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Two handed weapons against... almost all other combinations
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:09 am    Post subject: Two handed weapons against... almost all other combinations Reply with quote

Hallo everybody. I did a little search, without big results, so I wanna expose my dubs here:

Do you think 2handed weapons are underpowered? (now I'm thinking about the classic fantasy game, however we can discuss in a universal way)

I mean, I didn't make exact maths, but you have to renounce:
- opportunity to make other actions with the free hand
- opportunity to make a 2nd melee attack (every fighter can choose frenzy, so no differences here)
- opportunity to follow the "Two Fisted" + "Ambidextrous" + "Florentine" path
- opportunity to build up your parry / cover with shields
- opportunity to follow other nice non official/core paths (that you can find in almost all main settings) like "Close Combat", "Whirlwind" etc. << I put this phrase in dedicated row, 'cause I know Clint doesn't like when I come up with "other books stuff" ^___^ so we can stay with the core book rules and egdes.

What you get:
- Slightly bigger damage. I know, Savage Worlds is built around small numbers, but a d10+d8 vs a d10+d10 it's quite similar, and often if you have that little damage increase, you suffer a -1 to parry (Great Swords, Axes and Mauls)
- Of course you have to invest a couple of Attribute advances in Strength, 'cause you need a Strength equal to the damage dice of the weapon if you want to do that dice in damage and enjoy weapons bonuses like "+1 parry" (if they have'em).
- Lot of weight to carry around... Maybe you are quite strong, if you choose a 2handed weapon, however you could use that "slot" for other equip.
- Quite obviously the 2handed weapon is a bulky weapon, so you get bad modifiers like Agility rolls to ready the weapon, or other roleplay malus, like "you can't carry that 2handed axe in the king's court, while the thief-type character can try an easy stealth roll for his short swords)
- Some weapon has reach and/or parry bonus. Cool tactical advantages, however the damage is equal to 1handed weapons, so we need to weigh up if those bonus are worth the 2nd hand.
- If you take an injury that "kills" one of your arm, you have to almost renounce to fight, 'cause you suffer -4 to fighting (ok, you can search for another weapon, but your magical or trademark "best choice" is gone)
- No dedicated edges, that can make interesting / advantageous those weapons (even the Giant Killer has no special/big weapons requisites, and in other settings you find no supplementary ones - as I know).

What do you think? Are the SW authors snubbing a bit the two handed weapons? We simply miss some cool edge? We should pimp up a little bit some of those weapons?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:44 am    Post subject: Re: Two handed weapons against... almost all other combinati Reply with quote

Lord Lance wrote:
- No dedicated edges, that can make interesting / advantageous those weapons (even the Giant Killer has no special/big weapons requisites, and in other settings you find no supplementary ones - as I know).


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Takeda
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not use a 1-handed weapon with an extra-long handle so that if used 2-handed you get +1 damage.

Ultimately using two-handed weapons over one-handed is more of a style-choice than anything else. I would think the extra-damage-die for hitting with a raise could be a d8 if you were wielding a two-handed weapon. <shrug>
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77IM
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Lance, I agree with your thorough analysis. My solution was to create an Edge for 2-handers, which increases the damage die on a raise to equal your Strength die (huh, similar to what Takeda just said). I have yet to play test it though since currently I am a player in a post-apocalyptic game, and our next game will probably be sci-fi or modern where 2-hands is less common.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having fought in the SCA with two-handed weapons, what you say has alot of bearing.

Now, depending on the specific weapon, bonuses or penalties will vary.

Long weapons, that are better balanced; naginata, glaives, spears; weapons that are basicly swords on staffs/sticks; should give a reach and a parry bonus.

Long unbalanced weapons or weapons with where the balance is more forward than back, weapons that are blade heavy, top heavy, might give a reach bonus but not a parry bonus. At least vs all weapons. Halbards, two-handed axes come to mind.

I used to do alot of practice/fighting vs glaivemen, spearmen and great swords. Few wielded great axes since they were/are so top heavy.
Once you got inside their reach, you owned them; but getting insde was the tough part. Solo, one-on-one fights and multi-men teams, 2:2, 2:3, 3:3 5:5 were different from each other.

Mass battles with 30+ per side was where great weapons ruled. A sword & shield man or line protecting them, giving a defense bonus, made a the long reach fighters superior. he defense protected themselves and the second line behind them. The 2nd line did all the attacking, looking for openings or to create them.

Yes having only 1 hand or arm, made two-handed weapons almost impossible; almost. It depended on the weapon and fighter. I saw some people get cocky ad get taken down by a guy using just 1 hand on a 2-hander, especially if the he was using a 'butt-spike'.
There were also a few who used a weapon like the 2-handed spear; like the greeks and romans used, 1-handed, usually with a shield. But I saw them fight with it without the shield.

Damage should depend on the weapon. In a game without specific hit locations, this can be unbalancing. In games with hit location, sayin g a hit to the torso would cause extra damage. The mass of the weapon would cause it to be slower, but also cut deeper; thus more damage.
The best I saw, and I don't recall which game system it was, since I've read or played easily dozens of games on almost 30 years; gave a 50% bonus for using a weapon 2-handed. Not using a 1-hander 2-handed, but for like size blades. I've never seen a way to apply it to any other system, so I never made it a house rule.

Having different die types for different weapons and damage that equals strength, is about the best, simple formula I've seen so far. [a la' Savage Worlds]
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But note that your "Two Fisted" + "Ambidextrous" + "Florentine" path requires that you have to wield 2 weapons (at least in the Florentine edge), so aren't you then locking yourself into another paradigm? Even a Florentine fighter won't have the option of using a shield to build parry. I think you're remarking upon a style choice (and those main books are uniformly plug and play in any setting).

But on one level, aren't the big weapons, for example the great sword, getting higher damage for a 1) lack of reach and 2) the parry loss. Consider that compared to the spear (Reach 1, STR + d6 damage, Parry +1), the great sword is STR+d10 and -1 Parry. Both require 2 hands.

One final point is that your reasons contain a rhetorical falsehood; you're combining the possibilities of two alternative paradigms, even if they aren't equally available to those two paradigms. The two paradigms are shield wielder and Florentine wielder, but they each have things barred to them; the Florentine guy can't use a shield, and the shield wielder still has something in his other hand, leaving him unable to use that hand. But you're conflating them as equally available possibilities to both paradigms when they're not.
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Clint
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:56 am    Post subject: Re: Two handed weapons against... almost all other combinati Reply with quote

Lord Lance wrote:
I mean, I didn't make exact maths, but you have to renounce:
- opportunity to make other actions with the free hand
- opportunity to make a 2nd melee attack (every fighter can choose frenzy, so no differences here)
- opportunity to follow the "Two Fisted" + "Ambidextrous" + "Florentine" path
- opportunity to build up your parry / cover with shields


Of course, these are really the same thing, using the off hand for something else. Except for a shield, all the other uses incur penalties of -2 for a multi-action and -2 for the offhand. Unless the character takes those Edges...

Which means the character using a two-handed weapon is able to take other Edges for those slots because he doesn't need to take Edges specifically to negate penalties for his weapon. Although if he wanted to take an Edge to "negate" the -1 Parry penalty with most two-handed weapons, he could take Block, but unlike Ambidexterity, Two-Fisted, and Florentine, he would always gain the benefit of Block regardless of what weapon combination he was using.

You could argue that the character with Ambi/2-Fist/Flor could take Block as well, but it wouldn't change that the two-handed weapon character will always be 3 level ups over them.

It's also easy to say how much difference does a d10 make over a d8, but this is Savage Worlds, and I think it makes a significant difference. It's not just an average of 1 more point of damage (which is 25% of the way to another wound); it's a change in the arc of the damage odds overall. A d8 has a 1.56% chance of rolling 16+, but a d10 has a 5% chance. It doesn't sound like a lot of variance, but it's over triple the odds. 1 in 64 versus 1 in 20.

Since damage is one of the few cases where multiple raises have a definite effect, changing the long odds is more significant there.

Lord Lance wrote:
- No dedicated edges, that can make interesting / advantageous those weapons (even the Giant Killer has no special/big weapons requisites, and in other settings you find no supplementary ones - as I know).


The 50 Fathoms Companion has Oversized Weapon Master.

Lord Lance wrote:
Are the SW authors snubbing a bit the two handed weapons?


Yes, that's it; that's exactly what we are doing. A two-handed weapon ran over my dog once. Wink
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Vitruviansquid
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always taken the weapon selections in the core rulebook as functional, but ultimately templates for you to make your own weapon list.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Two handed weapons against... almost all other combinati Reply with quote

Clint wrote:

Of course, these are really the same thing, using the off hand for something else. Except for a shield, all the other uses incur penalties of -2 for a multi-action and -2 for the offhand. Unless the character takes those Edges..

Yeah, there are penalties, but with the 2handed weapon you can't even try a "2 fast smashes, one at -2, the other at -4".

Clint wrote:
Which means the character using a two-handed weapon is able to take other Edges for those slots because he doesn't need to take Edges specifically to negate penalties for his weapon.
...
it wouldn't change that the two-handed weapon character will always be 3 level ups over them.

I know that the 2handed weapon user has "3 free levels", the problem is that he has not cool edges to get even with the two weapons user. Explaining better: the two weapon user can buy every other edge (frenzy, block, giant killer etc.), while 2handed weapon user lose terrain after frenzy/improved frenzy...
**NOTE about that** I want to start another topic, 'cause I have to chat about a "simulated" fast "built and advanced" character, to understand what you people think about the advances. I mean, taking account of the "typical road to legend" that a character travels - with about 16 ~ 20 advances at his disposal - you need to reserve at least 5 "levels" to Attributes, at least other 5 "levels" to skills, 1 professional edge, so you end with about 10 "edge slots". Of course, not every SW campaign is a combat heavy game, but you can easily take about half of combat edges (and - maybe - all the combat edges you need for your character).

Clint wrote:
It's also easy to say how much difference does a d10 make over a d8, but this is Savage Worlds, and I think it makes a significant difference...

Yep, I understand this one; however, if I should have to choose a 2handed weapon, without taking account edges, surely I'll stay with polearms: medium damage + reach + parry bonus can allow me to make always wild attacks, without fearing first strike, aura damage and similar tricks, so I end with something like "Str+d8+2 damage, +2 to hit, some reach, -1 to parry". Cool combination. Of course, seldom you need a really really high damage, but make a wild attack tank with "Str+d10+2 damage, +2 to hit, -3 to parry" is quiiiiite dangerous, if the enemy don't go down that turn...

Clint wrote:
The 50 Fathoms Companion has Oversized Weapon Master.

Neutral Neutral Damn, you know I "hate" old settings... I hope you people will update + enhance a lot settings like 50 Fathoms or Evernight, and you'll have my money for at least 1 of them. (but, ehi, I want a really pimped one! Wink )

However I still think that we should have a couple of cool edges for big weapons or polearms. Maybe I'll open a brainstorm about that (and I hope some nice guy with that 50 Fathoms Companion will tell me if they are balanced compared to that).

Clint wrote:
Yes, that's it; that's exactly what we are doing. A two-handed weapon ran over my dog once.

Mr. Green Mr. Green Mr. Green I KNEW there was a reason for all that 2handed racism!!!


Last edited by Lord Lance on Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it comes down to a choice between adding an index or keeping in two-handed weapons, the two-handers are going to go every time.

Other than that, I have nothing personal against them. I've even used them myself. [Feel free to add "in a Savage Worlds game" there if it makes you more comfortable...]
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpk wrote:
If it comes down to a choice between adding an index or keeping in two-handed weapons, the two-handers are going to go every time

Sorry, I can't understand this phrase... Sad
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Lance wrote:
jpk wrote:
If it comes down to a choice between adding an index or keeping in two-handed weapons, the two-handers are going to go every time

Sorry, I can't understand this phrase... Sad

Don't worry. I probably confused a number of native English speakers with that bad joke. Just ignore it. You'll be happier that way.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He means there isn't space to include more combat feats because they added an Index. I guess I agree with that -- I'd rather the core rules be clear and simple, because I'm happy adding in my own house rules (the nice thing about house rules, is you can make them exactly how you want them).

Another house rule I've seen is that when you wield a weapon two-handed your Str die increases a size. So a guy with Str d8 can wield a greatsword for 2d10 damage (effectively, +2 damage for -2 parry, when compared to the sword-n-board guy). A guy with Str d12 would deal d12+1+d10 with a greatsword. This seems a little bit strong to me; it seems like it overpowers weapons like spears and mauls and devalues Strength a bit. But, I like its flexibility (a Str d6 guy could wield a longsword two-handed dealing 2d8 damage).

You could also give the two-hander guy a bonus to resist disarms (he is gripping the weapon with both hands) or some sort of bonus to Wild Attack (except that it is already a fantastic option) or maybe to called shots (decapitation!) or more reach (a greatsword probably should count as reach 1, for example). I guess it depends how a 2-hand weapon is different than other options.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe we need to ask some martial artists or SCA members.

I dimly recall that with both hands on a weaopn, you can maneuver it quite a bit better, you have more leverage.

you can try this at home with a broomstick, see how well you can move it with one hand or with two.

I'd be tempted to drop the parry penalty.
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chugosh
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope.
The parry penalty should stay. It takes a lot of skill to get your big sword in front of the other guy's blows before they land (ie you need a bigger fighting die to get the same parry number). Also, when you use just the one thing for both offence and defense, it's doing double duty.
When I was in the SCA I was pretty much a greatsword or pole arm guy. I got beat up a lot by sword and board guys who biffed my big weapon gently out of the way and got inside my guard.
The only thing to do to balance the situation is to take is higher soaking ability, as in a bigger vigor die, toughness edges, and so forth, along with the standard combat edges.

The other issue is long handled single hand weapons. I can see giving a +1 to damage for the extra leverage, or even a +2. Whether or not you'd get a bonus to skill, I debate on the grounds that while a second hand steadies the aim of a blow, broader action is possible with one hand.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With those 3 advances I could take first strike, trademark weapon (or raise my fighting), and sweep. The 2 hander would be getting about as many attacks as a dual wielder (first strike) one of which could affect all enemies adjacent, would be hitting more often, and would be doing more damage. Offensively, the 2 hander pretty much has the dual wielder beat, defensively the dual wielder has a slight advantage. It seems pretty balanced to me.

As for balance against shield user... the +1 parry from bucklers balances out with the damage lost by using a 1 handed weapon, for the rest weight is really the balancing factor... 20 pounds is a lot for pretty much any character.

Drew!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chugosh wrote:
Nope.
The parry penalty should stay. It takes a lot of skill to get your big sword in front of the other guy's blows before they land.
When I was in the SCA I was pretty much a greatsword or pole arm guy. I got beat up a lot by sword and board guys


caveat: I've never done SCA or any weapons training beyond a bit of fencing

Hm... how does a two-hander hold up against a guy with a one-handed sword and no shield? 'Cause it seems like they're getting the parry bonus from the shield.

As I understand it, many two-handed swords were designed to be used with one hand on the blade (obviously wearing gauntlets, and with that section unsharpened). This made it more of a thrusting weapon, much like a short spear, which is handy for both defense and accurate strikes. The large swings were reserved for moments when you had your opponent off balance, so he couldn't avoid the blow and he couldn't dart in and stab you.

For me, I allow characters to consider their strength to be one higher for purposes of using weapons if they use it with both hands. So if you have a d6 strength, you can wield a longsword with both hands without penalty, dealing d6+d8 damage. If you have a d8 strength, you can use a two-handed sword, doing d8+d10.

I've considered dropping the parry penalty on two-handed swords, and giving great axes a little perk. My thought was that when you hit with a raise, you deal extra damage equal to your strength, rather than just the d6.

*sigh* I think I'm getting off topic. The main thing about two-handed weapons is that they hit hard. Not that great at defense, not a weapon for your sprightly swashbuckler, but they can wreck shop.

In our 50 Fathoms game, we have a grael (basically a massive walrus-man) who uses a cannonball on a chain, striking for 2d10 damage. He's a pretty brand-spanking new character, and he's a monster. When Ozark the Fahht hits things, they die.

Now, he's not without weaknesses, and the other characters are all pretty capable, so he's not stealing the limelight all the time, but he makes a very good battering ram. That dude goes right out front and everyone else follows in his massive wake.
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GranFalloon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FoxBlue wrote:
weight is really the balancing factor... 20 pounds is a lot for pretty much any character.


General rule I use when reading RPG weapon lists: cut the weight in half. Longswords don't weigh eight pounds. They weigh four at the most, and most of them are about three.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether you have the blade grip depends a lot on the style for a particular time period and place. The same is true of a lot fo the techniques. Consider the difference between kendo and tai chi sword technique for a comparison. In any case, that's all in the imagination part of the game, not the dice part.

If you wanted to say so, a d4 would be just grip and swing and hope for the best guy, where a d12 would be the guy who knows all the techniques and fancy moves and a few dirty tricks besides.

As to the one handed with no shield guy, the smaller sword is still rather faster than the big one, so whether one or two handed, it is not going to hit as hard, but it will be easier to get in front of a blow.

My one experience, I got lucky and took his shield arm, but he quickly got inside my swing and beaned me.

I should mention I was the first guy in the example above.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most important unofficial and unmentioned rule could be this: a bonus to Intimidate (!). I guess it's very threatening to have someone attacking you with a weapon that can cleave you from head to toe.

As mentioned above (and on other threads too probably), weapons in RPG's are often simplicized to a basic calculation. Damage = Value; the more damaging the weapon, the more it costs in-game, and 'the better' the weapon generally is. In real life (always the 'real life' comparison Razz) weapons had a specific function. Spears (in group) held cavalry at bay, zweihanders and claymores were used (by specialized members in the unit) to (literally) break those spear-walls, ...
All this specializing gets lost in RPG's, which are mainly focused on individuals.
I could go on more about this, but I won't Smile.

I read one one the threads here that some 2-handed weapons (the example there was a claymore I think) weren't actually that unwieldy, and if properly used wouldn't have a parry penalty. At least no more than a regular one-handed sword used one-handed.

I've been thinking about some suggestions (Edge, character's size, house-rule, ...) that allow the use of a 2-handed weapon one-handed. Of course, that could probably go completely over the top: so these are only ideas about the subject, nothing tested in-game.
- general Houserule idea: If a character has Str 2 steps higher than the required str of the weapon, he can use it onehanded. (This mostly means a supernatural Str is needed for most weapons, possibly with Boost/lower Trait, or NE Super Strenght, ...)
- Size: A character with larger-than-human size can reduce the Str-steps as required above by 1 step per size step (so a Size +2 basically has no problems with the weapons). Keep in mind though that these aren't weapons made for the size of the character.
- Edge: you can use a 2-handed weapon 1-handed without the above Str requirement, but your parry goes down by 1 for each Str step requirement you'd normally have.
- Improved Edge: Ignore the above-said parry penalties.

- Another 2-Handed Edge: Expert Training. You've trained specifically for Two-handed weapons use. Ignore any Parry penalties you'd get from using a two-handed weapon.
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