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Medieval Weaponry

 
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Spongly
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:47 am    Post subject: Medieval Weaponry Reply with quote

For my medieval homebrew setting I'm leaning more heavily towards a fairly realistic medieval setting, based around the 15th century. There are a couple of weapons I want to include but I'm not 100% sure how to handle them:

Longsword: I'm using the normal d8 damage sword in SW to represent an "arming sword". A longsword is a bit bigger, with a long handle, but it isn't really a greatsword. It's similar to your typical rpg "bastard sword" I think. I'm torn between letting people use it as either a greatsword or normal sword, or giving it stats of its own - d10 damage, but only allowing people to use it 1 handed if they have d10 str?

War Flail: A two handed flail. d8 damage, ignores shields, AP 1 vs rigid armour, -1 to parry, 2 handed? Is that fair or a bit overpowered?

Edit:

I'm also thinking of introducing a rule whereby anyone wanting to close with a character with a reach weapon has to beat them in an opposed fighting roll, or they can't close the distance to attack with a normal close combat weapon. This shouls, I hope, make soldiers with halberds and poleaxes somewhat more dangerous.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1 sword: keep it simple, create a Bastard Sword that have 2 stats, identical to normal sword (d8 damage) and greatsword (d10 damage): it should be very expensive, sort of a "noble sword" (maybe the price of a normal sword + greatsword), and the character can handle 1h or 2h, changing the stat of the weapon "on the fly": a versatile sword, expensive.

2h flail: i think you should give only d8 damage, 2h, and negate the shield bonus: it's a valuable "ability", so i'll stay with the standard 1h stats, just augmented on the damage.

Polearm with the "super reach" feature: i think this should be a good EDGE that specialized warrior should take, not a free weapon "ability". Too powerful.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bastard sword: Longsword 1-handed, +1 damage 2-handed. Seems fair.

2-handed flail: Treat as Maul, but give it the Flail's ability to ignore shield Parry bonuses instead of the AP ability.

Your setting rule about polearms sounds great, as long as it applies on both sides of the board: PCs and NPCs alike must suffer the penalty.

I might recommend that people only need to make a Fighting roll against 2+ spears; that way, it simulates the "bristle of spears" one might encounter against a large force. Keeps small encounters against spearmen from overwhelming the PCs.
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AFDia
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a small note about ranged weapons:
They are very powerful even without your houserule.
1.) A range 1 weapon allows you to retreat 1 space for free
2.) If you have First Strike, you can retreat every round and get a free attack if the enemy moves adjacent to you. Effectively you will get +1 attack every turn and even more with Improved First Strike.
If the enemy is more intelligent, he will stop to move adjacent to you and use other methods to damage, but you are relatively save from attacks with range 0 weapons.
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Rambling Scribe
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach medieval swordplay. I don't focus on longsword, but I have studied it a fair amount. From a reality perspective, a 15th century longsword can be wielded one-handed by most people of average strength, but pretty much never was. All of the techniques that developed along with the weapon involved two hands, and there is no extant evidence that I am aware of that longsword was ever used in conjunction with a shield or other weapon. There were techniques that required the sword to be shifted to one hand momentarily, such as parrying and closing to grapple with one hand while maintaining the parry with the sword in one hand. The fact is that while you could swing it one handed, you couldn't engage in useful combat with it one-handed. An equally skilled opponent using one two handed would beat you, as would an equally skilled opponent using an arming sword one-handed, or using arming sword and buckler.

So I would allow it to be used one-handed, but assess a larger than normal penalty to anyone who actually tried it.

I'm not prepared to comment on rules balance at this time. Just actual historical use.
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Sitting Duck
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Lance wrote:
Polearm with the "super reach" feature: i think this should be a good EDGE that specialized warrior should take, not a free weapon "ability". Too powerful.


The Lunge Edge from Solomon Kane would probably fit the bill.
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Spongly
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rambling Scribe wrote:
I teach medieval swordplay. I don't focus on longsword, but I have studied it a fair amount. From a reality perspective, a 15th century longsword can be wielded one-handed by most people of average strength, but pretty much never was. All of the techniques that developed along with the weapon involved two hands, and there is no extant evidence that I am aware of that longsword was ever used in conjunction with a shield or other weapon. There were techniques that required the sword to be shifted to one hand momentarily, such as parrying and closing to grapple with one hand while maintaining the parry with the sword in one hand. The fact is that while you could swing it one handed, you couldn't engage in useful combat with it one-handed. An equally skilled opponent using one two handed would beat you, as would an equally skilled opponent using an arming sword one-handed, or using arming sword and buckler.

So I would allow it to be used one-handed, but assess a larger than normal penalty to anyone who actually tried it.

I'm not prepared to comment on rules balance at this time. Just actual historical use.


So would the medieval longsword really be a "greatsword" in Savage Worlds terms then? As far as one handed use goes, incidentally, I was more imagining it being used from horseback by fully armoured knights rather than on foot with a shield. I suppose I could just use the standard greatsword rules and have another set of stats for the really ridiculously huge "zweihanders".
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Clint
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: Medieval Weaponry Reply with quote

My advice...

Spongly wrote:
Longsword: I'm using the normal d8 damage sword in SW to represent an "arming sword". A longsword is a bit bigger, with a long handle, but it isn't really a greatsword. It's similar to your typical rpg "bastard sword" I think. I'm torn between letting people use it as either a greatsword or normal sword, or giving it stats of its own - d10 damage, but only allowing people to use it 1 handed if they have d10 str?.


Think backwards. Instead of it doing more damage than a d8 sword, it does less than a greatsword, so...

Bastard (Long) Sword
Damage: Str+d10-1
Weight: 10
Cost: 350
Notes: Parry -1 if used one handed

Spongly wrote:
War Flail: A two handed flail. d8 damage, ignores shields, AP 1 vs rigid armour, -1 to parry, 2 handed? Is that fair or a bit overpowered?


Going to depend on the weight and impact on encumbrance too (cost to some extent as well), but it seems a fair basis.

Spongly wrote:
I'm also thinking of introducing a rule whereby anyone wanting to close with a character with a reach weapon has to beat them in an opposed fighting roll, or they can't close the distance to attack with a normal close combat weapon. This shouls, I hope, make soldiers with halberds and poleaxes somewhat more dangerous.


Well, first off, I'd want to know why you feel they aren't dangerous enough as is?

A non-Reach weapon allows a character to attack adjacently, covering 8 squares on a map. A 1" Reach weapon allows a character to attack in 24 squares around themselves, tripling their coverage.

That works in reverse too. A character being attacked with close combat weapons can face 8 foes maximum, but he could be attacked by 24 foes who had Reach 1.

Now, that scenario is unlikely, but consider a line of soldiers with swords. A character walks up and could face three attacks (at +2 for Gang Up). Now consider those soldiers have halberds, and he could face 5 attacks at +2 for Gang Up (the non-adjacent attackers don't add to Gang Up but they benefit from it). On top of that, with halberds, the soldiers could form a second rank that could attack foes that have moved into close combat with the first, so the character moving in could be facing 10 attacks at +2 for Gang Up.

Even if they aren't in ranks, consider that if the character moves adjacent to one foe with a Reach 1 weapon, then up to 5 other similarly armed foes could attack him from 1" away, and he can't move to them without disengaging and allowing a free attack.

6 foes could pull a perfect "Pong maneuver" on him with 3 adjacent and 3 an inch behind him. The adjacent provide a +2 from Gang Up to all 6 attacks, but the target can only attack 3 of them in return, and if he moves from one set of 3 to the other, he provides the adjacent three with free attacks for moving out of close combat.

Reach (especially among a group of similarly armed allies) can be pretty dangerous.

On the other hand, I'd worry that the rule above would make Reach too powerful in some instances. If the soldiers with halberds were in a line, then the character has to beat 3 separate foes (since he would be moving adjacent to all three in the line) in opposed Fighting rolls to close. Even for a Wild Card against Extras, that would be nearly impossible to win three opposed contests just to move 1" forward.

Maybe consider it "difficult ground" and count that last 1" as 2" of movement?
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Rambling Scribe
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spongly wrote:
So would the medieval longsword really be a "greatsword" in Savage Worlds terms then? As far as one handed use goes, incidentally, I was more imagining it being used from horseback by fully armoured knights rather than on foot with a shield. I suppose I could just use the standard greatsword rules and have another set of stats for the really ridiculously huge "zweihanders".

I don't really know what the intent of the SW great sword would be. In most rpgs a bastard sword is more like a historical longsword, and the great sword is like a zweihander. As an interesting aside, the zweihander was typically used more like a spear or pole arm than anything else, certainly not for massive swings as is generally assumed. Although of course, that could happen.

I wasn't thinking about mounted combat, which is something I have pretty much no experience with. However, I just checked in my manual by Paulus Kal, which is pretty typical of representative of 15th-16th century European sword combat manuals, and there are multiple depictions of knights using long swords one handed from horseback. They are all shown fighting other knights on horseback, sometimes lance versus long sword, but I'm confident they could and would use them on foot soldiers. The longswords appear to be a little smaller than the ones depicted in most of the longsword on foot sections of the manual, but they clearly have a grip long enough for two hands. Also, it's a medieval manuscript, and there are some inconsistencies in the art.

So here's my new thought: put a skill limiter on one-handed longsword use similar to the skill limiter for mounted combat. Your fighting skill with a longsword one handed cannot be higher than your strength. When using a longsword one handed while riding, your skill cannot be higher than the lower of your strength and ride skill.

Just to make thing needlessly complex... Wink
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Spongly
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting points here:

Reach Weapons - I'd always assumed that you can't "attack through" other people with reach weapons - can you actually attack over the top of someone in the square in front of you? If so I might consider abandoning the idea, since the main reason for the rule wasn't to make NPCs with reach weapons that much more dangerous, but to encourage more players to pick the halberd or poleaxe over the sword as a close combat weapon, since it would give the tactical advantage of being able to hold off enemies and stop them getting around you. If a player can effectively "support" the man in front of him by standing nearby with a reach weapon that makes them considerably more dangerous anyway.

Longsword - I think I might take up that idea, Rambling Scribe - it's simple enough to cover the situation if it ever comes up. Only one PC has a longsword, and as he doesn't have a shield I imagine he'll mostly be using it two handed anyway.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spongly wrote:
Reach Weapons - I'd always assumed that you can't "attack through" other people with reach weapons - can you actually attack over the top of someone in the square in front of you?


Over the top, to the side, whatever; ultimately, yep, they can attack a target 1" away (or whatever the Reach of the weapon) unless there is a full blown obstacle between them. The GM might count another person between then as Cover, but that'd be about the extent of it.

There was some discussin on this here that might help...

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=178754&highlight=reach#178754

Spongly wrote:
Longsword - I think I might take up that idea, Rambling Scribe - it's simple enough to cover the situation if it ever comes up. Only one PC has a longsword, and as he doesn't have a shield I imagine he'll mostly be using it two handed anyway.


If we are talking about Strength limiting skill, then I'd consider how much of a limitation it will be. If the weapon does d10 damage, then the character will already be limited in damage unless they have a d10 Strength; and if they have the d10 Strength to use it fully, then the limitation would only come up if their Fighting was maxed out to d12.

Another option that might work would be to reverse that equation. Instead of Fighting being limited by Strength when used one-handed, Strength is limited by Fighting.

The character's Strength for damage cannot exceed his Fighting when using the weapon one-handed. So it doesn't just matter how strong the character is, he has to be an equally skilled fighter to get the same benefit when using the weapon one-handed.

And since Fighting is limited by Riding when attacking on horseback, to fully use the weapon one-handed on a horse requires equal skill in both Fighting and Riding.

So a character with d10 Strength, d8 Fighting, and d6 Riding would do 2d10 two-handed, 2d8 one-handed, and 2d6 on a horse.

Or the GM could say the reduction only affects the Strength die for damage and not for Strength Minimum purposes, and the character would then do 2d10 two-handed, d8+d10 one-handed, and d6+d10 on a horse.

Something to consider.
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Spongly
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup. You're a genius Clint, what can I say? I'm going to go with that I think.
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Rambling Scribe
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Much better solution than mine, Clint!
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