Tactical Foundation

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- Archived 'Foundation' -

NOTICE: This page has since been divided into three: Stats, Weapons and Armour and Organisation



This covers the foundations of the Tactical rules that apply to both Core and Augmented. It deals with the fundamentals of the system and as such some cuts had been made for clarity. The core system lacks any rules to simulate the psychology of the troops in a battle, and assumes they are infallible and emotionless. This is obviously not the case. The psychology rules have nit been forgotten and are dealt with as part of the Augmented rule set, with the introduction of another Roman god 'Jupiter' but first lets deal with the Arts of Mars..



Troop Characteristics [M.A.R.S/ A.R.T.S]

Each trooper in you army has a set of characteristics for their type. These characteristics describe the trooper's abilities and will determine how they will perform on the battlefield. Some troops are much better at fighting than others, especially 'elites', and some specialise in their battlefield role.


There are two types of characteristic: primary and secondary. The primary, innate, core characteristics are arranged so that the first letter of each characteristic's name spells out the word M.A.R.S after the Roman God of War, and where 'Martial Art' derives it's name (also known as the 'Arts of Mars'). The secondary, adaptable, 'art' modifiers are arranged to spell out the word A.R.T.S. These 'Arts' are also a reference to the 'Arts of Mars'.


MARS Characteristics: Mentality [?], Agility [?], Reason [?], Stature [6*]

ARTS modifiers: Avatar [?], Ritual [?], Theory [?], Somatotypes [?]


//* Only Stature is currently defined//


Design Notes: In concept: Mars is the core of the warrior, their base immutable essence (DNA) and structure, and the arts is how this essence expresses itself in the world and manipulates its own environment and it's own body. I wanted the stats to be intuitive to understand, but also introduce and imply the thoughts behind the stats.


Mentality [MARS]

This stat is the mental ability and personality of an average of all human minds. If you could measure all aspects of the human thought processes and emotional output, then this stat represents the average composition of those minds. It is how humans interact with other humans and communicate, how they show their intent (body language) and articulate their message. More 'mentality' make for a more powerful 'personality', but also a more powerful 'id'.


However, no one is ever a 100% match to the human average, and this is where the 'avatars' come in.


Notes: Morale is worked out as a temporary situational modifier applied to mentality, and is in addition to avatar modifiers. Certain situations cause modifiers to morale and force tests to be taken (pushed back in combat -1). Failed mentality tests lead to low morale, passed tests show a resolute attitude. There will also be 'army morale' modifiers, which affect the whole army (such as 'poor rations' -1 and so on) which link into the strategy tier of the Warspike system.


Notes: Mentality is the strength of drives and emotions the mind produces. Therefore a person with Mentality 6 produces stronger emotional responses than someone with Mentality 5. This is a blessing and a curse. For example: Someone with Mentality 6 phobia [spiders] 1 has a stronger reaction to spiders than someone with Mentality 5 Phobia [spiders] 1. The Mentality 5 needs a phobia of at least 2 before they exhibit the same level of anxiety as the person with Mentality 6 phobia 1. Therefore high Mentality can result in a very brave person with bags of resolve or a complete basket case.


//metal 'stature'//


Avatar [ARTS]

These are based on the 16 personality types, which deals with all types of mental aptitude, mainly dealing with communication and thought. It does not include physical expressing of skill. These personality types are used to modify the mentality stat in a given situation. It is the minds reflexive response to a given social or confrontational situation.


Each 'avatar' is an embodiment of a human personality 'type', yet not everyone is a set personality type in all situations and many people assume roles in a given situation. People are not set to a personality type, though through being stuck in an ongoing situation is can give an impression of a person being one type of personality,. and sometimes a strong personality prevails. Therefore people can have multiple personalities, and have multiple avatars. The modified denote how effective they are at that given avatar, and some may be very low scores, even negative. (The only one we are really interested in, is the warlike personality, the 'avatar of Mars').


//mental 'somatotypes' - replaces alignment/ charisma/ fellowship and all such stats.//


Agility [MARS]

Is the Trooper's natural reaction time, the speed of their nervous system, and an the quickness of their muscle contractions based on the composition of slow and fast twitch muscle fibre (it is assumed the average is 50/50 between type I and type II (included IIa and IIb)). It is this type of muscle fibre that determines the innate speed of the muscle but also how fast it will tire. Slow twitch muscles have far greater endurance and the fast twitch. Although Agility is set, the somatotypes of stature can affect agility and change the way it functions.


Under this definition of the stat, Agility is considered 'god given' attribute (or DNA determined attribute if playing sci-fi) and therefore set in stone and can not be changed by any natural means (other than genetic engineering). It is the core Agility of a human and covers a troopers raw response to a new situation. However familiarity and practice does improve the response of the human system to stimuli. This is the concept of conditioning response though training or ritual, routine and reflex. It may not rewrite your DNA but it does optimise your body system for a given situation.


Ritual [ARTS] (>routine > reflex (three 'R'))

Though drill and constant repetitive tasks the human body is forced to adapt and grow to meet the challenges it endures. As the body adapts it optimises it's resources to match the tasks it is completing, and actually changes the structure to flesh and bone to match. This is call conditioning. At the same time the constant repetitive tasks become familiar to the mind and slowly but surely the tasks become 'automated' (think about driving a car and how you do not think about actually driving, you just drive and your concentration is on the road). This automation and reflex conditioning is the basis of combat technique.


Ritual leads to routine leads to reflex conditioning.


Example: Martial Arts Kata in Japanese Martial Arts is a 'ritual'. If practices often it becomes 'routine'. If the routine is practiced correctly and with a partner is conditions the flex to certain moves, it becomes 'reflex'.


Obviously there is more to fighting than simply learning Kata, but the concept also holds true for sparing where sparing becomes the ritual, that becomes routine, that becomes reflex. The simple fact of the matter is that the only way to become good at fighting is to fight! Sparing helps, and learning a Martial Art is a very long and drawn out process taking many years, once the moves and base reflexes are put in the exponent is still not a proficient fighter, they then have to spar (relentlessly) in order to become proficient, and the type of sparing can have a huge impact on effectiveness in real combat.


It is entirely possible (and often to be expected) for a naturally aggressive 'fighter' to out perform many a modern day 'hobby' martial artist, yet if such a natural fighter takes the time to learn a martial art they become particularly powerful (after all the art was designed for these warrior types and that's why the can excel in such an art if they apply themselves - it also has a calming effect on their personality, not 'sports training' but real 'no-rules anything to win' combat training).


Backup to the mind: Therefore reflex is a automated backup to the mind. A fighter does not have to think about sparring and blocking it is automatic and they can think about bigger issues, such as ploys and tactics. That is not covered by reflex! That is covered by another stat


Stealth: At first it may not seem to be a 'reflex' but image walking in the wood on your won and you hear a twig snap - instantly you will have a reflex response, and the response will be proportional to the perceived threat. Humans in danger will 'freeze and locate', freezing stops movement and makes you harder to spot, location means you can then direct your focus and implement counter moves. When using counter moves, you modify your walking to be light, and this is another example of automated reflex conditioning (children learn it when playing games like run-outs). Therefore the base of stealth skills is reflex conditioning training.


Extra effects: Hard training affects another stat which is detailed later called Stature and it's secondary 'Somatotypes' which also has an effect on core agility (NOTE: It's opposite? Stature?). it is through repeated practice, training and physical conditioning that bonuses can be applied to Agility in order to make the effective modified Agility much higher (Agility can also be impacted negatively but more on that later).


and ability to shift weight and out manoeuvre an opponent and stay one step ahead, to keep and judge their distance. It includes the speed to think on their feet, to dodge and duck for cover. Generally smaller Troopers have higher agility than larger Troopers.


NOTE// Agility and reflex do not cover the body type, it does not assume a particular type and is used in relation to the Stature stat and Somatotypes stat. It is the Body type that determines hand and the ability to pick up weapon. Animals without hands can not make weapon attacks and quadruped are limited to 'ram' and 'trample' attacks, just as a dolphin is limited to 'Ram' (seeing as it has no feet!). The attacks can also be used by humans, but their body type also gives them the ability to use tools. Care should be taken when thinking out Agility or Reflex as a 'skill' it is not the complete skill, merely parts of the skill which is made up of all stats!//


Reason [MARS]

This is the power of logical thought and the ability to negotiate through mental models and hypothetical scenarios. It is used to work things out, to understand and construct a working theory. It is the strength of the mind, and the power of the though processes that feed the hunger of the mentality.


//metal 'agility' compute route, for mentality to deliver//


Theory [ARTS] (> Experiment > Knowledge (proof))

These are the collected database of mental models used in logic and working things out. Having a working theory, a concept, allows you to process information far more quickly than facing something completely new that you do not have a clue about.


Rough notes on possible use: Theory use can be used to train another (or self), where theory allows the maximum ability to be trained. If a sergeant uses 'drill theory' to train the troops unit cohesion, the maximum auto-reflex will be limited by theory. To enforce such training requires will, and this is where attitude comes in, the sergeant's attitude can be used to cow the privates and therefore 'force' their will onto the troops to bestow order via constant drills. Once the drilling is done, the troops will be organised, and the constant shouting and ordering means the sergeant is in charge - effectively the alpha of the group.


Notes: theory is 'working theory', and is backed up by knowledge. Therefore if a general learns Art of War by Sun Tsu it is marked as "Theory: Art of War [Sun Tsu] 1" not "Knowledge: Art of War [Sun Tsu] 1". The Theory stat denotes a certain level of understanding, it is more than dry facts, as it includes application of the theory as evaluated in the real world. The number is the amount of 'understanding' so "Theory: Art of War [Sun Tsu] 1" is not the same as "Theory: Art of War [Sun Tsu] 3". The higher number does not indicate better memory, it indicates better application and understanding and working with reason to work out solutions to new problems applying the principle of Sun Tsu.


Knowledge and experimentation turn up in the technique tier and are effectively ignored in the tactical tier (a theory stat assumes the corresponding backup of knowledge and previous experimentation)


//metal 'reflex' , similar process to physical ritual > routine > reflex//


Using reason and theory can increase mental capacity, just like agility use (movement) can increase physical ability.


Stature [MARS]

This reflects the height of the trooper, but also assumes an average body frame to go with that height. Therefore stature is a measure of an average human being for a given height. This allows statue to also represent weight and well as height as the too are linked when we talk about averages. So from this single stat we can determine the height, weight and frame of the trooper.


Average Stature for population

Average weight for population

Each point of stature gives us 1 foot in height and 2 stone in weight.


An average person who is 6 foot tall weighs 12 stone. Nice and simple (if a little inaccurate, but assumes 'average' as perfect lifestyle and health, so not a perfect match for a population!). An important point to note that this is the average across both sexes, and the basic statue state does not include sexual characteristic modifiers (Stature is an androgynous stat).


Specifics (primer for other spheres);

The average UK woman is 5' 3.8" (162 cm) and 147 lb (67 kg) (10st 7lb) which works out as Stature: 5.3 weight: 10.6 (which is 10st 8½lb) - perfect near match


The average UK male is 5' 9.75" (177 cm) and 176 lb (80 kg) (12st 8lb) which works out as Statue: 5.9 weight 11.8 (11st 12½lbs), about a stone out which can be accounted for with a Somatotypes mod (see below).


As a note, as humans are fundamentally 'female' in base design, the male could be considered an 'overcharged' version.


However, as we know not all people are the same and there is much variation within a population. In war, with mass regiments this is redundant as we are dealing with averages with regard to troops. However, the foundations should be laid to show how Stature is modified by body type.


Gigantism: Notes on diminishing returns over 7' where extra mesomorphs have to be take to make up for the extra weight. i.e. a 7' person is one point over 6' so they have to take a mesomorph (see Somatotypes below) just to maintain the height, and the strength of that mesomorph is taken up with the increased height and leverage. Therefore they gain extra weight from the mesomorph bonus but not the strength.


Reach: Reach rules based on stature. A person with Stature 6 has a longer arm reach in boxing and combat that a person with Stature 5. Therefore we can use the Stature Stat as the basis of reach and affects combat.


In real world measurements, reach is roughly equivalent to half a person's stature, and for a six foot tall individual this works out as 3 feet or 1 yard. The yard is a measure from the centre line of the body to toe outstretched finger tip. Therefore each unit of stature in feet confers½ a foot (6") of reach. This corresponds to weapon 'reach bands' categories.


Stride: Stride rules based on stature. Much as above, a person with Stature 6 has a longer stride than a person with Stature 5. Therefore Stature affects the speed of movement.


In real world measurements, a single stride is half is trooper's the Stature in feet. So two strides is the same as the trooper's stature in feet.


The military step is 30" which is slightly less that the 36" step of Stature 6, and slightly more than the 25" step of Stature 5. The 30" step corresponds to a Stature of 5.5 (5'6"). It just so happen that 5'6" is the minimum height for an army recruit, and so all steps are to the slowest trooper (those with longer legs can make a shorter step, but those with shorter legs can not make a longer step (comfortably on controlled). Even during the Roman Empire the minimum height is 5'5".


For the sake of ease of game play, a stature of 6 feet gives a stride of 6 feet. However, it should be noted that this will through out all traditional march figures and movements. Special rules will be added to account for this, and allow accurate march rates that match the real world army. These special add on rules are called and 'augment' (augmented rules).


Somatotypes [ARTS]

A widely discredited system of classification, but great for artists (who still use it to convey 'character' via body type). The Somatotypes are endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic. each represents a different body type, and each modifies the Stature and Agility stats with bonuses and penalties. Male 'farther' stereotypes tend towards the mesomorphic and female 'mother' stereotypes tend toward endomorphic.


Modification [5 march 2008]: Mesomorph 1 increases strength by 1 (+1) and adds two stone to weight (+2). This bring the strength and weight of a Stature 6 mesomorph 1 in line with a Stature 7 trooper (Stature 7 still has reach and stride advantages)


Endomorphic 1: ~ ?

Mesomorphic 1: ~ ?

Ectomorphic 1: ~ ?


Note: These are accumulative.


Troops: In battles the professional troops are usually stature 6 with mesomorphic 1 (above male average). This means they are 6 foot tall and weight about 14 stone. However some lesser troops like peasants may lack the mesomorph mod, and others may include endomorph 1. The important thing to remember is the average for the troops in a given regiment/ unit.


Bodybuilding: We can also reverse engineer the stats and a male body builder who is 6 foot tall and an IFBB light-heavyweight (14 stone/ 198lbs) is in fact mesomorphic 1. At 18 stone/ 252lbs, this same body builder would be mesomorphic 3. Someone like Ronnie Coleman (5'11" 320lbs - 22.8 stone) is Stature 6 mesomorphic + 5 (rounding down).


Notes: While a trooper may not be able to increase their primary states they can use 'art' modifiers to change the primary stat in action. An athlete can 'body sculpt' to increase power and reduce weight and therefore gain bonus to their Agility. Agility doesn't increase at a core genetic and nervous system level, but you have used an art to improve your agility and optimise your body to make it the best it can be. You are ultimately limited, but art greatly increases your ability to compete.


Blog post on Stature and Somatotypes

// - temp holder, notes on movement that will be moved.

This determines how fast a trooper can move across the table top, and is used as a basis of dodge. It is measured in meters and converted into table top units, so at 25mm scale an average human trooper has a movement rate of 20m, which equates to 10" (table top inches).


The average physically fit human who is unencumbered can cover around 200 metres in 30 seconds (world record 200m, in 20 seconds). This is considered their maximum speed.


Move: This maximum move rate in 30 seconds is divided by 10, to give the move rate. 200/10=20. This means the average human has a move of '20' meters or M:20 (or M:10 is using a scale of 1"=2m)


Notes: Move has change to standard human male stature '6' step.


// Design notes: Why this is done will become clearer once we get into the shooting rules later, and reload times. The '20' also covers 3 seconds of elapsed time which is also the time it takes to unload a full AK-47 magazine of 30 rounds, the time it takes to make a good aimed shot and more than enough time to make a popup shot from cover (and a bit of wait). //


// Design note: in a turn such a Trooper can make 10 'jumps' of 20) //


Manoeuvre: Is the ability of the trooper to move and stay in formation. The number represents the group's ability to move as one in formation. The higher the number the faster they can move. This number can never go higher that than the Trooper's base Movements stat. This is basically used as movement when the unit are moving in formation.


Each turn is approximately 30 seconds long. This is enough time for a unit in close formation (1 pace apart) to cover 50 yards (16.6 per 10 seconds, or 1.6 yards per second) using the Quick March (see military step) of 120 paces per minute with a stride of 30". This works out at 300' per minute/ 100 yards per minute (note: Augmented rules cover formation collapse).


This can be doubled up with the Double March at a rate 180 paces per minute. Allowing a unit in close formation to cover 200 yards in a minute (2 turns) or 100 yards per turn.


Speed: 50 yards per turn, or 8.3 table top inches per turn.




Weapons and Armour

Humans are exceptionally good act developing tools to enhance their killing ability and to defend themselves. These are the tools of war, and since their inception there has been a constant arms race between human populations to not only overcome another's defensive technologies, but to find way to nullify another's attacks. This has lead to many weapons and armour becoming obsolete as technology advanced, and those who got left behind often perished. There are certain eras to which certain technologies belong, and the weapon and armour lists for use with Warspike are categories according to a given era.


All weapon stats are derived from a mixture of real weapon stats, experience and guesswork. Where possible real stats are used, but some weapons have abilities that are subjective in regard to game stats. In these cases I have looked to the experts with a given weapon, such are the 'The Arma' for inspiration on medieval and Renaissance weaponry in Europe.



Hand weapons are designed to enhance a trooper's stats in hand to hand combat. The tools give modifiers to the trooper's base characteristics make them more effective in combat. There are several types of weapon grip which are combined with various impact heads.

  • 1-Hand swing (1-H/S): Swords, aces, maces
  • 1-Hand thrust (1-H/T): Dagger, Short Sword, Warpick, Stiletto
  • 2-Hand swing (2-H/S): Swords. Axes, Maces, Mauls
  • 2-Hand thrust (2-H/S): Estoc
  • 2-Hand swing wide grip (2-H/S/WG): Polearms
  • 2-Hand thrust wide grip (2-H/S/WG): Spears, Pikes,

These grips mount various impact heads, which determine the type of damage. The grips are an important part of the weapon as each grip has a particular advantages and disadvantages, and promotes a different style of combat (in the Tactical Augmented rules some weapons can be used in several roles, like adding a ricasso is a two-handed sword means it can be used like a polearm (2-H wide grip).


Swing grip weapons give a bonus to strength (due to leverage of the swing), but are slower and easier to defend.


Thrust grip weapons give no bonus to strength (but this is usually offset by the impact head being piecing type, which does not require much strength to damage), but are fast and direct and harder to defend (shield help!)


Weapon codes: 1-HS/3 (where 3 = reach, and strength modifier due to leverage)


Reach enhancement

This stat determines reach of a given weapon. This stat is derived from the overall length of the weapon, but also takes into account how the weapon is wielded, and the various grips used.


In close combat Reach determines which troopers get to strike first in a confrontation. Longer weapons give the wielder the opportunity to strike down those with shorter weapons before they can properly engage. This confers a huge advantage to the wielders of longer weapons. It is a daunting prospect for a trooper to take on opponents who wield weapons with a longer reach.


Reach is calculated in relation to one quarter the average length of the humans human's arm or 15cm. This is derived from the distance between the hand and head when in mid bare hand parry (point of contact), which works out around half the arm length, combined with reaction time distance and power, and a further reduction for safety margin. Most blades fall into this 15 cm increments (with +5cm tacked on - see notes).


The basic armament of a human is their natural weapons and these are closed as reach '1' (i.e. one arm reach). Even a short dagger, which does add a bit of length, is considered to be range 1 as an opponent can still parry the arm of the dagger wielder rather than the dagger itself (parry). A Dirk (over 20cm) is much harder to deal with, as the are over the average distance of the bent human arm, and the human has to move in order to evade with parry (parry+dodge), such weapons are considered to have a reach of '2'. Early Baselards have a blade length of up to 40 cm and an unarmed human can no longer practically parry the arm of the Baselard wielder (as it is too long) or adequately evade and parry them in close combat. This means they are long enough to be considered well outside arm range, and count as reach of '3' (no parry, only dodge).


Bonuses: Each half foot (6" or 15cm) of weapon length gives +1 statue bonus for then purposes of 'reach' and 'swing leverage' (impact) - write up weapon leverage information to go with reach information.


each Comparison table


Blade Length
Example of Blade (sword classifications)
0-20 cm
Stiletto, Misericorde (12th+), F&S fighting knife (20th) , U.S. Marine Raider Stiletto, Shield
21-35 cm
Long knife, Cinquedea, Dirk, Bowie knife, Buckler
36-50 cm
Baselard (early 15th), Cinquedea, main-gauche,
51-65 cm
Baselard (late 15th), Gladius (early)
66-80 cm
Gladius (late), Viking Sword, Arming sword, Spatha, Great Knife, Falchion, Sabre, Kopis,
81-95 cm
Longsword (13-17th), Schiavona (16-17th), Great Sword (13th), Black Bill min (5' 14-16th),
96-110 cm
Estoc/ Tuck, Longsword (Great Sword 13-17th), Rapier, Highland Claymore (16-17th)
111-125 cm
Bastard Sword, Rapier, Black Bill max (6' 14-16th),
126-140 cm
Zweihänder (16th), Flammenschwert (flaming sword),
141-155 cm
156-170 cm
171-185 cm
Forest Bill min (8' 14016th)
186-200 cm
201-215 cm
Forest Bill max (9' 14-16th),
186-230 cm
186-245 cm
Pike min (up to 1700)


Notes: Most weapons seem to top out around the higher end of each category, so allow a bit of leeway and add 5cm. Incidentally '5cm' is equivalent of 2" which according to the Romans is the depth of a fatal stab wound to the celiac plexus (solar plexus). It seems many blades top out at the higher end of each of the reach categories plus 5cm (just long enough to get the job done)


Notes: These reach bands are for full extension 'Lunge' attacks, if a Trooper is armed with a shield and they are orientated towards the enemy and presenting the shield forward as their primary defence, then the reach of their weapon is reduced by a step back, or around 50-60 cm, or -3 bands. This means that if a Trooper is using a shield some weapons like fists and short daggers can't be used to directly attack their opponent as they are too short to reach past the lead shield and make up the distance while maintaining their guard, They can attack but are limited to the full extension lunge attack and that is not a good option.


Notes: However, longer weapons can not be used at short ranges and if those with shorter weapons can close the gap, they often force those with longer weapons to discard those longer weapons and draw a secondary weapon. (special rules for close techniques are in the Tactical Augmented rules, like long swords and grappling at the sword, half-sword etc.)


Use by Band

Each weapon band has it specific uses, and are designed and optiomised to that task they are used for.


Band 1: weapons are stealth 'take down' weapons. They are short enough to be used in close, often with surprise and using the other hand to restrain and silence the target with a strangle hold from the rear. Such short weapons are not impeded by close proximity to the target and function well in a grapple. These are often 'commando' knives like the SAS sued in WWII.


Band 2: weapons are slightly longer and are frontal attack weapons designed to take down someone who is unarmed with relatively little danger to the wielder (hard to parry and dodge). However they are not perfect in that role and are primarily defensive weapons, as an unarmed man will not wish to take on another armed with a Dirk or Bowie Knife. The wielder can improve their chances of not being countered by being defensive and only attacking the arms of aggressors as they attack, of slashing at their guard to make them back off. These weapons can be used as stealth/ grapple weapons but they are awkward due to their length.


Band 3: is a domination weapon over the unarmed. It has far to much reach to be parried or evaded in close quarters. A person using this can attack with impunity as it is virtually impossible to parry and can only be evaded and dodge, and that means maintain proper distance. If facing an opponent who also has a similarly size, we get the first true evasion knife fighting styles.


Band 4: This is excessive vs unarmed, and is a response to other who have weapons. This is part of the arms-race, where armed warriors sought to gain an advantage in combat. Another aspect is the rise of the Shield in warfare, and these weapons are a little to short to use with effective shield technique.


BAND 5: True war swords. Almost all war swords used throughout history in conjunction with a shield fall into this band. It is long enough to be used effectively with a shield, and as the shield is providing the bulk of defence and often shields clash, the war sword never really got any longer until the shield became obsolete due to Plate Armour.


Band 6+: These weapons turn up as shield use declines.


The Art of Leverage: Cut and Thrust

The length of a weapons also provides another benefit, that of leverage. This can only be taken advantage off when a trooper takes a swing at their opponent. It is the swing that allows the wielder to make use of a weapons leverage ion order to increase the power of the strike's impact. Thrusts with a weapon do not gain any benefit from leverage as all the power is in the push, and a trooper can only push so hard (roughly equivalent to, and no more than, a punch).


At first this makes weapons based on the principles of leverage and the swing attack to be all powerful. While it is true a good hewing (a swing with an edged weapon) attack can cleave through flesh with ease, decapitating and disembowelling with one fluid motion, there are disadvantages. The greatest vulnerability of the swing is that it is slower than a thrust and much easier to see coming and parry. Thrusting weapons also have the advantage of reach, as it is the very tip that is the business end, whereas a sword's strike area for a swing is about two thirds the blade length (and maces and warhammer are often shorter than an arming sword) Thrusting weapons may lack impact power but they are often piecing weapons and while they do not benefit from leverage, a piecing weapon is still highly effective.


Like all techniques in combat, it is knowing when to use them. In general terms, hewing is great for mowing down lightly armoured troops, whereas piecing is good for overcoming armour (longsword and the half-swording technique).


Bonuses: For each full 6" of weapon length, the power of a swing attack is increased by 1 point (+1 strength). This means an arming sword with a reach band of 5 will give +5 to stature for working out reach, +5 to stature for working out hewing attack impact but +0 for working out thrust impacts.


This is in line with the stature increase conferred by reach (technically the hewing strike point of the sword is not the tip, and hence the full length should not be used to calculate leverage but around two thirds - but that's ignored in tactical). In tactical is can be said that the reach bonus is the same as the leverage bonus, and in effect increases stature.


What makes a huge difference is the type of impact the weapon delivers. Piecing weapons (thrusting) require much less energy to penetrate armour than a hewing (swing) weapon. So while a thrust weapon lacks raw power, it is still just as lethal. For more information see Damage Type below.


//Design note: In warspike their are no bonuses to strength for damage type, a sword and an iron bar of the same length and weight with have the same bonus to a swing attack. The edged/ blunt effects are handled separately.


Range - Missile Weapons

All missile weapons use the first digit of the band, to work out 'Range', so band:13 = Range:1, band:6 = Range:0 (or point blank) and band:35 = Range:3.


Missile weapons table



All weapons for war are made for the job, and make any human an effective killer. Often in war games the damage element is overly focused on, slowing play and reducing the game to a crawl, instead in this game we focus of other aspects of combat to teach what warriors really aim for. To give a basics of combat tactics and technique. Therefore in the core rules is it assumed that all weapons are sufficient for the task and all will kill (i.e. stun and follow through or strike weak points).


No warrior would bother hacking through armour if their weapons are not up to the task, and would switch to other methods to get the job done (more than one way to skin a cat!). For example, with the advent of plate armour it was pointless to try and hew or slash with a Long Sword and technique like half-swording and morte-striking came it, where the long sword is also used in bind far more like a quarterstaff. Warriors are fighting men and it should be assumed that they are trained and clever. We will not be going by the hollywood version of combat (which is a joke). these rules have real combat in mind (and it's dirty!).


Spear (two handed) - the ultimate weapon. Great range, and with the two handed grip amazing flexibility combined with torque (wide grip) and power. This weapon does it all and in the hands of a skilled opponent it will beat any other weapon (the Estoc/ Tuck can be used in a similar manner to a spear, and is in effect a metal spear). Even if a person gets past the spear range the wield switch to quarterstaff mode and the weapon can be used in close with binds. Similar the best.


So why wasn't is the only weapon? One word: Arrows.


Quart staff, much like a spear in many respects but without the pointy end. It doesn't really need it, a Quarter staff is quite capable of splitting skulls and it can be used to thrust like a spear used with two hands. The Quart staff can even by used as a two handed maul.


Spear (one handed) - Oh my god this sucks. Even tucked under the arm for stability it is unbelievably ease to overcome with a sword and a bit of body barging. A one handed spear is useless, but it is good for one thing and one thing only - stopping cavalry.


Sword (hand weapons)


Dagger - these a lethal and a good hammer punch with a dagger will go through plate! Stilettos will slip through chain with ease, and can get into areas that other weapons have trouble finding. Daggers are up close and personal, the grapple weapon of choice and the 'finisher' of many a knight.


Damage Type

Various weapon designs cause various types of wound. Some types of wound are intrinsically more lethal at the same impact energy.


Blunt (B): These weapons cause blunt trauma. The body finds blunt trauma the easiest to absorb out of all the damage types. Unless a blow breaks a bone or dislodges a joint, these wounds are the quickest to recover from and usually do not inflict lasting damage. If the blow does break a bone then the wound is far more serious. The area is effectively destroyed and huge secondary damage is caused by the sharp bone fragments piecing blood vessels and causing internal bleeding. Usually light clubs are used for pacification as they cause pain, and people overcome by numbers assume a defensive fetal position to protect vitals, yet the punishment is much easier to judge and most likely non-lethal. Heavy clubs are dangerous, though they are an all or nothing weapon.


Edged (E): These weapons cause deep lacerations and are very dangerous. Of all the weapons types these are the most often lethal due to the horrendous amounts of damage they can do. Often a good blow can hack down to the bone severing major blood vessels and causing huge amounts of blood loss. A very strong blow can even sever limbs decapitate. However the main purpose most edged weapons are intended for, such as the sword, is a slashing draw cut. Disembowelling is an effective killer, disables and doesn't blunt the blade.


Piecing (P): These weapons cause puncture wounds and impale. The body has the least resistance to this type of damage, but unless something vital is struck they often have limited effect. Only impacts to the body and head have a better than average chance of cause significant damage. Limb impact are often flesh wounds and unless a blood vessel is directly piece do not cause huge blood loss.


Ranged Weapons

The weapons use two characteristics that are similar for troops, which is mass and speed (or move and size). This is used to work out impact (much the same as if some one shoulder charged).


This is a measurement of a projectiles ability to penetrate armours.

  • Level I : .22 or a musket ball
  • Level II : 9mm handgun.
  • Level III : Text
  • Level IV : Text

Brown Bess

Brown Bess: British army musket .75 caliber flintlock musket

Standard use: One shot per turn (30 seconds), but can be increased with training Youtube

Accuracy 50% at 100yards for man sized targets, 75% at 100 yards for cavalry.

Movement: M: 10,000

>[1,000 fps or 1052 fps Youtube (or 30,000'/ 10,000 yards per turn)]

Size: 1/180 or 0.0056 st or S:0.0056

>[545 grains one ounce (oz) is 437.5 grains. about 1 1/4 oz. or 1/13 of lb or 1/180 st (stone)]

Impact: 56

>[(10,000/ 180 to get impact in stone)]


A musket ball has M:10,000



A shield are effectively 'mobile cover' which allows the wielder to hide behind. An incoming arrow, bullet or weapon strike that is on target will often be blocked by the shield. The shield make it much harder to damage it's wielder.


Shield Cover (SC): This is the amount of cover a shield gives. It is expressed as a fraction out of 10. So a shield with SC:1 covers about 10% of the body when standing, and a Shield with SC:10 would cover the entire body when standing. There are a few caveats;

  • A shield of SC:5 or greater is large enough to crouch down behind and offer complete cover. The Romans and Greeks of antiquity both used this tactic to great effect. A crouching trooper can double their shield's SC.
  • With indirect fire, where arrows rain down from the heavens, the amount of target available from the top is greatly reduced, and as a simple rule of thumb is that the SC is doubled to reflect this.

Armour Rating (AR): This is the strength of the shield. The higher the Armour Rating the stronger the shield. Some weapons are so powerful that they can penetrate a shield through to the barer underneath, even if the shield provides full cover. Another consideration is mobility, a trooper can carry only so much weight before they become immobile.



This is a measurement of armour effectiveness, in the modern era the armour value is equal to real world armour levels used in bullet resistant/ proof armours.

  • Level I : Primitive armours*
  • Level II : Will stop a 9mm.
  • Level III : Immunity to 9mm.
  • Level IV : Text

* Primitive armours include a range of armour that do not stand up to modern firearms. These include leather armours, chain (with heavy canvas under layers) and plate armours. In general terms, leather reduces the effectiveness of weapons strikes, chain converts the lethal hewing damage of swords into blunt trauma and nullifies crafty slashing attacks, and plate converts edged and piecing damage into blunt trauma.


Note: modern bullet proof vests will not stop a knife impale. They are class one but have a special rule vs light and fast projectiles. Whereas normal metal armour is unable to withstand high velocity/ energy impacts, a vest will. Therefore the basic non-plate bullet proof vest falls in with the primitive armours, as it does not protect against all attacks.


Note: High energy impacts. Special materials can deal with high speed impacts which usually get special bonuses for penetrating mental armours. They will not stop slow moving weapons with weight behind them such as a knife thrust. Bullet proof vest convert high impacts into blunt trauma. The amount they can convert is expressed as a number, and if this number is equal to or over the high impact bonus, the bonus is nullified and the shot is resolved at base strength blunt trauma (still enough to drop a person for a round!)


Note: If the fire power level is equal to the armour level the target is not killed but instead is disabled (shock and blunt force trauma). In the limited time frames of the game, being disabled is effectively a 'kill' however they are not removed as they can be used by snipers as 'bait'.


Flexible (F): These armours are flexible and rely on the human body to support the armour. Generally they convert various edged and piecing impacts into blunt impacts, which is much easier form the body to absorb. They are also good at countering bite attacks from animals, stopping the teeth from penetrating though to the flesh. A list of impact conversion is given for each armour design.


Rigid (R): These armours are self supporting and distribute the impacts over a larger area. They convert edged and piecing impact into blunt impacts, but they also distribute that blunt impact for over a larger area, This gives bonuses to the armour, which can completely nullify some attacks (one-handed swords making slashing or hewing attacks are practically useless against medieval plate armour).


Hybrid (H): These armours have small solid plates that distribute the impact, attached to a flexible backing. They are not as effective as hard armours. These armours are often the forerunners of Plate armours and include scale, banded and patch. They also include semi-rigid armours such as heavy leather. Usually these armours are good at stopping piecing attacks (and in the modern sense high impact bullet proof vests).


Troop Organisation

The Movement Rate is not a complete move, but rather an increment of movement within a turn,





Units (troop organisation)

A unit is organised into a formation.


Unit leader

A units is lead by a unit leader (Champion, Sergeant etc.). It is the unit leaders job to maintain the formation of the unit. Leader leads, unit leader follows and keeps the rest of the unit in formation.


and it is the leader's initiative and leadership that the unit as a whole uses. This means the unit acts and reacts as the leader does (in effect, and in the ethos of the system, the rest of the unit ‘reactor' to their leaders actions, example: so when a unit charges, the leader decides to charge and their unit and follows him (or her) into combat.


Tactical Formations

Wedge, column etc. related to 'step' and speed.


Go to Tactical Index >

Copyright © Philip Sibbering 2007-2013. WarSpike™ is a Trademark of Philip Sibbering.

This file last modified 06/25/16