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 Ninja vs Spartan

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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Ninja vs Spartan   Thu Sep 03, 2009 11:46 am

I was was watching Deadliest Warrior the other day and saw this episode.

The premise of the battle is one on one combat, which is crazy when you consider that Spartans fought as units and Ninjas preferred to kill by surprise. (not to mention the 1500+ years of history separating the two)

Putting logic aside for a moment, it was an interesting show. Strength vs Stealth, Bronze vs. Steel, Direct vs Devious. They input scads of data and run a simulation 1000 times.

The closest D&D equivalent would likely be a monk or an assassin vs a fighter...

I wasn't too surprised by the outcome but, it was interesting how it played out. The Ninja had a very difficult time getting past primitive Bronze armour even with steel weapons - the shield was key - it stopped almost all of the Ninjas distance attacks as well as foiling many of the other weapons (a katana/ninjato would probably break on the shield). The ninja could hurt but, not really kill the Spartan in a single blow (he would have to whittle him down). By contrast, if the Spartan hits, it's pretty much over.

In the simulation the Spartan won 65% of the time. What I thought was interesting was that most of the Spartan kills came from shield blows and not the Spear or sword. In the testing they were able to generate 45 Gs from a shield blow using the edge of the shield. The bulk of the rest of the kills came from the spear. The Ninja's best weapons in the simulation were the Kusarigama (ball, chain and sickle ) and the sword.

This makes me think that in D&D, the shield and the spear are way understated. A spear should do a helluva lot more damage than a short sword (likely more than a long sword) and a shield should provide massive improvements to frontal armour class as well as being an effective 2nd weapon when trained to use it as such.
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kubera

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PostSubject: Re: Ninja vs Spartan   Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:44 pm

I agree pole weapons in general get too little respect in the game. however the spear of a spartan was an attack weapon where they practiced for years achieving strength, accuracy and endurance, while in medieval armies the spear was a cheap weapon given to poorly trained troops only a little more experienced than pure levies with farm implements.,. In this case the spear was a static weapon where the lines pushed back and forth waiting for horse or heavy troops to split the lines then the spears could nail down fleeing troops. Until the line was broken the attrition rate in the spear line would be rather light and could not decide the battle.

I think the difference is the training and professional soldier status is what makes the Spartan a match for the ninja not just the weapons, surely the skill of use rather than just the weapons was a factor in the simulations.
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Wilhelm

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PostSubject: Re: Ninja vs Spartan   Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:27 am

I agree, the training is the main driver of the Spartan's effectiveness (taken from their mothers at 8 years old, regular beatings, living as soldiers, etc...).

I would think that D&D adventurers would have the ability to use a spear with similar effectiveness as they are exceptional individuals training with the weapon (adventurers are are a far cry from untrained peasants who are handed a spear hours before they go to battle). I've also seen DMs who declare a spear to be a two handed weapon (it certainly wasn't in Sparta). 1-6 or 1-8 damage from a broad bladed 8' long spike seems woefully light (1-6, 1-8 might be good for thrown damage, but not when used in hand). There's a reason no one carries spears in the game.

That said my issue is more with the treatment of the shield (a large shield in this case). An improvement of 1 to AC makes little sense - a shield is big and provides an active defense since you can move it to intercept the blows before they actually get to the armour behind it. They also make effective blunt force weapons which is not considered in the game as far as I know.
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SteveL
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PostSubject: Re: Ninja vs Spartan   Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:58 pm

The only real value I see in the show lies in the actual testing. As you mentioned, the history is just about worhtless.

Shields are more protective than the +1 to AC in AD&D. Mailed Fist (my game system) takes this into account. (I haven't developed specific rules for the shield as a weapon because it doesn't seem particularly interesting).

A spear's lethality is generally restricted to vital organ strikes (not counting peritonitis from abdominal penetration).
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