3, ST 10)
Nunchaku (sw+1 cr, reach 1, parry 0U, cost $20, weight 2, ST 7)
Baton (sw or thr cr, reach 1, parry 0, cost $20, weight 1, ST 6)
Short Staff (sw or thr cr, reach 1, parry 0F, cost $20, weight 1, ST 6)

A tonfa, by comparison, is:
Tonfa (sw cr, reach 1, parry 0, cost $40, weight 1.5, ST 7)
or Tonfa (th cr, reach C,1, parry 0, same)

A tonfa is the only one of these that can work both at close combat and at reach 1. It's the only one that can be used to attack and parry with Tonfa, Brawling, Karate, or DX at no penalty. It's the only one that can be used to attack with an Easy skill, or be used to attack at no default penalty without having any combat skills whatsoever. It's the only one that can switch to Reverse Grip at no penalty for the technique. And Martial Arts p. 61 notes it as an appropriate weapon for using the Arm Lock technique with: if I'm reading the technique description right, you can do this at full skill without needing to buy the technique up or buy a Special Setup perk.

With all this, you want more of a niche?
Yeah because for PCs most of those that are even positive are terrible benefits and the ones that aren't are just okayish.

"A tonfa is the only one of these that can work both at close combat and at reach 1."

With thrust crushing which as I've pointed out above is a very minor improvement over enhanced and protected punching.

"It's the only one that can be used to attack and parry with Tonfa, Brawling, Karate, or DX at no penalty.

It's the only one that can be used to attack with an Easy skill, or be used to attack at no default penalty without having any combat skills whatsoever."

PCs have skills though. In fact a weapon that's easier to use is actually a disadvantage because it means that some chump who picks up your weapon is more effective with it. Variety of skills with which you can use it doesn't really matter because you either have one of them to use it with or you don't and the skills don't carry much along with them. RAW Tonfa is also a terrible skill because of how narrow it is. Brawling is an easy skill but it more than pays for that with missing features and just means a reduction in cost if you are hitting a skill cap anyway.

"It's the only one that can switch to Reverse Grip at no penalty for the technique."

Which is a nice thing to throw in for an already solid weapon. However it doesn't actually mean any increased efficacy compared to someone who did buy up the technique so this can't support tonfa by itself.

"And Martial Arts p. 61 notes it as an appropriate weapon for using the Arm Lock technique with: if I'm reading the technique description right, you can do this at full skill without needing to buy the technique up or buy a Special Setup perk."

Of course you can do it at full skill. Full skill is where Arm Lock starts no matter what. Martial Arts p. 61 is also noting that Tonfa is the necessary skill for Arm Lock not that it's unusual in being able to use it. Lots of weapons should be able to Arm Lock.

On the other hand look at a nunchaku which does more swing damage, due to it's half flail ability effectively gives bonus skill even past a skill cap and even weighs more. Or a jutte which is an impressive disarming tool while being substantially smaller and incidentally has RAW support for being a kusarijutte instead. Or a bokken which can do more swing or thrust damage, can optionally be used two handed for even more damage and weighs more. Even a short baton allows swing damage at C range.

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Where are you getting maximum effectiveness? Melee weapons don't have a maximum effectiveness, you can always get more out of them by throwing 4 more points into the skill.
If you don't have a cap on skill levels then yes. Otherwise you buy the skill to max and then pick up the good techniques and perks. Technically you can keep improving but the other purchases are really quite narrow in applicability.

Last edited by Sindri; 12-31-2014 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 12-31-2014, 06:42 PM   #29
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Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
If you don't have a cap on skill levels then yes. Otherwise you buy the skill to max and then pick up the good techniques and perks. Technically you can keep improving but the other purchases are really quite narrow in applicability.
Yeah, if you're working with a skill cap that is low compared to your available points, that does explain a number of the things you're saying that wouldn't otherwise make sense.

Given your willingness to make a custom Jutte with a protective hilt, why not steal the Jutte's disarming prongs and stick them on the Tonfa? Or whatever other weapon. LTC2 p15.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:18 PM   #30
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Improving the Tonfa

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Given your willingness to make a custom Jutte with a protective hilt, why not steal the Jutte's disarming prongs and stick them on the Tonfa? Or whatever other weapon. LTC2 p15.
It is a great weapon option.

That brings up an important point as well. If the tonfa isn't performing excellently then change it. I'd also be interested in ideas for realistic alterations of a tonfa that might make it perform better.
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