Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-27-2022, 07:52 PM   #1
OddGamer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Default Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Okay... so... I'm checking to see if I have this right. I wrote myself a little combat simulator to check various fights. It doesn't take into account everything, of course, but it does do most of the major rules (I think). And with this I've considered two fighters of 58 points each (excluding what else they spent points on). The first fighter is a wealthy knight-type with muscles, health, and armor, armed with a nice spear. The second is a poor guy with no armor and also a spear.

Wealthy Dude: 58
ST 12, DX 10, IQ 10, HT 12, Wealth: Comfortable, Broadsword-12
--Equipment: Scale armor (DR 4 everywhere), Broadsword (1d+3 cutting), Large Shield
==Dodge: 8, Parry: 12

Poor Peasant: 57
ST 10, DX 10, IQ 10, HT 10, Wealth: Poor, Close Combat (Spear)-4, Spear-27
--Equipment: Spear (1d+1 Impaling, using 2 hands)
==Dodge: 8, Parry: 16

When I run this... the guy with who sunk all those same points into spear ability clobbers several sorts of heck out of the guy who spread it out into strength and so on, winning 80% of the time whether in a 1 on 1 situation or a 2 on 2 situation. Effectively, it looks like, for combat at least, there's literally no point in spending any points on anything other than skill with an impaling weapon. Why bother? It's the cheapest, and most effective increase to your combat potential. At least until you're at a skill level where you can stab someone in the eye intentionally with a 16 or less, even in close combat (skill 30 with the Close Combat technique), then pump points into anything else (damage, HT, etc.).

Is this correct, or am I missing something?
OddGamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2022, 08:01 PM   #2
Gold & Appel Inc
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: One Mile Up
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Spear Guy rapidly develops a reputation. Nobody engages him in hostilities except at range, and his social life isn't great either once he becomes known as a serial eye-stabber. He is a lonely man who talks to his spear, which he has given a girl's name in a fit of maddening loneliness. Even if he has a hobby he's terrible at it. There is no relief but the death of a broken man.
Gold & Appel Inc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2022, 08:54 PM   #3
Celjabba
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Luxembourg
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

-Any enemies without eyes (or other armor chinks,) and spear guy is in big trouble.

-Skill-27 is unrealistic. It works in some genre like Dungeon Fantasy, or other highly cinematic setting (where no-eye enemies will appear sometimes !), but should be avoided in mundane settings. (especially as a single skill without matching attributes and support skills)

-Wealthy Dude can afford to pay some money to a few guys with bows to help him deal with an annoying eye-stabber.

-If the poor peasant is ever separated from his spear, he is in trouble, while broadsword guy can grab any piece of wood (or go bare-handed) and clobber him.

Otherwise, you are correct.
And a bunch of guys with spears was the core of many armies for thousands of years for many reason : it is a cheap and efficient weapon.

Last edited by Celjabba; 03-27-2022 at 09:34 PM.
Celjabba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 01:27 AM   #4
RGTraynor
 
RGTraynor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pioneer Valley
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
Spear Guy rapidly develops a reputation. Nobody engages him in hostilities except at range, and his social life isn't great either once he becomes known as a serial eye-stabber. He is a lonely man who talks to his spear, which he has given a girl's name in a fit of maddening loneliness. Even if he has a hobby he's terrible at it. There is no relief but the death of a broken man.
A response of pure beauty.

But yeah, add me to the growing list of those who find Spear-27 ridiculous, and that's not even addressing how a schmuck "poor peasant" gets to a level beyond Dr Kromm's "best in the history of the world" marker. (For my part, in 37 years of GMing GURPS, and over 200 characters, I've allowed two players to reach -25 with a single skill each. Their characters were something like 325 and over 500 pts apiece, at the time.)

Granted, this is a time-honored riff ... remember the people who just could not be separated from the concept that Utter Dome + Create Fire was the invincible tactic that would surely have its practitioners ruling the world?
__________________
My gaming blog: Apotheosis of the Invisible City

"Call me old-fashioned, but after you're dead, I don't think you should be entitled to a Dodge any more." - my wife

It's not that I don't understand what you're saying. It's that I disagree with what you're saying.
RGTraynor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 03:55 AM   #5
Taneli
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Equal points does not mean equal ability, only equal potential.
__________________
[/delurk]
AotA is of course IMHO, YMMV.
vincit qui se vincit
Taneli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 04:11 AM   #6
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

in the case of unparryable (deceptive -10) attacks to the eye, can't you just opt to hold a buckler in front of the eye slit as cover (have to strike THROUGH it) to stop this?
Plane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 04:20 AM   #7
Aldric
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
in the case of unparryable (deceptive -10) attacks to the eye, can't you just opt to hold a buckler in front of the eye slit as cover (have to strike THROUGH it) to stop this?
Fighting blind is not really a great idea, plus I guess the spear guy can simply stab some place else w/o the need to do a deceptive attack since you can't defend anyway. An Impaling attack to the vitals is not as bad as one to the eye but it will still eventually kill, it will just be slower and more painful.
Aldric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 09:15 AM   #8
Donny Brook
 
Donny Brook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Snoopy's basement
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Part of the issue is that GURPS makes eye-shots too easy.
Donny Brook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 09:25 AM   #9
Gnome
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cambridge, MA
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Character points spent in a melee weapon skill are way more effective than points spent in just about anything else combat-related in realistic low tech games.
That single skill gives you the ability to hit (and pierce defenses with deceptive attack), deal lots of damage (by targeting vulnerable locations), and defend yourself (using parry). In 3e, "physical" skills have a slower progression (maxing out at a cost of 8/level rather than 4), which helped mitigate this problem--I have adopted this as a house rule for weapon skills in 4e, and it has really helped with this problem. I highly recommend it, I have seen no negative side effects, and my players have even talked about how much they liked this change when I first implemented it, because they could focus on other aspects of their characters.

People sometimes talk as if this is only a problem when you have "spear guy" and how unrealistic he is, but it's really a problem for every PC who has to contemplate whether to spend 4 points raising melee weapon skill or raising anything else combat-related--raising melee weapon skill just looks better a lot of the time.

In fantasy games, the threats can be much more various, so you might consider whether it's more important to have, say, Will for resisting mind control or Dodge for avoiding lightning bolts, or what you'll do against a skeleton with no eyes and DR 6 plate armor when you have ST 10 and Spear-27.
But even in DF, I've found my house rule is fun and definitely worth having, so that you don't end up with a Rapier-30 Swashbuckler within a few sessions of advancement. The Swashbuckler already has an Edged Rapier to do sw cut damage, Weapon Master to do a lot of damage, and Luck to avoid crit fails and other mishaps, so they avoid some of the weaknesses of "spear guy."
What really messes things up for the GM (and other players) is that any enemy that even threatens Rapier-30 guy on the battlefield instantly slaughters everyone else...
Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2022, 09:49 AM   #10
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Spear vs Knights... am I missing something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldric View Post
Fighting blind is not really a great idea, plus I guess the spear guy can simply stab some place else w/o the need to do a deceptive attack since you can't defend anyway. An Impaling attack to the vitals is not as bad as one to the eye but it will still eventually kill, it will just be slower and more painful.
The idea is that someone who is fully armored could do this to protect his eyes. Now, "fully armored" generally does have armor gaps other than just the eyes; of note here is the armpit (where you are hitting the Vitals, and can cripple the arm to add insult to injury), which you'll be exposing by holding that shield up anyway (and, humorously, these armor gaps are actually easier to hit than the eye slits). Of course, at TL 4, those may be covered by mail, thanks to the knight's arming garments. On the other hand, there are face coverings that will prevent a spear from being able to hit the eyes without having to deal with DR - see this thread.

As for the topic of this thread - yes, pumping all your points into a single combat skill is a very effective, if boring, way to build a fighter. The primary way to avoid this is to just say "No." Failing that, things like needing to maintain your skills, making it clear that many scenarios in the setting won't call for just stabbing things as an effective means of getting through them, enforcing the use of templates, having foes who have full-coverage DR (such that you need higher ST to wound them), etc, can certainly help.
__________________
GURPS Overhaul

Last edited by Varyon; 03-28-2022 at 09:53 AM.
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
combat, optimisation

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.