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Old 04-05-2019, 02:59 PM   #1
Don Hawthorne
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default Rules Question

I know I am probably missing the answers right in front of my face, but I am bleary-eyed from looking for one and curious about interpretation of the other.

Does a Shield still count as a weapon?

If so, does “Two Weapons” skill (still) allow a character to use the Shield defensively to stop an extra two hits? I recall Steve once answering this question in the original TFT Q&A with: “That’s certainly the way I’ve been doing it.”

If “yes” to the above, can a player purchase “Weapon Expertise/Mastery” for their Shield?

If “yes”, although Expertise/Mastery bonuses do not stack for a particular weapon, would the bonuses for the weapon — a Sword, for example — overlap with those for a Shield? Or would the bonuses for two different weapons — Sword and Axe, for example — both apply if the character had Expertise/Mastery in both weapons?

This would allow very effective fighters, from loin-clothed barbarians to formidablly-armored Knights Templar.

I know it’s the GMs call, but is it allowable in the officially-envisioned design of the game?

Asking for a friend. 🙄

Thanks in advance.

Don H.
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Old 04-05-2019, 03:05 PM   #2
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

There is a Shield Expertise skill with no minimum DX so my suggestion is to have adjDX zero.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:00 PM   #3
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

My interpretation of the Two Weapons skill armor bonus is that it means a person with that talent can use an of handed weapon as an effective substitute for a large shield, but without the attendant -1 DX penalty (except it is no good vs. missiles)

Whatever Steve did or didn't write in a past FAQ, I would argue against 'doubling up' by allowing one to add this to the standard shield protection. That is, I do not believe the intent is for a person fighting with sword and large shield to get 4 points of protection (2 normally for the shield + 2 for the shield as an off handed weapon). I would justify this by saying that you have to choose whether you are using the shield in 'shield mode' or in 'second weapon mode' and you don't get to do both at once. Sort of like I can't stab with a spear and throw a spear as part of the same action on the same turn. Also, if it worked contrary to my suggestion, there would be no purpose for the Shield Mastery talent to exist, and the rest of the game generally assumes a sort of parsimony where there is only one talent per category of activity.

Basically, if one imposes an interpretation on an ambiguously worded rule and the end result is a free lunch, you are probably doing some sort of hack that runs contrary to the intent and spirit of the rules as a whole
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rules Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
there would be no purpose for the Shield Mastery talent to exist, and the rest of the game generally assumes a sort of parsimony where there is only one talent per category of activity.
I don't recall a Shield Mastery talent. Would you like me to write one up for you?

Can you bounce a Very Fine Silver shield off a wall and hit a Nazi in the back of the head?
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:24 PM   #5
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

I've played TFT for quite a few years and this is the first I remember hearing someone propose using Two Weapons talent with a shield as one of the weapons.

I am surprised to hear there was ever a Q & A where Steve said yes he was doing that. (Where was that?)

If it does work that way, then certainly every intelligent-enough-for-the-talent sword & shield fighter would be rushing for the Two Weapons talent, since it would mean getting +2 protection from their shields.

I don't necessarily object to there being an expert talent that does that for shield users (but see Shield Expertise, which has similar difficulty and value).

However it does seem to me weird and unintended that there would be a natural great talent for sword & shield fighters which is Two Weapons AND also gives another two-weapon fighting style.

So like larsdingly, while I would be interested in seeing that old Q & A, I don't think you're supposed to be able to use a shield as one of the weapons in Two Weapons. And no, no taking Weapon Expert - Shield, either, but you could stack Shield Expertise with Weapon Expert - Sword.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:50 PM   #6
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

I never considered the shield a "weapon" for this purpose and I'm happy to stick with that view in the new edition.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:09 PM   #7
Don Hawthorne
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

Well, to address some responses:

hcobb:
Thanks, the Shield Expertise Talent is handy, and at 2 INT is probably worth the price for the extra -1 DEX penalty it imposes on frontal attackers. It does not, however, provide the extra die penalty to an attacker when Defending, so Weapon Expertise/Shield would be worth the extra INT point; plus it would increase the damage of a Spike Shield.

larsdangly:
I interpret the ability of using a dagger (or other weapon) with the Two Weapons Talent to stop damage as being an active parry. And a parry is a parry whether it’s done with a Maine Gauche or a tavern stool. If it’s done with a Shield, which already presents a large enough surface area to impose a reduction of incoming damage, then that surface area is simply being interposed more efficiently, to greater effect. Hence a small Buckler or Target stops two extra hits, as does a large Kite shield. As with Pole Weapons only receiving an extra die of damage rather than doubling when charging, the bonus is more pronounced at the low end — 0+2 for offensive weapons, 1+2 for small shields, 2+2 for large, etcetera — which accurately models the effects of a professional fighter using the tools of his profession to optimal effect. A courtier in fine clothes armed with rapier and Maine Gauche will not stop as many hits as a knight in chainmail with a large shield defending the ramparts against a similarly equipped opponent, to be sure. But the courtier forced to conduct a rapier-and-dagger duel against a man in chainmail with a broadsword will, and should, be at a disadvantage.

It is hardly acquiring a “free lunch” to assemble skills in such a way as to appropriately model a skilled warrior doing what he does best; the fact that the opponent might not _like_ it is irrelevant. One man’s strategy is always going to be another man’s “hack”. No doubt Neanderthals were offended when Cro Magnons started killing them with slings and bows instead of staying at their level and throwing rocks and spears.

Skarg:
I thought for sure it was in The Space Gamer, but it would be in the Companion, and I don’t see it. So it might have been from a Q&A column in Interplay, published after Steve left Metagaming, which would make it null and void vis a vis the new edition. I do clearly remember the phrasing, but it’s certainly possible I have mis-remembered the source.

That said, we have been playing it this way for decades, and it has never imbalanced the game in any way, so we’ll keep using it.

Chris Rice:
Melee, pg. 15, fifth line down, last sentence: “A shield counts as a weapon.”

And finally, to reiterate part of the question which was not addressed:

Say a fighter with Two Weapons Talent carries a Short Sword in one hand and a Small Axe in the other; he has Weapon Expertise/Short Sword and Weapon Expertise/Small Axe. He could parry with either or both weapons, stopping 2 or 4 hits, respectively.
If he Defends, an attacker must roll 4 dice to hit him; but the attacker must roll an additional die for _each_ Weapon Expertise Talent, for a total of 6 dice to hit him, and suffers a -2 DEX reduction, -1 for _each_ Weapon Expertise Talent.
Is this double parry a Defense Option, which _already_ forces an additional die on the attacker? On the surface, one would think no, lest the attacker be forced to roll 6(!) dice at -2 DEX against such an opponent, but perhaps that is not so unreasonable a return on the investment of 8 INT points into the three skills?
We think the latter.

Anyway, good input, all, thanks. We’ll see how these “Expertise/Mastery + Two Weapons” Talents work put and post results.

Remember, anything player characters can do, moderately intelligent opponents can do, as well, so it’s not likely to imbalance anything.

In fact, since “play balance” is a myth, anyway, it should make everything more fun!

Don H.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rules Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
I don't recall a Shield Mastery talent. Would you like me to write one up for you?

Can you bounce a Very Fine Silver shield off a wall and hit a Nazi in the back of the head?
Yes, but you need Shield Mastery II if you want the shield to then bounce off the Nazi's head and return to you.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:45 PM   #9
Mallen the dark
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

I am still reading my copy, but wasn't shield rush an attack option in the original version (or was that GURPS)? If it is, then sword and shield as two weapon makes sense. But even if it is not, I say it sounds right.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:48 PM   #10
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Rules Question

Can I do Two Weapons with a brand, because the rulebook is full of sword and torch pics.
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