Fight! When do I anounce the weapon I attack with?

Hello everyone!
I have a question about Fight! and more specific about the scripting and announcing of strike actions with two-fisted-fighting.

Currently I toy around with some Fight! scenarios to get comfy with the mechanics.
I started with an unlucky Duelist versus a Bugbear from page 565 BWG.

Engaging weapons are armingsword against mace (same lenght because of lanky Bugbear) so no inital advantages.

Like in Rich’s example on page 432 BWG (intent/visual actions) and 433 BWG (“mechanical” actions) discribed I came up with the following combat-Ideas:

Dodge the first swing of the Bugbear (V1,A1-Avoid) and try to get closer while the swing
(hopefully) flies by to get positioning advantage (V1,A2-Beat for parrying blade) over the bugbears
long limbs.
Followed up with two B&Ss in Volley 2 and 3 with the shorter blade (+1D bonus to Block p.480)
Bugbear: (dumb brute, duh)
Push whimsy human into dirt (V1,A1-Push with off-hand) and smash its noggin’ real good (V1,A2
and V2,A1-Great Strike). When whimsy human stil movin’ make more smash (Strike V3)

Exchange 1 in short: Duelist vs. Bugbear
V1,A1 Avoid vs. Push
V1,A2 Beat (to get advantage with Parrying Blade) vs. prep. GS

V2 B&S (Parrying Blade) vs. GS

V3 B&S (Parrying Blade) vs. Strike

The dice decided that the Bugbear pushes the Duelist for the +1Ob penalty in V1,A1. While the bugbear prepares his devestating blow in V1,A2 the duelist fails ^1 (even without the penalty) to bring his parrying blade into position.
Now to the question I have: Is the Duelist allowed to B&S with the Arming Sword in V2 and V3 even though he initially intendet to Strike with the shorter blade after getting advantage?

^1 the table for Beat states Ob=1/2 Skill for the Beat against Physical Action (prep. GS). I assume this is half the weapon skill of the target!?

Thanks for any help in advance!

Hi Crow,

Does the information under the Switching Weapons During an Exchange heading on pages 458 and 459 help answer your question?

I think the crux of the matter is, “When do I decide which weapon I’m striking with?” That isn’t immediately clear to me from the text. Do I decide when I script, “I’m going to script a Beat and then two Strikes with my dagger, and if my Beat fails I’m fucked?” Or do I decide when the action comes up, “My Beat failed, but I have my sword and that’s at no penalty, so I’ll Strike with my sword.”

I guess to relate this back to your rules reference: It isn’t immediately clear if those options (switching weapons, shortening weapons, etc.) are freely available to the player, action-to-action, or must be done at the top of the Exchange or through actions like Push or Charge which are “hard-coded”.

My reading has always been that they are freely available. If your Beat fails, you can decide to Strike with your sword. Part of this is because I always imagined narration of action to be happening in the moment of revalation (how dramatic).

I hope this helps clear things up rather than muddy the waters. :sweat_smile:

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And welcome to the forums!

Thanks for the reply.
I think I understood the engaging/positioning part. In my experiment the duelist engaged with the sword (he thought it to be unlikely to win with the dagger against the bugbears longer weapon + stride advantage) and tried to gain advantage during the exchange (with the beat action) where he only has to bother with the bugbears skill (since same initial weapon length and no stride bonus). Does this make any sense? :grimacing:

Because you lose advantage when you switch weapon length is why he beats before striking (+ the disadvantage for the bugbear of course :wink:).

Gnosego summarised neatly what my original question is. @Gnosego Thanks!

After giving it a good thinking with my bugbear-brain I came to the conclusion that it is probably fair to handle it the way Gnosego suggested. Choosing the weapon to attack with feels like the last second distribution of dice in B&S and counter.

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I cited the Switching Weapons things as a roundabout way of saying that you usually strike with the weapon you positioned with. However, Q is right that you can choose an alternate weapon at the the time you play the action.


Welcome to the forum, Kai!

I’ve definitely been involved in a Burning Wheel Fight where the player positioned with their Sword vs. their opponent’s Dagger, and lost Positioning.

When they got to their Strike action, they looked at whether to swing with their sword (at +2Ob), or simply thump their opponent with their fist (at +0Ob)… and swung their fist full at their opponent. Good times!

As others have noted, you can choose to switch weapons when you play the action. One addendum though: Whenever you switch weapons, you cede positioning advantage to your opponent if you have it, so you’ll often want to press your advantage if you win positioning, but give yourself the option to switch if you fail the positioning test.

If you have a long weapon and a shortest weapon (say sword and dagger) and your opponent has a long weapon, it might make sense to vie for position with your dagger to try to put your opponent at a disavantage. If your opponent wins the positioning, you can then swap to using your sword and suffer no penalty because you and your opponent are not at the same weapon length.


Hm, makes sense to me. But it feels weird that there is no penalty at all to engage with one weapon and switch to the other before the first action goes off.
Thanks once again for the answers and the salutations. :slight_smile:

As Thor notes, you cede positioning advantage if you switch weapons.


I should have specified:
But it feels weird that there is no penalty at all to losing the engagement with one weapon and switching to the other before the first action goes off.

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Perhaps another way of looking at it is that the other weapon (especially with Two Fisted Fighting) lets you try to position with a weapon when you otherwise wouldn’t (Sword vs Sword is no Disadvantage).

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To add to what Quincy said, imagine the decision of the Duellist to position with the dagger (or similar) as a “Heads I Win, Tails you lose” stratagem that is the reward for diversifying your skillset.

Roden often do a similar thing, and I have at least one PC who plays a Spear-user who routinely positions with their fist when fighting other spear-users (which also invites harder positioning tests for the cheeky munchkin).

When positioning, they’re attempting to feint/shove both weapons out the way, get inside each others’ guards, and trust their incisors/fist/dagger to make up for their primary weapons both being tied up. If that fails, they remain at swordpoint and able to continue the fight on those terms. It’s not like what happens when you have brought only a knife to a swordfight and the act of closing is a terrifying effort to bring your weapon to bear, it’s attempting to find an opening for your otherwise rather uselessly short backup weapons.