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The Mechanics of Shields


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#1 Darth Smeg

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:53 PM

There is some inconsistency to the mechanics of shields.

Some provide Cover v ranged attacks, some increase Armour Points on the wielding hand and body (protecting vs both ranged and melee attacks even if you fail your parry), and some (like the Arbites suppression shield) do both (though I can't see the AP value of the cover it is said to provide?)

I can see why only large shields should be used for cover, but why should the Guard and Naval shield not provide APs like the Combat and Suppression shields do? (Granted, the combat shield is a Rogue Trader shield not included in your fabulous handbook, but the point stands. In Only War, all shields provide +AP to body and the wielding arm). 

Per RAW, you cannot take Cover from melee attacks, only from Ranged attacks. But if the "Cover" in question is strapped to your arm, and you're holding it in front of your opponent…

Then there is the issue of effects from craftsmanship. Shields are weapons, not armour. But their purpose is to reduce/avoid damage, not to attack. The DH rules specify that the WS Bonus from craftsmanship is just for attacks, not parries. Later games changed this to apply to all WS tests. So that improves their parry usefulness, but APs do not change like with armour.

If you were to unify the mechanics for all the shield-rules, how would you handle it?


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#2 BrotherKane

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:43 PM

I would keep it simple and like WFRP 2nd Ed:

A shield allows you an extra parry (in wfrp it gives you a parry when you normally don't get one except in parrying stance).

A shield gives a person making a ranged attack against you -10BS.

Craftsmanship bonuses apply. I would probably give large tower type shields +10 to parry vs one opponent of holding character's choice (it is hard to get round but hard to move to cover more than one opponent at once).

 

If you just want to consider the rules that area already out there:

I would argue that adding AP to locations doesn't make a lot of sense. A shield is designed to stop blows, if a blow is successful it has bypassed the shield and any AP are therefore also bypassed. Maybe AP for ranged attacks only?  So I would make them a parry bonus for melee attacks and either AP or cover for ranged, but probably not both.



#3 Darth Smeg

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:53 PM

I think the added AP to arm+body are meant to represent situations where you do not manage to parry the blow, but you still have the shield between you and the impact. It ill still hurt, but the shield helps to cushion the blow (it will feel like crashing into a wall instead of getting a sledgehammer in the chest) 

Giving a shield BOTH cover AND AP vs the same attack is obviously not right. But having them only protect certain parts from melee is also not right.

Think of the Arbites Supression shield. It's the typical Riot Police Shield Wall approach. Standing side-by-side, there is simply no way you're going to be able to knock one of them on the head.

 


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#4 BrotherKane

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:21 AM

I think it might be useful to break down the situations when a shield is used:

 

To parry melee attacks (WS bonus to parry check):

Successful - attack negated.  Unsuccessful (shield not in the way) - attack gets through shield has no effect.  Unsuccessful (shield in the way) - shield provides +AP.

I don't think the shield should give both bonus to WS for parrying AND AP to locations.  I would go with either/or, possibly players choice to represent how he is using the shield.  Is he holding it close to purely protect?  Is he moving it around to deflect blows?

The problem with saying that an arbites supression shield wall stops attacks like that is the pen of weapons.  Unless they are storm shields normal weapons in the game (even mono swords) can cut through.

 

To block ranged attacks:

You are being fired at and have a small shield - shield gives AP bonus to locations that it covers (arm + body [though perhaps give the option to use a reaction to stick it infront of your face?]).

You are being fired at and have a large shield.  I don't think this should really give you cover.  I think it should just give AP to the locations covered.  In the riot shield example this traditionally covers all but legs.  I don't think it really makes you harder to hit as the target of a gun shot but it does protect.



#5 Darth Smeg

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:34 AM

BrotherKane said:

You are being fired at and have a large shield.  I don't think this should really give you cover.  I think it should just give AP to the locations covered.  

Well, that is exactly what Cover does :)

It also makes you harder to shoot at, IF you are completely covered. The shooter knows you're behind whatever it is he can see, but not exactly how you're placed. Considering how small the shield is compared to things you might normally hide behind (walls, crates), I might see an argument to reduce this modifier from it's standard -30, but the point still stands.

I sort of agree with what you're saying in your posts, but I don't really want to complicate the rules too much.

On a related matter, Black Crusade / Only War give examples of situational modifier to both Dodge and Parry (Parry is a skill in those games), and being "behind partial cover" gives +10 to both. Being behind full cover gives +20.

So you might "hide behind" your tower shield, and attempt to parry with your sword. A good quality sword has the same bonus to Parries as a Common Shield, and with the added +10 for covering most of yourself with the shield you get the best of both worlds.

Silly? Right? Wrong? I can't decide :)


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#6 BrotherKane

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:57 AM

Darth Smeg said:

Well, that is exactly what Cover does :)

Yeah I do know that ;-) I was referring to the modifier.  I personally feel that situation is a bit silly.  But I suppose it is no less silly than some of the other things you are allowed to do in RAW.



#7 IdOfEntity

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:21 AM

The obvious issue in my mind is that adding AP to the body makes no sense.  No matter how a person holds their shield they will not be able to block any attacks which strike the back.  Even shielding the opposite obliques of the torso is awkward and unrealistic.  Armor can do so since armor can (and we assume usually) covers the entire torso.  At any point the shield can never shield even half of your torso from all angles.

Providing an AP increase to the arm is fine.  Using it as a defensive weapon is fine. 

To block ranged attacks…I like the idea of using a reaction.  Instead of dodging or parrying you can spend your reaction to place your in front of a target area to grant it the higher AP value?

 



#8 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:11 AM

I've had issues with shields for years now but I've yet to find a solution that works and is simple enough not to slow down combat.

Part of the issue is deciding what AP and dodge/parry actually mean and whether we're okay with taking liberties with that. Technically, AP is physical protection that reduces damage on a successful attack. Dodge/Parry are mechanisms that allow you to avoid attacks altogether. So, do we want shields to reduce the damage taken or to increase the likelyhood of avoiding attacks?

In some ways, they ARE both: if I stab somone through their shield, I might still be able to damage them as if I was attacking through cover. However, someone might use their shiled more actively to try and deflect my attack. So finding a single, simple rule might mean having to accept fudge our definitions of Parry/Dodge and AP.

Here are some ideas for shield rules I've messed around with. Admittedly, some are better than others and I'm not happy with the game balance of a few of them either, but maybe together than we can work it out):

  • Shields grant extra degrees of success to dodges or parry (this might work with OW, but not so much with the DH ruleset.)
  • User of a shield can use his reaction to parry with the shield instead of his primary weapon - if he has counter-attack AND two-weapon (melee), he may counter-attack with either the shiled or his other weapon. (Maybe this requires a new talent or else is just a special quality of Shield weapons?)
  • Shileds add (WS Bonus/2) AP to body and arm holding it; OR (WS Bonus/2) AP to head and arm holding it. Player using a shield gets a free reaction that can only be used to reposition the shield to cover either his head or torso.
  • New Talent - Shield Mastery: A character with this talent is adept at maximizing the use of their shield for defense. The character can choose either to use the shield as cover (gaining either a fixed AP value or else modified by the their WS bonus) or can use the shield to attempt to parry an attack, as a Defensive weapon. The character can decide which mode he wishes to use when he declares his reaction to the attack. 
  • Treat the "defensive" quality of a shield as a force field: defensive grants 15% "bonus" to parry, so instead it grants a 15% chance to negate an attack.

Thoughts?



#9 BrotherKane

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:02 PM

I personally feel that for melee attacks it makes sense to simplify the situation and ignore the possibility of damaging through a shield.  So it is a defensive weapon you can use to parry with (as per Macharias' second point).  Of course unless it is a storm shield a power weapon will have the normal chance to destroy it.

Equally I think it best that vs ranged attacks a shield either covers or doesn't cover a location.  The example of arm + body/arm + head choice I think is simple enough.

And indeed as IdOfEntity says a shield should only ever apply towards things coming from in front.  As with all rules I suspect we can come up with a bunch of situations this doesn't quite cover but it seems balanced and in the spirit of DH rules to me.



#10 Darth Smeg

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:55 PM

But then you only get 1 parry each round. Which mean that for the second and third attackers, that shield might as well not be there.

But that big piece o' armour is going to make it harder for an attacker to reach his target, and will offer protection for the defender against all attacks.

So treating it simply as a parrying weapon, with no further benefit doesn't seem right to me either. Perhaps it could further boost Defensive Stance? Perhaps give attackers a penalty to their WS? 


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#11 IdOfEntity

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:22 AM

Darth Smeg said:

 

But then you only get 1 parry each round. Which mean that for the second and third attackers, that shield might as well not be there.

 

 

But that's the same mechanic in place against an assassin with a WS and Ag bonus of 5.  He still can't get three reactions against an opponent with Lightning Attack. (sans Temple Assassin)  This is really a balance issue with Swift Attack/Lightning Attack not having defensive counterparts in the rules.  Perhaps it's to ensure combat always resolves somewhat quickly instead of having a defensive stalemate, but there it is.

What if shields could give a further effect to defensive attack?  I don't have the rulebook on hand, but I'm talking about the types of attacks made where taking a -10 penalty to your own attack inflicts a penalty to your opponents weapon skill tests.  Either increase the penalty to the opponents WS tests, or maybe…

What if a player wielding a shield can make a defensive attack, but can ignore the penalty to his own WS?

EDIT:  To explain a bit of my reasoning, shields are not a passive defense.  They have to be actively used, properly held, and are tiring.  It's more tiring to hold a modern ballistic shield in a defensive position than it is to hold an M-9 in such a position.  I don't believe someone wielding a shield should receive much passive benefit, but should be active to gain much benefit.



#12 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 05:40 AM

IdOfEntity said:

What if shields could give a further effect to defensive attack?  I don't have the rulebook on hand, but I'm talking about the types of attacks made where taking a -10 penalty to your own attack inflicts a penalty to your opponents weapon skill tests.  Either increase the penalty to the opponents WS tests, or maybe…

What if a player wielding a shield can make a defensive attack, but can ignore the penalty to his own WS?

I like this a lot, at least in theory. I can then see the bonus applying to any melee attacks directed against the character. If a character chooses to go on full denfense, then the shiled imposes an extra -10% on the attacker's test, I guess?

What about ranged weapons? I'd be inclined to just extend the same benefit to ranged attacks rather than have to worry about dealling with cover and such.

Also, does it make sense to extend this type of rule to non-shiled weapons with the Defensive quality? Or is this exclusive to shields?



#13 IdOfEntity

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:11 AM

Macharias the Mendicant said:

 

IdOfEntity said:

 

What if shields could give a further effect to defensive attack?  I don't have the rulebook on hand, but I'm talking about the types of attacks made where taking a -10 penalty to your own attack inflicts a penalty to your opponents weapon skill tests.  Either increase the penalty to the opponents WS tests, or maybe…

What if a player wielding a shield can make a defensive attack, but can ignore the penalty to his own WS?

 

 

I like this a lot, at least in theory. I can then see the bonus applying to any melee attacks directed against the character. If a character chooses to go on full denfense, then the shiled imposes an extra -10% on the attacker's test, I guess?

What about ranged weapons? I'd be inclined to just extend the same benefit to ranged attacks rather than have to worry about dealling with cover and such.

Also, does it make sense to extend this type of rule to non-shiled weapons with the Defensive quality? Or is this exclusive to shields?

 

 

I would advise that the wielder of the shield takes no penalty to WS for making a defensive attack.  I'd rather dispel a penalty to the wielder than have to increase a penalty to the attacker since they're already suffering from one.

I vehemently oppose the "parrying" of ranged attacks.  At no point should a player with a shield have an even remote chance of negating a Melta Gun shot, or a Plasma Bolt by deflecting it.  (or reducing opponents BS)  Deflection of shots implies that angling your shield or body a certain way will reduce the hazard, and I think that's already well represented by the d10 we're rolling for damage.  Instead having the shield adding a bit of AP where the wielder is actively covering (by using a reaction) seems the most sensible.  The extra AP represents the extra material a weapon needs to penetrate, and can still be easily overcome by thinks like the Man Portable Lascannon.

But now that I'm thinking about it:  Should the shield add a point or two to AP when used with a reaction, or should shields have a high AP that a player can use with a reaction? 

Say that a player spends his reaction to protect his head.  He's wearing Xeno Mesh Armor w/ Cowl, giving him an AP 4 coverage to everything but his head which has 3.  His shield has an AP value of 6.  He throws his shield up against a MOB firing full Auto w/ a Minerva-Aegis Pattern.  All attacks that strike the head are against an AP of 6, instead of 3, and the shots that strike the body are against AP 4.  Thus the player correctly used the shield to protect his head.  A low agility character may have been able to dodge 1-2 shots at best.  With a shield they can attempt to protect themselves by reducing a bit of the damage against a weak point.  (cover by reaction)

After thinking it through I'm decided.  High AP for the shield, cover by action.  No adding of AP's.  Just substitute.

EDIT: For Clarity…and I guess the Emperor



#14 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:12 PM

 If you ask me, shields should provide an AP bonus against ranged attacks, but only giving it to the Torso and the arm holding the shield. Big shields like an Arbites Suppression shield can cover the whole body but requires the wielder to stay still or half-move. Being attacked from the sides or rear would negate the shield's AP bonuses.

In melee, shields are Defensive weapons, giving a bonus to Parrying, but don't provide an AP bonus; in melee, a failure to Parry would mean that the shield is knocked aside or otherwise circumvented.


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#15 borithan

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:25 AM

Part of the problem is that swords now have balanced. In WFRP, all swords were just hand weapons, and so shields +15 to parry was quite a big deal. Now it is essentially +5, which is much less interesting. In WFRP they also gave a -10 to ranged attacks (as you could neither dodge or parry ranged attacks, and you had to represent using them against bows and the like somehow). Now, that rule has been removed (and doesn't make that much sense if your being shot at with high powered firearms that will punch right through them).

Maybe reintroduce the -10% rule for primitive weapons? Then armour to the relevant arm? I do think armour to the torso thing is a little too much normally. I would leave that as an option of the person uses it as mobile cover (like modern ballistic shields), would proclude parrying with it (and loosing any parrying bonuses and/or any penalty to ranged attacks). The other thing might be to give it balanced as well as defensive, which would give it +25% to parries, but that might be going a bit far.

 

Generally I would try avoid them turning up in the first place…



#16 IdOfEntity

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 02:52 AM

Smeg, as the OP, what do you make of all of this?



#17 Jeans_Stealer

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:31 PM

Shields, for me, are either bucklers or bigger. Bucklers grant the parry and defensive capabilities, and anything bigger gives extras.

+15 to parry with no -20 for off-hand (as per RAW) and -20 to attack with (as per RAW). I count them as a door of the material (so AP1 for wood, AP4 for re-enforced plas-steel/Kevlar) and they grant that armour/AP to the arm (stacking) and to a body part (stacking) if the player admits he's being 'defensive' from incoming fire. Usually the body. If they stick it in front of their face, it helps but they can't see. 

The Rules are not helpful in being certain of any of this. Technically we can be strict, and say "no no, shields are shields" and leave it at defensive and parry capabilities… but everyone's seen the Arbites with the shield, it's a cool idea (esp. with the tiny window.) thankfully I've been lucky enough to work it out on a player-to-player basis, and apart from the shield having an exterminator mounted on it…



#18 Darth Smeg

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 01:37 AM

I am thinking that I want shields to be both a defensive weapon to be used to counter an enemys attacks (Parry) and also provide a form of protection/damage mitigation from attacks. I do not like the arbitrary ruling that a shield adds defense to arm+body only, as the body location hit by an attack is randomly determined and not affected by the targets actions (Ie, he can’t put his arm/shield first and choose to take the hit there, neither can he put his left foot to the rear to avoid hits there)

Neither do I want shields to just be extra armour that adds AP everywhere all the time. WFRP v1 did this, and it never sat well with me.

So I suggest the following: A shield-wielder may actively move his shield into position between him and an enemy/incoming attack by spending a reaction. The shield will now provide its AP vs that enemy/attack, but will NOT protect vs other enemies on that turn. 

The chosen enemy will now have to attack through/past the shield, but no penalties will be applied. The reduced damage he will inflict as a result of the shields AP can be thought of as both the shield absorbing impacts, and as the attacker having to push an attack past/around the shield and delivering a lesser impact than he would have done otherwise.

This applies to melee and ranged attacks equally, you have to choose where the shield protects from. For ranged fire we could use a 30 degree arc like the flamer template to determine which attackers are covered by the shield. Keeping the protection up like this while moving requires the Tactical Advance Action.

As a variant I am thinking about letting this reaction be a Parry, where a successful Parry test works as normal. But even a failed test will let the shields AP apply towards damage taken, which will also be helpful if the Parry does not stop all attacks from a Lightning Attack, for example. The shield might not be positioned to protect against that opponents other weapon, if he dual-wields.

In this way, even an unskilled fighter can gain some protection by hunkering down behind his shield, at least if only fighting one opponent. A skilled opponent might use Feint to prevent the shield being deployed successfully against his attacks, but I think that the defensive bonuses a weapon grants to Parry should also apply to resist feints. Agree? Disagree? Why?

So, to summarize, and add some other elements I haven’t discussed:

1. Weapon craftsmanship WS bonus applies to all WS tests, including parries, Feints and other maneuvers.
2. You may position your shield to defend vs 1 Opponent/Attack with a Reaction/Parry. The shield will provide AP protection vs this attack.
3. Dual-wielding weapons give the ability to attack with both weapons as one Action, with a -20 modifier to both weapons (reduced to -10 with Ambidextrous). Therefore, it is only fair that dual-wielding (which includes sword+shield) also lets you parry with both as one Reaction. So if facing down a dual-wielding swordsman, you have the ability to defend against both his weapons. Position your shield/parry with shield vs one hand, and parry with your sword vs the other.

Different shields will have different AP values depending on make and material, and some might have Primitive AP.
 


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#19 Cobramax76

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:45 PM

Having worked on Riot/SORT RRTS teams with actual shield training i can say that the one thing many dont realize is how vulnerable you become to anyone NOT weilding a weapon ( bare handed )…the person with the shield is actually then at a disadvantage IF they stay on the defensive…since its very easy to get the shield grabbed on edges etc and having yourself yanked off balance unless your in a shield-wall formation type thing where you have the side cover..and even then its as simple as grabbing the top and pulling you forward off balance ( a actual tower shield is made from somewhere between 1/4 - 1/2 thick lexan and weights in around an avg of 30-40lbs…making your center of gravity slightly off towards the front-front/side its on…

As long as were talking ranged combat or someone weilding a 2-handed weapon though…..the shield can grant you the ability to parry any attack with insufficient Pen to get through whatever the shields effective AP is…but would definitely count AS your parry ( if you have more than one for whatever reason then so be it )  
 

I do like and will use the idea of the new Talent for Shield training ( perhaps taking it a bit further for ease of game mechanics and combat options ) as such:

Talent:

Shield Use = Grants PC ability to use shields effectively for cover and defensive actions ( granting the +15% to parry/negate attacks etc )

Shield Mastery = Grants PC the ability to utilize the shield AS a weapon ( IE shield bashing Pen-0 Dmg-1d5(+S bonus )+ AG test to avoid knockdown ( degree of difficulty determined by GM based on size and relative strengths of opposing sides )

This method would save game time and debate on things by giving clear ideas as to what the shields could/couldnt be used for with the associated talents..

And yes if you had 2 weapon wield melee..you could very easily get evil with a "sword and board" using the shield to attack as often as the sword ( was a very common method in middle ages in europe - feint swing wth sword…once enemy commits to parry launch shield bash to disorientate and put enemy weapon off angle for counterstrike/defense and land primary actual strike before enemy can regain footing ) BUT that did take alot of practice and training ( hence the associated talents as requisites for taking that needed time to learn how to do it..it isnt as easy as some think )

As for the AP of the shields and how much they cover..it depends on type of shield…a buckler would only grant the extra AP to the shield arm…and as bonus to parry ( their size and design are for just that ) but a larger full shield would grant the AP to the shield arm and body ( head if they raised it up to give that cover but would loose the body cover as well unless they ducked under the shield level…Tower shields truly can protect the shield arm body and legs at same time..head as well IF you duck below the top edges of it and loose sight of your target…If you use actual police style tower shields then you can duck below the shield top for head cover and still see your enemy due to fact that its made of transparent material ( but your enemy can see you too and what your about to try and pull ) …So it is a tradeoff…

Hope this helps some…



#20 Mriccucci

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

After much deliberation on the topic of sheild usage, we just came up with what me (GM) and a few PC's think is a good way to tackle this subject. PC is using a tower shield, 3ap, we decided to give the shield "wounds" 6, we also have decided to give the shield "body parts" so for a tower shield the digram is below.

3ap(6w)  |  3ap(6w)

3ap(6w)  |  3ap(6w)

3ap(6w)  |  3ap(6w)

 

So this towesr shield has 6 sections that can take 6 wounds each, and have 3 ap total, the shield, still only giving a total of 3 ap over all, but each section can take that much damage.

 

Thoughts?






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