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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Two Attacks, One Round

Not sure if I'd actually implement this, but it's pretty simple, and would work with Holmes Basic, the weapons speed system I detailed previously, or any combat rules that use reverse Dex order for order of attack. Suppose you want to give fast characters, or characters with shorter weapons than their opponent, two attacks in one round. How could you do it?

Your Dex score (plus opponent's weapon length, if longer than your own weapon) is the moment of your first attack. Subtract 10 from this number; if the result is more than 0, that is the moment of your second attack. Thus, average mercs will only get one attack, but a guy with a dagger fighting a guy with a great sword will probably get a second attack after the opponent's attack. A guy with Dex 18 could even possibly get two attacks before a really slow opponent can strike.

Oh, and a second attack with a polearm is at an additional -10 penalty... so only one attack per round, unless the situation is really phenomenal.

(I picked 10 because it's easy to eyeball. Dex <= 10? Probably only one attack/round. Dex > 10? Two attacks; drop the first digit to do the subtraction. Unarmed monk with Dex 18? Maybe even a third attack, if the opponent is using something longer than a shortsword.


  1. Watching people fight with polearms, they're not particularly slow... In fact, because you can use the head, the butt, and the shaft, they are actually very fast for follow-up attacks in a 1-on-1 (as opposed to formation) battle.

    I would say someone with a dagger attacking someone with a poleaxe would have to endure 1 or 2 attacks before even being in range, and would still be vulnerable to attacks with the shaft.

    The whole notion of longer weapons being slower doesn't hold much water - the reach lets them strike first, and they are not significantly slower to swing. The necessity of closing more range with the dagger eats up more time than the increased swinging time of a longer weapon.

    Also, the idea you posted about previously of longer weapons going first, and then shorter weapons going first in later rounds also doesn't really match up with what I've seen. Combatants will do their best to stay at their optimum range. Every time the guy with the dagger moves forward, the guy with the sword or polearm is going to circle outwards to maintain range (if possible). Until you're into grappling (where a sword is not very useful) or if you're backed into a corner, the sword is going to have an opportunity to strike first every time vs. the dagger, because the swordsman would never let the daggerman stay at that short range - it's foolish.

    In real life, longer weapons are pretty much always better. They have the reach, and the power. They defend you better, they threaten more space, and they do more damage.

    If your goal is to balance daggers for gameplay reasons, then ignore everything I just said! Otherwise, I think you're nerfing longer, larger weapons unduly.

  2. The "longer weapon first on first round" answers your first objection, I think. Remember, though, that this post is specifically about getting a second attack roll, not about who goes first. The idea of pikemen being blurringly fast in close combat seems a little extreme.

    As for first strike, in general highest Dex gets it (that's what's in the linked post.) Weapon length modifies this, but isn't full-proof. If two opponents of equal Dex fight, however, the longer weapon will probably get the first strike on the first round, and the shorter weapon will get first strike on following rounds, because yeah, combatants will do their best to stay at their optimum range -- even the guy with the dagger. If the guy with the sword is faster, he can try to exploit the differences in speed and weapon length.

    Longer isn't always better. If it were, then knights would have only trained on the best weapon they could get, and would have only carried that weapon.

  3. Bringing pikes in muddies the issue, to be sure. But I'm talking about something like a 6-foot spear or a 6-foot poleaxe. Or a longsword. Not a 12-15ft pike.

    The crux of my point is, if you're fighting with a dagger, and I have a sword, you're in trouble. If you have a dagger and I have a poleaxe, you're in trouble. Even if you're faster than me. Until we're grappling, my reach is an advantage.

  4. What I'm saying though, is: if you have a dagger and I have a poleaxe, you are going to grapple. Other way around, and you will try to keep me at a distance. And if I have two friends, also armed with daggers, you may not be able to keep all of us at bay. No weapon or technique is foolproof.

  5. Also: did you read the other recent combat mod post I did? Keep in mind I'm talking about the dagger wielder going second on round 2, but your poleaxe wielder has a +6 to hit.