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Author Topic: 2 Weapon Fighting  (Read 1720 times)

Hieronymous Rex

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2 Weapon Fighting
« on: January 11, 2010, 01:22:23 pm »
In game systems, fighting with 2 weapons simultaneously varies between overpowered (essentially allowing you to act twice) and useless (penalties are heavy; specializing in it is "feat intensive").

In order to resolve this, an analysis of how this was/is done in the real world is in order. My question is: who historically wielded weapons this way, and for what purpose?

BedrockBrendan

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 02:10:17 pm »
Not an expert, but I do know that Krabi Krabong, a Thai style of fighting, uses a sword in each hand. However, I think these days it is mostly a performance thing. And I have no idea if it was ever used this way historically. Been told that in the renaisance Europe people used a dagger to parry and a sword to strike in duels (again, not an expert here). In a sense, boxers fight with two weapons.

One thing to consider in a discussion like this, is the way that modern styles sometimes project themselves back into history, and interpret the history of a region's swordsmanship through a modern lens.

kryyst

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2010, 02:29:23 pm »
Lots of martial arts use two weapons, there are also fencing styles that use two weapons and lets not forget that the shield is a weapon, just specialized to be primarily for defense.

Two-Weapon fighting is primarily about using one weapon for offense and the other as defense - usually to counter the other persons second weapon or as a means to attack when your primary weapon is bound up.  Generally speaking if you are in a position to actually strike with both weapons at the same time you've already one.

Where this translates, usually, into the RPG concept is that most combat systems do not represent 1 roll equal 1 sword swing.  That one roll represents your ability to make one good capitalizing attack in a round.  The concept being that if you have two weapons you are more likely going to be able to capitalize more often in the round.  The same idea is applied with multiple-attack characteristics.  It's not that you are now making 2 swings in a round, but you are better at combat and have succeeded in finding two openings that round.

As to your original issue.  I personally don't find two-weapons to be out of balance in most systems or at least any more out of balance then the systems are with respect to most other things.
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Silverlion

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2010, 05:44:30 pm »
I tend to like systems that say other choices are just as good. A two handed sword may strike slower, but it hits harder. Even that is in question if you follow the Middle Age Martial Art re creationists who are learning from ancient manuscripts and may be revealing that big swords weren't all that slow, and WAY more flexible than they'd seem.

In High Valor its a choice of a trait, you can use it like any other and its value is what is important, not its means. Means can shift in a single battle from using both to attack, one to strike and one to defend, or both to defend full out. It's how you choose to apply the value you have rather than something with an increase in value because of its nature.
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Hairfoot

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 07:08:01 pm »
Shield + weapon is always better than two weapons.  Martial arts that use two weapons are intended for situations in which shields aren't available, such as at the pub and in Renaissance coffee houses.

It's the same with armour.  There is no such thing as a dextrous, unarmoured fighter; only dextrous, poorly-protected fighters who will grab armour as soon as it becomes available.

jibbajibba

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2010, 07:27:23 pm »
Loads of styles.

Filipino stick fighting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH309YwzxsY (excellent clip )

Thai's did use 2 weapons sword fighting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-TytzvopOY (mixed and a v annoying sound track)

Then there is Bruce Lee :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRyDcB7qQFo&feature=PlayList&p=A4629EEBAB4152B5&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20
However the 'Chucks are really all show there don't have a lot of control and the force of the impact is actually lost on impact as they don't transfer their kinetic energy cleanly

Western fencing, notably in France used a main gauche (a basket hilted dagger that may have comb like teeth to snap a blade) as a parrying weapon.
Occassionally used in fencing today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8vmsAf2zWs
(clip is okay but shows you how much slower this sort of fighting is)
The thing is as blades became lighter reach and speed become much more important and so the parry dagger, great agains slower heavier wepaons becomes outmoded.

Reach is a key limitation when using two weapons, by its nature the weapons tend to be shorter but also the body position is square to the opponent this reduces the effectiveness and speed of a thrust/lunge. Reach however is something that is essential in combat but very very badly represented in RPGs.
And as Hairfoot says if you have a second weapon you can't use a shield.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 07:35:25 pm by jibbajibba »
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Ian Absentia

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 07:45:59 pm »
Quote from: Silverlion;354629
I tend to like systems that say other choices are just as good.
This is the sort of system that I've come to prefer as well.  On one hand, there are the simulation systems that attempt to portray the physics involved in one weapon versus another, and that's where arguments about relative penetration values and the resiliency of the crystalline structure of pre-Renaissance steel, etc, ad nauseum.  On the other hand, you have a system that abstracts combat to essentially say that one combatant's training in a particular weapon or style is simply relative to his ability to his ability to successfully strike a blow home.

Thus, Two-Handed Fencing 80% is no better and no worse than Broadsword 80%, though it might have a range advantage over, say, Knife Fighting 80%.

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noisms

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 08:11:12 pm »
Historically all two weapon fighting has either been at least semi-ritualised and used in duels etc., or has arisen in situations in which shields are impractical for whatever reason.

A shield just offers more protection - it's bigger and can withstand much more powerful blows. And I always think that protection trumps anything else in a fight; if you were a medieval soldier about to head into battle, would you be thinking "I want to carry two weapons so I can deal as much death as possible!!", or would you be thinking "I want to be as well protected as I can be, so that I don't get killed or wounded and contract some sort of horrific gangrenous rotting disease"?
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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 08:43:03 pm »
Quote from: Ian Absentia;354651
This is the sort of system that I've come to prefer as well.  On one hand, there are the simulation systems that attempt to portray the physics involved in one weapon versus another, and that's where arguments about relative penetration values and the resiliency of the crystalline structure of pre-Renaissance steel, etc, ad nauseum.  On the other hand, you have a system that abstracts combat to essentially say that one combatant's training in a particular weapon or style is simply relative to his ability to his ability to successfully strike a blow home.

Thus, Two-Handed Fencing 80% is no better and no worse than Broadsword 80%, though it might have a range advantage over, say, Knife Fighting 80%.

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The earliest draft of High Valor had some things like "Reach", "Speed", and "Infighting" which allowed one to hold off foes or move in beneath their reach to strike. (Getting under an axeman's swing to knife him for example.)

Playtesting brought out that most of the players I dealt with didn't care if it was "realistic" so long as they  could be cool with their chosen weapons. I've noticed my own annoyance at Video games (Dragon Age) obsession with the sword. I mean I understand why, but I'd like to see a few really decent non-sword weapons in such games. Maces, Spears, Staves. I think it be awesome to play a  Norse staff fighter who could really show off how effective that could be in a game.
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Hairfoot

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 02:46:20 am »
Quote from: jibbajibba;354648
Loads of styles.

Filipino stick fighting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH309YwzxsY (excellent clip )

Thai's did use 2 weapons sword fighting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-TytzvopOY (mixed and a v annoying sound track)

Choreographed bullshit, I'm afraid.  If you can tie your own shoelaces, you can learn to do that in half an hour.

I posted a cool stick & board vid here.  Please add vids to that thread if you have them.

EDIT: not dissing Dan Inosanto.  He can be a mean fucker.  The exercises in those vids, though, are just figure-8 baton twirling.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 02:49:39 am by Hairfoot »

jibbajibba

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 04:35:59 am »
Quote from: Hairfoot;354716
Choreographed bullshit, I'm afraid.  If you can tie your own shoelaces, you can learn to do that in half an hour.

I posted a cool stick & board vid here.  Please add vids to that thread if you have them.

EDIT: not dissing Dan Inosanto.  He can be a mean fucker.  The exercises in those vids, though, are just figure-8 baton twirling.


Actually it wasn't the fighting I was actually praising it was the technical stuff that that Ultimate Warrior show does. I have caught a few in the UK and their approach to analysis of weapons and combat styles is very good. Then they go on to compare Mafia to Yakuza or Samurai to Ninja and it jumps the Shark but the first few where they analyse the effective impact of various weapons and striking techniques on a crash test dummy very good. Especially useful if you are interested in adding any depth to the combat in your games, although I too also agree that most games have no need for it and its only worth doing if the game is focused on combat dueling or something similar (maybe an all fighter fantasy game would benefit).
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Hairfoot

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 05:36:47 am »
Quote from: jibbajibba;354726
Actually it wasn't the fighting I was actually praising it was the technical stuff that that Ultimate Warrior show does.


Which is cool, but perhaps not illuminating re the OP.

For simpler systems I like Philotomy's take:

Quote from: Philotomy Jurament
Instead of altering the way damage is rolled, wielding two weapons could result in an increased chance to hit (i.e. +1). Going this route gives you three basic options: weapon + shield (increased defense), weapon + weapon (increased chance to hit), or two-handed weapon (increased average damage), which is nice, mechanically.

madunkieg

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 05:46:48 am »
I've fenced against two-weapon styles a few times (dual dagger, dagger and rapier, cloak and rapier), so I can vouch for it usually being about one for defense and the other for offense, but...

Using two weapons, like using one weapon, is a game of cunning and tactics. Unlike a shield, having two weapons means if you defend to the right you're free to attack to the left and vice versa. It's sort of like hitting high then low, but you can hold your opponent's weapon at bay.

Of course, this tactical element of combat is lost in every rpg I've ever played, because it's abstracted into the die rolls. If your mechanics work in a way similar to most traditional rpgs, I'd suggest that beginner two-handed fighting gets a defense bonus, medium skill two-handed fighting a to-hit bonus (parry to create and opening and then strike) and only experienced fighters would get an extra attack.

I'd also note that off-hand penalties aren't as problematic as you might think, that a little practice minimizes the difference. I'm far from ambidextrous, but opponents have trouble figuring out which hand I prefer when fencing.
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Blackleaf

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 02:52:34 pm »
Depending on the rules system you might consider "unarmed combat" a type of two weapon fighting.  You might also consider something like a staff to be two weapons to represent being able to attack with either end.

These are the rules I'm using for Two Weapons and Two Handed Weapons in D&D

Quote
Two-handed Weapons: +1 to hit

Two Weapons: may choose to re-roll damage using the dice for their secondary weapon

karlsmith

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2 Weapon Fighting
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2010, 11:21:10 am »
mostly the Filipino martial arts uses two weapon fighting

Quote
Filipino martial arts include a lot of 2-hand fighting. It's all based on a system of angles, and theoretically anything works: 2 sticks, 2 knives, 2 swords, sword and knife, stick and knife, sword and shield, sticks of different lengths...


here are some weapons used in FMA ..