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Old 01-08-2018, 04:37 PM   #1
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

I broke this off from the "list the issues" TFT thread (Fantasy Trip Glitches, Contradictions, Ambiguities).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Yes, charge attacks with polearms are too strong. After a few decades of reflecting on it, I don't think that charging with a halberd is any better than charging with any big pointy stick. The halberd's blade doesn't help in the charge.
Maybe the solution would be to give a charging figure with any pole weapon a flat 2+2 dice damage (2 handed spear's damage in a charge attack). Or whatever you think that damage should be.

I think mounted figures with lances should be pretty awesome though.

Quote:
And I'm willing to listen to argument that the javelin is too short and light to get a charge bonus.
For me, the issue would revolve around game balance. I never found javelins to be an issue, but they were rarely taken by my players.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 01-08-2018 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:09 PM   #2
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

A better treatment of pole arms would be to give them all a similarly strong (and quite good) impaling charge attack, and then to have the swinging/hacking attack scale with ST and extend up to quite high values. The reality is that a halberd or pole hammer is one of the few weapons on a medieval battlefield that will wreck your day even in heavy armor.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:17 AM   #3
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

Quote:
The guy who survived the longest in one campaign was an elf with no armor wielding a naginata. He had a speed of 14. (This thread should be in TFT Pole Weapons and Charging, editor.)
I replied to this post here to effectively move it to the right thread.

That doesn't surprise me. The figure you describe would attack first in a charge attack and would hit 91% of the time. He would do 2+4 damage, enough to seriously injure or kill normal opponents most of the time. More than half of the time, he'd knock an opponent wearing chainmail (or leather and small shield) down, which would prevent the opponent from retaliating.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:56 PM   #4
ak_aramis
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
A better treatment of pole arms would be to give them all a similarly strong (and quite good) impaling charge attack, and then to have the swinging/hacking attack scale with ST and extend up to quite high values. The reality is that a halberd or pole hammer is one of the few weapons on a medieval battlefield that will wreck your day even in heavy armor.
Not all polearms are good as thrusting weapons. Poleaxes and Polehammers, especially. The Halberd is a great weapon - but it's not as good as a spear for thrusting, nor as good as a similar axe, hammer, or bec vs heavy armors, because it's got off-impact blades that can make it easier to parry.

The best all-around seems to be the Glaive - a 2' seax (meat-cleaver with a thrusting point) on a 4' to 6' handle, often with a back spike and/or back-hook. It does most things a halberd does with a cheaper blade, and one which is also still useful as a utility tool... and is easier to make, as well. But, like the Halberd, a dedicated bec is better at opening the can, a dedicated axe is better at chopping bones to dust through chain and/or denting plate, and the dedicated bill hooks are better at pulling riders and cutting straps...

Likewise, the Seax itself is a jack of all trades blade - a 2'-3' meat-cleaver with a thrusting point, and a 10 to 20 inch handle. Strong enough to make a useful hatchet, easily sharpened, massive enough to be hard to block or divert, and still wieldy enough to be used as a machete, too. And it can be used to stop-thrust as well as push thrust, in addition to chopping. Oh, and it's nimble enough to be used for preparing dinner... none of them as well as a dedicated blade for the task, but all of them better than the wrong blade. (
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:45 AM   #5
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

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Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
Not all polearms are good as thrusting weapons. Poleaxes and Polehammers, especially. The Halberd is a great weapon - but it's not as good as a spear for thrusting, nor as good as a similar axe, hammer, or bec vs heavy armors, because it's got off-impact blades that can make it easier to parry.

The best all-around seems to be the Glaive - a 2' seax (meat-cleaver with a thrusting point) on a 4' to 6' handle, often with a back spike and/or back-hook. It does most things a halberd does with a cheaper blade, and one which is also still useful as a utility tool... and is easier to make, as well. But, like the Halberd, a dedicated bec is better at opening the can, a dedicated axe is better at chopping bones to dust through chain and/or denting plate, and the dedicated bill hooks are better at pulling riders and cutting straps...

Likewise, the Seax itself is a jack of all trades blade - a 2'-3' meat-cleaver with a thrusting point, and a 10 to 20 inch handle. Strong enough to make a useful hatchet, easily sharpened, massive enough to be hard to block or divert, and still wieldy enough to be used as a machete, too. And it can be used to stop-thrust as well as push thrust, in addition to chopping. Oh, and it's nimble enough to be used for preparing dinner... none of them as well as a dedicated blade for the task, but all of them better than the wrong blade. (
Watch out, you may wind up recreating Gygax’s pole weapon fetish in AD&D :)
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

My recollection from ye olde days as a spear/glaive man were that my advantages were reach, and the ability to get in a quick hit with a sneaky jab or chop now and again. The only time that I felt like I did a hit with "extra damage" was in line battles while standing behind the shield wall. Then you could get in a full overhand swing with plenty of power behind it.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:45 AM   #7
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

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Originally Posted by pyratejohn View Post
My recollection from ye olde days as a spear/glaive man were that my advantages were reach, and the ability to get in a quick hit with a sneaky jab or chop now and again. The only time that I felt like I did a hit with "extra damage" was in line battles while standing behind the shield wall. Then you could get in a full overhand swing with plenty of power behind it.
I think Melee got the concept correct - pole weapons *could* be more effective in a charge. And Melee allowed some interesting tactical approaches with pole weapons.

But doubling the damage, while simple, might have been too much, with larger pole weapons. A simple fix might be to add 1 die for a charge attack (or set vs a charge) with anything the size of a spear or larger.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:25 PM   #8
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I think Melee got the concept correct - pole weapons *could* be more effective in a charge. And Melee allowed some interesting tactical approaches with pole weapons.

But doubling the damage, while simple, might have been too much, with larger pole weapons. A simple fix might be to add 1 die for a charge attack (or set vs a charge) with anything the size of a spear or larger.
Surely the standard tactic against the charge is the Defend option? That renders the charge largely ineffective unless the attacker has a high adj DX. I'm not so keen on getting rid of double damage, although maybe the Halberd should be 2-2 and the Pike Axe 2d. Otherwise why would someone choose a Pikeaxe over a Battleaxe at ST15?

Also, I find it amazing that your unarmoured Naginata wielder was your most long lived. He probably wouldn't even survive the first room in Death Test!
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:48 PM   #9
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Surely the standard tactic against the charge is the Defend option? That renders the charge largely ineffective unless the attacker has a high adj DX. I'm not so keen on getting rid of double damage, although maybe the Halberd should be 2-2 and the Pike Axe 2d. Otherwise why would someone choose a Pikeaxe over a Battleaxe at ST15?

Also, I find it amazing that your unarmoured Naginata wielder was your most long lived. He probably wouldn't even survive the first room in Death Test!
Yeah, that's true; I forgot about that.

With an adjDX of 13, the pole weapon user would hit someone taking the Defend option 44% of the time; with an adjDX of 14, he'll hit 55% of the time.

To have an adjDX of 13, a starting fighter would have a ST of 11 - enough for a spear. He'd have a 44% chance of inflicting 9 points of damage. His opponent would likely have a shield (at least 1 point), reducing the average to 8 points. After the charge attack his opponent's shortsword would inflict an average of 6 points vs 4.5 (less 1 point for the shield).

At first blush, spears seem a bit more powerful. But not too bad.

But with only 2 points more ST, the fighter becomes quite potent - a 44% chance of inflicting a hit that averages 14 points of damage (halberd). A nearly even chance of badly wounding or killing almost any comparable enemy. Assume a ST 13, DX 13(10) character with chain and small shield (-4 hits). The average hit will knock him down and reduce his ST to 4. 1 or 2 additional hits in normal combat (virtually certain since the halberd user has a DX of 13 (84% chance of hitting) will finish him off.

With only 4 points more ST, the fighter becomes stunningly potent - a 44% chance of inflicting a hit that averages 18 points of damage (pike ax). A nearly even chance of likely killing almost any comparable enemy. Assume a ST 15, DX 13(10) character with chain and small shield (-4 hits). The average hit will reduce him to ST 1 (unconscious).

With an additional point of DX, the pole weapon user has a 55% chance of inflicting these hits.

The ST 11 spear averages 3.5 points (1h) and 4.5 points (2h); the ST 11 shortsword averages 6 points (1h). The 2h spear (in a charge) will do 3 points (50%) more damage than a shortsword. (And the shortsword allows for a shield).

The ST 13 halberd (2h) averages 7 points; the Bastard Sword averages 8 (1h) and 8.5 (2h). In a charge, the Halberd does 14 points, 5.5 points (65%) more damage than the 2h bastard sword. It would take the bastard sword 3-4 subsequent normal rounds for the bastard sword to make up the difference in average damage, assuming both weapons hit every round.

The ST 15 pike ax averages 9 points; the ST 15 battle ax averages 10.5 points. In a charge, the pike ax averages 18 points, 7.5 (67%) more than the battle ax. It would take 5 subsequent normal rounds for the battle ax to make up the difference in average damage, assuming both weapons hit every round.

If you keep the double damage mechanic, I submit that the halberd and the pike ax need to be reduced in damage by at least 1 point and 2 points respectively.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 01-11-2018 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:58 PM   #10
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: Fantasy Trip Pole Weapons and Charges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Surely the standard tactic against the charge is the Defend option? That renders the charge largely ineffective unless the attacker has a high adj DX. I'm not so keen on getting rid of double damage, although maybe the Halberd should be 2-2 and the Pike Axe 2d. Otherwise why would someone choose a Pikeaxe over a Battleaxe at ST15?

Also, I find it amazing that your unarmoured Naginata wielder was your most long lived. He probably wouldn't even survive the first room in Death Test!
The naginata wielder wasn't mine. However, he'd do 11 points damage in a charge. A 32 point fighter could get ST10 and DX14, giving him a 55% chance of hitting a defending figure. Against a starting opponent, say ST11, DX13(11), leather, shield shortsword, the naginata wielder would have a better than even chance of inflicting an average of 11 points - enough to grievously injure the opponent (reducing him to ST3. The naginata wielder would be very likely to finish his opponent off - he'd go first and have a 91% chance of hitting with average 5.5 points of damage).

I think the naginata is too powerful. It does 2 points more damage than a spear and can wielded at 1 ST less. 1+1 damage would be more appropriate in my opinion.
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