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[SWADE] Martial Artist Inconsistencies

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  • [SWADE] Martial Artist Inconsistencies

    I write this message in the hopes that it's seen by the wonderful people working at Pinnacle and might possibly be of help with the new edition of the rules.

    First of all, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge how awesome the new Adventure Edition is, and thank you for all your hard work.

    It does not go unappreciated! The pages and pages of feedback in this forum are a testament to the passion your creation brings out in your fans, and I hope that it is taken for what it is -- that we love the game you have created, and want to support it to the best of our abilities. With that in mind, the following is expressed with tremendous gratitude and respect.

    As someone with a lot of real world I'm-going-to-die-if-I-don't-come-out-on-top experience, I see two issues with the Martial Artist Edge as-is (for which I will suggest an easy fix). This does not address the fact that martial artists include among their ranks many who learn non-striking techniques and/or train in multiple disciplines (which is another discussion entirely), but focuses solely on how martial artists who are strikers are modeled in the game.

    1) Martial Artists gain +1 to Fighting (that is, to hit people) but gain no benefit to Parry (that is, to defend themselves from being hit).

    A character with this Edge is therefore no better at preventing an untrained person from hitting him than he was without any training, and when he goes up against another Martial Artist he's not on par with them in terms of attack vs. defense. This doesn't really make any sense.

    2) Martial Artists are no longer considered Unarmed Defenders.

    As any skilled unarmed combatant will tell you, you can be the best of the best...but if your opponent pulls out a knife and you've got nothing, it ain't a good day for you. In this scenario, I'd be reaching for something -- anything -- to help fend off the weapon and keep me alive. This is also a very common trope in movies and tv shows (think of Jackie Chan using everything in his environment to fight off armed foes instead of facing them with empty hands, or the hero in a pulp movie who's mowed through foes with his bare fists gulping as one comes at him with a big knife...).

    My suggestion would be that there is an easy way to deal with these issues, as follows:

    Martial Artists are +1 to Fighting and Parry when unarmed, and do Str+d4 damage (this damage stacks with other things as already described for the SWADE 3.0 Edge). Edges and powers intended for use with "weapons" can be used with a Martial Artist's unarmed attacks, but he is still considered an Unarmed Defender if he doesn't have a weapon in hand.

    This would mean that, in effect, a Martial Artist would be able to halve Unarmed Defender penalties (since he'd be +1 to Parry while unarmed) but still at a disadvantage against someone who pulls a knife. For what it's worth, I used this version of the Edge in my home games for years (in addition to a Brawler Edge very similar to what's in the new SWADE) and found it played very well. This would also be consistent with how Trademark Weapon works in SWADE (i.e., +1 to Fighting and Parry with the specific form of weapon chosen).

    I don't know if anyone at Pinnacle will even see this...but if you do...thanks again for the all the years of joy your work in gaming has given me and my players. All the best!
    Last edited by Savage Riggs; 01-08-2019, 06:07 AM.

  • #2
    The first thing that jumps out at me about this proposal is that a martial artist somehow becomes worse at defending himself if he picks up a sword, knife, or nunchucks. As a counter to point 2, most characters who gulp at knives don't have Martial Artist, even if they use some martial arts (they would just have a high Fighting).

    I agree that it's strange when Martial Artists fighting other equally skilled Martial Artists are somehow better at hitting their opponent than defending themselves. An easier fix that affects less of the Edge's intended usage would probably be just saying that the +1 bonus to Fighting doesn't apply against other Martial Artists. Boom, done, easy.

    Notably, we'll be getting a Martial Arts Companion probably sometime this year, which may help expand on martial artists of the various disciplines.
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    My thoughts, musings, and general character adaptations on Savage Everything.

    Comment


    • #3
      The whole point of the Martial Artist edge is that it lets unarmed characters fight on relatively even footing with armed opponents. That's the edge's reason for existence.

      If you want to be better at fighting unarmed without it counting as being armed, take Brawler instead.

      Comment


      • ValhallaGH
        ValhallaGH commented
        Editing a comment
        It's also noteworthy that the Edge exists to enable the fantasy adventure Monk archetype. Exotic warriors that are as deadly unarmed as they are with weapons.

    • #4
      And, of course, if you want a Martial Artist who is trained in defense, you have the Block chain for that.

      Comment


      • #5
        Thank you all for your feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, even if I disagree. Here are my respectful rebuttals to each of your points:

        DoctorBoson You wrote, “The first thing that jumps out at me about this proposal is that a martial artist somehow becomes worse at defending himself if he picks up a sword, knife, or nunchucks.”

        I don’t see the problem here. First of all, it makes sense that operating outside of your combat specialty you won’t have as good a defense. So that’s a feature, not a bug.

        Second of all, with the change I propose to Martial Artist, an unarmed specialist is better at defending against attacks while unarmed, but still defends himself better against a weapon if he has a weapon in hand himself. I illustrate this point below.

        Martial Artist (base Parry 5), unarmed: Parry 6 against unarmed attackers, armed attackers strike at +2 (effective Parry 4).

        Martial Artist (base Parry 5), armed: Parry 5 against both armed and unarmed attackers.

        Last of all, I don’t see this argument being made for when a character switches from a Trademark Weapon to some other weapon (“Oh, he’s not using his rapier anymore so suddenly he’s not as good at defending himself?”)…so it’s not an argument which is internally consistent with existing rules in SWADE 3.0.

        You also wrote, “As a counter to point 2, most characters who gulp at knives don't have Martial Artist, even if they use some martial arts (they would just have a high Fighting).”

        If you’re talking about real life, I patently disagree. If you’re talking about cinema (which is my impression), I would say it depends on the property you’re talking about. There’s a broad variety to choose from. I will address this more below in replying to the other points people have brought up.

        Your third point was, “I agree that it's strange when Martial Artists fighting other equally skilled Martial Artists are somehow better at hitting their opponent than defending themselves. An easier fix that affects less of the Edge's intended usage would probably be just saying that the +1 bonus to Fighting doesn't apply against other Martial Artists. Boom, done, easy.”

        I believe this to be an inaccurate assessment, for the following reason. Without the unarmed Parry bonus, a Martial Artist is no better at defending himself against untrained unarmed attackers or wildly swinging brawlers…and they should be. So that really doesn’t solve the problem or even really address one of the core issues with the Edge as it currently exists.

        Finally, you wrote, “Notably, we'll be getting a Martial Arts Companion probably sometime this year, which may help expand on martial artists of the various disciplines.”

        I feel this is all the more reason to get the baseline right. Everything else is going to be built off the existing core rules, so if they’re askew that could well affect much of what follows in that upcoming Companion.


        Soulliard You wrote,“The whole point of the Martial Artist edge is that it lets unarmed characters fight on relatively even footing with armed opponents. That's the edge's reason for existence.”

        To this I reply, compare the following two characters fighting (assuming my proposed rule is in place). One is an unarmed Martial Artist, the other is an enemy armed with a knife.

        MARTIAL ARTIST: Attacks opponent at +1 (due to Edge bonus of Fighting +1), damage Strength+d4
        KNIFE WIELDER: Attacks Martial Artist at effective bonus of +1 (due to Unarmed Defender bonus of +2 minus 1 for Martial Artist’s unarmed Parry bonus), damage Strength+d4

        Looks like “relatively even footing" to me…..

        If the Martial Artist instead were using the current SWADE rules, he would possess a +1 bonus to hit the knife wielder, while the knife wielder had a net +0 bonus, with both doing identical damage. That’s not even footing, it’s unrealistically weighted toward the Martial Artist.

        You also wrote, “If you want to be better at fighting unarmed without it counting as being armed, take Brawler instead.”

        That Edge has its place, and so should Martial Artist. They represent different things. If I want to run a game with both options available, I need a better alternative than cutting one out entirely.

        I’ve spent a lifetime training in martial arts, and my entire adult life employing them in real-world combat situations. They have a very important place. That place is not as your go-to frontline attack against armed opponents. Let me present an analogy. Having well-honed unarmed skills is like being armed with a pistol in a gunfight. If you have a choice, you don’t go up against a machine gun with a pistol…but a pistol is still something you can shoot somebody dead with, and you’d rather not be without it. Every weapon has its uses, and just because you wouldn’t use a pistol the same as a shotgun the same as an assault rifle the same as a sniper rifle doesn’t mean each of them doesn’t have a role. Those different roles are, in my opinion, what make use of them in a role-playing context tactically challenging and interesting.

        @ValhallGH You wrote, “It's also noteworthy that the Edge exists to enable the fantasy adventure Monk archetype. Exotic warriors that are as deadly unarmed as they are with weapons.”

        I understand your point, and it is well taken. The key word in what you wrote is “fantasy”. That approach is not appropriate to all campaigns. In my opinion, the core rules should offer a grounded base from which to build, because it’s easier to accommodate the fantasy with setting rules or arcane backgrounds (in the case of fantasy adventure Monk archetypes, for example, the ability to use powers like Boost Trait, Deflection, and so on). Fantasy archetypes are very setting-dependent, whereas more grounded core rules can be applied across a broad spectrum of settings and easily adjusted to taste (for example, there are several settings already which do away with the Unarmed Defender rule entirely).

        Take, for example, a very grounded and realistic setting which uses Gritty Damage. There should be a version of unarmed specialist Edge in the rules which can be used in conjunction with that instead of a default fantasy take (which is easy to do with existing Arcane Background rules anyway).

        Freemage, You wrote, “And, of course, if you want a Martial Artist who is trained in defense, you have the Block chain for that.”

        To which my reply is, in my opinion, you shouldn’t have to.

        There’s a reason martial arts are colloquially referred to as “self-defense”. If you’re an acrobat, you should be able to do acrobatic things. If you’re trained in self-defense, you ought to be able to defend yourself more effectively than someone who isn’t.

        To all, I thank you once again for your interest and replies and I welcome any continued discussion you may care to entertain.







        Last edited by Savage Riggs; 01-08-2019, 07:39 PM.

        Comment


        • DoctorBoson
          DoctorBoson commented
          Editing a comment
          Just to help your formatting later on, you can type (quote=username)the quote you're referring to(/quote) instead of tagging and "you wroting" everyone. Replace the parentheses with brackets ([]) and it'll look like this:

          Originally posted by username
          the quote you're referring to

        • Soulliard
          Soulliard commented
          Editing a comment
          Your comparison of the unarmed character and the knife-fighter misses two big points:
          1) The unarmed attacker is still an edge behind the knife-fighter.
          2) The knife-fighter is using just about the worst weapon possible. If they brought a spear instead (hardly a top-of-the-line weapon), they'd have a big advantage.

          If you're going for a super-realistic game, then by all means, house-rule in your version of the Martial Artist edge. I'm sure it'll be fun! The default assumption in Savage Worlds is a more cinematic experience, though, so it wouldn't make sense to change the default version of the edge.

        • Freemage
          Freemage commented
          Editing a comment
          "There’s a reason martial arts are colloquially referred to as “self-defense”. If you’re an acrobat, you should be able to do acrobatic things. If you’re trained in self-defense, you ought to be able to defend yourself more effectively than someone who isn’t."

          Which is why Martial Artists are not counted as Unarmed Defenders. Block and such are then added onto it if your style is heavily focused on defensive moves (a high-level judo expert would have Block, Imp. Block and Counterattack).

      • #6
        Making martial artists not count as armed is generally a bad idea in most SW games.

        First, Savage Worlds is a pulp game at heart. It's always been more cinematic than realistic. To the degree realism applies, it should be "Would the audience accept this in a movie or book of this genre?" If so, it should work here. You don't wonder how Jet Li or Bruce Lee can take on armed opponents with just their fists. For that matter, even outside of martial arts movies, you don't generally bat an eye when Jason Statham or Keanu Reeves do the same. Sure, the characters they play are much, much better at fighting than the guy on the street. That's why it costs an Edge.

        Second, I want to address the idea that an unarmed attacker should inherently be worse off than an armed attacker. In most SW games where melee is relevant, most enemies will be armed. If unarmed combat isn't competitive with armed combat, then why even have players put resources into it? This gets into the problem with unarmed combat in most games and where most games fail at it. In many cases, they make martial arts strictly worse than fighting with a weapon and make players pay for the privilege. Fighting unarmed has some very situational advantages, and most games just don't have them come up very often. You can't be disarmed in a fight, your weapons can't be confiscated, and you don't need to hide them when going someplace where weapons aren't allowed. Too many games overvalue these without making them relevant. If you want them to be relevant, then you need to make sure they come up often enough to be worth an Edge. A single encounter over the course of a campaign where the players had to sneak into a party probably isn't going to do it.

        If these situations never come up, then the player has paid an Edge to be a worse fighter. That's bad game design. It ends up being a trap option. Players will generally assume that the options a game gives them are reasonably good. Giving them options that are strictly worse than others is poor game design. If you don't want specializing in martial arts to be a relevant option, just don't make it an option. It's not an archetype you're interested in supporting in your game.

        Now, that's not to say that this is going to be true in every setting. You can certainly make a setting or campaign where martial arts can be worse than fighting with a weapon in combat, but still relevant. The main benefit martial arts has is that you can't be disarmed without being literally disarmed, and your fists will go anywhere you can go (so no need to sneak weapons into a party or what-have-you). In most settings, this is a very, very small advantage and doesn't really balance the penalties martial arts often have. You can definitely change that so it becomes relevant very often. Lots of enemies who go for disarming, lots of encounters where players aren't allowed to bring their equipment in, scenarios where they get captured a lot. In a game like that, the trade-off can be worthwhile. But you need to keep it relevant. Most settings and games overvalue this because they don't stop to think how often they actually have these happen. A potential chance to shine doesn't matter if it never comes up. And if it only comes up once, it's probably not worth the cost of an Edge.

        In most settings and games, the ability to not be disarmed just aren't going to come up that much. Not many enemies are focused on disarming the heroes. While heroes are sometimes captured, it doesn't come up a lot and generally the heroes are reunited with their gear (or some equivalent) in short order. So in most games, the Edge needs to put the player somewhere above a guy who just bought a knife. The +1 Fighting is weak for an Edge in SWADE (compare it to Trademark Weapon), but between that, the situational bonuses, and the interaction with other unarmed Edges, it's worthwhile.

        So again, if you want to change up Martial Arts, understand that you need to make sure that the player who takes it is about an Edge's worth better than a guy with a knife. You can do that by changing the expectations of the game (more disarming, situations where the players have no weapons but have to fight, etc.) or by giving the Edge other benefits. But if you make it strictly worse, then there's not much reason to expect players to take it. In that case, consider just not having martial arts in your games. It's better to deny an option to your players than to give them the option, but then keep them from getting any benefit from it.

        Comment


        • Soulliard
          Soulliard commented
          Editing a comment
          I would have typed a longer response, but you said everything I would have wanted to say. This is a good post.

      • #7
        Two quick things.
        One) Most martial arts practiced have a heavy emphasis on body hardening and rolling with a hit. This is exactly the kind of training covered by the Brawler Edges, and seems to encompass most of the martial arts described in the original post.
        Two) The Martial Arts Edge is to enable the unarmed combat shenanigans found in much of popular culture. Notably the Kung Fu TV series and the Monk classes of D&D, which both regularly have an unarmed combatant confront and defeat armed foes. They are not to simulate real life combat, where a three inch difference in reach is a huge advantage, because Savage Worlds isn't about simulating real life combat - instead a boot knife and a two-handed sword have the same Reach.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

        Comment


        • #8
          JackMann Thank you for your very detailed and well-reasoned reply. I do see your point of view and why you hold it. There’s far too much for me to quote in my response, so I’ll just hit some main points:

          1) Cinematic examples – Check out John Wick 2. He uses weapons when confronted with a weapon every chance he gets. Look at the knife fight on the subway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByU9L2ueD9Q Wick uses a knife against a knife. Why in the world would he do that with the current rules? With a +1 advantage to hit and the same damage unarmed against a knife, the meta-game logic is on the side of going unarmed. It runs counter to cinematic examples, common sense, and real-world experience.

          2) Relevance of benefits – I agree with everything you said about the need for relevance. That said, you can make the same arguments about many things in the rules. It’s not really, in my opinion, a valid argument. If you take the Enemy or Wanted Hindrance, for example, the GM needs to make it work. That’s not poor game design. The game is chock full of things which rely on a GM doing his job to keep them working at an optimal level. If a player takes an Edge, a Hindrance, or a skill, he’s telling the GM it’s important to him and he wants to see it used in play. The GM always has the responsibility to be open and upfront about choices he sees as sub-optimal, work with the player to make changes if necessary, and to make sure those things which are important to his players actually come out in play. So if a player wants to be a martial artist and kick *** with empty hands and flying feet of fury, the GM should make sure he has lots of opportunities to do so on a level playing field if not at an advantage. That’s just common sense.

          3) Things Overlooked – I see a lot of focus in all the comments on the proposed treatment of a Martial Artist as an Unarmed Defender. By raising unarmed Parry this actually brings a Martial Artist on par (instead of at an advantage) against a guy with a knife, but with the added and important benefit he can’t be disarmed. See my examples in the post above. I also noted in my original post that under the Martial Arts version I proposed, “Edges and powers intended for use with ‘weapons’ can be used with a Martial Artist's unarmed attacks” and I feel this is an important point which has been repeatedly overlooked in criticisms of the proposal. I am not arguing to just get rid of a benefit with nothing to replace it, and I think the replacement benefits are well worth it if you stop to think about all the ramifications and run them through their paces.

          4) Personal Experience – As I noted in my original post, I’ve run games this way in Savage Worlds for years. My version of Martial Arts is not the bogey man you seem to fear it to be. It’s been used in bar fights, when weapons have been confiscated or otherwise unavailable, when characters have been captured, when lethal force is inappropriate, and so on over the course of two long-term campaigns (one lasting five years, the other six years) and in many other games as well. Lots of use over time with multiple groups shows that it works very well in practice.

          ValhallaGH We’ll have to agree to disagree on the body hardening being part of most martial arts. There are hundreds of varieties, and many take a “soft” approach. I’m really not sure where you got the impression I was referring to body hardening in any way with my original post. To be clear, I was talking about avoiding contact, not absorbing it.

          As for the second point, I do understand your point and I feel I already addressed in in my first rebuttal above…so I won’t go over old ground again. I entirely respect your point of view, it’s just not the approach I want to take for my own games.

          In closing…I may not have posted here before (because, to be honest, I’m not a fan of forum discussions in general) but I’ve played Savage Worlds a long time. I didn’t come seeking guidance or validation, and I can house rule to my heart’s content. The only reason I posted the suggestion here was in the hopes others might find it of benefit as well. I hope at least someone does. If not, c’est la vie. To each their own!

          Comment


          • ValhallaGH
            ValhallaGH commented
            Editing a comment
            I reiterated my point largely because you seem to be ignoring that Brawler already provides a unarmed combat Edge appropriate for a "very grounded and realistic setting".
            If fists being as good as a knife is a bad thing in your setting then don't allow the Edge. I've got a pile of settings that won't have Aristocrat in them, just like many settings eliminate or restrict Arcane Background.

        • #9
          I understand your point now. As I explained to Souillard, I want both approaches available to players. The problem with the Martial Artist Edge as-is, when it comes to depictions of popular culture, is that you will never see players with Martial Arts doing the John Wick type of thing like I linked above...whereas my approach to the Edge makes both the Kung Fu and John Wick stuff viable. I hope that makes sense!

          Comment


          • #10
            Originally posted by Savage Riggs View Post
            I understand your point now. As I explained to Souillard, I want both approaches available to players. The problem with the Martial Artist Edge as-is, when it comes to depictions of popular culture, is that you will never see players with Martial Arts doing the John Wick type of thing like I linked above...whereas my approach to the Edge makes both the Kung Fu and John Wick stuff viable. I hope that makes sense!
            Your intent makes a great deal of sense.
            Your claim that your proposed changes support that intent does not make sense to me.

            John Wick is a badass that can win a lot of hand to hand fights, but pulling a knife is a viable counter to him and he responds by also pulling a knife. To me, this suggests his Savage sheet would have both Brawler and Bruiser (dealing Str+d6 damage unarmed and netting +2 Toughness to take a beating the way he does).
            Kwai Chang Caine regularly fought knife wielding foes using kicks and hand strikes, and pulled his staff when he needed more reach or for powerful two-handed strikes. This suggests that his Savage sheet would have Martial Artist (for Str+d4) but the +1 Parry and +1 Reach from his staff, not to mention the Str+d6 damage, were more useful than the +1 Fighting in many situations.
            Edit: I should note that it has been about 20 years since I watched any of Kung Fu. I should fix that.

            I don't see how Caine performs as shown with your rule. His knife wielding foes would be at a net +1 to strike him, and he has no reason to hesitate pulling his staff in any violent confrontation. I'm open to enlightenment.
            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

            Comment


            • #11
              I don't think anyone takes issue with you changing edges to better fit the feel of your game. I do that sort of thing all the time! And your suggested change is a reasonable one, if you want to emphasize the deadliness of weapons.

              But the existing Martial Arts edge is a better default, since it's closer to what most people are looking for when they consider taking the Edge. Your initial post sounded like it was a request to change the rules for SWADE's release, which is something that I (and others, seemingly) very much do not want. Hence, the negative responses.

              Comment


              • #12
                ValhallaGH I agree with your assessment that you could go that way with John Wick (and I see the appeal with the Toughness boost), though for myself since I see him using a fair number of martial arts techniques I would give him Martial Artist and Brawler plus Nerves of Steel and other options. For Caine, I'd also give him two unarmed Edges but they would be Martial Artist and Martial Warrior (since he was supposed to be a highly expert martial artist) -- and although I didn't mention it in my first post, Martial Warrior would simply expand on the benefits of Martial Artist in a like manner. So John Wick would have unarmed Fighting and Parry +1, unarmed damage Str+d6, and Toughness +1 (plus Nerves of Steel at least for his ability to endure an extreme amount of pain and carry on). Caine would have unarmed Fighting and Parry +2 and unarmed damage d6 (but I'm not sure what else because, like you, I haven't seen much of that show for a long time). It's still unrealistic, but at least it requires an extra Edge so not everybody with some martial arts training is completely unafraid of a knife being pulled on him. So it all works out pretty well, to my mind.

                Soulliard Understood. I personally would prefer my version as the default but I understand why many others might not, which is why I posted my input on these forums instead of in the Feedback discussion. (Though I see now that Feedback is closed, I didn't know it at the time.) In terms of reaching out to the fine folks at Pinnacle, it was more to say, "Hey I kind of see a hole in these rules and thought you might like to know. Here's how I've handled it, if it helps to see another perspective, or if anyone else would like to give it a try." It would still be my hope that it would be addressed in some way, because I think the John Wick-type cinematic scenario deserves some love (not to mention quasi-realistic settings), but the last thing I'd want to do is push "my kind of fun" down others' throats. We can disagree, it's cool! I'd just like to see some kind of martial arts option available for those who'd like a more realistic take (much like the SWADE approach to getting electrocuted offers both a cinematic and realistic option).

                It's always good to hear others' opinions, whether we end up agreeing on everything in the end or not. Thanks for sharing yours!
                Last edited by Savage Riggs; 01-08-2019, 10:33 PM.

                Comment


                • #13
                  I think your OP might have just beaten the cut off.
                  Originally posted by Savage Riggs View Post
                  ValhallaGH I agree with your assessment that you could go that way with John Wick (and I see the appeal with the Toughness boost), though for myself since I see him using a fair number of martial arts techniques I would give him Martial Artist and Brawler plus Nerves of Steel and other options. For Caine, I'd also give him two unarmed Edges but they would be Martial Artist and Martial Warrior (since he was supposed to be a highly expert martial artist) -- and although I didn't mention it in my first post, Martial Warrior would simply expand on the benefits of Martial Artist in a like manner. So John Wick would have unarmed Fighting and Parry +1, unarmed damage Str+d6, and Toughness +1 (plus Nerves of Steel at least for his ability to endure an extreme amount of pain and carry on). Caine would have unarmed Fighting and Parry +2 and unarmed damage d6
                  Yeah, John has most of the Toughest Man Alive build, combined with stealthy gun-assassin. No argument about that.
                  I'd attribute his techniques to a high Fighting die and both Brawler and Bruiser - two Edges devoted to killing people with his hands and feet (and elbows and knees etc.). "Various martial arts" is the trapping he chose for those two Edges.

                  I am failing to see why Caine wouldn't use his staff all the time. He spent two Edges for +2 Fighting and Str+d6 Damage unarmed, but his stick has the same damage and an even larger Parry. Sure, he hits more often unarmed, but Trademark Weapon would do the same thing and give him +1 to Parry.

                  The issue I see with your proposal is that a Martial Artist would have been better off taking Trademark Weapon for his concealed knife. He'd get the same attack bonus generally, get to treat others as Unarmed Defenders, deal the same damage, and get a bonus to his Parry in nearly all circumstances. It's just a better edge choice.
                  Your proposal relegates martial arts to an "also ran", kind of like the D&D 3.x Toughness feat - it fills a specific niche but in the overwhelming majority of campaigns it is a wasted character resource.
                  I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

                  Comment


                  • DoctorBoson
                    DoctorBoson commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Remember that a staff only has Str+d4 damage. Otherwise I'd call most of this pretty spot on

                • #14
                  Personally, I think you're just getting hung up on the title Martial Artist. The Edge reflects a wide variety of training; including Queensbury Rules. You shouldn't focus too hard on Eastern martial arts for defense.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    ValhallaGH and DoctorBoson Here’s what I have as a comparison for those options (assuming Caine has a Fighting of d10) --

                    Caine with Martial Warrior: Fighting d10+2, Parry 9 unarmed (effectively 7 vs. armed foes), dmg Str+d6
                    Caine with Trademark Wpn (Staff): Fighting d10+1, Parry 8, Reach 1, dmg Str+d4
                    (Caine with core SWADE Martial Warrior: Fighting d10+2, Parry 9, dmg Str+d6…why ever use the staff, aside from Reach?)

                    I would add that you always have unarmed and can’t be disarmed, while a staff is a big obvious thing which you can’t always count on having to hand and may be disarmed or lost. If the Martial Artist gets a successful disarm, his opponent’s going to be at a big disadvantage.

                    In most of my games, those are not small or infrequent things to deal with (which I might add is consistent with the John Wick- or Jason Bourne-type fight scenes in which weapons are often picked up, dropped, knocked away, etc. at least once or twice if not more over the course of a single combat), but as noted above YMMV.

                    In terms of Martial Artist vs. Trademark Weapon (knife), all the same applies. I would also like to note that Martial Artist only requires a Fighting of d6, while Trademark Weapon requires a d10 – so there’s a higher investment there, it’s not the same cost for the two Edges.

                    Jounichi I understand what you’re saying, and in the abstract I agree.

                    My opinion is that:

                    1) It’s preferable there not be a Novice Edge in a realistic setting which allows an unarmed character to completely circumvent the Unarmed Defender rule (I don’t care what KIND of unarmed fighting you’re talking about, it’s total fantasy-land), and

                    2) If a method of fighting improves your chances to hit someone, it should also make you better at defending yourself from people using the same discipline. That’s just common sense (and it’s also consistent with the Trademark Weapon approach).

                    All that said I can see what you’re all getting at. From my point of view, in grittier games of the nature I’ve referenced, it’s not a cut-and-dried choice. Pulp or fantasy settings, totally different story…but I prefer a little grit in my games. Opinions will vary!

                    Comment


                    • DoctorBoson
                      DoctorBoson commented
                      Editing a comment
                      As written, Disarming isn't a real problem; a d12+2 Fighter has like a 25% chance to disarm an Unskilled, Parry 2 Extra. He most certainly won't be disarmed by a small band of d6 Fighting Extras.

                    • Savage Riggs
                      Savage Riggs commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Well, for one thing, I'm hoping disarm gets some adjustment or I'll be doing some houseruling on that too (but that's another topic). Beyond that, there's more than one way to disarm someone (i.e., you don't have to just straight-up attempt a head-on disarm attack). If you get Pushed off a ledge and you need to catch yourself, kind of hard to hold onto that staff. If the Martial Artist climbs somewhere, kinda hard to climb after him with that staff. If you get tackled to the ground, then subjected to a ground 'n' pound, kinda hard to defend with that staff. And so on. I like that the Martial Artist has to be clever, but can easily attain the upper hand with good tactics...tactics which are not available to the guy with the staff. But as I said before, YMMV.

                    • DoctorBoson
                      DoctorBoson commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Just with regards to Disarm... yeah, it's garbage. I'm tossing around two or three different potential rules to test pretty soon in lieu of the core maneuver; I'll make sure to post on the forums about it once I have a good idea of what the plan is.
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