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Old 09-07-2015, 10:09 AM   #1
aesir23
 
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Default [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

So, as I've mentioned in another thread, I've been studying historical sword fighting for the last half-year.

Among the styles I've been studying have been a significant amount of Rapier and Dagger (Main-Gauche) and Sword and Buckler.

And I've notice that the draw-backs and benefits of dual-weapons or sword and shield are different than those assumed by GURPS. I'll lay out those differences here, and I'll propose new house rules to fix this discrepancy in my next post.

GURPS Benefits:
1. Two un-penalized parries (or a parry and a block) in a single turn.
2. Dual Weapon Attacks (attacking with both weapons at once).
3. Cross Parries.

GURPS Drawbacks.
1. You have to learn two weapon skills.
2. Your off-hand weapon is penalized without a quirk.

Real Life Benefits:
1. Counterattacks (double time) and Ripostes (single time) are easier and more effective when you can parry with one weapon and attack with another.
2. Beats are much more effective because you can attack simultaneously.
3. You can perform hard to defend against attacks that would be too risky without a parrying weapon. (Let's call them Committed (Determined) Deceptive Attacks).

Real Life Drawbacks:
1. While training in one or both weapons singly is a helpful foundation, using two weapons simultaneously is a separate and more difficult skill.
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Old 09-07-2015, 10:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

My House Rules Proposal:

Fighting with two weapons or a weapon and a shield is a separate skill, one difficulty class higher than the harder of the two weapons.
This skill defaults to either weapon at -4, but if you know both weapons separately, the default is -3.

EXAMPLE:
Rapier and Main-Gauche (DX Hard)
Default: DX -6, Rapier -4 (-3 if you have 1 point in Main-Gauche), Main-Gauche -4 (-3 if you have at least 1 point in Rapier).



New Rules:
In any turn when you have used neither Dual Weapon Attack or Cross-Parry, you have +1 Skill for the purposes of Counterattack and +1 Parry for the purposes of Riposte. If you perform an All-Out Attack (Beat and Attack) and win the contest to Beat, your margin of victory is treated as being 1 higher.
Additionally, when you use Committed Attack, your defense with your off-hand weapon is -1 instead of -2.

Looking at it now, it seems over-powered, perhaps I need to make some of those benefits techniques or perks. What are your thoughts?
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

Dual Wielding came up a lot in Cherry Blossom Rain, mostly Katana/Wazikashi, so I thought I'd toss my two cents in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
GURPS Benefits:
1. Two un-penalized parries (or a parry and a block) in a single turn.
2. Dual Weapon Attacks (attacking with both weapons at once).
3. Cross Parries.

GURPS Drawbacks.
1. You have to learn two weapon skills.
2. Your off-hand weapon is penalized without a quirk.
Agreed, and I found the bolded a little irritating. Someone with two broadswords or two shortswords is a better fighter, point-for-point, than someone with two different weapons. But it didn't matter that much in CBR, because everyone needed to learn two weapon skills anyway (You were learning either shortsword and broadsword, or you were learning broadsword and two-handed sword)

Quote:
Real Life Benefits:
2. Beats are much more effective because you can attack simultaneously.
3. You can perform hard to defend against attacks that would be too risky without a parrying weapon. (Let's call them Committed (Determined) Deceptive Attacks).
I used a house rule, courtesy of Icelander (with a few modifications): Beats are their own technique, and they're still an ST+Weapon Skill roll, like a feint, but they apply their margin of success to both attacks and defenses made with that specific weapon for the users next turn, and a victory by 5 or more unreadies it. This made dual wielding a little more interesting because you'd have to Beat both weapons to make it effective.

As for committed attacks, I will note that Dual Wielding already makes that more effective. The rules for Committed Attacks is that you can't parry with the weapon you used to make the committed attack, and you're at -2 to any other defenses and you cannot retreat. So if you make a committed attack with your rapier, you can still parry with your main gauche.

I do think there are rooms for house rules, definitely (my own game used some as well). I particularly like the idea of learning a pair of weapons as a single skill.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

One option would be to say that guards with the sword and buckler hand or sword and dagger hand together are Cross Parries (from Martial Arts) in GURPS even if the weapons do not touch.

I think that the number and difficulty of melee weapon skills in GURPS needs to be drastically reduced not increased (its already impractically expensive to be a typical elite warrior who can make himself useful with any common weapon in his society, because there are few and hard defaults between weapon skills).
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

Dual wielding styles seem like a great candidate for the Weapon Adaptation perk. For that matter, letting Weapon Adaptation (parrying dagger in off hand, to Fencing) entirely replace the separate Main Gauche skill seems like it would solve a lot of the issues that come up around that skill, and provide a model for a lot of other cases of this.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

I've considered allowing a sort of Counterstrike at -3 following an off-hand parry of a thrusting attack with a Reach C weapon, an empty hand, or a small buckler. Gives -2 to parry with the weapon parried. I came up with that after watching a sparring match with rapiers that included quite a bit of left hand work.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Someone with two broadswords or two shortswords is a better fighter, point-for-point, than someone with two different weapons.
Yes, this annoys me too. It's demonstrably not true in real life--at least not if both weapons are long, they're like to interfere with each other.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
As for committed attacks, I will note that Dual Wielding already makes that more effective. The rules for Committed Attacks is that you can't parry with the weapon you used to make the committed attack, and you're at -2 to any other defenses and you cannot retreat. So if you make a committed attack with your rapier, you can still parry with your main gauche.
That's true, but -2 to parry is still pretty crippling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
One option would be to say that guards with the sword and buckler hand or sword and dagger hand together are Cross Parries (from Martial Arts) in GURPS even if the weapons do not touch.
Good idea. That definitely supports the i.33 Sword and Buckler approach, which tends to use the buckler as a mobile basket hilt half the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
I think that the number and difficulty of melee weapon skills in GURPS needs to be drastically reduced not increased (its already impractically expensive to be a typical elite warrior who can make himself useful with any common weapon in his society, because there are few and hard defaults between weapon skills).
I actually agree with this too--at least with the idea that it should be easier for skilled warriors to learn multiple weapons. I've answered this in my own campaigns with house rules making defaults more generous and allowing a Melee Weapons Talent.

But I can see how I'm not helping matters by making dual weapons an additional skill.

However, the reality is, when I started learning Giganti's rapier and dagger after learning his single rapier, I had to unlearn a lot of my rapier habits--people who fight rapier and dagger using single rapier techniques get skewered. Furthermore, now I'm pretty good with rapier and dagger and able to pull off some pretty nice tricks in free-sparring, but I don't know the first thing about fighting with a main-gauche alone! I could probably hold it in my left hand and parry with it, but I wouldn't stand a chance in a knife fight with someone who knew what they were doing.

Those are the experiences that make me feel like dual weapons are a separate skill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Dual wielding styles seem like a great candidate for the Weapon Adaptation perk. For that matter, letting Weapon Adaptation (parrying dagger in off hand, to Fencing) entirely replace the separate Main Gauche skill seems like it would solve a lot of the issues that come up around that skill, and provide a model for a lot of other cases of this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
I've considered allowing a sort of Counterstrike at -3 following an off-hand parry of a thrusting attack with a Reach C weapon, an empty hand, or a small buckler. Gives -2 to parry with the weapon parried. I came up with that after watching a sparring match with rapiers that included quite a bit of left hand work.
Both of the above are great suggestions!

RyanW, why wouldn't you receive the same bonus after parrying with a medium shield or cloak?
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
RyanW, why wouldn't you receive the same bonus after parrying with a medium shield or cloak?
To be honest, I haven't put a lot of thought into it. I was mainly thinking about bare hand or parrying dagger defense and added buckler in because rapier and buckler is so iconic. I might actually drop buckler, and limit it to weapons with a crossguard (and bare hands).
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
To be honest, I haven't put a lot of thought into it. I was mainly thinking about bare hand or parrying dagger defense and added buckler in because rapier and buckler is so iconic. I might actually drop buckler, and limit it to weapons with a crossguard (and bare hands).
A crossguard helps for this sort of thing, but unless you're talking blade grabs* (which would be better handled as an actual grapple), there's no reasons bare hands would be better than bucklers.

And if you're allowing it for bare hands at all, you should allow it for cloak as well. Most cloak techniques are just bare-handed parries with a cloak wrapped around as extra protection.

Personally, I'd allow it for any off-hand weapon or shield. Take a look at the technique in this video at around 3:05 for an example of why.

*Blade grabs are another topic entirely, they're really effective and much safer than people think--many longsword manuals teach them. But no rapier manuals I know of do (I think it's Agrippa who said, "it's a miserable way to defend yourself") and I don't know why. Maybe it's easier to cut yourself grabbing a narrower blade, or maybe it's just unfashionable.

Last edited by aesir23; 09-07-2015 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: [MA] [House Rules] A New Approach to Dual Weapons and Sword and Shield.

I'm usually not one for reviving dead threads, but this one piqued my interest when it was linked in the Gritty/Realistic thread. I originally wrote a reply for there, but felt it would be better to post here than derail that thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
I'd argue (and have), based on my own training, that the real advantage is not multiple attacks or parries, but being able to defend and attack simultaneously.
From what I understand, there's also the benefit that your foe needs to divide his attention a bit because he doesn't know which weapon you'll strike with. That implies Deceptive Attacks might be a little easier to pull off while dual wielding - I'd say so long as you're making a -4/-2 Deceptive Attack or better, you reduce the to hit penalty by 1. So instead of being -2/-1, -4/-2, -6/-3, etc, for a character who is dual wielding this is instead -2/-1, -3/-2, -5/-3, and so forth. The target can opt to focus on one weapon over the other (say, the rapier rather than the dagger) - in this case the weapon being focused on doesn't get the benefit, but the other weapon gets the same benefit as using a reverse grip (any Deceptive Attack imposes a further -1 on the target's defenses, for -2/-2, -4/-3, -6/-4, and so forth). This might not apply to certain attacks - for example, kicks probably shouldn't benefit (a skilled fighter keeps his eyes on the target's leg's already), and neither should shields large enough to grant DB (they're so big you don't need to focus on them).

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
1. Counterattacks (double time) and Ripostes (single time) are easier and more effective when you can parry with one weapon and attack with another.
I'd say that when using Counterattack and Riposte specifically, attacking with a different weapon than you defended with imposes a further -1 to the target's defense. However, if combined with Deceptive Attack, the benefits from my suggestion above are a bit harder to achieve - you need to be at -6/-3 to get the +1 to hit, or at -4/-2 for the -1 to defense.
Note this also would apply to unarmed attacks - a character who has just Parried a sword strike can use (fully-trained) Counterattack and Deceptive Attack to make an impressive -4/-6 attack (-4/-5 if the target opts to Dodge/Block), unless the target was paying attention to your hand (for -5/-6 or -6/-6 instead).

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
2. Beats are much more effective because you can attack simultaneously.
Allow characters to learn Dual Weapon Attack in a realistic campaign, even without a relevant Unusual Training Perk, but only have it apply when using a Beat-and-attack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
3. You can perform hard to defend against attacks that would be too risky without a parrying weapon. (Let's call them Committed (Determined) Deceptive Attacks).
Already doable, as noted earlier in the thread. If you feel the -2 for Committed is too harsh, you might be able to justify a Hard Technique that allows a dual-wielding character to buy this off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aesir23 View Post
1. While training in one or both weapons singly is a helpful foundation, using two weapons simultaneously is a separate and more difficult skill.
GURPS weapon skills, while sometimes overly narrow (like the difference between Shortsword and Broadsword), are actually quite broad in that they allow you to defend against any other sort of weapon (from a knife to a halberd to a biting dragon). Allowing you to use them with or without another weapon in your other hand doesn't seem like much of a stretch there. Personally, I'd either handle it as a familiarity, or I'd have each skill have a favored off-hand skill ("none" being an option, of course), and using it with anything else is at -2.
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