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Hiram McDaniels
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So a few people on this forum have had the idea of making Perception a defense much in the same way that Fortitude, Reflex and Will are which I think would ultimately be a mitzvah. However, I wonder how this reconciles with stealth rules, since sneaking is usually treated like a skill, which is on an entirely different progression track.

Also, assuming that not everyone in the hobby is an medieval weapons fetishist, how much can the traditional D&D weapons list be simplified and generalized? I'm thinking like Missile weapons, Polearms, Swift weapons and Brute weapons; all with small, medium, large examples.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hiram McDaniels wrote:
Also, assuming that not everyone in the hobby is an medieval weapons fetishist, how much can the traditional D&D weapons list be simplified and generalized? I'm thinking like Missile weapons, Polearms, Swift weapons and Brute weapons; all with small, medium, large examples.


Frankly, I think even that is too complicated. You should instead have weapons determined by abilities (like reach, range, trip benefits, set against charge etc), and let players flavour them however they like. One person's squid-diddler will have reach and trip, another person's will have throwing and set against charge, etc.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hiram McDaniels wrote:
So a few people on this forum have had the idea of making Perception a defense much in the same way that Fortitude, Reflex and Will are which I think would ultimately be a mitzvah. However, I wonder how this reconciles with stealth rules, since sneaking is usually treated like a skill, which is on an entirely different progression track.


Well, you are going to want to change the stealth system if you do that.

The system I personally had planned, but didn't actually work out, was something that, in it's own way, doesn't matter if it's on a different RNG, because the system was:

1) You generate a stealth score for the person stealthing. Presumably this involves their skill, and bonuses like invisibility, and maybe a role.

2) You roll a perception check for anyone else they interact with. If the perception beats their stealth, then they are detected, if it doesn't, then they aren't.

3) Doing things around people (probably including just time passing) subtracts from your stealth score (with respect to that person? globally?) and when your steath score goes lower than their perception, you get detected.

So the idea is, if you blow the RNG skyhigh, you can sneak around and by people, but you can't live adjacent to them for years without them noticing. And if you do something that blows the RNG right back, like make attacks, then you probably get detected unless you blew the RNG up twice.
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Hiram McDaniels
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Kaelik wrote:
Hiram McDaniels wrote:
So a few people on this forum have had the idea of making Perception a defense much in the same way that Fortitude, Reflex and Will are which I think would ultimately be a mitzvah. However, I wonder how this reconciles with stealth rules, since sneaking is usually treated like a skill, which is on an entirely different progression track.


Well, you are going to want to change the stealth system if you do that.

The system I personally had planned, but didn't actually work out, was something that, in it's own way, doesn't matter if it's on a different RNG, because the system was:

1) You generate a stealth score for the person stealthing. Presumably this involves their skill, and bonuses like invisibility, and maybe a role.

2) You roll a perception check for anyone else they interact with. If the perception beats their stealth, then they are detected, if it doesn't, then they aren't.

3) Doing things around people (probably including just time passing) subtracts from your stealth score (with respect to that person? globally?) and when your steath score goes lower than their perception, you get detected.

So the idea is, if you blow the RNG skyhigh, you can sneak around and by people, but you can't live adjacent to them for years without them noticing. And if you do something that blows the RNG right back, like make attacks, then you probably get detected unless you blew the RNG up twice.


Okay. So this leads to some broader questions: What are stealth rules supposed to do? Where do they often fall short? What should an Invisibility spell or a cloaking device do that a sneak skill can't? Are there any systems out there that get it right?
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hiram McDaniels wrote:

Also, assuming that not everyone in the hobby is an medieval weapons fetishist, how much can the traditional D&D weapons list be simplified and generalized? I'm thinking like Missile weapons, Polearms, Swift weapons and Brute weapons; all with small, medium, large examples.


Well the D&Dism of armor class and little DR means that you don't really have anti-armor weapons like maces, so a lot of real life distinction between weapons goes out the door. I think D&D3e and so on tends to have too many weapon categories but also not enough distinction between them.

Here's something from an old thread about weapons in D&D with some edits:

http://tgdmb.com/posting.php?mode=quote&p=341905

OgreBattle wrote:
Are there any existing systems which do it well?

There's three main properties of a weapon
-Speed: how quick it is on the attack and defense, affects accuracy and avoiding hits
-Damage: how hurty it is
-Reach: yep

Having better reach means you can attack someone from a 5ft increment further, and you get a bonus to your defense against shorter reach weapons (until they close the distance by landing a hit)

So you have some weapon that specializes in one of those three points, like...

Sword, well balanced for battle
Spd: **
Dmg: *
Rch: *

Axe/mace/cleaver, top heavy impact weapon
Spd:*
Dmg: **
Rch: *

Spear, keep your foes at point
Spd: *
Dmg: *
Rch: **


So the sword lands the most hits (and is about as defensive as the spear), the axe hits the hardest but gets hit the most, the spear gets to poke people in a way where they can't poke back.

If this game has counter-attack actions then the spear gains more benefits from being outside the range of shorter reach counter attacks. How two weapon fighting and shields and great weapons interact with this, maybe something like...

buckler gripped in fist or 2nd hand weapon
Spd: +*


two handed weapon
Dmg: +*

medium shield strapped to arm
Armor: +*

tower shield
cover: +*


I figure being able to do fancy tripping and disarming should be more a property of the wielder than the weapon. So a fighter can pick up a broomstick and knock rapiers out of the hands of street hooligans.


Last edited by OgreBattle on Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:56 am; edited 3 times in total
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hiram McDaniels wrote:
Okay. So this leads to some broader questions: What are stealth rules supposed to do? Where do they often fall short? What should an Invisibility spell or a cloaking device do that a sneak skill can't? Are there any systems out there that get it right?


Stealth rules are supposed to model:

1) Someone waiting in ambush, and possibly being detected.
2) Someone sneaking into a castle at night to scout, and maybe assassinate someone.
3) A character who tries to duck behind a wall and get lost in the fighting.
4) Two people both suspect and enemy is about (or are just overly cautious) and move around trying to avoid detection and find an enemy.
Also, not stealth, but "Perception" needs to manage:
5) Someone casts an illusion spell to trick you.
6) Two people are both just randomly walking in opposite directions down a road, and are going to run into each other, does one see the other first, the same time? Can the one that sees first make out enough to figure out who you are, does he want to hide? can he?

The most common failing in 3e is that it's like a not as bad version of the Shadowrun Matrix. You have to roll 500000 times for any stealth sequence, so no one ever wants to stealth at all.

More generally, if you have the 3e system it means you can stealth very briefly past someone with on the RNG stealth, and you have to rush it, or, it means you beat the RNG by 20 or more, and you can live adjacent to them forever without them seeing you, and the entire game becomes super dumb.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Have any of y'all played a D&D game where someone focused on disarming or disarming was a big part of some session critical combat?

I like the idea of knocking weapons out of goon's hands, but the hero getting their holy avenger knocked out of their hand then smacked on the shoulder as they walk over to pick it back up is goofy.
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

If you're specifically talking about games of actual D&D played with actual other people, then no, I don't think so. However I did make a Disarmer build for NWN2, and that was kind of cool. A fair number of the enemies in that do wield actual weapons, and as long as your Strength is enough that you don't fuck yourself by stealing their stuff, that's actually a valid tactic. I can't remember but I think there are a few cases where you can get some nice weapons that way that you can't actually get in any other way - they aren't dropped when the bearer is killed.

In regards to your general statement, it's one of the things that probably works better either when done by the players, or simply "when done by more skilled people against weaker foes as a deliberate display of ability". Rather than being something that crops up a lot, with bandits all trying to disarm heroes all the time.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm thinking about running something like a more comedic game, and Paranoia seems to be the go to for that. Especially for a sci fi sort of game. Would Paranoia work well for a game that is more about infiltration than random repairs? Does it have a passable way of handling combat?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I haven't yet looked at the recently released Kickstarter Edition, but believe nothing much has changed. Infiltrating different groups is fairly central to the game, moreso than assigned maintenance. Combat is basically a d20 roll-under with 7 hp, as shown in the XP Universal Hostility Formula on p70 of the immediately findable XP SP1.

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Prak
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was thinking more infiltration of protected buildings than groups. Comically high lethality actually sounds perfect for the game I have in mind...
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Dean, on Paranoia wrote:
The book is a hardbound liars paradox.


Winnah wrote:
No, No. 'Prak' is actually a Thri Kreen impersonating a human and roleplaying himself as a D&D character. All hail our hidden insect overlords.


FrankTrollman wrote:
In Soviet Russia, cosmic horror is the default state.

You should gain sanity for finding out that the problems of a region are because there are fucking monsters there.
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Living Greyhawk region of "Ket" (i.e. Ontario) had a lot of in-setting rules against killing humans. In that, if a PC is ever proven to have killed a human, they're automagically retired "to the salt/copper mines of Ket."

My tabletop group learned to use:

-The 3e grappling rules (yes, they're trash for most player to understand, but they're not impossible to use)
-The 3e Subdual damage weapon rules (everyone, even NPCs would take the -4 to attack rolls, b/c the
-Valuing subdual/Merciful weapons
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Hiram McDaniels
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Hiram McDaniels wrote:

Also, assuming that not everyone in the hobby is an medieval weapons fetishist, how much can the traditional D&D weapons list be simplified and generalized? I'm thinking like Missile weapons, Polearms, Swift weapons and Brute weapons; all with small, medium, large examples.


Well the D&Dism of armor class and little DR means that you don't really have anti-armor weapons like maces, so a lot of real life distinction between weapons goes out the door. I think D&D3e and so on tends to have too many weapon categories but also not enough distinction between them.

Here's something from an old thread about weapons in D&D with some edits:

http://tgdmb.com/posting.php?mode=quote&p=341905

OgreBattle wrote:
Are there any existing systems which do it well?

There's three main properties of a weapon
-Speed: how quick it is on the attack and defense, affects accuracy and avoiding hits
-Damage: how hurty it is
-Reach: yep

Having better reach means you can attack someone from a 5ft increment further, and you get a bonus to your defense against shorter reach weapons (until they close the distance by landing a hit)

So you have some weapon that specializes in one of those three points, like...

Sword, well balanced for battle
Spd: **
Dmg: *
Rch: *

Axe/mace/cleaver, top heavy impact weapon
Spd:*
Dmg: **
Rch: *

Spear, keep your foes at point
Spd: *
Dmg: *
Rch: **


So the sword lands the most hits (and is about as defensive as the spear), the axe hits the hardest but gets hit the most, the spear gets to poke people in a way where they can't poke back.

If this game has counter-attack actions then the spear gains more benefits from being outside the range of shorter reach counter attacks. How two weapon fighting and shields and great weapons interact with this, maybe something like...

buckler gripped in fist or 2nd hand weapon
Spd: +*


two handed weapon
Dmg: +*

medium shield strapped to arm
Armor: +*

tower shield
cover: +*


I figure being able to do fancy tripping and disarming should be more a property of the wielder than the weapon. So a fighter can pick up a broomstick and knock rapiers out of the hands of street hooligans.


I wonder if speed and reach are good metrics for weapons in a D&D like game.

For reach it's going to be 5-10 feet, so in essence a weapon either has reach or it doesn't. It would be easier just to note the weapons that have it.

As for weapon speed, I remember using these rules in older editions, but I didn't really miss it in 3/4/5E. How would you even represent this meaningfully in a game where higher initiative rolls are better? Is it just a static penalty to init. rolls for heavier weapons? What happens if a combatant switches weapons in the middle of a fight?

I could see something where you have swift weapons that gain a small bonus to-hit; brute weapons that gain a bonus to damage (large enough to make it a decent trade off, since bonuses to hit are always more valuable than bonuses to damage) and polearms which grant reach. I'd be okay with consolidating slashing/piercing/bludgeoning into just "weapon damage".
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Hiram McDaniels
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Kaelik wrote:

Stealth rules are supposed to model:

1) Someone waiting in ambush, and possibly being detected.
2) Someone sneaking into a castle at night to scout, and maybe assassinate someone.
3) A character who tries to duck behind a wall and get lost in the fighting.
4) Two people both suspect and enemy is about (or are just overly cautious) and move around trying to avoid detection and find an enemy.
Also, not stealth, but "Perception" needs to manage:
5) Someone casts an illusion spell to trick you.
6) Two people are both just randomly walking in opposite directions down a road, and are going to run into each other, does one see the other first, the same time? Can the one that sees first make out enough to figure out who you are, does he want to hide? can he?

The most common failing in 3e is that it's like a not as bad version of the Shadowrun Matrix. You have to roll 500000 times for any stealth sequence, so no one ever wants to stealth at all.

More generally, if you have the 3e system it means you can stealth very briefly past someone with on the RNG stealth, and you have to rush it, or, it means you beat the RNG by 20 or more, and you can live adjacent to them forever without them seeing you, and the entire game becomes super dumb.


I could see having stealth vs. perception skills for sneaking, while still having a separate "awareness" defense for traps and illusions.

I wish I knew what to do about the other problems. Some DM's can run that at their tables in a sensible way, but it would be nice to have actual codified rules in place for it. I usually just rule that sneaking up to someone is straight up opposed perception vs. stealth. If you start your "turn" within 10 ft. they get to make another check against you.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Have any of y'all played a D&D game where someone focused on disarming or disarming was a big part of some session critical combat?

I like the idea of knocking weapons out of goon's hands, but the hero getting their holy avenger knocked out of their hand then smacked on the shoulder as they walk over to pick it back up is goofy.


I built an Ogre with some specialized prestige class who specialized in sundering weapons and disarming back in 3.x.

It was a higher level fight, and I decked him out in... I want to say with an adamantine weapons and armor that basically said "Fuck you" to hardness. The prestige class I remember helped overcome magical weapon bonuses.

It... wasn't pretty. Basically nobody was prepared for it because nobody tried to abuse the rules to their logical conclusion. When I destroyed the paladin's big magical greatsword in round *one*, the mood for the session essentially went to shit.

We didn't retcon the encounter, though I came close to it. Basically, they used the obscene amount of loot they got off the encounter (he was a BBEG) that they upgraded the paladin's sword. Still. I can agree that nobody likes having their weapons shot out of their hands.

I remember playing the Renegades mod of Starsiege Tribes and playing the spy class. They had a gun that shot the gun out of the enemy's hands too and I'd get server-banned for doing it it pissed people off so bad.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I ran a game where one of the recurring enemy groups was ICO-inspired kidnap-monsters. They did a lot of disarm->grapple->carry off procedure, mostly of plot NPCs; they never actually got away with a PC, although they did try more than once.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Whoops the context of 'speed' was "how maneuverable the wepaon is" which translates to accuracy and parrying. So no initiative shenanigans but a rapier will be more accurate than a mace and maybe give an AC bonus.

I figure the important part is getting down the mechanics and then making weapons interact with the mechanics.

Quote:
Still. I can agree that nobody likes having their weapons shot out of their hands.


Yeah. I haven't had that happen to me because the local gaming store DM just had people's hands get cut off.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:10 pm    Post subject: SAME system questions Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm toying with a heartbreaker that frankensteins a bunch of systems together from the board and was wondering what numbers would be appropriate.

The basic combat mechanic is that attackers will roll 1d20+attack stat vs. a defense set by the same stat. If it hits the target rolls to soak using 1d20+soak stat+armor/amulet+applicable resistance vs. a static damage modified by the weapon/power and damage stat. If they succeed on their save they get a wound, which reduces further saves, and if they fail they're incapacitated. So a sword slice would be 1D20 + Agility vs. X + Agility. If it hits, the saving throw would be 1D20 + Strength + Armor + Resistance Vs. Y + Strength, where Y is a combination of the weapon and ability's damage.

So far so good. I basically just stole this from different posts around the board. What I don't know is what kinds of numbers I should have in these places. I suppose I could guess and do some brute-force playtesting, but I imagine there are some other people who are more mathematically minded or who have already played around with this already. I imagine that I'd want X to be either 10 or 11, but what about Y? What should the spread of stats be? I seem to remember that starting SAME stats go no higher than 4, do they increase with level, or do characters add their level to their rolls?

Right now I'm looking at a spread of creatures that ranges in 14 steps from a level -1 child or badger to a level 12 dragon. This rating would just be their level-appropriate numbers, not necessarily their CR. I imagine that monsters' defenses should be level appropriate, even if there is a strong/weak/average spread for some of their attacks and defenses.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Board search Four Stat System to find the math Frank used for SAME in its final-ish iteration. You're using a CAN variant instead of HP wounds, so you'll have to brute force the math anyway to find how many wounds you want someone to have before they drop and the basic probability of mooks/elites/PCs/bosses going down by round/wound.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
Have any of y'all played a D&D game where someone focused on disarming or disarming was a big part of some session critical combat?

I like the idea of knocking weapons out of goon's hands, but the hero getting their holy avenger knocked out of their hand then smacked on the shoulder as they walk over to pick it back up is goofy.


Realistically speaking, people dropped their weapons all the time in historical combat even without anyone trying to disarm them. A person's grip capacity tends to be less able to absorb force than the weapon itself. If your sword bounces off a shield for instance there is a chance you'll lose your grip during the recoil.

That's why secondary weapons were comparatively more important in real battle - and it's worth noting that the idea that swords were primarily secondary weapons (rather than primary weapons) has a lot of merit.

D&D is pretty much Hollywood combat though. So you can't ever have the hero dropping their named sword in the middle of the climactic duel with the enemy commander.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hiram McDaniels wrote:
I wonder if speed and reach are good metrics for weapons in a D&D like game.


Reach is the OP stat in real life. All other things being equal, the guy with more reach will tend to win. There's just too much to be gained by being able to do damage over a larger surface area (from the perspective of "areas that the weapon can reach").

Speed is a bit trickier because being able to consistently do a lot of attacks in a short period of time actually often depends on the balance and ergonomics of the weapon; rather than how light it is. So you could have situations where a guy with a well-balanced long sword getting in more attacks than someone with a clumsily balanced short sword.

However, again as D&D combat is basically Hollywood combat you can't really apply these realities to a lot of weapons in-game.
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DSMatticus
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Meanwhile in Rome, spears were such useless rubbish the first thing you did when going into battle was throw the damn things away so you could draw your sword and properly stab some fools.

More seriously, there does not appear to be any one true approach to equipping an army. There have been wildly successful armies whose dominant melee weapon was the spear and there have been wildly successful armies whose dominant melee weapon was the sword. The general historical trend seems to be spears then swords then really big spears which sometimes have pointy perpendicular bits, and the discussion of why that is has almost nothing to do with any neat developments in weapon technology and everything to do with developments in the fields of cavalry and armor. And when you shrink down to the scale of actual D&D skirmishes, the outright superiority of reach becomes pretty dubious. A line of spears is a terrible thing to try and close in on, and finding ways to effectively do so is essentially the great military problem of antiquity, but a single spear isn't particulary difficult to knock aside with a shield or some such, and if the guy makes it past the pointy bit you're left holding an awkwardly long stick of wood and don't have a lot of time left to change that. Weapons are ultimately a defensive tool as well as an offensive one, and there's a lot to be said for weapons which are simply easier to keep between you and the guy trying to kill you. Sure, it's also true that you want to be able to kill the other guy from further away than he can kill, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

But realizarm is boring anyway, and I think what people want out of a spear is that it feels like it's good at zoning. How you make that happen depends on what mechanics you've attached to your weapons that you can fiddle with. D&D gives them the reach keyword.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DSMatticus wrote:
Meanwhile in Rome, spears were such useless rubbish the first thing you did when going into battle was throw the damn things away so you could draw your sword and properly stab some fools.


That's the British Hollywood history interpretation - which is so full of shit that it's where we got the "Romans used the pilum purely as a javelin to disable enemy shields" myth from. The pilum was in fact used as a melee weapon in numerous documented occasions; and may very well have been the primary weapon of the Legionnaire (rather than the British interpretation of the Legionnaire getting two pilums because they thought it was expendable, the Romans may have in fact issued two because they expected it to be used a lot more than the gladius).

In reality Roman Legionnaires were equipped very differently depending on the period, and the idea that the gladius or sword was the weapon of preference is a bit overblown. Indeed, it may have never been the weapon of preference at any point of the Roman Army's history.

For instance the Early Roman Republic era army was much more reliant on spears, and the Triarii - the elite of the army - were generally agreed to have fought as a pike block similar to a Greek phalanx.

Similarly in the Imperial period there was really no standard Roman Legionnaire kit. It depended on the region the Legion was operating in. The Romans were not stupid and did not force their troops to keep wearing heavy armor even in desert regions. There is also very good reason to indicate that the Romans were much more into archery and ranged weaponry than usually thought.

The big reason why the gladius gets so much press is because British historians (and American ones who copy-paste off them) are frankly pretty myopic. They tend to pretend that the Roman army during the Julius Caesar era (when Britain was invaded by Rome) is representative of an institution that endured longer than the entire history of the United States.

It's also worth noting that the Julius Caesar era is also one where Rome ended up fighting a big Civil War, where both sides had heavily-armored and tower-shield wielding Legionnaires. That would have made the spears, javelins, and archers a lot less effective; requiring what would normally be a sidearm (the sword) become the primary killing weapon because you need to get really close to do any damage.

And even then one can argue that the primary weapon in these melees was in fact the Tower shield - which the Roman legionnaires used to bash heir counterparts with - and the gladius was simply used to finish off a disabled foe. If they actually tried to use the gladius to stab opponents still capable of defending themselves there's a good chance it's going to end up hitting armor or shield, which is very likely to damage the gladius (perhaps without even killing the opponent!) and leaving the Legionnaire with no stabby weapon.

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More seriously, there does not appear to be any one true approach to equipping an army. There have been wildly successful armies whose dominant melee weapon was the spear and there have been wildly successful armies whose dominant melee weapon was the sword.


There really aren't any wildly successful armies that were primarily dependent on the sword. The most successful groups that relied primarily on swords tended to be small raiding parties like Viking raiders.

By contrast all successful armies that needed to close in melee relied heavily on the spear.

The Samurai for instance were in fact bowmen (or musketeers) first, spearmen second, and swordsmen third - until the coming of the Edo era which ended large-scale warfare and made swordplay (mainly for ceremonial purposes) more relevant.

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And when you shrink down to the scale of actual D&D skirmishes, the outright superiority of reach becomes pretty dubious. A line of spears is a terrible thing to try and close in on, and finding ways to effectively do so is essentially the great military problem of antiquity, but a single spear isn't particulary difficult to knock aside with a shield or some such, and if the guy makes it past the pointy bit you're left holding an awkwardly long stick of wood and don't have a lot of time left to change that.


Anyone who thinks that knocking aside a pointy sticks is easy hasn't met someone who is seriously trying to kill you using one. And anyone who thinks that you can win a fighting by just parrying doesn't know how combat works.

If you're busy parrying, it means you are not attacking. It means the guy with the spear just needs to get a proper hit once while you're still stuck on the defensive; and that's only if you're lucky enough to be in a rare 1 vs 1 encounter. In a real battle the guy busy parrying is an already dead person who was stabbed by a different spearman.

The only time that spears become incredibly ineffective in a one vs one situation is when you're looking at soldiers who use really long pikes - some of which are 25 foot long and are basically taller than 3 men - and no weapon can really be well-balanced at that size (and in any case, in a one vs one situation, just use a bow to shoot a guy who's just 25 feet away). Moreover, the main reason these weapons were employed to begin with was to roll over formations with shorter spears.

That the only real-world solution to a spearline that ever worked was either ranged attack or longer spears should really demonstrate why reach is OP. Its only counter was basically "more reach".


Last edited by Zinegata on Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:22 am; edited 5 times in total
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DSMatticus
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata, the transition away from Roman spear phalanxes to the weird sword-wielding quincunx happens both moderately early into the development of Rome, is incredibly enduring, and so well-documented you have to be one of those twats who goes around looking for obscure ways to be wrong simply because defending contrarian positions engorges your dick with unjustified smuggery. Which, to be fair, is exactly the type I've pegged you as from all of our other military history discussions, but goddamn. We have a pretty solid collection of translated primary sources extolling the uses and virtues of the gladius. The Romans had an actual fucking word for a thrusting spear separate from the word they used for their pilum (hasta), they had an actual fucking name for soldiers designated to use those thrusting spears as their primary weapon (hastati), and we know the hastati were specifically third line soldiers. We even know that when Rome finally switched back to thrusting spears as their primary weapon (and they eventually did), it was with the hasta making its way into the hands of frontline soldiers and not simply those soldiers using the pilum they already had differently.

Sure, there are documented instances where the Roman frontlines kept their pilum to use in melee. Romans knew a row of pilum were an extraordinary counter to cavalry charges, and when dealing with that they'd keep their pilums in hand. There's at least one siege I can't remember off the top of my head where someone made the deliberate call for their soldiers to keep and use their pilum instead of their gladius, which is noteworthy in that a Roman historian thought it was worth noting as though it were unusual. And I'm sure there are more, because they sure as fuck didn't carry them around because they thought looked cool. They were tools intended to be used, and when they were the best tool for the job smart men would call for their use. But it is abundantly clear that for a huge chunk of Roman history the standard plan was 'throw pilum, draw gladius' and anything else was the exception to the norm.

Zinegata wrote:
Anyone who thinks that knocking aside a pointy sticks is easy hasn't met someone who is seriously trying to kill you using one. And anyone who thinks that you can win a fighting by just parrying doesn't know how combat works.

If you're busy parrying, it means you are not attacking. It means the guy with the spear just needs to get a proper hit once while you're still stuck on the defensive; and that's only if you're lucky enough to be in a rare 1 vs 1 encounter. In a real battle the guy busy parrying is an already dead person who was stabbed by a different spearman.

That is... very dumb. A real fight is not actually a turn-based D&D affair. Smacking your opponents weapon with your's is not a waste of a 'turn.' Weapons clash. Weapons are supposed to clash. Many are, in fact, designed for it. Crossguards aren't there because they look pretty. Obviously not getting stabbed isn't easy, which is why people die, but if you want to survive an actual fight you have to do it - sometimes with your shield, sometimes with your weapon. And sometimes when you do it it leaves your weapon in position and the enemy's not.

In a formation, even straight-up breaking one man's spear is ultimately pretty meaningless because if you try to press your advantage there are half a dozen other spearmen who can just stab you. But I specifically fucking said we were talking about D&D scale skirmishes, where there is almost no real formation and the fighting is happening randomly everywhere and there's maybe 1 guy on team PC with a spear at all and 2-3 on team monster.

Zinegata wrote:
That the only real-world solution to a spearline that ever worked was either ranged attack or longer spears should really demonstrate why reach is OP. Its only counter was basically "more reach".

This is the perfect know-nothing moment to wrap up this conversation with. The Romans (~2m pilum, ~60cm sword) won their war with the Macedonians (~6m pike).
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Romans didn't just beat Macedonian pike phalanxes with their short-range heavy infantry blocks. They developed those blocks specifically to counter pike phalanxes. The Greek ones in their colonies in Magna Graecia, rather than the Macedonian ones they fought much later, but still, they transitioned from the phalanx to the maniple because maniples beat the crap out of phalanxes (and were also more flexible in hills). The term "Pyrrhic victory" literally comes from how the Greek phalanxes of this era were so jacked up by Roman maniple units that Pyrrhus said if he ever won another battle with the Romans his kingdom would be destroyed. That's not as decisive a victory as when Roman legions, who were even more heavily dependent on short range swords and less on spears, completely plowed over the Macedonian phalanxes, but still.
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