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Advantages of fencing and effect of bandoliers
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grindoctor

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just can't help it but have to comment on the Fencing skill, too.

In my opinion, it is a pimple in the face of the AFO-beauty:
Nothing important, but you have to look at it all the time...and it annoys! I do not really understand, why this skill is written as it is. And, reading through this and the EGS forums, it seems that I'm not the only one. My players reacted to it when just skimming the book, every one of them!

So, what is bothering me?

(*know-it-all-mode ON*)

1. Fencing should be dexterity-based, just because it feels right! Think of the swashbuckling films and books, fencing is fast and light; the fencers are generally no strong bulls, but agile fighters. (When hitting one of the Cardinal's men with the boars leg, Porthos uses his Melee skill for sure Wink )

2. You use light swords and smaller blades for fencing, so-called fencing weapons (thus the name, I suppose), not every type of weapon, as said in the fencing school supplement.
Talking about this clarification: Why would you have a Fencing skill at all (both Melee and Fencing are Str-based in RAW and use the same weapons)? I know, in real history fighting schools were teaching a wide variety of weapons, but that does not mean the pupils were learning to "fence" with a Zweihænder or a mace. I cannot tell for fencing really, but from own experience even a viking sword is too heavy to do this fast blade flashing.

3. If fencing is a skill of its own, why is it a specialized skill? I imaging that fencing styles do not differ that much. Especially, if the melee skill covers everything from axe to two-handed spear fighting. My experience showed me that even fighting with a spear one-handed+ shield or two handed is very different. But I won't argue to split the Melee skill up into specialized skills. I in fact like the simplicity. But why is this not done with fencing?

4. There is this optional rule were you get a +1 bonus for attack and parry against anyone who does not know your style, except when he has the same bonusses as your. This means effectively you get the bonus whenever an opponent attacks with melee, as every fencer has the same bonus. Why would someone buy the melee skill at all?

Now, this is how we in our group handle fencing:

1. Fencing is based on Dexterity.

2. Fencing weapons are swords and knives with 2L or less. Everything else is too heavy/clumsy/unwieldy.

3. As Fencing is based on Dex it is an own skill, but not a specialized one. Instead, the school styles are specialisations (just like the duelist has stated it in AFO Very Happy ). This makes it cheaper to have several styles but there are some restrictions:
At character creation you can have one of them, but do not have to (learning fencing by yourself on the street).
Otherwise, you can only buy additional styles if you have the appropriate school, patron or the like at at least level 0.

There is one exception for the school-skill link: The German school is a melee specialization, as you cannot fence with a Zweihænder or Claymore.

Another extra rule concerns the Spanish school talent (can't remember the name of it right now) which grants a Str-bonus. The talent allows the fencer additionally to choose if he wants to base fencing on Str or Dex (in a way Strong attack Smile

4. Now the optional rule for fencing bonusses is that you get the +1 bonus whenever you fight someone who does not know a school style (as they are trained to look for patterns and the like), regardless if its Melee or Fencing.

Wasn't that difficult, was it? Why isn't it written that way? Wiggy, what were you thinking? Wink
(*know-it-all-mode OFF*)

Before you run now to slap me with your glove and demand satisfaction, remember, everything in this post is just my opinion/perception ... although I find there are a couple of people who share my views.

Also, duelling is forbidden by the law .... *trying to restrain laughter, but cannot hold it* Laughing
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You use light swords and smaller blades for fencing,

No, you don´t. A rapier weighs about 3 lbs, some more, some less. What you have in mind are small-swords and foil-blades - which come into fashion 50 years later.
Quote:
Everything else is too heavy/clumsy/unwieldy.

That maybe your groups picture - it just doesn´t get anything close to reality (and not even the movies). One-handed swords of the middle ages weigth around 2 lbs - they are, in fact, lighter than rapiers, because they don´t have a complex hilt.
And I could show you how fast and agile a two-hander can be, if wielded with some skill ...
Quote:
The German school is a melee specialization, as you cannot fence with a Zweihænder or Claymore.

Laughing Tell that to all the practicioners of the "Kunst des Fechtens" around the world - they could show you how to fence with a long sword, after they stop laughing ...
Quote:
Why isn't it written that way?

Because at last SOMEONE did his homework BEFORE writing another version of the same clichés we got bogged with since the 1890´s ...?

I just don´t get it: You can change your base Attribute for fencing to anything with a talent. D´Artagnan (because he always pops up) doesn´t fence with DEX - he´s using CHA in most movies.
Why don´t you just give your players a free talent to change the base attribute to their personal liking?

STR is for arms, DEX is for fingers. As you don´t fence primarly with your fingers with anything but the foil and small-sword (which should indeed be based on DEX), STR is the base attribute.

The difference between fencing and melee is just one thing: formalized teaching. Wiggy made the error of not explicitly stating this in the book, nothing more.

Melee represents skill aquired by surviving - a base knowledge of fighting coupled with lots of practice.
Fencing is a formalized method, a system laid out in teachings and even books with clearly distinctive moves and forms that can be recognized by just watching the fencer.

So please, house-rule as much as you like - but there´s no need to fix the system, it´s just not broken. It´s your impression of fencing that needs correction, if anything.

EDIT: Just for illustration purposes - "Real" spanish rapier and dagger fencing, with rapiers, that weigh about 3 lbs. Just choreograph the fight, add some props and flashy moves and you´re close to AfO, with STR as base. Twisted Evil
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TAG Wiggy

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Althalus wrote:
Wiggy made the error of not explicitly stating this in the book, nothing more.


Guilty as charged, your honor.
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Runeslinger

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Althalus wrote:

Because at last SOMEONE did his homework BEFORE writing another version of the same clichés we got bogged with since the 1890´s ...?


As a student of swordplay going on 20 years now, covering European sporting and martial systems, plus training in Asian weapons, I have a big, 'Amen!' to add to this. See below:


AMEN!
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Nestor

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From a mechanical point-of-view: In AFO, Fencing is to Melee the same way Martial Arts is to Brawl in HEX; as someone else put it, formalized training as opposed to base skill, allowing a level of flexibility in its use.

Be careful, though, of falling into the trap of using the "real world" argument ("That's not how it works in the real world!")

Keep in mind, RPG's such as AFO are not modeling real life, but the genre they are set in. These genres carry their own tropes and assumptions that don't necessarily jive with reality as we perceive it.

Our group has a stock response to "real world" arguments. We call it the "Grenade Rule", as it is inspired by the flavor text in the Grenade card from the Shadowfist CCG: "Grenades work much better in movies than in real life. This ain't real life." Very Happy
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grindoctor

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Nestor: Ouch, into the crown juwels Shocked

*The pupil stands up*

I wrote: "...everything in this post is just my opinion/perception" Guess I should have written this first thing, as you may not have read it. Anyway, it is quite essential to my post.
I do not say: That's the way it is, but rather: That's what I expect of the genre. So I wouldn't actually say, I am falling into the trap of "real world argument" Your arguments do, hihi! Rather the trap of percieving the genre the way the movies painted it for me. Guilty!

You say it yourself...
Quote:
Keep in mind, RPG's such as AFO are not modeling real life, but the genre they are set in. These genres carry their own tropes and assumptions that don't necessarily jive with reality as we perceive it.
I could not agree more!

And obviously I am not alone with these assumptions, not only in the forums, but:
Quote:
... same clichés we got bogged with since the 1890´s ...?
Oh I am aware that I have my ætherscrewed mind bogged in 1889 Very Happy

On one hand you say: RPGs use genre tropes and assumptions, on the other hand are you railing against clichè? Shocked Come on, Nestor! You like cliché, you play HEX!!! Wink

Quote:
Why don´t you just give your players a free talent to change the base attribute to their personal liking?
Could do. The talent - connected to the fencing style's required attribute (Charismatic D'Artagnan) - comes for free with Fencing school 0 or maybe the style specialty.

Quote:

The difference between fencing and melee is just one thing: formalized teaching.

My questions again:
Why bother with an extra skill and why is it specialised and not the melee skill? I can't really see where two fencing styles are more different than fighting with a spear opposed to a morning star?

*Sitting down on the school bench again, waiting for the lector to continue.*
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grindoctor wrote:
Why bother with an extra skill and why is it specialised and not the melee skill?


As Nestor put it... "In AFO, Fencing is to Melee the same way Martial Arts is to Brawl in HEX; as someone else put it, formalized training as opposed to base skill, allowing a level of flexibility in its use."

Jeff set a standard in HEX, which he chose to follow in AFO, since the fencing table and skill was his contribution to the book. We're happy with the result. You've already stated that your opinion differs to ours, and we respect that. That doesn't mean our rules or your opinion of our rules are wrong -- they're just different views of how things should work. Smile

Vive le difference!
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Rather the trap of percieving the genre the way the movies painted it for me.

They didn´t. Twisted Evil It´s the way you view them, nothing more (Which is nothing wrong! Just be honest about it.)

Every classical fencing scene involves two things: how the single frames are cut and how the stuntcrew acts. In the 'golden age of hollywood' every actor learned to fence - as every actor on the stage did. That´s scenical fencing, an art in itself, involving a lot of security, while pertaining the illusion of a deadly duel.
Every actor knew one thing about fencing: that it´s hard, beackbreaking work, involving strained muscles, bruises and a lot of sweat. And all this just to have the audience believe that D´Artagnan doesn´t even break a sweat while fighting off multiple opponents.

But look at Michael Yorks D´Artagnan - the first scene shows him sweating and coughing while fencing his father. Yes, even heros need training!
The training-sequence is a very important part of every martial-arts movie in itself.

But they don´t train DEX- mostly they are shown lifting weights, running, repeating endless series of attacks, etc. So, they do train STR, don´t they? Twisted Evil

Quote:
Why bother with an extra skill and why is it specialised and not the melee skill?

THAT´s indeed a small problem - but one that IMHO stems just from a lack of explanation. The fencing school comes in two ways:
1. The skill
2. The resource

The skill represents training in a particular style, nothing more. So, why not use Melee and specialize? Because Melee is too general a skill. You specialize in e.g. sword, mace, spear, etc. because that´s the weapons you have the most pratice with.
Fencing means, that you train not only in the weapons of a style, but also in its methods of standing, moving, attacking and defending. They differ a lot (compare De Fer with Leonardo ...) and have particular strengths and weaknesses.

The resource gives you access to the teachings itself (the bonus), the help of a teacher and the connection to the other pupils. With Melee you don´t have a teacher, no tactics and teachings to fall back on in times of need and no collegues. You are just a soldier who survived, has learned a few tricks that worked and maybe has not lost sight of all comrades of his last unit (Contacts).

What the schools in AfO do indeed lack is a little bit more crunch and fluff.
1. Weapons: Each school should have weapons that it uses - historically each fencing style had defined weapons it taught (Cut-and-thrust-sword, Rapier, Dagger, Cloak, etc). You see this already in RG Fencing Schools 2.
2. Strength & Weaknesses: The tables are there, it`s just not defined how to use them. I use them both ways - you get the bonus/malus to your action but also, when the opponent attacks you. If you have -1 to Disarm, you get it to Defense, when your opponent tries to disarm you. If you have +1 to Thrust, you get +1 to Defense when attacked with a thrust.
3. Talents: The schools teach specific talents - which should be less XP-expensive for fencers trained in that style (say, 7 points instead of 15 for members and 10 for trained non-members).

The melee-only fighter doesn´t get any bonuses - but he has no maluses also. He doesn´t get cheaper talents - but he doesn´t depend on the ones of his specific school and therefore defines his own personal style.

That´s my take on it.

Quote:
I can't really see where two fencing styles are more different than fighting with a spear opposed to a morning star?

That´s the catch: They differ in very subtle ways. Therefore it´s a challenge to determine the style of your opponent - and playing on his weaknesses. Think of the old Kung-Fu-movies - "My Eagle style will crush your Snake style!". Wink
So, if your opponent uses Position de fer and you are a Leonardo-fencer - run around him, hit him on the run, jump and roll. If you are the De Fer fencer, await his attack, trip him and nail him to the ground.

The only problem with the AfO-Fencing schools is that theres a lot of bones and not that much flesh. In most cases I could even recognize the movie they stem from - but it really needs some fleshing-out.
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grindoctor

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Nestor
I owe you an apology: I quoted wrong in my last post! It should be Althalus not Nestor. Thus I mixed up the posters, thinking you were contradicting yourself! Sorry, Nestor! Embarassed I am fully supporting your grenade view of rpg-things Very Happy I hope, I got at least that one clear in my last post - despite mixing things up!

@Wiggy:
I must confess, I haven't given Martial arts much of a though, as it hasn't mattered in our HEX game (no mystical easterners thus far). Fencing in a Musketeer game on the other hand cannot be avoided, so I started wondering.
But I get your reasoning for using an existing pattern, ...if you can call it "pattern", when it's done twice Smile I just don't see why it is used in the first place. But as you say: Folk's different!
But let my clarify one thing: AFO is a fun game which our group enjoys very much! You guys did a nice job (and still do with those guides by a certain cardinal). If I would not like it, I would return to the 7th Sea Wink

@Althalus:
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Rather the trap of percieving the genre the way the movies painted it for me.


They didn´t. Twisted Evil It´s the way you view them, nothing more (Which is nothing wrong! Just be honest about it.)


If you read what you quoted, you will recognize that I stated, that the movies paint this picture FOR ME! So, YES they DO! Becomes a little childish by now Smile
You make it sound like I have very unique take on this! I may have many rare takes on a lot of things, but with this I feel quite main stream (Did I really write that? :Shocked: *shudder*) One good indicatorfor what comes across in a story are children: Mine and their friends like to play the fast and nimble pirates not the heavy bulls. Says something about what stucks after watching a movie, doesn't it?
Remember, you have an insight many do not possess, and that will naturally influence your perception! I honestly do not care if Errol Flynn was whining about strained muscles behind the camera, because it does not matter for the swashbuckling experience!

Nice video, btw! But - for me - it supports Nestors "grenade rule": RPGs are not real life. As giving a hobby as fencing may be, to me this looks nothing like the swashbuckling fun found in the movies! I don't want to emulate that in AFO, sorry!

Also, I am aware of "Kunst des Fechtens", but when it comes to rpging, I go again: Genre trappings over real life!
I am one of those fellows, who doesn't care about calibre and charge weights effect on gun damage in rpgs as long as its fun and suits the game style! Mr Spielberg has certainly done his home work, when it comes to the period around WW2, but luckily he did not use it to get in the way of the fun. Otherwise, the Indiana Jones series would have been quite different! Wink

I do understand that you hold your hobby dear, but do not forget that most people are more familiar with genre cliches than the real thing.

Your rule takes have a lot I can agree with, however. More crunch could be nice, like weapon types for different schools. Maybe you could post some shiny stuff regarding fencing styles, as you know what you're talking about Very Happy Would be nice!
But as it is now I rather simplify, taking some of your ideas as guideline:

-The fencing skill is out. Instead, one can take fencing style specialties for melee. (I know, you had some good points why there could7should be a specialized fencing skill, but I feel that if different weapon specialties can be governed by one skill, you can also throw in fencing styles. Keeps it simple and makes it a little more versatile, especially if you add weapon limitations to styles, imho.)

-Requirements for more than one of fencing style specialties are fencing school 0, patron and the like at character generation. The same for taking a new style specialty after game start.

-As we use the simplified fencing bonus rule: everyone with a fencing school specialty gets the +1 bonus against any opponent without it.

- And most important: With Fencing school 0 the character gets Bold Attack, Calculated attack, Finesse Attack, Focused Attack or Tough Attack for free, but only when using the style speciality. Which of these talents you get, depends on the school's prerequisites. This might also help to highlighten the specific flair of each school. Wink Wink


Last edited by grindoctor on Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:02 pm; edited 8 times in total
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grindoctor

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Althalus:
Looks like we posted at about the same time, so I edited my last post a little. Please read the part directed to you again as it contains some replies to your last post as well.

And I am serious. Maybe you could write up some more crunch and fluff. Maybe Wiggy puts into a Guide to Fencing schools part 3 Very Happy
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@grindoctor: I DO understand your take on these things - but it´s one thing to SEE swashbuckling action and another to PERFORM swashbuckling action.
Your character is actually performing - in the game-world, he´s doing those things, while you just roll the dice and tell him what you´d like to see. The rules of an RPG therefore are your strings to pull - but to function without 'knots', they have to be consistent and solidly based.
So, this base is - as we are just humans - reality.
Fencing in reality is pure adrenaline, believe me. Facing an opponent even in friendly sparring sets your teeth on edge and gets your blood roaring in your ears - facing a steel blade, even a dull one, in the hands of someone trying to hit you with it is a very special experience. Wink

Translated into UBI-terms, this is the skill-rating. Rolling dice for attack and defense, trying to inflict damage. You do some basic maneuvers like Charge or Parry, but mostly you rely on blade-work.

To get this into swashbuckling, you have to add Style - not just Style Points, but stylish action.

My first tuning-screw was the round. 6 seconds, 1 Attack, 1 Move? Much too short. You can´t even do a trick and attack in the same round without having to go on Total Attack. So I took the round from "Flashing Blades" - 12 seconds, 2 Attacks, 2 Moves or 1 Long action.
And behold! The fights are faster, have more style and feel a lot more swashbuckling (and are more cinematic, because each PC has double screen-time).

The next thing are the fencing schools. In a movie, the fighting style of each character is carefully chosen. It has to add flavor to this character, tune in with his personality.
So, that´s what a PC in AfO needs. Is he a veteran soldier, forged on the battlefield? Then invest in Melee, take a specialization.
Is he a nimble fighter, fast as quicksilver? L´Ecole de Danse or L´Epee Gracieuse spring to mind.
Is he more like a rock, breaking the waves? Try Tarrasque or Position de Fer.

Mostly, this comes down to role-play. But to get some rules-backup I use the school-bonus/malus like I wrote above.

And I allow skill-synergy with combat-skills. Turning yourself round the opponent with his thrust, kicking him in the butt? Parry + Athletics, Brawl-Attack (next round, if using the 6 seconds).
Rolling backwards and running him through from below when he comes after you? Acrobatics + Fencing with a delayed action (you have to do this at the right moment).

IMHO you´re making things more complicated than they should be. A small turning of a screw here and there will get the whole system faster to your liking than a drilling a new hole, to paint the picture.
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And I am serious. Maybe you could write up some more crunch and fluff.

I will do that for my blog on AfO - I just have to translate it into English (as I´m normally writing in German).

Just a few thoughts:

- Primary weapon: Each fencing school could have a primary weapon, the one its teachings are based on. For most schools, this would be some kind of rapier. Using this weapon could give a +1.
- Secondary weapons: Most schools don´t just teach one weapon, they have at least an off-hand weapon. These weapons don´t give a bonus but allow all the schools special maneuvers (Talents) to be performed.
- School-talents: They can only be used with the schools weapons, e.g. you can only use the Tarrasque 'Beat' with its school-weapons.

- Learning school-talents: XP-cost is 15 minus skill level in this school. This represents, that the better you are grounded in the teachings of your school, the easier it gets to perform advanced techniques. So, when you have 5 in Tarrasque, 'Beat' would cost only 10 XP. Level, because this is the rating of pure learned skill (and it doesn´t get too cheap too quickly).


You see, my way is to turn Fencing into a really different skill than Melee, with advantages and drawbacks, so that it is a real decision for the players, what to take.
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grindoctor

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again, Althalus:
Quote:
The rules of an RPG therefore are your strings to pull - but to function without 'knots', they have to be consistent and solidly based

I agree with you on that. But it seems we disagree how the base should look like Wink For me, it's in the tropes and asumptions of the genre as I see it. For you it's maybe more historical/realitic orientated? That's ok Very Happy

Quote:
Fencing in reality is pure adrenaline, believe me.

I am very much convinced of that. But by watching the video, I just got no swashbuckling vibe. I just have not experienced this myself (most people don't), so I "expect" something different in a high adventure game. You may think what you like of Disney's Pirates movie franchise, but I like the fighting scences. Flashing blades, climbing, jumping, panache, and fun: high speed action! Finishing off loads of stupid soldiers with a barrel and a "HAHA!"

I certainly know, how it feels to have a passion you get an adrenaline rush from, but which -to others- seems not very exciting. During summer I fish a lot. Some one who hasn't really done it himself, will most like think shore fishing is the most dull hobby ever "Muggles!" Wink Those who fish know otherwise. But I wouldn't necessaily play that one out in a rpg Very Happy

Quote:
My first tuning-screw was the round. 6 seconds, 1 Attack, 1 Move?Much too short. You can´t even do a trick and attack in the same round without having to go on Total Attack.

I agree. Rounds in our group are therefor somewhat flexible in length. Basically as long as it is necessary.

Quote:
IMHO you´re making things more complicated than they should be.
By throwing out one skill and its reference table? I find it simpler, but that's our house rule. Never mind.

About your last post:
Now we are talking Very Happy This looks nice. And it works also for our house rule take on Melee.

Btw, what would be reasonable specialties for the Fencing skill? As you write it here, are weapons in a way "build-in" specialties (which I like!). So what would be suiting? Manoevres? Circumstances?

You have a blog with AFO content about this? Would you mind to post a link? In Norwegen ist Deutsch fuer viele næmlich kein Hindernis Smile
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Althalus

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Btw, what would be reasonable specialties for the Fencing skill?

At the moment I stick with fencing as a specialized skill.

But to specialize even further ... it would have to be a school-depending thing. You see, my fencing style (the real world "Dardi"-school) teaches a great number of weapons, but is based on the single-handed sword. This would be the primary weapon, the imminent specialization of the school, so to say. But you could specialize in two-handed-sword also, as this is also taught in the school. So, in this school, different weapons could be specialized in.

L´Ecole de Danse could have specializations in certain moves and maneuvres, being largly influenced by dancing and ballet.

The possibilities are endless - but there´s the risk of overdoing it.

What I have in mind are sample-actions for each school. This is, IMHO, what is lacking. Without practical knowledge of fencing (and fighting in general) you just don´t see the possibilties of the schools. You have to rely on movies - wich don´t depict that much variants as AfO-schools.

Quote:
Would you mind to post a link? In Norwegen ist Deutsch fuer viele næmlich kein Hindernis

afo.fechthalle.at - Bitteschön! Wink
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grindoctor

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Althalus:
The more you describe and reason around fencing styles, the more I got the impression that we need a guide 3. part for fencing schools. More fluff and crunch like typical weapons (also usual secondary weapons), special maneuvers/actions, exp discount for certain talents and example specialties, for instance! And all information about each school in one place. Maybe a fencing school compendium would be better, summing up information of the core book as well as the guides Smile Wishful thinking.....

Nice blog, btw. I haven't read everything, but the styff I read is interesting. Those of you who can read (and understand German) should take a look at Althalus' site: afo.fechthalle.at
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