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Old 11-23-2016, 09:22 AM   #1
AllySanders
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Default Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

My friend and I are trying to learn how to play pen and paper RPGs; unfortunately, neither of us have any experience (I've never seen one played and she only remembers watching her older brothers play D&D when she was a kid), and neither of us have the right kind of contacts to find a group willing to take us on (let alone a group that uses GURPS), so I'm trying to crash-course myself on the basics of how to run a quick game for the two of us to play, so please forgive me for any annoying questions! I've found a few examples online and on Youtube, so I think I understand the basic mechanics, but I did have a couple of questions:



My friend wants a dual-sword wielding warrior, and plans to purchase the dual weapon attack and offhand weapon training.

1) does she have to purchase dual weapon attack for the weapon she plans to use in each hand, or only once?

2) does she need to purchase offhand weapon training for both weapons, or only for the weapon to be used in the off hand?

Say she has a short sword in the right hand and a dagger in her left, so she has purchased offhand weapon training for the dagger only to get rid of the -4 penalty. She loses the dagger at one point in combat and is now down to only the short sword in the right hand. On the next turn, her enemy cripples her right arm, so she switches the short sword to her left hand. If she does not have offhand weapon training short sword, would this mean that she must take the -4 penalty now?
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:50 AM   #2
McAllister
 
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Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

1) She has to purchase Dual-Weapon Attack for each skill she plans to use. If she uses an axe and a mace, she can just buy Dual-Weapon Attack (Axe/Mace). If she wants to use a shortsword in her main hand and a knife in her off hand, she'll need to buy DWA (Shortsword) and DWA (Knife).

In any case, buying off the penalty altogether for one skill costs five character points.

2) It's interesting that you raise this question, because one of the more detailed books, GURPS Martial Arts, introduces a different way for it to work. I'll break it down based on whether you're using the Martial Arts rules or not.

Using the Basic Set, she probably wants to buy Ambidexterity if she can. For 5 points, she can ignore the off-hand penalty for one skill (such as Knife), or she can ignore it for every skill by buying Ambidexterity. The technique on page 232 is only really useful if you're not allowed to buy Ambidexterity, like, for example, if you've already been an adventurer for a few sessions, and the GM decides that Ambidexterity isn't something you can buy in play. So, in your scenario where the right arm gets crippled, a fighter with Ambidexterity is perfectly happy picking the shortsword up in the left hand, but a fighter that bought Off-Hand Weapon Training (Knife) is not.

Then there's Martial Arts. MA introduces a perk, also named Off-Hand Weapon Training, that costs one point (like all perks) and completely eliminates the penalty for one skill. So, using this system, the fighter you're describing definitely wants Off-Hand Weapon Training (Knife) for regular use, and may want also to buy it for Shortsword just in case. Even buying both comes to 2 points, which is cheaper than Ambidexterity, so it makes a little more sense this way, or at least I think so.

Finally, remember that Knife defaults to Shortsword-3, so if she's buying them both at a very high level, she might be able to save some points. The rules for that are Improving Skills from Default on p. 173: if you gave me the skill levels she's looking at, I can help with the math. I've been using the rules for years and I still have to re-read the whole section whenever I want to use it.

I hope I speak for the whole forum when I say there's no question too basic to be worth asking. It's particularly hard to pick up without in-person access to someone who's familiar with the rules, so I'm happy to help if you have any other questions going forward.

Last edited by McAllister; 11-23-2016 at 09:51 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:58 AM   #3
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

You might consider ducking out of the whole Dual Weapon Attack thing by taking Extra Attack instead. One Extra Attack (without the Multistrike enhancement) is considered not too unrealistic for a human. Just a possibility.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllySanders View Post
1) does she have to purchase dual weapon attack for the weapon she plans to use in each hand, or only once?
The Dual Weapon Attack technique (like most Techniques) is by skill. It buys off the penalty for making Dual Weapon Attacks with the skill it's bought for only. So if you use two weapons that are used with different skills, you need to buy the technique for each skill separately.

(Of course, you can use Dual Weapon Attack without the technique, you just take the entire -4 penalty.)
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Originally Posted by AllySanders View Post
2) does she need to purchase offhand weapon training for both weapons, or only for the weapon to be used in the off hand?
Only for the weapon you're using in the off hand.

Also, in case you didn't know, the Technique from basic is replaced with a Perk in Martial Arts that buys off the whole penalty for a single skill for just one point. The price of the original Technique made no sense compared to the price of the Ambidextrous advantage.
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Originally Posted by AllySanders View Post
Say she has a short sword in the right hand and a dagger in her left, so she has purchased offhand weapon training for the dagger only to get rid of the -4 penalty. She loses the dagger at one point in combat and is now down to only the short sword in the right hand. On the next turn, her enemy cripples her right arm, so she switches the short sword to her left hand. If she does not have offhand weapon training short sword, would this mean that she must take the -4 penalty now?
Off Hand Weapon Training is by skill, again, so if you have Off Hand Weapon Training (Knife) that has no bearing on your use of the Short Sword skill. So, yeah, you wind up with the full off-hand penalty. If you want to be able to change up with all your weapons without penalty, buy Off Hand Weapon Training with every applicable skill, or Ambidexterity.
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:05 AM   #4
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllySanders View Post
My friend wants a dual-sword wielding warrior, and plans to purchase the dual weapon attack and offhand weapon training.
GURPS' basic realism makes this much harder than some other RPGs.
Quote:
1) does she have to purchase dual weapon attack for the weapon she plans to use in each hand, or only once?
Anyone can attempt a dual-weapon attack, but you're at -4 on each attack (unless you All-Out Attack). This penalty can be bought off with the Dual-Weapon Attack technique (Martial Arts, p80), but that requires having the Weapon Master advantage, which is expensive, and cinematic.

If you're using weapons that use different skills in your two hands, you need to buy DWA technique for each of them. Using two shortswords would only require buying the technique once. And note that your Weapon Master needs to cover both the weapons you use.
Quote:
2) does she need to purchase offhand weapon training for both weapons, or only for the weapon to be used in the off hand?
Only for the off-hand weapon.
Quote:
Say she has a short sword in the right hand and a dagger in her left, so she has purchased offhand weapon training for the dagger only to get rid of the -4 penalty. She loses the dagger at one point in combat and is now down to only the short sword in the right hand. On the next turn, her enemy cripples her right arm, so she switches the short sword to her left hand. If she does not have offhand weapon training short sword, would this mean that she must take the -4 penalty now?
Yes. This is another reason why using a pair of identical weapons is easier.

It seems that a lot of people who historically fought with sword and dagger used the dagger almost entirely for parrying. To do this in GURPS, you buy the Main-Gauche skill (Basic P208, Martial Arts p58) rather than Knife skill. Main-Gauche is a harder skill, but has no penalty for parrying with a knife (usually -1) or for parrying with the off-hand (usually -2).

In general, when designing a GURPS hand-to-hand fighter, the Active Defences are the thing that needs the most attention. Simply hitting people isn't very difficult. Avoiding getting hurt is the important thing, and Active Defences are the best way of doing that.
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Old 11-23-2016, 02:46 PM   #5
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllySanders View Post
1) does she have to purchase dual weapon attack for the weapon she plans to use in each hand, or only once?
The RAW (Rules As Written) would require the character to purchase it for both weapons, leaving her capable of using two shortswords, two knives, or a knife and shortsword at no penalty. Many GM's will allow a character to purchase it by combination instead - DWA (Shortsword/Knife) instead of DWA (Shortsword) and DWA (Knife) - which means you only need to purchase it once, but can only use it with that combination (so shortsword and knife only, not two shortswords or two knives).

That said, for a realistic dual wielding character, DWA isn’t needed. Like most RPG’s, however, GURPS doesn’t really handle a realistic dual wielding character very well. Dual wielding basically forces your foe to split his attention between your weapons, as he doesn’t know which you’ll be using to attack. It also - given good enough coordination - makes it harder for him to capitalize on any openings in your defenses (say, from having just attacked) while making it easier for you to capitalize on any openings in his (as he’ll likely be more open to an attack from one weapon than the other). I probably wouldn’t normally suggest this for a new GM or player, but if you’d like to go this route, a relatively simple way to do it is the following - anytime the character fails a Parry by 1 (Margin of Failure 1), she may attempt to Parry using the other weapon instead, optionally at -1 to defense. Similarly, anytime a foe just barely succeeds on a Parry (Margin of Success 0), the character may attempt to attack using the other weapon instead; on a hit, the foe may attempt another defense, optionally at +1. In both cases, this isn’t the character actually getting an extra defense or attack - rather, you are retroactively declaring the situation called for using the other weapon. When the dice indicate the character failed to defend with her shortsword by 1, but then successfully defended with her knife, in the game world she simply parried the strike with her knife.
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Old 11-23-2016, 02:54 PM   #6
corwyn
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

This has been answered fairly well so I'll just add a few points that haven't been covered, afaict.

With this character, you'll also need off-hand training for the fast-draw skills you will be using in your off-hand. If you want to build the character so she can use either in the off-hand, this will be 4 points so you might as well get Ambidexterity at that point.

It would also be reasonable, IMO, to buy Dual Weapon (Shortsword right, Knife left). It wouldn't benefit any other weapon combination, including reversing hands, but it would save 5 points. I don't believe it's an official option, but I'd allow it.
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:03 PM   #7
corwyn
 
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Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post

That said, for a realistic dual wielding character, DWA isn’t needed. Like most RPG’s, however, GURPS doesn’t really handle a realistic dual wielding character very well. Dual wielding basically forces your foe to split his attention between your weapons, as he doesn’t know which you’ll be using to attack. It also - given good enough coordination - makes it harder for him to capitalize on any openings in your defenses (say, from having just attacked) while making it easier for you to capitalize on any openings in his (as he’ll likely be more open to an attack from one weapon than the other). I probably wouldn’t normally suggest this for a new GM or player, but if you’d like to go this route, a relatively simple way to do it is the following - anytime the character fails a Parry by 1 (Margin of Failure 1), she may attempt to Parry using the other weapon instead, optionally at -1 to defense. Similarly, anytime a foe just barely succeeds on a Parry (Margin of Success 0), the character may attempt to attack using the other weapon instead; on a hit, the foe may attempt another defense, optionally at +1. In both cases, this isn’t the character actually getting an extra defense or attack - rather, you are retroactively declaring the situation called for using the other weapon. When the dice indicate the character failed to defend with her shortsword by 1, but then successfully defended with her knife, in the game world she simply parried the strike with her knife.
I don't think this is necessary as the rules already give an advantage on offense and defense.

On offense, DWA gives a -1 to defend (from Martial Arts) to reflect the target splitting attention.
On defense, the DWA character has two parries at full skill. Most characters would be at -4 to their second parry.

I think this handles dual wielding just fine.
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:23 PM   #8
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

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Originally Posted by corwyn View Post
On offense, DWA gives a -1 to defend (from Martial Arts) to reflect the target splitting attention.
... If you're using your weapons in a cinematic Dual Weapon Attack. Note my post was talking about realistic dual-wielders, not cinematic ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by corwyn View Post
On defense, the DWA character has two parries at full skill. Most characters would be at -4 to their second parry.
... If you're fighting multiple people or your foe is taking some serious penalties to be able to attack more than once in a single second. Those probably aren't very common situations for a historical dual-wielder (a duelist) to find himself in.

(There are outliers like Miyamoto Musashi, of course)
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:46 PM   #9
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
... If you're using your weapons in a cinematic Dual Weapon Attack. Note my post was talking about realistic dual-wielders, not cinematic ones.
Dual Weapon Attack is classed as a realistic combat option. It's a cinematic Technique to improve it. But used without that Technique it's a lower-penalty and more effective alternative to Rapid Strike.
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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
... If you're fighting multiple people or your foe is taking some serious penalties to be able to attack more than once in a single second. Those probably aren't very common situations for a historical dual-wielder (a duelist) to find himself in.

(There are outliers like Miyamoto Musashi, of course)
And of course you've got the other parry for any of the many if perhaps rare occasions where your main weapon parry might be unavailable or specially penalized.
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Old 11-23-2016, 03:47 PM   #10
corwyn
 
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Default Re: Dual weapon attack & offhand weapon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
... If you're using your weapons in a cinematic Dual Weapon Attack. Note my post was talking about realistic dual-wielders, not cinematic ones.
The rules for Dual-Weapon Attack are actually in Basic (pg 417) and apply whether you are realistic or cinematic. Only improving the technique requires the character to be cinematic.

Quote:

... If you're fighting multiple people or your foe is taking some serious penalties to be able to attack more than once in a single second. Those probably aren't very common situations for a historical dual-wielder (a duelist) to find himself in.
Maybe, but it's a lot simpler than the option you gave, especially for a new GM. If anything, i would just allow them to use both parries up and give a +1 parry for the extra weapon and call it a day. Simpler, no extra rolls involved, and there is a price to pay if their opponent has some way to provide an extra attack (Rapid Attack, All Out Attack, Dual Weapon).
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