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 Post subject: Unarmed Defence Penalty?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:21 am 
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As a character's Defence is a combination of parrying and dodging, I think unarmed characters (or maybe even those armed with a dagger: parrying an axe with a knife just doesn't work) should have a small Defence penalty (between -2 and -4) to represent their lack of anything to parry with. However, perhaps only -1 to Defence is the character is wearing suitable forearm armour and gauntlets that he can block with.

At the risk of overcomplicating the system and turning DW into GURPS, it would be good to roleplay, as a character must have a weapon even to be able to defend himself.

Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:34 am 
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Totally agree. The thing about attacking an 'unarmed opponent' is a major issue, like in our century, shooting a guy without a weapon, like striking an unarmed opponent with a sword. With a sword you can keep them at a distance. Thought I'd want to raise it but it just seemed to complicate the system. I really believe an assassin with a knife who closes in to strike a two handed sword wielder should have the advantage, maybe force the two hander to use punches or 'cudgel' attacks.

Mentioned it in this thread..


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=218&p=1962&hilit=unarmed#p1962


Personally I think DEFENCE should only apply when the guy's guard is up, and preferably if armed. As it stands a guy who is unarmed still has full defence and I find that inappropriate. I think a guy who is static and drinking a beer should have 0 EVASION and 0 DEFENCE.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:25 pm 
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Kharille wrote:
Totally agree. The thing about attacking an 'unarmed opponent' is a major issue, like in our century, shooting a guy without a weapon, like striking an unarmed opponent with a sword. With a sword you can keep them at a distance. Thought I'd want to raise it but it just seemed to complicate the system. I really believe an assassin with a knife who closes in to strike a two handed sword wielder should have the advantage, maybe force the two hander to use punches or 'cudgel' attacks.

Mentioned it in this thread.


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=218&p=1962&hilit=unarmed#p1962


Personally I think DEFENCE should only apply when the guy's guard is up, and preferably if armed. As it stands a guy who is unarmed still has full defence and I find that inappropriate. I think a guy who is static and drinking a beer should have 0 EVASION and 0 DEFENCE.


I think reaction times are somehow built into EVASION, so maybe a guy drinking a beer should roll on half REFLEXES (or similar) to react, then EVASION normally.

Could we say maybe any weapon with DAMAGE < 5 can be blocked on vambraces with -1 DEFENCE?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Instead of placing on penalty on the unarmed opponent's DEFENCE, I opted to give the attacker a bonus.

Here's a relevant extract from my Combat Rules:

Unarmed Against Armed Combatants
An unarmed character is at a great disadvantage when fighting a fully armed foe, as he has nothing to parry with and must rely on dodging to avoid his opponent's blows. Not only does the armed foe get +2 to his Combat Initiative if he is using a weapon longer than a shortsword, but he may also add up to his Rank (at the GamesMaster’s discretion) to his ATTACK. The GamesMaster allocates the bonus to the armed combatant as the unarmed man might use furniture, vegetation, etc. to prevent his opponent getting a clear shot at him.
Note that creatures that fight with tooth and claw have their DEFENCE calculated with this in mind, and an armed character gets neither a Reflexes nor an ATTACK bonus when fighting them.

Re-reading that, I would suggest that someone defending themselves with "furniture" (e.g. a chair leg) is not actually "unarmed"... :roll:

In case anyone asks, "Combat Initiative" is a bonus applied to differentiate between weapons. Some weapons give a bonus to the Reflexes score when calculating the order in which opponents strike in combat, while some give a penalty.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:09 pm 
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Starkad wrote:
Instead of placing on penalty on the unarmed opponent's DEFENCE, I opted to give the attacker a bonus.

The difference between a bonus to Attack and a penalty to Defence becomes clearer when a character apportions zero Defence to an attacker. Why is it easier to strike an unarmed man offering no Defence than an armed man offering no Defence?

I have a house rule that halves your Defence (rounded down) if you're unarmed and facing an armed opponent. And that could include Defence that has been split between multiple opponents, some of whom may be armed and some not.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:21 pm 
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Quote:
Why is it easier to strike an unarmed man offering no Defence than an armed man offering no Defence?

It depends on what you visualise as "zero DEFENCE". A person cowering, covering their head with their arms, isn't offering an active DEFENCE (and could be said to have zero DEFENCE)... In such a situation, an armed cowering individual might end up struck on weapon or shield - while an unarmed person will get hurt wherever the strike lands.*
* Armour By-pass Rolls notwithstanding.

But you make a very good point. I'll have to think about it some more...

Quote:
I have a house rule that halves your Defence (rounded down) if you're unarmed and facing an armed opponent. And that could include Defence that has been split between multiple opponents, some of whom may be armed and some not.

...then again, maybe I don't have to think after all. I like that suggestion: it is (a) reasonable,* and (b) simple.**

Excellent. Thanks. :D

* Unless you are very, very good indeed at Martial Arts, it is very difficult indeed to avoid being hit by a weapon when you are unarmed.
** Which is perfect for DW rules.


EDIT: a bonus to striking first* might apply, however, as a combatant fighting an unarmed barbarian charging towards them, fists flailing, casting DEFENCE to the wind (berserk or Bloodrage) should be at a disadvantage - virtually running onto their opponent's weapon. Probably only applies in the first round of combat (and if the armed opponent is not Surprised).
(I can't that a situation where a barbarian would enter Bloodrage and charge unarmed at their opponents would be all that common... But it might happen.)
* Bonus to order of combat, that is. The "Combat Initiative" bonus my old rules refer to.


Last edited by Starkad on Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:25 am 
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Though to be fair, attacking someone with zero defence shouldn't even require a roll.
You really think a knight has any chance of missing a passive target?

Attack & Defence scores only really have meaning in the context of a typical combat. Outside of that, they have limited utility, and shouldn't necessarily be used to simulate the chance of non-combat related events.

Paraphrased from my own somewhat expanded rules:

Coup de Grace
When attacking a foe with 0 defence (asleep, unawares, immobilised), roll attack as normal. A miss is considered a normal hit, and a normal hit is considered a critical hit. If a natural critical hit is rolled, it does double the usual damage.

Back to the topic at hand. In the context of DW, being unarmed is already a heavy penalty - d3,2? Good luck with that mate! Anything more really needs a revision of the combat system as a whole, if the defensive value of one weapon over another is to be considered at all.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:33 am 
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Quote:
Though to be fair, attacking someone with zero defence shouldn't even require a roll.
You really think a knight has any chance of missing a passive target?

I originally thought that, but then realised that zero DEFENCE does not necessarily mean a passive target. Consider:

DW rulebook (page 72):
Rout: ...the character simply turns his back on his opponent. The opponent gets one free strike at his back (zero DEFENCE) before he can run off.
DW rulebook (page 28):
Bloodrage... He loses all interest in parrying, however, and his DEFENCE goes temporarily to zero.

If there's no ATTACK roll (except to check for Critical Hits), then the "free strike" becomes very deadly indeed, and Bloodrage becomes a far less useful skill. Is this desirable?

Quote:
Back to the topic at hand. In the context of DW, being unarmed is already a heavy penalty - d3,2? Good luck with that mate! Anything more really needs a revision of the combat system as a whole, if the defensive value of one weapon over another is to be considered at all.

Not really (I've tweaked weapons slightly, but it's not a major re-write). The real difficulty is that unarmed combatants (as in real life) will not stand there and swing at their opponent - they will grapple them. Grapple rules are quite tricky...*
* I have some, but I'm not especially happy with them.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:16 am 
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In blood sword you had a penalty for being unarmed. I figure even arming yourself with a chair, pitchfork or stuffed animal will help you keep your enemy at a distance. Then again, a dagger vs two handed sword seems awkward. I thought one thing WFRP 1ed did right was the initiative rules.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:35 am 
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Slight tangent, but what about ripostes? In DW II's proposed combat mechanism, a character who successfully defends against an attack can riposte with an ATTACK equal to the margin that the opponent fails by, against half the opponent's DEFENCE, I think. Ripostes can be counter-riposted, but this is rarely a good idea.

I thought it might spice combat up a bit and add realism without being too clunky.

Thoughts?


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