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Simon G.




Location: Lyons, France
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 5:56 am    Post subject: WMA in role-playing games         Reply with quote

Hi all, I've got a question that's very specific, and quite a bit off-topic (not too much I hope), but if anyone in here can help me as to it, I'd be glad...

I would like to know if anyone in here, being knowledgeable in the Western Martial Arts, knows of a role-playing game system that he deems satisfyingly realistic as to the simulation of sword (and other weapons)-combat. I'm not asking for a full simulation, of course (this being far too complicated), but a system that to you is "interesting", "not too far off", or something like that. See, a friend of mine and I are long-time role-players, and both interested in martial arts (though I'm a beginner and he's not), so we strive to find a system that's both interesting and pleasing to use in that regard.

(P.S. : I'm talking about pen-and-paper role-playing, not LARP or computer RPGs.)

Thanks in advance
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 6:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Someone I know says that the Palladium Fantasy RPG has a decent system in regards to combat, Better than D&D at least. It does not have specific moves as in WMA but it does allow both offensive and defensive actions to be taken by a player instead of just a static AC for defense as in D&D. Not that I have ever played either or am that person. Wink

I have not, er my friend has not really played any other systems besides those tow but I hope that helps a little at least.


Scott
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Anders Nilsson




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phoenix command has the most realistic rules that I have come across.
Itīs more of a fightingsystem than a rpg and can be used with most rpgīs.
It takes LOTS of time thou. I would suggest using simple storytelling to get the fights done, otherwise you end up with a fightinggame rather than a roleplaying game.
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Elonas Kvietkus




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If You want a step by step / second by second game GURPS would do fine. But fun depends on players and masters description of actions.
But if You would like something "more spectacular" and still under strict rules of physics You should try Rolemaster Classic. All weapons with separate attack tables, all damage (slash, puncture, crush, tear, rip and etc.) also on separate tables with different description of damage for different percentile rolls, lots of additional skills for combat, differentiated learning abilities for different armor types.
Other systems by ICE (Iron Crown Enterprise) are also good: Rolemaster Standat System, HARP, MERP (if You like L.O.T.R.) but Classic works best.
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Josh Warren




Location: Manhattan, Kansas
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm surprised that nobody has yet mentioned the Riddle of Steel. It's the only tabletop pen-and-paper RPG that carries the seal of approval from the ARMA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Riddle_of_Steel

While I like TROS's system, it is poorly supported by its publisher, and I recommend GURPS with the addition of the GURPS 4th Edition Martial Arts supplement.

Non Concedo
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: WMA in role-playing games         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:
Hi all, I've got a question that's very specific, and quite a bit off-topic (not too much I hope), but if anyone in here can help me as to it, I'd be glad...

I would like to know if anyone in here, being knowledgeable in the Western Martial Arts, knows of a role-playing game system that he deems satisfyingly realistic as to the simulation of sword (and other weapons)-combat. I'm not asking for a full simulation, of course (this being far too complicated), but a system that to you is "interesting", "not too far off", or something like that. See, a friend of mine and I are long-time role-players, and both interested in martial arts (though I'm a beginner and he's not), so we strive to find a system that's both interesting and pleasing to use in that regard.

(P.S. : I'm talking about pen-and-paper role-playing, not LARP or computer RPGs.)

Thanks in advance

GURPS 4e with GURPS Martial Arts would be a very good place to start. There are rules for most living historical styles, and some dead ones like Roman army training. And, being GURPS, its easy to dial up or down the level of detail.
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Alex Oster




Location: Washington and Yokohama
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jul, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When my freind played GURPS, it seemed to always be: "Called shot to the neck".... "Dead"... "Next target". Once the system got started, fights never took very long. But that was just his experience with it.
The pen is mightier than the sword, especially since it can get past security and be stabbed it into a jugular.
This site would be better if everytime I clicked submit... I got to hear a whip crack!
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Kjell Magnusson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2008 1:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think one should be very careful in trying to search specifically for realism in RPG systems. A rather abstract system can be detailed or streamlined, but if one tries to be realistic to a larger degree, it seems that detail-heavy is pretty much required (reality is rather complex after all on that level). Now, the first problem there that it's bloody hard to make something such, it's a very complex thing to model. We don't really have a system to do it "scientifically", so there isn't much to aim for with a gaming system (how fast someone expires from a certain wound for example is often far from certain, so designing the damage system ill involve a lot of guesswork just there). In addition as complexity increases, the system will tend towards a chaotic behaviour, as intended consequences and error due to lack of oversight (and perhaps the error ina ll the guesses) start building up. In the riddle of steel for example the bonuses and penalties for cuts versus thrusts scale differently as the characters combat proficiency increases, meaning that for a good fighter thrusts will be far superior to cuts (with rapiers and halberds being the weapons of choice). In addition, except for parrying cutting weapons specifically, fists are just plain superior to a knife (not allowed to parry those, but all stats are better). All in all, I think it's best to simply pick a system which manages the "suspension of disbelief"-part for the realism, and then look at actual playability beyond that.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2008 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kjell Magnusson wrote:
I think one should be very careful in trying to search specifically for realism in RPG systems. A rather abstract system can be detailed or streamlined, but if one tries to be realistic to a larger degree, it seems that detail-heavy is pretty much required (reality is rather complex after all on that level).


I'm tempted to dispute that, because an abstract system can actually support realism by giving the players and GMs more freedom of choice in choosing and adjudicating the actions. This approach requires a role-playing group where all of the members are reasonably familiar with martial arts, however, and would probably not work for a more "normal" sort of gaming group.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GURPS is the pick of them. Take a look at the recently released Martial Arts for 4th ed. Low Tech will be out next year also.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex Oster wrote:
When my freind played GURPS, it seemed to always be: "Called shot to the neck".... "Dead"... "Next target". Once the system got started, fights never took very long. But that was just his experience with it.

It is actually very very hard to get killed in GURPS. It is easier to be incapacitated than some other games but very hard to get yourself killed.
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Jason G. Smith




Location: Quebec
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harnmaster is also decent insofar as RPGs go (for "realism"), although I'm a big Rolemaster fan. I also concur with GURPS - good system all 'round .
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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everybody for your answers ! Turns out there are more role-players on this forum than I would have thought Wink

To address the "realism vs. comfort" remarks and especially that
Quote:
it takes LOTS of time thou. I would suggest using simple storytelling to get the fights done, otherwise you end up with a fightinggame rather than a roleplaying game.

I completely agree. In fact, my friend and I are in the process of making our own homebrew rules, and we decided to have several fighting systems ; one that goes into much detail, to be used only for climatic, toughly-disputed fights ; and two others ("medium" and "basic") to be used when actions need to be resolved in a simpler fashion, to avoid hampering the storytelling and taking hours to dispatch a street thug.

I wanted to know about other gaming systems so I knew where to look at for ideas (and also, possibly, for other games to use). The Riddle of Steel, in particular, piques my curiosity. Also, I never tried my hand at GURPS, but, given the general consensus it seems to gather in its favour, maybe I should.
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Justin B.




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I muse admit to have zero experience with GURPS (there is a massive wall to overcome when looking to randomly get into that ruleset, in my observation. Kinda like Rifts that way, but I digress.

It would appear that I am in the minority here, all alone, with my love for White Wolf's Storyteller system.

Certainly, this is much more loose than any other ruleset I've known, but also much more flexible. It's also nice and simple, and makes it very difficult to get by "roll" playing, always a major fault of D&D. Although this particular system pretty much demands serious roleplaying from the players, and even more overheard from the GM, it can be made very extensible, if you will, without becoming overly clumsy and requiring a new rulebook which summarizes all the important rules you need to know.

Not well suited for those who like to use miniatures on a sort of mini-Warhammer scale, but very well done (at least, IMNSHO) for those who like to write novels for the mind's eye.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 11:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin B. wrote:
Not well suited for those who like to use miniatures on a sort of mini-Warhammer scale,


Heheh. My RP group uses giant miniatures--in other words, ourselves. Sometimes, when the encounter is particularly small, it devolves into a LARP-like condition where the outcome of the fight is decided in a free-play bout. Wink
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Justin B.




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jul, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Heheh. My RP group uses giant miniatures--in other words, ourselves. Sometimes, when the encounter is particularly small, it devolves into a LARP-like condition where the outcome of the fight is decided in a free-play bout. Wink

Always fun! Not always safest, though Wink

Sharp pointy things and a free-for-all don't mix well! Not that I would know anything about that... Big Grin
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 12:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, not sharp. We use blunts or wooden wasters when we're in the mood to do some "live action" combat, and often we also have our fencing masks handy. We also follow the rules we've established for normal (non-RP-related ) controlled free-play. There's no point in building up a reputation for being an RP group who plays out the injuries a bit too realistically....
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

FWIW the next edition of GURPS Low Tech has just gone into playtesting. There is a whole chapter devoted to armour. Anyone who has purchased from SJGames e23 is welcome to apply for playtesting.

http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.php?p=785021&postcount=1
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Josh Warren




Location: Manhattan, Kansas
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PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
FWIW the next edition of GURPS Low Tech has just gone into playtesting. There is a whole chapter devoted to armour. Anyone who has purchased from SJGames e23 is welcome to apply for playtesting.

http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.php?p=785021&postcount=1


Ooh! I want in on this!

Non Concedo
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2009 12:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Problem with game systems that try to simulate things too acurtatelly using rolls is that you end up with "bucket of dice effect" - meaning you end up rolling more and more dice to get the results, instead of actually roleplaying. That was the problem with infamous Rolemaster system - people went on calling it "Rollmaster" because you had to roll dice so much. We usually stick with D&D dice rolls in general and just describe the effects - including attacks and defence moves used, and combat seems fast paced and "realistic" enough for our purposes.
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