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Unarmed vs. Armed Combat

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  • Unarmed vs. Armed Combat

    So reading through the Unarmed Combat section, brawlers have a fairly significant advantage over Weaponry based characters.

    Disarms:
    Strength+Brawl vs. Strength+Athletics is catering directly to the brawler. An amazing highly trained swordsman with Fighting Finess may have a snowflakes chance in hell to avoid being disarmed. Nevermind that avoiding being disarmed is part of learning how to fight with a weapon.

    Grappling:
    Grappling is similarly tilted towards the unarmed fighter. They suffer no penalty to try and grapple someone with a weapon. Go after someone with a knife? No problem. Get around a rapier? No problem. You only subtract your opponent's defense to initiate a grapple and then the weaponry based fighter is in your balliwick and can't try to stab or shoot you until they win a Strength+Brawl vs. Strength+Brawl roll.

    This just seems like a rather big broken spot in the combat system. Am I missing something? How do you have a weaponry or gun fighter that isn't going to get grappled like a chump because they're not heavily invested in strength and brawl?


  • #2
    Originally posted by LLegume View Post
    This just seems like a rather big broken spot in the combat system. Am I missing something?
    Guns have range and ignore defense. You're not going to grapple someone before dying if they have multiple (or even one, in some cases) rounds of free lethal to throw at you.

    Melee weapons require an order of magnitude less investment to do respectable amounts of lethal damage.

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    • #3
      Guns are definitely better than both brawl and weapons but I do agree it seems silly to be able to grapple someone holding a weapon without some form of penalty or drawback. Potential house rules could be to add weapon size to defense (or on Dodge after Defense is doubled) when avoiding a grappling attempt and/or deal weapon damage (or 1B if the weapon has 0 weapon mod) to the would-be grappler on failed grappling attempts. In grappling, however, I think it's quite realistic to have to use Brawl in order to cause damage with your weapon since you can't use any weaponry maneuvers or aim properly when someone is within your weapon range.


      Bloodline: The Stygians
      Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
      Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LLegume View Post
        This just seems like a rather big broken spot in the combat system. Am I missing something?
        Primarily thinking it's broken. A brawler is good at brawling. But brawling only deals Bashing damage without special Merits, meaning he has to take twice as long as a weapon-user to incapacitate someone.

        How do you have a weaponry or gun fighter that isn't going to get grappled like a chump because they're not heavily invested in strength and brawl?
        A gun fighter would presumably take the advantage of a gun and shoot from a distance while the target has no Defense.

        Tessie If someone manages to control their weapon during the grapple, they can use it to inflict Lethal damage. There's also a variety of weapons that offer benefits to use in a Grapple, but it's the kind of thing that doesn't seem like it should be a 'given' without some special training.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nofather View Post
          Primarily thinking it's broken. A brawler is good at brawling. But brawling only deals Bashing damage without special Merits, meaning he has to take twice as long as a weapon-user to incapacitate someone.
          A brawler is good at brawling, and that's fine. But a swordsman should be able to be good at swordsmanship. Disarms and grappling the swordsman bypass all weaponry skill entirely and the amazing brawler isn't penalized for going after someone empty handed when their enemy is lethally armed. I like Tessie's proposal to add weaponry size to the defense at the very least.

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          • #6
            During a grapple, yes. I was talking about trying to initiate a grapple. IRL if you try to jump someone you really, really don't want them to hold a sharp weapon. Even if they don't intend to retaliate you're going to risk getting sliced. The system does not reflect that risk or the fact that it's harder to get close to someone holding a weapon even if it isn't sharp.


            Bloodline: The Stygians
            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by LLegume View Post
              A brawler is good at brawling, and that's fine. But a swordsman should be able to be good at swordsmanship.
              They are. Brawlers having an an advantage at grappling doesn't take away from that. If a swordsman wants to be good at grappling there's easy ways to do that.

              Disarms and grappling the swordsman bypass all weaponry skill entirely and the amazing brawler isn't penalized for going after someone empty handed when their enemy is lethally armed.
              They're contested rolls and do no damage on their own, unless you get an Exceptional Success in Grapple. If you're in a fight and fail either of these, you've effectively wasted a turn against an opponent that deals Lethal damage. Aside from that, there are abilities that allow for the use of different Attributes and effects. If for some reason your swordsman doesn't have Strength he can use Fighting Finesse to use Dexterity instead, and there's more than a few ways to punish characters for just getting close to you, such as the Armed Defense and Heavy Weapons styles, the Retain Weapon and Armed Restraint Merits.

              Tessie the system does reflect that risk, as the person who controls the weapon can then use that weapon in the grapple.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by LLegume View Post
                So reading through the Unarmed Combat section, brawlers have a fairly significant advantage over Weaponry based characters.

                Disarms:
                Strength+Brawl vs. Strength+Athletics is catering directly to the brawler. An amazing highly trained swordsman with Fighting Finess may have a snowflakes chance in hell to avoid being disarmed. Nevermind that avoiding being disarmed is part of learning how to fight with a weapon.

                Grappling:
                Grappling is similarly tilted towards the unarmed fighter. They suffer no penalty to try and grapple someone with a weapon. Go after someone with a knife? No problem. Get around a rapier? No problem. You only subtract your opponent's defense to initiate a grapple and then the weaponry based fighter is in your balliwick and can't try to stab or shoot you until they win a Strength+Brawl vs. Strength+Brawl roll.

                This just seems like a rather big broken spot in the combat system. Am I missing something? How do you have a weaponry or gun fighter that isn't going to get grappled like a chump because they're not heavily invested in strength and brawl?

                Weapons inflict Beaten Down easily.


                Writer, Game Designer, Pro since 99.

                Thoughts at mobunited.com

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                • #9
                  I presume the weaponry or gun fighter kills the brawler while the brawler is trying to grapple so they don't get killed, necessary because their ability to kill is not good. That would be realistic. A judo master needs to disarm a fencer with sword before getting stabbed while the fencer doesn't really need to worry about defending at all. I think it works out in the wash.
                  Last edited by Diggs; 01-12-2017, 05:27 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nofather View Post
                    A brawler is good at brawling. But brawling only deals Bashing damage without special Merits

                    (...)

                    If someone manages to control their weapon during the grapple, they can use it to inflict Lethal damage.
                    That raises an interesting point - a brawl specialist could actually make excellent use of their own weapon, even without any training in weaponry, simply by using it to insure there's a weapon involved in the grapple to use the Control Weapon maneuver on. Also, a brawler can always just pick up a set of brass knuckles if they want to do lethal damage easily.


                    Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                    • #11
                      You initiate a grapple. If you get less than 5 successes, you win the right to actually do something. While you do that, I stab you. If I succeed you have to spend 1 WP per turn to keep fighting, assuming Beaten Down is in play. Works fine.

                      I do agree Disarm isn't well-written -- it's superior to grappling. I would make it a variation of Grappling/Control Weapon (where you fling it away) while unarmed, or an Exceptional Success option while armed, because disarming someone is actually pretty tough. I would also clarify that even if you successfully initiate a grapple, you don't hinder an opponent's attacks until the following turn. So you can get stabbed.



                      Writer, Game Designer, Pro since 99.

                      Thoughts at mobunited.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                        That raises an interesting point - a brawl specialist could actually make excellent use of their own weapon, even without any training in weaponry, simply by using it to insure there's a weapon involved in the grapple to use the Control Weapon maneuver on. Also, a brawler can always just pick up a set of brass knuckles if they want to do lethal damage easily.
                        While using a weapon might be a good idea, the specific 'Damage' maneuver in a grapple has you add the weapon modifier to successes. Brass knuckles do L damage, but have a modifier of 0. Though using them or some other fist-weapon is a good idea for someone who's specialized with their fists. Just like having Retain Weapon or other skills are good for someone specialized with weapons.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nofather View Post
                          While using a weapon might be a good idea, the specific 'Damage' maneuver in a grapple has you add the weapon modifier to successes. Brass knuckles do L damage, but have a modifier of 0. Though using them or some other fist-weapon is a good idea for someone who's specialized with their fists. Just like having Retain Weapon or other skills are good for someone specialized with weapons.
                          Indeed. I don't think brawl is overpowered by any means (and I wouldn't really be bothered if it was, CofD isn't a game where mathematical parity of damage output is important), just pointing out a cool interaction.


                          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Malcolm View Post
                            You initiate a grapple. If you get less than 5 successes, you win the right to actually do something. While you do that, I stab you. If I succeed you have to spend 1 WP per turn to keep fighting, assuming Beaten Down is in play. Works fine.

                            I do agree Disarm isn't well-written -- it's superior to grappling. I would make it a variation of Grappling/Control Weapon (where you fling it away) while unarmed, or an Exceptional Success option while armed, because disarming someone is actually pretty tough. I would also clarify that even if you successfully initiate a grapple, you don't hinder an opponent's attacks until the following turn. So you can get stabbed.
                            You initiate a grapple. You get less than 5 successes but you're still grappling and your opponent with a knife loses their turn because they're grappled and can't make a normal attack. When you hit the subsequent turn you're into Strengh+Brawl contested rolls and the weaponry user is hosed because their weapon was useless for defending themselves.

                            Also, something like Spear and Bayonet 2 (Keep at Bay) is completely useless at actually keeping a grappler at bay because it doesn't matter if the grappler loses his Defense as a penalty for coming at you. His Defense never actually comes into play once a grapple is initiated.

                            I'm not adverse to a grappler having the advantage once they're in the grapple but it should not be so easy and so safe to grapple someone who's skilled in wielding a lethal weapon.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LLegume View Post
                              You initiate a grapple. You get less than 5 successes but you're still grappling and your opponent with a knife loses their turn because they're grappled and can't make a normal attack. When you hit the subsequent turn you're into Strengh+Brawl contested rolls and the weaponry user is hosed because their weapon was useless for defending themselves.
                              It doesn't convey any special advantage on its own, as noted before there are things you can have to make the weapon useful. But a weaponry user is likely to have Strength to begin with, as that's a part of using their weapon. And that first roll is against their Defense.

                              A poor knifeman against a superior grappler is going to end badly for the knifeman.

                              Also, something like Spear and Bayonet 2 (Keep at Bay) is completely useless at actually keeping a grappler at bay because it doesn't matter if the grappler loses his Defense as a penalty for coming at you. His Defense never actually comes into play once a grapple is initiated.
                              As is usual in these depictions, you're describing a 1 on 1 fight, but the game is built with more than one player character in mind. That said, solo games aren't unheard of, and the rule is the same there as in others. If you want to be really good, you have to focus.

                              I'm not adverse to a grappler having the advantage once they're in the grapple but it should not be so easy and so safe to grapple someone who's skilled in wielding a lethal weapon.
                              If they're skilled in combat they'd likely have a high Defense, which would keep the grapple from occurring in the first place.
                              Last edited by nofather; 01-12-2017, 07:05 PM.

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