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Old 05-31-2023, 11:12 PM   #21
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
I wouldn't call any tool designed for serious, long-term labor Cheap-Quality. A well-made agricultural or mining tool is designed to survive years of constant use and a certain amount of abuse.
I would. It's all a numbers game: if a tool that lasts twice as long costs three times as much, you might as well use the cheaper one. In any case, if it's not designed as a weapon it's unlikely to perform well as a weapon even if not cheap.
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Old 05-31-2023, 11:14 PM   #22
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
I wouldn't call any tool designed for serious, long-term labor Cheap-Quality. A well-made agricultural or mining tool is designed to survive years of constant use and a certain amount of abuse.
The stresses on a weapon are different than the stresses on most tools, and a lot of historical axes are of soft iron which strongly suggests Cheap Quality in GURPS. Not sure about iron miners' picks.
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Old 06-01-2023, 03:39 AM   #23
mburr0003
 
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
I would give the kind of pickaxe that you use to break up earth or clay a penalty to hit...
Personally I wouldn't, it's "clumsy" only at first (you know, like any weapon not Familiar with), but once you know what you're doing it's pretty easy to hit even moving targets (if they aren't actively defending).

What I would strongly consider is giving the foe a bonus to their defenses because it's almost (not quite, but almost) like a Telegraphic Attack. It's a slower attack and follow-through, maybe not a full +2, but +1 almost feels right.

And of course they're Parry U. You either go defensive, or you attack, there is no "attack and parry" with a mattock. Unless you've choked it up in a defensive grip.
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Old 06-01-2023, 09:12 AM   #24
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Blind Mapmaker View Post
I am fine with the pick side (-1 damage for dullness) though and more worried about about the axe blade since the thread DanHoward linked seems to point towards it not doing cutting damage.
It appears I was mistakenly thinking a pickaxe had an axe head, but it actually has an adze head. Something like that is typically going to be a rather poor cutting implement in combat, due to awkward positioning being needed to get it to cut effectively. For simplicity, calling it crushing (but noting it causes bleeding) is probably appropriate, with a note that against a bound and unresisting target - or an inanimate one - it can deal cutting if you position things properly.

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
I would. It's all a numbers game: if a tool that lasts twice as long costs three times as much, you might as well use the cheaper one. In any case, if it's not designed as a weapon it's unlikely to perform well as a weapon even if not cheap.
If a tool lasts twice as long, and that's the only benefit it has over a cheaper tool, it's unlikely to cost more than twice as much as said cheaper tool unless there's a constant supply of uninformed amateurs to prey upon. Exceptions would be in cases where lasting twice as long is actually worth more than just buying two of them (due to transport costs, convenience, weight/volume limits, etc).

That said, as others have noted, a lot of even very high-quality tools aren't going to hold up well in combat, because that's not what they're designed for. Woodcutting axe blades are typically thinner and wider than combat axe blades, for example, and that's going to make the former dull, chip, and break more readily when striking metal (like Parrying weapons, the rims of shields, or armor), being twisted at unusual angles (if the target falls between being struck and the blade being pulled out), etc. Woodcutting axes also tend to have relatively-light hafts, while combat axes are going to have thick and/or reinforced hafts, so the former's hafts aren't going to be as rugged either. Other tools are going to be in similar boats - most tools aren't designed to be used and abused in the way they will be in combat. At GURPS levels of resolution, simply treating most tools as Cheap (regardless of their quality and ruggedness as a tool) in combat is likely to be appropriate.
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Old 06-02-2023, 04:30 AM   #25
Blind Mapmaker
 
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

I can see arguments both in favour of and against Cheap (Materials) quality, but I went with Pursuivant in the write-up and only used Cheaply Balanced, which seems certain. Unfortunately real-life quality is quite a bit harder to judge than its GURPS equivalent, but I can certainly see the point about modern big-box hardware store stuff possibly being cheap.

I generally agree on most tools used for combat being treated as cheap like Varyon says, but I'm not sure about the pickaxe. These things are made to strike stone - armour shouldn't be a problem. Would be more of a thing if parries would crop up more often, but with a U parry and a double-dagger that's not going to be much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
[/snip]
I could easily see a -3 to hit for an 8 lb. pickaxe/whatever if you're not familiar with it or are trying to use it at Reach 2. Typically, you'd cancel that penalty with AoA (Determined) or a Telegraphic Attack with a full "John Henry" style windup.

A -2 penalty seems a bit more reasonable if you only attack at Range 1 and primarily use a Defensive Grip. As a weapon, a pickaxe is incredibly, unforgivingly tip-heavy and just doesn't move with the same agility as a purpose-built weapon with similar balance. That makes it great for delivering maximum force blows to stationary targets but a real liability if you need to quickly switch from attack to defense or are trying to get through a brief gap in your opponent's defenses.
That's some real interesting stuff here (thanks also to mburr0003 for pointing in a similar direction). What I'm getting is a) Reach 1, 2* is decent and should stay b) there should be some room for a showing that a weapon is "slow". Not sure how to do that without bolting on my house-rules for initiative and this certainly not the thread to do.

Basically there are three options:
  1. Give a bonus to defend just like with Telegraphic Attack (thanks mburr0003). Works nicely mechanically, but a little hard to keep in mind. I would add only +1 and you'd still be able to combine it with a Telegraphic attack (for +3 to active defence). Such a trait could also be generalised for some other improvised weapons. You could call it Predictable.
  2. Go with a higher skill or to hit penalty. Works well, but skill is a little hard to keep in mind (possibly affecting parry). On the other hand you could buy it off with Exotic Weapon Training. (Just noticed the perk says skill penalty while the tables say to hit penalty. I'm sticking to the perk as it makes more sense).
  3. Combine one of the other options with a penalty to parry. Seems reasonable, but fiddly.
I'm tempted to use +1 to defend and a -2 skill penalty (down from the blanket -3 for Action 5, but up from what I used for the write-up above). That feels right for a nice balance between power and cost. You might stick with it for a while if you need to watch starting money, but you wouldn't just keep on using it forever. Does that sound good to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
It appears I was mistakenly thinking a pickaxe had an axe head, but it actually has an adze head. Something like that is typically going to be a rather poor cutting implement in combat, due to awkward positioning being needed to get it to cut effectively. For simplicity, calling it crushing (but noting it causes bleeding) is probably appropriate, with a note that against a bound and unresisting target - or an inanimate one - it can deal cutting if you position things properly.
[/snip]
Now for the axe vs. adze head. I thank DanHoward for making us look again since this is really a bit of fuzzy language issue. I'll keep the term pickaxe because it's closest to German (Spitzhacke / Pickel) and a lot of references use it for a pick with an axe-head (probably original meaning) and a lot do so for one with an adze head. Honestly, I am very confused because the translation of pickaxe is always the same, but hey that's languages for you.

I think the axe should probably do the regular purpose-built weapon minus one damage, so we'd be back at sw+3. Should the adze (which is usually not a full-sized one) do the same in crushing? It does not seem very optimised for that, but it does deliver a lot of power in a small cross-section. I like Varyon's suggestion of it causing bleeding and in controlled conditions cutting, but I really don't know about damage and such.

However, looking at properly-sized adze blades, I am tempted to just call it a wash and treat those as axe blades too. Especially with a -2 skill penalty this feels too fine a distinction for GURPS.
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Old 06-03-2023, 03:08 PM   #26
mburr0003
 
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Blind Mapmaker View Post
You could call it Predictable.
Consider this yoinked.

Quote:
However, looking at properly-sized adze blades, I am tempted to just call it a wash and treat those as axe blades too. Especially with a -2 skill penalty this feels too fine a distinction for GURPS.
I might not call it cutting damage though. The adze head on a mattock could be sharpened, but it usually won't be... it might be more proper to treat it as blunt with a +1 or +2 damage over a comparably heavy axe head.


In fact, I'm very likely to treat a mattock* as a two-handed maul with an impaling head opposite... and then add Predictable.


* That'd be the pick-adze combo. For an actual axe head, go with cutting, for the "tiller" option... hmmm... impaling, -i damage, +1 to hit? It's like a shorter, 'thicker' trident head. Should also be able to 'strike to disarm' without the penalty for being a fencing weapon.

And no, I'm not getting into my rant about how terrible I think that rule is. Nope.
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:19 PM   #27
Balor Patch
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Woodcutting axe blades are typically thinner and wider than combat axe blades,
That's backwards. Woodcutting axes tend to have heavy wedge-like heads while war axes (at least dane axes) have their thin smiles.

"Most axes, both in period illustrations and extant artifact, that fall under the description of Danish axe possess type L or type M heads according to the Petersen axe typology.[1] Both types consist of a wide, thin blade, with pronounced "horns" at both the toe and heel of the bit. " -Wikipedia
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:26 PM   #28
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
That's backwards. Woodcutting axes tend to have heavy wedge-like heads while war axes (at least dane axes) have their thin smiles.
Woodcutting axes are optimized for... hitting wood. A very large number of times. Weapons are going to hit far fewer times, and thus don't need anywhere near as much durability. However, a wood axe may well substitute quantity for quality.

The net effect is that cheap (balance) is probably more appropriate, because even if the wood axe is made of cheaper metal, it's not going to be easier to break (it might be easier to cut through the haft, though).
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Old 06-04-2023, 06:01 PM   #29
mburr0003
 
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Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
... (it might be easier to cut through the haft, though).
Unlikely. Unless the weaponized axe haft has a metal or leather sheathing, it's actually thinner than an wood chopping axe. And, wood splitters will often wrap leather or cord lacing around the haft under the head and glue it on as extra protection, making it just that little bit harder to chop into the haft (it protects from splitting the haft when you accidentally bang it on split logs when the split).

I made s boiled leather haft cover for my wood axe... no real good reason other than it was an experiment and I could. It's probably no better than a decent wrapped and glued down cord/leather strapping. Harder to do field repairs on certainly (not that I've ever had to, but I don't split logs, just have to chop down the occasional tree for someone, and even then I have chainsaws for that now - and I'm old and my back ain't as up for a day of chopping down trees as it was twenty years ago).
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Old 06-04-2023, 11:04 PM   #30
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: [Low-Tech/Basic] Pick: War Club or Pickaxe

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
I would. It's all a numbers game: if a tool that lasts twice as long costs three times as much, you might as well use the cheaper one. In any case, if it's not designed as a weapon it's unlikely to perform well as a weapon even if not cheap.
I was specifically thinking about Cheap-Quality weapons being more likely to break, not the other aspects. A tool designed to be repeatedly smacked against a hard surface, like a sledgehammer or pickaxe, is going to be just as hard to break as a weapon.

The likely failure point for a pickaxe, etc. turned into a weapon is the eye (where the head and haft join). When that failure occurs you end up with Round Mace in-hand and a 5+ lb. missile whizzing in a random direction. Getting to that point requires a lot of tool abuse; far more than you'd rack up in a single melee combat.

But for balance, penalties to hit, damage modifiers, etc. pickaxes and similar tools are effectively Cheap. With an hour or so of work in a blacksmith's or bladesmith's shop, a Good-Quality tool could easily be turned into a Good-Quality weapon.
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