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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    So I'm planning an overhaul of the d20 system and as I'm reviewing combat and feats for it, I come to two-weapon fighting. Something I've noticed with D&D and with CRPGs is that they treat two-weapon fighting as a sort of high-risk, high-reward style, turning the user into an immersion blender who attacks many times but with no defensive merit. From my limited knowledge of historical fighting techniques, this seems off; as far as I know, using an off-hand weapon is as much for the purpose of parrying as it is for striking. You sacrifice reach and per-strike strength for an extra tool with which to parry attacks as well as the opportunity to strike your opponent with a free weapon without ending the parry. (Now, D&D 3.5 has the Two-Weapon Defense feat, which adds a little bit in this regard, but the benefit is minuscule for the investment and the rest of the two-weapon fighting material clearly leans towards the immersion blender role.)
    So I'm asking you, the playground, what you've thought about this topic. What do you know about actual two-weapon fighting? (It's my understanding that though it was gradually outmoded, it was quite popular for a time, but this may be incorrect.) What do you think about how it's handled in RPGs? What would be a better way, if you feel a better way is needed, to model the use of parrying daggers and whatnot?

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    I believe that historically it was sometimes used for dueling, but rarely if ever used on the battlefield. One thing that always bugs me is getting more attacks. Dual wielding gives you more attack options that a foe has to defend against, but you can't actually swing twice as many decent attacks.

    I'll just say that in the system I'm writing (Space Dogs: blatant plug :P) if you wield a pair of weapons you gain +1 to hit & +1 damage. In my system melee is opposed rolls, so the accuracy boost also inherently increases defense against melee opponents. It works pretty dang well in my system, but I'm not sure what the equivalent would be in d20.
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2017-03-19 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    I think two-weapon fighting would probably be more defensive than one-weapon fighting, but not fighting with a weapon and a shield. Two-weapon fighting in DnD (and comparable table top RPGs) is fine as an offensive style, because the alternative defensive style is one weapon and a shield.

    Overall, though, I think medieval fantasy RPGs simply place far too great an emphasis on the types of weapons characters are carrying anyways. Not only will these games never be able to simulate the truth of medieval weapons in a satisfying way, there is really little need to do so in order to make the RPG compelling to play.
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    This really depends on what the goals of the system are - in some cases what weapon people have is basically negligible, beyond some very big categories (unarmed, armed with a melee weapon, armed with a ranged weapon). If you do want it to matter, the system goals are still key - do you want a set of balanced options to make them all viable? Do you want a more simulationist approach where certain styles (two weapons, one one handed weapon) just leaves you at a big disadvantage relative to others? Are you trying to encourage the use of very specific weapons most of the time to better fit a literary basis? What are the relevant goals?
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    This really depends on what the goals of the system are - in some cases what weapon people have is basically negligible, beyond some very big categories (unarmed, armed with a melee weapon, armed with a ranged weapon). If you do want it to matter, the system goals are still key - do you want a set of balanced options to make them all viable? Do you want a more simulationist approach where certain styles (two weapons, one one handed weapon) just leaves you at a big disadvantage relative to others? Are you trying to encourage the use of very specific weapons most of the time to better fit a literary basis? What are the relevant goals?
    Given the d20 focus of Vox, I'd suspect a balanced approach for each option. The issue is that sword and board, and two weapons do functionally the same thing: provide a level of defense that a single melee weapon doesn't. The problem is the shield is going to be vastly superior in most instances for defending oneself, but its makes is pretty dang obvious you're armed for war. While an off hand weapon like a dagger is just that a dagger, which could be relatively common.

    So using a shield is such a defensive boost that nearly every single culture in the world has a shield of some kind for going to war, but not every culture has a history of using two weapons, even in ones that have formal duels. But at the same time two weapons is awesome, and if a game is operating on the PCs being awesome then it needs to be functional from a mechanical perspective.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2017-03-19 at 12:33 PM.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Perhaps you could have a system where every round you can choose to either get a defensive bonus or an attack bonus (be it a better chance to hit representing your increased options, or multiple attacks)?
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    In this case, the system is supposed to simplify combat a little while still providing granularity and giving consequences for choosing different tactical options. Attack and defense, and the balance between them, is key, while damage is not (since I'm doing away with hit points). Most of the tactics of combat will revolve around movement and reach, I think, though I'm still not entirely sure on this.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    What do I personally know about dual wielding? Nothing. All my armchair-knowledge about the subject is gained from various Youtube videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc8akxwI56s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZNZyhNFSaE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJBEDxh0RQw

    What I have learned (assuming it is accurate) is that, if you have a free hand, a shield is generally preferred. Contrary to what a lot of these RPG systems indicate, a shield is not just a static defense modifier that is equivalent to another piece of armor; it is something actively used both for attacking and for putting a "wall" between your body and the attacker's weapon. As such, a lot of fairly common sword-and-shield techniques would fall under what most RPGs consider dual wielding. If a shield is not available, then that is when a buckler or second weapon (generally a long dagger) were used. After all, having something in that hand is preferable to nothing.

    The second video mentions some points where sword-and-sword dual wielding happened or might have happened. It's apparently rather rare, and was apparently limited to tournaments or formal duels.


    On the other hand, dual wielding has become sort of a "cool fighting style" with movies, anime, video games, and some RPGs. And as such, there are RPGs which are not intending to emulate historical two-sword fighting style, but rather the flashy fighting style shown in some movies. (It's also why you see some fencing with no sidearm fighting styles in such systems.) If you are designing a system or modifying an existing one, you might want to consider what the point of dual wielding is in your system. It is designed to emulate the historic practices, and thus includes the hazards and penalties along with the benefits? Or is it designed to emulate the flashy movie fight sequences, and so designed to make a player feel "good" about their choice to invest in skills and equipment for two weapons?
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    I like how Burning Wheel handles Two-Fisted Fighting.

    1) It gives you the ability to fight effectively at two different weapon ranges. If you're a swordsman and a guy with a knife gets in close you're normally at a disadvantage to hit him. But if you're using a sword and dagger then you can engage with your off-hand instead and negate that penalty.

    2) It gives you access to Block and Strike, something normally reserved for a guy with a shield and shield training. Essentially what this means is that you can make an attack while still defending yourself. An off-hand weapon is worse than a shield at defending you, but it also doesn't get damaged and destroyed like a shield does so it's a nice trade-off.

    3) It lets you do a special dual strike action where you attack with both weapons at once, provided that they're of the same range. But you divide your attack's effectiveness between the two attacks so if you have 6 dice to roll, you might give 3 dice to each attack. It's mostly quite bad as you're probably not going to land effective hits with either attack unless you're a master swordsman. But it does let you damage your opponent's armour more quickly so you can make a more effective attack later once you've worn it down.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    In this case, the system is supposed to simplify combat a little while still providing granularity and giving consequences for choosing different tactical options. Attack and defense, and the balance between them, is key, while damage is not (since I'm doing away with hit points). Most of the tactics of combat will revolve around movement and reach, I think, though I'm still not entirely sure on this.
    Oh, well then having a second weapon opens up new tactical options against a single weapon user and it's easy to switch to having one hand free.

    That is assuming you're talking about something like a person choosing a tactic for the round and getting different bonuses to attack, defense, and reactions.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Given the d20 focus of Vox, I'd suspect a balanced approach for each option. The issue is that sword and board, and two weapons do functionally the same thing: provide a level of defense that a single melee weapon doesn't. The problem is the shield is going to be vastly superior in most instances for defending oneself, but its makes is pretty dang obvious you're armed for war. While an off hand weapon like a dagger is just that a dagger, which could be relatively common.

    So using a shield is such a defensive boost that nearly every single culture in the world has a shield of some kind for going to war, but not every culture has a history of using two weapons, even in ones that have formal duels. But at the same time two weapons is awesome, and if a game is operating on the PCs being awesome then it needs to be functional from a mechanical perspective.
    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    On the other hand, dual wielding has become sort of a "cool fighting style" with movies, anime, video games, and some RPGs. And as such, there are RPGs which are not intending to emulate historical two-sword fighting style, but rather the flashy fighting style shown in some movies. (It's also why you see some fencing with no sidearm fighting styles in such systems.) If you are designing a system or modifying an existing one, you might want to consider what the point of dual wielding is in your system. It is designed to emulate the historic practices, and thus includes the hazards and penalties along with the benefits? Or is it designed to emulate the flashy movie fight sequences, and so designed to make a player feel "good" about their choice to invest in skills and equipment for two weapons?
    I generally frown on "rule of cool," particularly for matters which operate under the same physical principles in the real world. My comparison between CRPG dual-wielding and an electric appliance was meant to be mildly derisive. But on the other hand, it is a historical fighting style, so it needs to be a functional idea, at least under certain conditions. The idea of it being less eyebrow-raising in social situations than going in with a heater shield might be a good thing to implement. I might complement that by emphasizing both the power and the restrictiveness of shields, making main-gauche combat more attractive to those who want some of the defensive benefits but without all of the penalties.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Oh, well then having a second weapon opens up new tactical options against a single weapon user and it's easy to switch to having one hand free.

    That is assuming you're talking about something like a person choosing a tactic for the round and getting different bonuses to attack, defense, and reactions.
    I'm not sure I want it quite that granular, but I'm still hashing out the details of the system.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    I generally frown on "rule of cool," particularly for matters which operate under the same physical principles in the real world.
    I have spent too much time on martial/caster recently. This perfectly reasonable statement just sets off alarm bells.

    Anyways, my main suggestion is just don't treat it as two different weapons. Either one weapon as two different "modes" depending one which one you are focusing, or just 1 weapon with stats representing the two weapons used together. Why? Because your right hand knows what your left is doing and getting them to act independently of each other is actually really hard.

    I just wanted to call that out, I've seen systems where having a second weapon almost makes you two people for purposes of attacking and it always seems kind of weird.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I have spent too much time on martial/caster recently. This perfectly reasonable statement just sets off alarm bells.

    Anyways, my main suggestion is just don't treat it as two different weapons. Either one weapon as two different "modes" depending one which one you are focusing, or just 1 weapon with stats representing the two weapons used together. Why? Because your right hand knows what your left is doing and getting them to act independently of each other is actually really hard.

    I just wanted to call that out, I've seen systems where having a second weapon almost makes you two people for purposes of attacking and it always seems kind of weird.
    Though it's irrelevant to the current topic, I'll address your concerns by saying that the rework will lower the power of casters generally as well through various means. Casters will be forced to be more specialized than they are in most editions of D&D, and I'm hoping to keep them tonally to a low fantasy level.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    I generally frown on "rule of cool," particularly for matters which operate under the same physical principles in the real world. My comparison between CRPG dual-wielding and an electric appliance was meant to be mildly derisive. But on the other hand, it is a historical fighting style, so it needs to be a functional idea, at least under certain conditions. The idea of it being less eyebrow-raising in social situations than going in with a heater shield might be a good thing to implement. I might complement that by emphasizing both the power and the restrictiveness of shields, making main-gauche combat more attractive to those who want some of the defensive benefits but without all of the penalties.
    As a thought the Pillars of Eternity game goes with a shield, with the progressively larger ones, applying an active accuracy penalty. They do however provide an equally large bonus to the defensive qualities to all defense scores (not just their version of AC).

    I'm not sure I want it quite that granular, but I'm still hashing out the details of the system.
    So maybe doing a main-gauche style dagger gets you a very small bonus to defense, but if an attack misses you get to riposte and attack for the value of the defense bonus. It gets a defense bonus, and a very real reason to use an off hand weapon without necessarily over complicating things.

    Otherwise lets examine how you're doing sword and board and two-handers. I'm disregarding one handed weapons since there is no reason to not use both hand or something else, unless you're presenting the option to use something like a wand or magical implement in combination with a one handed weapon. Which is a neat visual, but may not fit what you want.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2017-03-19 at 04:32 PM.

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    If you are after realism then dual wielding is only better than having 1 handed weapon.


    Weapon and Shield is great, systems like DnD really don't get how great shield is in a fight. Shields were less used when armor became stronger in the late medieval period.
    2 Handed weapons are great because they give you reach and if held like a staff allow you to fight defensively,
    2 weapons is decent because now you have 2 weapons to parry with or can keep your foe on his toes because he has to track 2 weapons and you can attack with either one. The most common 2nd weapon has to be the main-gauche...or the parrying dagger. Also if you get disarmed then you have a second weapon.


    Let's take a system like GURPS

    Combat is based on that you roll to hit and then your foe rolls his defense, if he fails you hit. Defense is generally lower than offense and you can take penalties on to hit to give your foe penalty on his defense.

    Shield gives you the ability to block 1 attack (successive blocks have a hefty penalty) and gives you defense bonus on all defenses based on the size of your shield.

    Two handed weapons gives you reach to attack first and do more damage, if you have enough space you can even force your foe to make committed attacks which gives him defensive penalties by retreating and you can deny your foe retreating bonuses because you have better reach. Also you get 1 parry (and successive parries at moderate penalties)

    Two weapon fighting gives you 2 parries at no penalty (successive parries give you hefty penalties) and you can attack 2x, also you can use both parries to parry one attack with a bonus. The drawback is you have to use points on two weapon fighting and off hand weapon training. Also everybody can make a rapid strike and take 2 attacks at a penalty, you are just buying off that penalty.

    Of course 2 weapon fighting in Gurps is considered cinematic....if you don't use cinematic rules for it then you'll have a hefty penalty on your second attack.


    But all in all it is pretty solid gameplay wise....all options are valid.
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2017-03-19 at 05:01 PM.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Otherwise lets examine how you're doing sword and board and two-handers. I'm disregarding one handed weapons since there is no reason to not use both hand or something else, unless you're presenting the option to use something like a wand or magical implement in combination with a one handed weapon. Which is a neat visual, but may not fit what you want.
    Well, since I'm using reach in the system, a one-handed style would actually offer a concrete benefit: reach. If you put one foot forward with a spatha or rapier, you get to swipe at the enemy marginally earlier than if you had an even-footed or back-footed stance owing to use of a shield or something like that. (Of course, it fails at reach compared with two-handed weapons since most two-handed weapons will be longer intrinsically.)

    I'm liking the idea of having penalties to certain social interactions depending on how heavily armed you are.

    I'm still working on things, so I can't really say how I'm handling other weapon styles, though.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    I generally frown on "rule of cool," particularly for matters which operate under the same physical principles in the real world. My comparison between CRPG dual-wielding and an electric appliance was meant to be mildly derisive. But on the other hand, it is a historical fighting style, so it needs to be a functional idea, at least under certain conditions. The idea of it being less eyebrow-raising in social situations than going in with a heater shield might be a good thing to implement. I might complement that by emphasizing both the power and the restrictiveness of shields, making main-gauche combat more attractive to those who want some of the defensive benefits but without all of the penalties.
    If your system has a good way to implement the effect of tools in social situations (e.g. the value of having nice clothing)*, then there's definitely room for carrying certain equipment holding social penalties in certain areas. There's the way it's noticeable, there's the way it communicates that you're looking for a fight even if you aren't, and conveniently enough it applies to most of the battlefield weapons that work better in those circumstances than dual wielding does. Wearing armor is the biggest suspicious thing, but carrying around a big shield, or a bow, or a polearm in day to day life makes you look sketchy in a way that wearing a sword and a dagger really doesn't.

    *Which has been done before, e.g. Chronica Feudalis
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    When it comes to dual wielding and melee, people have an unfortunate tendency to generalize. There are at least 3 major cases when it was done historically.

    1) In a pinch


    If all you have is a one handed sword, you can do one of three things - try to use it in one hand, grab it in two hands or grab a dagger. The dual wielding option here gives you some additional defense when compared to greater power and shorter reach of two-handing.

    Thing is, this isn't at the cost of reach - you still keep mostly using your main weapon, and only use the dagger if anything gets past or is too far away to stop with the sword. A very common mistake is squaring off - pointing your front instead of your side (or 3/4 profile) at the opponent.

    A shield, any shield, is usually preferable here.

    2) Thrusting weapons

    This is where we come to a point when someone specifically takes an off hand weapon with him with the intention of dual wielding. Thing is, when it comes to mostly stabby weapons, a off hand dagger is usually better than a small shield - you can re-orient it much more quickly than a buckler. This applies to both rapiers and spears, but not so much to, say, halberds. In essence, you sacrifice capacity to stop cuts for capacity to stop thrusts when taking a dagger instead of a buckler.

    3) Multiple unarmored targets

    This is when Musashi recommends you to use both a katana and a wakizashi at the same time. You can focus on dealing with one guy while discouraging others from rushing you for fear of being impaled on your off hand weapon. It's surprising, really, how well this works, especially against people who don't expect it.

    Most of the cases of using dual wielding in Asian MAs is meant for this case, be it twin daos, butterfly knives or katana and wakizashi.

    4) Bonus: Showboating

    As it happens, medieval folks thought dual wielding was cool, too, and it is probably for this reason they did any fighting with two full-length swords at all. We have cases of both arming swords and rapiers used this way, but consensus these days is it was done as either advertising stunt or a bit of fun at tournaments, not as something you'd actually use in anger.


    Important point


    Main thing about dagger or buckler as off hand thing, as opposed to a proper large shield, is that buckler and dagger are small and can be conveniently carried wherever you go. They really shouldn't be judged by how well they do when compared to a large shield, that's not what they're for. They are for people who either don't have a shield at the moment because they're taking a walk through the town, or for people on the battlefield who have something two-handed as their main weapon, be it a pike, a bow/crossbow, a musket or a catapult.
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    for people on the battlefield who have something two-handed as their main weapon... a catapult.
    Wow - that would be impressive. Either that or a uselessly small catapult.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    So using a shield is such a defensive boost that nearly every single culture in the world has a shield of some kind for going to war, but not every culture has a history of using two weapons, even in ones that have formal duels. But at the same time two weapons is awesome, and if a game is operating on the PCs being awesome then it needs to be functional from a mechanical perspective.
    True, but a shield is also a weapon in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing. They can be used to create openings and attack with (edge as well as face/boss), just as a second weapon can.

    Far too often D20-derived games treat this as a strict dichotomy - either you have a shield, or a second weapon, with no overlap between the two things.

    Also worth noting that there are historical two-weapon styles which include a shield (usually buckler-sized), like the old Highland mix of claymore, dirk and buckler.

    In a civilian context (when faced with light swords, clubs and knives, not heavy two-handed weapons), your cloak wrapped around your arm is also a shield/weapon.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2017-03-20 at 07:51 AM.
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    So I'm planning an overhaul of the d20 system and as I'm reviewing combat and feats for it, I come to two-weapon fighting. Something I've noticed with D&D and with CRPGs is that they treat two-weapon fighting as a sort of high-risk, high-reward style, turning the user into an immersion blender who attacks many times but with no defensive merit. From my limited knowledge of historical fighting techniques, this seems off; as far as I know, using an off-hand weapon is as much for the purpose of parrying as it is for striking.
    Even more to the point shields are off-hand weapons. Hammaborg illustrates below how they were actually used.

    The Roman Legions meanwhile used their shields differently but again with force to completely discombobulate the enemy (push them into a mass).

    So I'm asking you, the playground, what you've thought about this topic. What do you know about actual two-weapon fighting? (It's my understanding that though it was gradually outmoded, it was quite popular for a time, but this may be incorrect.)
    All the actual, historical popular non-shield two weapon fighting styles I can think of had two factors in common and were because two hands are better than one.
    1. They would primarily be used by people not wearing heavy armour against people not wearing armour.
    2. Ease of carrying was considered important.


    One of the two situations was that of sailors. A sailor would as a rule not wear metal armour for pretty obvious reasons. They would also want their main melee weapon to be one-handed because when a ship rolls they could grab onto the rigging/the side/whatever - but if the ship wasn't rolling two hands beat one so they'd want a dagger for their off-hand. And possibly a pistol or two but they were one shot.

    The other case is for social situations where you could e.g. wear a rapier or smallsword but not a two handed weapon, let alone a full body shield. Two hands beat one and so you'd want your off-hand in play; your options included a cloak, a mail-palmed glove, a buckler' or a parrying dagger. None of which take much space.

    (This doesn't mean people haven't experimented with two weapons as Musashi did after watching Portugese sailors - just that they weren't that popular).

    On the battlefield reach was king for the infantry. Bows, slings, muskets, pikes, spears, halberds. Javelins for the legions (who are utterly weird). The hoplites somehow managed pike and shield. (Rondeleros were specialist support troops and not used for long). If you have more reach you can get four of your guys attacking two of theirs.

    For cracking good armour specialist weapons like the pollax were considered the order of the day.

    On the other hand for skirmishing and where armour was expensive (think Vikings, or anywhere where there weren't really cities) shields were ubiquitous because they are a weapon that can be used passively and can provide a lot of benefits even in formation.

    Duelling is always artificial; you might not have the Ten Duel Commandments but you'd always have some formalisation of the rules to prevent every wedding turning into a Red Wedding.

    What do you think about how it's handled in RPGs? What would be a better way, if you feel a better way is needed, to model the use of parrying daggers and whatnot?
    I think most RPG weapon/armour sets are so artificial it doesn't really matter. Although I would rather have active defences.
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by neonchameleon View Post
    Javelins for the legions (who are utterly weird). The hoplites somehow managed pike and shield.
    Not just the legions, everyone influenced by their contact with the Celts, who popularised the use of javelins by non-skirmishers. For a long stretch of the Hellenistic through Roman eras, the javelin was ubiquitous across many cultures. In that same era, shield and helmet were the essentials, body armour was a trade-off between protection and mobility.

    And hoplites used spear and (large) shield; phalangites used pike and (small) shield, by strapping their shield to the upper arm/shoulder.
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    And hoplites used spear and (large) shield; phalangites used pike and (small) shield, by strapping their shield to the upper arm/shoulder.
    In D&D terms it would have been a buckler.

    Interestingly, the pictures you see of the back ranks holding their pikes at an angle was actually because they were trying to block incoming missile weapons to help make up for the lack of a real shield.

    As to historical TWF, there were some which were a pair of equal sized weapons. Butterfly swords, hook swords, chicken sickles etc. Frankly - the only ones I can think of are all from Asia. (And I don't think that they were used much/any in the military.)

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    2) Thrusting weapons

    This is where we come to a point when someone specifically takes an off hand weapon with him with the intention of dual wielding. Thing is, when it comes to mostly stabby weapons, a off hand dagger is usually better than a small shield - you can re-orient it much more quickly than a buckler. This applies to both rapiers and spears, but not so much to, say, halberds. In essence, you sacrifice capacity to stop cuts for capacity to stop thrusts when taking a dagger instead of a buckler.
    Really? Shows how much I know about swordfighting; I would have expected it to be harder to stop thrusts with a dagger.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Really? Shows how much I know about swordfighting; I would have expected it to be harder to stop thrusts with a dagger.
    Just have to alter the line of attack enough so that it's no longer hitting you, or failing that, no longer aimed at a vital/crippling area; that's relatively easy to do, since you're not trying to completely defeat the incoming force. You're just adding a sideways vector. So.. not stopping thrusts as such, like you might if you blocked with a full size shield or making a more desperate move with a larger weapon, but parrying. Decent defensive weapon if you only expect to really deal with thrusting weapons, such as in the classic rapier-and-dagger dueling image. Less useful if you also have to handle slashing weapons/attacks, since it's harder to deflect a slash far enough to be relatively safe with a shorter, less weighty weapon; you would probably prefer a solid buckler in that case, if you couldn't have a proper shield.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Decent defensive weapon if you only expect to really deal with thrusting weapons, such as in the classic rapier-and-dagger dueling image.
    There were even specific types of parrying daggers such as the main-gauche, triple dagger, and the swordbreaker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeejimbo View Post
    Perhaps you could have a system where every round you can choose to either get a defensive bonus or an attack bonus (be it a better chance to hit representing your increased options, or multiple attacks)?
    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    In this case, the system is supposed to simplify combat a little while still providing granularity and giving consequences for choosing different tactical options. Attack and defense, and the balance between them, is key, while damage is not (since I'm doing away with hit points). Most of the tactics of combat will revolve around movement and reach, I think, though I'm still not entirely sure on this.
    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    If you are after realism then dual wielding is only better than having 1 handed weapon.
    Weapon and Shield is great, systems like DnD really don't get how great shield is in a fight.
    Based on some personal opinion (nope, none of it is because I think I know much about what weapon fights to the death are actually like)...and taking into account the desire for simple granularity that seems to be in line with what people think the weapon sets should do, a couple thoughts occur to me.

    Most simple
    Increase the defensive bonus of a shield to +2 AC (to allow for some scaling);
    Two-weapon fighters gain +1 to hit and +1 to defense/AC, attacks resolved with main hand weapon

    Slightly less simple
    Two weapon fighters decide if they are being "offensive" (+1 to hit) or defensive (+1 to defense) each round.

    Least simple
    Two weapon fighters as above;
    Weapon and shield fighters decide if they are being offensive (+1 to hit, can't use shield next round) or defensive (+2 to defense) each round.

    Something like that...

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    I like the way Legend RPG handles it.

    Each character has a weapon. The weapon can be described as whatever you want - a sword is a weapon, a sword and shield is a weapon, two swords is a weapon, a dragon's fire breath is a weapon, sixty thousand keening beaks of the black crows of Ba'al are a weapon. No matter how you describe your primary weapon, it's a basic attack that deals 1d6 damage and has a certain number of properties that improve that number or do other things. This works fairly well, since your primary weapon can then be augmented by magic weapon items in exactly the same way, no matter what you picked.
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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    I like the way Legend RPG handles it.

    Each character has a weapon. The weapon can be described as whatever you want - a sword is a weapon, a sword and shield is a weapon, two swords is a weapon, a dragon's fire breath is a weapon, sixty thousand keening beaks of the black crows of Ba'al are a weapon. No matter how you describe your primary weapon, it's a basic attack that deals 1d6 damage and has a certain number of properties that improve that number or do other things. This works fairly well, since your primary weapon can then be augmented by magic weapon items in exactly the same way, no matter what you picked.
    That sounds kind of dull to me.

    It removes a lot of customization. Yes - it lets you pick whatever you want, but I want my character choices to be reflected in the mechanics.

    But *shrug* to each their own.

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    Default Re: RPG Design and Two-Weapon Fighting

    Actually, the way Legend does it involves a lot of customisation. Each mundane weapon gets three descriptors that give it different abilities, and you can put them together however you want to represent the weapon you want.

    So for example, a sword and shield might add a bonus to your Armor Class, allow you to parry as a reaction in response to taking any damage, and allow you to move across the battlefield without provoking attacks of opportunity.

    Meanwhile, a dagger might be automatically hidden on your person, be able to be thrown, and allow you to draw it faster than other weapons.

    I've never actually played Legend myself, but its weapons are heavily customisable in their mechanics, despite being handled abstractly.
    Last edited by Theoboldi; 2017-03-20 at 03:49 PM.
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