Ok, here is some more feedback. Sorry for not nit-picking for typos and alternate formatting, time is extremely limited.
(1) GRAB ISSUES
I've already addressed Grab weirdness as it is an Offense+Defense Maneuver, but unlike Master-Strike, the other Attack+Defense Maneuver, Grab does not handle itself well at all in [Red/Red] and [Attack from Defense] situations.
My suggestion is this: Ditch the effect of gaining MoS as bonus dice used to fuel a grapple maneuver in the following tempo. Which by itself is another problem -- RAW it cannot fuel [Compound Grab+grapple maneuver] because they happen in the same tempo; instead it can fuel only Counter and False Attack secondary maneuvers, which is weird at best.
Have Grab inflict MoS dice on opponent instead.
Also have it act as both Attack and Defense -- similar to Master-Strike -- but with a catch:
Axe the "restrain limb being grabbed"
part. Let Impact handle the defense instead.
Which breaks down like this:
1. Attacker grabs Defender dodges (or any other Defense maneuver): Here Grab acts as an Attack. When Grab succeeds it inflicts MoS Impact and puts combatants in a grapple.
2. Attacker thrusts Defender grabs: Here Grab acts as a Defense. Roll Grab first, inflict Impact on Attacker, dice are discarded from Thrust first, if any dice are left in there roll Thrust; if Thrust deals damage no grapple occurs and Attacker has Initiative; if Thrust doesn't deal damage for any reason (no dice left to Thrust / no successes rolled on Thrust / no damage is dealt because of AV+BTV) they are in a grapple and defender has Initiative.
3. Attacker grabs Defender grabs. Here Grab acts as both attack and defense. Imho the best way to resolve it is to play it as an opposed roll; the one who gets MoS inflicts Impact on the other and puts them in a grapple, as opposed to example 2.
The alternative as above in 2 (Thrust vs Grab) would be this: Roll defense Grab; inflict MoS Impact reducing attack Grab first; if attacker has dice left in Grab resolve attack Grab; inflict Impact and Attacker has Initiative; if Attacker doesn't Grab successfully (zero dice left to Grab / he scores zero successes) Initiative goes to Defender.
(2) FISTS BEING DEADLIER THAN KNIVES / NEW RANGE BAND (!!!)
When one fights barehanded against a peasant knife (or other tiny blade) no ones has an edge on reach as they both have a Hand reach; unarmed fighter Swings and Thrusts for -1b; armed fighter Swings for -1c and Thrusts for -2p. Let's suppose that both are unarmored (AV0), have BTV1, and are of equal CPs.
pg 143 wrote:Most attacks will deal some form of damage. This is usually equal to one of the DRs on the attacking weapon’s profile + The victor’s MoS and Brawn tap value. The defender may then subtract their own Brawn tap value and AV from this to get the wound level taken.
A MoS1 attack breaks down like this:
Unarmed Swing : Lv1 Blunt, Impact2
Unarmed Thrust : Lv1 Blunt, Impact2
Armed Swing : Lv1 Cut, Impact2
Armed Thrust : No wound, Zero Impact (!)
Turns out that in practice Hand reach flesh fists are slightly more deadly than Hand reach steel knives.
If the armed guy could claim a +2CP bonus due to Reach then steel knives
are more deadly than flesh fists
I pounced upon this when I encountered an error in Reverse Grip:
pg 159 wrote:Take your knife or dagger and hold it blade-down or “ice pick” style. This reduces weapon’s length category by 1 (from Close to Knife, from Knife to Hand) and puts any kind of deflection with the weapon at a disadvantage.
RAW there is no "Knife" Reach category:
pg 139 wrote:the categories are, from shortest to longest: Hand, Close, Short, Medium, Long, and Extended.
If however there was a Knife range between Hand and Close the above issue where fists are equal (or deadlier) than Hand reach blades there would be no issue. The proposed range bands would be something like this:
Hand: An unarmed attack, a cestus or knuckle-duster, or clutching a rock in hand.
Knife: Most short knives, broken glass shards, or anything that projects up to ½ft from the hand.
Close: Long knives and daggers, broken bottles, or anything that projects up to 1ft from the hand.
Short: Short swords, hatchets, batons, or anything projecting up to 2ft from the hand.
Medium: Most one-handed swords, axes, or other battlefield sidearms projecting up to 3ft from the hand.
Long: Many one or two-handed battlefield weapons, such as the longsword or pollax, or anything capable of projecting up to 4ft from the hand.
Extended: Spears, zweihanders, and most battlefield polearms projecting their reach anywhere from 5 to 7ft from the hand.
As for Weapon Codices, simply replace Blade length option "Hand" with "Knife".
(3) ABSENCE OF EMPHASES
One cannot help but notice the absence of Emphases. In all honesty, this has been a huge part of melee in 'Bastards. Is the concept being axed, in the process of being designed, or undecided as of yet?
If it is being axed I can only express my disappointment.
If it is in the process of a write up or design all is cool. You can safely disregard all the following.
If you're still undecided I have some suggestions on the matter.
All the suggestions are made with this in mind:
One of the goals in this edition is trying to make all the fuzzy things less reliant on interpretation. What we're cooking on now (which will color productive discourse on this topic going forward) is the idea of better defining the role proficiencies take. In this case, we're thinking about defining proficiencies as weapon skills with the individual fighting styles represented by the emphasis.
As they stand presently (and this is a very rough outline)
- Something to represent the existing polearms proficiency
- And Shield
- Existing Emphasis
- Something to represent greatswords/montante
- Something specific to armored-fighting
First things first. For the structure to work some maneuvers are shifted around the board.
All Link maneuvers share their mutual Group: Links and can be used with every Proficiency (as it is now). They cab safely be removed from Proficiency Maneuver Lists.
Heavy Blow, Slam, and Stomp are "relegated" to Basic maneuvers, in the sense that they are shared by all Proficiencies across the board.
Also Heavy Blow is altered. It costs AC1 and it increases DR by 1, period. It can be declared either as a Swing (wild swing) or Thrust (lunge).
Now with the Emphases:
Exclusive Maneuvers: Disarm
- Grappling: Grab inflicts MoS+1 Impact; While maintaining a Hold in a grapple you can switch to any grappling maneuver in the next tempo for free (no AC cost).
- Knife Fighting: Gain access to Quick Draw and Reverse Grip maneuvers; while you have Initiative during a grapple gain +2CP at Refresh.
- Striking: Unarmed strikes gain +1dr; A MoS2 Dodge will grant you Initiative for free.
Mass, Polearms, and Spears get merged in one Proficiency:
Exclusive Maneuvers: Staff Grip.
- Massive Blows: Gain access to Bind; Heavy Blow (Swing) can be augmented further up to 3AC/+3DR on a 1:1 basis.
- Pole Leverage: Gain access to Beat, Disarm, and Wind; While in a staff grip Hook, Expulsion, and Slam are free of cost.
- Spear Fighting: Gain access to Beat, Bind, Overhand Grip, and Wind; While you have Reach all attacks aimed at you suffer Disadvantage. Attacks aimed at your weapon are unaffected.
Exclusive Maneuvers: Beat, Disarm, Master-Strike, Murder-Stroke, Wind, Half-Sword.
- Blade Fighting: Attacks from the Wind and Master-Strike followups gain Advantage while using the sword in a Normal Grip.
- Harness Fighting: Defenses from the Wind and secondary Murder-Strokes gain Advantage while using the sword in a Half-Sword Grip.
- Montante: When using the Sweep option and holding the sword in a Normal Grip anyone trying to beat the hazard you created rolls at Disadvantage.
Exclusive Maneuvers: Beat, Disarm, Master-Strike, Murder-Stroke, Quick-Draw, Wind, Half-Sword.
- Cut-and-Thrust: While performing a Link any secondary attack that links into the blade of the sword gains Advantage.
- Messer: Counter and False Attack secondary attack gains Advantage if the link contains Grab.
- Sabre: All Swing attacks and secondary Swings are considered Draw Cuts for free if they hit.
- Sword & Shield: Gain access to Bind; While you have Reach Control any maneuver using the shield gains Advantage.