Did I miss special rules for weaponry?

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

Did I miss special rules for weaponry?

Postby Hellebore » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:57 pm

Just curious. The battleaxe does 2D6 damage and the longsword does 2D6 damage. But the longsword costs 4sp more. I can't see anything that gives them an advantage over battleaxes for the increased cost.

Unless there are special rules/abilities that these weapons get that I haven't seen.

If not, I would suggest that heavy blades ignore 1pt of enemy Defence (parrying weapons - yes even greatswords, those things can move faster than people think) and axes ignore 1pt of armour rating. Spears can be used from distance.

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Postby lordmalachdrim » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:04 pm

Mechanically there is no difference between the two. Why would a sword cost more...more metal used in construction and time put in to construction maybe?
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Postby Hellebore » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:23 pm

Sure, but why differentiate them? They do the same thing, but you can pay more to have it look different :-?

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Postby Jekias » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:46 pm

Dwarven folk look cooler with Battle-Axes than they ever would with a two-handed sword (imo)
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Postby psychodrive » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:59 pm

Jekias wrote:Dwarven folk look cooler with Battle-Axes than they ever would with a two-handed sword (imo)


Min-max fail. :wink:
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:41 am

Hellebore wrote:Sure, but why differentiate them? They do the same thing, but you can pay more to have it look different :-?

Hellebore

Yes, I understand. All this tedious roleplaying that gets in the way of stats. Lets just call it "2D6/2H damage source", that'll do nicely. :wink:

And now on a slightly more serious note: name one system where there isn't a "best" (or at least better) choice of weapon compared to the others in the table. It would all have to be balancedd perfectly if this was monopoly or chess, but it's not. However, if this is bothering you just houserule it and move on.
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Postby Saisei » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:22 am

I like not worrying about all the minute little stats of weapons.

I explained to my players that there is very little difference in damage and that to use whatever you want for character purposes.

For example my Dwarven Rogue wanted to use a Katar. I said "No prob" and just gave her the stats for a dagger. Absolutely no difference mechanically and she has the weapon she wants (Actually she has 2.. but that's just for flavour as well)
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Postby Zapp » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:39 am

I mostly agree with all posters, though not for the OP's particular example.

That two weapons have identical combat stats but slightly different costs is a very small problem, in my opinion. Money is cheap, after all - you can always get more (depending on your GM of course). "Getting more" damage or to hit bonuses, on the other hand, is heavily regulated and restricted in most games - including Dragon Age. You can't just go out and buy a permanent +1d6 damage bonus in the shops.

Money on the other hand is a lousy balancing factor. You can know the number of bonuses a character gets over five levels, say. But there is no strict rule for how much gold a character gets over those same levels.

Therefore I feel it is perfectly okay to have some weapons where you pay more for the same deal. It allows a character to show off his wealth, or to display he's more interested in brutal effectiveness, or that he simply is poor. It's a social character-building thing.

Now, the real problem is when you can get a weapon that is simply better than others. And by this I don't mean cheaper, but easier to hit with or yielding better damage.

Some players might be able to ignore this, and happily choose the weapons that fits his or her character concept the best.

But for others it's an awfully raw deal to choose a weapon based just on looks and "coolness factor" if there is another weapon available you could have chosen as easily and readily, that just allows you to do your job better.

If you're part of this latter group (and chances are you are), you might want to have a look at my rebalanced weapon list, where I keep an eye out for strictly better deals, and try to remove or at least tone them down.

http://greenronin.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7959

To take perhaps the most egregious example: with my list you don't need to feel compelled to choose a bastard sword any longer simply because it is superior to all other one-handed weapons.

By making weapons perform more similar a player conscious of being effective gets a wider choice, which I feel is a good thing.

Note how price doesn't enter my tables. Basically, price is irrelevant compared to "hard stats" like damage.


Zapp

(Full disclaimer: I am a big fan of the "hand weapon" rule of WFRP, which basically allows you to choose a club, a hammer, an axe or a sword purely based on how you like to present your character, without worrying you'd make a subpar choice)
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:03 am

I was planning to circumvent the "bastard sword issue" with some real world infusion: since you mostly wield those blades (what fantasy calls bastard swords and real life just calls longswords) with two hands, it seems a perfect candidate for the single weapon style. Thalhoffer, Liechtenauer and others send their regards. I propably would not allow it for sword and shield (or at least frown disapprovingly), it simply makes no sense to use a "bastard sword" like this.
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Postby Hellebore » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:05 am

Look, I assumed that as the game had specifically differentiated between the weapon types, even down to the style they come from, that they were actually supposed to be differentiated beyond simply being different costs.

If that wasn't the intent then they should simply be 'Hand Weapon, 20sp' and 'Hand Weapon Style'.

I made the logical assumption that being seperated out so thoroughly that there was actually a REASON for it. It wasn't a case of a few name differences, if you totalled up the page space taken up with the differentiation of these weapons it would be at least 1 page. 1 page to do absolutely nothing except require different talents and cost more/less.

Forgive me for seeing such deliberate differentiation as actually having a purpose. :roll:

I was quite surprised the game did that, considering how simplified the system is. One handed weapon and two handed weapon seem like enough of a difference for damage to me in a game as rules lite as this one.

I'm definitely not going to be utilising the cost table for weapons. If I decide I like some differentiation in weapon options then I will incorporate the ones I mentioned previously. Otherwise I'll simply stick with 2D6 one hand, 3D6 two hand and maybe a special quality one hand that does 2D6+1.

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Postby Batgirl III » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:32 am

Aldaris wrote:[W]hat fantasy calls bastard swords and real life just calls longswords[.]


The French know them as épée bâtarde, so yeah, bastard sword is a perfectly valid name for this class of weapon. Personally, I'm perfectly happy that games stick to a few broad categories of weapon, I'd hate to have to explain Oakeshott's typology to all my players.

Anyhow, Type XIIa, Type XIII, and Type XIIIa blades all appear in various places across Christendom between the 12th to 15th centuries, all conform to what fantasy roleplaying would call a bastard sword, and there is historical evidence to show all being used in a single hand, two-handed, and/or with shields.

Type XIII, especially, typifies the classical knightly sword. Developed during the Crusades, the majority of surviving examples date to the second half of the 13th century. Type XIII swords are defined by long, wide blades with parallel edges, ending in a rounded tip. The grips are longer than in the earlier types of sword, typically some 6 inches, allowing for their occasional two-handed use (hence the pre-Oakeshott designation of "hand-and-a-half" swords).

Depictions of single-handed use paired with a shield can be found in pretty much any image from the Crusades; two-handed use appears in fewer, but still numerous, sources.

Go Team Nerd! :green:
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:57 am

Oh, but an arming sword from the crusades era is a different animal from a longsword (or épée bâtarde :wink:). Yes, both can have type XIII blades, but the use is different.
What I was getting at was not so much the name "bastard sword", but more the fact that that they are almost universally depicted in fantasy as being used one-handed, whereas in reality they were most frequently used in a sigle-weapon, (mostly) two-handed style. This wikipedia link is not too bad:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_school_of_swordsmanship
Now, that is not to say that those swords absolutely couldn't be used with a shield, but I can tell you that, from my experience, I prefer a shorter weapon like an axe or mace when fighting with a shield. I tried the longsword/shield combination once and I thought it sucked. That sword needs room, and the shield tends to get in the way. besides, the swings tend to be rather predictable without the other hand to help in controlling it. That may have been me though, I am not exactly the best fencer out there. :yar:
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Postby Batgirl III » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:35 am

I think you are overly relying upon the Germanic schools of the 14th - 15th centuries; the Crusaders didn't leave behind Fechtbuchs... most surviving European manuals of arms date back to the 15th century, almost none past 14th Century.

Anyhow, I refer you to Mark Rector's Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Illustrated Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat. Green Hill Books, 2000. Specifcally Plates 128-150, depicting a duel, where the combatant are wielding longswords with one hand, leaving the other hand open to manipulate a large dueling shield.

Oh, and if you live near a good university, try to track down a copy of Fiore dei Liberi's Flos Duellatorum an Italian manual from AD 1410, which includes a lengthy section on the one-handed use of the longsword.

At any rate, this is a game and the incredibly complex history of the sword and swordsmanship needs to be boiled down into something that will fit on a character sheet. Much easier to distill every sort of swordplay into a few techniques: one-hand, two-hands, two weapons, weapon-and-shield, than to try to actount for the thousands of martial arts that really exist. Equally, its better to have a half-dozen easy to remember weapon categories than the infinite varieties that were historically used in battle.

If it helps you suspend disbelief, well, just try to keep in my that Thedas is not Earth. Your warrior is schooled in the techniques of the Orlaisan Swordmasters of the Glory Age, the Mabari Dagger Style of Highever, or spent decades studing the double-bladed axe fechtbuch created by the Paragon Gimli...

In a hobby where many don't bat an eye at Ahnold's Conan using Japanese kenjitsu kata whilst weilding a broadsword in two hands... I can happily adjust to a world where some swordsmen prefer to weild a hand-and-a-half sword alongside a shield.

(BTW, I always prefered a basket-hilt claymore and targe, or bearded axe and sheild, when I was in the SCA. Taking up sport fencing later in life it was weird not having the sheild. I always felt like I was facing backward!)
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:50 am

First off, I didn't have a problem with the game or suspension of disbelief at all, where did you get that impression? It is in fact one of the first ones where I don't see a penalty for using a bastard sword as intended - with two hands. Because there is a "single weapon" style separate from the "two-hander" one. Normally, when the players take a gamist approach, they go: "why use a bastard sword with two hands? A zweihander does much more damage." Here, the have a separate fighting style with bonuses all of its own. So the game does very well there, despite being simple, a mark of good design.

As to my pointing out German fighting manuals - hey, I am a Kraut after all! :D why would I consider some poncy italian books? :wink:
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Postby Zapp » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:25 am

Hellebore wrote:Look, I assumed that as the game had specifically differentiated between the weapon types, even down to the style they come from, that they were actually supposed to be differentiated beyond simply being different costs.

I can understand that.

Perhaps I misunderstood you?

Differentiation on attack and damage is very difficult to achieve without some weapons becoming simply better than others.

Differentiation only on cost is insignificant, but that is a good thing.

Keeping all comparable weapons at identical combat stats allows you to choose based on style and looks, and not on optimization.

Yes, I realize realism/verisimilitude takes a hit, but
1) I believe the sacrifice is well worth it, to get rid of the issues that otherwise crop up
2) A case can be made that random chance is much more significant than weapon properties in the case of individuals. Sure, based on data collected by a thousand soldier you might conclude certain differences, but this isn't a game about large units; it's about individual heroes whose preferences and quirks may easily be said to cancel out any "historic" advantages.
3) Dragon Age is definitely not the right vessel for historical fidelity or simulationist detail. And to get "accurate" weapon data you need both, in mind-boggling detail.

Okay, so Chris Pramas didn't go the "daggers, hand weapons and greatweapons" route.

Am I surprised? No. What was a ballsy step to take for the WFRPv1 authors worked rather well for them - but "hand weapons" have always generated controversy among Warhammer players.

Having a rather complete weapon list is inviting, fun and exciting. I completely understand why it was included. Besides, let Warhammer keep its hand weapons. It's uniquely WFRP for me, and I understand other games need to walk other paths.

This does not change my views on weapon stats. I wish the only differences were cosmetic (such as on price), but it does not make me want to reduce or simplify the list itself.

As you can see in my house rules, I'm having a Longsword, Battle Axe and Morningstar share the exact same combat stats. This doesn't mean I plan to fold them together as a single line in the table.

Their price is very much not important, and if they have different prices, so be it!

I suggest you leave the issue be, Hellebore and enjoy the game. At this stage it doesn't warrant any big arguments - let it go, accept its simplicity and most of all: I accept that Chris Pramas made a few decisions that perhaps are idiosyncratic, because they add to the game's charm and character! :)
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Postby NathanGPLC » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:09 am

Also, given that starting weapons are free, I'll add to the chorus for liking the minor differentiation in cost. The price difference is too little to 'screw over' someone who has a weapon preference, is easily houseruled out, or can even be taken care of by simply saying that a given blacksmith or a given city might have different prices, based on their local economy and the preference among the local soldiery (if the local guardsmen use axes for ritualistic reasons, then they are probably manufactured more often and thus cheaper there).

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Postby discuit » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:17 am

Maybe they are seperated, have different costs etc for a reason we don't yet know?

Like maybe in set 2 certain groups will get certain advantages, special properties etc verse certain stuff? Pretty obtuse i know, but you get the drift. ;)

That is basically what D&D did no? Introduced optional complexity as the sets came out?
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Postby zorblack » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:26 am

I'm beginning to see a pattern to this forum that I don't like at all. Criticizing the game in any way is met with "eye-roll lol noob go back to dnd". This game has flaws people, and Hellebore is right. There is no reason that a weapon should cost more than another one and do nothing at all differently. Yes, an axe should have an armor penetration bonus over a bastard sword (this is represented in the game which is supposedly the source material for the tabletop version). If anything, the axe should cost more than the bastard sword and should be given a point or two of armor penetration. I'm sorry but it's just stupid to have two identical weapons but one costs more because it's a sword.
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Postby discuit » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:37 am

Um, in the real world, items aren't costed on their "effectiveness" mate, they are based on supply and demand, or cost of production. Why should a game system add some kind of "balancing" mechanism which doesn't exist anywhere else? I for one like it that way.

Oh and i didn't say that anything about anyone being noobs, or d&d fans (which i am one of by the way), all i said was that maybe additional information will come out in future sets. Complications that although might be cool for us experienced gamers, would have scared off, or daunted new roleplayers...

Can you imagine opening up a new game and seeing a list of special bonuses some weapons had over certain armour, or in certain conditions. Yeh it might be cool for you, but for new peeps that would just be scary. ;)
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Postby Batgirl III » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:38 am

They the weapons aren't mechanically identical. Focuses and talents both result in them behaving differently for any two characters... plus, as has been pointed out, starting weapons are free.

(Also, historically speaking, axes were cheaper than swords in most eras. A sword requires a good deal more metal and work to craft. )
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:41 am

If you absolutely need a rules-related reason for them to exist separately with similar stats, consider weapons groups. One is covered by heavy blades, the other by axes. As to adding additional stats like armor penetration, sure, go ahead. It won't break the game. I actually considered doing just that for the two-handed maul.

And I don't know if you were referring to me with that comment about put-downs of people criticizing, that is not what I am trying to do, even if I do post in a slightly sarcastic tone now and then. I usually try to defuse that with a smiley, and I don't think my earlier answer to Hellebore was offensive.
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Postby zorblack » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:35 pm

discuit wrote:Um, in the real world, items aren't costed on their "effectiveness" mate, they are based on supply and demand, or cost of production. Why should a game system add some kind of "balancing" mechanism which doesn't exist anywhere else? I for one like it that way.


I'm just going to make one more argument in this thread and I'm done: A game system should add some kind of balancing mechanism specifically because it is a game. What if Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat had a move that did a full lifebar damage and was unblockable? What if rogues could backstab for a million damage? You need to balance things out carefully because that is why the rulebooks exist. Otherwise you could just say "My warrior cuts the guy's head off the end" with no dice rolls.
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:53 pm

With all due respect, but those examples are a bit... undfortunate. An RPG system has to do provide exactly one thing: a framework to make telling and experiencing the stories this game aims to tell possible, and for most, to provide some kind of game mechanics to keep combat and similar activities tense and exciting. There should be some kind of internal balance to keep it enjoyable for all parties involved (meaning the rogue shouldn't do a million damage), but other than that? An RPG is not Mortal Kombat, which is a multiplayer beat em up. That kind of game has to be perfectly balanced to keep it enjoyable, because it is competitive. RPGs are not. Besides, we are talking about a minor price difference of two stat-indentical weapons, which is hardly a game-breaker (and even legitimate, as has been pointed out, since axes are easier to make than swords). Your examples would be ludicrous gamebreakers.
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Postby Batgirl III » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:09 pm

Considering a starting warrior character gets three free weapons, as well as 50 + 3d6 silver pieces with which to buy additional gear, we're basically talking about a rounding error for the difference between the price of a battle axe and a longsword... four silver pieces is a pittance to a starting warrior character. That said, if your the GM it seems silly easy to adjust the price of one or the other weapon by a few silver pieces.

(As an aside, this does remind my of an interesting equipment oddity of D&D3.x which led to my playing a string of characters who all hailed from a "family of ten-foot pole merchants from Waterdeep." You see, a "Ladder, 10-foot" cost 5 copper pieces, but a "Pole, 10-foot" cost 2 silver pieces... So you purchased dozens of 10-footladders, removed the cental rungs, and started selling ten-foot poles at a huge profit margin! So yes, I had four or five characters all with the surname "Polcarver.")
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Postby Aldaris » Mon Dec 21, 2009 1:16 pm

Batgirl III wrote:(As an aside, this does remind my of an interesting equipment oddity of D&D3.x which led to my playing a string of characters who all hailed from a "family of ten-foot pole merchants from Waterdeep." You see, a "Ladder, 10-foot" cost 5 copper pieces, but a "Pole, 10-foot" cost 2 silver pieces... So you purchased dozens of 10-footladders, removed the cental rungs, and started selling ten-foot poles at a huge profit margin! So yes, I had four or five characters all with the surname "Polcarver.")

This is hilarious! Price balancing error spawns character concept. Oh man. That's got to be a first.
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