The Shadow wrote:VGH: Any more thoughts?
Sort of. I hit a mental road block when I read further. I'm not quite sure why; it may just be the philosophies.
I've always had mixed feelings about splitting combat ability up by individual weapons (or even small groups of weapons). It's a bit more realistic and intuitive, but it loses a lot of simplicity, playability, and most of all it restricts characters to being (relatively) useless if they don't have access to their weapon; even when they have perfectly fine other weapons lying around. Because of my very mixed feelings, I'm considering to try and bring as unbiased input as I can.
I really dislike having Dodge and Parry as separate skills. Dodge is purely, completely, and totally superior to Parry because Dodge works against both melee and ranged attacks while Parry only works against melee attacks. That's an insurmountable advantage. The only ways to balance the two skills are either, much like original Deadlands, to declare that Dodge only works against ranged attacks and that Parry only works against melee, or to say that both skills work equally well against melee and ranged attacks.
(Explanations for exclusives: 1) game construct to balance the skills; 2) Parry involves a great deal of shifting and dodging but it's all centered around avoiding melee attacks, while Dodge focuses on larger movements and agile maneuvers that open you up to melee attacks but quickly move you out of the line of fire.)
You're going to run into some serious skill bloat. Ignoring the exotics, you're looking at 25-ish Combat skills. That's a heck of a lot of skills to track, about half as many as the Skill skills (and about the same as the number listed on a character sheet).
I think Baduin is at least partially correct. True 20 characters are tougher than their M&M counterparts in some areas, and much squishier in others. Because of this, M&M is at best a guideline when designing True 20 rules, not a reliable formula. This means that the only way to balance any True 20 rules tinkering, especially a total engine-rebuild like this one, is to playtest, playtest, playtest. And you need to remember to playtest.
P.S. The USMC doesn't teach recruits how to fire the M9 pistol. It only teaches the M16-series assault rifle, and it teaches it to a degree that few other shooting schools equal. By the time a Marine hits the Fleet Marine Forces, it's unlikey that they've ever fired the M9 (exceptions for MPs and others that use pistols as their M.O.S. primary weapon). However, machine guns of all types and grenade launchers are covered in both infantry training and MCT. Heck, I was in the Corps for 2.6 years before I fired an M9; I had much more experience swinging around my rifle bayonet than I had shooting the pistol.
As for "progressions", each is optimally fired in its own style. Certain basics translate across all firearms (sight picture, trigger squeeze, breathing, etc) but a lot of the quirks and specifics that make it difficult for shooters new to a weapon type are totally unique. That said, due to the large number of basics to firearms marksmanship, all firearms types can be fired with some accuracy by following the style of a different category.
You can shoot a machine gun like a pistol, but you won't be very accurate. And you can shoot a pistol like a machine gun but you still won't be very accurate.
P.P.S. If you keep coming back to light blades being a necessary part of heavy blade training then you should consider recombining them into Blades. It may not be the way to go, but it's definitely something to consider.