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Real-Life Whip Wielding

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  • Real-Life Whip Wielding

    I've been hearing a lot of chatter about the desire to change up whips a bit, either with new moves or some new mechanics, so I thought I'd do something a little different. For Father's Day, I received as a present a shiny new 6' short whip - in real life - and I wanted to share my observations from my first few sessions trying it out. Keep in mind, this was in my backyard, not the gameworld.

    Physical Details
    First off, the whip itself is sold as a 6' short whip, but it's actually closer to 7.5 feet long. It has about a foot of solid handle with wood inside of a 12-ply leather wrapping. It's about an inch in diameter at the handle, with a 1.5 in pommel and guard at either end of the handle. It tapers evenly, all the way to about 18" before the end. The effect is that down by the handle is much stiffer than near the front. Most of the weight is carried in the back, and most of the flex is carried in the front. As a result, this stiffness puts the center of action further ahead, protecting the wielder slightly. I say slightly for later.

    About 18" before the end, the braided leather connects with a smooth leather strap that creates a little "latch" where they join. This extends for 12", and the last 6" was a flayed leather cord only a millimeter thick. My whip didn't have a metal bit, which ended up being a very good thing.This "latch" will come in later.

    Cracking the whip is about consistency and technique, not strength. In fact, similar to knife-throwing, trying to muscle the whip only screws up your timing. You have to stick with the rhythm. I got the distinct impression, in fact, that one would need to become very familiar with each specific whip - the weight distribution in particular - in order to use it effectively. To use TEC parlance, cracking a scale whip, a hair whip, or a short whip would involve completely different timing, and adding a bit would further change your gestures.

    I found that, interestingly, a Sky Circle stance was the easiest way to use the whip. I was twirling it from right to left in front of me (and left to right behind me) in a circle, and cracking it by jerking my arm back towards the right as the whip was in front of me and slightly to the right. Doing this, I was able to crack it consistently perhaps 4 out of 5 times. When I rushed, I tended to mess it up more often. I have seen some people who could do strikes at each point of a figure 8, but it was more advanced for me. Cracking it at the same spot was actually relatively easy. Similar to when shooting, I would crack it once to "zero" the whip, then adjust my motions slightly based on that first strike to adjust the point of impact. On a nearby tree, for instance, it was easy to hit the same spot time and again.

    In fact, it was harder to execute a good crack when I was NOT in Sky Circle Stance. A simple strike, for instance, was very hard to do effectively. The rotational movement of the circle make cracking it consistently and accurately incredibly easy. It only took one "circle" to build up the momentum to crack the whip well. While this added a second, I was able to do it easily while making the strike (similar to lvl 90 Stance, for instance).

    However, one thing I noticed is the fatigue. It got tired very easily. It wasn't the weight - the whip itself is perhaps a pound - but rather the fact that your arm is up above your head for the majority of the time, and you're applying force perpendicular to your body constantly. While I think you could get used to it, it requires a set of muscles you often don't use. But once I understood all that, I found that strikes were very easy to do effectively.

    What happens to the whip after you crack it, however, is an entirely different story. When you crack the whip, your arm is going in one direction, and the whip naturally wants to go in the other. Any gestures you make send force traveling along the length of the whip, which takes time, and each movement has it's own counter-action when it reaches the tip and it kicks back. Multiple movements of the arm can amplify, counteract, or conflate these movements, making it hard for a novice like myself to control the tip as it springs back.

    As a result, I ended up with a welt down my left cheek, one on the left side of my neck, and one along my right eyebrow, and they were all traveling in different directions. While they were all noticeable, when I came inside and took a shower, they had mostly subsided, and are all gone now. My right arm and forearm both had similar but lighter welts from uncontrolled kick-backs. For most of these, I didn't even feel them happening, but I was aware of what felt like someone slapping me when it hit my head/face. Wearing clothing did nothing to reduce the welts on my arm; I just didn't feel them as much based on where they were. Again, none of these were direct rebounds, but the result of secondary motions as I tried to get back to a circular roll similar to a Sky Circle Stance.

    I asked for one without a bit for exactly this reason, and I'm glad I did.

    Surprisingly, traps were very easy with this short whip, and I was able to both snag tree branches and trunks (ie. horizontally and vertically) incredibly easy. The secret was the "latch" where the braiding stops and the leather strap connecting the braided part to the cord was. It created a little ledge that the length of the whip would catch against, and hold tight. It actually works exactly the way you may see in Indiana Jones, where you can put significant weight (but I didn't try my full body weight) on it without it releasing, but a little flick can loosen the hold and cause it to unravel easily. Unlike TEC, however, it would be very easy to remove yourself from a trap; all you'd need to do is grab the whip past the coiled part and create the slightest space to loosen it. But, landing traps was incredibly simple, with one caveat. You needed enough clearance for the end to coil, so about 18". Any less than that and you wouldn't engage the latch and it wouldn't stick.

    Based on my experience, though, I'd think it'd be very difficult to fight someone "while engaged", as you need about 6' clearance around you to operate. If someone was within knife range, for instance, you wouldn't have the space to get to speed to crack the whip. Likewise, fighting in a room would be highly difficult. However, if someone was outside of that range, there's little chance they could get into range. Being hit by a full crack, or even by the whip when it doesn't crack, would be hideously painful. I was tearing bark off of a tree simply with my frayed cord (ie. no bit) whip, and with a bit, you could easily take someone's eye out or slash a jugular vein. While killing someone with it would be hard, you could certainly inflict life-long damage or permanent injury, and you could definitely dictate range with it.

    Suggestions for TEC Whips
    Based on my experience, I have a couple recommendations to make whips a more unique weapon.
    1. Auto-retreat upon inflicting a hit - Being struck by even the kick-back in the face was painful; more so if it had been a direct rebound or a direct strike. Perhaps a successful attack could cause the target to fall back, on account of the pain and surprise. When something hits you in the face, in particular, you want to get away from it at expense of all else. Definitely also true for whips.
    2. Unable to attack while engaged - Fall back would be a must; I don't see any way to realistically attack someone when they're within arm's reach, but the snares would be much easier.
    3. Combination Traps - The whip itself is long enough that you could, for instance, neck trap someone and then wrap up their arms with some more of the length. Perhaps combination traps are a possibility (neck and wrist, double-wrist, etc.). However, this would definitely tie up the whip user up, though, and dropping the whip would ruin the trap. It also couldn't possibly be done with anything in the other hand, as you'd need your off hand to move the target around.
    4. Butt smash - For lack of a better term... the handle of the whip makes a foot-long club of similar weight to a police baton, and you could hold the whip at the start of the braided leather (perhaps 8 or so inches in front of the handle) to get some "whip action" in the strike, It'd easily bruise, and is actually a move in some SE Asian martial arts.
    5. Wrist Slash - With skill, it'd be easily possible to rip open a gash in someone's wrist. While hitting a moving target is hard, controlling where you hit is relatively easy. Instant bleeder.
    6. Familiarity with a specific whip - Because of the difference in weight, you can't just pick up any old whip the way you'd do so with a sword. You need to test it out and become familiar with it, and would need to do so again upon changing whips (ie. if you try Whip #1, then Whip #2, then go back to Whip #1, you'll need some time to adjust your timing again to the first whip). Maybe we could introduce a similar thing, where it takes 50 or so attacks (successful or unsuccessful) before you're really dialed into a particular, individual whip, and you need to do so again if you use a different whip.
    Anyways, just some thoughts!
    Last edited by Catuluscaesar; 06-17-2018, 08:33 AM.
    Those who are afraid of the dark have never seen what the light can do.

  • #2

    Going to leave this here, #unnerfbows


    • #3
      Generally a single good hit from any weapon is going to kill or maim you


      • #4
        It is impossible to be overly realistic in a game, otherwise every character would die the first time someone hit them in the head with an axe and a inhuman strength two handed axe wielder would chop off an arm every time he hit it and once a knife wielder was in direct contact range hardly any weapon would be practical..whips are fun to play with though, so glad you got one, I have a dummy in my garage I practice on since a whip is a decent bug out day backup weapon.


        • #5
          Your post was an interesting read, thanks for sharing. Wondering if I should purchase one of those now...

          Regarding your skillset suggestions:
          I like #1 as an idea for a whip maneuver IG. Something similar to push back. Maybe crack the whip at the opponent's feet or in front of their face. This seems like it'd fit very well into the existing IG image of whips and it would compliment the skillset nicely from a mechanical standpoint, since some skills can only be used at range. Would be even better if this acted as a "stepping" maneuver and moved you into a more aggressive stance at the same time it forced the opponent to retreat.

          #2 is a restriction that would put whips (or any weapon) at a severe disadvantage in TEC's combat system.

          #3 is certainly an interesting idea. However, I imagine it would be complex to code, and whips already have a wide variety of trapping maneuvers. In the end, most of the existing trapping maneuvers (besides ankle trap) are just novelties that have no real function in combat. They aren't reliable in PvP, and in PvE, they are frustrating to use because NPCs don't play by the normal roundtime rules and can often make you stuck in repeated struggle attempts if you try to trap them.

          #4 and #5 seem like they'd be reasonable maneuvers to add to the skillset. Neither of them stand out to me though, I don't see them adding anything special or filling a niche that isn't already satisfied by the existing maneuvers.

          #6 makes sense, but doesn't seem specific to whips. Switching from a tin/bone weapon to a boison one in any skillset would be just as significant an adjustment.
          [Success: 95, Roll: 5] Pharse swings a cestus-covered fist sideways, lashing out at you with the blades of his weapon, but misses. You use the broad head of your short whip to knock aside the attack with a brute-force swat.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Irisa View Post

            #4 and #5 seem like they'd be reasonable maneuvers to add to the skillset. Neither of them stand out to me though, I don't see them adding anything special or filling a niche that isn't already satisfied by the existing maneuvers.
            I do like 4, especially if it is a sap which I think would be a great addition to whips since they don't really have anything besides ankle trap for setting up prone strikes unless you count brawling moves.


            • #7
              I'm confused by #1 and #2... If you cant attack while engaged(#2), how are you going to retreat inflicting a hit (#1).

              # 3 is meh, traps are bad anyways in their current state.

              #4 I like (even though you have access to Edge Bash and Brawling), I also think something like Rake should have a chance to knock an opponent off their feet (other than crits) even if it was a low as 10% it would be nice.

              #5 whips have an instant bleeder already, and have tons of bleed crits, Why another?

              #6 don't see a need to go this indepth with realism, but I see where you are coming from.