Friday, 19 November 2010

Melee Weapon Damage (4) - More thoughts

Over at Beyond the Black Gate there is a new discussion on weapon damage. JB and Alexis are quoted.

A few interesting points are raised in the post and the above links and comments which mirror some of my thoughts.

1. I am reminded that to date all my creative output is homage to B/X/C (The C being JB's Companion Rule Set creation) and I have yet to say anything original. Ho hum.

2. JB's Two-Handed Rules
I was quoting pure JB in my post when I copied his reach rule. 
Reach: in the outdoors, in open terrain, a two-handed weapon always strikes FIRST against opponents wielding one-handed weapons, EXCEPT mounted foes using lances.

In his comment to todays Beyond the Black Gate post JB emphasised his Reach rule as allowing longer two-handed weapons to strike from the back rank.
I wonder if this isn't a simpler combat rule than working out who has the longer weapon to decide who attacks first. There is already a set vs charge rule which the DM could apply if desired. I might drop the whole weapon size, who strikes first and stick to allowing attacks from the 2nd rank. Yet outdoors strike first against medium weapons, indoors attack from 2nd rank - has merit - I need to mull further.

3. JB's Two-Handed Rules
JB has two other two-handed rule variants.
Intimidation: individuals carrying two-handed weapons suffer a -1 on Reaction rolls.
Leverage: individuals wielding two-handed weapons add +1 to damage on a successful attack roll.
I have simplified this into Intimidate (-1 morale for opponents) which I remain happy with at the moment. -1 reaction rolls IMHO emphasises the negatives rather than the benefits of forsaking a shield and wielding a two-handed sword.

4. Alexis contends that humans aren't that squishy, which is very true; though an odd criticism to befall JB since he is a big proponent of the Normal Man. I have wondered however that if small weapons can deliver a minimum of  1-4 damage whatever the class, what hope does the Normal Man have? What if they were attacked with an eating or butter knife, shouldn't it do less damage? Perhaps 1-2. But then aren't we back to variable weapon damage by weapon type or do we say like JB argues that all weapons do 1-6 damage - but even a pin tack?
My reluctant but necessary thought is to create another class based weapon type called Minor Weapon. In all classes and for Normal Men it will deliver 1-2 hit points of damage. In reality when the kitchen maid attacks the brute she will wait until he is drunk or asleep before pouncing.  Surprise and initiative have a good chance of seeing off even the most robust normal man.
Interestingly Cook Expert gives 1-2 damage in combat without a weapon (X25) whilst Mentzer Expert only gives 1 damage. I might side with Mentzer on this one.

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