Saturday, January 14, 2017

JAGS melee reach

JAGS is a free downloadable universal role-playing game found at It also can be purchased in book form.

Test played Reviews: JAGS Revised
JAGS: NPC list & skills
JAGS: Creating wild west creatures
JAGS: A) OGL 5e SRD conversion to JAGS
JAGS: first batch of directly converted wild west creatures

JAGS wild west bestiary

Coming back to JAGS after a 5 month or so trek into the other stuff, newly off of working on modern equipment conversion, I wanted to look into the JAGS equipment and starting with weapons. Specifically I wanted to look at JAGS unarmed and weapon reach.

Melee Weapon Reach

JAGS has four reach distances for melee weapons (JAGS Revised p. 116), which are named and measured by yards.

Close reach is when the distance is less than 1 yard. Mentioned are grappling, biting, and head butting.

Short reach is when the distance is between 1 and 2 yards. Mentioned are unarmed strikes (punch & kicks) and knives. Others unarmed attacks listed are crossing, grabbing, karate chopping, and spear hand. Other weapons listed include brass knuckles, short sword, and hatchet.

Medium reach is when the distance is between 3 and 4 yards. Attacks mentioned are broadsword, club, baton, hammer, mace, baseball bat, morning star, epee, rapier, saber, nunchaku, morningstar, and any standard size melee weapon. Martial kicks also can be done at medium range.

Long reach is when the distance is between 5 and 6 yards. Attacks mentioned are staves, great/2 hand swords, battleaxe, great axe, spear, great maul, polearms, staves, flail, whip, and net. I assume any great 2 handed weapon.

Advantages and disadvantage of longer reach

The advantage of having a longer reach weapon is that an opponent with a shorter reach will have to move closer before they can use their weapon. This may mean first doing an 8 REA (Reaction) Long move or a 5 REA step movement per reach level. So the longer reach weapon may be able to attack first even if the opponent goes first if they use up too much REA.

The disadvantage of having a longer reach weapon is that when closer than two reach levels, the longer reach character will suffer a -2 to all rolls for each additional level.

The example (p. 117) shows a knife wielder against a sword wielder with medium reach, but I will look at would have to survive a staff Long reach. Common JAGS character movement is 3 walk, 4 run, and 6 sprint yards. None of those speeds changes the To Hit modifier (bottom p. 117). This means that the characters will be more than 6 yards from each other before combat, maybe they are 7 yards away. For the knife wielder to reach range, they will need to travel at least 5 yards - that is two levels of reach (Long and Medium) to be at 2 yard reach. A) This would take an 8 REA Long action move which allows an unblockable Reaction attack from the opponent. or B) This would use up 5 x 2 = 10 REA just to move since it is moving inside of reach if using Step Inside reach.

For the movement rule, see p. 117 and 140 Step Inside reach.

The reach rules give an advantage to longer weapons. I requires those that close in to use up their REA in order to get close enough to strike themselves.

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