[House Rule] Simplifying Weapons

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Mylon
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#21 Postby Mylon » Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:31 pm

Ultimoose wrote:@Zadmar

Correct 2W is on par with 2H with a -1 offhand and -2 MAP for the 2W with damage dice of 2d6 and 2d8.

With two fisted removing a total of -4 penalty and ambidextrous removing -2 penalty (per straight rules) it has the result that 2H becomes the littlest fighter so to speak.

The system I'm writing uses fixed damage dice hence my calculations for those. While one can balance a system with edges/feats/advantages certainly I'm going with a base balance. We (my group with the exception of one power gamer) really enjoy the lack of needing to worry if you're underpowered or overpowered based on weapon choice. Definitely not for everyone though.

I didn't use any mechanisms from P&P, I remember reading it a year or so ago but honestly couldn't tell you anything that's in it at this point. The simulation is starting to veer far enough in terms of basic math and mechanics that it's becoming less applicable in determining odds and percentages for savage worlds mechanics.


One thing I think is important to note is that two-weapon fighting _should_ be underpowered, even with a single edge. Making changes to make TWF more on par with one-handed weapons or even two-handed weapons is akin to giving katanas bonuses just because they're "cool".

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#22 Postby JackMann » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:57 pm

I disagree. I think it should be on par without any edges. The TWF fighter shouldn't have to be an edge behind just because he's using a different style. That's one of the problems I had with the 3.5 D&D system. You shouldn't have to pay for "style." If it doesn't confer an in-game advantage, there's no reason to make players pay resources for it.

That said, the TWF shouldn't outclass other fighting styles with the expenditure of only two edges unless other fighting styles have similar options available to them. Personally, I'd like to see more edges that boost two-handed weapon users and sword-and-board fighters, giving them their own Two-Fisted and Ambidextrous equivalents.

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#23 Postby Clint » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:08 pm

Ultimoose wrote:Correct 2W is on par with 2H with a -1 offhand and -2 MAP for the 2W with damage dice of 2d6 and 2d8.

With two fisted removing a total of -4 penalty and ambidextrous removing -2 penalty (per straight rules) it has the result that 2H becomes the littlest fighter so to speak.


Wait, what?

Above you said, 2W was on par with 2H at damages of 2d6 compared to 2d10 if you allow Ambidexterity and Two-Fisted to remove all penalties (as they do in the system).

Since most 2H weapons do Str+d10 damage, that means the character needs a Strength 2 die types higher to be equal.

+2 die types to Str compared to 2 Edges (one of which is a Background Edge and both require a d8 Agility). In effect, they are the same "cost."

Given the theoretical exact same two characters, at creation, one spends their Hindrance points for Ambidexterity and Two-Fisted while the other spends them for +2 die types to Strength.

Everything else is the same, and they have spent the same points for their abilities (2W at 2d6 and 2H at 2d10), so since you have been saying those two comparisons are "on par," how is 2H now the "littlest fighter?"

The math and rules don't appear to support the conclusion. :-?
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#24 Postby SeeleyOne » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:23 pm

1. remove/minimize the importance of "D&D" "Monte Hall" style-gaming (e.g., accumulate wealth and treasure to make your character more powerful in combat;

I am working on a system for this. I realized that money doesn't really add much to a game. It is just one more thing to track, and when it comes down to it, it is all to the GM. Give too little money and players feel cheated, but give too much and things can get out of hand (particularly when they can go shopping for magic items or high tech things).
Basically I give Assets Points (AP) for every XP that the character earns. The base is 500. 25 is gained per XP. This way you have 1000 at 20 XP, 1500 at 40 xp, 2000 at 60 xp, and 2500 at 80 XP. So far I am just using the modifiers in the case of Rich, Filthy Rich, and Poverty. I have played with a version of Rich and Filthy Rich that just give the multipliers called Well-Equipped. I am also playing with edges that give AP towards specific items, like an Arsenal (AP pool for weapons) and starship (AP Pool for owning a starship).

The system is based on equations that take into consideration the effects, benefits, and other game-affecting characteristics. If it has no game effect, it is probably going to be free. The idea is that you equip the character in-game. You can pick up items from people but they don't become "owned" until you pay points for the item.

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#25 Postby newForumNewName » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:29 pm

Mylon wrote:One thing I think is important to note is that two-weapon fighting _should_ be underpowered, even with a single edge.


No, it shouldn't. Miyamoto Musashi proved that with a flawless dueling record. And he wasn't "ambidextrous."
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#26 Postby Zadmar » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:37 pm

Clint wrote:Given the theoretical exact same two characters, at creation, one spends their Hindrance points for Ambidexterity and Two-Fisted while the other spends them for +2 die types to Strength.

I wrote a little simulator of my own, and it seems to suggest that the 2W user would still win around 60% of the time. Apply the -1 parry penalty for the d10 weapon and that increases to around 70% - although 3 points of armour would bring it back down to around 52%, and that Strength would certainly make it easier to wear armour.

JackMann wrote:Personally, I'd like to see more edges that boost two-handed weapon users and sword-and-board fighters, giving them their own Two-Fisted and Ambidextrous equivalents.

That would be my preference as well. Playing with my simulator, I came up with this idea for a new edge:

You gain +1 to your attack while wielding a weapon in two hands. If you get a raise on the attack, you also inflict +1 damage.

Take two characters with d6 in everything. One wields two d6 weapons and has Two-Fisted, the other wields one d6 weapon and has the new unnamed edge. My simulator reckons they'd be pretty much exactly on-par with each other.

Add Ambidextrous to the 2W character and you can balance it by increasing the Strength of the 2H character by 1 step - the characters are still very closely matched (although this starts to move in favour of the 2W user when the Fighting skills increase).

The sword-and-board fighter seems to do even better, although Block isn't available until Seasoned - with just a large shield he'd win around 55% of his fights against a 2W fighter with Two-Fisted. If the 2W user had Ambidextrous as well, the sword-and-board fighter's chances would drop to around 46%. Carrying a large shield around might be pretty awkward though.

Anyway my simulator isn't as complex or pretty as Ultimoose's, it's just a little C++ program I threw together this evening to try out the Pecs and Pulchritude rules. I could upload a copy of the source code if anyone wants to play with it though, it's quite interesting to see what impact different things have.

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#27 Postby Ultimoose » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:52 pm

The Great Sword and the Great Axe are the two that deal d10 and both drop Parry by 1 which in the typical parry range isn't nothing to sneeze at over the long haul. Of the two you really want to use the Great Axe for the AP1 since they're otherwise the same weapon mechanically.

The Maul, Halberd, Lance, Pike, Staff, Spear, are all lower damage although there are traits that are hard to give a mathematical value to like Reach and AP2 when charging. The maul's an interesting case in that the AP2 is conditional but it still costs you a -1 Parry. The reduced average damage (not counting raises) of 2d8 (9) AP2 (possible 11) maul versus 2d10 (11)AP1 (12),of the Great Axe which doesn't have conditional AP makes the maul more a choice for RP reasons. (which I have nothing against and everything for).

Some of the 2H's do grant Parry +1 in a couple of cases but of those only the spear is equitable in damage to one of the attacks by the 2W fighter.

And once at 2d10 the 2H fighter is at damage pool max AFAIK which isn't very far sometimes, the 2W fighter can still move to 2d8 long swords (or dual katana's at 1d8+1d6+2). Unless we HR it that a 2W fighter has to use a smaller weapon in the offhand? The 2H fighter could take trademark for the +1 but at this point I can't calculate what that effect is any more, I didn't put my code into a repository so I could revert and the current code base just doesn't do SW's remotely accurately any more. (assuming it ever did, I don't program for a living, just recreation) :)

My littlest fighter comment wasn't indicative of a gross imbalance in the math, just that between the two on a edge for edge basis the 2H fighter comes out short due to the mechanics of the dice pools and incidental traits that are available to it.

For most people 10% (made up number for example sake) difference isn't noticeable as a general trend or in normal game play. Pure chance is going to hide the effects. I only see it because I was running millions of simulated fights which gets rid of the normal random variance so I can see the differences consistently. And my design goal is to reduce that difference as much as I can with the current granularity of the mechanics I'm using preferably to a +/- 2%. I doubt it's possible but everyone needs goals.

What I'd really like to do is have an innate Rock/Paper/Scissors effect between the three basic styles, 2W, 2H, 1H+Shield but I'm just not seeing a way to do it that doesn't just come down to arbitrary bonuses or penalties. And depending on who you talk to those could shift 180 degrees from what someone else says works better. "No 2W should kick a 2H'ers butt. No sword and board will take them both by wearing them out while they try to get through the shield." that kind of thing.

My biggest problem is I enjoy the math. :) And I want to beat it into shape whether it wants to or not.

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#28 Postby Zadmar » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:02 pm

An observation about the P&P rules, based on some experimentation I've been doing with my simulator:

Two meaty warriors face off against each other. They both have d10 in Strength, Vigor, Spirit and Fighting, and are using only one weapon. Using the P&P rules, the warrior with the smallest weapon has the highest chance of winning.

However if the rules are changed so that the bonus damage die is the same as the weapon damage die, then all of the weapons are roughly equal. So a dagger does d4/d4 and has +2 parry, a shortsword does d6/d6 and has +1 parry, etc.

Armour is also interesting. With each +1 toughness giving -1 parry, it actually makes you worse off - unless you're using a big weapon and both characters are doing Wild Attack, in which case the armour seems to be better.

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#29 Postby Clint » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:58 pm

Ultimoose wrote:The Great Sword and the Great Axe are the two that deal d10 and both drop Parry by 1 which in the typical parry range isn't nothing to sneeze at over the long haul. Of the two you really want to use the Great Axe for the AP1 since they're otherwise the same weapon mechanically.


Except that the Great Axe weighs 3 lbs. more. It doesn't sound like much, but thats 30% of the increase in Load Limit that a die type in Strength provides. That is a "mechanical" difference.

See, this is my real concern here. It's not the math itself (again, if it's fun, go for it), but the conclusions being drawn from them. They are macro-system conclusions from micro-system results. Ignoring Load Limit and the weight of a Great Axe compared to a Great Sword is just an icicle on the iceberg.

Ignoring all other game effects in order to get a result, means that result is unavoidably skewed as those effects would not be ignored in actual play.

As someone noted, just look at another effect of Strength in the combat, wearing heavier armor. The 2W fighter can at best wear Leather Armor (+1) after picking up two short swords. The 2H fighter can use the Great Axe, wear a Plate Corselet (+3) and still have 10 lbs of additional gear to play with. His weapon now makes the armor of the 2W fighter worthless, and a Parry/Toughness differential is pretty equal (at low levels at least), so his -1 Parry versus the +3 Toughness still leaves him with a +2 Toughness advantage.

To clarify, I'm not saying that effect specifically needs to be added for "accuracy;" I'm saying the same thing previously noted, that a computer can't run a truly viable simulation as it can't account for all actual variables from the system (of which the above is one). It's not just additional variables; it's the ones that are already missing.

And ultimately, without those variables, meta-system conclusions such as one fighting style being superior to another are flawed (not necessarily inaccurate, but unsupported nonetheless).

And that leads to the major pitfall to avoid if designing your own system. Working on micro-system effects independently and then trying to connect them into a macro-system hoping for seamless integration. Too often both pieces can be fine independently, but effectively, one is designed in Metric units, the other in English units, and they don't work when combined.

The "holistic" viewpoint is important to keep. And sometimes, sometimes, you just have to forget the math and go with your gut. :wink:
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#30 Postby Gavinwulf » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:05 pm

Clint wrote:See, this is my real concern here. It's not the math itself (again, if it's fun, go for it), but the conclusions being drawn from them. They are macro-system conclusions from micro-system results.


Ah man, this is what I want to tell the people that whine about the d4 vs. d6 dice probabilities.

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#31 Postby Mylon » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:35 pm

newForumNewName wrote:
Mylon wrote:One thing I think is important to note is that two-weapon fighting _should_ be underpowered, even with a single edge.


No, it shouldn't. Miyamoto Musashi proved that with a flawless dueling record. And he wasn't "ambidextrous."


And Musashi fought in a culture where shields were not used (so Sword and Board wasn't even a possible opponent), and metal was scarce, so the heavily armored near-wrestling style of dueling in Europe was not known. Likewise, mauls and warhammers were also uncommon.

So you might as well consider Musashi to have had the Florentine Edge versus a bunch of people using two-handed swords. His foes had low toughness and didn't use shields, so it makes sense that, in this context, two weapon fighting may be superior.

In typical medieval/fantasy games, they're more based on European history, where the combatants are beefier and use armor. Shields should be more useful than two weapons in most cases, unless someone was exceptionally talented, at which point it would be more powerful offensively, but weaker defensively.

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#32 Postby JackMann » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:37 pm

Two-weapon fighting shouldn't be underpowered because using two weapons is a genre favorite. Sure, it's not entirely realistic, but for most people, it's not going to break verisimilitude. SW is a pulp adventure system, not a simulationist game. So long as it's not overpowered (and Clint's making pretty good arguments for it not being so), then I think it's fine as it is.

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#33 Postby newForumNewName » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:59 pm

Mylon wrote:
newForumNewName wrote:
Mylon wrote:One thing I think is important to note is that two-weapon fighting _should_ be underpowered, even with a single edge.


No, it shouldn't. Miyamoto Musashi proved that with a flawless dueling record. And he wasn't "ambidextrous."


And Musashi fought in a culture where shields were not used (so Sword and Board wasn't even a possible opponent), and metal was scarce, so the heavily armored near-wrestling style of dueling in Europe was not known. Likewise, mauls and warhammers were also uncommon.

From what I recall, the Japanese chose not to use shields, but wore armor. In duels, they rarely used armor and I have no idea what you mean by "heavily armored, near-wrestling style of dueling." The Japanese had Tetsubos among a large variety of weaponry, so I'm not sure that the comparison to mauls and warhammers is relavent.

Mylon wrote:In typical medieval/fantasy games, they're more based on European history, where the combatants are beefier and use armor. Shields should be more useful than two weapons in most cases, unless someone was exceptionally talented, at which point it would be more powerful offensively, but weaker defensively.

The Spanish and most Italians used two weapons instead of shields because it was more effective (thus the Florentine style). To go even further back, gladiators used two weapons instead of "sword and board" because it was more effective and their lives depended on their effectiveness. Shields were primarily a group tactic: the Greeks used a Phalanx and the Romans used a Testudo. Group tactics are slightly different than dueling tactics. In a duel, two weapons usually win. Thus the high percentage of two weapon fighter victories over single weapons.
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#34 Postby Mylon » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:06 pm

Two weapons won't do anything versus an armored opponent that will grab the TWF's primary weapon in a gauntlet clad hand and snap the blade, or simply use a two-handed sword as a giant spear to outreach and out-puncture the opponent.

Florentine evolved after the age of heavily armored knights when crossbows and firearms became more prevalent. In this era, armor became more of a liability as it did not protect against these weapons. Plus it was much easier to carry around two weapons than a weapon and a full shield for the purpose of dueling. Thus, this puts Florentine style much in the same cultural context as that of Japan. Armor and shields were not common for the time.

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#35 Postby newForumNewName » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:28 pm

First off, two weapons will hurt an armored opponent. Grabbing the blade just doesn't happen and snapping the blade by hand won't happen either. If two similarly armored foes face off, one with two weapons and the other with "sword and board", the TWF wins. Secondly, crossbows had been used quite successfully for several hundred years before firearms made armor obsolete. Third, going back to the days of Roman gladiators, shields were not used solely as protection, but an additional melee weapon that could more easily deflect blows. Two weapons are inherently superior, one on one, and have been since the Romans. As I stated earlier, the best use of a shield is in large group engagements where a Phalanx or Testudo most effectively use the shields to protect the infantry from spears, swords, javelins, and arrows.

Single combat is not the same as a group engagement. If an army were made up of TWFers, it would easily lose to the army of "sword and board" but we're discussing single combat, in which TWF is superior.
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#36 Postby Zadmar » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:30 am

JackMann wrote:Two-weapon fighting shouldn't be underpowered because using two weapons is a genre favorite.

newForumNewName wrote:Single combat is not the same as a group engagement. If an army were made up of TWFers, it would easily lose to the army of "sword and board" but we're discussing single combat, in which TWF is superior.

These are both valid arguments. But my concern is that if TWF is mechanically superior, it penalises players who pick 2H or sword-and-board for thematic reasons. I find this encourages players to pick the strongest option and then justify it with a character concept, rather than pick a character concept and then take whatever weapon/s go with it.

Perhaps an easier solution would be to say "You may take one action per round with each hand, even if both hands are holding the same physical weapon". Then, if all weapons are equivalent (and shields are treated as defensive weapons) all three options - 2W, 2H and sword-and-board - should be fairly comparable.

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#37 Postby Mylon » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:11 am

If TWF is superior in dueling, then this ought to be because with lots and lots of training (edges), it becomes superior. It seems silly that a novice character would be able to have this training to use a more difficult fighting style. And it's safe to say many of the famed duelists had lots and lots of training.

However, I still think there's a good reason Florentine style wasn't developed until the 16th century.

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#38 Postby JackMann » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:53 pm

Right. And as I said, it shouldn't be overpowered, just not significantly less powerful. However, Clint's making some pretty good arguments that it's not more powerful than two-handed fighting or sword-and-board.

Mind, I'd still like to see some nice, iconic edges for the other fighting styles as well.

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#39 Postby newForumNewName » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:54 pm

TWF is penalized in SW. You need at least two edges to get the most out of it: Two Weapon Fighting and either Ambidextrous or Florentine (or both). The 2H or S&B fighter doesn't need any edges, but can have two different edges that puts him/her ahead of the TWF.
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#40 Postby Zadmar » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:46 pm

Mylon wrote:If TWF is superior in dueling, then this ought to be because with lots and lots of training (edges), it becomes superior. It seems silly that a novice character would be able to have this training to use a more difficult fighting style. And it's safe to say many of the famed duelists had lots and lots of training.

Without any edges, 2W is the weakest option. With Ambidextrous and Two-Fisted, it takes the lead. S&B can overtake it (after Novice) with Block and Improved Block (but of course 2W can get those as well). 2H cannot match it, except with the reach + First Strike tactic.


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