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Weapon Specialization using edges?
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Greg K
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:47 pm    Post subject: Weapon Specialization using edges? Reply with quote

I was thinking of the Firefly episode where Mal goes to a shindig and ends up in a duel while trying to defend Innara's honor. Now, Mal, I figure has a pretty decent fighting skill and I got the impression that given any other weapon, Mal probably would be better than his opponent just on the general ability of each. However, in this instance, his opponent was a very skilled duelest familiar with the fencing weapons used (a rapier?) and Mal was completely outclassesed due to his unfamiliarity and lack of technique with the weapon. He kept swinging like it was a hacking weapon (I think Innara, who was familiar with the weapon probably could have beaten Mal)

This also got me thinking of a different where new Edges and Hindrances were discussed as a means to reflect training in cultural weapons and lack of familiarity with other weapons. For example a primitive warrior only proficient in club, axe, spear, knife, and bow.

I'd really like to try build on that idea to develop something where someone could have a lower Fighting d4 or d6 (to reflect lack of training in a variety of weapons) and then use edges to boost fighting (or shooting) with a particular class of weapon to reflect training with that class of weapons

The closest thing that I see is the Edge: Trademark weapon, but that requires a Fighting d10+ and applies to a unique one of a kind weapon. So, it is not exactly what I am looking for, but I could see it used in conjuction with what I have mind.

So, I could see Edges for things like Fencing Weapons (e.g., epee, foil, rapier, sabre, main-gauche), Pirate Melee Weapons, "Cultural" Weapons and another for a more limited class of weapons Knives (including daggers, stilletos, maingauche up to something the size of a bowie knife or drusus), Heavy Swords (e.g., Claymores), Long blades (any one handed bladed weapon longer than say a drusus), Whips, Nets, flails, etc.


Any ideas or suggestions?
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you could do it like common knowledge. PCs are familiar with, say, wpns equal to 1/2 their fighting die. Fists are one

so a d4 shmuck wizard has 2, fists and staff or dagger

a d6 warrior has 3. fists and 2 more, mabye dagger and shortsword

or you are assumed to be familiar with what you own. If you pick up a new one, roll a fighting skill check, if you fail you are at a penalty until you have time to learn it. bonus or penalty to the roll as GMs whip, a Broadsword using picking up shortsword is fine, bpickin up a battle ax, maybe -1.
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jpk
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd probably go the other route and highlight what you're bad at.

Give the PC whatever Fighting you think he needs to be "that good." Don't forget to throw in whatever Edges you think really make it cook. Then tack on a Hindrance. In the Mal example, I'm thinking something like "Quirk: Not so good with subtlety in anything." For the primitive, could be a Minor Hindrance (no familiarity with advance weapons) or Major (total tech bonehead in a tech-heavy world).

And, as always, for NPCs, do whatever you want. Remember, they're never expected to built like PCs. Never.
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77IM
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At one point, I had a house-rule Weapon Specialization edge that gave +1 damage with a particular category of weapon (and an Improved version for +2).

The rationale was 1) something in between Trademark Weapon (which is a specific weapon) and general combat edges which apply to all types of attacks, 2) something to increase damage, since we already have a lot of edges to increase attack and parry/dodge and Toughness (although really, the Toughness edges aren't available until Legendary), and few to directly increase damage. I ditched it because ultimately it seemed unnecessary; there's already a ton of combat edges that increase overall attack effectiveness in various ways, all of which are more interesting than +1 damage. Plus I didn't want someone playing a "master swordsman" to feel like he needs Frenzy and First Strike and now this new Weapon Specialist edge.

Nowadays if a player wanted this I'd use Joel's technique of a Hindrance that gives an attack penalty on all but a few weapons.

LIMITED PROFICIENCY (Minor or Major)
Choose one group of weapons, such as clubs, staves, swords, knives, bows, pistols, rifles, pole-arms, axes, or unarmed combat. You not proficient with other sorts of weapons. As a major hindrance, you suffer a -2 attack penalty with weapons that aren't from your group. As a minor hindrance, you can either reduce the penalty to -1, or select two groups to be proficient with.

-- 77IM
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Sadric
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most combats are wild combats, but a duel is a special case.
Maybe its enough to simply roll a common knowledge roll with huge mali if you dont used to such duels. If you fail you have -1 on all rolls.
Maybe you could even say that at the same time you have +1 on (dirty) tricks because the enemy fight along the duels rules.

A other idea, the Rapier is a special case, it gives parry+1.
Maybe its enough to give this boni only to combatants that are used to it.

And I think its totally in spirit of the rules to give, for example, a Sci-Fi soldier -1 or even-2 if he tries fire a bow. If he has some time to get used to it, or have something in his background story about bows he could fire a bow.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I've always thought of Mal as more of a lucky brawler who relies on taunts and dirty tricks, and knows how to take a beating. Atherton was a far better swordsman, but Mal still won the duel - with a distraction (trick) and a called shot (disarm). Likewise, the Operative in Serenity gave him a sound thrashing, but Mal eventually beat him by pretending to be paralysed (trick?) and a surprise attack.

If I were stating up Firefly characters in SW I think I'd probably only give Mal a d6 in Fighting, but then give him edges like Combat Reflexes, Hard to Kill, No Mercy, Luck, Strong Willed, etc.

However if I wanted to represent Mal being particularly bad at duelling, I'd be tempted to use the same rule as Common Knowledge: apply a -2 penalty when using a skill in a way that's completely foreign to the character's background. At d6-2 he'd be a little better than unskilled, but not much.
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Max Schreck
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Previously I sub-divided the Fighting skill into several skills based on the weapon classifications seen on the weapon table: Axe/Maul, Blades, Polearms, etc. So a fighter with Fighting (Blades) would be proficient with swords, short swords, knives, etc.

My players didn't seem to care much for this system (probably mainly because it made character creation more expensive), so I changed it. Now I just leave Fighting as it is, but I've changed the Edge Trademark Weapon to cover a particular weapon type (e.g. short sword or battle axe) rather than a completely unique weapon.

It wasn't as if Trademark Weapon was particularly overpowered before, anyway, so I don't think it is too unbalancing.

Cheers,

Max
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JmOz01
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe borrowing from another system* (This can work elsewhere as well in the system), this is off the cuff so some balancing issues still.

SUBSKILLS: Characters can purchase sub catagories of skills at a reduced cost. Subcatagories are decided by the GM and Player. Some examples might be Fighting: Swords, or Knowledge: Medicine/Cardiovascular surgery. Subcatagory skills add to the base skill, so if you later increase the base skill all subcatagories automaticaly increase as well.

A character can spend 1/2 the normal cost to increase a sub catagory of a skill (a character for instance could increase both a normal skill under the linking attribute and a subcatagory skill over the linking in one advancment)

A subskill can be "upgraded" to a full skill by applying the 1/2 cost again (per die type)

The subskill can not increase over d12, a character cannot increase the base skill if it would raise the subskills over d12

An issue I see would be how to make sure someone does not "game" the system (By first buying sub skills then upgrading the skill to make it go over the linking attribute)


* WEG: Star Wars RPG
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Clint
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Weapon Specialization using edges? Reply with quote

Well, there are four basic options for handling something like this; Edges, Hindrances, Setting Rules, and simple Situational rulings.

In "game terms," the Shindig example really feels more like a case of one time case of a situational ruling...

GM - "He tells you use of a sword will be provided for the duel; now, Mal's background means he has no familiarity with swords, so I'm going to say it counts as an improvised weapon for him, -1 to attack and Parry."
Mal's player - "Use of a s-what?"

It's just a one time part of the story that doesn't really affect anything outside of that "session."

The question of which option or combination of options to use really depends on the goal and reasoning for the additional rules in the first place. Mimicking the Firefly setting is different from just wanting more detail and complexity overall.
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Spongly
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Weapon Specialization using edges? Reply with quote

Clint wrote:


GM - "He tells you use of a sword will be provided for the duel; now, Mal's background means he has no familiarity with swords, so I'm going to say it counts as an improvised weapon for him, -1 to attack and Parry."
Mal's player - "Use of a s-what?"



I think this is the way I'd handle it. Assume a character is familiar with all the normal weapons for someone of their background with their fightinf skill. If they pick up some weapon that's alien to them, give them a penalty to using it. Applies to everything really - a 17th century coach driver might have the "drive" skill, but I wouldn't let the character use it unmodified to drive a pick up truck.
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Greg K
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the replies. Lots of interesting ideas and suggestions on how to handle it.
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The GIT!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max Schreck wrote:
...I've changed the Edge Trademark Weapon to cover a particular weapon type (e.g. short sword or battle axe) rather than a completely unique weapon.

It wasn't as if Trademark Weapon was particularly overpowered before, anyway, so I don't think it is too unbalancing...

Personally I prefer this option; I don't like the idea of playing around with skills and I've always felt that Trademark Weapon is a bit limited.
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other tack might be to expand the Trademark Weapon skill, or create a series of Professional Edges around groups of weapons.

"Expert Mauler" allows someone using a Maul to knock the opponent Prone if they are Shaken and no more than one Size greater than the attacker, "Axe Master" might add AP to attacks when using an axe, etc. Then you can say that the expert has spent so much time honing that weapon's skills they are at -1 Parry when using any other weapon (except for their fists, let's keep that option intact).
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SlasherEpoch wrote:
"Expert Mauler" allows someone using a Maul to knock the opponent Prone if they are Shaken and no more than one Size greater than the attacker,


Why the limitation? Ogres have learned how to stand when their knees have been smashed? Giants don't fall down when you've shattered their ankles (or, at least, it feels like you've done so)? Bears can't be knocked prone by mere mortals?
Or is this a case of "I'm used to pointless and arbitrary limitations from d20, so I'll carry them over to everything else I do"?
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SlasherEpoch
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ValhallaGH wrote:
SlasherEpoch wrote:
"Expert Mauler" allows someone using a Maul to knock the opponent Prone if they are Shaken and no more than one Size greater than the attacker,


Why the limitation? Ogres have learned how to stand when their knees have been smashed? Giants don't fall down when you've shattered their ankles (or, at least, it feels like you've done so)? Bears can't be knocked prone by mere mortals?
Or is this a case of "I'm used to pointless and arbitrary limitations from d20, so I'll carry them over to everything else I do"?


Because I only envisioned a mighty overhead smash and didn't think of those things Very Happy

I guess I was having trouble rationalizing something like a dragon being prone, so I imposed a limitation without thinking it through.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SlasherEpoch wrote:
Because I only envisioned a mighty overhead smash and didn't think of those things Very Happy

Fair enough.

SlasherEpoch wrote:
I guess I was having trouble rationalizing something like a dragon being prone, so I imposed a limitation without thinking it through.

Yeah, I'm not thrilled about knocking dragons prone either. I'd probably just say "can't do it, but I'll give you one benny for negating your cool edge in this fight."
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the limitation is that Large or Huge creatures can't be knocked prone.

Anyway, Greg K, what do you think about something like that?
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SlasherEpoch wrote:
Maybe the limitation is that Large or Huge creatures can't be knocked prone.

Not happy about that. Probably just throw in a note that "from time to time your Game Master will tell you that this edge can't be used (the creature is too stable, too immobile, or something else). Clever usage and positioning can overcome some of these issues, but if you actually can't use the edge then your GM will probably give you a benny for the trouble."
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Clint
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really, guys, I think it's as easy as...

Maul Smash!
Requirements: Novice, Fighting d6, Strength d10

If you get a success or better on a damage roll with a maul (or I'd say any two-handed melee weapon), the target must make a Strength roll versus the damage or be knocked prone. If the creature has a size-based modifier to hit you, apply it to the damage total (+2 for Small, -2 for Large, and -4 for Huge).
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clint wrote:
If the creature has a size-based modifier to hit you, apply it to the damage total (+2 for Small, -2 for Large, and -4 for Huge).

How about "If the creature has a size-based modifier to hit you, apply it to the damage when determining the TN of the Strength roll."

I don't want folks to think this makes it even harder to hurt a giant.
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