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Old 09-21-2017, 01:46 PM   #1
Hellboy
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Default Can guards do more than blades?

Watching "The Princess Knight" episode of Elena of Avalor, they find out Elena's mom had her wrist broken in a fencing bout by having the bell guard of the sword (not sure if foil or epee) smashed against it.

I figure this is Pummeling but can pulling with a sword at range C possibly do more damage than impaling at range 1? Both do thrust based damage.

IRL I can see how I could apply more force with a bell guard than the sword tip but maybe that is because it is a sport sword and not a real stabbing one. Not sure how much less damage they do.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form a swordsman, so this is just going off of my instinct and half remembered physics lessons.

So, with either punching with the pommel or stabbing with the blade, you're looking at roughly the same amount of force being used. The force is going to be dispersed over the surface area of what comes into contact with the target, so hitting someone with the guard will affect a larger area, but the amount of force per, say, square centimeter will be reduced.

Also, swords are pointy, and liable to go into a person, and do a lot of damage to the parts that are inside the body. There are certainly situations where hitting with the guard would be preferable, but generally speaking I wouldn't count on it to be more effective than actually stabbing them.

Which makes sense - there's a reason why swords are swords and not clubs.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

Against a joint, striking with the pommel can be more effective than stabbing with the blade, particularly if the blade is of Good or lower quality and the attacker has a decent level of Brawling. This is for a combination of reasons - first, impaling doesn't get its x2 wounding modifier when striking limbs/extremities, meaning the two are comparable in wounding. Secondly, impaling gets no special treatment when striking a joint, while crushing does. From your description, the weapon being used was at best a Light Rapier, probably more likely a Dress Smallsword, so you're looking at thr+1 or thr imp, respectively, vs thr+1 (assuming decent Brawling skill) cr. Against a limb or extremity, the two do essentially the same damage (impaling has the advantage of bleeding, but that's more long term). Against joints, the hilt punch has an advantage, as it requires less penetrating damage to cripple the target.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

Was the context you were referring to a sport duel? If so, the blade of the sword would be flexible and not sharp, designed to be undamaging, but the hard pommel could still do damage in a deliberate or accidental strike.
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Last edited by Ransom; 09-22-2017 at 09:17 AM. Reason: wow, my english grammar is trending down hard as my mandarin trends up
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

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Originally Posted by Ransom View Post
Was the context you were referring to a sport duel? If so, the blade of the sword would be flexible and not sharp, deliberate designed to be undamaged, but the hard pommel could still do damage in a deliberate or accidental strike.
Indeed. If the duel was actually conducted with foils - the sporting version of the Dress Smallsword - you're looking at thr-2 cr (MA215), which is a far cry from the thr or thr+1 cr of a hilt punch!
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

Thanks for MA page, wasn't sure where to find the DMG. Can see Epee there too and it also does less than pummeling. It was a sports competition yes.

Targeting joints makes sense too although since these sport swords are crushing I guess they could do that as well. Pummel at thrust-0 is better than epee at thrust-1 or foil at thrust-2 as you say.

Now wondering what's skill you would roll to try and make this look accidental to referee since it is illegal to do intentionally.

Very difficult move since I think guards make it harder to target the hand... Or maybe that was shields.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellboy View Post
...

Now wondering what's skill you would roll to try and make this look accidental to referee since it is illegal to do intentionally.

Very difficult move since I think guards make it harder to target the hand... Or maybe that was shields.
"Dirty tricks" based off sports fencing vs. the ref's perception + sports fencing? to avoid it being noticed as intentional,


and yeah you have to actually hit the joint.

FWIW even with guards I've caught others on the wrist (and been caught in return)

erm unintentionally I hasten to add!

Last edited by Tomsdad; 09-26-2017 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 09-26-2017, 01:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

I was recently binge-watching the Scholagladiatoria youtube channel. He's the main person for HEMA in England, so isn't some D&D basement boffer.
And when fencing with hard but unsharpened swords with guards, one bad parry resulted in a badly broken finger.
Sharps would have left him with one fewer digits.
Just for a real life example of how guards aren't perfect even when no one involved is trying to cause real wounds.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Can guards do more than blades?

Guards can't do more than blades, and they can also do more than blades. There are a lot of techniques that talk about striking with the pommel or Guard (or cross guard) and these techniques range from "stunning" the other person for a follow up or just out right knocking them out (or knocking out an eye).

So, yes it is possible to break someones joint by punching it with the guard.

Now, by GURPS rules. Damage for a "Hilt" strike is thr cr for most weapons with a hilt. This damage does get the brawling bonus if it applies, so you are looking at thr+1 per die as a maximum.

That will be anywhere from 1d-1 to 2d+1 (ST 10 to ST 20) and a joint cripples at HP/4, so that means you need to do 3 - 5+ points of damage to cripple a wrist. Doable.
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