Author Topic: Martial Arts  (Read 453 times)

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Offline EltonJ

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Martial Arts
« on: August 24, 2021, 03:09:10 PM »
I still have my copy of the Martial Arts Companion, huzzah!

Okay, I was wondering if anyone did Hollywood Swordsmanship for their games?  Did your players like it?

Offline tbigness

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2021, 04:15:31 PM »
They only used the different martial arts in this supplement.
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Offline Vladimir

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2021, 05:00:13 PM »
Okay, I was wondering if anyone did Hollywood Swordsmanship for their games?  Did your players like it?
  As a fencing instructor, that's kind of an oxymoron...
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Offline Cory Magel

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2021, 11:58:47 PM »
Okay, I was wondering if anyone did Hollywood Swordsmanship for their games?  Did your players like it?
  As a fencing instructor, that's kind of an oxymoron...
A good friend and I used to do the scene at the top of the cliff from the Princess Bride.  We learned for anyone to be able actually see the swordplay with any reliability we had to move at half speed.  It felt almost foolish fencing that slowly.
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Offline Vladimir

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2021, 12:59:41 AM »
Okay, I was wondering if anyone did Hollywood Swordsmanship for their games?  Did your players like it?
  As a fencing instructor, that's kind of an oxymoron...
A good friend and I used to do the scene at the top of the cliff from the Princess Bride.  We learned for anyone to be able actually see the swordplay with any reliability we had to move at half speed.  It felt almost foolish fencing that slowly.
  Theatrical fencing isn't blade combat...Which is why my friends don't go to movies with me... To be entertaining, you can't have a fight end in a couple of seconds, with most of the audience saying "What just happened?"
  Theatrical moves, even choreographed, is slower and the motions exaggerated for the entertainment value.
  In competition fencing, bouts between evenly matched fencers are swift and the usual reason a bouts lasts long is that the moves are too fast for the officials to judge accurately. I'd always call a clean hit on me because it's just plain honest -A lot of fencers are too interested in getting the trophy and will let a line judge decide. It doesn't help a fencer hone their skill if they don't know if a move was good and hoping a judge didn't catch a shot landing is dishonest to the other players, the judges and the sport as a whole.

  In my younger days I used to be a streetfighter and when I met a guy with a blade, I could tell at a glance if they knew how to use a blade in a fight, I have yet to meet one who did. Most took poses they learned from Hollywood...and I'd disarm and give them a beating. Sometimes I'd take their blades and wallet.

  This led me to come up with a possible skill: Read Opponent  It is something like a mix of Perception and Combat, where you size an opponent up by his weapon, his reach, his stance and moves to adjust your style to defeat his by estimating his abilities and limitations.
Are they long-armed and lanky? Infight, get nose to nose.
Short arms and daggers? Keep them at range.
Can you beat them at arm wrestling? Prise de fer. Control their blade.
  Forcing your opponent out of their comfort zone will control the fight. You only need a couple of seconds before they can react, so have your follow-up move planned.
When the Master governs, the people
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Offline Spectre771

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2021, 05:02:17 AM »
Okay, I was wondering if anyone did Hollywood Swordsmanship for their games?  Did your players like it?
  As a fencing instructor, that's kind of an oxymoron...
A good friend and I used to do the scene at the top of the cliff from the Princess Bride.  We learned for anyone to be able actually see the swordplay with any reliability we had to move at half speed.  It felt almost foolish fencing that slowly.

Slightly on/off topic... I read the book by Cary Elwes and he went into great detail about the training he and Mandy Patinkin had to do for the sword fight.  The director hired an Olympic gold medalist fencer and one of the top fencing instructors in the world to train each of them.  They had to learn the fight with their left and right hands, had to practice for hours every day after the regular rehearsals, and the fight scene was recorded last to give them the most time to practice.  The director did not want the "swashbuckling, Errol Flynn" sword fight, he wanted it to be believable.  It's a fantastic read as a fan of the movie, for those of you who are practitioners of the art, you'll get more enjoyment from those sections.
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Offline Cory Magel

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2021, 12:06:22 PM »
There was a local event we'd do that scene at each year, typically twice a day for two days.  Each year we'd practice only using our left hand for about two weeks so that by the time we swapped back to our right hand it held odd.
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Game design priority: Fun > Balance > Realism (> = greater than).
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Offline Vladimir

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2021, 02:54:49 PM »
There was a local event we'd do that scene at each year, typically twice a day for two days.  Each year we'd practice only using our left hand for about two weeks so that by the time we swapped back to our right hand it held odd.
  Symmetrical training is used in a few Asian martial arts. It has recently caught on by advocates of sports medicine as I've seen a effects of overtraining with one side, such as spinal problems due to overusing the muscles on one side of the body over the other. Alternating handedness also exercises the brain's wiring.
 
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Offline EltonJ

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2022, 06:34:49 PM »
I only asked since that sort of fencing is most often seen.  I guess a fencing instructor would say something to that effect.  I did stage fencing once, when I played Mercutio for Romeo and Juliet.  It was interesting, although it made me wonder: in RPGs they abstract the whole thing.   When I got wounded, I did my best to play someone who was wounded. "Tis but a scratch!"

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2022, 09:51:29 PM »
I only asked since that sort of fencing is most often seen.  I guess a fencing instructor would say something to that effect.  I did stage fencing once, when I played Mercutio for Romeo and Juliet.  It was interesting, although it made me wonder: in RPGs they abstract the whole thing.   When I got wounded, I did my best to play someone who was wounded. "Tis but a scratch!"
    Unless you handle melee combat the way some game handle second-by-second firearms combat, it is difficult to include all the nuances of blade combat. I've played games that tried to simulate dueling with rapiers which used an action point system and a list of possible maneuvers each player could use but it still didn't have the flavor of an actual duel.
  It is hard to simulate feints and disengages, the pris de fer and punta reversa used in the Saviolo School. A simple beat attack and extension was enough to defeat most opponents or at least make them give ground. How do you quantify that into a simulator?
I thought about giving each possible move a complexity rating, the way certain spells could only learned at certain character levels, when a fighter reached a certain skill rating, he'd pick up these more advanced maneuvers. A fighter attempting to use skills above their ability would be like a caster using a spell above their level.
  Every fighting style has its weakness -SCA rapier was nothing like its heavy, full contact counterpart. Heavy fighters often wore armor of better materials and superior construction to the armors they are representing, for the sake of liability. A rattan sword at full force delivered the kinetic energy of four baseball bats. With SCA rapier combat the armor restrictions were far less and fencers were instructed to ease up on thrusts and limit themselves to draw cuts, even though a actual rapier could weigh as much as a war sword. What the rules did was slow down attacks for people who lacked the blade control to pull their blows at impact. In addition to slowing down the combat for the majority of participants, it also duplicated the weakness of many martial arts schools -People aimed for an opponent's shirt. Example: A new fencer executes a thrust with only enough force and extension to touch an opponent's shirt. You have no idea how many people were shocked that all I had to do is lean back an inch to avoid being hit. In my classes, for Olympic fencing and competition Renaissance, the aim point was six inches beyond the opponent's spine... Which shocked more than one target when they found simply leaning back didn't work.     
     
  One of my classmates from high school went on to work for NASA and later taught college level physics would give me formulae to calculate energy at impact for weapons used in melee and missile combat. He is also a longtime SCA fighter and white belt (knight rated).
  Sword and shield was his usual style and he was known as a shield breaker. He also used a lot a feints in combat. His favorite move was "the Pump" where he'd bend his knees and make a motion that he was going to leap up for an overhead smash and when his opponent raised his own shield to fend off a high attack, he'd flick out his sword and slash his opponent's exposed legs. How is that quantified in a game? As a move, it can simplified as "high feint, followed up with low attack".
   
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2022, 01:54:15 AM »
His favorite move was "the Pump" where he'd bend his knees and make a motion that he was going to leap up for an overhead smash and when his opponent raised his own shield to fend off a high attack, he'd flick out his sword and slash his opponent's exposed legs. How is that quantified in a game? As a move, it can simplified as "high feint, followed up with low attack".
Quantified as "he rolled high on his attack roll - which means the opponent fell for it".

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2022, 04:36:03 AM »
Quote
Quantified as "he rolled high on his attack roll - which means the opponent fell for it".
  You could also say the opponent suddenly wondered if he left the water running in the bathroom sink, which distracted him at an inopportune moment. The attacker has no actual control and a strike to the leg would be coincidental and not intentional. What makes a melee deadly (and fast) is that both participants aim blows at exposed areas and forcing the opponent to expose those areas is part of the contest.

  While it make make sense that a fighter who is aware of what his opponent is trying should formulate a plan to avoid the opponent's maneuvers, sometimes it isn't the case.
  I could explain to one of my students (Adam) in detail what moves I planned to use, "I'm going to execute a beat attack, an extension, and thrust to your right shoulder."...and that student would do the same, wrong move to counter it. Repeatedly. I'd gather all the students and invite them to come up with answers but even after hearing the answers, that student would still fall for the move. The other students demonstrated various moves to avoid the maneuver (Disengage was what I was looking for but after the beat attack, any defense of the right shoulder should have parried a basic thrust).
  While at a war in Estrella Park near Phoenix, I helped Orion, a student, purchase a new, 43 inch rapier, which would give him an advantage  over the standard  37" blades. We joined the lines fighting (it was stupid, but when groups of fencers hit the field, they'd form lines)... and I'd graciously introduce myself and my student then, "Today, I and going to execute a pris de fer and while I have your blade bound, Orion shall kill you with a single thrust." After killing our opponent, I'd thank them for their generous participation and some would stalk off, muttering. We killed over 20 people before Orion got hungry. A fight isn't just two sides flailing at each other hoping a shot will land. There are techniques a fighter may use to almost guarantee a shot will land. Teamwork makes a huge difference when people are trained. The Romans learned it, and it was later used in the Renaissance in the pike formations that included men armed with swords and bucklers whose job was to dash forward and attack the enemy pike men by getting inside their reach. In that respect, the tercio was an integrated combined arms unit.
  Rolemaster is not a combat simulator, it is an RPG that has a well thought out abstraction of combat.

  A combat simulator would be: I can see my opponent wearing a short-sleeved byrnie and a leather gauntlet on his sword hand. If I strike him at a random location, a blade striking iron chainmail would likely do little harm as penetrating armor is pass/fail. I could try to strike an area without armor, such as below the knees, the neck or face, but those are small targets and difficult to reach. The neck and face areas also tend to be the best defended. That leaves the right arm, as the left arm is hidden by his shield. The right arm has the shoulder area covered in chain and the thick gambeson used for padding. The upper to lower arm are bare while the wrist and hand are covered with leather thin enough to make gloves, better than cloth but not enough to be considered armor.
An active weapon arm tend to be a vulnerable target when the owner is unaware that it is being targeted and there are feints to use that will lure the opponent to make attacks that will expose that arm.
  In fencing, in epee and rapier, the weapon arm was a favorite target. I'd slowly place my blade into a low position where my opponent would lose sight of it because his own arm would be interposed. I'd flick up and tag my opponent's wrist. In a tournament, I pulled that move three times in a row because my opponent didn't figure it out. It isn't quite the Coup de Jarnac but it worked.

When the Master governs, the people
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2022, 08:11:20 AM »
Quote
Quantified as "he rolled high on his attack roll - which means the opponent fell for it".
  You could also say the opponent suddenly wondered if he left the water running in the bathroom sink, which distracted him at an inopportune moment. The attacker has no actual control and a strike to the leg would be coincidental and not intentional.
Which is exactly what RM combat is - since targeting is determined by the result of the critical, which is essentially random.

You might want to do something else - something more closely related to actual fencing - but it's not RM combat, which is opportunistic by design: over the course fo a 10- (until RMU, which changes the duration) second round, you try to create several opportunities to get an opening and inflict a wound, and the dice not only detemine the severity, they also determine what kind of opportunity you got.

Offline Hurin

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2022, 10:02:50 AM »

Which is exactly what RM combat is - since targeting is determined by the result of the critical, which is essentially random.


Normally, yes, but note that RMU now has a very well developed system for targeting specific locations (and piecemeal armor), and the critical charts now fully support it.
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Offline MisterK

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2022, 10:12:36 AM »
Which is exactly what RM combat is - since targeting is determined by the result of the critical, which is essentially random.
Normally, yes, but note that RMU now has a very well developed system for targeting specific locations (and piecemeal armor), and the critical charts now fully support it.
I remember having seen it on the beta documents, but to be honest, I'm not interested in it. After thirty-five years of playing and GMing Rolemaster, I think I missed the capability to target specific locations... maybe twice ? Tweaking the critical result descriptions on the fly works fine enough and I don't want to add yet another subsystem (I tend to offload subsystems as much as I can). It works fine for people like me who don't want to translate their real-world expertise (or lack thereof) of combat mechanisms into their roleplaying experience.

Offline Hurin

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2022, 11:19:29 AM »
That's fair enough and I understand where you are coming from. I would not describe the RMU piecemeal system as a 'subsystem' though; I would call it an extension of the existing armor system. Because the critical charts now always have regular locations (e.g. 00 is always a headshot), implementing a targeting system is as easy as rolling the critical/location result at the same time as the attack roll, and of course keeping track of what specific armor characters have on which body part. If you dont want to use piecemeal armor or called shots, you just assume everyone is in full suits and play normally.
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Online jdale

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2022, 11:23:38 AM »
Generally you're better off taking what the criticals give you anyway. Called shots are usually only worthwhile if the target's defenses are significantly weaker in some areas. If you assume uniform armoring (which is certainly the easiest assumption), you won't need them. If you want to model people who are poorly equipped or lacked time to fully armor or who are suffering equipment malfunctions, you can incorporate those gaps and your players can use called shots to exploit them; otherwise, just use them narratively and don't worry about the mechanics part.

Regarding the fine grain details of combat, I think trying to model those will just bog down the game. Use them to spin a great narrative of how the combat is going, woven together of the results of the various attacks. If the player wants to offer a specific bit of narrative ("I bend my knees to feign an overhead smash") and the dice reward them, then use it ("your foe raises his shield in anticipation and you drive the point of your sword through his gut"). The game mechanics need to offer the player some choices to keep things interesting (not "I attack again just like every previous round"), but I think generally you get enough of that from parry and perhaps combat maneuvers of various types.
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Offline Hurin

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2022, 12:56:32 PM »
Also, it keeps Mentalists honest!
'Last of all, Húrin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed'. --J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline Vladimir

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Re: Martial Arts
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2022, 10:10:03 PM »
Quote
Regarding the fine grain details of combat, I think trying to model those will just bog down the game.
  You have two types of gamers -Those who want ease of play and those who want realism. The majority of gamers prefer rules simplified for playability. What sometimes causes a game to suddenly expand into a huge, unwieldy monster (such as Avalon Hill's monumental Squad Leader). That being said, the move to a game to include detailed data often comes from people more experienced in that data, such as experienced soldiers who design tactical-level wargames or Medieval/Renaissance reenactors who design related games.
 
  Battletech started out as an informal, "beer and pizza" tabletop game (originally named BattleDroids) and grew into a RPG that kept growing as its 1980s technology base kept adopting modern warfare methods like ECM and laser guided missiles, even nuclear weapons. I used to play but there is a point where war should not be constrained by roleplay centric doctrine and Battletech literally prevents the use of combined-arms in its rules as the introduction of "big stompy robots" caused humanity to forget basic military doctrines. I did GM a series of campaigns that parodied the BT universe (the players loved it) and allowed my players to run roughshod over the various factions by unleashing the doctrine of Total War on them: Only idiots Role Play battles and stick to artificial doctrines. Real people fight to win.
Big stompy robots may have been the gods of the battlefield but I proved that air superiority makes a decent god slayer, as only a handful of Battlemechs served as antiaircraft.
  BT makes the mistake of adopting all the toys used in modern/futuristic warfare but does not allow any of the successful doctrines of modern warfare.
When the Master governs, the people
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