[CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

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[CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:29 am

Awhile back, I brainstormed on some rule ideas that wold bring weapon speed to the Conan RPG. Nothing I developed really hit the spot for me. But, recently, I saw this rule in a Scarred Lands supplement, and it took my breath away. This is a well written rule that does a perfect job of bringing weapon speed factor to the Conan RPG (or even D&D 3.0/3.5).

The rules says that a weapon speed factor is already in the game. Every weapon in the game has a SF of 5. When a speed factor is used, it's used as a penalty to the attack throw.

Speed Factors don't come into play until a character is skilled enough with a weapon to use it quickly in melee. This happens, for most classes, at 6th level (when the character is allowed two attacks instead of one).

Thus, a 5th level Soldier would not use the Speed Factor rule because he only gets one attack per round. But, when he reaches 6th level, he's become skilled enough to use his weapon twice as fast as he used to, getting two attacks per round.

Because the 6th level Soldier gets +6 to hit with his strikes, his second blow is modified by his weapon's Speed Factor, reducing the chance to hit. Thus, a 6th level Soldier is +6/+1 to hit because of the weapon's speed factor.





What the Scarred Lands rule does change the Speed Factor of weapons so that some weapons are quicker than standard and some weapons are slower than standard.

(The weapon examples I cite straight from the supplement, so you'll have to eyeball the Conan RPG equivalents.)

QUICK WEAPONS HAVE A SPEED FACTOR OF 4.

Simple melee weapons, like the dagger, a gauntlet, halfspear, punching dagger, sickle, spiked gauntlet, or unarmed strike.

Simple ranged weapons like the dart.

Martial melee weapons like the cutlass, rapier, saber, sap, and scimitar.

Martial ranged weapons like the shortbow.

Exotic melee weapons like the kama, nunchaku, sai, siangham, and whip.

Exotic ranged weapons like the shuriken.





STANDARD WEAPONS REMAIN WITH A SPEED FACTOR OF 5.

Simple melee weapons like club, heavy mace, light mace, longspear, quarterstaff, and spear.

Simple ranged weapons like the javelin.

Martial melee weapons like the battleaxe, falchion, flail, guisarme, handaxe, heavyflail, kukri, kukrisword, light hammer, light pick, longsword, spearstaff, short sword, throwing axe, and warhammer.

Martial ranged weapons like the composite shortbow and the longbow.

Exotic melee weapons like the bastard sword, chain and weight, dwarven waraxe, gnome hooked hammer, hookspear, iron war fan, rope and weight, spiked chain, warscpeter.

Exotic ranged weapons like the repeating light crossbow.





SLOW WEAPONS USE A SPEED FACTOR OF 6.

Simple melee weapons like the morningstar.

Simple ranged weapons like the sling.

Martial melee weapons like the featheraxe, glaive, greataxe, greatclub, greatsword, great kukri, halberd, heavy pick, lance, light lance, anseur, scythe, trident.

Martial ranged weapons like the composite longbow.

Exotic melee weapons like the bladed chain, dire flail, dwarven urgrosh, orc double axe, and two-bladed sword.

Exotic ranged weapons like the blowgun, bola, net, and repeating crossbow.







So, let's say our 6th level Soldier picks up a dagger. This is a quick weapon with SF 4. That means he doesn't get another attack, but he does get a better modifier on the second strike. Instead of +6/+1, the character is +6/+2. with the dagger.

When the soldier earns three more levels, reaching 9th, he does become skilled enough with the dagger to pick up another attack. Instead of +9/+4, the character is +9/+5/+1.

Using these rules, the lower levels are still balanced (the dagger weilder won't out-fight the two-handed swordsman), and a player can grow his character into becoming a certain type of weapon master. With 9th level bonuses, that extra attack with a dagger isn't a bad option at all, even if you are fighting a foe using a greatsword.

Of course, the Speed Factor rule works both ways. Bigger, bulkier weapons will hit less often. A 9th level Soldier using a Slow weapon like a greatsword will use these attack bonuses: +9/+3. The foe using the broadsword has a slight advantage on hitting, using +9/+4, but the dagger user will be +9/+5/+1 against our greatsword wielder.





All-in-all, this looks like a balanced, well written rule. I'll be adding this to my Spicy Conan Combat Rules.

You can add more granularity to the system by making more than 3 speed factor classes. If you do, please post your work here--I may want to copy it!
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby Nyarlathotep5150 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:40 am

It seems like an interesting rule, and I don't see any real problems with it.

My major thought though is,
It changes the rule from, "This character is now badass enough to attack more, but his other attacks aren't as focused." To, "PC's take a cumulative penalty of the weapons speed factor to every attack beyond his first in a round."
On paper those both sound balanced (without seeing them in play its hard to tell).
But in the latter option, I don't see any logical reason why a PC's attacks per round should be limited by class level at all anymore. Shouldn't any PC be able to take a full attack action to make however many attacks they're willing to risk the penalty for (Kinda like splitting dice pools in Old World of Darkness)?
I mean, barring insanity (like once they get to -20 net modifier to the attack roll), there's no reason ANY character can't flail wildly and hope to get lucky.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby Supplement Four » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:33 pm

Nyarlathotep5150 wrote:But in the latter option, I don't see any logical reason why a PC's attacks per round should be limited by class level at all anymore.
You'd be a fan of the Codex Martialis. See the thread on this. Basically, a character gets 4 d20s each round, and he can use those d20 anyway he wishes. He can attack once and save three for defense (you roll for defense). He can do 2 and 2, or any other combination. He can throw all 4 dice as one attack and take the highest roll, leaving himself not defended. And, so on.




As for the Speed Factor rule above, I think it works really well in tandem with the Optional Weapon Length rule from the game.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby LucaCherstich » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:22 am

Does not look bad.
For the moment I still prefer the triple stats from codex, and not multple d20, (as we discussed elsewhere).
I prefer the bonus to very close melee & grapple combat for daggers and similar there.

Anyway, I'll think more about your rule but I have the following doubts:

1) 2-WEAPON COMBAT
Does a dagger used as a second weapon in the off-hand gives more attacks?

2) NATURAL WEAPONS
you should think about updating the speed of all the animal and monster natural weapons (as the Codes does with triple stats).
So you must udpate all of the stats.
A simple solution is to give every animal natural weapon a Speed of 5.
But, if this is the case, why a dagger in a human's hand should be quicker than a tiger's claw?

3) WEAPON DIMENSIONS
I know this is more a problem for other settings, other than Conan (e.g. half-giants in Dark Sun), but you should think about it.
You should post some rule about the Speed of bigger weapons (e.g. the huge clubs and axes of frost giants) and of smaller weapons (e.g. the small spears of the children of the night).
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:41 am

LucaCherstich wrote:1) 2-WEAPON COMBAT
Does a dagger used as a second weapon in the off-hand gives more attacks?
Nope. It only changes BAB (if the weapon is Quick or Slow, but not Standard).

The rule could give an extra attack one level earlier than normal, though.

For example: A Thief fights with two daggers. Normally, he would get two attacks at 8th level, and with 2WF, that would be three attacks.

Under this rule, he could do that, using the two daggers, at 7th level....

BAB +5/+1 (plus the off-hand attack).




2) NATURAL WEAPONS
you should think about updating the speed of all the animal and monster natural weapons (as the Codes does with triple stats).
So you must udpate all of the stats.
A simple solution is to give every animal natural weapon a Speed of 5.
SF 5 is what they get already in the unmodified game.

I'd think that most natural weapons are Quick, so changing them to SF 4 might be a better thing to do. Or, just leave them at SF 5 for simplicity's sake.




But, if this is the case, why a dagger in a human's hand should be quicker than a tiger's claw?
It might not be. According to the Beastiary, a tiger's claw is fairly slow, giving it a single attack at BAB +5, or two attacks using a Full Action.

A Thief that fights the tiger using a dagger is about as quick as a tiger at 7th level, according to the official rules (both BAB +5).

This SF rule will make the thief quicker at 7th level, giving the thief a 2nd attack (BAB +5/+1). A Thief 6th level and below will still be slower than the tiger.

Soldiers, Barbarians, and Nomads will, of course do better against the tiger with only a dagger.





3) WEAPON DIMENSIONS
I know this is more a problem for other settings, other than Conan (e.g. half-giants in Dark Sun), but you should think about it.
You should post some rule about the Speed of bigger weapons (e.g. the huge clubs and axes of frost giants) and of smaller weapons (e.g. the small spears of the children of the night).[/quote]

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I've already got some thoughts, though.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby LucaCherstich » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:00 pm

I had some more thinking.
In general terms it looks like there's sense in this speed rule, but its effects are clearly wrong.

PROBLEM: The penalty in wielding an encumbering weapon is felt ONLY by higher level characters with higehr BAB and therefore more possibilities of making more attacks.
A low level Character (BAB 1) wielding a greatsword use it at the same speed of a dagger, since he will always have no more than 1 attack.
This is the opposite of reality since expert fighters can use encumbering weapons quicker due to their experience or training, while young recruits has problems with big weapons.
Remember those videos suggested by Galloglaich on people wielding zweihanders?
It looks like this is not the perfect weapon speed rule.

We have discussed it a lot a regarding Conan & the Codex, and, to me, the Codex work better for such matters.
If you adapt Codex rules, expert fighters will use encumbering weapons better, even because of better BAB (neutralizing bad triple stats) or because of martial feats.
However, I understand that adapting the Codex raise many questions, as we have seen about our different choices about it (triple stats, 2.5 ft scale, double Dex to dodge, changing range in full attack, etc..).

A solution could be to combine this Speed rules with triple stats...but I think the whole situation will become hellish, for too many sub-rules in calculating attack bonuses.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby Supplement Four » Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:06 pm

LucaCherstich wrote:PROBLEM: The penalty in wielding an encumbering weapon is felt ONLY by higher level characters with higehr BAB and therefore more possibilities of making more attacks.

A low level Character (BAB 1) wielding a greatsword use it at the same speed of a dagger, since he will always have no more than 1 attack.
That's correct. The rule does just as the official rules do. It gives the iterative attacks a modifier. The first swing is never modified.

This simulates a low level character learning to swing and use his weapon until he masters it. When it masters it, he becomes quick enough to make additional swings.

Let's look at just the official rule.

A Soldier is BAB +1 at 1st level.

At 2nd level, he's quicker with that weapon, more likely to hit his target, with BAB +2.

At 3rd level, he's even quicker than before, with BAB +3.

At 4th level, his skills increase, now BAB +4.

At 5th level, he's mastering the weapon, at BAB +5.

See the difference between 1st level and 5th level? BAB +1 vs. BAB +5.

Remember, these are the official rules.



Next, at 6th level, the master of the melee weapon is allowed a second strike because he's become that accomplished: BAB +6/+1.

At 7th, the bonuses go up, and so on. BAB +7/+2.

8th = BAB +8/+3.



What's happening here is that the game is assuming that all weapons have a Speed Factor of 5. Note how the iterative swing is always 5 points lower than the first swing, and the first swing is not penalized at all by speed factor (this is because it would be double penalized because of the BAB progression).



What this alternate rule does is change the Speed Factor on some weapons. Instead of using a blanket SF 5 for all weapons, the alternate rule uses SF 4 for Slow weapons and SF 6 for large weapons.

Thus, a 6th level soldier with a dagger would be: BAB +6/+2.

A 6th level soldier with a broadsword would be: BAB +6/+1.

A 6th level soldier with a greatswrod would be: BAB +6.



This system actually filters in bonuses for smaller attacks without overpowering them. And, as I said above, use the Optional Weapon Length rule, too, so that a 6th level soldier using a dagger BAB +6/+2 vs. a 6th level Soldier using a greatsword BAB +6 really becomes (after accounting for the defense bonus and penalty): Dagger BAB +4/+0 vs. Greatsword BAB +8.

Yet, a dagger vs dagger fight among two 6th level Soldiers would remain unchanged at BAB +6/+1 each.

It really is a pretty good rule if you look deep at it.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby LucaCherstich » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:11 pm

Maybe you are happy about it, but I'm still not conviced.
Making big weapon slow is reasonable, but even with your fix (speed 4 and 6), 1st, 2nd or 3d level PCs will never notice it.
While, in reality, they should be the ones suffering the most for encumbering weapons, due to their lack of experience in wielding large weapons.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby Supplement Four » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:11 pm

LucaCherstich wrote:Making big weapon slow is reasonable, but even with your fix (speed 4 and 6), 1st, 2nd or 3d level PCs will never notice it.
That's true, but I think those characters are not skilled enough to notice it, or skilled enough to take advantage of something that they don't notice.
While, in reality, they should be the ones suffering the most for encumbering weapons, due to their lack of experience in wielding large weapons.
You're focussing on the wrong thing. A 1st level character is trained enough to pick up a weapon and use it properly, which is why the first attack always uses full BAB.

What we're talking about here is becoming so skilled with a weapon that you can use it lightning quick and possibly get in two stabs--or, or more likely to get in one stab--than your opponent.



Also, remember, that the part you are disagreeing with is already built into the game. When does a fighter get a second attack? 6th level. So, your argument of "they should be the ones suffering the most for encumbering weapons" is still unanswered in the official rule for levels 1-5.

The Speed Factor rule actually brings in quicker attacks for Fast Weapons earlier than the official rule.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby LucaCherstich » Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:57 pm

It's all a point of how you interpret the relationship between rules and reality.
And that's personal interpretation of the untold philosophy behind game-designing, not something explicitely written in rulebooks.
Expert fighters (high BAB) makes more attacks because they are experts, whatever the weapons are (this is the unrealistic bit).
My impression is that, during the creation of 3rd edition, WoC team never thought about different weapon speed (they get off of that concept with AD&D2).

I think my criticism of the speed rule remains.
Most of the soldiers in the armies around the world are in the 1st-3rd level range.
The only difference they will ever realize between daggers and greatsword is the increased dmg.
I prefer the dagger to be quick weapon even in the hands of a 2nd level thief, and give him a reason to choose the dagger instead of, for example, an arming sword.
Dagger deal less dmg than an arming sword, but it's a much better weapon to use in close, quick combat.
That's the reason why I still prefer the triple stats in the Codex for representing such granularities.

Maybe the perfect solution could be to mix you speed rule with Codex's triple stats.
This will add a whole new complexity and granularity to the choice of weapons.
However, I do not know how much that can be done.
Possibly it will create too much calculation.
Maybe one day I playtest it, if I got time, but not soon.
If I ever do it, I'll tell you if my players like it or not.
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Re: [CONAN] Weapon Speed - A Perfect Rule.

Postby kintire » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:27 pm

I have some trouble with weapon speed rules: principally that they add complexity for little reward, and that they get the whole thing backwards.

This version finesses the first problem very nicely! Kudos.

It falls head first into the second. Anti-Kudos.

When a weapon hits someone, two things determine the damage: the weight of the weapon, and the speed it hits. Of the two, however, speed is more important. Much more important, so much so that any sacrifice of weight is worth it if it gives extra speed (and does not reduce the weapon's resilience to the point that it fails on impact). Ancient weapon designers realised this pretty early, and very few weapons are heavy enough to impede the speed they are used at. The few that are either sacrifice effectiveness for something else, usually reach (long spears for repelling cavalry for example) or are not wielded in the usual way, such as weapons which are held still and the wielder moves (eg lances and pikes). The image of the ponderous large sword or axe is a myth.

In fact, small thrusting weapons are slower than large, swung ones, because of the effect of the lever. When you swing a 4 foot war sword the impact edge is moving on the end of a 4 foot lever, which vastly magnifies the speed your arm is swinging at. A more realistic speed chart would almost reverse the suggested one, with two handed swords amoung the fastest weapons, and daggers amoung the slowest.

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