December 28, 2009

Thoughts on Weapon Damage

Filed under: Games — Tags: — bilbo @ 6:01 pm

I have always been of the school that weapons like swords really do similar damage but that the varying damages reflect the ease with which that damage is deliver. So, if you were stabbed with a bowie knife and you were stabbed with a short sword and stabbed yet again with a broad sword, you would essentially be delivering similar damage with all things being equal….but they are not. A broadsword has longer reach and greater heft. These are factors that make the potential to deal damage higher. A dagger can be “faster” but that does not balance out against the inertia that a broadsword or even a short sword has on its side.

All that said, what are your thoughts on incorporating these types of factors into your combat? Does it add something to have the same damage for these three weapons but then have reach and heft play in as factors on to hit and damage?

Just the inkiling of an idea here and not even one I might be considering but basically a weapons would have a broad type of damage so say:
Sword, thin : d8
Sword, broad : d12

Long Sword : Reach = 4, Heft = 3, type = Sword, thin
Broad Sword: Reach = 3, Heft = 4, type = Sword, broad
Zwei-hander : Reach = 6, Heft = 6, type = Sword, broad
Dagger : Reach = 1, Heft = 1, type = Sword, thin

In practice:
A person using a long sword would have init over the guy using the broad sword. In addition, the LS (Long Sword) would have a +1 to hit (Reach: 4 (attacker:you) – 3 (Defender : BS) = +1. The BS would have a -1 to hit under similar calculation. However, damage would be 3(heft)d8 for LS and 4(heft)d12 for the BS.

There would be a total of 4 actions per round. This would be ticked off via heft of the weapon being used. So, the LS would have 3 the first round with one left over, 3 the next round with 2 left over, and then the third round be able to take 2 attacks. With a dagger you could go to town with 4 per round but if you are fighting a BS then you would be at -2.

Does this sound crazy or just familiar?


  1. I like it! It will make players really think about what weapon they want to use, instead of just going for the one that does the most damage. It customizes the way each character fights. This, in turn, might actually promote some role playing, as people have to think more carefully about how they handle combat.

    Comment by scott — December 29, 2009 @ 11:31 am

  2. Yeah, I almost think it is too simple though. I may ave to rethink how stats interact as well as skills. I like the idea of skills playing in and it is not all about the weapon. Maybe emphasize location…so, make targeting more important and affected by heft. I will have to think about it. Thanks for the input.

    Comment by bilbo — December 29, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

  3. How about at 40%+ success at Targeting, you add 2 dice to the damage. 80% 4 dice, etc. For example, if you target someone successfully and make the roll by 54, you would add 2 dice of damage because you found a good opening. It’s not quite a critical, but a nice bonus as a reward for a good targeting roll.

    Comment by scott — December 30, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  4. As was often the difficulty during development of ToG, Shades, etc (remember those long nights with 1 hour of game and 4 hours of debate?), the issue becomes playability. Remember how much we dreaded AD&D v3 because you had to have a mathmatics degree to determine success? How much math do you want to gain more realism? I recall a conversation at your dinner table about Simplicity and Realism. That was the goal. Make it real without overcomplicating the game. As you’ll likely note and razz me about, I tended to min/max…so my comments are biased that way – but, how do you balance simple and real. How much time would be spent determining what I hit, if I hit, how many times I hit and how much damage did I do. Does simple combat suddenly become a 45-60 minute session, rather than a 10 minute session?

    Boy, I’ll get off my min/max soapbox now…sorry for the rant.

    Comment by Mike — January 6, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

  5. interesting

    I reckon you are kind of looking for the holy grail of gaming here though
    I dont think anyone will ever get the perfect mix between playability and realism
    but, heck, doesnt stop the quest:.)

    I like your ideas thouhg

    Comment by Alan Hume — January 17, 2010 @ 8:10 am

  6. I just remember the time we played Rolemaster and it took 3 hours to work out that I missed my charge (horseback against an orc wolfrider) and my lance bit into the ground and catapulted me over the horse landing me on the ground and breaking my neck:.)!!!

    Took at least 3 hours to role up a character in that game too
    ti was a great game though, many fond memories but the older I get the less I can handle that kind of detail

    Comment by Alan Hume — January 17, 2010 @ 8:11 am

  7. All good points. This is just a thought I had. I still wonder if it has merit. I would be concerned that it would make combat that whole “three hour” affair. That would be unacceptable to me.

    Comment by bilbo — January 17, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

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