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Impaling Weapon Self-extraction Rule

posted Mar 04, 2013 23:00:56 by Jefferiot
I couldn't find the self-extraction rule for impaling weapons in RQ 6. I am thinking both quick self-extraction and First Aid extraction should be preferable to enemy extraction. Any ideas?
"Who to be or not to be. That is the question." --Jeffspeare
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13 replies
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bluefenix42 said Mar 04, 2013 23:17:03
In real life, the primary reasons to not pull out an impaling object (of any kind, not just weapons) yourself are that it may cause more damage on the way out or it may be putting pressure on a damaged blood vessel and blood loss will increase dramatically when the object is removed. I would treat quick self-extraction during combat time as causing the same sort of damage (or maaaaaybe 1 die size smaller, because you're doing it less viciously) as the enemy pulling it out. I treat a successful First Aid roll (which takes a minute or two and is hard to impossible to do in combat time) as causing no additional damage, but a failed or fumbled First Aid roll can and probably should do more damage. Perhaps the Healing skill is capable of doing a better job than First Aid, though. That might be an area to houserule a distinction (Healing only causes damage on a fumble, not a fail, perhaps?).
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PeteNash said Mar 04, 2013 23:53:36
You are supposed to use First Aid (or Healing) to remove it. Its obliquely referred to on page 63, in the First Aid Actions table. If not using First Aid then self-extracting the weapon will still inflict damage just as enemy removal would. The difficulty of removing it yourself is already covered by the penalty suffered for being impaled.
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Jefferiot said Mar 05, 2013 04:48:46
Thank you for the quick answers!

Thus am I planning for my NPC's to leave the impalement until after the combat is ended. What my players do is up to them.

Would it be unrealistic to have a rule for a long impaling weapon doing damage on a successive melee round, even though it is left in the wound? Gravity on the long end may torque the tip up into the wound. Also, the long end may drag on the ground or get underfoot as the combatants move around. (I think that the 5-foot spears and those less in length would not achieve this level of threat.) The strategy of one of my rogue players partly depends on this.

He also wants the impalement by the 8-foot spear to seriously hamper the escape of the foe, so they can after the battle is ended be interrogated, ransomed, or enslaved. Any thoughts on impalement-hampered retreats?

What the unarmored rogue is doing is staying unengaged, while carrying a half-dozen 8-foot spears, 1 in the right hand and 4 or 5 in a clip in the left hand. He walks down the line of scrimage behind the other players, but impales each player's foe from over the shoulder of the player. Thus, one by one, the foes become seriously handicapped, tipping the scales of battle quickly in the players' favor.

Any thoughts on whether I should allow this inventive, mechanisms rogue's spear-clip-over-the-shoulder-plunge strategy to work? My players' party has no formation or shield wall training. They are disorganized Orlanthi barbarians (spear, Viking shield, sword, and blue paint) fighting Lunar heavy infantry (darts, gladius, and scutum) in dense formation at the glowline.

I am very interested in keeping my player realistic, because the player is approaching this with an attitude of the routine rather than of the heroic.

Any ideas are much appreciated.

And thank you to The Design Mechanism for a great game! I'm having a ball. :)
"Who to be or not to be. That is the question." --Jeffspeare
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PeteNash said Mar 05, 2013 07:21:50
Jefferiot said "Would it be unrealistic to have a rule for a long impaling weapon doing damage on a successive melee round, even though it is left in the wound? Gravity on the long end may torque the tip up into the wound. Also, the long end may drag on the ground or get underfoot as the combatants move around."

In actuality, an impaled weapon does not (usually) cause further damage. Skin and muscle are very elastic, so when a weapon first penetrates the flesh tends to stretch around the point, then tighten back around the shaft or blade. The damage is caused by the first incision as the point penetrates or the blade edge travels transversely through. Once the weapon comes to a stop, then it ceases to inflict further gross damage and in fact becomes surprisingly difficult to withdraw; elasticity, stickiness and suction holding the weapon firmly in place.

Wobbling the weapon after this does little further harm. Flesh, muscle and organs might shift about, but little else happens. Of course it will probably give the impaled victim a lot of pain - but this is already modelled in the skill penalties they suffer for being impaled.

As for running after being impaled, well that same skill penalty will act against the impaled victim - reducing their Athletics roll. Thus it will both hasten their Fatigue loss in a chase, and their bonus to Movement Rate. You could of course add an additional penalty, say -1 per weapon size step or cap the gait permitted, but that sort of thing is best left to a situational GM ruling.
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nclarke1953 said Mar 05, 2013 10:22:17
I suggest a trip to your local equivalent of Home Depot. Go along to the wooden rod section and take out of the rack half a dozen poles of 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter and 2-3 metres (8-10 ft) in length. Now try to walk along the aisle holding the poles and doing anything like trying to stab anyone. TBH It's laughable that anyone could think that this is even possible.

I'd stamp on this from the start but I suspect Pete is too nice to tell you this.
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RangerDan said Mar 05, 2013 10:56:38
What nclarke1953 said. A 'clip' of spears is not something I see happening in real life. I think your rogue may be trying to 'game' the rules a little bit.

But if you want to put it into a rules context:
* An 8-foot spear is roughly a Shortspear with reach 'L'. I would say it can be used over someone's shoulder, but only in tight formation if the enemy is very close (ie reach 'S' or 'T' of the front rank, almost touching shields). This is roughly equivalent to the Greek Hoplite style of combat. I don't see space for a bandolier of spears in that formation. You could also argue that that degree of coordination requires the Formation Fighting trait.
* Those Lunar legionnaires are using a Scutum in Shield Wall, Passive Blocking 6 locations. Assuming your rogue generally only scores 'normal' hits (ie 1x Special Effect) he must choose between Impaling (and a big chance of bonking a shielded location) or Choose Location to do damage (but no Impale for a crippling penalty).

For a historically realistic and effective alternative, see the Greek Peltast: Peltast Wiki
1 Javelin in hand, 2-3 spares in the shield-hand, and the option to Impale or Pin Weapon (Shield).
Peltast shield to block dart fire, and light on your feet to outrun them if things go south!
[Last edited Mar 05, 2013 10:57:11]
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Jefferiot said Mar 07, 2013 19:23:11
Thank you for the ideas.

I now realize how the problem arose. The formation re-acted inappropriately in the first place.

A formation with weapons two sizes shorter should have closed range in mass on the disordered troops, causing the disordered troopers to try individually to keep the range open, therewith possibly causing the latter to trip over anyone directly behind.

I had cheated the formation out of the close range maneuver, because I hadn't known how to do it for a formation in the context of the rules.

In the context of the rules, then, the formation makes one roll for all of its troops to make a close range maneuver in mass, while the disordered trooper that the formation is facing matches his own individual roll against the formation's roll to see if he is one of the lucky ones who gets to keep his range open. And if there were anyone behind him, then he would have to make an additional roll against tripping.

So, instead of keeping the range open, Jack may fall down and break his crown, and Jill may come tumbling after.

The non-topic problem (rogue attacking over ally's shoulder) from my second post, solved! :)

Right?

Whew, that was hard for me for some reason. It took me two days to wrestle with that, because the rules and formation tactics are both still too new to me.
"Who to be or not to be. That is the question." --Jeffspeare
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nclarke1953 said Mar 08, 2013 00:28:58
Did you try the trip to the hardware store or are you still letting the player thrust an 8 foot spear over someone's should while carrying several other spears?

The rules regarding the use of big shields and formation fighting work well enough in limited space. In a more open area the ability to break up the formation by skirmishing with javelins/axes and forcing the troops to break ranks to chase down the skirmishers will make keeping in formation much harder.
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Jefferiot said Mar 08, 2013 01:50:03
<nclarke1953>
Did you try the trip to the hardware store or are you still letting the player thrust an 8 foot spear over someone's should while carrying several other spears?
</nclarke1953>

No, and no, because I can already imagine that you're right.

The mechanisms rogue will have no immediate reason to want to do this again, because of my coming change to the dynamic of skirmishes with Lunar legionaires (see previous post).

When the situation does arise again to fight in two ranks, I'll let them, but the guy in back would have to use such an 8-foot spear 2-handed in order to use it over an ally's shoulder, until they get formation training for a different technique. And if he wanted to replace the spear after it impales, he'll have to think of how to do it with a sylph handing them off or a squire so doing. Furthermore, without formation training, both ranks in the column would find it hard to attack and parry.

<nclarke1953>
The rules regarding the use of big shields and formation fighting work well enough in limited space. In a more open area the ability to break up the formation by skirmishing with javelins/axes and forcing the troops to break ranks to chase down the skirmishers will make keeping in formation much harder.
</nclarke1953>

Thank you. I'm still trying to solidify what tactics should make sense between formations and barbarians and to solidify how the rules support the transitions.

It's up to the players to think of that, though. My more immediate concern is to play the NPCs with the appropriate commands and tactics, so they can learn from the NPCs, if need be. I've been busy improving my understanding of the rules, but it's about time I busy myself with a search for an Internet resource with battle formation tactics, commands, and the counters to them. It's better if I already know them when my players think of them, so I can handle their inventions gracefully.
"Who to be or not to be. That is the question." --Jeffspeare
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nclarke1953 said Mar 08, 2013 10:52:11
For Barbarians vs shield walls you could do well to look at Roman legions vs Germans or perhaps Dacians or even the British Celts in 43AD. All of them lose out to close formation disciplined troops, but try different ways/tactics of attempting to break the Roman formation. The Britons tried chariots, the Germans ambush in close terrain and the Dacians a big 2 handed cutting weapon. The Romans countered most of these, but the ambush in close country worked the best as Caesar Augustus was still calling for Varus to give him back his legions some time later. Varus' defeat was probably compounded by treachery and a lack of experience by some of the Roman troops. Still when ambushed by locally superior numbers in a rainstorm and unable to manoeuvre in a formation the odds are very much against the ambushee.

Not sure how the ambush scenario would work in Glorantha as much of the terrain isn't that suitable for such tactics.
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Jefferiot said Mar 10, 2013 23:29:49
nclarke1953: Caesar Augustus was still calling for Varus to give him back his legions
some time later. Varus' defeat was probably compounded by treachery and
a lack of experience by some of the Roman troops. Still when ambushed by
locally superior numbers in a rainstorm and unable to manoeuvre in a
formation the odds are very much against the ambushee.

Just a thought: Had Arminius yet learned how to make Roman siege machines? Could siege machines have been camouflaged around the edges of clearings into which the Roman legions were baited? Oh, I see from a documentary on youtube that Roman ramparts and palisades were used to trap the remaining front half of the Roman worm that survived the forest ambushes.

nclarke1953: Not sure how the ambush scenario would work in Glorantha as much of
the terrain isn't that suitable for such tactics.

Glorantha is very magical. Magical terrain may be created using spells and skirmishing can also be done with spells. For example, a shade may be released to function as a movable barrier to LOS.

For example, a gnome may be released to drop several soldiers into a pit.

For example, a slow spell cast on a soldier can quickly rip a hole in an advancing formation.

For example, a sylph may be released to throw several soldiers up into the air, perhaps 30-feet high, to land on their comrades, incapacitating perhaps about twice as many soldiers as were thrown.

So, I am beginning to think that a Lunar patrol might not prefer to use close formation against an ambush by adventurers. The Lunar patrol might prefer to charge in open formation through the adventurers to hit their magic-users right away.

Perhaps siege machines may have been used to break formations of troops in Earth's history in the same way that magic has been used to break formations of troops in Gloranthan history.
[Last edited Mar 11, 2013 03:11:28]
"Who to be or not to be. That is the question." --Jeffspeare
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DanTrue said Mar 11, 2013 05:56:49
So, I am beginning to think that a Lunar patrol might not prefer to use close formation against an ambush by adventurers. The Lunar patrol might prefer to charge in open formation through the adventurers to hit their magic-users right away.


But, in Glorantha, won't many of those same Lunar soldiers have Countermagic of some magnitude on them? Not that it would protect them against elementals of course.

- Dan
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Jefferiot said Mar 14, 2013 01:27:46
DanTrue: "But, in Glorantha, won't many of those same Lunar soldiers have Countermagic of some magnitude on them? Not that it would protect them against elementals of course."

That's possible, unless they've been ambushed. Preparation can be everything in such a magical world. I think thorough scouting must be a very good idea in general for Gloranthan operations. And it's probably a good idea for scouts to know some appropriate detect spells.

Otherwise, I think it could take one or two melee rounds to get up the standard combat buffs, depending on how many magic-users are unengaged in melee and still able-bodied. It may be difficult for a Lunar magic-user to foreknow optimal buff casting order for the specific situation. Also, one magic-user may be unaware that another magic-user is too compromised to get off an important buff.
"Who to be or not to be. That is the question." --Jeffspeare
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