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Old 10-27-2015, 05:24 PM   #1
Arcanjo7Sagi
 
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Default Historical European Martial Arts

I found this documentary about European martial arts, and after seeing some parts, I wondered how realistic and close to reality are the rules and techniques that we have in GURPS Martial Arts book.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DBm...ature=youtu.be

Inspired by documentary, I'm opening this thread to talk about the historical European martial arts and how GURPS rules deal with it. Maybe we could expand the book with some house rules (if needed), new styles or event combat tactics.

PS: Sorry for any english mistakes.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:35 PM   #2
sjard
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Default Re: Historical European Martial Arts

About as realistic as you could expect a game to be that isn't custom designed around them.

The European martial arts in GURPS Martial Arts are based on several manuals. I haven't seen the video you linked, but knowing some of the people involved (in the video and kickstarter to make the video) I wouldn't be surprised if they at least touch on some of the manuals that are in the bibliography for GURPS Martial Arts.
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Historical European Martial Arts

Honestly, the best of any system I have seen.

There's a few possibly minor issues – in a real fight an Arm Lock is something you do when a good opportunity presents itself, while in GURPS it is something you plan on using – although I think the GURPS method is more fun to play. Other than that, the range of techniques and tactics do an excellent job of making skilled combat based on historical martial arts possible. I have made knight characters heavily influenced by the fighting manuals and found GURPS is more friendly to that concept than other systems.

At the same time, there is a definite sense of each moving having its own place. For instance, the knight character I played had a clear idea when and why to use Judo Throw, Arm Lock or Choke Hold – Judo Throw off a parry was when I was outnumbered and wanted to avoid grappling, Arm Lock was great for single combat since it disabled the weapon while still hurting your opponent, and Choke Hold was a better 'attacking' move for an enemy off guard because the neck damage could take them down quicker.

The anti-armour aspects of half-swording are not really covered adequately in GURPS; Defensive Grip is a nod towards half-swording, but is kind of a token nod. Realistic fighting against armour works best at around 10-12 ST – at ST 13+ and Weapon Master or other cinematic options doing damage through armour becomes too viable for HEMA.

Reach rules are excellent for realism – a longsword being able to strike at Reach 1 & 2 at once, which can be an important part of the tactics with it, whereas a polearm can only cover Reach 1 or 2 but not both at once. This is very consistent with Fiore dei Liberi's praise of the sword as being effective both near and far, so there is a real sense that longer swords function differently to other large weapons.

Stop Hits are pretty consistent with techniques like Absetzen or Zwerchhau where you strike and cover in one motion.

Polearms have lots of uses that aren't immediately obvious. Again, the knight I play based on these martial arts systems relies a lot on Sweeps and Disarms with his halberd, because at Reach 3 he can disarm someone with a Reach 2 weapon from 5 yards away.

Telegraphic Attack & Committed Attack can give a total of +6 bonus, making difficult techniques plausible under the right conditions. For instance, Hook is at -5, but at a safe distance (like Reach 3 halberd) it becomes viable to use those other options. Similarly, it is a good anti-armour option. For instance, that +6 can be what you need to attack armour gaps. This makes the way to take down a heavily armoured opponent be to throw him to the ground and stun him, letting you aim for an armour gap while they are down.

This is more or less what HEMA advises.

Read up on the styles: an important part of the fighting style is to know your options. For instance, that in blossfechten the Defensive Attack is the default attack, and in armoured combat the sequence of takedown followed by Committed Attack is more common.

There is another limitation being that GURPS is somewhat unforgiving of multi-weapon use, and encourages specialisation in one weapon rather than learning a range like historical warriors did, although that is a fairly small complaint in comparison to all the things that GURPS gets right.

Overall, GURPS is my go-to system for playing anything using HEMA.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Historical European Martial Arts

Note that the reason I mentioned the custom designed rpg based on HEMA... now that I've jumped around in that video a bit, I notice that Jake Norwood is in it. I've personally trained with him (back when we were both members of ARMA*, and he lived about an hour away from where I do). He also created an RPG who's combat system was based on HEMA (The Riddle of Steel).

*And before he joined the army and he had more hair.
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