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Old 04-29-2021, 11:27 AM   #11
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

I think a horse is very valuable. It can knock a man down so you can spear him before he gets up.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

In a historical/realistic setting, a chivalric knight isn't a pure-combat "class," it has sizable social attributes to it as well - political connections, wealth, social skills, etc. So you should play it as such. If you want a combat monster, you can either play as as a commoner mercenary or make a non-standard knight. For the latter, you may be talking about someone who is a "knight" in name only - with Courtesy Rank and Status, beat-up old armor (perhaps Segmented Plate or Brigandine of simple Good quality, rather than the Expertly Tailored, Ornate Plate of other knights), a nag instead of a proper warhorse (used for transport only - the character fights on foot), no courtly skills, etc. He may be treated as laughingstock by other knights... but few will be interested in fighting him, given his combat skills are likely far greater than those of typical knights.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

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Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
That's a good point but even the unlanded knight would require at least Status 2 and Comfortable Wealth, 20 points that a non-noble could have spent on ST, DX, HT, Combat Reflexes, Enhanced Defenses... Also a knight would need to be Very Wealthy (30 points) to afford the basic equipment to look like one (warhorse and armor) and its worth is questionable.
I don't think an unlanded knight is status 2. One with merely comfortable wealth isn't, and I'd call him a poor starving knight unworthy of the title without signature gear. I'd argue that even the ones with only Wealthy should only be status 1, and they get that for free.

You're right though: outfitting a knight properly is incredibly expensive. That should give some insight as to what the knight archetype really is: a warrior on the top-end military platform.

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The warhorse and Lance skill becomes useless anywhere beside open flat lands,
Ok, let me stop you right there. Open lands are well over half of a medieval setting. Its called farmland. And you don't need it to be that flat to benefit from a horse and lance. Hills are generally just fine, as is a variety of forest.

What the horse and rider struggles with is indoor combat or combat on battlements. Which yes, is fairly common in RPG's, but its worth pointing out that historically it was less common.

I'm currently running a game in which a rider with a lance is operating in a rainforest. A single 8 yard charge is enough to get impressive results, and the character is the single most dangerous combatant in the party. Yes, almost all of our combat is outdoors, but that's because we don't have absurdly spacious mysterious ruins all over the place. Ok, actually, we do, but because everyone is moving around, instead of waiting for adventurers to clean them out, combats haven't gone done there.

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and the poorer yet more skilled fighter can easily get over the knight's defenses through deceptive attacks or feints. The armor would only delay the inevitable, even plate armor is often not enough to fully stop a swung axe or sword.
I think this depends on your price point of your game. Gurps does have a problem where melee attacks are better at penetrating armor than they should be, and DR-Heavy builds suffer from that. The problem gets worse at higher point levels. But my experience is that the superior mobility, and the ability to strike first often make up for differences in skill.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Honestly the knight you describe is a rather high-end one. They weren't all affluent administrators who knew how to dance, speak honeyed words and lead large forces into battle. Some were relatively uncouth rural types who owned nothing but their mount and armour. Also , the higher the point total of the game the more wiggle room you have to include things like a bit of a status and wealth without becoming an inferior fighter
Piggy backing on this: a LOT of knights and men-at-arms were essentially landless younger sons of nobility. I mean, look at Bohemond of Taranto: he essentially had nothing when the Crusade kicked off. And his Father rode out of normand with five horsemen and thirty followers on foot.

And I've read that the lower nobility of Flanders and the Netherlands were prone to working in their fields, alongside peasants, whom they could only be distinguished from due to their swords and truculence.

In spain ,the Hidalgo's were not necessary "wealthy", they just didn't have to pay taxes, but owed military service. They considered themselves nobility, however.

And even in france, the center of Chivalry, by the 13th and 14th century there were lamentations that forty or more gentlemen might be supported by a fief that in the past, supported only one.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Honestly the knight you describe is a rather high-end one. They weren't all affluent administrators who knew how to dance, speak honeyed words and lead large forces into battle. Some were relatively uncouth rural types who owned nothing but their mount and armour. Also , the higher the point total of the game the more wiggle room you have to include things like a bit of a status and wealth without becoming an inferior fighter
Wouldn't even those low-end ones need at least some experience dealing with other nobles (Savoir Faire), not shame themselves in a party (Dancing), know how to hunt (Animal Handling (Dogs) and/or Falconry) and so on? According to this they need around 10 to 13 with those skills and most being IQ-based, would take quite some points.
Or would Dabbler for "beginners, humorous bumblers" level suffice?

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
If that's really a problem, and a player still desires to roleplay a knight, the GM can always come up with reasons why the knight is in disgrace. Which also means short on cash. Maybe an usurper took his family's land. Maybe his liegelord is convinced he's a traitor and has disowned him. Maybe he sold the warhorse so as to pay the ransom for his brother. All of these character backstories come with handy Disadvantages, too; and what's more important, they may do away with several costly Advantages. High levels of Wealth, LEP, Patron and whatnot (N.B.: not so sure that a liegelord or your noble family always were a Patron).

And what if, even after writing off the warhorse, he can't afford a fine pointy broadsword with the Wealth level the player is willing to invest points in? No problem, GURPS has a solution: Signature Gear. The impoverished, unlucky knight can't buy a new fine pointy broadsword - but he still owns his father's, the symbol of his heritage, the sword with which he trained since he was able to lift it, and that he'll never sell (it would be nice to spend 1 CP in Equipment Bond for that sword, too!).
That's a workable solution to remove the positive social traits of a knight and allow them to focus on combat. However I feel that's like giving up playing as "knight" to be just another fighter instead.
I've been thinking about it and I believe a part of the problem is good equipment doesn't matter as much as skill. If the expensive armor owned by the knight thanks to his status and wealth gave him the nigh-invulnerability of real armor, they could afford to not be as skilled as poorer fighters, but as is these lowly fighters can penetrate the armor fairly easily.

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I think a horse is very valuable. It can knock a man down so you can spear him before he gets up.
Definitely, just ask the Mongols. The problem is that you can't take advantage of horses during sieges and indoor fights...
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Old 04-29-2021, 12:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

If the GM and the player wants the knightly character to have all the proper knightly traits, but also thinks they are of less utility than the cost suggests, the GM can always lower the point cost.

The GM can stat up a "Proper Knight" package, with the required Status, Wealth, and other advantages and skills they believe a proper knight should have, but will also not be that useful in the campaign, and provide the package at a discount. Envision it as a limitation "-xx%, these traits will not play a major role most of the time, and will be totally useless in many games". Charge full cost for any knightly traits that are likely to be useful.

Another way to "balance" a knight with another fighting character is to require all characters to diversify. Make sure that other "fighter" characters also spend points in non-combat traits such was wilderness survival, athletic traits, personal contacts, personal charm, etc. This should lessen the difference in combat ability between knightly and non-knightly combat oriented characters.
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Old 04-29-2021, 12:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

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Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
Wouldn't even those low-end ones need at least some experience dealing with other nobles (Savoir Faire), not shame themselves in a party (Dancing), know how to hunt (Animal Handling (Dogs) and/or Falconry) and so on?
Nah. They'd get by on defaults for the social skills. There might be refined, citified aristocrats who regard their country brethren as crude bumblers, but in many ways the manners of the aristocracy are defined by what the aristocracy does. What carries them in high society is the actual status which makes them members of the club, as it were, not any actual capability. SF is a desirable skill but not necessary.

As for hunting, Falconry is an expensive hobby which not everybody is going to engage in and Animal Handling is the skill you want for training, which is a job which might be handed over to a professional. And any given nobleman might actually suck at hunting. It was a common recreation for the upper classes as an excuse to get out of the house and have a drunken picnic with your friends as much as or more than a means of getting meat.
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Old 04-29-2021, 12:29 PM   #18
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
In a historical/realistic setting, a chivalric knight isn't a pure-combat "class," it has sizable social attributes to it as well - political connections, wealth, social skills, etc. So you should play it as such. If you want a combat monster, you can either play as as a commoner mercenary or make a non-standard knight. For the latter, you may be talking about someone who is a "knight" in name only - with Courtesy Rank and Status, beat-up old armor (perhaps Segmented Plate or Brigandine of simple Good quality, rather than the Expertly Tailored, Ornate Plate of other knights), a nag instead of a proper warhorse (used for transport only - the character fights on foot), no courtly skills, etc. He may be treated as laughingstock by other knights... but few will be interested in fighting him, given his combat skills are likely far greater than those of typical knights.
As I mentioned, I don't have problem with knights in realistic setting. They're the one with access to training and equipment, so the combat monster peasant wouldn't exist to begin with.
My problem is when fantasy elements starts to seep in and non-noble combatants becomes a possibility. The knight still needs all the social attributes you mentioned, while the peasant can ignore it and count on the brainy wizard or charming rogue to cover it.
To your second point about knight in name only, I don't think he would be more capable than typical knight. As Kromm mentioned, these guys would have a higher point total and thus possess all the skills of the name-only knight, plus the social traits.

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I don't think an unlanded knight is status 2. One with merely comfortable wealth isn't, and I'd call him a poor starving knight unworthy of the title without signature gear. I'd argue that even the ones with only Wealthy should only be status 1, and they get that for free.

You're right though: outfitting a knight properly is incredibly expensive. That should give some insight as to what the knight archetype really is: a warrior on the top-end military platform.
My source is Banestorm, it says: "those of knightly rank (Status 2 or 3) should be Wealthy or Comfortable" and the Knight-Errant template has Status 2 and potentially Comfortable Wealth.
DanHoward agrees with you, though. A proper knight should be at least Very Wealthy and as Kromm said they'd have higher point totals than others to afford it without sacrificing combat prowess.

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Ok, let me stop you right there. Open lands are well over half of a medieval setting. Its called farmland. And you don't need it to be that flat to benefit from a horse and lance. Hills are generally just fine, as is a variety of forest.

What the horse and rider struggles with is indoor combat or combat on battlements. Which yes, is fairly common in RPG's, but its worth pointing out that historically it was less common.

I'm currently running a game in which a rider with a lance is operating in a rainforest. A single 8 yard charge is enough to get impressive results, and the character is the single most dangerous combatant in the party. Yes, almost all of our combat is outdoors, but that's because we don't have absurdly spacious mysterious ruins all over the place. Ok, actually, we do, but because everyone is moving around, instead of waiting for adventurers to clean them out, combats haven't gone done there.
Are you sure about battles being common historically? I recall the opposite, that sieges were more common than battles.
Anyway the problem is not in a realistic context but in a game. Fighting in the middle of a village to save it from orcs or storming small fortifications are common in a game, at least more so than charging and routing as part of a proper war effort. And in these situations the mounted capability of a knight doesn't give him any edge.

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I think this depends on your price point of your game. Gurps does have a problem where melee attacks are better at penetrating armor than they should be, and DR-Heavy builds suffer from that. The problem gets worse at higher point levels. But my experience is that the superior mobility, and the ability to strike first often make up for differences in skill.
I agree that price point and DR is a problem. However in my experience the DX types with high Basic Speed/Move and skill tends to be the ones that gets to enjoy their mobility more often than a knight with their horse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verjigorm View Post
Piggy backing on this: a LOT of knights and men-at-arms were essentially landless younger sons of nobility. I mean, look at Bohemond of Taranto: he essentially had nothing when the Crusade kicked off. And his Father rode out of normand with five horsemen and thirty followers on foot.

And I've read that the lower nobility of Flanders and the Netherlands were prone to working in their fields, alongside peasants, whom they could only be distinguished from due to their swords and truculence.

In spain ,the Hidalgo's were not necessary "wealthy", they just didn't have to pay taxes, but owed military service. They considered themselves nobility, however.

And even in france, the center of Chivalry, by the 13th and 14th century there were lamentations that forty or more gentlemen might be supported by a fief that in the past, supported only one.
All good points to justify a poor knight, but my point is that given a certain point budget a proper knight will always be a worse fighter than a non-knight.
Say you have 150, 250 or 400 points to build a character, you can build: A) proper knight with all the social attributes at the cost of lower attribute/skills; B) A downrodden knight or peasant sergeant with better attributes and skills for combat but no social trait. The shortcomings of B doesn't matter as much when a mage with high IQ (higher than the knight) can cover it by setting just a dozen points for Status and some skills.
The "solution" is to give the knight a higher point total, but that's something the entire party has to be on board with.
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Old 04-29-2021, 12:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

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Originally Posted by finn View Post
Another way to "balance" a knight with another fighting character is to require all characters to diversify. Make sure that other "fighter" characters also spend points in non-combat traits such was wilderness survival, athletic traits, personal contacts, personal charm, etc. This should lessen the difference in combat ability between knightly and non-knightly combat oriented characters.
I like the idea and want to knock myself for not thinking about it before.

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Nah. They'd get by on defaults for the social skills. There might be refined, citified aristocrats who regard their country brethren as crude bumblers, but in many ways the manners of the aristocracy are defined by what the aristocracy does. What carries them in high society is the actual status which makes them members of the club, as it were, not any actual capability. SF is a desirable skill but not necessary.

As for hunting, Falconry is an expensive hobby which not everybody is going to engage in and Animal Handling is the skill you want for training, which is a job which might be handed over to a professional. And any given nobleman might actually suck at hunting. It was a common recreation for the upper classes as an excuse to get out of the house and have a drunken picnic with your friends as much as or more than a means of getting meat.
Shouldn't they at least have Dabbler to separate them from the other characters that never did any of this before?
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Old 04-29-2021, 12:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: Are knightly characters ineffective?

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Originally Posted by CarrionPeacock View Post
Wouldn't even those low-end ones need at least some experience dealing with other nobles (Savoir Faire), not shame themselves in a party (Dancing), know how to hunt (Animal Handling (Dogs) and/or Falconry) and so on? According to this they need around 10 to 13 with those skills and most being IQ-based, would take quite some points.
Or would Dabbler for "beginners, humorous bumblers" level suffice?
I'm not necessarily saying totally neglect social skills. You should have at least a minimal degree of manners even as a inexperienced knight. But then just because you're a commoner is no excuse for totally neglecting social skills either. You think peasants didn't know how to dance? The kind of dancing they did was one of the marks of social status, but they knew how to dance, how to carouse, how to gamble, how to bargain. Just being a commoner is no excuse for being a totally focussed combat monster with no life skills.

And the initial list was of the skills not of a knight, but of a landed noble and courtier. Few knights were administrators and politicians.
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