I needed to figure out how numerical superiority worked out in melee without resorting to a battlemap. A typical situation would be skeletons coming in through a door: how many party members can hit it? I used to think “everybody!” As the party size has grown to ten characters and more I feel this might no longer work.
When I was adding up experience points at the end of last session I was looking at this list: Logard with Piyo and Arnd; Hermann with Urs and Ors; Schalk with Gimir, Uluf, Tschannin, Borgir and Schlappe (with retainer Rell being sent away) – and this is with just three players! As you can imagine, I started thinking about space requirements.
I guess I started thinking about this when I read Roger’s House Rules: Weapons, Armor, Combat aka. The Rule of the Assayers’ Guild.
I’m thinking of giving every weapon a little special advantage or disadvantage while keeping the 1d6 damage for all weapons rule:
I decided I needed to write it all down for D&D Mine aka. Campaign:Halberds and Helmets:
Space: In a wide corridor (10 ft.) three can fight abreast; four if they are wielding stabbing weapons such as short swords; two if one of them wields a two-handed weapon; one if wielding a two-handed sword. With a polearm (halberd, spear) you can attack from the second row. → In a narrow corridor (5 ft.) only one can fight; two if wielding stabbing weapons such as short-swords; there is not enough space to swing a two-handed sword. → Two enemies per round may enter a room through a five foot door. They can be attacked by up to eight people in the first row with stabbing weapons and another ten may attack with polearms from the back row: eighteen against one! If an enemy is surrounded on all sides, they may be attacked by twelve people in the first row with stabbing weapons and another sixteen may attack with polearms from the back row: twenty eight against one!
→ → ← ← → → ← ← ↗ ↗ ↑ ↑ ↖ ↖ ↗ ↑ ↑ ↖
The above is from the rules document. It shows a party controlling a door where the front row fights with short sword and shield and the back row fights with polearms.
Here are some more examples.
Roman senators stabbing Caesar with daggers:
Roman soldiers with short swords and shields against barbarians with battle-axes:
German Landsknechte with two handed swords against Swiss mercenaries with polearms:
|↑||↑||↑||↑||↑||↑||↑||↑||pikes, short swords|
The Landsknechte really need to get initiative. If they do, they can use their two-handed sword to attack all four mercenaries facing them with one attack roll.
Update: I’m still thinking of special properties for weapon…
Very short weapons such as daggers cannot be used with a shield.
Stabbing weapons such as short swords allow you to fight in tighter formation. See above.
Long weapons such as longswords can be used to slash at footmen while riding.
Two-handed swords can be used to hit every enemy in reach with a single swing.
Two-handed axes can be used to break down wooden doors.
Polearms such as halberds and pikes can be used from the second row.
Hooked polearms such as halberds can be used to pull riders from a horse on a critical hit instead of inflicting damage. Riders suffer 1d6 falling damage and end up prone (remaining enemies get +4 to hit, they can get up the next round and either attack or retreat).
Long polearms such as pikes can be set against a charge (double damage on a hit).
Lances can be used to charge (double damage on a hit).
I’m still undecided. Too complicated?