Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Full Plate Hand to Hand - Part II

Here are a couple of videos showing hand to hand combat in heavy armor. It's interesting to see how the armor is so good against blades the greatest weapon is the armor itself. Take a look at the following video. Notice all the hand to hand combat moves. Driving forward with a knee up, grabbing, pulling and pushing the opponent. Trying to put him in the most vulnerable position: on the ground. Take a look at the heavy beating taken at 1:10, one fighter is pummeling the other's head with his fist.

Some observations I get from this video are:

  • An armored body is a weapon.
  • A dagger is really deadly in knight to knight combat.
  • An armored hand is a club.
  • The shield is a weapon.
  • A character can roll with a punch or blow and still get up on the same move.
From a rule design perspective I'd consider this:
  • So many moves it seems hard to create so many rules to cover each move, not to mention complex to use.
  • Consider how an armored body part becomes a weapon.
  • Consider an element of bludgeoning damage in all weapons. Should weapons like swords do slashing AND bludgeoning damage?

Now take a look at this video:

Some key moments:

  • 0:08 - unarmed knight pushed the other one back with arms and body.
  • 0:20 - knight pushes the other back with foot to make for space between both.
  • 0:26 - knight locks weapon with shield and pushes the other knight back.
  • 0:33 - knight once again pushes the other to make room between them, this time with shoulder.
  • 0:55 - part in which one knight deliberately (and quickly) lays down to wait for an attack and then gets up quickly as well.
  • 1:15 - ending part, one night is constantly hit, no apparent armor damage is done, but those sword hits must hurt some. In the end he is taken down and choked to death with the shield.
In view of these videos I find most of D&D's combat mechanics to be out of sync with reality (yes even within its "abstraction"). The concept of a sword swing and a set of damage being done until the character is dead is not congruent with what we see here. The body is never considered a real weapon. There are unarmed combat rules, but it's more along the lines of you're either armed or unarmed, not so much a mix in between.

They say that in love and in war anything goes. Have we become to accustomed to the sword, sword, shield, sword swing idea of initial role playing games that we don't think of a mix of activities to defeat one's opponent. When was the last time you killed a full plated knight with a dagger?

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