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Old 10-09-2018, 01:41 AM   #1
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Default Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

As you might know, there is a technique called Mordhau. You pick the sword by the blade and hit with the pummel or guard; the cool thing here, is that you can avoid hurting yourself even if you have such grip.

So, letís imagine I find a sword but I only know how to wield an axe. Can I use the Mordhau grip to fight using the sword as an axe? And if the sword is short, can I use it as a hatchet? (Via axe wielding skill).

Then you have the half-swording which is another technique to target chinks in armor (so to say). Do you know of a book or reference in GURPS pointing to some sort of benefit from this grip?

I also found this thread, but are there any news?

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Old 10-09-2018, 02:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

Much of this is covered in Martial Arts, as reverse grip and a variation of the defensive grip.

As for using an sword like an axe like this, there's not normally a default to any sword skill from any axe skill, but if you thought there should be for this use I doubt a default at -4 (that seems to be the standard weapon to not-very-close-weapon default) will break anything much.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

Concur with Rupert's note on Martial Arts, but would be more lenient with using a sword in an axe grip. I'd just call it an improvised Axe/Mace weapon and give a -2 to hit (-4 if unfamiliar with the Mordhau).
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Concur with Rupert's note on Martial Arts, but would be more lenient with using a sword in an axe grip. I'd just call it an improvised Axe/Mace weapon and give a -2 to hit (-4 if unfamiliar with the Mordhau).
Calling it an improvised knobbed club or the like works too, yeah. I say 'club', because the hilt and crossguard will be the impact point in general, and so crushing, not cutting, damage would be more correct.
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

I could have sworn mordhau showed up (albeit not by that name) in Martial Arts and/or Low Tech, but looking through those I can't find it at all. I'd agree that improvised knobbed club seems appropriate, but the Parry 0 seems a bit off - an improvised small round mace, perhaps? That's for a ~3 lb broadsword - a bastard sword (~5 lb) or greatsword (~7 lb) would be an improvised round mace instead. The guards of the hilt stick out enough you could probably justify being able to target the eyes for purposes of blinding rather than as a shortcut to the brain (Guts in the Berserk manga did this once when he was younger, in a moderately-recent flashback). In a properly-cinematic setting, a warrior who is rather fond of mordhau might modify the handguards into small axe heads to get cutting damage (Mist in the Knights manga used mordhau as something of an ultimate technique, and his father's sword looked to have had this very modification done).
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I could have sworn mordhau showed up (albeit not by that name) in Martial Arts and/or Low Tech, but looking through those I can't find it at all.
"Murder stroke" is mentioned in Martial Arts, in the text on page 16 about medieval European fighting, but I don't think it's referred to in any technique descriptions/mechanics.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

I thought Mordhau was more about imbalancing, tripping and ultimately grounding your opponent in harness more than direct damage. Does MA discuss using hooky weapons to ground opponents?
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Old 10-10-2018, 06:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

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Originally Posted by Neophyte42 View Post
I thought Mordhau was more about imbalancing, tripping and ultimately grounding your opponent in harness more than direct damage. Does MA discuss using hooky weapons to ground opponents?
The idea behind mordhau, as I understand it, is that you take a balanced edged weapon (useless against armor) and turn it into an unbalanced bludgeoning weapon (not so useless against armor). Certainly allowing the weapon to be used with the Hook Technique would be appropriate - indeed, looking at the entry for Hook (MA74), it actually mentions using the crossguard (and agrees with my above suggestion that the weapon count as unbalanced). Longsword Fighting (MA180-182) is the only style I can find that teaches this Technique (optionally), and while the text mentions using it as a mace it gives no statistics. I'll note that spears with a crossguard beneath the head, like partisans and boar spears, should also allow for Hook.

(Turns out it does indeed show up in Martial Arts, at least in the "murder stroke" mentioned above by Mr_Sandman and in Longsword Fighting, so I wasn't crazy, just lacking in my search-fu)
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

As I understand it, the ruling last time this came up is use the sword's swing damage but change it to crushing. Of course, the way standard rules for DR and cutting work, this is not much of an advantage in the era this attack was used (against plate armor, especially the helm). It really works best with a house rule that gives cutting attacks (or at least balanced cutting attacks) a fractional armor divisor so that crushing attacks actually have an advantage over cutting versus rigid armor. Alternately, you could simply give it an additional +1 or +2 to damage and make it in line with a 2 handed mace.
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Old 10-10-2018, 08:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mordhau & Half-Swording 2018

Hitting someone in the head with the pommel or cross guards while they are wearing a full plate helmet does cause damage, at a minimal it stuns them a lot and may cause nausea. One of my instructors does Harnischfechten and owns a suit and that was one of the first things he tried out, we hit him in the head with a feder, noting, hit him harder, meh. Tap him with the pommel, wtf.
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