29 November 2012

Weapon Weights

Just some weapon data.


Pulled mostly from the Wallace Collection, and from a few other places.

Weapon Weight Range
Dagger .5-1 lbs
Sword 3-4 lbs
Spear 4-8 lbs
Axes/Maces 3-5 lbs
Polearms 5-8lbs
Bow 2-3 lbs
Crossbow (Heavy) 4-8 (8-12) lbs
Sling .1 lbs

Ammo for: Weight for 24
Bow 2-3 lbs
Crossbow (Heavy) 2-3 (3-4) lbs
Sling 1-2 lbs

26 November 2012

Missile Weapons

The advantage of bows is rate of fire (and sometimes range).

The advantage of crossbows is ease of use, and - for larger models, armour piercing.

The advantage of slings is ease of carry and ammunition supply.

The advantage of spears is weight (and therefore damage).

So, let's lay this out:

Range modifiers: 0/-3/-6/-9

Weapon
Base Attack
Range in Feet
Armour Reduction
ROF
Bow (Longbow)
-4(-6)
30/60/120/240
(30/60/180/320)
1/0/0
1/round
Crossbow (Heavy)
0
30/60/120/240
(30/60/180/320)
1/0/0(2/1/0)
1/2 rounds (1/3 rounds)
Sling
-4
20/40/80/160
0
1/round
Spear
0
10/20/40
0
1/round

You can get rid of the penalty for using a bow or sling if you're specifically trained in the use of bows or slings. For a fighter, that means forgoing training in one of the other weapon types (daggers, swords, axes/maces, polearms). For another class, it means giving up a comparable benefit (I'll be generalizing the classes soon, and so this will make a little more sense).


22 November 2012

Shields, Two-handed weapons, and Offhand weapons


In the D&D I'm familiar with, 2-handers are always better than shields. The following is for Basic D&D with the "optional" damage rules that everyone uses.

I'll start off with my proposal, and then go through the reasoning below.

  • Two-handed Weapon
    • 2d8-L
  • One-hander and Shield
    • +2 AC bonus
  • One-hander and Off-hander
    • +1 AC, +1 Attack



Let's look at some examples. We'll have 2 Level 1 fighters, AC 5.

Sword and Shield vs. Two-handers

Give both a shield and sword (AC -1, damage d8):

Expected damage output is 1.125 dmg/rnd. ((AC 4 + 1)/20)*(4.5)

Give one a two-handed sword (damage d10)):

Expected damage output for the two-hander is 1.375. ((AC 4 + 1)/20)*(5.5)
Expected damage output for the shield and sword is 1.35. ((AC 5 + 1)/20)*(4.5)

Off-hand weapons

Blog of Holding has an interesting idea about off-hand weapons: +1 to attack, and 50/50 chance of doing damage as the large weapon (d8) or the small weapon (d4). Let's look at that. Again, two Level 1 Fighters in chain.

Shield and Sword vs. Dagger and Sword

Expected damage output for the dagger and sword is 1.05. ((AC 4 + 1 + 1)/20)*((4.5+2.5)/2).
Expected damage output for the shield and sword is 1.35. ((AC 5 + 1)/20)*(4.5)

Two-handed Sword vs. Dagger and Sword


Expected damage output for the dagger and sword is 1.225. ((AC 5 + 1 + 1)/20)*((4.5+2.5)/2).
Expected damage output for the two-handed sword is 1.65. ((AC 5 + 1)/20)*(5.5)

Higher Levels

Let's try Level 10 Fighters, all else equal.

Give both a shield and sword (AC -1, damage d8):

Expected damage output is 3.15 dmg/rnd. ((AC 4 + 10)/20)*(4.5)

Give one a two-handed sword (damage d10)):

Expected damage output for the two-hander is 3.85. ((AC 4 + 10)/20)*(5.5)
Expected damage output for the shield and sword is 3.375. ((AC 5 + 10)/20)*(4.5)

Shield and Sword vs. Dagger and Sword

Expected damage output for the dagger and sword is 2.625. ((AC 4 + 1 + 10)/20)*((4.5+2.5)/2).
Expected damage output for the shield and sword is 3.375. ((AC 5 + 10)/20)*(4.5)

Two-handed Sword vs. Dagger and Sword

Expected damage output for the dagger and sword is 2.8. ((AC 5 + 1 + 10)/20)*((4.5+2.5)/2).
Expected damage output for the two-handed sword is 4.125. ((AC 5 + 10)/20)*(5.5)


Preliminary Conclusions

It's always better to use a two-hander. I used the most conservative rule I've seen for two-handed damage (2d8 drop lowest has a slightly higher average than 1d10, 5.81 vs. 5.5).

Blog of Holding's two-weapon implementation, while interesting, would never be the right choice for a player (a min-maxer, anyways) - it's worse than a two-hander, and it's worse than sword and shield. For that matter, it's worse than just a sword.

The fact is, changes in the to-hit number are dwarfed by changes in the damage number. This is the case for the traditional shield rules, and for Blog of Holding's new two-weapon implementation.

It's not immediately intuitive, but a +1 to hit (generally) makes only a 5% change in the expected damage. That means if your base damage is 4.5 (i.e a normal sword), you need between +4 and +5 to-hit to equal a 1 point damage increase.

Next Steps

Now, I think that the Blog of Holding implementation is a step in the right direction. It's moving away from the draconian penalties seen in AD&D and 3E, and I like that. The problem is that it is still a penalty, albeit a less obvious and less severe one.

Having a dagger in your off-hand should improve your combat effectiveness, not weaken it!

I think +1 to-hit and a +1 AC bonus (i.e. -1 actual AC, DAC) might be good, along with changing shields to be +2 or maybe even more. For gameplay purposes, I think I'd like to see some interesting tradeoffs between the three basic weapon options.

Let's look at why someone would choose any of these three options.


  • Two-handed Weapon
    • deal with armour (longsword vs. arming sword)
    • deal more damage (poleaxe vs. warhammer)
    • extend reach (i.e. spear, poleaxe)
  • One-hander and Shield
    • add protection to unbalanced weapon (i.e. mace, warhammer)
  • One-hander and Off-hander
    • portability (maine-gauche or dagger is smaller than a shield)
    • versatility (more attack options than with a shield)
And let's look at how we can model this in D&D or similar games.

  • Two-handed Weapon
    • damage bonus
  • One-hander and Shield
    • AC bonus
  • One-hander and Off-hander
    • some AC and some attack OR
    • some AC bonus and some damage bonus
Personally, I like the idea of the off-hander adding some attack, rather than some damage. But I'll admit it's pretty arbitrary.

Final Conclusions

Now, let's look at the specifics.

  • Two-handed Weapon
    • 2dX-L (roll two, drop lowest)
  • One-hander and Shield
    • +2 AC bonus
  • One-hander and Off-hander
    • +1 AC, +1 Attack
Expected damage output for a Level 1 Fighter equipped with a sword and chain vs. a Level 1 Fighter with chain and each of the above kits.

Two-handed sword (2d8-L):

Expected damage output for the two-hander is 1.743. ((AC 5 + 1)/20)*(5.81)
Expected damage output for the sword is 1.35. ((AC 5 + 1)/20)*(4.5)
Difference is 0.393.

One-hander and shield:

Expected damage output for the one-hander and shield is 1.35. ((AC 5 + 1)/20)*(4.5)
Expected damage output for the sword is 0.9. ((AC 3 + 1)/20)*(4.5)
Difference is 0.45.

One-hander and off-hander

Expected damage output for the one-hander and off-hander is 1.575. ((AC 5 + 1 + 1)/20)*(4.5)
Expected damage output for the sword is 1.125. ((AC 4 + 1)/20)*(4.5)
Difference is 0.45.



19 November 2012

Simple Unarmed Combat

Following on my last post, unarmed combat becomes very simple. I've frankly never understood why people feel like a swordfight can be modelled by rolling d20 against AC, but that a fistfight can't. Why make it any more complicated?

Roll To Hit

Roll to hit. On a hit, strike for 1-2 non-lethal damage (deals Fatigue instead of Wounds).

Criticals

If you don't have martial training, you can only do strikes. Your critical hits mean you and your opponent are now wrestling on the ground.

If you do have martial training, consult this table:

1-2: Disarm (or lock, if opponent is unarmed):

  • Your opponent's weapon falls to the ground.

3-4: Lock:

  • Opponent's choice:
    • Take 1d6 damage (bypasses all armour), drop your weapon, but remain standing
    • Move with the lock, and get forced to the ground. Opponent will still be armed but will be pinned to the ground by the lock.

5-6: Throw:

  • 2d6-L damage, Armour Reduction 1, opponent will be lying on the ground.


If you're locked or pinned, you need a critical to break free.

I think that's about as simple as you can make it. 90% of the time it'll be striking for damage, with a higher chance of higher level fighters getting solid holds and throws.

14 November 2012

Critical Hits and Unarmed Combat

Unarmed combat plays a crucial role in armed combat, with locks, throws, and disarms coming as a natural result of successful weapon plays.

Threat Range

A natural 20 is always a crit. In addition, for every Fighter level, add one to your threat range (i.e. a 2nd Level Fighter crits on an 18, 19, or 20.

Critical Hits and Entries

On a critical hit, an opportunity for an entry (the term for moving in and attacking with your off hand) has presented itself. You can choose to enter, or to do damage normally.

Entry

If you choose to enter, roll a d6 and consult this chart:

1-2: Disarm
3-4: Lock
5-6: Throw

Damage

If you choose to do damage, roll another attack roll. If this hits, do double damage (i.e. 1d6 become 2d6, 2d6-L becomes 4d6-2L).

Disarms, Locks, and Throws

  • Disarm:
    • You get your opponents weapon away from them and toss/kick it away 5 or 10 feet.
  • Lock:
    • Opponent's choice:
      • Take 1d6 damage (bypasses all armour), drop your weapon, but remain standing
      • Move with the lock, and get forced to the ground. Opponent will still be armed but will be pinned to the ground by the lock.
  • Throw:
    • 2d6-L damage, Armour Reduction 1, opponent will be lying on the ground.

Edge Cases:
  • Weapon or object in your off hand: choose to drop it and enter, or strike with it normally.
  • Shield in your off hand: strike with the shield as a medium weapon (1d6 damage).

8 November 2012

Training vs. Practice

In reading through Alexis' archives over at Tao of D&D, I read an interesting article and ensuing discussion on training, and the difference between training and practice.

Now, I believe a starting character should be a pretty highly-trained individual: someone at the level of a journeyman, a member of a professional association, or a Bachelor of a University. In 99% of cases, the character got there through training: there was a master, and the character was a student. This could have been the Master-at-Arms on their father's estate, a scholar at a University, some weirdo who takes in orphans and teaches them to be pickpockets and sneak-thieves, or what-have-you.

Something I've never been able to reconcile with D&D, though, is stories like Charlie Parker. With a basic education in music under his belt, and some informal instruction from acquaintances and listening to records (let's say he was a 1st level jazz musician at this point), Parker set out to practice. He spent his late teens practicing 15 hours a day, and emerged as a master - one of the best in the world (by old D&D standards, probably level 9 - name level).

So, in 3 years, practicing 15 hours a day, Parker went up 8 levels. That's an average of 1755 hours of individual practice per level, or about 220 8-hour days.

How to handle a player who wants their character to "woodshed" (as in practice non-stop out behind the woodshed) for a year to gain a level or two?

I don't know, but this is something that bothers me. In an ideal world, XP should probably be awarded for practicing a great deal and revoked for failure to practice. This may be too fiddly, and would almost certainly lead to the first act of a campaign being the, "We train for two years, what now?" phase.

Don't have a solution, but it's something that bugs me.

1 November 2012

Classes: The Magician

Magicians begin with 1 Power Level and knowledge of the Minor Works of the Major Magicians, but no martial training.

The Magician can gain additional Power Levels by studying new Books of Magic by the greats, or through study. Magical items, creatures, and unfamiliar spells all provide avenues of investigation for the magician's study. Further details on advancement will be covered in an upcoming series about XP and advancement in general.

I think that tying the magician's advancement to study will serve to cap some of the extreme power that magic can bring at higher levels by slowing advancement in game-time terms. It will also serve to reinforce the archetype I have in mind of a magician who spends much of his time in his library or laboratory studying, venturing forth primarily to find new materials for investigation.

Magician
  • Background:
    • Scholar, Hermit, Monk, Gentry, Noble
  • Abilities:
    • Power Level: 1
    • Knowledge of the minor works of major magicians.
  • Advancement by:
    • Studying new Books of Magic, magic sources, magical creatures, spells, etc.
  • Further Advancement:
    • +1 Power Level