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Old 01-19-2022, 09:14 AM   #1
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Boston area
Default Details about the cestus

So, I began by thinking about the cestus as being strictly worse than a dagger (can't be thrown, but can't be dropped).

But then I saw on ITL 113 that a single cestus is "treated exactly like a main-gauche". Now, that surprised me, since a main-gauche can block a hit, though has a -1DX penalty to do so. In addition, it's easy to strike with both cesti if wearing two.

So, let me see if I understand the cestus now:

(1) Melee damage is 1d-1, while HTH damage is bare hands damage + 3, all just like a dagger (or main-gauche).

(2) Cannot be dropped, voluntarily or otherwise.

(3) Two cesti can both strike in the same turn at DX -3. I assume that this is in both melee *and* HTH, the latter of which would make a cestus quite good.

(4) If the single cestus is just like a main-gauche, then that would give the following effects:

(a) Stops 1 hit.
(b) -1 adjDX. [1]
(c) Can be used as second attack for -4 DX.

My first question is whether I missed anything in this description.

My second question is whether it makes sense for a cestus to do main-gauche damage in melee (1d-1). The table says that the damage is ST-dependent, so I may be misreading this, but it's not clear what the damage should be. Is it the same as HTH damage?

The third question has to do with left-hand attacks. A main-gauche as a second attack is at -4 DX. When wearing two cesti, one can attack with both at -3 DX for each. Can one opt to attack with the righthand cestus at no penalty and the lefthand cestus at DX -4? The latter always produces better expected damage, except at adjDX 18 or 19, if I did the calculations correctly.

I'm guessing that one cannot opt to do one normal attack and one attack with -4 modifier, but the rules aren't quite explicit. The fact that a single cestus is just like a main-gauche suggests that two cesti are different than a main-gauche (but do I still get the 1 blocked hit benefit with two cesti?).

Thanks.

[1] I've houseruled that the stopping of 1 hit is optional -- this is important for fencers, say -- and the -1 DX penalty applies only when the main-gauche is being used for armor. I suppose the same would apply to the lefthand cestus.
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:22 AM   #2
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Found a discussion here where Skarg and others say two cesti in HTH get only one hit per turn.
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:35 AM   #3
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

It would be broadly consistent if we had errata that each cestus deals out 2 more hits than the bare handed damage based just on the user's strength. This could then be boosted by expertise or enchantment as usual.
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:42 AM   #4
Bill_in_IN
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Interesting discussion for cestus details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
So, I began by thinking about the cestus as being strictly worse than a dagger (can't be thrown, but can't be dropped).

But then I saw on ITL 113 that a single cestus is "treated exactly like a main-gauche". Now, that surprised me, since a main-gauche can block a hit, though has a -1DX penalty to do so. In addition, it's easy to strike with both cesti if wearing two.

So, let me see if I understand the cestus now:

(1) Melee damage is 1d-1, while HTH damage is bare hands damage + 3, all just like a dagger (or main-gauche).

(2) Cannot be dropped, voluntarily or otherwise.

(3) Two cesti can both strike in the same turn at DX -3. I assume that this is in both melee *and* HTH, the latter of which would make a cestus quite good.

(4) If the single cestus is just like a main-gauche, then that would give the following effects:

(a) Stops 1 hit.
(b) -1 adjDX. [1]
(c) Can be used as second attack for -4 DX.

My first question is whether I missed anything in this description.
From my recent reading on this, I concur. You covered 4(a) later as a house rules thing. I'm not really on board with it stopping one hit but the main gauche comparison is a strong argument for that.

You cover 4(c) later.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
My second question is whether it makes sense for a cestus to do main-gauche damage in melee (1d-1). The table says that the damage is ST-dependent, so I may be misreading this, but it's not clear what the damage should be. Is it the same as HTH damage?
In my opinion, if a cestus wearer is in an HTH "grapple", the cestus is still on their hand and still modifies the HTH damage. now, since ITL states that one cannot hold any other weapon in a hand with a cestus, the cestus wearer couldn't use that hand for gripping anything. Their ability to wrestle, grab, etc. during HTH would be compromised.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
The third question has to do with left-hand attacks. A main-gauche as a second attack is at -4 DX. When wearing two cesti, one can attack with both at -3 DX for each. Can one opt to attack with the righthand cestus at no penalty and the lefthand cestus at DX -4? The latter always produces better expected damage, except at adjDX 18 or 19, if I did the calculations correctly.

I'm guessing that one cannot opt to do one normal attack and one attack with -4 modifier, but the rules aren't quite explicit. The fact that a single cestus is just like a main-gauche suggests that two cesti are different than a main-gauche (but do I still get the 1 blocked hit benefit with two cesti?).

Thanks.
I concur that this difference isn't specifically called out, as far as I can tell. Perhaps, the GM can house rule it either way or require the player to declare whether they are boxing or making a second swing.

ITL describes the Roman use of cesti on both hands in a manner consistent with boxing at a -3DX for both attacks. I would say that making the player declare which tactic is being used up front would have to be closely enforced. Or, only give them this flexibility between the two options based upon their skill sets. A player with cestus mastery, teo weapons, and/or various levels of Unarmed Combat could be given the option as opposed to requiring boxing at a -3DX for both attacks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
[1] I've houseruled that the stopping of 1 hit is optional -- this is important for fencers, say -- and the -1 DX penalty applies only when the main-gauche is being used for armor. I suppose the same would apply to the lefthand cestus.
Like I said earlier, I'm not big on this but if house rules are consistent, so be it. There is a strong argument for it.

Last edited by Bill_in_IN; 01-19-2022 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:18 AM   #5
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Details about the cestus

This is confusing. The way I've adjudicated it is that you use different sets of modifiers and other effects for different usages:

One cestus on your primary hand in melee or HTH combat: just a weapon that does damage equal to your unarmed ST damage plus 3.

Once cestus on your off hand, used in combination with another weapon in your primary hand: may deliver a second attack at -4 adjDX (in addition to primary attack made at normal adjDX); may choose to also have -1 armor protection but at an additional -1 DX adjustment for both attacks and anything else you might do. Damage with the off handed cestus is based on ST unarmed damage plus 3 (I think it makes no sense to assign it 1d-1 damage like a dagger, particularly since I don't think it very says that explicitly)

Two cesti in melee combat: user can choose to either use the rules above (treating one cestus as the 'primary' weapon and the other as the 'main gauche-like' weapon), OR, two attacks at -3 DX for each and no defensive bonus. I understand this is confusing to have two different possible rules treatments, but that is what is in RAW and the case for using either one is equally strong. As a house rule I suppose you might say the former (main gauche based) treatment only applies when your primary weapon is not another cestus, but it's had to say why, other than wanting to simplify things.

Two cesti in HTH: hard to say what the intent is here. You are not allowed to make two dagger attacks or two unarmed attacks in HTH, so I suppose the same should be true for cestus even when you wear two.
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
One cestus on your primary hand in melee or HTH combat: just a weapon that does damage equal to your unarmed ST damage plus 3.
+2 in adjacent hex combat then gets the +1 boost in HTH for a total of table value plus 3?
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:09 AM   #7
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
+2 in adjacent hex combat then gets the +1 boost in HTH for a total of table value plus 3?
Why? I don't see anything in the text to support that interpretation, and a couple of places that explicitly say you always just add 3 to your unarmed combat base. Is this a house rule you prefer for some reason?
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:27 AM   #8
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
+2 in adjacent hex combat then gets the +1 boost in HTH for a total of table value plus 3?
I suppose you're meaning to ask: Is the cestus table value + 2 in melee and table value + 3 in HTH, just as unarmed damage is table value in melee and table value + 1 in HTH?

Could go either way. There are, far as I know, three kinds of HTH attacks (ignoring pinning), each with analogues in melee. I'll use BHD to stand for "bare hands damage", as given on ITL 122.

(1) Unarmed: BHD in melee, BHD + 1 in HTH.
(2) Dagger: 1d-1 in melee, BHD + 3 in HTH.
(3) Cestus: ???, BHD + 3 in HTH.

Three obvious choices for cestus in melee.

(1) Cestus is said to be like a main gauche, so 1d-1.
(2) That's pretty dumb for a punching weapon. So, it should be BHD-based. It could be BHD + 2, one less than the HTH damage, just like a punch.
(3) It could also be BHD + 3, which is what I think Lars was suggesting. This would make it the only weapon that does the same in HTH or melee.[1]


[1] I'm ignoring dagger staves because they are utterly irrelevant for these comparisons.
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:33 AM   #9
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
Why? I don't see anything in the text to support that interpretation, and a couple of places that explicitly say you always just add 3 to your unarmed combat base. Is this a house rule you prefer for some reason?
There's only one place where the rule is to add 3 to your unarmed combat base, far as I can find. Unfortunately, in context, that rule is explicitly limited to HTH, intentionally or not (who can tell?).

The Weapons Table says that damage depends on ST (good reason not to use 1d-1), but not explicitly how.

I don't think Henry's suggestion is unsupportable. A cestus is like a super-punch, and a punch in HTH is 1 damage more than a punch in melee. At present, I could go other way on this one.
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:42 AM   #10
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Details about the cestus

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
This is confusing. The way I've adjudicated it is that you use different sets of modifiers and other effects for different usages:

One cestus on your primary hand in melee or HTH combat: just a weapon that does damage equal to your unarmed ST damage plus 3.

Once cestus on your off hand, used in combination with another weapon in your primary hand: may deliver a second attack at -4 adjDX (in addition to primary attack made at normal adjDX); may choose to also have -1 armor protection but at an additional -1 DX adjustment for both attacks and anything else you might do. Damage with the off handed cestus is based on ST unarmed damage plus 3 (I think it makes no sense to assign it 1d-1 damage like a dagger, particularly since I don't think it very says that explicitly)

Two cesti in melee combat: user can choose to either use the rules above (treating one cestus as the 'primary' weapon and the other as the 'main gauche-like' weapon), OR, two attacks at -3 DX for each and no defensive bonus. I understand this is confusing to have two different possible rules treatments, but that is what is in RAW and the case for using either one is equally strong. As a house rule I suppose you might say the former (main gauche based) treatment only applies when your primary weapon is not another cestus, but it's had to say why, other than wanting to simplify things.

Two cesti in HTH: hard to say what the intent is here. You are not allowed to make two dagger attacks or two unarmed attacks in HTH, so I suppose the same should be true for cestus even when you wear two.
The one thing that bugs me about the "two cesti in melee combat" paragraph above is that there's not much reason ever to have that choice. As you suggest, if you want two attacks, then either it's both at DX - 3 or one at DX and the other at DX - 4. The latter is always superior (unless adjDX is 18 or 19) in terms of expected damage. It is also superior in terms of the probability of getting at least a single hit. There's no compelling reason for this choice at all.

Of course, this could just be an oversight. Or it could be that RAW doesn't give us this choice, that hitting with two cesti necessarily carries a -3 DX penalty for both attacks. This is consistent with a literal reading of the rules.
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