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 05-29-2023, 09:47 AM   #1
Blind Mapmaker
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Mannheim, Baden
Default [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

I've been going through the Low-Tech weapon table again and run into the problem of finding stats for using an actual Pickaxe in combat. The Pick in the weapon table in Basic set and the one in Low-Tech share stats and those have been unchanged at least since Low-Tech for 3rd edition. But while I took the pick in Basic to be a pickaxe, the description in Low-Tech (p. 60) makes it clear this is supposed to be the weapon of war. From the weight and one-handedness I assume it's closest to the Horseman's Pick (Wikipedia-Link).

The weight and cost for the pick as a tool are (LT p. 30) are, however, the same while the TL is 1 instead of 3. I'm thinking this is probably an oversight. I'm not necessarily against pickaxes doing impaling damage, even if it's a little cinematic, but using it one-handed seems more than a little off. The tool stats in Low-Tech for 3rd edition (p. 78) were 7 lbs, $18 and TL 2.

Maybe keeping sw+1 imp, but reducing it to Parry -1U, ST 12, removing the bonus to target chinks in armour and treating it as poor quality for fighting might be better? It would still be quite a good weapon for that price and it might be better to stick it with a skill penalty of -2 in addition. Still that feels a bit much. It's not as unwieldy as a Garden Weasel or a Chainsaw (Horror pp. 50).

Any thoughts on that? It might be that it being made unready after attacking is already balanced enough. Or maybe impaling is a little overpowered, though it does feel right for a pickaxe to get stuck even if it isn't that sharp. Or just doubling the 3rd ed. tool cost already is enough.

PS: I checked my playtest messages from LT, but nothing jumped out.
PPS: I did find the thread Pickaxe tool damage value, but it seems to have come to no conclusion and predates LT for 4th edition.
__________________
My GURPS and mapmaking blog: The Blind Mapmaker
Blind Mapmaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 11:41 AM   #2
Dalillama
 
Dalillama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

I'm pretty sure there's comvat stats for a lumber axe in one of the LT books; I'd apply the same differences to a mining/digging pick vs. a military pick.
Dalillama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 11:56 AM   #3
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Hand tool versions of the pick, both one and two handed, have existed since prehistory and have probably been intermittently used as weapons for at least as long. If I had to guess why Basic calls the pick TL 3, it's because making a pick that will survive the rigors of combat is kinda hard.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 12:53 PM   #4
Dalillama
 
Dalillama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Hand tool versions of the pick, both one and two handed, have existed since prehistory and have probably been intermittently used as weapons for at least as long. If I had to guess why Basic calls the pick TL 3, it's because making a pick that will survive the rigors of combat is kinda hard.
Nah, it's a matter of the armor vs weapons race. TL 3 is the first time there was armor tough enough that picks were needed to reliably pierce it, so that was the first time anybody made picks specifically for military purposes.
Dalillama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 01:08 PM   #5
Blind Mapmaker
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Mannheim, Baden
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
I'm pretty sure there's comvat stats for a lumber axe in one of the LT books; I'd apply the same differences to a mining/digging pick vs. a military pick.
If there is, I can't find it - unless you mean the hatchet (probably not, but I'm not a native speaker of English). The tools section in LT is the closest match, but it doesn't give weapon stats for most. The adze is the closest I can get and this one says to treat it as a poorly balanced hatchet. I think the difference is larger than that, but maybe you're right and it's not that far off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Hand tool versions of the pick, both one and two handed, have existed since prehistory and have probably been intermittently used as weapons for at least as long. If I had to guess why Basic calls the pick TL 3, it's because making a pick that will survive the rigors of combat is kinda hard.
You're not wrong about the general tool, but I'm thinking the pickaxe (as in this Wikipedia link) is a marked improvement over earlier versions already. Things like in this wikipedia link were more common and even less powerful ones too. Not to mention that nobody would make metal tools before the iron age.

Dalillama is also right about the weapons/arms race. If not for firearms these things would have kept a constant presence on battlefields. As it were they held on longer than you'd expect.

Game-mechanically I'm trying to strike a balance between realism and efficiency here, but I'm not there yet. Thanks for helping me get closer, though.
__________________
My GURPS and mapmaking blog: The Blind Mapmaker

Last edited by Blind Mapmaker; 05-29-2023 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Grammar
Blind Mapmaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 02:27 PM   #6
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blind Mapmaker View Post
You're not wrong about the general tool, but I'm thinking the pickaxe (as in this Wikipedia link) is a marked improvement over earlier versions already.
We have evidence for the pickaxe being used by the Assyrians to break apart cities back in TL 2. They just don't seem to have much used them as weapons.

The actual weapon use picks have much shorter spikes than an agricultural pickaxe. At a guess, this is to make it strong enough to be useful against armor, and reduce the chance of getting stuck in things. Honestly, the GURPS pick is probably more accurate to a pickaxe than to an actual pick, which would have better performance against armor and lower wounding.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 04:41 PM   #7
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

I've spent entirely too much time using a pickaxe/mattock for gardening, breaking concrete, etc. Admittedly, non-combat uses, but enough that I have a good sense of the tool's balance, reach and heft compared to actual weapons or weapon-like objects I've used in sport melee combat.

For simplicity, treat a pickaxe as a Warhammer. Despite the name, it actually does sw/imp damage and appears to be a weaponized pickaxe with sharper points. (What most people think of as a warhammer is what GURPS describes as a Maul. The warhammer looks like a militarized version of large miner's pick.)

The pick described in GURPS Basic, LT, MA, etc. is a smaller, one-handed weapon which looks a bit like a weaponized mason's hammer or rock pick but with a slightly longer handle.

What most people think of as a pickaxe is actually a pickaxe/mattock or pickaxe/adzes (depending on the exact shape of the non-pick end). It's actually what the Assyrian on the far left is using in the picture that Anthony referenced. These sorts of tools can be treated as a Warhammer which can be turned 180 degrees to do sw/cut damage like a Greataxe.

Due to duller edges/points and design optimized for all-out attacks (strong) against unsuspecting bits of rock or earth, a garden variety pickaxe or pickaxe/mattock can be treated as Improvised (-1 to hit & damage) if you carry it into battle.

If you take off the head, a pickaxe, etc. handle turns into a handy unbalanced club. Treat it as a Round Mace with no penalties for being an improvised weapon.

If you're using an ordinary pickaxe to break rock, it should get Armor Divisor (2) vs. stone and similar materials.
Pursuivant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 05:20 PM   #8
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
For simplicity, treat a pickaxe as a Warhammer. Despite the name, it actually does sw/imp damage and appears to be a weaponized pickaxe with sharper points.
Not sure it has sharper points; for example, this has a much faster taper than this, and therefore might well be duller or harder to sharpen. In practice, neither is likely to be terribly sharp, because both armor plates and rocky ground will dull a sharp point very very fast without a lot of benefit to the user.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 07:16 PM   #9
mburr0003
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
I'm pretty sure there's comvat stats for a lumber axe in one of the LT books; I'd apply the same differences to a mining/digging pick vs. a military pick.
I think there might be a mattock in one of the Horrors... but I could be wrong.
mburr0003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2023, 07:26 PM   #10
tbone
 
tbone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

Action 5 p29 covers pickaxes. Kind of.

A pickaxe falls under Two-Handed Axe/Mace, along with felling axe, broad axe, and splitting maul. Those weapons get Weapon Table entries with TH penalties noted (none for felling axe, -3 for broad axe and splitting maul). A pickaxe is described as "clumsy" but gets no Table entry, and no TH penalty is noted.

Suggested damage is the same as a great axe (sw+3 cut) for an edge or a warhammer (sw+3 imp) for a spike. (Those would be older damage stats from BS, not the newer sw+4 stats from Low-Tech, etc.) Weight is noted as between 8 and 15 lbs.; I'd think higher weights would call for more damage, but that's not given.

I'll suggest this:

Treat a pickaxe as a combo great axe/warhammer. Stats (using more modern damage stats):

8 lb.: sw+4 cut / sw+4 imp, ST 12
10 lb.: sw+5 cut / sw+4 imp, ST 12
12 lb.: sw+5 cut / sw+5 imp, ST 13
15 lb.: sw+6 cut / sw+5 imp, ST 14

(That's applying some of my own house rule stuff for modifying weapons; feel free to tone down those higher damages, or boost ST a bit.)

All are clumsy. (I'd go with the common -1 TH; -3 seems extreme to me. Then again, a pickaxe's exceptionally long head does look unwieldy...)

To remove the "clumsy" penalty, pay for a pickaxe that's a proper weapon/tool combo. I don't think there's a single rule somewhere covering this. As possible models to follow, the combo axe/shovel ("combat shovel") and hand weapons that double as climbing tools (Climber's modifier) come to mind. But those are for DF/DFRPG, and aren't necessarily realistic...

(But if this is for a fantasy game, you could just waive any "clumsy" stuff. The character uses a warhammer with all normal stats; it happens to look like a pickaxe.)
__________________
T Bone
GURPS stuff and more at the Games Diner: http://www.gamesdiner.com

Twitter: @Gamesdiner | RSS: here ⬅︎ Updated RSS link | This forum: Site updates thread (occasionally updated)

(Latest goods on site: GLAIVE Mini levels up to v2.4. Update to melee weapon design tool, with more example weapons and commentary.)
tbone is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
low-tech, tool, weapon

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 04:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.