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Modiphius > Mutant Chronicles Playtest Discussion (CLOSED)
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Thoughts on Dual-Wielding

posted Aug 04, 2014 19:03:35 by Nicholas Simpson
Benn mentioned that this is something that is currently being worked on, so I figured that such a specific topic might as well have a specific thread. So I think there are three main issues to address when it comes to dual-wielding: realism, coolness, and game balance.

As far as realism goes, it's been pretty well established that dual-wielding weapons, either melee or firearms, is a very rare practice. As well as being rare, it is also questionable how much benefit someone realistically gains from wielding two of the same weapon at once. Most of the styles actually used historically involved use of a defensive and offensive weapon. There doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that handedness/ambidexterity plays a huge part in the effectiveness of dual-wielding either. So why is dual-wielding such a thing if it's realistically seen almost no use in reality?

Well, dual-wielding looks cool as hell in movies and video games. If one weapon is good, two weapons are better, right? So people have this visual of someone dual-wielding swords in a whirling blade of death, or Chow Yun Fat sliding down the stairs blasting away with a pair of pistols. These are fun and cinematic images that people want to see replicated in their games.

However, the actual replication of dual-wielding in games has typically been very spotty. You have the reality that dual-wielding isn't that useful, and it seems harder to do than single-wielding, so lots of games tack on a series of penalties to doing it. However, these are games and they don't want to take a bunch of penalties on it with no benefit, so dual-wielding frequently offers an entire extra attack or something similar. Games that offer feats or another analogue then allow a bunch of those to be purchased to buy off the penalties. So you end up in a situation where the benefit of dual-wielding breaks the game and is thus heavily penalized, and feats are created that basically exist to make someone suck less at breaking the game. This, to me, is bad game design, as it is both focusing more on realism when dual-wielding is inherently unrealistic, and also creating a situation in which the balance of the game gets thrown off.

So how should dual-wielding be handled? First off, I think it's important to discard realism concerns when using it. The reason for this being that dual-wielding is inherently unrealistic in combat, and its use is more based on narrative/coolness concerns than simulationism. I also feel that obfuscating the use of dual-wielding behind a bunch of penalties or extra rules would not be very helpful either. The rules for dual-wielding should be EXTREMELY simple.

So what should those rules look like? Well, I think it's important to first consider what benefit dual-wielding actually gives in its source material. In video games, dual-wielding guns typically concentrates and increases damage. Dual-wielding swords is usually done in order to get the benefits of two special weapons. In movies, dual-wielding firearms is usually done when someone is heavily outnumbered and the extra gun is seen as being able to even the odds against a bunch of targets. Dual-wielding melee weapons is usually more an indication of individual fighting styles, although it is sometimes also used to even the odds against a bunch of enemies, or as a way to push back a single enemy or really strongly press the attack.

So what benefits should dual-wielding have in mutant chronicles? I had an idea that DSIs could be used to activate multiple weapon qualities OR add extra damage. A lot of the momentum spends reflect the benefits I talked about above. I'd really like to see a super simple one-sentence rule for this, though, as opposed to trying to capture every tiny detail of dual-wielding.

Also, there needs to be some kind of balancing factor to using dual-wielding. Again, this should be pretty simple as well. I'd also like for it to not be a huge penalty to attacking that in turn balances a huge bonus. I think it would be better for dual-wielding to give a slight thematic bonus and be balanced with a slight penalty of some sort.

So what are some people's thoughts? I'll try to write more later about some suggested ways to implement dual-wielding.
[Last edited Feb 10, 2016 00:14:25]
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8 replies
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AmazingOnionMan said Aug 05, 2014 17:12:52
"The rules for dual-wielding should be EXTREMELY simple."

Finally something we agree on!
Dual wielding should allow you to put a lot of lead in the air, at the cost of not hitting anything that isn't a barn, a massive Pretorian Stalker or something that will be, from here on, referred to as misc. collateral damage.
But good for making enemies dive for cover.
[Last edited Aug 05, 2014 17:30:11]
I'm not always right!
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Nicholas Simpson said Aug 05, 2014 20:21:31
So what do you think rules for that should look like?
I'd say the basic penalty could be a small difficulty increase, but what about benefits? Gaining +1 Spread? Increasing firing mode (this may be too overpowered)? DSI being spent on qualities of both weapons? Maybe a new quality called Dual-Wielding that does something with DSI?

As far as difficulty penalties goes, I already proposed an idea for difficulty modifiers being divided into Minor and Major. Minor penalties would add +0 if there was only one and +1 difficulty if there are two or more. Major penalties would add +1 for having only one and +2 difficulty for two or more. Major penalties would override minor penalties rather than stacking. There would be the option for the GM to add another +1 difficulty if there are a bunch of modifiers in play.

I think in this case dual-wielding would be okay as a minor penalty if it has a suitably small benefit.
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Nathan.Dowdell said Nov 08, 2014 19:38:13
The final version of the dual-wielding rules in the rulebook is a small sidebar, giving a small but useful circumstantial bonus. I think you guys will be pleased with the results.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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Nicholas Simpson said Nov 09, 2014 21:14:23
Fresh life on the forum!

Any idea on an eta for the new rules? Have there been any significant changes to the rules from the playtest document ?
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Nathan.Dowdell said Nov 09, 2014 21:33:42
No significant changes, more a lot of clean-up and refinement, making sure the language used is consistent, and ensuring that all the necessary rules are in there. I'm not sure on the ETA - Chris is the one running the show and juggling everything, I just write stuff.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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Felipe Morales said Dec 22, 2014 01:28:10
Just make one weapon offensive and the other defensive. If the player wants to use the defensive weapon as a offensive weapon, then that one should take a major penalty.
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TemoTugunDeGaunza said Jan 20, 2015 19:38:19
I'd probably just charge the player using guns akimbo or two swords style or whatever 1 Heat. After all, they're already making the fight more interesting by having double the weapons, and each weapon can manage it's own ammo loads and special effects. Plus they're getting double the rolls, giving a higher likelihood of more successes, but also a higher likelihood of generating some 20's.
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Nathan.Dowdell said Jan 22, 2015 15:03:58
As noted in the Infinity Alpha (and this is the same in Mutant Chronicles), dual-wielding weapons allows a character to use the Swift Strike Momentum Spend (normally, 2 Momentum to gain a second attack, at +1 difficulty - once per turn only) for one Momentum so long as the second attack uses the other weapon.

Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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