Weapon Lengths, come up much?

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Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« on: April 13, 2012, 09:51:19 AM »
Weapon Lengths feel a little strange to me in Basic. Combat strives to be very loose and abstract but for some reason Weapon Lengths feels like it wants to get crunchier. Does this come up in your abstract fiction very much in play? I really don't have a good idea on how to use them. I certainly don't know enough about medieval combat to presume to know when certain weapons are unusable in combat.

So is it just a fiction thing and occassionally crops up? If it weren't for having a racial ability (Human Fighter) tied to it I probably wouldn't even think about it much. But tied to a racial bonus like that it gives the impression its maybe more important that I'm imagining. Thoughts?
Chris McNeilly

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 10:16:57 AM »
I keep thinking about this as GM but never seem to make it matter in-game. I guess I just haven't seen a compelling moment when it would be significant. As a player, I definitely try to take advantage of my Close/Hand reach with my fighter's weapon, figuring I can gain the upper hand if I get in close on someone swinging a sword. But that hasn't been born out either.

I'd love to hear some examples of when it mattered in-game.

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sage

  • 549
Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 10:45:15 AM »
I'm in a game with a human fighter who uses a spear right now and boy does his combination of ranges come in handy. Consider this case:

Fighter: "I'm inside the ogre's reach, so I jam my sword up under his ribs… uh oh, I only rolled an 8. I'll roll my damage, what does he do in return?"

GM: "Well, like you said, you're in too close for him to really swing his club. So I guess his 'attack' is to stagger back from your blow and set himself up to hit you. He's at reach now. Avon, you see that the ogre's finally in a position to smash your friend, what do you do?"

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 10:58:47 AM »
Okay sage, looks like its far more prevalent for you than I'd anticipated. Isn't it weird though that you're constantly (and arbitrarily) having to adjudicate when the fiction has nullified someones weapon length. Like I said, I dont' have a ton of medieval combat knowledge but I'd expect that weapon length advantage would be a very fleeting thing. Occassionally being beneficial but constantly in flux as people chaotically whirl around.

If its just something that can be tossed around in the fiction why mess with it in the rules at all? Like your Ogre example, I'd never guess that because the fighter was inside that the Ogre couldn't attack. I'd just assume that in the melee, if the fighter missed or whatever....Ogre got position on him and BLAM!

So just to be clear, you DO use it to say "Nope, he's got you outside your range...no Hack and Slash yet"? If so, they just fictionally maneuver back into range? Does that create a Defy Danger situation that otherwise wouldn't have existed without Ranges?
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 11:06:57 AM by donbaloo »
Chris McNeilly

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sage

  • 549
Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 11:22:29 AM »
It doesn't come up all that often in my games, but sometimes. Mostly when someone has reach on you, or you have reach on them. It can often make Defy Danger, sure.

The tags are all in the fiction. Having ranges deliberately doesn't lead to some kind of mechanical range changing (we did that at one point, it didn't work well). It's just a way to communicate easily that some creatures can only attack something very close to them, etc. The fact that the ogre only has the reach tag (if that's the case, I can't even remember if we did that ogre yet) is how you know that the fighter can get inside their reach and beat on them.

In our games a thing that sometimes happens is "I hack and slash him!" to which the GM responds "How? He's got a spear he's stabbing you with, you've got a dagger." There are many answers, some of which may be Defy Danger depending on the circumstances: "I bash his spear out of the way with my shield and close" "I spin around his spear to his weak side and get in close to stab him" "I push the hireling into his spear and use the opportunity to get in close."

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 11:40:58 AM »
Yeah, I don't know specifically about reach tags for creatures, not having looked at their listings. So that's interesting.

And I figured, if you utilize the range tags when they come up in game, it probably happens a lot. I figure there's probably tons of sword vs. dagger fights going down in DW, right? I was just wondering how often folks actually fictionally (which leads to mechanics, either you can attack or you can't) address it.

So basically it should be treated just like another obstacle or threat, to be utilized by the GM to make the characters lives exciting. Would you feel comfortable suggesting that, when different reached weapons are in play, that the GM utilize positioning as a soft move to set up that obstacle?
Chris McNeilly

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sage

  • 549
Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 11:48:20 AM »
Setting up a monster at a range that favors it but doesn't favor the players (say a spearman against a sword fighter) is certainly a soft move. It's a very soft "put someone in a spot." The spot being "This guy can attack you, but you can't reach him, what now?"

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 11:53:03 AM »
Sounds good Sage, thanks for walking me through it!
Chris McNeilly

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2012, 02:54:52 PM »
The classic reach example, which happened in our last DW session, is the spear fighter attacking from the second rank while the person in front defends. Or, in our case, the person in front was the Cleric, who was turning two undead and keeping them pinned in a corner where the spear fighter could attack them but they couldn't reach to hit back.

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noofy

  • 777
Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 11:52:02 PM »
Awwww poor defenceless undead John! Great teamwork on the player's part too :)

When we play, I often find it helps to gesticulate wildly and leap about, not confining our narration to sitting at the table. There is lots of 'I swing like this, over my head, I'm gonna take his head off!' Or 'I step back, holding the very end of my double bitted madien of death, *player grabs one of many LARP weapons lurking about my lounge-room and demonstrates* her razor sharp blades thrust into their face, daring them to attack'. Or 'I snitch about, back and forth, y'know, meerkat style, * player demonstrates to the hilarity of all* just waiting for the chance to leap in hamstring them with my dagger.'

Antics aside, its all contextual to the fiction we spin at the table. If the ranges come up, or the player wants them to come up (they might flag the whole tactical to and fro of melee and positioning as what they want out of the game), then the tags are supportive in establishing the fiction. If you just want to make a broader narrative sweep and encapsulate a whole exchange into one or two moves, you can go that way too.

Personally, we generally use ranges not at all, unless there is a specific, definitive need in the fiction to establish one, though Brancino's player does like getting in close :)

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2012, 01:28:41 AM »
Well I've endeavored to make it a nonissue for Rudiger the Fighter. We started play tonight and I chose a Human Fighter with an Axe for signature. Chose range Close, and then versatile for Reach. Human has me covered on Hand. I should be good until someone starts flinging arrows! ;)
Chris McNeilly

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sage

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Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 01:05:40 PM »
Aside all of this: the human fighter move might need to be stronger/different.

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 02:29:09 PM »
As a thoroughly biased participant, I think I agree Sage. I chose Human because I just like playing humans more, but I did think the racial bonus was probably infrequently of any use.
Chris McNeilly

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noofy

  • 777
Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 05:23:39 PM »
Hmmm. Maybe as a Racial Trait the Human move could be always versatile: when you use any melee weapon you may always use close, hand and reach ranges.

This effectively gives human fighter's an additional enhancement on their signature weapon too, but elves have the same tag bonus with precise, and they are Fighters after all!

Re: Weapon Lengths, come up much?
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 06:30:06 PM »
Humans overcome. Once per fight, re-roll your damage.