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Author Topic: Best sword fighting rules?  (Read 553 times)

weirdguy564

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Best sword fighting rules?
« on: November 22, 2022, 12:58:00 PM »
I roll an attack.  D20 + 4 skill.  Beat an AC of 14.

Again.  And again.  And again.

Or. 

One set of rules I found awesome is for the D6 series of games like West End Games Star Wars. 

“Dueling Blades” by Griffon publishing.
http://griffonpubstudio.blogspot.com/p/schweigs-d6-resources.html?m=1

It mostly adds movement as a result.  It’s simple, but effective. 

What’s your way to spiff up swordplay?
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Trond

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2022, 01:15:50 PM »
That reminds me of Flashing Blades, which I hear also has a pretty decent sword fighting system.

Eric Diaz

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2022, 01:39:49 PM »
I've tried multiple... Here is my latest (in theory; in practice, I'm going with a single d20 roll, plus critical hits, and leave maneuvers to specific rulings):

https://methodsetmadness.blogspot.com/2022/10/the-fighter-die-osr.html

 The fighter die (OSR)
This idea is inspired by DCC. I think it can be adapted to B/X (or other OSR games) for two purposes:

    Make the fighter a bit stronger.
    Give the fighter alternative maneuvers.

Let's make this as simple as we can.


The fighter gets a fighter die (FD) equal to their level: 1d4 on level 4, 1d6 on level 6, etc. Before level 4, this is replaced by a +1 bonus (use 1d2 if you prefer). After level 12, the die stays at 1d12 and grows no further (if you go all the way to level 20, you could expand this to 2d8 at level 16 and 2d10 at 20).

With each odd fighter level, the fighter can pick a new maneuver. He can use one maneuver per round.

    Bash: when you hit, add FD to damage.
    Aim: add FD to your attack roll.
    Slay: add twice FD to your damage if you crit.
    Defend: add FD to your AC against a single attack.
    Protect: add FD to an adjacent allies' AC against a single attack.
    Take cover: add FD/2 to your AC against ALL attacks.
    Mark: choose an adjacent target, he gets a penalty equal to your FD if he attacks someone else.
    Resist: add your FD to one saving throw [notice that this allows fighters to use the same STs as everybody else, a la Target 18].
    Recover: recover FD HP after you've been hit (no more HP than you lost this round).
    Cleave: get FD additional attacks against 1 HD foes within reach.
    Leadership: add +1 to attacks or morale to FD allies.
    Etc.

Simple and effective. No bookkeeping, no complex math, no need for tables, each "special features" takes a single line and you have about seven at most.

(Notice that the fighter die is roughly equal to half their level; you could repalce it with a "fighter bonus" instead).

Maybe you could give something similar to thieves (to improve their skills and backstabbing) and even clerics (smiting etc.). But it should be even simpler - maybe as a fighter half their level. An 8th-level thief adding 1d4 to their attack (which doubles if you successfully backstab) sounds very reasonable.

MUS? well, they don't need a boost... BUT you can give them cantrips if you want, causing 1d4 damage at level 4 etc.

Well, for now, this is just a random idea. My combat house rules are already getting a bit complicated as it is, so I don't need to add more stuff now. But it could be a worthy addition for a simpler game.
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weirdguy564

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2022, 02:27:37 PM »
Dueling Blades add-on rules are based around Margin-of-Success.  It’s part of our games that we narrate a fight, and when your dice roll is just barely above what’s needed, we describe it that you just squeezed by.  If the roll is vastly more than needed, then you effortlessly do the thing.

That’s the core to Dueling Blades.  Having more than Pass/Fail.  There are four results to success.  If you just barely succeed, you get Movement. A moderate hit is a stun penalty for the next roll.  A good hit is a normal damage like always, and a great success is a GM narrative critical hit.

I think Margin of Success used to chose one of many results is quite fun.
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Eric Diaz

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2022, 02:34:54 PM »
I like it! Sounds great for swashbuckling action (and, indeed, lightsaber duels).
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weirdguy564

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2022, 03:05:07 PM »
The weirdest bit of dueling blades is a lack of the initiative roll.  You just both roll.  Highest die roll wins.

There is one detail you need to know.  Your die roll doesn’t represent a single swipe of a weapon.  It’s just an overall theme for an entire round of combat that could be any number of slashes, kicks, spins, stabs, and feints. 

Just be aware that the writer forgot to explain what to do in a tie, or if you back somebody into a corner.

I rule that a tie is a blade-lock, resolved as a stun by a second dice roll tie breaker.  Either strength vs strength, or wit vs wit in a verbal duel of insults that discombobulates the loser.   The loser gets stunned.

Backing somebody into a corner, then “moving” them again just upgrades the result to a stun.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2022, 11:14:43 AM by weirdguy564 »
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MeganovaStella

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2022, 03:53:18 PM »
you'll want to try the riddle of steel or Exalted 3e.

oggsmash

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2022, 04:03:18 PM »
 I always heard riddle of steel was a pretty good example of sword fighting in rpgs.  For my tastes I thought GURPS with the Martial arts options turned on could simulate a back and forth very well, and the system itself makes it so that clean hits tend to HURT.   It also is not the fastest combat to run if you have more than 4 players and a couple of them like to dig into their bags of tricks.

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2022, 06:18:15 PM »
I always heard riddle of steel was a pretty good example of sword fighting in rpgs.

I'm a huge fan myself and agree with this. One of the few systems that gives a real feel for balancing commitments between attack and defense, and every fight is a race against time to see who tires more quickly first and has to deal with a shrinking pool of available dice.
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Jaeger

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2022, 07:01:40 PM »
As an unashamed Riddle of Steel fanboy - Yes, the melee combat system is excellent. Granted the sorcery rules are horribly broken and are best ignored.

Sadly, it was a game that could have really benefitted from a solid 2nd edition, but it never happened.

The only game since that I felt had an actual 'sword fighting' system that was worth anything was Honor & Intrigue. It is very underrated.

Because unlike TRoS, it's a system can be readily be ported into other game systems like Interlock, or d20 with a bit of effort.
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Marchand

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2022, 06:36:09 AM »
I really like Mythras, which is a D100/BRP type game. Achieving a greater level pf success than your opponent (success vs fail or critical vs normal success) gives you the chance to pick "special effects" like disarm, cause bleeding, or target a specific location (e.g. head). Sometimes you need to make another roll to achieve the intended effect. If you want to include optional weapon size rules this is how you close with an enemy trying to fend you off with a pike, or whatever. Weapons skills are bunched into "combat styles" e.g. Roman legionary (shield, shortsword, spear), and combat styles can have traits like "shield wall", giving you greater resilience against being pushed back if fighting in formation, or "swashbuckler", allowing you to fight more effectively while performing athletic manoeuvres.

It does need a degree of system familiarity to reduce the risk of either decision paralysis or spamming "target location: head", which is kind of boring although as the authors say, quite realistic historically. There are also mook rules to help fights go more quickly.
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Slipshot762

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2022, 06:44:59 AM »
i use a variant of dueling blades.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:41:02 AM by Slipshot762 »

Slipshot762

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Re: Best sword fighting rules?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2022, 07:07:42 AM »
shit, here is current prototype handout weirdguy, sure its not complete and subject to change but it shows direction we are heading and gives idea of how everything will work in concert:

https://docdro.id/WDgzUbA

disregard marvel charts, only used for on the fly eyeballing of magical adjudication rather than slowing things down with the spell measures table in d6fantasy (which is used just not at table in game)

present character sheet attached too, also subject to change.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2022, 07:09:30 AM by Slipshot762 »