[House Rule]Weapons - unified damage

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

[House Rule]Weapons - unified damage

Postby Zapp » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:04 pm

Weapons - unified damage

Choosing which weapon to use should be a choice of style, not a way to punish the player for not choosing the ubiquitous sword... (at least, in this thread I'm assuming you agree)

Furthermore, unarmed combat shouldn't do so much less damage. I'll grant you it should be difficult to hit an armed opponent (because you yourself are not armed), and perhaps that the damage should be quicker to heal, but 1d3 is a practical ban on fisticuffs!

Thus I present to you the "Weapons - unified damage" mod! :)

General Guidelines
Light Weapons all do 2d6-1 damage.
Regular Weapons all do 2d6 damage.
Heavy Weapons all do 3d6 damage.

Light and Regular Weapons are normally One-Handed. You can wield a Regular (Melee) Weapon in two hands; this either lowers the Minimum Strength Value by 2 -or- adds +1 damage (but not both).

Heavy Weapons are normally Two-Handed. You can wield a Heavy (melee) Weapon in one hand; this halves your effective Strength (so you need Strength 6 but add only +3 damage).

"Clumsy" weapons exist; either they're poorly made, or they are simply tools not primarily made for combat. The Minimum Strength Value increases by 1 and you get a -1 damage penalty.

Bows and thrown weapons are considered "clumsy" at long range. Crossbows are an exception to this rule.

Unarmed combat are normally considered "clumsy". (I can see a Talent offsetting this though). Against an armed opponent, they additionally count as being at "long range". In addition, unarmed combat is less effective against armoured opponents - apply the armor penalty as a bonus to the armor rating (for instance, the armor rating of Heavy Mail, 7, is increased to 10 against unarmed attacks).

The restriction against armed foes also applies to daggers against a foe wielding regular or heavy weapons. The restriction against armored foes also applies to throwing daggers, clubs and the quarterstaff.

Thus we get the following replacement weapons table:

Code: Select all
Weapon                 Damage  Strength
------                 ------  --------
Battle Axe              2d6     1
Throwing Axe            2d6-1   1
Throwing Axe*           2d6-2   2 (9-16 yards)
Two-handed Axe          3d6     3
Mace                    2d6     1
Maul*                   2d6-1   2
Two-handed Maul*        3d6-1   4
Crossbow                2d6     1 (up to 60 yards)
Short Bow               2d6-1  -1
Short Bow*              2d6-2   0 (17-32 yards)
Long Bow                2d6     1
Long Bow*               2d6-1   2 (27-52 yards)
Fist*§†                 2d6-2   -
Gauntlet*§†             2d6-1   -
Improvised Weapon*§†    2d6-1   -
Bastard Sword           2d6     2 one-handed
Bastard Sword*          3d6     3 two-handed (damage bonus)
Bastard Sword*          3d6-1   1 two-handed (minimum strength decrease)
Long Sword              2d6     1
Two-handed Sword        3d6     3
Dagger§                 2d6-1   -
Short Sword             2d6-1  -1
Throwing Knife†         2d6-1   -
Throwing Knife*†        2d6-2   - (7-12 yards)
Spear                   2d6-1   0
Throwing Spear          2d6-1   0
Throwing Spear*         2d6-2   1 (9-16 yards)
Two-handed Spear        2d6     1 Foes at -2 until they hit
Club*†                  2d6-2   -
Morningstar             2d6     1
Quarterstaff†           2d6     - Shield Bonus 1

*) Considered "Clumsy"
§) Considered at Long Range against armed opponents
†) Less effective against armored opponents


Feel free to use as you wish. I'm not saying this way is better than the one in the rulebook, just different. Comments and corrections welcome; though I do ask of you not to threadcrap on the basic premise - if you think daggers and fists should do significantly less damage, feel free to start a new thread saying so! :)

Miscellaneous Notes
I replaced the statistics of the Bastard Sword as it otherwise is strictly better than any other one-handed weapon. Instead, it now counts as a Longsword when wielded one-handed and a (clumsy) Two-Handed Sword when wielded two-handed. This flexibility gives it a small edge, but does not overshadow other weapons.

I kept the statistics for two-handed spears. To help it out, I gave it the special ability that its length makes all foes fight at long distance until they score a hit, like a "pseudo-Pike".

The Quarterstaff is treated like the two-handed weapon it is. Like the Two-handed spear, its damage is inferior, but also like that weapon, I gave it a special ability: it counts as a Light Shield (i.e. +1 Defense).
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Postby Zapp » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:51 am

Fixed an error on bows at long range.
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Postby Saisei » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:46 am

Hmm. Nice idea.

This was always a bone of contention with us in DnD. You want to use a weapon for flabour but it is actually completely pants.

I may just try these out and see how it works.

(Agreed on the brawling btw. The book really undervalues a hook to the jaw!)
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Postby Zapp » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:42 am

Saisei wrote:I may just try these out and see how it works.

I might elaborate a bit on the issues that I foresee:

Some of the low damage weapons might have been given intentionally low damage ratings, with the plan talents will shore them up for the interested user.

Under the current rules, this mainly concerns the Unarmed Style Talent. Instead of "doubling" the damage (from a d3 to a d6) under this system it would be appropriate to make it remove the clumsy attribute of the Fist weapon (and maybe the Long Range vs armed opponents thing too).

Other existing "Style" Talents seem about equal. Of course, future Talents in upcoming box sets might require further tweaking.

An related issue is the damage output relation between rogues and warriors. This system mainly helps rogues, after all. There might be Talents planned that gives rogues multiple attacks, and again, any such Talents might need to be reworked if the base damage is higher than in the core game.

Because the maximum damage output doesn't change, I don't foresee having to make any adjustments for mages, however. If their damage output was good enough compared to warriors before, it remains good enough now.
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Postby faerieheart » Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:58 pm

Not enough difference between light and regular weapons in my opinion.

I might use it with light weapons as 2d6-1 and regular weapons as 2d6+1... not sure.
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Postby Warden-UK » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:07 pm

What about an exploding d6? Maybe use the dragon dice so as to differentiate between say, 3d6 damage rolls
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Postby randerson » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:44 pm

how about knife and brass knuckles? what can you say about it?
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Postby Zapp » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:57 am

faerieheart wrote:Not enough difference between light and regular weapons in my opinion.

I might use it with light weapons as 2d6-1 and regular weapons as 2d6+1... not sure.

I might be wrong, but I didn't see any inherent advantages with light weapons you don't also get with regular weapons.

(Two-handed weapons are the real exception here, where giving up a shield nets you a third damage die)

So I actually started out with both light and regular weapons dealing 2d6. In other words, not distinguishing between light and regular weapons at all.

We've seen a thief stabbing a guy to death in the movies countless times, and generally you would only use a knife if you feel you don't "need" a bigger or pointier stick.

In the end I settled for 2d6-1, mostly because a single point won't make much of a difference. It's a nod to realism without actually being a significant penalty.

As I have noted above, if further Dragon Age rules start giving light weapon users additional (now non-existing) advantages (such as faster attacks or simply more of 'em) I stand prepared to return light weapons to lower damage expressions.

But only if those qualities and talents make up for the lower base damage, so that any experienced character in the end - when it really matters - does not do significantly less damage than other characters.

Well, that's my creed anyway.

In this light, widening the damage difference (such as 2d6-1 vs 2d6+1) is not what I am looking for. The point is that you should be able to choose dagger or battle axe depending on your vision of your fantasy character, not on some pseudo-realistic notion battleaxes are better in combat.

(Because even complex rulesets fail to take into account the advantages of daggers, such as concealment, surprise and close-quarter fighting. Rather than adding all that I prefer to make the weapons simply equal, or nearly so)
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Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:39 pm

Unified damage works if weapon types have individual qualities (like maces ignoring a lot of armour, axes causing a lot of critical hits and swords attacking quicker or somehting like that). Without any sort of individualism, weapons can rapidly become bland if they're all just really the same.

I'm not entirely sure this is a good idea because, to add some unique qualities to weapons (like only making certain stunts available when using certain weapon types) would add an additional level of complexity that I feel the game was not designed for.
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Postby faerieheart » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:19 pm

The difference is which classes are proficient in what. Rogues are proficient with light blades but not regular blades for example. Using regular blades is a class feature of warriors. Why have such a feature if both are identical? Or close enough to be basically irrelevant anyway.

Also you use dex to hit with light blades rather than strength. Which means if you use a light blade you can gain both attack and defense from putting up dex.

Light blades have lower damage and require you to sacrifice attack and defense to get damage my purchasing strength

Regular blades use strength for both but requires you to sacrifice attack and damage to gain defense.

Every rogue weapon uses dex to attack.

It's part of how they "balance" their classes.
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Postby Zapp » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:59 am

Balgin Stondraeg wrote:Unified damage works if weapon types have individual qualities (like maces ignoring a lot of armour, axes causing a lot of critical hits and swords attacking quicker or somehting like that). Without any sort of individualism, weapons can rapidly become bland if they're all just really the same.

I'm not entirely sure this is a good idea because, to add some unique qualities to weapons (like only making certain stunts available when using certain weapon types) would add an additional level of complexity that I feel the game was not designed for.

You are generally correct.

My point, however, is that differentiating weapons on basic efficiency is a bad idea.

Differentiation of weapons can be cool and interesting, but it needs to involve nuances (like armor penetration, chances of tripping or catching foes, parrying capacity and the like. Not the basic to hit chance, and not the basic damage in any significant way)

If the only choices are between making this mistake and not differentiating weapons at all, however, I clearly choose the latter. Hence this thread! :)
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Postby Zapp » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:11 am

faerieheart wrote:<snip>
It's part of how they "balance" their classes.

You have a point, and let me merely make two comments:
1) I am completely convinced Green Ronin have arrived at the values in the rulebook through careful consideration. In other words, I am not merely dismissing the rulebook approach as a "mistake". The variant in this thread is not better, just different.
2) I do not believe Dragon Age was developed with balance in mind, in the way a D&D Rogue is supposed to dish out the same amount of damage as any other top-notch D&D striker. In fact, I am fairly sure Dragon Age makes the same concession to "reality" as does WFRP, in that a Rogue is simply supposed to not be as lethal and sturdy in straight-up combat as a warrior.

For the purposes of this thread, I simply offer a different path, one for the player or GM who disagrees. One where the combat part of the rpg is valued highly, and where relative balance between classes is desirable over "realism" considerations.

In other words, these rules are meant to close the gap between a character using daggers and one using a sword, so that which you choose to use (and ultimately, which class you select) is much more a matter of style and pose than optimization considerations. (Assuming you value optimization considerations and do not find it fun to have to set them aside to play a character utilizing a "non-standard" arsenal)

I fully realize there is a school of thought saying "if you want to be effective in combat, choose to play a warrior". This thread is for those interested in an alternative, specifically one relating to "light" weaponry!


Again, should future rules developments make knife-wielding rogues overpowered vs warriors/mages, then I am fully prepared to amend/retract these rules.

However, based on what's in the first box set, the damage discrepancy between a small and large weapon is simply so large I cannot expect a player to ignore it. Rather than seeing all my players end up with bastard swords and two-handed weapons, I am changing the base data. Simple, huh!? :)
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Postby jaguar451 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:52 am

Any thoughts on adding a '-1' to bastard sword damage?

It's benefit is flexibility (can go one or two handed), but not quite as good as the long sword one handed (a bit unwieldy), and not as powerful as a two-handed sword when used with two hands (lacking heft.)
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