So, I'm preparing a big story arc focused more on Companions and Grogs, and it will involve knights, footmen, maybe a small siege and loads of noble intrigue. For this, I want to bring in more detail in combat, without making it more complicated. So I have several things I want to look at, and how they would be used in the 5th edition rules:
-Crossbows: I know there are rules for these in Covenants, but are they accurate? The book says they will be detailed more in an upcoming release. Do we know of any rumours on this release?
-Attacking with shield or weapon in off hand: I know that warriors in the middle ages would sometimes attack with their shields, another weapon or even pummel someone with their scabbard held in their off hand. How should this be done in 5th edition? Would the rules from Ordo Nobilis suffice?
-Long weapon vs short weapons: Using a spear against a guy with a dagger is a good idea.. as long as the guy with the dagger doesn't get up close. Great rules for this in 4th edition, with the use of Initiative and reach, but how can it be done in 5th edition?
-Charges: How should the advantages/disadvantages for charges be?
So, any suggestion? I'm going medieval here, so I want to make myself a kind of addition to the rules to use until maybe a book with these things comes out.
As I'll no doubt repeat below, your own judgemnt in the heat of the moment will be your best friend.
I don't think much (if anything) is known. Go with the covenants stats or adapt them to best suit your group. After all, if another set of rules are published that you like better you can adopt them later.
I'd try to keep things fifth-pure. There is a great catch-all weapon "Bludgeon". If it aint a weapon, or it is a weapon being used incorrectly, it's a bludgeon.
Fifth made a concerted effort to simplify things. My advice if you want a fair amount of heroic combat, stick with that plan. If a player wanted to get inside the spearman's guard (proper, as opposed to just doing damage to him) then you could suggest he succeed on a grapple attack and take it from there. Alternatively, have him make some other check and apply any bonus/penalty based on that.
Look on page 173 of the main book under exertion. If you charge, you're exerting yourself. If you want your rules to be consistent, I wouldn't stray too far from that. As a house rule, if you want lots of charging about, perhaps make them roll against athletics to see whether they lose the fatigue level.
Remember, simple doesn't mean stifled. I've played in D&D (huge number of actions and options) and felt I couldn't do what I wanted because the line between the feats was just too fine. Situational modifiers are great and if your players think up imaginitive ways to do something in a situation as chaotic as combat, so be it, reward accordingly.
I'm not a rule purist, and one of the few things we've kept from 4th ed. is exactly the combat system. I feel it answers many of the questions you pose - but then off course it adds other challenges itself. The obvious one being that with 4th ed. combat you have to be composed to avoid the game stalling due to mechanics. That however is a question on familarity and preference.
If I were in your shoes I'd either go with Marks idea of not stiffling it - you can decribe in vivid details whatever effect you want but keep the rules simple - or if you like complex rules and dice rolling and must have a system for these things, I'd recommend 4th ed. combat.
What I really would like to see again in 5th edition is how to use two weapons in combat, or weapon and shield bash, weapon and another improvised weapon and such. And maybe rules if a character grabs his one handed longsword in two hands..
So, here are some rules I'm thinking about:
High Guard: The warrior is holding his weapon high, striking harder, but makes his defense more difficult. Add one to the weapon's attack, and subtract one from defense.
Middle Guard: As per standard rules, no bonus or penalty.
Low Guard: The warrior is holding his weapon low, making it easier to move it to deflect attacks, but strikes are less powerful. Add one to defense and subtract one from attack.
One handed weapon in two hands: The warrior attacks with his weapon, using two hands. Strikes are much harder if they hit, but since it's slower, it's easier to sidestep. In addition, it's harder to defend against attacks while doing this. Add +2 to damage, -1 to attack and -1 to defense of the weapon. This can be combined with Guards. Two handed weapons are meant to be used in this way, and their damage already counts for this. They receive no penalties.
One weapon in each hand: One weapon is mainly used for attack, and one for defense. Use the attack and damage value of the attacking weapon, and the initiative and defense of the defending weapon. Both must be one handed (duh!). The main advantage is that two Guards can be used, for example Double High (+2 attack, -2 defense) or Double Low (-2 attack, +2 defense). High & Low Guard cancel eachother out, but it might look cool
So, this is just off the top of my head, very improvised. Think it would work?
Here's an idea boss... what if you, just out of the goodness of yer heart, were ta let us win all the time? Or better eyt, what if ya were ta let ME win all the time? Letting me be teh greatest hero evar! YES!! This is a Good Plan (tm) ... honest!
But seriously chief, the rules ya mentioned there seems ta me to be workin' allright. I'd be ok with using them.
But what if a gian twere ta use a Big Stick (tm) to hit me inna 'ead? Say a +2 or +3 guy, would his weapon do more damage from the go than a Big Stick (tm) made fer a +1 character?
Depends on his Strength, doesn't it? Only a silly SG or player would make a guy with Giant Blood, and only a 0 or +1 in Strength. Ergo, more strength, more damage.
Remember too that the Guards mentioned rely more on skill than damage. More skill equals more potential damage. Using a one handed weapon two handed gives a flat damage bonus, but penalties to attack and defense. Logic here is that it doesn't take alot of skill to use a weapon two handed, but the using the guards can give you better attack advantage (and more damage or other nifty effects) or better defense.
Apart of 4th ed. combat being that Size was added to damage and subtracted from defense. In effect making it easier to compare relative strenghts in combat. Then you don't have to wonder whether a larger person is just more bulkier of if he's using a bigger weapon than ordinary men - it was taken account for. Size on the other hand making it easier to hit a larger target then a smaller.
I agree - but that is only in the context of the Virtue. If you moderate you size by spells (as there is an example of in the core book) this doesn't entail any Characteristic modification. You might start doing the numbers, but I just find it much more simply to use size directly in the combat stats - which again is connected to the fact that we do use 4th ed combat rules. Should one of my players decide to have the virtue Giant Blood, well then I might have to reconsider (maybe reconsidering the bonuses). I really like the new ed. system of wounds (which also makes Giant Blood very different in itself) - not only does seem more real but it is also much easier to "make" the mechanics to story - describing in appropriate detail (according to the scene) the wounds and their state.
Much as I prefer 5th ed in terms of rules and flavour, i can't help but miss the weapon ranges from 4th ed. Since I dabble in the martial arts myself (go ninjas!) i'm well aware of the advantage that range gives you. Taking a knife to a sword fight will see you bloodily dismembered and taking a knife to s staff fight, you basically only have the option to brave the staff wielders blows and try and get close. And when you do, he only has the option of getting away from you.
4ed modelled this really nicely and i'm thinking of house ruling it back in. Do you think i would need to redo the weapons stats if i decided to change the rules to incorporate weapon ranges again?
I don't think the weapon stats needs to be redone, as this plays on initiative, and longer weapons in 5th ed tends to have more initiative than the shorter ones. So the winner of initiative decides which range the fight will be on that round. But I'm not 100% sure..