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> Martial Arts, Roundhouse Kick Aimed to Increase Damage at the Head of the Dead Horse
Sunshine
post Jul 1 2013, 09:36 AM
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I moved this discussion into it's own thread, as Mach_Ten pointed the hijacking already out:

QUOTE
QUOTE (Sunshine @ Jun 30 2013, 02:22 PM) *
I have some martial arts and self defence training and some principles do not change that much when going from empty handed to a stick to a blade. On the other hand depending on the kind of stick or blade or unarmed combat style there can be worlds between them, especially with the more exotic forms. I went from crazy to mad with all the houserules we tried to implement this or that.

I dunno, I think we could come up with a better fit for things.

Since houseruling this does end up very often not working elegantly, maybe... maybe instead of trying to shoehorn in the fixes on the Weapon Skill side of things, we should get more creative with the Martial Arts themselves?

Okay, so Johnny Ganger uses a knife. He's not really trained, but he's been in enough fights and been coached enough by his fellow gangers that he can make use of the tool for its intended purpose - cutting drekheads who need cut. Let's say his Blades skill is therefor a 2.

Now, my idea is that the basic Weapon Skill is just that - the basic forms of utilizing that general type of weapon; the basic ability to make effective use of the weapon. So Johnny's 2 in Blades means he is somewhat competant with not only knives, but also swords, axes and even somewhat more unusual bladed weapons like Forearm Snap Blades. They're all used roughly the same way, and we're allowing for abstraction, so his general skills are sufficient for most common bladed implements, and anything outside that category would end up a different Weapon Skill, possibly even an Exotic Melee skill. So Johnny can pick up an ice pick and still make holes in people, but if he wants to make proper use of a monofilament chainsaw or something, he'll need some training.

let's put Johnny to one side, for now, and instead look at Monk Wu, who is trained in the Shaolin Arts. His weapon of choice is a staff, but he's also pretty good with short sticks and other Blunt weapons, so let's say he has a Blunt Skill of 3. He's also equally good with a spear, though, because the forms for his staff training work just as well for spears. As the rules currently stand, Monk Wu has to buy up Blades 3 to be able to properly use the spear that is essentially no different than his staff in terms of the forms of Shaolin. And if it turns out that Monk Wu he has no real training with any other bladed weapons - he only knows how to use the spear, and that as an extension of his staff training - things become even more absurd.

So how to fix this odd disparity, such that Monk Wu can use his spear without having to pay a significant price in karma to also be trained in swords and axes and cyberspurs and other weapons outside his martial art's discipline? Simple! Change the bonuses from Martial Arts!

Martial Arts bonuses are currently kind of sad. Sure, you can get extra dice to certain actions with most styles, and a few styles allow for more impressive and powerful bonuses (especially the boosts to Unarmed damage), but overall the Melee bonuses are lackluster. I say we scrap them and start over, specifically with the goal of creating new, interesting replacements.

For example, one possible bonus could be to allow practitioner's of a specific martial art to use certain of their Weapon Skills interchangeably with certain weapons. So in the case of Monk Wu, since he has studied the proper Shaolin forms for staff usage, and those forms are compatible with spear usage, he could substitute his Blunt skill for his Blades skill when using a spear. Similarly, someone who has studied Arnis de Mano, which specializes in using clubs and knives, might allow practitioner's to choose between Blades or Blunt when using such weapons, allowing them to apply the same forms to two compatible weapons.

Let's go back to Johnny Ganger for a second, with his knives. Let's say his gang ends up working with a local Triad organization, and in the course of the two groups interacting, Johnny meets a Triad Enforcer who picked up Eskrima in the Phillipines. Johnny is impressed by this man's skills and pays his new contact to instruct him in the art. Johnny was already pretty good with Blades in general, but after about a month of training, he's getting the hang of things and learning how to make use of the martial art's specific forms, still favoring his knives. A week later, he gets jumped in an alleyway by some chipheads in need of a fix, but for whatever reason he doesn't have his blades on him. He grabs the nearest thing to hand - a couple of wooden dowels sticking out of a trash bag - and defends himself.

Dangit, these are Blunt weapons! Johnny doesn't have Blunt skills! ...but he does have Eskrima training, which allows him to employ the forms he uses for his Knives with these compatible one-handed clubs, meaning he can substitute his Blades skill while fighting with such weapons! Sure, he may not know the first thing about swinging around a sledgehammer or fighting with a staff - hence why his Blunt skill is 0 - but these sticks are close enough to his familiar knives that they still work just as well with his training (except for dealing Stun damage instead of Physical because they aren't bladed, or whatever).

Combine this with the One-Handed/Two-Handed system instead of Blades/Blunt and I think it has a good chance of working rather nicely.

~Umi
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Sendaz
post Jul 1 2013, 09:48 AM
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Actually I think he was more on about the Kung fu cats and babies bit. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

But yeah, the way skills are broken down is a bit odd sometimes.

Used to be waaay back you bought Armed combat or Firearms and then concentrated or specialized further, but you still had a baseline aptitude with all the stuff within that category.

Nowadays this is represented by the skill groups. But if you take just Clubs, if you try to use a sword you don't get to default to clubs with a penalty but just back to base attribute - 1.

I would almost suggest a house rule of if you have Agility 4 and Clubs 4 and you try to use a sword you could default to half your associated skill (clubs) so you would roll 6 dice. ( 4 for agility and half your clubs for 2 ) or if you do not want to undercut skill groups too much include a -1 penalty on top so it would be 5 dice ( 4 agility + 1/2 clubs (2) minus 1 for the default = 5). Still slightly better than the baseline default back to agility -1 (3) without making it a truly free ride.

For martial arts the idea of swapping in something similar to the main weapon could work but again you have to figure some level of penalty to reflect they do not work exactly the same. (like a -1 to -2)
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Sunshine
post Jul 1 2013, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE (Umidori @ Jul 1 2013, 02:28 AM) *
I dunno, I think we could come up with a better fit for things.

Yes, lets get to it!
One of the first things I allowed was to improve skill groups by discounting already paid up levels. So Johnny Ganger could for 12 Karma improve his Blades Skill 2 to the Close Combat Skill Group Rating 2. We imediately expandet this to the Firearms Group. With the other Gropus aside from Influence we started to get problems with the concept. How does my disguise stat help me get the hang on infiltration or how does a Hardware Skill help me in performing a data search, etc.
One of the arguments made was that of the Olympic Fencing Master. He has his Blades at 6 even a Style specialization. How does that help him if he picks up some Judo lessons? I warned ya - mad to crazy and back...

QUOTE
Martial Arts bonuses are currently kind of sad. Sure, you can get extra dice to certain actions with most styles, and a few styles allow for more impressive and powerful bonuses (especially the boosts to Unarmed damage), but overall the Melee bonuses are lackluster. I say we scrap them and start over, specifically with the goal of creating new, interesting replacements.


I agree, they are a "nice" gadget on top of melee combat skill when reaching Ratings 5+ but before they mostly were rather expensive in regard to just raising the overall skill level (with ready weapon as a free action/ take aim as a free action/ improve damage as notable exeptions there). Yet sometimes they fail to represent what SD or Maritial Arts Training does. Do we also drop the "pricing" (like 5 BP/ 10 Karma per Rank, 2 BP/ 4 Karma per Maneuver) as imo it has a huge impact how to balance said thing?
For now I just go both ways. Step A) Try to represent the change consistent with the actual "pricing" and Step B) totally open minded, talk about balancing it later. And we are talking sr4, therfore completely hijacking Mach_Tens thread on whats new in 5th about melee here? MOVED IT

QUOTE
For example, one possible bonus could be to allow practitioner's of a specific martial art to use certain of their Weapon Skills interchangeably with certain weapons. So in the case of Monk Wu, since he has studied the proper Shaolin forms for staff usage, and those forms are compatible with spear usage, he could substitute his Blunt skill for his Blades skill when using a spear. Similarly, someone who has studied Arnis de Mano, which specializes in using clubs and knives, might allow practitioner's to choose between Blades or Blunt when using such weapons, allowing them to apply the same forms to two compatible weapons.

First thoughts:
Version A) Invent the Manuever: Use [Special Weapon] with [Inapropriate Melee Skill] (Sticks with Blades/ Escrima or Arnis)
Version B) Invent a "Expanded Form" Quality for some Martial Arts. Whenever you pick up a Martial Art you get to Choose 1 to 3 Weapons to be represented within this style tied to whichever skill you use as a base skill within the Style. Yes, this might lead to a Ninjutsu Character using Infiltration + Agility to attack with a Garotte, a Shurikken or a Knife.
QUOTE
Combine this with the One-Handed/Two-Handed system instead of Blades/Blunt and I think it has a good chance of working rather nicely.

I see dead people (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sleepy.gif) . A lot of them. Yes I think going from a one Handed Fighting Style to Two weapon fighting is a major leap. Even more so when going from Unarmed to Armed Melee Combat.

...need a break, brb
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Sunshine
post Jul 1 2013, 11:17 AM
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QUOTE (Sendaz @ Jul 1 2013, 11:48 AM) *
Actually I think he was more on about the Kung fu cats and babies bit. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)


Thou shall not deserve us hijacking your thread if you can not enjoy one of these. Manly chosen for the "Soundtrack". (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)

QUOTE
Used to be waaay back you bought Armed combat or Firearms and then concentrated or specialized further, but you still had a baseline aptitude with all the stuff within that category.


I liked that mechanic too, but I get that it messes with the Attribute + Skill Mechanic on some level.

QUOTE
I would almost suggest a house rule of if you have Agility 4 and Clubs 4 and you try to use a sword you could default to half your associated skill (clubs) so you would roll 6 dice. (4 for agility and half your clubs for 2)

It is close to the defaulting mechanic in Sr23 (I can't rememer if it was like that in 1ed too).

The main Problem I see with it is a balancing issue. Most Characters would end up with arround four to five skills at max level, defaulting to just about anything. That is the main reason I'd try to focus on a Martial Arts revamp and not to go into skills in general. Btw, welcome to the discussion, Sendaz (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Martial Arts:
I try my hand at a "definition" which no one (even I) can be happy with but maybe it helps us agree upon some "principles" we all can come arround to. This is a first offer at this, NOT a "This is how it should/ shall be!".

First I'd try to seperate Self Defence and Combat Sports from Martial Arts. MAs often have a broader scale, a origin myth ähh history and roots in a distinctive culture to allow the style to develop as it did. That is not to say there is no cross contamination (in the best interpretation of the term used) between those three things. And maybe for the sake of Shadowrun, we will have to take a look at Self Defence Systems or Melee Combat Systems employed by modern military and security forces to be represented within the martial arts "rules" we come up with.

Self Defence Imo is covered nicely by the Skills and Combat Options in place, leaving true™ Martial Arts Training in the hands of a few dedicated people for a broader or narrower use.

All Martial Arts roam arround the same basic concepts, which are imo:
Start the bleeding, stop the breathing and or moving, promote established shock (I deliberately ignore the promotion of physical and mental fitness, health and other added benefits of practicing a martial art here).
Each Martial Art has its own way of achieving said goals in a "superior manner" via either unarmed or armed melee techniques and a specific view on the importance of which goals are to be achieved how and in what order.

Lets try to find some Design/ Resaerch Questions, shall we? (HA, totally rethorical question!)
What shall be achieved by a Martial Arts Mechanic in the Shadowrun universe?
How is that supposed to be fun™? (And, yes because I think it's cool/ awesome/ legendary counts!)
Can we keep that balanced and consistent without compromising the mechanics in place? (Who cares, I wanna FU)

Please feel free to add/ subtract/ answer and discuss.

love,
Sunshine
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Mach_Ten
post Jul 1 2013, 12:52 PM
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I feel a retributive strike is imminent, fisrt you lot de-rail, and then you subvert my subscribers !!
Even if they were only in it for the cats (What, is this place REDDIT or somethings!"?)

so, I will extract my revengeance ... by Staying ON topic !!... they'll never see it coming !

I'd personally like to see a few parts of melee improved

1) better descriptions (fluff & Crunch) of blocking, parrying and dodging

2) a similar mechanic to the firearms (it's all Complex but broken down into multiple simple actions)
~I'm thinking flurries, ripostes, pinning,

3) specialties in a style rather than a function .. I think I've been playing too much nWoD
but for each level of unarmed you can select an associated maneuvre

this would improve it for me over and above what a SR4 guy can do without WAR!

i.e. someone with blades 1 versus someone with blades 12 ..... the latter should know, not only HOW to tear the other guy apart .. but also Look Fragging good doing it !

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Shemhazai
post Jul 1 2013, 02:10 PM
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New skill that works like Exotic Weapon.

For Melee, you can get Exotic Weapon (Monofilament Whip). Imagine instead Martial Arts (Krav Maga), along with a sensible list of what these fighting styles can do. Give players the chance to use their exotic attacks to perform certain types of combat actions. One could specialize for +2 dice in one particular maneuver.

I don't know what these special feats could be. It should be sufficiently different than unarmed combat by itself.
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Sunshine
post Jul 1 2013, 03:16 PM
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(IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotfl.gif)

I will concede defeat to your well executed revenge by taking you totally SERIOUS, ya heard me mate!

1) Every melee attack has an "ideal vector" of execution in terms of Speed, Momentum and Force transferred in relation to it's desired effect (Swing the Blade like that => Start the bleeding there, Shove the Guy like this => Drop his body there, etc.).

Blocking is the attempt of well, you guessed it, blocking that "ideal vector" and therefor stopping whatever speed, momentum and or force is transfered to its desired effect dead in its tracks. Typically when blocking you want to transfer the force or momentum to something different than yourself (a Shield, a Forearm Guard, a Table, a Chair, the guy you shoved between yourself and the attack, etc.). Sometimes you'll accept a minor injury over death (Like in some unarmed styles blocks where you sacrifice your arm for not getting hit in the head, groin or solar plexus) as some knife defence techniques neglect to point out (Or as one of my sd instructors pointed out: You're gonna bleed like a pig, but you'll know from the pain that you are still alive).
A Crunchwise approach to blocking could be adding your hits to the damage resistance test as bonus dice (you'll accept some damage, for less than lethal damage) or adding them to armor for the sole purpose of reversing damage from physical to stun and not adding them to the soak roll. If you happen to have a Shield, etc it could be subject to armor degradation or plain damage.

Parrying is the attempt of actually deflecting the incomming attack from it's "ideal vector" (I am NOT a native speaker, therefor I sometimes put terms in "" when I am not sure if I use them right) therfore derailing said speed, momentum and or force of the attack from its path to your characters imminent demise to it's imminent waste. Parrying employs most of the time the (body)weapons already in use in the current situation and does not need a Shield, Sacrificial Limb or innocent bystander sob to get in the way.
(For example you could use a fencing foil to parry the attack from a combat axe, not so much to block it)
Crunchwise I do not have anything new, as I find the melee combat rules represent that very well as every success achieved subtacts from the attack roll. Maybe somebody else has some Ideas out there?

Dodging is the attempt of leaving where the "ideal vector" of the attack aims before mentioned speed, momentum and or force is applied.
Crunchwise I'd allow a change of position and/or movement distance bonus in relation to the success of the defense roll (like reaching cover by dodging, that was 1 to 2 meters out of reach before, etc.

So, I hope that counts as a better™ description of said melee options, for the fluff/crunch part I hope other share their imagination.

2) Some of those exist already imo like suppression, wide bursts, etc. For the Ripostes part I hope someone more competent on the topic of guns can shed some light. A Martial Arts Variation would be to either allow those things (suppression, wide burst) with semi-auto pistols or resolve it like the Herding Maneuver.

3) I toyed a lot arround with the idea and never got quite the hang of it. How to add something cool for the players who like the detail and are ready to invest into added benefit in relation to the player who says, no thanks basic self defence class is fine with me I'll just take Unarmed Combat at Rating 6 and be done with it. I think it is exactly what the original Martial Arts rules design intent was, add options for the geeks and leave the other players alone.

QUOTE (Shemhazai @ Jul 1 2013, 04:10 PM) *
New skill that works like Exotic Weapon.
For Melee, you can get Exotic Weapon (Monofilament Whip). Imagine instead Martial Arts (Krav Maga), along with a sensible list of what these fighting styles can do. Give players the chance to use their exotic attacks to perform certain types of combat actions. One could specialize for +2 dice in one particular maneuver.
I don't know what these special feats could be. It should be sufficiently different than unarmed combat by itself.


Hm, I like where this might be going. Like adding a Martial Arts Skill as a seperated entity to the skill list. Either making a "Trained by a Master" quality or the Sensei quality a prerequisite with every Skill Rank allowing for a special technique or maneuver. That could adress Mach_Tens point 3) and fit with Umidoris example of the blade slinging ganger with some escrima training or the shaolin monk employing a spear with his blunt skill.

so, I try to shut up now for a while so others can budge in.

love,
Sunshine
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