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The Alexandrian

Feast of Blades: Claustrophobia - OoC

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Sticking this here for fight-related discussions.

@Voldemort

To kick things off, where is Arthur at current?  Has he moved forward or does he remain in the starting room?  If he has moved forward, is he in the corridor on his side of the arena or in the center room?  Mind you that if he meets Caeceila in the center room, he must have sprinted up the corridor on his side of his arena just as she did.

Edited by The Alexandrian

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“If Arthur dithers instead of meeting her, with all due urgency, in the center of the arena, Caeceila will push into his corridor, taking care to slow down outside of his reach so her momentum does not carry her forward farther than she intends.”

He dithered. She ran up to him presumably in the hallway/tunnel where Arthur was and stopped outside of his range. She spoke to him and he replied, lunged forward (so she’s no longer outside his reach) and thrust his sword at her. 

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It took me waaay too long to write that post.  I've been thinking about my response for a really long time.  >.<

Part of it was I felt like I was missing something, but everything I've seen indicates Ox Guard functions like I think it does.  It looks like it really is designed to block a bunch of the high attacks that were popular in the Middle Ages.  It looks like it leaves the armpit exposed to low thrusts and the face exposed to other thrusts, which seems like a major disadvantage for a position to close distance from.  For its time, it was probably highly effective since high attacks were all the rage, but against a rapier, it seems to fall flat.  In short, I'm not convinced it provides a good defense against a rapier, and I don't follow how it would move Caeceila's rapier way out to the side.  I'll openly admit that I kinda fudged rolls there since I thought and continue to think there are at least two ways Caeceila could have killed Arthur outright as he moved in and chose to go with something Arthur might be able to avoid by stopping short or something in the interest of not, y'know, ruining the battle at the start since I'm betting you're as new to this stuff as I am.  >.<

The video I watched on zwerchau seems to indicate that you don't get the motion you need out of it without the proper stance.  It doesn't seem to be proper form to end in a position where your hips and legs are square, but I don't think that changes much.  It's not really that important on its own, it just makes me feel like I'm misunderstanding Ox/Ochs somehow.

While I'm pretty certain Caeceila can remove herself from the range of Arthur's zwerchau quickly and easily, I'm not totally certain about how quick it is to execute a zwerchau versus transitioning from third to high third.  I think third to high third is quicker since it basically boils down to bending your arms.  I think, timing-wise, Arthur and Caeceila would be recovering from their opening attacks at approximately the same time.

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You're missing something.

Firstly, Ochs is much more defensive than you think. From the perspective of the video you posted, it does look like the guy's face is open, but it's not.

OLf.jpg

This is left ochs. His head is just above his right bicep and the right forearm covers the left side of his face. From third position, if we assume that this form of Ochs is the position that Arthur is in (it's not but we'll get to that), the rapier angles upwards and has pass in front and over top Arthur's right bicep. Point being that Caecelia has to thrust past Arthur's arms to even get to his face.

That said, this isn't the position that Arthur is in. Not exactly. He's in Ochs but he's also thrusting from Ochs. His arms aren't pulled in close in a defensive posture. His arms are extended forward slightly while maintaining the wound position of his arms. His arms are still, more or less, cutting the same angle as in the picture above with the bicep below the head and the forearm covering the left side of Arthur's head. In this case, however, the barrier of Arthur's arms are out further. From that angle, Caecelia has to thrust way past his arm to strike at his face.

This gives Arthur ample time to move his arms defensively, i.e. the zwerchau.

I think this is ultimately your main misunderstanding. Ochs is a starting point. It's not what moves Arthur's arms in such a way that it deflects her rapier. Rather, it's when Arthur performs his zwerchau.

Sorry for the crappy video but it shows what we need.

Whenever this guy performs a zwerchau, you'll notice that one his forearms cross in front of his face. That motion is what Arthur's defense is comprised of. Arthur held his blade horizontally which gave away his intention to zwerch, meaning that the course of action was his intention from the beginning. The thrust to the face wasn't a coup de grace because what Arthur wanted was for Caecelia to parry it to the side so that Arthur can instantly zwerch. So when Caecelia parries his thrust, Arthur immediately winds his arms to perform the zwerchau. The winding of his arms brings his forearm across his face (as the sword twirls overhead in that classic helicopter-like swish) and that serves to deflect the rapier aside. Your character also didn't really thrust, just held the sword with the hope that Arthur would run into it. It wouldn't have changed much as a zwerch only takes as much time as it takes to wind your arms. That said, just holding her sword out didn't do Caecelia any favors as it also decreased the range of her thrust. Arthur's reach is significantly longer because his arms are stretched out, while Caecelia's measure is stunted because of its static position in a guard. Which is to say, both of our attacks aren't equal in terms of measure and speed of execution. Arthur's thrust would easily reach Caecelia first.

Other assorted things. Moulinets aren't just a thing one does with one-handed swords. A zwerchau, or a crosswise cut like one sees in Fiore, is basically a moulinet with two hands. It performs the same function of getting your blade rapidly from one side of your opponent to the other. Actually, with a montante (which is a kind of greatsword), the zwerchau-like weaving motions of the blade are called molinellos. I might have butchered the spelling, but clearly the word is related to moulinet.

Secondly, I think you mentioned that it didn't make sense that Arthur's hips and torso remained square during the zwerchau, and that's certainly not the case. Actually, quite the opposite, as in most sword play it's actually always better to be standing squared. By standing square, you allow your cuts to build tension through several muscle groups as opposed to the power generated by turning your whole body into a swing. Now, yeah, your torso will twist a bit and incidentally your hips will follow the motion to a tiny extent, but you still want to keep your hips mostly squared.

So again, you see how his body slightly twists with the zwerchaus. However, his hips remain mostly square to the target. Also, you'll notice that as he zwerches, his forearms cross horizontally across his face.

You'll also notice that zwerchaus are stupid fast which I recall you asking about. In twenty seconds, he cut 53 zwerches. That's about three zwerches per second. So Arthur can very feasibly spin his sword from its position after being parried by the dagger to Caecelia's sword arm (and by virtue protecting his head from her rapier) in less than a second.

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I suppose this is the central issue.

I described an action that is apparently physically impossible.  I would have been better off describing Caeceila thrusting her rapier into Arthur's exposed armpit, but I was honestly trying to avoid lethal shots because 1) my character is averse to killing innocents, not even in tournaments where it apparently doesn't matter, and 2) I figured you were new to this and had goofed and I wanted to give you a way out.  You kind of let my character take all of the space, which strikes me as a bad idea, so I thought you might be new to this.  I'm not particularly competitive when it comes to this sort of thing because nothing is at stake, and I genuinely don't have time to study treatises right now.  I studied poleaxe/pollaxe treatises for hours only to have them banned from the tournament, and there's no way I can get up to speed on new weapons with the number of scenes I'm in.  I'm in seven scenes, somehow, and at this rate, I'll never catch up in any of them.


This tournament has been kind of hard for me to justify IC, and it was kind of a mistake signing up in the first place since my character doesn't kill innocents.  I realized this early on.  When I realized characters are wearing even less armor than I initially believed - because I kind of just eyeballed half-plate and rolled with video game simplifications - I had even more trouble justifying my character's involvement.  I initially signed up to improve my ability to write fight scenes, and I learned 1) this isn't my bag and 2) it isn't really helping aside from feedback I receive from Fierach because most of this just isn't applicable to general fight scenes.  This wasn't a big deal at first because I was in, like, three scenes (A Cure for What Aleth You, this, and one other I can't quite recall).  Then, I ended up posting in the Feast thread because something on my group's agenda came up.  Then, I started to move forward with overarching plans in Fiat Iustitia Et Pereat Mundus because A Cure for What Aleth You was progressing well and we were paused here.  I joined The Tide Calls with the intent of placing a character in a minor, coordination-focused role because I personally want to see more rp like that.  I find madness an incredibly interesting subject.  I think problems really began to crop up when I was also tasked with defending Club Tablillas against a burglarly, and I'm also participating in the IC portion of this fight thread with the goal of delivering a message to Isabella to backwards-justify her involvement in Fiat Iustitia Et Pereat Mundus.  I ended up informing Eagle that I couldn't start a new scene with one of his characters at the moment, and this caused him to get frustrated with me and leave the forums again!  >.<  Things snowballed really fast!

So my options are to pare down and/or shorten the length of my posts or continue to kind of flounder and not accomplish anything and make other rpers frustrated.  I've already cut most of the research from what I'm writing here - I went with third guard in the post before my last without really knowing what it was or how to work with it because I just needed to post something - and I can't scour the internet searching for Medieval Longsword techniques at the moment, so please bear with me if we continue this scene.

I will warn you right now that it may be better if I just bow out of this gracefully lest I continue to completely misjudge how things work, repeatedly ask for clarifications, and make silly mistakes for lack of time.  I don't know how the lower bracket works, but I don't really have the time for another fight.  This tournament has been going for, like, 7-9 months, which is way longer than I expected.  I was and am hesitant to drop out of this battle because I know that your partners have been dropping for most of this tournament, and I'd like to break that trend.  At the same time, I don't have time for this anymore.  To be transparent, time constraints are influencing some of my IC actions in other plots, like A Cure for What Aleth You where they are reinforcing my initial assessment of withdrawing from Dougton in the face of overwhelming opposition.

I will leave it to you to decide whether we ought to continue.  We may be able to arrange a "lightning fight," a fight that lasts for just a few hours OoC starting at a prearranged time, if that would work better.


Back to the subject of the fight proper, I must ask for clarification on several other issues.

  1. I think the speed with which Arthur executes his zwerchau would be limited by the time it would take for him to bring his trailing foot up to his leading foot and plant it on the ground, meaning the guy executing 53 zwerchaus in twenty seconds, while interesting, does not mean Arthur can execute 53 zwerchaus in twenty seconds from his current position.  Caeceila would also start to withdraw as soon as she determines her "attack" is completely ineffectual, meaning that she and Arthur should "step off" at approximately the same time.  This should provide Caeceila with enough time to step back and transition into high third, I think.  If that is not so, could you please explain why?  I think it would be quite quick to transition from third to high third but stepping is a trickier matter.
  2. Caeceila is considerably lower than Arthur, which I only just found out yesterday when I did more research on third.  He's executing some sort of low zwerchau, then, correct?  That looks like it would provide his face with adequate protection.  In this case, Caeceila will attempt to strike him in the leg between his tassets and his greaves.
Edited by The Alexandrian

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If I may interject for a moment?

While rapier/dagger is not my discipline, I do have some experience with the plays involved.  I feel like I can offer up some insights that'll help you moving forward.  I've been watching this fight and I think I know a couple tips that will help you out 😄

Insight 1: While somewhat counter intuitive, the dagger in rapier-and-dagger systems is not actually a defensive implement.  What I mean by that is the rapier itself is still the superior option to both engage and parry with because it is both longer and heavier than the dagger.  It is less likely to be shunted aside due to it's weight and the extra length gives you more room to act.

The dagger is a follow-up tool in these systems.  It is there to support the rapier, not to replace it in the case of binding and defense.  You use the dagger after you parry with the sword to maintain control, or in the case that an opening presents itself you use the dagger offensively.

That's why they have such looooong blades 😄

 

Insight 2: Guard positions, no matter the system of fencing, don't actually do anything on their own.  They are a staging point, a springboard for other actions.  Third position, for example, is where you begin when you deliver Capo Ferro's lunge.  Terza, or "Third" is the most transitional of the Italian fencing positions.  It's not Seconda, it's not Quarta, it's somewhere in between.  The advantage here is being able to shift to Quarta or Seconda in as small a movement as possible.

 

Example, since you have not moved your sword arm at all in this last exchange and merely held it in place, your muscles are thus loaded.  A possible counter to the zwerchau to Cecelia's right side is to raise the hand above the head, transitioning to a high Seconda guard, and eventually Prima.  Your rapier stays in contact with Arthur as he winds his arms for the zwerc, and the sudden loss of pressure against your dagger hand gives Cecelia the necessary tactile stimuli to sense the move.  This move frees up your dagger hand to offend, as the rapier's new position in Prima protects you from a follow-up zwerchau to the opposite side.

@The Alexandrian

Edited by Spooky Mittens

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6 minutes ago, Spooky Mittens said:

Example, since you have not moved your sword arm at all in this last exchange and merely held it in place, your muscles are thus loaded.  A possible counter to the zwerchau to Cecelia's right side is to raise the hand above the head, transitioning to a high Seconda guard, and eventually Prima.  Your rapier stays in contact with Arthur as he winds his arms for the zwerc, and the sudden loss of pressure against your dagger hand gives Cecelia the necessary tactile stimuli to sense the move.  This move frees up your dagger hand to offend, as the rapier's new position in Prima protects you from a follow-up zwerchau to the opposite side.

I considered something like that, but I wasn't exactly sure how it would play out.  I considered, when I had my character do very little in the last post, that she could more freely respond in this round since she wouldn't have to recover from a strike.

In First, would the blade of the longsword hit the guard of the rapier?  Would the transition knock the blade of the longsword away?  If Arthur is going for a "low" zwerchau, would it put the tip of the rapier in a position where it could strike his face?  Would this be preferable to evasion, which is still on the table, I think?

Given that Arthur is twisting and putting considerable power into his zwerchau, it would take him awhile to recover from a miss, but it looks like his arms would be crossed in front of his face.  Would lunging at an angle for a follow up thrust give Caeceila a path to a high opening in Arthur's defense?  Is this how someone would retaliate from First?  If Caeceila stepped forward with her left foot instead of evading, would her dagger be in striking range?

I have lots of questions and several options, but I have no idea what is optimal in this case.

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Ah, details details~. I'll try to avoid being too specific, as I don't necessarily wanna feed you moves to bootyblister Voldemort here, but I'll help you work through your thoughts.

Parrying the zwerchau; So, basically what's happening with Arthur's zwerchau is he is angling the motion to cut at Cecelia's arm, rather than the head like would be normal.  When you transition up to shoulder height, you're putting the blade of your rapier in it's path because his sword has to pass that line to offend you.  Parries directly with your guard, no matter what kind of guard it is, are always incidental, you should never aim to party with your guard on purpose.  That is asking for bad outcomes.

The transition from high-Seconda to a full Prima guard isn't gonna do much of anything to Arthur's sword, a left to right zwerc is usually followed up with another zwerc or a krump to unwind the arms.  He's in a position to immediately transition to his next offensive action with no down-time.  What this move does is it puts your sword arm in a strong position to receive and direct the easiest follow-up play for him to execute.  Basically you will be able to guard against the next zwerc without doing anything extra, forcing him to pick a different play.

There is no opening to his head or face here because the same defense as before will work in reverse.  His arms have to cross his face to unwind.

Your dagger blade is 19", so you have a lot more reach than you might otherwise be imagining.

With fencing styles across the world it is common to see squared hips, but A frame legs, so you have one leg in front and one in back, but you turn your hips so that they aren't facing your for sidelong.  This is important, because it builds tension from the heel of your back foot right up through your core muscles.  That is how you're going to generate power, attack with the right hand, push with the left leg.  Attack with the left hand, push with the right leg.

How does this affect reach?  It's much easier to hinge at your waist if your hips are square, even if your legs are not.  You simply tilt forward so that your shoulders line up with your leading knee.  This reduces your target, and it gives you a little bit of extra reach from where your feet are planted.

So let's assume you are in the position to do Capo Ferro's lunge.  You're hinged at the waist, you're ready to slide your front leg forward and lean into it, pushing with your right leg since this is a left handed attack.  You can easily cover three feet just with the step, an extra foot and a half with the lean, six inches with your hinged waist, two feet with your arm, and sixteen inches of blade (because if you aim with alll 19 then you miss).  That gives you a cool 8 foot~ish measure.  So no, you don't wanna step in at all, you're too close for that.  It would be better to maintain your footing, or even to step back on the right foot and then just lean forward in place with your dagger already in position.

Retreating from the current play is definitely an effective option available to you, but Arthur is in position with forward momentum to chase you, you'll have to defend yourself while you retreat if that's the course you choose.

@The Alexandrian

Edited by Spooky Mittens

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I just want to interject and say, because I am absolutely awful at all things fighting, that I find this discussion absolutely refreshing. I love it. I hope you two can figure out some outcome that allows each of you to continue writing the stories you want, versus just getting caught up on the purely technical aspect of the fighting (although you both have been through and respectful in presenting your cases). 

I am more than happy to provide Gabriela as a means to hinder the fight, if you guys need an out. I am not sure what she could do, or what Fier might allow me to do, but I am not above Gabriela having an absolute meltdown because she thinks these two people she has some type of feelings for might actually end up hurting each other. She's tittering on the edge, might as well shove her clear off. Story wise, I believe Gabriela still has an affinity for shadow manipulation, and I could see the ribbon around Arthur's wrist suddenly coming to live to pull at his arm in an attempt to tether him back from attaching Cae, and given Gabriela's meeting with Cae, it could make the poor Heiress look like a cheater. It would also give Arthur a reason to want to come strangle Isabella... Just one idea! 

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Thank you for the information, Spooky!  I've been struggling with range, among other things, for the duration of this tournament, and your explanations are super helpful!  This info strikes me as stuff I can use in normal, less technical rp, and that's exactly the sort of stuff I'm after!

Thank you for the offer, Pasion.  I would like to offer Voldemort a fight unless he doesn't want to deal with my slower posting rate and amateur attempts at describing technical swordplay (which would be totally understandable), however, just so he can get some tournament time in.  The outcome doesn't really matter to me.  Caeceila herself will cheat to protect her head if it comes down to that.  I've given myself some room to explain why Caeceila's swordplay might flat-out suck at this point - she's running on caffeine-like-magic, not sleep - and she doesn't really main rapier anyhow.

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31 minutes ago, The Alexandrian said:

Thank you for the information, Spooky!  I've been struggling with range, among other things, for the duration of this tournament, and your explanations are super helpful!  This info strikes me as stuff I can use in normal, less technical rp, and that's exactly the sort of stuff I'm after!

Thank you for the offer, Pasion.  I would like to offer Voldemort a fight unless he doesn't want to deal with my slower posting rate and amateur attempts at describing technical swordplay (which would be totally understandable), however, just so he can get some tournament time in.  The outcome doesn't really matter to me.  Caeceila herself will cheat to protect her head if it comes down to that.  I've given myself some room to explain why Caeceila's swordplay might flat-out suck at this point - she's running on caffeine-like-magic, not sleep - and she doesn't really main rapier anyhow.

They did technically have a heated fight the night before too... We just gotta make it a nasty fight to get Caeceila off her game. 

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I’m really sorry that you’re having such a hard time. You’re doing a lot of stuff on Val, and I feel like I might have made things much more stressful for you. If you’d rather back out, I’m fine with that. Though, yeah, I would really like to continue so that I could fight at least once before the tourney ends. 

To that end, feel free to ask for my Discord in private and we can coordinate quickly in the future. Which isn’t to say that you need to write faster, but you won’t have to mull over your attack for as long in your head if you can communicate with me or Spooky. 

But anyways, to respond to the bits about the fight:

1. Arthur can half step with his rear leg forward and wind his arms into zwerch simultaneously. He wouldn’t have to start winding after finishing his step. He could do it from his current position and he’d very much likely be better than the guy in the video. It’s likely that Arthur could cut 60-70 zwerchaus in 20 seconds. Though, it’s besides the point cuz Arthur is only cutting one zwerchau for now, and takes a very small amount of time. That said, you can still retreat and save your arm or guard with your rapier as Spooky suggested. So you’re not in a hopeless situation by any means. 

2. Yes, Arthur’s hilt is being held high while the blade is angling downwards you cut at her arm. So I suppose you could aim for Arthur’s leg, but it’s a precarious thing. When my character’s zwerch ends, it’s stopping point is right Ochs. So you can lunge for Arthur’s thigh, sure, but you leave your head open to a sword that’s primed to go for your head. So in both our worst case scenarios where we get hit, Arthur will get stabbed through his thick pants and take a wound to the thigh. Not good but he’ll survive. Caecelia’s face is a different story. 

And like I said above, when you cut a zwerch, your end at one of the Ochs whether you hit or not. There’s no need for a recovery period because Arthur’s arms can’t wind any further in that direction anymore. By definition, he can’t really over swing. That’s why you can do so many very fast. You cut and end at Ochs, so you wind the opposite way and cut again/end at opposite ochs. 

Anyhow, Spooky has given you some good tips. But they also all come with their own minute drawbacks. So you can guard with therapist and come forward with your dagger, but then you’re really close to Arthur which possibly means getting grappled by an experienced grappler. Or you can retreat and dodge the zwerch, but Arthur is in a good position to chase. 

Fighting is all give and take. But no worries, I’m here to help from now on. 

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Thank you for your patience and understanding.  I will definitely continue, then, as expressed above, though I fear I'll continue to make silly mistakes.  I am learning from your example, and I wish you had the opportunity to fight more in this tournament so I could read more of your fight scenes.

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