Tuesday, November 26, 2013

OMFG Weapons

This is another post where I owe a lot to all the other rulesets that I've read and quietly assimilated.  Thank you +Wil McKinnee +Brendan S +Logan Knight +Jeff Russell +Paolo Greco and honestly like five other people that I'm forgetting.

Your blogs and discussions have guided the sulci of my misshaped brain into more potent configurations.


Any adventurer is proficient with any weapon (except for really weird ones or improvised ones).

There are three kinds of weapons.

Quick: This includes daggers, small clubs, and pistols (if you use 'em). Little one-handed stuff. Quick weapons deal 1d6 damage. This is not modified by STR. Most can be thrown with a 10' range. You add your DEX mod to attack rolls. Additionally, daggers can be used while grappling or swallowed, and small clubs can deal non-lethal damage without any penalty (normal weapons get -2 to hit if used to attack non-lethally).

Balanced: This includes swords, maces, axes. Also 2-handed staffs. Big one-handed stuff. Shields count as Balanced weapons when you attack with them, but they also get -2 to hit.  Spears can be thrown.  Balanced Weapons deal 1d6 damage, modified by STR bonuses if it's a melee weapon. You add your DEX OR STR mod to attack rolls.

Powerful: This includes greatswords, long spears, giant hammers. Huge two-handers. Powerful Weapons deal 1d8 damage, modified by STR bonus. You add your STR mod to attack rolls.  Reach weapons let you attack over your ally's back, from the second rank, and also let you ready an attack against a charge, letting you make an automatic attack roll against a charging enemy before they reach you.

Bows deal 1d6 damage and let you add your STR mod, but crossbows deal 1d8 damage. Firearms are expensive, loud, unreliable, and rare, (think of them as magic wands that anyone can use) but pistols do 1d6 damage and rifles deal 1d10, and each bullet fired (including the first bullet) gives +1 to hit and +1 to damage, up to the magazine capacity of the gun (still only one attack roll, though). Ranged weapons can fire up to 10x their range increment (usually 20'), but they get a -4 penalty for every range increment beyond the first. You add your DEX mod to attack rolls.

Thrown weapons can be thrown up to 5x their range increment (usually 10'), but get a -4 penalty for every range increment beyond the first. You add your DEX mod to attack rolls.

Improvised Weapons like shields and frying pans all get -2 to hit, but otherwise function like whatever weapon category they are most similar to. Unarmed attacks are Improvised Weapons that deal 1d4 damage (no modifiers) that is always non-lethal.

It takes a negligible amount of time to draw a weapon from fast inventory, except for Powerful weapons and then it doesn't matter because you're walking around with them in your hands anyway. There no scabbard for a halberd. However, sheathing stuff usually requires an action.

Normal weapons don't work underwater unless they're piercing weapons (you can thrust with them), and even those get -2 to hit.

As long are you are holding a weapon (even a dagger or a stewpot) you get +1 to AC.

Design Notes:

Since strength doesn't affect quick weapon damage, weak characters with negative strength modifiers are actually better off with a dagger than with a sword. Neat. I know bows are built around a certain pull strength but fuck it.

Ranged Weapon penalties for firing at big ranges is harsh, as it should be. Note that archers can still hit groups of people at 200', they just can't hit individual ones.

The Held Weapon AC rule is sort of a compromise between LotFP base 12 AC and other systems' base 10 AC. It also gives a player another good reason to avoid fighting unarmed, and helps reflect that even a stick can help you defend yourself. Using this, a player with full plate and a shield will have 18 AC. . . yeah, that feels about right.

Your Offhand

An Empty Hand can be useful. It lets you catch thrown things and use items from your Fast Inventory, among other things.

Torches need no explaining.

Two-Handed Weapon Grip does +1 damage. Powerful Weapons require this, and therefore do 1d8+1 damage (plus Strength bonus, if applicable).

A Paired Weapon gives +1 to hit. This is either a dagger or a matching 1-handed weapon.

Shields give you +1 to AC.

You've seen these rules a dozen times elsewhere, I'm sure.

Weapon Breakage and Decay

Whenever you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll, you get a Ding on the weapon.

Whenever you get a Ding on a weapon, look at the damage roll (just the naked roll; don't add any mods). If the damage roll is less than the number of Dings, the weapon gets a Break. (Any Dings remain.)

Whenever you get a Break, the weapon gets -1 to hit and does -1 damage. However, firearms become unusable as soon as they get their first Break.

After one or two Breaks, you're better off using an improvised weapon or even a crappy goblin sword or something.

Weapons can be repaired. Give it a baseline of, say, 1gp for a Ding and 10gp for Break? It'll take a couple of days, though. Keep track of Dings and Breaks by writing little “X”s and “-1”s beside your weapon.

Shitty Weapons get a Break whenenever you roll a natural 1 (all Dings become Breaks).

Masterwork Weapons only get a Ding if the damage roll is an odd number.

Magic Weapons are masterwork weapons that only get damaged when fighting demons, dragons, and other epic shit.  However, they can only be repaired by equally epic blacksmiths.

Design Note.
This is the fastest way I can think of to model weapon damage with the least work. It doesn't introduce any additional rolls, and keeps an element of chance, while at the same time, the first Ding never leads to a Break, so players always get a warning before the tip snaps off their favorite sword.

Weapon Mastery

This is a thing that only Fighters can do. With a specific weapon, (like sword serial number 283743) you must begin keeping track of your kills. This uses up one of your skill slots. Once you achieve a certain number of killing blows against challenging opponents. You get a degree of mastery with the weapon.

10 kills give you +1 damage with the weapon.
30 kills let you use a weapon's fightmaster ability (see below).
100 kills give you an additional +1 damage with the weapon.

This incentivization means that fighters will be aggressively practicing with weapons that they want to master, and fishing for killing blows. I like to keep a strict cap on damage inflation, and this is the only way for a fighter to model swifter lethality compared to a thief, short of a magic weapon. I'm also a fan of uncoupling player advancement from the strict XP/Level system when possible. Also, tracking kills is fun! So hopefully the fighter won't mind tracking the number of kills they get with each weapon, and other classes won't even have to bother with it.

Fightmaster Abilities

Fighters get additional bonuses from using weapons. The following stuff applies to fighters only, and only once they've gotten 30 kills with that unique weapon.

Swords get +1 to hit humanoids.

Axes do x3 damage rolled on a critical (instead of just doing max damage)

Bludgeons do x2 damage to prone creatures, and little flat creatures, like snakes and small turtles.

Flails ignore shields and automatically give armor a Break when they do 6 or more damage.

Staffs give you +1 to AC when wielded defensively*, and can be used like any class of weapon (quick, balanced, or powerful).

Stabby Polearms (spears, lances) let you deal 2x damage on a charge or when readied against a charge.  (Other polearms function as swords or axes with reach.  Glaives are like swords and halberds are like axes, for example.)

Shields ignore the -2 penalty to hit for non-proficiency (they become proficient in it). If you've killed 30 dudes with a shield, you can wield it as well as a rookie wields a sword.

Thrown Weapons and Ranged Weapons let you reduce all range penalties by 4 points (effectively doubling the range at which you have no penalty).

Design Note:

Weapons are designed to tempt a fighter into carrying one of each kind. Swords are good against orcs or in duels. Daggers are pretty essential. Axes are a good multipurpose weapon, but are unreliable. Big bludgeons are good if teamwork is employed and possible, and are balanced by the fact that it usually takes an ally an action to trip an opponent. Flails are good for bad guys (as they should be!) because they will absolutely shred your PC's armor. Sneaky types might want a small club to knock people out. Staffs are versatile, and can be good for fighter-caster types. Polearms have their niche, as always, and shields have their place, as well.

So while the other dudes are content with a sword and a dagger, the fighter has an incentive to hang a few more weapons on his belt. Also remember that some monsters are vulnerable/resistant to other damage types (bludgeoning/slashing/piercing).

I've tried to give each class slightly different mechanics to play with, and this is what the Fighters get.

In some cases historical usage has been sacrificed at the altar of convenience.  Apologies.

I know that some of these mechanics yield fiddly little +1 to attack/damage shit (which is usually the least interesting and significant of all proposed rules) but for main weapons the player will only have to calculate it once, and then the significance of that +1 will be magnified across hundreds of uses.

Attack Options

Available to anyone.  I'll do grappling/tricky shit in another post; this one is already too long.

Attack Aggressively: +1 to hit, -2 to AC

Attack Defensively: +1 to AC, -2 to hit

Total Defense: +2 to AC, make no attacks.

Magic Weapons

Firearms are basically magic weapons, even though they aren't magic.  Even though they're loud, rare, and unreliable, they're still better than most other weapons.  Lots of demons have auras that prevent combustion, though, which stops engines, torches, and guns.

Most magic weapons (+1 to hit and/or damage) are just non-magical weapons that have been made with exquisite craftsmanship from exotic materials.  Adamantine, chargale, alabaster black, tectoric materium, moon spittle, etc.  So they aren't really "magic" weapons, I guess.

True magic weapons are made by legendary blacksmiths possessed by demons or angels, immediately before their deaths.  You'll probably never find one.

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to rework weapons in OSR since I was first introduced to it about three years ago. My biggest issue with B/X or OSE was that you can use 1d6 for all weapons. However, this incentivizes you to use the smallest, cheapest weapon, which is the dagger. And if you end up using the variable damage dice then the hand axe is better than the short sword. They both do the same damage, but you can throw the hand axe and it's cheaper. This all kind of led me down a rabbit hole, but I ended up creating my own system whereby you combine variable damage dice with variable attack dice combination. This effectively allows you to create many more damage combinations for weapons than otherwise with variable damage dice alone. What's more, this results in differing amounts of damage against different armor class values, so that weapons have advantages and disadvantages against different types of targets. I've detailed this further in my post, and I've included worksheets for others to experiment with.