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Old 03-21-2020, 05:49 PM   #371
Icelander
 
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Default Auld Lang Syne

Well, Lucien Lacoste heard that a member of the Northside Chink Posse in Houston had been heard discussing the fact that $100,000 were offered 'for the one who killed the fat cop, Lucien Lacoste, no questions asked'.

So, naturally, he walked into the 'cafe' (illegal gambling den) where the man who'd been talking about this, by the name of Tran, was currently drinking with seven of his friends. Introduced himself, disarmed the only one who was armed other than Tran, ripped the pistol apart, slammed it down on the table and asked if anyone had been considering earning $100,000.

Managed to leave without killing anyone and even with the street name of the person who offered the sum, 'Uncle Wu', alleged Dragon Head in Chinatown. As Lacoste cannot figure out any reason why Triads, the Chinese-American society anywhere or, for that matter, Vietnamese-Americans, should have anything against him, he figures that someone connected to the cultists might have taken exception to one or more things he did in the last few days and reached out through criminal contacts to offer a substantial sum for his head.

While he was in Chinatown, he picked up a bunch of illegal fireworks for the night. He also bought a couple of cases of champagne, copious amounts of liquor and 'everything he'd need for an epic party for ten times their number'. To bring to the federal agents guarding 'Gwen Delvano'. Because, you see, he's 100% confident that the decoy pig has worked and any cultists will never find the real Ms. 'Delvano'.

Then Lacoste rolled some Carousing and Savoir-Faire (Police) checks to try to bring some conviviality to the tense safehouse atmosphere. After a very nice and festive dinner, he brought a couple of bottles out to play with fireworks and surround the safehouse with spells to hide it from hostile eyes and keep away evil spirits. Firecrackers were helpful for that last one. Also, CPT Winding turned out to know how to carve runes, so Lacoste had him carve some in the trees to protect them.

At the stroke of midnight, when they were singing Auld Lang Syne, they noticed a bright and clear voice of unearthly beauty singing along outside the window. Using his Awareness skill, Lacoste gazed upon the lovely blonde girl and saw - inhuman beauty and grace. She was one of the Fair Folk, not seen for centuries, if they ever really existed.

So, obviously, he invited her in. For good luck.* And because as a guest, she is bound by guest-right.

Her name is Ailsa of the Aes Sith and she is wonderful. She provokes wonder. Ailsa is marvelous, fantastic, glamorous, enchanting, terrific. She causes marvels, creates fantasies, projects Glamour, weaves enchantments. And she begets terror.

Next session will be a party to remember.

*And because he failed his Awe check and now has a new Admiration Quirk. He loves everything to do with the Fair Folk, reacting at +3 to such beings.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:19 PM   #372
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Default Knife Fighting for 'Night Riders' (Monster Hunters)

If a group of military veterans, security contractors and mercenaries with backgrounds from the US military, French military (including numerous French Foreign Legionnaires), Rhodesian forces, South Africa, Commonwealth nations and Great Britain sat down between 1987-1995 and decided to adopt or develop a curriculum for knife-fighting to use against supernatural threats, what style might they decide on?

Most of them have homes in the Caribbean, though some live in the Greater Houston area, coastal Louisiana or Florida. Generally, they had done security or mercenary work in Africa at some point, several were Vietnam veterans or Algerian War vets, and the oldest among them were WWII veterans, like the old Patron funding their work (French Foreign Legion 1939-1954). Ages 19-75, with the median around fifty.

It's established already that a number of the senior people had taken Krav Maga lessons, but only as a combatives course as a small part of paratrooper training. None of them was a qualified Krav Maga instructor in 1987 and there were no special connections to Israel among them.

One of these founders was a graduate of Commando training by William E. Fairbairn and another had been trained by the SOE, both having learned 'Silent Killing' or FCCT, but while both of them served in the military after WWII, they were soldiers in a world without monsters and consequently did not use much of their hand-to-hand training. And neither was ever a hand-to-hand instructor in their respective service (though one was an SAS instructor at Credenhill).

They'd be actively looking for recruits strong-willed and adaptable enough to accept the existence of the supernatural, but secrecy would be more important to them than swelling their numbers. They'd bring in comrades at arms they knew from their service and trusted with their lives or maybe someone recommended by people like that, after months of getting to know them subtly, but not strangers.

For complicated real-world reasons, J.R. Kessler, the Patron funding their Monster Hunting, was friends with a grandmaster of Vovinam who emigrated to Houston in the 1970s and some of the senior people studied at the Vovinam dojo, but I don't know if that would realistically include any useful knife fighting.

These were mostly well-traveled and cosmopolitan men. While their time was mostly spent on the US Gulf Coast, the Caribbean or Africa, some would have done business or security work in European and Asian countries. This would have been to a much lesser extent than their extensive work in Africa, around mining, petroleum and other mineral concerns.

The threats they feared ranged from possessed humans, unnatural human-shaped foes and the utterly inhuman. Many might require special weapons (cold steel, silver, hawthorn stakes, etc.) or special methods (beheading, stakes through heart, etc.), so even if firearms were favored, everyone needed to have way to kill monsters whom lead bullets merely irritated. Knives are something everyone can usually carry, whether legally or concealed illegally, but I imagine that they also wanted to explore machetes and the like for the occasional decapitation.

In Haiti, machete fencing is called 'Tire machèt', in Colombia 'Grima' and in Venezuela 'Juego del garrote'. I can find plenty of evidence that assaults and murders with 'cutlasses' (local term for machete) are committed in Dominica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago at very high rates (compared to attacks with any other weapons), but I don't know what would be an appropriate name for a formalized style synthesized from locals known to be good with a blade and the military combatives background of our mercenaries.

What might mercenaries who live and work in the English-speaking Caribbean, but on islands where Francophone Creoles are widespread, end up calling the study of knife and machete techniques as a formalized body?

What suggestions do forumites have for where they might go for training or even someone to hire to help them develop knife fighting?

What kind of background should such an instructor have?

In the Caribbean, their best contacts are on Commonwealth nations like Dominica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago, as well as French islands like Guadeloupe and Martinique. Before Castro, several of the older guys had business interests in Cuba and they retain friends among Cuban expatriates. In the US, their best connections are in the Greater Houston area, with New Orleans and some parts of Florida also relevant. In 1987, they'll not have all that many academic or law enforcement contacts (more minerals, petrochemicals and security), but they'll work to to gradually correct that, with significant budgets to investigate reports of the paranormal.

Basically, if a bunch of tough guys who'd seen the elephant got together after they discovered the existence of monsters and discussed what kind of training curriculum they'd have to create to teach people to destroy the limbs of the walking dead, stake or behead vampires or at least be able to defend themselves with a good steel blade or a silver-coated one, what what kind of instructor might they decide to hire?

And what martial art style might they adopt, in terms of GURPS Style Familiarity?
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:32 PM   #373
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

Normal knife tactics target the limbs and vital points, and tends to focus on protecting against your own knife being taken away from you. Supernatural threats would probably need training on tactics for exposing and attacking vital points on specific monsters, and how to avoid counterattacks of specific monsters in close combat. If certain monsters treat various metals or chemicals as poisons then knife throwing may also be a useful secondary skill to keep your foe at some distance. This assumes you actually carry a brace of throwing knives or similar as backup for a proper non-throwing knife.
Also consider hatchets, which while not as portable, provide solid cutting damage which can be useful for some threats, and are still throwable in a pinch.
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:20 PM   #374
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

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Originally Posted by Kale View Post
Normal knife tactics target the limbs and vital points, and tends to focus on protecting against your own knife being taken away from you. Supernatural threats would probably need training on tactics for exposing and attacking vital points on specific monsters, and how to avoid counterattacks of specific monsters in close combat.
Yes, tactics are important.

Two of the most common training scenarios would be a) When they've emptied a lot of magazines into a supernatural critter and it's compromised its mobility, but hasn't yet killed it, how do you decapitate it / remove its heart / cut off all limbs / stake it / or otherwise kill it?; and b) You've been tackled by something that didn't slow down when you shot it twice in the heart and once between the eyes, what do you do?

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If certain monsters treat various metals or chemicals as poisons then knife throwing may also be a useful secondary skill to keep your foe at some distance. This assumes you actually carry a brace of throwing knives or similar as backup for a proper non-throwing knife.
Iron is toxic to anything fae, as well confusing and distressing with with its mere presence. Silver is toxic to some creatures, as are other precious metals, on occasion. Salt repels spirits, destroys embodied bodies around them and can even destroy certain kinds of spirits. Jade and other minerals work on other creatures. Ash, herbs, flowers or types of wood on others.

So throwing steel knives or silver-coated ones could theoretically work. But in practice, 'Night Riders' (Monster Hunters) prefer shooting them with steel or silver bullets, special shotgun ammo or .45 caliber hollow cavity copper ammo with a payload of the desired material and then cutting off their heads or removing the heart with weapons made from the right materials.

Melee is very much a complement to firearms and muscle-powered ranged weapons are, as in real warfare, mostly the province of enthusiasts.

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Also consider hatchets, which while not as portable, provide solid cutting damage which can be useful for some threats, and are still throwable in a pinch.
There are occasional enthusiasts who use axes, but for the majority of the 50+ men who'd have this style in 2018, it's important that they can carry weapons usable with it while dressed in normal clothing for a street in Kingston, Nassau or Santo Domingo, not to mention Houston, New Orleans or Key West.

So, it's good to learn some techniques usable with machetes, as these will be both commonplace and unremarkable in many Caribbean locations, but anything using Knife or Main-Gauche has the major advantage of being useful with anything from a tactical folder to a Bowie knife as long as a forearm.
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:29 AM   #375
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

I see knife/dagger and sword in one hand/long knife as pretty distinct weapons, but other than seeing a clip from a lesson of Tire machèt I don't know anything about Afro-Caribbean culture.

There just is not much overlap between the physical skills (and right tools) to take arms and legs and heads, and the physical skills (and best tools) to eliminate a threat who is grappling with you.

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Normal knife tactics target the limbs and vital points, and tends to focus on protecting against your own knife being taken away from you.
Knife fighting or surviving a murder attempt? The two are as different as night and day. The medieval and renaissance stuff leans towards the second (or to armoured combat, where again stabs and cuts to the hands and forearms will have no effect).
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:54 AM   #376
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

As I think about it, the Night Riders' goal is different from the two basic types of traditional knife work:

- its not murder/murder survival where the offensive tactic is to stab in the throat/chest/abdomen as many times as possible, and the defensive tactic is to notice before you get stabbed, then to get away and if you can't get away take the weapon and break the man
- its not a duel against an equally armed opponent some distance away who care what onlookers think of him. Duelling for Neapolitans carrying folding knives with a 4" blade looks different from duelling for Filipinos with machetes with 20" blades but still the basic assumption is that the other chap has the same weapon and knows you are coming and that surviving with grace and honour is at least as important as surviving.

For their goal, I wonder if they need a martial art at all, as opposed to becoming intimately familiar with their weapon and how it moves and how to take bodies apart. These guys are already psychologically prepared to kill Things at close quarters, and chopping off arms/heads/tentacles is all about good weapon handling not fancy techniques.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:32 AM   #377
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Default There's Knifework That Needs Doing

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As I think about it, the Night Riders' goal is different from the two basic types of traditional knife work:
It is, hence the need to synthesize a wholly new training curriculum.

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- its not murder/murder survival where the offensive tactic is to stab in the throat/chest/abdomen as many times as possible, and the defensive tactic is to notice before you get stabbed, then to get away and if you can't get away take the weapon and break the man
While some of the practicalities would work differently, note that the philosophy is identical. It's Fairbairn's kill or be killed, gutter fighting, at it's core. Killing inhuman things might be harder, but I get the sense that if Fairbairn had faced vampires and tulpa, he'd cheerfully have adopted beheading techniques and limb-cutting into his instruction.

I went back over the list of the senior people involved, especially at the level of the greying decision-makers, and a total of five have been trained by someone Fairbairn personally trained in WWII (and one actually attended the Silent Killing course for the Commandos taught by Fairbairn himself).

The only influence that is stronger than the FCCT influence is whatever hand-to-hand they were teaching in the French Foreign Legion between 1939-1986 (mostly bayonets and aggression, but a short course in Krav Maga for the youngest Legionnaires). Based on purely on how much free time they have, a couple of WWII veterans who fought on the German side, before joining the FFL in the post-war era, might actually be very influential (they retired to bungalows next to where the training takes place and are close personal friends of the big boss).

Also, even if the Night Riders are preparing to kill inhuman foes, note that all the trainers (and 95+% of their recruits) have gone through military hand-to-hand training of some kind and they'll expect their charges to be able to use a knife for self-defence if they carry it. After all, dark forces can influence the emotions of ordinary street criminals or possess normal people and cults and rogue magicians consist of humans and can employ humans.

So, while they'd learn more weapon handling as a tool of decapitation and mutilation than any normal military force, as they're going to be carrying knives anyway, they'll also retain the kind of hand-to-hand lessons that the French Foreign Legion (several instructors), SAS (three instructors) and USMC/USASF/USN SEALs from Vietnam (couple of each) would teach. As an accident of history, they'll also have number of ex-Rhodesian security forces, who'll be used to the panga machete as a tool, just as the locals on Dominica and St. Lucia use it.

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- its not a duel against an equally armed opponent some distance away who care what onlookers think of him. Duelling for Neapolitans carrying folding knives with a 4" blade looks different from duelling for Filipinos with machetes with 20" blades but still the basic assumption is that the other chap has the same weapon and knows you are coming and that surviving with grace and honour is at least as important as surviving.
Indeed. They won't care at all about this sort of thing.

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For their goal, I wonder if they need a martial art at all, as opposed to becoming intimately familiar with their weapon and how it moves and how to take bodies apart. These guys are already psychologically prepared to kill Things at close quarters, and chopping off arms/heads/tentacles is all about good weapon handling not fancy techniques.
Sure, in some real-world senses, they might be opposed to calling it a 'martial art' at all. I imagine that they might learn how to use hefty knives and machetes as survival tools and to cut all sorts of things, including limbs and necks. Hell, they might have a tradition of working in sugarcane fields to build familiarity with the machete as a cutting tool and have men who've worked with one as a tool all their lives teach how to cut with it, in cooperation with experienced combat veterans.

In GURPS terms, though, it's still built as a Style, just like Combat Wrestling, Dagger Fighting, FCCT, Jeet Kun Do, Krav Maga and Shortsword Fighting are, despite many practisioners probably not thinking that what they did was a martial art, but just mindset, dirty fighting and a collection of techniques that work in combat.
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:13 AM   #378
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

A boar spear might be useful also. Keeping the monster beyond reach until it finishes dying from the cold iron or silver blade on the tip is good. There are people in Texas that actually hunt wild boar with them so it is explainable why you have one.
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Old 03-31-2020, 08:51 AM   #379
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Default Spears

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A boar spear might be useful also. Keeping the monster beyond reach until it finishes dying from the cold iron or silver blade on the tip is good. There are people in Texas that actually hunt wild boar with them so it is explainable why you have one.
Well, if you have one, it might be useful, but I doubt many people would be willing to lug around a boar spear on missions.

On the other hand, considering that the French Foreign Legion still does (and did) a lot of bayonet drills and that several of the older men involved might have used bayonets in combat*, I'd expect that Spear was among the Optional Skills taught and that some men might carry a bayonet for their longarm. Especially those who used archaic rifles for esoteric and occult reasons.

*'Jan Meijer' (born Hans Mayer) was a Prussian police officer who fought as a Fallschirmjäger in WWII and might or might not have used a bayonet in combat. ''Ziggy' Wagner' (born Wilhelm Kahle), who fought as a Panzergrenadier with the Waffen-SS Panzer Division Das Reich through WWII, definitely did. Either man also might have used bayonets in Indochina with the French Foreign Legion. CSM 'Ned' Bannerman might also have used bayonets in his WWII wartime service with the British Commandos, SSRF and SAS. As for Gunnery Sergeant John McBride of the USMC, he definitely used a bayonet in the Pacific in WWII, as well as in Chosin, Korea.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:59 PM   #380
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Default Re: There's Knifework That Needs Doing

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Indeed. They won't care at all about this sort of thing.
Although did you notice that the Americans who swear that their training is purely rational and instrumental and they don't care about appearances have 'a look'? And that look is very different from say knights in Chaucer's day, or veterans of the Penninsular War or even the Korean War? Scratch a martial art and it bleeds culture and taste, even if part of that culture and taste is insisting that what you do is purely instrumental and you wear the black and the cargo pants because they are functional.

Or listen to how much energy they spend telling the world that something that people who are as good at them at solving the same problem do is hurting wrong moving. There are many good ways to solve any problem in martial arts, and after martial arts pick one to focus on they tend to convince themselves that it is the only way. And that is all about identity and self-assurance not becoming better tools.

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In GURPS terms, though, it's still built as a Style, just like Combat Wrestling, Dagger Fighting, FCCT, Jeet Kun Do, Krav Maga and Shortsword Fighting are, despite many practisioners probably not thinking that what they did was a martial art, but just mindset, dirty fighting and a collection of techniques that work in combat.
It could be ... or it could just be some weapon skills added to whatever other arts they train. It sounds like the skills they need are:

Wrestling or Judo
Knife
A medium-length weapon skill such as Axe/Mace or Shortsword
Maybe Fast-Draw
Arm Lock [to get threats in position to cut bits off them], Hit Location (weaponName Swing/Neck, Arm, Leg), and Retain Weapon. Is there a technique for reducing penalties for wresting things with different anatomy than your species?

There are all kinds of ways to pick up those skills, and the ones who like martial arts enough to get a Style Familiarity will train several anyways. In the 1980s in the United States the mix will probably include FMA and Japanese martial arts but I don't have the cultural knowledge of the Caribbean in the 1980s to suggest what else would be in the mix.

Now you are talking about bayonet drills. Modern assault rifles and carbines aren't really built for that, but if MCMAP or 1930s bayonet fencing can be a style, I suppose that the Night Riders' hand-to-hand course could be ... but the parts that make it a style won't be the ones that do those two scenarios you were talking about.
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