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Old 05-19-2010, 07:24 AM   #1
davidtmoore
 
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Default [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Hola all,

Something's been bothering me slightly. Follow me:
  • Fencing weapons enjoy a bonus to Parry while retreating.
  • Using a fencing skill for a similar non-fencing weapon normally does not give you this bonus, since the bonus is assumed to reflect the weapon's design, not the skill used.
  • However, if you have the perk Weapon Adaptation (*Non-Fencing Weapon* to *Fencing Skill*), you gain the bonus.
  • Escrima, Krabi Krabong and Dragon-Man Kung Fu all use Fencing skills for non-Fencing weapons, and all include Weapon Adaptation. Well and good.

With me so far?
  • Staffs enjoy a bonus to Parry.
  • If you parry with a spear or polearm using the Staff skill, you get no bonus to Parry; again, the bonus is for the design, not the skill.
  • If you have Weapon Adaptation (*Pole-Style Weapon* to Staff), you would gain the Parry bonus.
  • Chinese Horse-Cutter Fighting, Chinese Spear-Fighting, Glaive Fighting, MCMAP, Naginatajutsu and Sojutsu (phew) all teach Polearm/Spear and Staff skills to use the polearm or spear (bayoneted rifle in one instance), but none of them have Weapon Adaptation.

When I first realised this, I thought maybe the Staff Parry bonus applies to spears and polearms when used with Staff skill and WA wasn't necessary, but I looked it up on the weapon chart and the stats are unambiguous; you definitely do not get the Staff Parry bonus when parrying with a spear or polearm using Staff skill.

So as near as I can tell, the only virtue to having both the Spear/Polearm (delete as necessary) and Staff skills to use spears and polearms is the ability to do crushing damage - and less of it - as well as cutting/impaling damage. You can attack with both skills, parry at the same level with both skills, use Defensive Grip with both skills, and whatever else.

Now, obviously the versatility is nice, but why doesn't a single style built around these two skills offer Weapon Adaptation, when one more CP would give you a massive +2 to Parry with your weapon? Did the authors of Martial Arts think, like I initially did, that the bonus is automatic and the WA perk wasn't needed? Certainly all these styles are dripping with Form Mastery and Grip Mastery, as you'd expect, but why not WA?
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Almost all the polearms/spears with a Staff mode can have their reach changed as a free action when used in Staff mode, but take a Ready action when used with their main skill.

Being able to fluently shift between reach 1 and reach 2 is a great trick.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

I think that WA is included in your first list because some of the weapons mentioned in the styles' description couldn't be used with the styles' skills without it (katana/broadsword for Dragon-Man Kung Fu, short sword for Krabi Krabong, sticks? for Escrima).
The polearms and spears mentioned in the second list of styles can be used "natively" with these styles' skills, and don't need WA.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

As I understand it, here is how it works:


Anyone can use a spear/polearm using Staff skill and instead use Staff stats and get the +2 to parry. It costs a Ready action to change form. And you use your Staff skill to calculate parry and so on.


Weapon Adaption means you can change to use staff form as above and spear damage. It still costs a ready action, but you only need Staff-skill to calcualte Parry and to hit (even when you poke for impaling damage).

Form Mastery allow you to change form as a free action. Combined with Weapon Adaption you only need one skill (staff) and can change form as a free action.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Almost all the polearms/spears with a Staff mode can have their reach changed as a free action when used in Staff mode, but take a Ready action when used with their main skill.

Being able to fluently shift between reach 1 and reach 2 is a great trick.
I learned how to do it with a long staff as part of an attack. That is, with the weapon readied at reach 1 (hands at the trisecting points of an ~6' staff), release one hand and swing it wide, re-gripping it on the end. Change of reach accomplished.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:59 AM   #6
Figleaf23
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post

... you definitely do not get the Staff Parry bonus when parrying with a spear or polearm using Staff skill.
Well that makes very little sense.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Yes, I agree with Figleaf (which is uncommon).

I generally allow spears used with Staff Skill and Form Mastery to attack with the spear skill and then switch to Staff to parry with a bonus. I don't find this to be at all unbalanced, unless you arbitrarily don't allow Pointy Staffs to do impaling unless used with a different skill.

Assuming a DX of 10:
Quote:
Spear used with Staff and Spear:
Spear 14 (16), Staff 12 (4*) *Up from Default, Form Mastery (Spears) (1)
= Attack 14, Parry 11
Can do Swing Crushing or use Spear 1 or 2 Handed. Cost: 21 Points

Spear Only
Spear 15 (20)
=Attack 15, Parry 10.
Can be used 1-or-2 handed, cannot be swung. Cost 20 points

Staff Only
Staff 15 (20)
=Attack 15, Parry 12.
Two-Hands Only. Can be swung. Cost 20 points.
All three are viable character choices, IMHO.

EDIT: To be clear, you'd only need to spend the point on Form Mastery if you wanted to Attack with Spear and defend with Staff on the same turn.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:12 PM   #8
Bruno
 
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thulben View Post
I learned how to do it with a long staff as part of an attack. That is, with the weapon readied at reach 1 (hands at the trisecting points of an ~6' staff), release one hand and swing it wide, re-gripping it on the end. Change of reach accomplished.
Yep. It's one of the features of the Quarterstaff too. It seems to be an unwritten feature of the Staff skill (in that it's consistently applied to weapon stat lines when used with the Staff skill)
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:28 PM   #9
Kromm
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

This isn't any kind of weird mystery . . . it's simply a matter of Staff and Spear being related via Form Mastery, not Weapon Adaptation. Form Mastery reflects real-world styles that use distinct grips that GURPS would call "staff" and "spear" grips. Weapon Adaptation, on the other hand, represents real-world styles that use unorthodox weapons for a particular GURPS skill and never teach what GURPS considers the orthodox skill/weapon matchup. It's a judgment call, and the perks are similar in some ways, but there are both real-world and game-mechanical differences.

Anyway, just about all Spear/Staff styles – and many Polearm/Staff styles, and a few Polearm/Spear styles (the three skills inter-default) – include Form Mastery. It isn't automatic or universal because (1) not everybody who learns to use a weapon one way learns to use it both ways, and (2) even those who learn styles that teach fluid shifts can have preferred modes and/or not be very good at those shifts. Still, the perk is present in most such styles.

MCMAP is an exception because it's an unarmed style, and Spear and Staff are optional skills picked up via training that commonly occurs alongside MCMAP but that isn't part of MCMAP proper. Those skills aren't in fact taught for use with the same weapon. Spear is there for rifles with bayonets. Staff is there for pugil sticks, which "simulate" rifles with bayonets, I guess, but not especially well. There are no fluid shifts.
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: [MA] What's the virtue of using spears with Staff skill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
MCMAP is an exception because it's an unarmed style, and Spear and Staff are optional skills picked up via training that commonly occurs alongside MCMAP but that isn't part of MCMAP proper. Those skills aren't in fact taught for use with the same weapon. Spear is there for rifles with bayonets. Staff is there for pugil sticks, which "simulate" rifles with bayonets, I guess, but not especially well. There are no fluid shifts.
Pugil stick training probably ought to be Staff Sport and limited to a single point or so at that. It's not like you really every touch one after boot camp, for the most part. I'm not sure about higher levels but I can tell you there isn't any pugil sticks up to green belt or so.
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