2009-02-06 Weapon Specialities

Reading Basic D&D: Choose Your Weapon, Dwimmermount Campaign House Rules, Philotomy's OD&D Musings on Multiple Attacks, Weapon vs. what?, Shields Shall be Splintered! and the various features each weapon in the D&D 3.5 weapon list, I cannot shake the feeling that it would be cool to produce a small list of weapons and fighting styles, giving each of them a kind of special feature.


Instead of starting with a list of weapons, perhaps it would be better to start at the end and ask: How many weapons should the list have? How many features will I therefore need to differentiate between them all?

Time passes, and other people start writing about this topic. Proposal: Weapons vs. AC and Request for Assistance.

Here are the things I would love to see:

Things I’ll ignore:

And then I suddenly go whaaaaaaa... This is too damn complicated. It’ll result in a minigame where people start optimizing weapons against armor, it’ll introduce discussions of what was developed in reaction what, the exact time period equivalent we’re playing in, and I don’t want to go there.

But I cannot resist... How about this? The effective bonus would mean “ignores part of the protective value of the armor”. The “Chains” column is for all sorts of flails. We’re ignoring tripping, disarming, and all sorts of other combat maneuvers. Those should be resolved by common sense instead of rules.

Weapon vs. Armor Type Slashing Piercing Bludgeoning Chains
Unarmed (AC 9) 0 0 0 0
Leather (AC 7) +1 0 0 0
Chain (AC 5) 0 +1 0 0
Plate (AC 3) 0 0 +1 0
Shield (AC -1) 0 0 0 +1

What about Monsters, you say? Easy. Anything wearing armor is resolved as indicated above. Most things having a “natural” armor shall be considered wearing leather armor. This makes swords a good choice against all sorts of monsters, which is a nice touch.

What remains to be handled:

That would be as far as I would take it, I think.



I recommend the very interesting discussion in the comments of Proposal: Weapons vs. AC. Matthew James Stanham has a point, and I convinces me to not introduce such a complication into my games.

AlexSchroeder 2009-02-15 21:50 UTC

Another cool idea is to let the weapon specify initiative. I feel daggers should be faster, and that torches doing 1d6+1d4 damage makes them the most terrifying weapon, etc. But I like the idea. Playing with Initiative.

AlexSchroeder 2009-02-16 08:08 UTC

Speaking of initiative, check out my continuous initiative house rules which are based around the idea that in the same time frame as one mighty swing of a two handed sword, a skilled knifesman can jab a number of times.

The Recursion King 2009-02-16 13:51 UTC

Two years later, Stuart picks up the discussion again. And he arrives at a similar simplified table on Google+.

Then again, I think the topic has been thoroughly explored in House Rules: Weapons, Armor, Combat aka. The Rule of the Assayers’ Guild by Roger the GS.

As for my own games, I ended up not using any of it. In my Labyrinth Lord games, weapons do 1d6 damage and that’s it.

AlexSchroeder 2011-09-30 07:06 UTC

Also worth considering: Weapon Mastery as explained by Greywulf.

AlexSchroeder 2012-08-07 20:50 UTC

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