06 February 2012

My classic D&D melee weapons: Commentary

@StvWinter: Harking back to #dnd B/X. 1H wpns did 1d6, 2H did 1d8. A dwarf got no + for using ax, no - for using sword. Clean.

I started to look at the B/X weapons similar to my previous look at the Labyrinth Lord weapons. I decided, though, to make a flow chart to help players choose a weapon. I didn’t finish. It seemed much too complex. And backwards.

I want weapon choice to be 90% roleplaying and 10% weapon stats. Sure, there advantages and disadvantages between a sword, a mace, an axe, and warhammer. But those differences are more subtle than the D&D combat system.

On the other hand, I don’t want it to be too abstract either. There should, e.g., be some mechanical trade-off to choosing a two-handed weapon. I also don’t want weapons to feel too different from what I know about real medieval weapons. And I want a weapon’s price to reflect its value in the game.

Generic weapons—where the player “buys” the stats and provides their own description—also helps represent the great variety of weapons. Not only different types of weapons, but the variations within a type.

I looked at the weapons in Lamenations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-playing. I like its choices a lot, but decided to tweak some things differently.

I should probably touch on variable damage by weapon. I’ve been a big fan of the B/X (by the book) standard d6 for all weapons. I also believe that—all other things being equal—the longer weapon has the advantage. So, I kept looking at different ways to model that. Then I realized that B/X’s optional (but de facto standard) variable damage by weapon does that just fine. After all, “damage” in D&D is abstract. A bigger damage die just represents some abstract advantage.

I still like the idea of variable damage by class or a damage cap by class, but I think the variable hit die by class handles class differences enough.

So, I didn’t end up with anything quite as simple and clean as Steve’s summary, but we’ll see how it goes.


Matthew James Stanham said...

I like what you have done with them. Makes sense for Classic, which has been giving me some difficulty. Weapon damage and hit dice is one of the things that keeps me away for D&D as opposed to AD&D. Probably I would end up folding small-sized weapons into medium-sized weapons in the end and stop worrying about the difference between a short and long sword. Heck, everything is cleaner when you make it one-handed sword, mace, flail, et cetera versus two-handed sword, mace, flail, whatever.

Robert Fisher said...

Yeah. At first I didn't have the small weapon/blade category at all. I mainly added them because there was space for them in the pricing. And I was taking away some of the options for the bargain hunters. ^_^ I'm not sure if it'll matter that much in play.