Regain Guard - Daggers vs Spears

I am having some trouble understanding how the “Regain Guard” works regarding the fiction, since it makes short reach weapons pretty underwhelming.

Let’s suppose a guy with a dagger (reach 1) fights against a guy with a pike (reach 4). Obviously, the guy with the dagger has a lot of difficulties when figthing because of the short reach of the dagger, increasing the difficulty of his attacks by 4-1=3.
Let’s imagine he was extremely lucky and was able to break the guard of his opponent, thus approaching him and slicing a cut on him. Since his opponent has his guard open, the next attack he will have a wonderful +3d20 because of the difference of reach between their weapons. The opponent cannot defend or attack properly with such a long weapon against an oponent who is all over him, and has almost lost the fight…
But now is when I have the problem with the rules. The pikeman can just give a step back as a minor action (a difficulty 1 test to shake his opponent off him) pierce him good with the pike, and be protected again against the short reach of the dagger. It should be extremely difficult to step back enough in order to make the pike effective again, particularly against an enemy who doesn’t want to give you space to maneuver with your now inefficient long weapon.

This gets even worse if the enemy, instead of daggers, is using a sword. With reach 2 it’s normal that the penalties for attacking the pikeman are lower than using daggers, as well as the bonus to attack once the guard has been broken. But now, the pikeman has a difficulty of 2 with his minor action to regain guard… it should be easier than against the guy with the dagger, since the swordsman is at a longer distance from him, but the rules make it easier!
And this makes even less sense if the pikeman opponent uses a spear.

My point is:

  • Regain guard should have a difficulty equal to 1+ difference in reach between your weapons, not just the reach of your opponent’s weapon.
  • Regain guard as a minor action makes very difficult for guys with short weapons to profit from them, since just as quick as they break your guard you can easily regain it without any penalty to your attacks. Shouldn’t it be a Momentum spend from the attack or a standard action?

It seems that right now it’s only useful as a group action: a guy with another pike to break your guard to let you attack before he regains guard again (and in this case it won’t be as easy, because you have your friend with the pike baking you up).

Can you convince me that this rule is not as stupid as it seems to be?

This is why I allow Regain Guard to proc the Retaliate reaction. This gives the Dagger wielding attacker an opportunity to oppose the Regain Guard action by making an attack roll.

This means that “against an enemy who doesn’t want to give you space to maneuver with your now inefficient long weapon” it is " extremely difficult to step back enough in order to make the pike effective again".

So, Alice is armed with a Dagger and Bob is armed with a Pike.

Alice attacks Bob and Break’s Guard vs Bob; Bob loses Guard.

Bob declares Regain Guard as a Minor Action.
Alice declares Retaliate as a Reaction. Paying 1 Heat.

This is resolved as a Struggle with, all other things being equal, Alice’s D1 Melee test with +3d20 vs Bob’s D1 Parry Test. If Alice succeeds, then she’ll deal damage as normal and if Bob succeeds then he’ll have successfully regained Guard and be able to attack from relative safety.

A Struggle vs D1 5d20 is enough to make me strongly consider dropping the Pike (Free Action), drawing my Shortsword (Minor Action) and just attacking in the clinch (Reach 1 vs Reach 1, so provided it’s 1v1 Guard is irrelevent).

OTOH vs an enemy who doesn’t try to stop you (ie one who doesn’t make a Reaction) it is very easy to Regain Guard. That feels right to me.

See this thread for the previous discussion.


It’s a nice fix! Thanks for the link!

It’s not really a fix as much as it’s a slightly ambiguous interaction. There’s a lot of those in the rules though, so shrug :slight_smile:

Is there any thread of these kind of interactions? I would like to understand a little the system before jumping into the table with it…

Not really. Mostly it’s left to the table to discuss the outcome, and occasionally specific questions are asked here.

2D20 is relatively fault tolerant, so it’s only in specific circumstances where most problems will actually cause issues and mostly those can be resolved as best works for the table.

So, for instance, even if Regain Guard proc’ing Retaliate wasn’t the rules I’d have house ruled it’s allowed because I’m GMing a Thief focussed campaign and want to allow my players to get in close and go all stabby stabby vs Guards.

I like your fix, sounds good. I have yet to gm a game but got my wife to roll some combats with me to test the rules :slight_smile:

Sorry to necro, but have the designers ever commented on this? I’ve seen Nathan respond several times in other threads to clear up the rule of how guard and reach work, but it’s really the Regain Guard minor action that is the problem, as the OP states.