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Old 03-07-2023, 03:43 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

The Shield Expertise thread brought up the notion that two-handed weapons are disincentivized by the Legacy Edition, and it seems worth breaking the subject off to explore in its own thread. What follows does not necessarily reflect what I think are good decisions for character building from a role-playing perspective--far from it, in fact.

Aside from the polearms, the lowest-ST standard two-handed weapon appears at ST 13óthe bastard sword, which inflicts 3d-2 damage (average 8.5). Consider the following two 36-point characters (attribute values in parentheses are starting values for 32-point characters, and talents in parentheses were obtained with XP expenditures).

Wojciak
ST (9) 13
DX 12
IQ 11
MA 10

Sword 2
Shield 1
Shield Expertise 2
Weapon Expertise (Sword) 3
Wojciak starts out with a rapier and then bumps up to a larger weapon ever time he spends XP on ST, but he enjoys the benefits of Shield Expertise and Weapon Expertise right from the start, so with a small shield, stops 2 hits from the front with no DX penalty. He also imposes -2DX on all foes from the front, thanks to his expertise talents. Counting his damage bonus from Weapon Expertise, his swords do the following average damage:
ST 9 rapier: 4.5
ST 10 saber: 6
ST 11 shortsword: 7
ST 12 broadsword: 8
ST 13 bastard sword (one-handed): 9
As can be seen, with 700XP, he has doubled his average damage.
It is worth pointing out that, as a starting character, Wojciak can learn talents IQ 11 and below.
Dzonka
ST 13
DX (11) 12
IQ (8) 11
MA 10

Sword 2
(Weapon Expertise [Sword] 3)
Dzonka begins play with a two-handed bastard sword, which on average deals 8.5 points of damage). In a fight against Wojciak, heís at a distinct disadvantage, making attacks with an adjusted DX of 9 if he goes unarmored and at 7 if he wears leather. Wojciak will, on average, inflict more points of damage each turn than Dzonka, and his shield will protect from most of the damage inflicted by Dzonka. It will take Dzonka 700 XP to raise DX and IQ sufficiently to learn Weapon Expertise [Sword], which will cost him an additional 1500 XP. Even after he learns this talent, heís still at a serious disadvantage when fighting Wojciak, since his foe will strike first, hit more frequently, and stop more hits, and, after the benefit of Weapon Expertise, a one-handed bastard sword does almost the same damage as Dzonkaís expertly weilded two-handed one (9 versus 9.5).
As a starting character, Dzonka is limited to IQ 8 talents.
What other aspects of the Legacy Edition might disincentivize two-handed weapons?
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Old 03-07-2023, 04:34 PM   #2
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Encumbrance is more of an issue in Legacy and the two-handed weapons are absurdly heavy, but the main reason to take a single two-handed weapon is to cast Staff on it, with at most a torch in the off-hand.
Absolutely. Definitely the main reason. I don't understand why Shostak was piddling about with expected damage calculations when the primary value of a battle axe is that it makes a good staff. For some reason.
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Old 03-07-2023, 04:47 PM   #3
Axly Suregrip
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Two points about your examples:

- From day 1 (no XP), the 2-handed Bastard Sword fighter does more damage. If you are going up against someone in plate armor you will want the higher damage, even if hitting less often.

- The top end damage of a 2-handed Bastard Sword (16) exceeds that of the 1-handed Bastard Sword (13). Again this is more important the higher their foe's armor.

Over all, yes a fighter with a shield is better. But often you want a mix of combatants: a tank to engage foes and absorb damage and a damage dealer to come in and put down the foes in heavy armor (as well as builds optimized for other situations). Or simply, some players just enjoy his/her character hitting hard.
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Old 03-07-2023, 09:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

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Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Two points about your examples:

- From day 1 (no XP), the 2-handed Bastard Sword fighter does more damage. If you are going up against someone in plate armor you will want the higher damage, even if hitting less often.
True, but if these two fought each other, Wojciak would actually inflict more damage per turn, on average, due to the difference in adjDX.

Quote:
- The top end damage of a 2-handed Bastard Sword (16) exceeds that of the 1-handed Bastard Sword (13). Again this is more important the higher their foe's armor.
That is also true, but the chance of maxxing out on damage is very slim (rolling 18 on 3d6 is less than 1/200 chance.). The damage done in the middle of the curves is much more likely.

Quote:
Over all, yes a fighter with a shield is better. But often you want a mix of combatants: a tank to engage foes and absorb damage and a damage dealer to come in and put down the foes in heavy armor (as well as builds optimized for other situations). Or simply, some players just enjoy his/her character hitting hard.
I enjoy the challenge of playing a two-handed sword or battleaxe character, but I constantly lament the ways that the LE rules demand so many sacrifices to do so. For a rule set to so clearly reward certain builds over others seems like a problem.
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Old 03-07-2023, 10:11 PM   #5
Bill_in_IN
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

This is an interesting comparison that shows the strength of combining shield and weapons expertise. I still think that the starting character with the bastard sword will do well, in general, but I concur with your average assessment for the scenario.

On a functional level, I have seen the existence of shield expertise discourage progression to a 2-handed weapon with a character in my game. He didn't want to stop getting the benefit of the extra armor and -1 DX for incoming attacks. That may change later but, for now, he's not interested in 2-handed weapons even if he gets to deal out more damage. At this stage (36 points), stopping and avoiding hits outweighs doing some extra damage.

I don't see this reaction as a bad thing. The initial build and progression of the character are what TFT is all about. In the end it's all about what gives us our properly perceived level of WTU's (Warm Tummy Units).
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Old 03-07-2023, 10:22 PM   #6
Axly Suregrip
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Yes, I see what you mean. What is your suggested fix?

Should Weapon Expertise give 2-Handed Weapons a bigger bonus?
a) +2 damage instead of +1 ?
b) -2 DX to hit expert instead of -1 DX ?
c) Lower the prereq DX from 12 to 9 or 10 ? <<<

A mix of the three or all? "c" seems the most necessary. A beginning sword&shield fighter is able to meet the DX requirement. A beginning 2-handed sword fighter instead is a long way off until he can meet the DX prereq. Lowering it to 8 seem a bit much, but is the only way a 2-handed-bastard sword fighter would be able to get this talent. So, make the prereq 9 or 10 leaves it as a nearby goal that can be achieved quickly.

I would lean towards giving the 2-handed weapons all three improvements. Bigger damage improvements for bigger weapons definitely. Option "b" is the only debatable one.

And would this apply to 2-handed polearms? I like rules without lots of exceptions but polearms do not seem to need the help. I am would suggest they are treated as all 2-handed weapons, but keep an eye on this.
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Old 03-08-2023, 06:40 AM   #7
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Yes, I see what you mean. What is your suggested fix?
I donít know. Admittedly, two-handed weapons can already be used for sweeping blows, while lighter weapons canít. Maybe it would be worth giving such large weapons a two-hex reach similar to polearms.

Quote:
Should Weapon Expertise give 2-Handed Weapons a bigger bonus?
a) +2 damage instead of +1 ?
b) -2 DX to hit expert instead of -1 DX ?
c) Lower the prereq DX from 12 to 9 or 10 ? <<<
Iíd rather see the IQ requirement be lowered. I donít think the LE sufficiently made the transition from needing to increase IQ to unlock talent slots. The continued use of high IQ prerequisites simply decreases character diversity.

Quote:
And would this apply to 2-handed polearms? I like rules without lots of exceptions but polearms do not seem to need the help. I am would suggest they are treated as all 2-handed weapons, but keep an eye on this.
Probably, yes, to have as few loopholes as possible.
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Old 03-08-2023, 07:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Don't let daggers defend against two-handed weapons? (As per the strange notes about the Main-Gauche)
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Old 03-08-2023, 09:39 AM   #9
Axly Suregrip
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
Maybe it would be worth giving such large weapons a two-hex reach similar to polearms.
Sorry but no. From SCA experience the reach of spears and halberds is much greater than that of 2-handed swords and battle axes. Just taking the same sword and going from a 1 handed grip to a 2 handed grip limits the range from your body by a few inches.

A lower IQ requirement for 2-handed weapon expertise is interesting. Separating 1-handed melee weapon-expertise from 2-handed makes sense from a fighting style perspective. Missile Weapons talent only requires IQ 9. So there is precedence.

Suggested changes (I know, this now should be in House Rules):

a) "Weapon Expertise" talent now becomes "1-Handed Weapon Expertise"

b) new talent "2-Handed Weapon Expertise" at IQ 9. (I do have a concern this should be IQ 10. Two handed weapon players do have Toughness they can also draw on). The lower IQ makes some sense in that with two hands you have more control to master the ability. Prereq DX of 11. This leaves it just out of the reach of a new character. That make sense as experts should not be starting characters but close enough to encourage a growth path.

At this point I think it should remain the same as the original Weapon Expertise. +1 damage and DX -1 to get hit. Like I said, these characters would also go well with Toughness talent.

c) "Weapon Mastery" becomes "1-Handed Weapon Mastery"

d) New "2-Handed Weapon Mastery" at IQ 11.
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Old 03-08-2023, 11:17 AM   #10
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Two-handed Weapons Disincentivized

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Sorry but no. From SCA experience the reach of spears and halberds is much greater than that of 2-handed swords and battle axes. Just taking the same sword and going from a 1 handed grip to a 2 handed grip limits the range from your body by a few inches.
The thoroughly researched GURPS material gives weapons like two-handed swords greater reach than smaller swords. Even with TFT hexes being a bit larger than GURPS hexes, it seems reasonable to me that one could lunge and stab with a two-handed sword targets two hexes away. It is more difficult to imagine an axe being used like this.

Quote:
A lower IQ requirement for 2-handed weapon expertise is interesting. Separating 1-handed melee weapon-expertise from 2-handed makes sense from a fighting style perspective. Missile Weapons talent only requires IQ 9. So there is precedence.
I'm not advocating for a separation of 1-handed and 2-handed Weapon Expertise, but just a lowering of the IQ prerequisite for Weapon Expertise (and Mastery).
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