20 September 2012

Plugging This Stuff into Basic D&D - Draft One

Experiments in practicality here. This is a stab at plugging some of my ideas in as a drop-in replacement for the B/X / BECMI combat system.

Weapons and Armour - D&D Style

Let's rewrite the Weapon Behaviour chart I made with numbers that make sense in standard D&D. Read Attack as being added to the attack roll, Defense as Descending Armour Class, and armour reduction as moving the armour one category lower (i.e. plate to mail, mail to cloth, cloth to none).

Weapon Attack Defense Armour Reduction Hands Damage
Daggers, etc. +0 7 0 1 2d6-H
Swords, Spears, Staffs +2 3 0 1-2 1d6
Axes, Maces (1-handed) +0 7 1 1 1d6
Halberds, Poleaxes, etc. +2 3 1 2 2d6-L

Armour Type Damage Reduction
None or Normal Clothes 0
Cloth (Leather) 1
Mail (Scale, Splint, Banded) 2
Plate and Mail (Full Plate, Brigandine) 4

Damage Reduction

Simply reduce the damage taken by the damage reduction score, but never to less than one.

Running This

This should play out pretty similarly to regular D&D, with the exceptions that weapon choice matters, sleeping in armour is no longer a complete necessity, weapon and armour lists have been simplified into a few simple categories, and the stats are easier to conceptualize due to representing one clear thing. Also, dropping your weapon is a big problem. Backup weapons anyone?

Converting Monsters

Converting monsters should be pretty simple, too. Anything with normal flesh and no armour or weapons would have no damage reduction, and Defense would likely be in the 7-9 range (i.e. 9 for a zombie, maybe 7 for a wolf, due to its agility). Anything wearing armour or using a weapon would have DR or Attack/Defense adjustments just like the players do.

I figure 1 point of DR for AC 7, and double DR for each point after that (which is how the armour table is derived, as well). So AC 3 is DR 4, AC 1 is DR 8, AC 0 would be DR 12. This should serve to make for really terrifying "tough" monsters, which is as it should be in my mind. How are you planning to kill that being made of stone? With your sword? Good luck. You're going to need magic...


  1. How would a shield factor into this -- a flat defense bonus? Still just +1? I never really fought with a shield but based on how popular they were all through history (until plate armor came along) I think they should be a bigger boost than a +1... but as armor only adds DR, and shields probably should not add DR, I'm not sure how armor + shield would interact here.

  2. I've found shields to be undervalued at +1 Defense.

    +2 seems about right from my testing, for hand-to-hand.

    Big shields should probably give a bigger bonus against missile weapons, but I haven't really done much figuring on that yet.

  3. Wouldn't a +2 to Defense with a shield encourage a man-at-arms in plate and mail to use a shield a-foot, a situation that too me would seem against the idea of trying to stick closely to 14th-15th century combat.

    1. Good question - the short answer is no.

      +2 Defense and a 1d6 dmg weapon is, in most circumstances, roughly as good as a 2d6-take-highest weapon. So, it's a wash, basically. With shields at +1 Defense, they are strictly inferior to two-handed weapons in melee.

      The advantage of a two-handed weapon is that it leaves your offhand free for grapples when you roll high on your Attack roll - something a shield doesn't allow.

      Since grappling damage bypasses armour, it's generally better to use a two-handed weapon if you're in armour and fighting someone else in armour.