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P-47 Thunderbolt

Fencing with brute force? (Agility vs. Brawn for Melee)

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I've been experimenting with creating various sorts of characters and one of them is 4 Brawn, 3 Agility and has 5 Melee. His fighting style is dual wielding Vibroswords in a fencing style. He also has Armor with a Strength Enhancing System pushing his Brawn up even more. Because of this character's build, I realized that there is an interesting issue where a character with a high Brawn and a comparatively low Agility can swordfight very effectively. Picture an Ithorian with 5 Brawn and 1 Agility dueling a Kyuzo with 3 Brawn and 4 Agility.

I have a couple thoughts on this matter:

  1. Change Brawn to Agility for Melee (a little bit too cut-and-dried, introducing some of the same problems it's supposed to fix)
  2. Use Agility for Swords and comparable, but for bludgeoning weapons, heavy weapons (battleaxes, warhammers, etc.), and knives use Brawn.
  3. Base the Characteristic used off of the character's fighting style. So regardless of characteristics, you pick at the beginning, are you a sword dancer, or do you just whack at your opponent? You could also extend that to Brawl and pick, are you a Martial Artist, or a WWE guy? (I think this might be the best solution).

Damage would still be calculated using Brawn though, because a Brawn 1, Agility 5 character would not be able to deal an amount of damage comparable to a 5 Brawn, 1 Agility character.

P.S. I am a big proponent of switching out characteristics on occasion (You want to make him think you know a lot about mechanics? Okay, make a Deception check with Intellect instead of Cunning).

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3 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

I don't have Genesys, so would you please inform me?

Short version is that Genesys has the option to split Melee into two skills.

First is Melee (Light), which uses Agility and is generally limited to one-handed weapons, and the second is Melee (Heavy) which uses Brawn and is generally for two-handed weapons and (I believe) weapons with a Cumbersome rating.

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44 minutes ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Short version is that Genesys has the option to split Melee into two skills.

First is Melee (Light), which uses Agility and is generally limited to one-handed weapons, and the second is Melee (Heavy) which uses Brawn and is generally for two-handed weapons and (I believe) weapons with a Cumbersome rating.

Okay, I like that (in most cases). Thanks!

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56 minutes ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Short version is that Genesys has the option to split Melee into two skills.

First is Melee (Light), which uses Agility and is generally limited to one-handed weapons, and the second is Melee (Heavy) which uses Brawn and is generally for two-handed weapons and (I believe) weapons with a Cumbersome rating.

There is also a talent related to using melee with agility as well. As i recall

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51 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

There is also a talent related to using melee with agility as well. As i recall

In SW FFG or in Genesys or both ?

Personally I let character choose between agility and brawn to use with melee and brawl skills if he / she has at least one rank in the skill. That means the character has received some training or acquired some experience in hand o hand fighting and knows what style best fit him / her. Damage are still based on brawn. Untrained characters must use the default attribute, Brawn. I'll do the same for ranged skills between agility and cunning, because accuracy with using ranged weapons comes as much from the coordination between the eyes and hand than the agility.

But I'm all for letting characters use a different attribute than the default for a skill check if it's justified . Most of the time the default attribute works fine, but sometimes using another attribute is better. An example for that is brawl, if a character is boxing it's agility but if he / she is wrestling it's brawn. In one case precision and quickness matter the most while in the other case it's about strength and being stronger than your opponent.

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2 hours ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Short version is that Genesys has the option to split Melee into two skills.

First is Melee (Light), which uses Agility and is generally limited to one-handed weapons, and the second is Melee (Heavy) which uses Brawn and is generally for two-handed weapons and (I believe) weapons with a Cumbersome rating.

Small correction: Both Melee (Light) and Melee (Heavy) use Brawn in Genesys. However, Realms of Terrinoth did introduce the Finesse Talent that lets you change Brawl and Melee (Light) to Agility instead. Damage is still calculated based on your Brawn, though.

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One solution the OP might pursue is to pick up the Ataru Striker specialization. It's technically a lightsaber spec, but you could always narratively describe it as your character's fencing style. In fact, it's possible to pick up most of the fencing talents in it (like multiple ranks of Parry and later an Improved Parry) without having to buy any Force talents. Then, talk your GM into letting you take Ataru Technique and apply it to Melee instead of Lightsaber. I don't think that would be gamebreaking, and it would really represent a fencer well.

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31 minutes ago, SavageBob said:

Small correction: Both Melee (Light) and Melee (Heavy) use Brawn in Genesys. However, Realms of Terrinoth did introduce the Finesse Talent that lets you change Brawl and Melee (Light) to Agility instead. Damage is still calculated based on your Brawn, though.

Thanks, I don't think the talent is something I would utilize, but other than that, it seems like pretty much what I was thinking! Not sure if I would separate Melee into two categories though.

26 minutes ago, SavageBob said:

One solution the OP might pursue is to pick up the Ataru Striker specialization. It's technically a lightsaber spec, but you could always narratively describe it as your character's fencing style. In fact, it's possible to pick up most of the fencing talents in it (like multiple ranks of Parry and later an Improved Parry) without having to buy any Force talents. Then, talk your GM into letting you take Ataru Technique and apply it to Melee instead of Lightsaber. I don't think that would be gamebreaking, and it would really represent a fencer well.

Actually I'm just experimenting (as a GM) with various builds for NPCs. I would not use one of the lightsaber things, because it doesn't make sense for the character to have to spend a lot of xp just to set their fighting style. For the record, I don't have FaD so my understanding may be incorrect. My perception is that it is like a force power, but for lightsabers.

It is an interesting idea though, and I'll keep it in my back pocket in case it makes sense for a character. If they are really focused on dueling and they want to really buff that aspect, I may look into the lightsaber things.

 

I think I'll probably say that for Brawl, you pick your style, and that is the characteristic you use, except in special cases (my boxer puts him into a headlock), and for Melee it depends on whether or not it has a cumbersome rating, and if it doesn't, you can use choose to use Agility (in most cases).

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15 minutes ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Thanks, I don't think the talent is something I would utilize, but other than that, it seems like pretty much what I was thinking! Not sure if I would separate Melee into two categories though.

Actually I'm just experimenting (as a GM) with various builds for NPCs. I would not use one of the lightsaber things, because it doesn't make sense for the character to have to spend a lot of xp just to set their fighting style. For the record, I don't have FaD so my understanding may be incorrect. My perception is that it is like a force power, but for lightsabers.

It is an interesting idea though, and I'll keep it in my back pocket in case it makes sense for a character. If they are really focused on dueling and they want to really buff that aspect, I may look into the lightsaber things.

 

I think I'll probably say that for Brawl, you pick your style, and that is the characteristic you use, except in special cases (my boxer puts him into a headlock), and for Melee it depends on whether or not it has a cumbersome rating, and if it doesn't, you can use choose to use Agility (in most cases).

Well having experience with sword fighting Brawn really is the primary attribute for melee. Finesse only really and advantage to a few weapons.

I am starting to question how much you have played this game by RAW. as you seem to want to change every mechanic you come in contact with. I would suggest that you should play the game as written for a before you go mucking with the mechanics. And I would do it till you are pretty familiar with how the rules interact.  Because you are likely to break things unintentionally.

No lightsaber forms are not like a force power for lightsabers. It is just a talent tree. Many have hardly any requirement for the force. Some require more.

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Yeah, that's just it. Saying, "I think fencing should use Agility" is reasonable, but you should try the system as is first. Do you want your great fencer to also be great at piloting ships and shooting guns? That's what Agility is used for in this system. Do you want them to be good at running, climbing, swinging from chandeliers, and the like? Those are Athletics tasks, which is Brawn. This system divvies up the attributes a bit differently from others, so just keep that in mind.

Regarding the names of specializations, that's another thing to watch out for. Every specialization has a name, but that name shouldn't be a straightjacket for how you use that specialization. At the end of the day, a specialization (talent tree) is just a bundle of thematically related talents and skills. If a PC wanted their PC to specialize in fencing, it would be perfectly reasonable for them to pick up one of the specializations focused on lightsaber combat, but to ignore the Force talents and focus instead on the sword fighting talents. I'd love to play a sort of swashbuckler character by marrying the Charmer with a lightsaber talent tree!

In short, don't get hung up on the names of things in this system, and don't knock the Brawl-based melee till you try it. :)

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20 hours ago, Daeglan said:

Well having experience with sword fighting Brawn really is the primary attribute for melee. Finesse only really and advantage to a few weapons.

Yeah, I'm thinking maybe using the lower of the two characteristics or something?

20 hours ago, Daeglan said:

I am starting to question how much you have played this game by RAW. as you seem to want to change every mechanic you come in contact with. I would suggest that you should play the game as written for a before you go mucking with the mechanics. And I would do it till you are pretty familiar with how the rules interact.  Because you are likely to break things unintentionally.

Pretty much all of my playing has been RAW, but when I see something that doesn't make sense, I want to fix it (I've been that way with pretty much everything ever since I can remember). I do not get to play play the game on all that regular a basis (probably a total of 35-45 hours or so total), however I spend more time than I would care to admit thinking about the rules, planning for the future of the campaign, and studying the game in general (for the first 6 months or so that I had the game, I studied it everyday). I am by no means an expert, but I think you may be underestimating my power! (okay I had to) underestimating the thought I've put into this. Also the rules I've been tweaking have largely been rather insulated (as far as I can tell), so they don't unbalance much else.

20 hours ago, Daeglan said:

No lightsaber forms are not like a force power for lightsabers. It is just a talent tree. Many have hardly any requirement for the force. Some require more.

I wasn't saying they were force powers, I was just saying I thought the trees were in the same pattern as force powers, or signature abilities. But now that you mention it, I remember that they are actually specializations, not just add ons.

4 hours ago, SavageBob said:

Yeah, that's just it. Saying, "I think fencing should use Agility" is reasonable, but you should try the system as is first. Do you want your great fencer to also be great at piloting ships and shooting guns? That's what Agility is used for in this system. Do you want them to be good at running, climbing, swinging from chandeliers, and the like? Those are Athletics tasks, which is Brawn. This system divvies up the attributes a bit differently from others, so just keep that in mind.

Even if I haven't logged a lot of time using the system (though not using it modded, I just don't have a lot of playtime logged), I have thought through this stuff quite a bit. Remember, Agility is also used for Coordination, and depending on the circumstances, swinging on a chandelier, or the like, might be a coordination check.

For something like using a Vibroaxe (something that has been happening in my game) Brawn makes perfect sense because the point of a Vibroaxe is to smash through stuff. So a lot of it simply depends on the weapon. If someone said: "I want to use Agility for my warhammer" I would say no, it is a weapon not meant for finesse. If someone wanted to use Brawn for a fencing foil, I would probably say no, it is a dexterity based weapon for precise dueling.

Also, damage is still calculated based on Brawn, so if you have good Agility, but not Brawn you are still penalized for your low Brawn.

I think of Agility as your reflexes and, in many cases, how quickly you can move your limbs (sprinting would be Athletic/Brawn though), like quick footwork, or grabbing something that was unexpectedly thrown at you would be Agility.

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Yes, the lightsaber styles are standard career specializations. Not only that but the specific talents that allow you to use the Lightsaber skill with a different attribute besides Brawn are not Force talents. It should also be noted that there are some weapons that use that skill which are not themselves actually lightsabers among these are the Training Stick and the Ancient Sword. The former is essentially a Shinai or boken while that latter is basically a katana.

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Just now, Tramp Graphics said:

Yes, the lightsaber styles are standard career specializations. Not only that but the specific talents that allow you to use the Lightsaber skill with a different attribute besides Brawn are not Force talents. It should also be noted that there are some weapons that use that skill which are not themselves actually lightsabers among these are the Training Stick and the Ancient Sword. The former is essentially a Shinai or boken while that latter is basically a katana.

Okay, but I thought that the Lightsaber skill was Agility?

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Okay, but I thought that the Lightsaber skill was Agility?

No. The basic Lightsaber skill uses Brawn, just like Melee. The Ataru Technique talent allows you to use Agility instead, the Soresu Technique talent allows you to use Intellect, the Makashi Technique allows you to use Presence, the Niman Technique allows you to use Willpower, and The Shien Technique allows you to use Cunning. 

Edited by Tramp Graphics

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1 minute ago, Tramp Graphics said:

No. The basic Lightsaber skill uses Brawn, just like Melee. The Ataru Technique talent allows you to use Agility instead, the Soresu Technique talent allows you to use Intellect, the Makashi Technique allows you to use Presence, the Niman Technique allows you to use Willpower, and The Shien Technique allows you to use Cunning. 

Okay, interesting. Thanks!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Yeah, I'm thinking maybe using the lower of the two characteristics or something?

Pretty much all of my playing has been RAW, but when I see something that doesn't make sense, I want to fix it (I've been that way with pretty much everything ever since I can remember). I do not get to play play the game on all that regular a basis (probably a total of 35-45 hours or so total), however I spend more time than I would care to admit thinking about the rules, planning for the future of the campaign, and studying the game in general (for the first 6 months or so that I had the game, I studied it everyday). I am by no means an expert, but I think you may be underestimating my power! (okay I had to) underestimating the thought I've put into this. Also the rules I've been tweaking have largely been rather insulated (as far as I can tell), so they don't unbalance much else.

I wasn't saying they were force powers, I was just saying I thought the trees were in the same pattern as force powers, or signature abilities. But now that you mention it, I remember that they are actually specializations, not just add ons.

Even if I haven't logged a lot of time using the system (though not using it modded, I just don't have a lot of playtime logged), I have thought through this stuff quite a bit. Remember, Agility is also used for Coordination, and depending on the circumstances, swinging on a chandelier, or the like, might be a coordination check.

For something like using a Vibroaxe (something that has been happening in my game) Brawn makes perfect sense because the point of a Vibroaxe is to smash through stuff. So a lot of it simply depends on the weapon. If someone said: "I want to use Agility for my warhammer" I would say no, it is a weapon not meant for finesse. If someone wanted to use Brawn for a fencing foil, I would probably say no, it is a dexterity based weapon for precise dueling.

Also, damage is still calculated based on Brawn, so if you have good Agility, but not Brawn you are still penalized for your low Brawn.

I think of Agility as your reflexes and, in many cases, how quickly you can move your limbs (sprinting would be Athletic/Brawn though), like quick footwork, or grabbing something that was unexpectedly thrown at you would be Agility.

Then i suggest you need more play time because a lot of your "solutions" are more likely to break balance than fix a problem like making melee agility turns agility into the uber stat. It is good for piloting, tightrope walking, shooting all ranged weapons, stealth, and so on. 

Edited by Daeglan

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14 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

Then i suggest you need more play time because a lot of your "solutions" are more likely to break balance than fix a problem like making melee agility turns agility into the uber stat. It is good for piloting, tightrope walking, shooting all ranged weapons, stealth, and so on. 

Have you even read what I've been saying? I'm not making it Agility, I'm allowing the possibility that sometimes it should be.

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21 minutes ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Have you even read what I've been saying? I'm not making it Agility, I'm allowing the possibility that sometimes it should be.

That is what talents are for.

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18 hours ago, Daeglan said:

That is what talents are for.

So someone has to purchase an entire specialization and then work their way to the specific talent? I think that's a bit much. For them to want to further specialize their abilities that makes sense, but I think it is a bit much to make them spend ton of xp just to change the characteristic they use. As far as the talents go, they would allow the character to use the relevant characteristic for everything, not just certain weapons.

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Well that is how it works in the system and itnis done that way for balance reasons. Other wise everyone would just do it. And dont forget access to a talent is about more than a single talent.

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Try this on for size.

Back when I was studying fencing IRL we spent just as much time working on strength training as on anything else.  And yeah that was for a martial art that emphasized finesse.

Mind you the training fencing foils were pretty light weight, but we were effectively training to use a 3 lbs Rapier or comparable weight sabre.

So if you didn't have the strength (aka "Brawn") then you just weren't going to be able to effectively wield the weapon.

 

BUT, I get the notion of using Dexterity (aka: "Agility") as the attribute to base your ability to land a blow with a melee weapon and to use Strength as the attribute for damage because that's how SJ Games GURPS handles melee combat.

And it works brilliantly.

 

The biggest problem that I have with GURPS is that I haven't figured out how to include and balance force powers yet . . .  I wish my players would spend more time focusing on force powers, because I think the way FFG balanced their talents and force powers, it lays out a good way to handle the Force.  The trick would be to design a similar approach to GURPS where force powers are treated ad Advantages . . .  (But I digress).

Mind you, I've already tweaked FFG's SW RPG rules enough to invoke the unbridled ire and wrath of these Forums and I'm intrigued to see the OP test out this theory and to report how it works for them.

Roll them bones P-47 and let us know how it works for you!

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5 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

Well that is how it works in the system and itnis done that way for balance reasons. Other wise everyone would just do it. And dont forget access to a talent is about more than a single talent.

Sure everyone can do it. If it is the proper sort of weapon, the proper sort of character, and a GM that agrees to it. I get your concerns, but I don't think it's that big a deal, especially since damage is calculated with Brawn anyway.

Yes, access to a talent tree is more than just the one talent, but if you don't want to invest a lot of xp in your sword fighting, you aren't going to want to get an entire talent tree in order to have a certain fighting style. If you wanted to set a minimum skill level before you can use Agility (or just say "it costs 10 xp to use Agility). I would agree with you, but I think you are being to rigid to disallow the option for simply choosing to use Agility (with, of course, the limitations I have previously outlined). I think that maybe saying that you can't use Agility until you get 3 ranks in Melee and/or spend 10/15 xp. Further more, a character using Agility will not be able to use Agility in all situations, as sometimes specific actions would make more sense with Brawn.

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1 minute ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Sure everyone can do it. If it is the proper sort of weapon, the proper sort of character, and a GM that agrees to it. I get your concerns, but I don't think it's that big a deal, especially since damage is calculated with Brawn anyway.

Yes, access to a talent tree is more than just the one talent, but if you don't want to invest a lot of xp in your sword fighting, you aren't going to want to get an entire talent tree in order to have a certain fighting style. If you wanted to set a minimum skill level before you can use Agility (or just say "it costs 10 xp to use Agility). I would agree with you, but I think you are being to rigid to disallow the option for simply choosing to use Agility (with, of course, the limitations I have previously outlined). I think that maybe saying that you can't use Agility until you get 3 ranks in Melee and/or spend 10/15 xp. Further more, a character using Agility will not be able to use Agility in all situations, as sometimes specific actions would make more sense with Brawn.

If you dont want to invest a lot of xp in sword fighting then use brawn. This is like armor. If yoj want to be good in armor invest in a talent tree that makes it so. 

The rules are set up the way they are for a reason.

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