[Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

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[Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Darkholme » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:07 am

I've been contemplating how to make 1h styles be more mechanically comparable (in power) to 2 weapons, weapon and shield, and 2h weapons.

Here are some ideas I've thought of:

Evade. - This one makes sense - you're more lightweight, it should be easier to dodge. I was thinking something simple, like using a 1h weapon with an empty hand gives you +x%, and having both hands free gives +2x% (or giving everyone else a penalty for the same end result). x being whatever is a reasonable number.

Spellcasting: If sorcery only required one hand (or could be cast with one hand at a penalty) then you could have a sword in one hand and an open hand allowing for magic.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this? The goal is to make a 1h weapon a bit more of a viable style by actual combatants; perhaps encourage a little swashbuckling. I dont want to make it better than the other options, but a little bit closer in utility (even if slightly crappier) wouldn't hurt.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Deleriad » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:12 am

was at an interesting demo last week called 6 ways to kill someone with a handkerchief. Both were using 1-handed swords. What struck me was the use of the empty handed in defence. in RQ terms, one might parry an attack and then grab the attacking arm with the off hand. So one possible approach might be to allow 1 handed weapon parries access to grip (with an automatic choice of attacking arm) or even take weapon as a defensive manoeuvre. Another one might be to allow pin on a normal success rather than a critical, using your off hand.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Dan True » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:47 am

Well, realistically they are below par in a stand-up fight. The advantage comes in other forms:

- A sword might be acceptable party-attire, sword and shield certainly is not. (as discussed in the other thread). Perhaps except a buckler, depending on the party.
- If using the surroundings, a free hand is necessary. It is hard to swing around a pole or something similar swashbuckling moves without a free hand.
- A shield or two-handed weapon might get in the way in close quarters.. such as a barroom fight. Giving them the penalty of close quarters described in the rule book.
- The way we play, (which is hinted at in the rules) we have access to unarmed parries (as I always give a bonus from off-hand, it can be used for this). They parry as normal, being Touch Reach and Small in Size. This way you also have access to the Grib CM if you succeed on a parry.

You could of course do as you like, but the skill advantages you describe are not realistic. I would instead go with making sure my players have understood the above, and perhaps place some more fitting bonusses on those.

Choosing to fight only with one weapon will simply only give you an advantage where you need that other hand - on a battlefield it will place you at a significant disadvantage. Realistically, at least - which of course doesn't need to affect your game :)

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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Simulacrum » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:44 am

My thoughts FWIW:

I understand that RQ6 may ditch the additional CA for an off-hand weapon or shield as a simplification an in response to the amount of forum traffic questioning how/why it works. this would level things up a bit for 1H users.

In my view shields really should provide a significant advantage that is rarely well modelled in RPGs, and the +1 CA is a good way of representing this and should stay. I do find it hard to fathom why anyone would not houserule that extra CM to have to be spent on use of the shield.

Shields have their disadvantages. In AoT this is modelled - for example you can be penalised for attacking using weapons (except a spear) with the larger examples as the shield also restricts the available range of movement. Also there's a cost for the larger shields on your SR, as per armour. It can affect movement rate (the first thing someone fleeing a battle would do historically is to lose the shield so they can run faster). You might add to that a penalty to Evade. If you are equipped with one, it's the surest sign that you are kitted for a fight and not wearing a weapon for personal protection or an accessory, and people will react accordingly.

An off-hand weapon is useful but does not provide the overall advantages of a shield and requires more coordination - I would suggest that one way of covering this is to not give the bonus CA just for having a weapon in the off hand, but to add a CM which allows a Riposte that does not cost a CA. This could be built in to a specialist combat style such as duellist or dual weilding rather than generally available.

For those with just a 1H weapon - selection of available CMs may also play to give more latitude - for example Grip, or Take Weapon, which are Unarmed CMs may be allowed (perhaps as critical in the latter case).

You can also script/describe Adventure situations carefully - for example when the Adventurer must have a free hand to hang on to something while fighting, or a squeeze spot where a shield is a hindrance. Setting the scene for a fight can be fun and adds variety.

I can't vouch for all of these thoughts in play at his point - they are suggestions. But I do like a little simulationist crunch that adds more player (and GM) choices and customisation to weapons, tactics etc. Some just want combat dealt with in broad brush strokes to get the War-War fighting over with and move on to the Jaw-Jaw.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Darkholme » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:33 pm

Those are all good situations that explain when you might want to only use a sword.

They don't address the situation I was concerned about, which is "why would anyone put points in a 1h fighting style, when they could put points in the 2w version of it or w+shield?"
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Loz » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:36 pm

Darkholme wrote:Those are all good situations that explain when you might want to only use a sword.

They don't address the situation I was concerned about, which is "why would anyone put points in a 1h fighting style, when they could put points in the 2w version of it or w+shield?"
This thread - viewtopic.php?f=79&t=49685 - has discussed the above situation extensively.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Darkholme » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:48 pm

Hmm. Yeah I read that thread. It was actually the reason I created this one.

That thread covered why you may need to only use one sword in some situations, but gave no mechanical reason to not train in "sword and shield" instead; I started this thread to come up with some sort of mechanical reason why taking ranks in a fighting style with a single weapon could actually be worth the effort.

Even if sometimes you have to go without that second weapon or shield, you're always better off training with the second weapon. Training in a fighting style with one hand free doesn't do anything for you.

I'd like it if it did -something-. Perhaps make it easier for you to focus because you dont have to divide your attention, or allow you to use your free hand in combat somehow, or whatever.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby strega » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:20 pm

You know, I wonder if any of those 16th and 17th century sword fighting manuals have anything regarding why combat moved from Sword and shield through sword and (off-hand weapon) to just Sword?

It may be fashion, it might be duelling, it could be evolution of equipment.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby strega » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:30 pm

I Just checked and one 16th century manual, although these mainly focussed on cut and thrust swords, has instructions for these combinations:-

Sword alone
Sword and Dagger
Sword and Small Buckler
Sword and Broad Buckler
Sword and Targa
Sword and Rotella
Sword and Cape
Sword and Gauntlet
Two Swords
Sword for Two Hands (also referred to as the Spadone by some masters)
Dagger
Dagger and Cape
Halberd
Spetum
Ronca (weapon)
Partisan (weapon)
Partisan and Shield
Lance
Pike
Unarmed against Dagger

Presumably one chose one or two styles to learn according to personal preference. I can't see Partisan and shield being too popular at the Ducal Ball.

I suppose that a metal or heavy leather gauntlet would allow both parrying as well as the Grab/Grip CM.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby RangerDan » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:01 pm

FWIW,

In my games I have given advantages to experts in 1H fighting styles.

So for example, if you have the "Fencing" Combat Style (1H Rapier) at 50% skill or higher, you gain an additional CA as if you were dual wielding. This CA can only be used for an Evade action. This equalises the CAs vs. Sword & Shield types while keeping to the 'spirit' of the style (ie lots of footwork).

In addition, one Heroic Abilities is tied to 1H Combat Styles only, namely Duellist (Gain 1 CA for one round at the cost of one MP).

Combining the above, an expert fencer actually has a CA advantage over a Sword & Shield opponent for as long as his MPs hold out, which compensates some of the disadvantages a rapier wielder has against heavily armed opponents.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Chade » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:12 am

First I've practiced Haedong Kumdo which is a form of Korean sword fighting. It features styles for both one sword and two swords. What can I say is that when two about equally skilled fighters face with one having two swords and the other only one, the guy with only one sword is the one to die almost every time. It's very hard to try to avoid both of those blades. When you parry one the another cuts you and if you yourself parry one attack there is the second blade coming at the same time. Of course the difference in skills makes all the difference. I lose to my master with two swords against his only one almost every time.

Second though learning two swords instead of one is much much harder. It's quite easy to cut yourself and even drawing two swords is that much harder than drawing just one. Everyone starts training with only one sword and realistically would be at least as good with one as with two (which is modeled in the rules).

Third take fighting with one sword (and not just katana this time). Most of the time you don't actually use just one hand. Whether it's katana or longsword or most slashing swords you'd usually use two hand for more powerful blows and steadier parries. Most of the lighter blades designed to use with one hand are piercing weapons. This is also modeled in the rules by allowing greater damage with two hand with some blades.

Then in the game why would anyone take just 1H weapon style? Really there isn't much reason if you are a power gamer as there are cultural reasons of course and I don't think you'd want to change that as really there isn't much advantage with only using one one-handed weapon with maybe the exception that small thrusting weapons like short swords might be faster to use. Allowing Grip CS and an extra unarmed parry seems quite enough.

If you really want to do something I'd rule that it's harder to learn more complex weapon styles (it is) so you'd gain some penalty improvement rolls like gaining only 1D4 or maybe 1D3+1 on success or maybe giving 1H styles faster learning curve.

In the end I see as a much bigger problem in the rules the point that 2H weapons do so absurdly more damage than 1H weapons.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby rust » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:56 am

strega wrote:You know, I wonder if any of those 16th and 17th century sword fighting manuals have anything regarding why combat moved from Sword and shield through sword and (off-hand weapon) to just Sword?
One of several reasons is that the sword no longer was a knight's
weapon alone, it had become the weapon of footmen, who develo-
ped a rather different fighting style, using the off hand for what we
would probably call martial arts maneuvers like throws and levers.

I think this gives an impression what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y54lrNu ... =fvwp&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=en ... tAI3A&NR=1
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Darkholme » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:31 am

Oh that's neat! And it definitely lends credence to the "manoeuvres with off-hand" idea. hmm.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Simulacrum » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:55 am

I get the OP has a specific question he feels isn't answered - which is why bother developing a combat style that doesn't include a shield or off-hand weapon? This is a different point to why you would actually fight without the benefit of an extra CA.

The answer I think is that you shouldn't be so restrictive on Combat Style - unless you have a culture like feudal Japan or early modern europe where shields are simply not used, the addition (or deletion) of a shield to a combat style should not require relearning the style.

My take is simply that learning to use a shield as part of a combat style is generally part of combat training with a military/warfare purpose in mind. A barbarian society, almost by definition, may not distinguish between military and civilian, but others would. If you learn the use of a 1H weapon as part of a combat style through training for war (ie any soldier or warrior previous experience), assume a shield is part of the package unless there's a cultural reason why not. If you learn it in other circumstances, don't make the character re-start a new combat style to add a shield, but charge them improvement rolls to get used to incorporating it in what they already know at a later time.

I'd be stricter with dual-weapon weilding. If the user is to get a bonus CA they should be properly trained. So start a new style, or otherwise require a higher IR cost to add the capability later than with a shield.

Then it's a question of when a character might actually use or carry the off-hand item, which I think this thread has already thrown up plenty of thoughts on.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby strega » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:40 pm

Just because there is a table with loads of weapons listed doesn't mean that you have to use them all. Pick a selection that will match the style of game you want to run and that's it.

You can have plenty of ways to enforce combat style restrictions in game. Anyone can be arrested for walking down the street with an unsuitable weapon - as long as the town guard outnumber the miscreants it should be simple. Having been warned at the town gate that wearing the zwei-hander on the street is illegal then you take the consequences if you do so.

In medieval societies where the right to bear certain arms is restricted by social class the outcome of flouting those social conventions is obvious.

Several settings have used the 'peace knot' type of mechanism where the weapon is carried but tied to the scabbard in town. Also taxes for weapon carrying are another way of doing the same thing. Fines for brawling, drawing a weapon, assaulting citizens, the guard, nobles are all methods of enforcing weapon restrictions available to the GM. Just don't let the NPCs use something the PCs can't without good reason or they'll call it unfair.

Restricting the Combat Styles by place of origin works as well. If a character has a cool 'thing' available from his origin/background but is restricted in the range of Combat Styles available the 'coolness' value should outweigh the Combat Style restriction.

Study of the S&P issue with the article on Combat Styles may be informative.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Darkholme » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:54 am

As Simulacrum pointed out, the question most of the people have been answering is not the question I asked. I'm not at all interested in the social context or reasons why it may not be suitable to USE your weapon, but why you would bother to TRAIN for a single weapon, when training for multiple weapons has the same cost and better benefits...

As many people have pointed out, training to use both hands is more work than training for one.

I see some potential decent options:
- Make "single weapon fighting styles" be a decent option. A few possibilities for this have been mentioned. One was a free CA devoted to Evade. Another was off-hand maneuvers.
- Make "single weapon fighting styles" less expensive than two-weapon, two-handed, or weapon + shield styles, since it's easier to learn one weapon than two. At this point, you may as well have a pricing scheme where you take each weapon individually instead of styles, so if youre trained with a shield, you can use that shield with a sword, with a spear, with an axe, with a mace, all with no penalty; but the weapon is tracked separately.
- Simulacrum mentioned allowing them to add "and shield" to a sword proficiency with a cost cheaper than training a new skill from nothing, but that still makes them penalized, as other guys still got training in two weapons, for the same cost; so I'm not a fan of this one - but it did make me think of the second possibility.

Which would you recommend, why, and do you have any constructive suggestions on how to make it useful?

I will note, that the "Why you might not be able to carry a shield" suggestions have been useful for ideas to include in a campaign, but they simply don't help me answer my question:

"why would anyone only train with a single weapon?"

And the only answers I can see are:

1. "its cheaper and easier than training with the other types of combat styles"
2. "We've expanded the fighting style to have more than you have with *sword & shield* when you lose the shield, by having you get additional options in combat."
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Dan True » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:13 am

Darkholme wrote:As Simulacrum pointed out, the question most of the people have been answering is not the question I asked. I'm not at all interested in the social context or reasons why it may not be suitable to USE your weapon, but why you would bother to TRAIN for a single weapon, when training for multiple weapons has the same cost and better benefits...
But this is what we're trying to answer, by speaking of the social context or reasons. If you wan't it realistically (which you may not of course), then there are very few single weapon combat styles which are in the real-world better than a single-weapon combat style.
The only mechanical advantage I can see being realistic with my experiences in fighting, is that you have a free hand for riding, swinging, grabbing stuff, punching etc.

Using and training in the weapon are essentially the same thing. I assume the reason you believe we're not answering the question is something like: "Okay, I can see why character X wouldn't use a shield when walking around Paris 1700.. people would stare and booh at him for being a barbarian. But can't I simply have the combat style Sword&Shield, and then only use it with 1H weapons.. just in case I ever encounter a shield? You know, because it's a more economic use of my Imp. Rolls"
I believe my answer would be a quick slap with a rulebook or something ;)
Darkholme wrote: As many people have pointed out, training to use both hands is more work than training for one.

I see some potential decent options:
- Make "single weapon fighting styles" be a decent option. A few possibilities for this have been mentioned. One was a free CA devoted to Evade. Another was off-hand maneuvers.
When I started training Sword + Buckler, I also trained some Messer (german long knife), without any other weapon. I actually found it harder to evade / move, because I was out of balance from not having weight in both hands, and from having to keep a hand at a safe distance on the back.
Of course, If we had been fighting in a barroom I might have missed the use of my hand, for grabbing chairs and fling in his way etc. But my point is that I find it hard to fight with a single-handed weapon alone..
Darkholme wrote: - Make "single weapon fighting styles" less expensive than two-weapon, two-handed, or weapon + shield styles, since it's easier to learn one weapon than two. At this point, you may as well have a pricing scheme where you take each weapon individually instead of styles, so if youre trained with a shield, you can use that shield with a sword, with a spear, with an axe, with a mace, all with no penalty; but the weapon is tracked separately.
This could be viable.. By splitting every style into categories instead.
Darkholme wrote: "why would anyone only train with a single weapon?"
As mentioned, the answer lies only in social context / coolness / availability to use the off-hand for other stuff. There is no mechanical advantage, and from a realistic point of view I don't think there should be one. If I was designing a character, the fact that a shield was viewed as archaic, barbaric or out of style would be enough for me... and if I had a GM who cared, if I choose a socially unacceptable weapon anyway I would receive penalties on influence checks etc.
A mechanical advantage which does make sense, could be to highlight the use of an off-hand. For instance if riding a horse: a person knight with a large shield strapped to his arm might have a harder time navigating the horse than say, a dragoon with a sabre and nothing else.

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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby Darkholme » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:17 am

I guess what it comes down to for me, is that I see we have "250 points" and I figure 10 points should roughly equal 10 points. Sometimes a skill just doesn't come up. That happens. It cant be perfect, but you may as well try. So when it comes to "to train with a single weapon is the same difficulty/cost as to train in two weapons" it makes me think: Clearly that means nobody learns to fight that way. They're working just as hard for roughly half the payoff. They can learn how to use a shield. Learn how to use a sword. Learn how to do both together. All for the same amount of effort it takes to just learn how to use a sword. That makes me think: "Since I've been only focusing on the sword, I must have either learned some tricks he can't do, or I'm quite a bit better with a sword than he is." The game though (by default) doesn't do that. I just got less out of my hard work. He's just as good with a sword as I am, even though he also learned to do something else too.

I understand the social implications. And they make sense for reasons you shouldnt use a sword & shield or 2 swords, or whatever. But if youre just as good at fighting with one sword if you train with one sword as you are if you trained with two swords and are now only using one of them, then the game world's "physics" are telling me that its the sortof thing people must look at you like youre walking around with a bucket on your head when you actually DO train with a single weapon.

You mentioned to play up the use of the off-hand. And that *Could* work, assuming that if Mr. Sword and Board and Mr. Swordx2 drop a weapon, they're not able to use their off hands. If all they have to do is drop or sheathe their off-hand weapon, then we're not dealing with the consequences of training, we're dealing with the consequences of what youre currently using (which I think are very different things).

So, following the arguments I made above in this post:
1. Should I say the single sword guy is better at using a sword, to justify the extra time he spent on it? (make him pay half the points for the bonuses, give him double the bonus on skill improvement rolls)
2. Should being trained in one-sword convey some kind of benefit you dont get if youre trained in 2 weapons and then lose your off-hand weapon/shield? Perhaps learning to dodge better is part of that specific training? (which would explain the extra evade maneuvre someone else proposed, or perhaps a bonus to the evade skill or something (maybe equal to double your critical bonus or something) - I know personally from doing wpnx2 practice, I rely more on parrying than my friends who do wpn+free hand stuff, and I have a harder time not getting hit when holding one weapon than they do.)
3. Should I just charge for each weapon they train with instead of whole fighting styles? So you'd have a different skill for Shield than for Sword, and Off-Hand Sword would be a different skill yet again? The only thing I'm seeing there is it may make 2 handed weapons far too good by comparison unless they're made more expensive too. (this is basically 1. but keeping the price for 1h weapons fixed, and raising the cost of everything else to compensate).
4. Should I penalize when you're missing part of your style? So not only would you lose the extra CA, you'd also eat a penalty. Perhaps you get str+dex+ (1/2 your other skill bonuses). Perhaps a flat penalty of -20 or -30 or something. Perhaps you only get your base Str+Dex? This emphasizes that you trained with 2 weapons, and you are really bad at fighting with just one, unless you train at that separately.

I get that you don't see the current rules as being problematic, but having explained my position, and why I think they ARE problematic, can you give me a hand in mitigating the situation?

Which would approach would you suggest would work best? Do you have any other ideas that could help me resolve the situation (focusing on the rewards of training, and not the rewards of using one combination at a given time)?

Thanks.

Oh: Which Signs and Portents were you referring to earlier?
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby HalfOrc HalfBiscuit » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:28 am

My two coppers:

1. Fighting with a a one-handed weapon and shield should be mechanically superior to fighting with the weapon alone. Historically, at least throughout the ancient and medieval periods, you will find very few examples of warriors using a one-handed weapon without a shield - at least in combat situations for which they are prepared - there's a reason for this.

2. Being able to fight with just a one-handed weapon may nonetheless be useful in context. Social contexts have been discussed on the thread. There may be others depending on your campaign - for instance if you have a lot of dungeon crawling: climbing and crawling through narrow passages are distinctly less easy when lugging a sizeable chunk of wood.
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Re: [Houserule Discussion]Making 1h Styles Better?

Postby rust » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:25 am

Darkholme wrote: "why would anyone only train with a single weapon?"
In the real world, unless a character was of noble birth and quite wealthy
and lived in a big city, he simply had to learn whatever his culture offered
and his status, profession and finances allowed. So, no naginata in Norway,
no sword for peasants in the Holy Roman Empire in 1225, no two weapon
style for sailors who needed one hand free for the ship, no halberd for the
labourer who could barely afford a knife. I have no doubt at all that many
characters would have loved to learn more efficient weapons and combina-
tions of weapons, for example because in the case of mercenaries a better
training often meant double or more pay for the rest of their career, but
knowledge and skills were considered valuable commodities.

So, the way I would handle it is that 1h style is a setting thing based upon
the background of the character. The lower his status and starting wealth,
the lower is his chance to learn any fancy weapons or combinations of wea-
pons. People are not born equal in most fantasy worlds ...

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