HD&D: Weapons and Armour

The road to the HD&D fighter continues! Todaywe have a look at the rules for Weapons and Armour in the hybrid game. In this post you will find full statistics and details of 18 suits of armour, as well as statistics for 182 weapons.

Originally, I envisaged this as two separate posts but on reflection, the rules are so interconnected that it’s hard to deal with one without the other. Historically, weapons and armour were developed in tandem. An arms race existed between armourers and weaponsmiths: one trying to create the ultimate in personal protection, the other trying to devise new and innovative ways to bypass that protection.

In the past, D&D has never been very good at illustrating the advantages and disadvantages of different weapons in the rules. In the real world, you don’t want to use a longsword against a foe in plate armour. Regardless of how strong you are, you’re not going to make much of an impression. However, if you discard your longsword and pick up a two-handed craghammer, then you’re in business.

One of my goals in creating the hybrid game was to create a system where the type of weapon you wield matters. Weapons should be treated as the fighter’s equivalent of spells: and he should have one for every occassion. However, in pursuing my goal, I have have had to introduce rules for piercing, bludgeoning and slashing weapons and how those weapons interact with different types of armour. With the inevitable feats, talents and exceptions that followed there is a danger that these rules have become too complex.

I hope this isn’t the case. I have done my best to even out any inconsistancies, and create rules I hope are intuitive and easy to play through at the table. Fighters (and those that rely on weapons) are more complex than they were in third edition, but are certainly no more complex than wizards. If you think the mechanics surrounding a weapon are complicated, then pause and think of the spells a wizard of the same level has to juggle. Shall we begin?

Armour

Firstly, let’s remind you all of the rules for armour in the hybrid game. In HD&D, wearing armour grants your character an Armour Class. Unlike all other versions of the game, your armour class in HD&D doesn’t make you harder to hit; it makes you harder to damage. Armour works like Damage Reduction in third edition, or Resistance in fourth edition. The Armour Class is expressed as a numerical value, and every time you are hit by an attack, you subtract that value from the total amount of damage you receive.

There are complications, of course. Armour is only really effective against solid kinetic attacks like a punch, a sword stroke or a heavy anvil being dropped on your head. Armour Class doesn’t help you against energy attacks like fireball. A critical hit automatically bypasses your Armour Class and goes straight for the squishy flesh within. And then there’s the small matter of all armours giving different degrees of protection against certain types of weapons.

In HD&D, all armours fall into one of six categories: Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chain, Scale and Plate. All weapons fall into one of three categories: Piercing, Slashing and Bludgeoning. Different types of weapons are more effective against different types of armour. Bludgeoning weapons, for example, are more effective at attacking opponents in plate armour than slashing weapons.

Don’t panic. If you think armour having different AC values depending on which type of weapon hits you is too complicated, then so do I. No modifications are made to an armour’s AC value regardless of the attacking weapon. All modifications are made to the damage roll. The onus for working out bonuses and penalties is placed squarely on the shoulders of the attacker, not the defender. If he wants to attack you, then he does the maths. But the maths aren’t too complicated, and I’ll get to them a little further down the post.

Rules for Natural Armour

As the rules currently stand, your character’s natural armour class stacks with the any worm armour. This seems perfectly logical, although I am still a little wary about how this will impact the game at certain levels. It won’t affect a playtest with first level characters at all, but once we get up into the higher levels we may seen some problems. A creature with five points of natural armour wearing field plate could be all but unassailable.

Rules for Shields

Shields do make you harder to hit. All shields confer a deflection bonus to your character’s reflex defence. It’s not very often that HD&D is generous enough to give character’s bonuses to their defences beyond that gained from their ability score, race and level… so characters with shields are noticably harder to hit than other characters. The defensive bonus imparted by shields is similar to that granted by cover – although bonuses for cover and a shield do stack. Shields can also be used as weapons, of course, so you’ll find statistics for them on both sides of the weapon and armour divide.

Armour and Shield Descriptions

Click on the PDF below to open a dpcument on the armour and shields that are available in the hybrid game. This is not a complete list. Weird and wonderful armours such as elven chain, coral and darkwood certainly exist, but I’m endeavouring to keep things simple for the time being.

The PDF includes the explanatory notes for the various categories as denoted on the table, as well as full descriptions of all the suits of armour in a format that will be familiar to you. Integrating this material onto the blog is a formatting nightmare. It will all be in nice simple HTML when the new website launches, I promise you.

Weapons

Okay, here’s where things get a little bit more complicate: although not as complicated as I initially intended. The rules for weapons are not finished. There is a whole layer of extra rules that I haven’t got to as yet. The rules as stand are will be fine for the upcoming playtest, but should HD&D graduate into the system of choice for an ongoing campaign I will need to spend more time fleshing out the 182 weapons you are about to encounter.

I’ll start by showing you the rules that I have, framing them with some explanatory notes, explaining how the various types of weapons interact with certain types of armour; and then I’ll quickly mention all the other rules that are yet to be added to the system. So, let’s start with the master list of all weapons. Again, this would be a formatting nightmare for the blog, so click on the PDF below for the table.

Damage

All weapon inflict hit point damage expressed in terms of a die. I don’t have to explain that do I? Where two values are shown separated by an oblique (e.g. 1d8/1d8) I’m giving you the base damage for either end of a double weapon (q.v.).

Range

If the weapon can be thrown or shot then this is the weapon’s range increment expressed in feat. A thrown weapon can be thrown a maximum of five range increments. Projectile weapons (such as bows) can be shot a maximum of ten range increments. Each range increment after the first imposes a cumulative -2 on the attack roll.

Type

This tells you how the weapon deals damage: is Bludgeoning, Piercing or Slashing. Some weapons fall into more than one category becasue they can be used in different ways. There’s more on how different weapon types interact with armour below.

Weapon Groups

To summarise, all weapons fall into the following groups. Some weapons appear in more than one. Each weapon group is a skill in the same way that Knowledge (History) and Perception is a skill. Here are all the weapons divivded by their weapon groups:

Axes: Adze, Bardiche, Bill, Battleaxe, Double Orc-Axe, Dwaven Urgosh, Dwarven Waraxe, Greataxe, Halberd, Hatchet, Hand Axe, Mace-Axe, Sword-Axe, Throwing Axe

Blades (Light): Butterfly Sword, Dirk, Drusus, Elven Curve Blade, Gaff/hook, Gladius, Ninja-to, Rapier, Sabre, Sapara, Short Sword, Sickle, Throwing Axe, Tulwar

Blades (Heavy): Bastard Sword, Bill-Guisarme, Broadsword, Claymore, Cutless, Double Scimitar, Estoc, Falchion, Fauchard, Fauchard-Fork, Fullblade, Glaive, Glaive-Guisarme, Great Scimitar, Greatsword, Gyrspike, Hook Fauchard, Katana, Knopesh, Longsword, Machete, Nagimaki, Naginata, No-dachi, Scimitar, Scythe, Sword-axe, Two-bladed Sword, Voulge

Breath: Blowgun, Fukimi-bari (mouth darts), Peashooter

Bows: Elven Double-bow, Composite Longbow, Composite Shortbow, Longbow, Shortbow

Crossbows: Great Crossbow, Hand Crossbow, Heavy Crossbow, Heavy Repeating Crossbow, Light Crossbow, Light Repeating Crossbow

Daggers: Claw Bracer, Dagger, Dirk, Jambiya, Katar (punching dagger), Kukri, Main-Gauche, Panther Claw, Parrying Dagger, Sai, Sickle, Star Knife, Stiletto, Stump Knife, Tiger Claws, Triple Dagger, War Fan

Hammers: Bec de Corbin, Craghammer, Gnome Hooked Hammer, Light Hammer, Lucern Hammer, Maul, Mordenkrad, Warhammer

Lances: Heavy Lance, Jousting Lance, Light Lance, Medium Lance

Maces & Clubs: Belaying Pin, Club, Crowbar, Double Mace, Great Club, Heavy Mace, Light Mace, Mace-axe, Morningstar, Naginata, Tonfa

Picks: Bec de Corbin, Gnome Battle Pick, Gnome Hooked Hammer, Heavy Pick, Kama, Light Pick, Lucern Hammer, War Pick

Polearms: Awl Pike, Bardiche, Bec de Corbin, Bill, Bill-guisarme, Duom, Fauchard, Fauchard-fork, Glaive, Glaive-guisarme, Guisarme, Guisarme-voulge, Halberd, Hook fauchard, Longspear, Lucern Hammer, Mancatcher, Military Fork, Nagimaki, Naginata, Partisan, Pike, Ranseur, Spetum, Voulge

Shields: Buckler, Heavy Shield, Light Shield

Slings: Catapult, Gnomes Calculus, Sling, Staff Sling

Spears: Awl Pike, Bill-guisarme, Brandistock, Chijikiri, Duom, Dwarven Urgosh, Fauchard-fork, Fork, Glaive-guisarme, Guisarme, Guisarme-voulge, Halberd, Harpoon, Javelin, Longspear, Manti, Military Fork, Partisan, Pike, Ranseur, Spinning Javelin, Sand Kauw, Shortspear, Siangham, Spear, Spetum, Trantnyr, Trident

Staffs: Bo Stick, Brandistock, Jitte, Naginata, Quarterstaff, Staff Sling

Thrown (Light): Boomerang, Chakram, Dagger, Dart, Halfing Skiprock, Light Hammer, Shortspear, Shuriken, Starknife, Throwing Axe, Throwing Iron

Thrown (Heavy): Harpoon, Javelin, Orc Shotput, Spear, Spinning Javelin, Trantyr, Trident, Warhammer

Uarmed Strike: Blaked Gauntlet, Claw Bracer, Gauntlet, Panther Claw, Sap, Spiked Armour, Spiked Gauntlet, Stump Knife, Tiger Claws, Ward Cestus

Whips, Ropes & Chains: Bolas, Chain-and-dagger, Dire Flail, Chijikiri, Flail, Gyrspike, Heavy Flail, Kau Sin Ke, Kawanaga, Lasso, Mancatcher, Net, Nuchaku, Scourge, Spinning Javelin, Three-section Staff, Triple-headed Flail, Two-ball Bolas, Spiked Chain, Whip, Whip-dagger.

Hands

This is the number of hands you need to use to wield the weapon. Most weapons that require two hands to use all have the Two-Hand quality; but this is not always the case. For example, a bow needs two hands to use, but is not a Two-Hand weapon in the same sense as a Waraxe.

Qualities

These are the special qualities and tricks of certain weapons that make them stand out from the crowd. The current weapon qualities in HD&D are as follows:

Brutal: Brutal weapons inflict additional damage if you score a critical hit. Normally when you make a critical hit you score maximum damage. This still applies to Brutal weapons, but you also roll the weapon’s damage dice again. For example, a character with Strength 18 hitting with a great axe inflicts1d12+4 damage on his opponent. On a critical hit one would expect the warrior to inflict 16 damage. But a greataxe is a Brutal weapon, so a critical actually inflicts 1d12+16.

Double: A Double weapon is a mêlée weapon that usually consists of a shaft with a weapon head at either end. Double weapons can be wielded with either one or two hands. If wielded with two hands, the character can decide which of the two heads to use for any given attack. Double weapons are not Two-Hand weapons. You do not apply 1½ times your Strength bonus when fighting with one in two hands.

A character can also fight with both ends of a Double weapon as if fighting with two-weapons (q.v.). The character takes penalties as if fighting with a One-Hand and an Off-Hand weapon. One end of the Double weapon must be designated as the off-hand.

Reach: These are mêlée weapons that position the head of the weapon on one end of a long shaft that be anything from 8 ft. to 20 ft. in length. Reach weapons allow you to attack and threaten foes outside your normal reach. Unless otherwise stated, Reach weapons double your natural threat range. However, you are unable to attack a foe within five feet if you are using a Reach weapon. There are exceptions, so check your weapon description to be sure.

Off-Hand: An Off-Hand weapon is a small and well-balanced mêlée weapon. It can be used in one hand as if it were a One-Hand weapon. If you are fighting with two weapons, and wield an Off-Hand weapon in your second hand, you take a reduced penalty to your attack roll. If attacking with an Off-Hand weapon in your second hand, you only apply half your Strength bonus (rounded down) to the damage result.

One-Hand: A One-Hand weapon is a mêlée weapon designed to be wielded in one hand. Most mêlée weapons fall into this category. Holding a weapon in one hand allows a character a free hand to carry shield, or wield or another weapon. One-Hand weapons are too heavy to use in your second hand when two-weapon fighting. If you try, then you take an additional penalty to your attack roll.

Two-Hand: A two-hand weapon is a large and unwieldly weapon that must be wielded into two hands. Wielders of Two-Hand weapons have less protection and attack less often than other warriors, but they tend to inflict more damage when they hit their target . If you successfully attack with a Two-Hand weapon you add 1½ times your Strength bonus (rounded down) to the damage result.

Versatile: These weapons are One-Hand mêlée weapons that can also be used in two hands. For example, Versatile swords have an elongated grip to allow a warrior to swap between one and two hands. As long as you’re not holding anything in your second hand, swapping between grips is a free action that you can perform on your turn. When wielded with one hand the Versatile weapon has all the properties of a One-Hand weapon; when wielded with two hands the Versatile weapon has all the properties of a Two-Hand weapon.

Size

This is the size of the weapon. Remember HD&D uses the same size scale for weapons (and other items) as it does for creatures. Normally, a character can wield a weapon the same Size as himself in two hands, and weapons up to two categories smaller than himself in one hand. There are exceptions to this rule.

Weight

The weight of the weapons in lbs.

Price

The common price of such an item. Availability will differ depending on campaign setting, of course.

Weapons vs. Armour

So, you draw your dagger and stab repeatedly at the dwarf in plate armour. What happens? The effective of a weapon against different types of armour depends on two things. Firstly, it depends on the amount of damage the weapon inflicts. A knight in full plate armour may not fear a peasent wielding a club. If an ogre picks up that club and hits him with it, chances are that some of the damage will penetrate even such high quality armour. Secondly, it depends upon the individual qualitues of the weapon in question. What was it designed for?

Weapons are divided into three different types: Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing. Armour is divivded into six different types: Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chain, Scale and Plate. When a certain type of weapon interacts with a certain type of armour it accrues either a bonus or a penalty to the damage roll. See the following table for details:

 

Bludgeoning

Piercing

Slashing

Cloth

0

0

0

Leather

0

0

0

Hide

0

0

0

Chain

0

0

-2

Scale

-1

-1

0

Plate

+2

0

-2

For example, Wilberforce the Well-Prepared finds himself in combat against a knight in Plate Mail armour. Plate Mail grants the wearer AC 7 and is (unsurprisngly) a ‘Plate’ armour. Wilberforce has a strength of 18 and is currently armed with a longsword, so he inflicts 1d8+4 with each attack (that’s a net 1d8-3 when you take into account the AC of the armour). But it isn’t a net 1d8-3 because a longsword is a slashing weapon! It actually takes a -2 penalty to damage against plate armour. Wilberforce would actually be rolling a net 1d8-5. Not very good odds. Fortunately Wilberforce has a warhammer handy, and he quickly swaps weapons. Now a warhammer does a base 1d8 damage just like a longsword, so under normal circumstances it wouldn’t matter which weapon he was using. However, warhammera are Bludgeoning weapons, and Bludgeoning weapons inflict an extra +2 damage against plate armours. The upshot is that, in this situation, Wilberforce would inflict a net 1d8-5 damage with a longsword, but 1d8-1 damage with a warhammer. The warhammer it is!

These rules are relatively simplistic at the moment. They are the baseline. There are plenty of weapons to which these rules wouldn’t apply. Take chain mail for example. Usually chain mail is a perfectly sound defence against Piercing weapons… until you are attacked by a piercing weapon that is smaller than the links in your chain. These weapons (called “bodkins”) are exemplified by thin knives like the stiletto. A Stiletto is a Piercing weapon, but one that gains +3 damage against all Chain armours instead of the normal +0 damage that most Piercing weapons enjoy. There are other Piercing weapons designed to open plate armour like a tin-opener; the list goes on….

These are the type of extra rules that I want to apply to weapons. When I get around to writing the full weapon descriptions, a fighter will have great freedom over what weapon to choose to do which job. A specialised knife-fighter might find he does more damage against opponents in chain mail while wielding a stiletto, than he would if he pulled out his two-handed claymore. This is the sort of thing I want HD&D to be capable of.

Rules for the Future

1) Heavier customisation of Damage vs. Armour: As stated above, not all weapons will confirm to the simplistic table above. Many will, but for some weapons their advantage is that they do not conform to such things. The pile arrow is designer to penetrate armour is one such example. By doing this we increase the versatility of the Fighter, and take a step nearer making weapons the fighter’s equivalent of spells.

2) Special Weapon Qualities: Weapons that trip, daze and entangle; weapons that are designed to knock riders from horses; weapons that can be planted in the ground to resist a charge. Many weapons do more than just inflict damage. These rules (many of which already exist in third edition and Pathfinder) will return to the game as I chug through all the weapon descriptions. For the moment, however, if such weapons are utilised by players in the upcoming playtest then I’ll have to wing it.

3) Feats and Talents: Two new talents will be introduced into HD&D for each of the Weapon Groups. These Mastery and Supremacy talents will increase a Fighter’s skill in the chosen weapon group to a great degree. Each weapon will also have a talent associated with it, that more specifically upgrades the properties of the weapon. For example, a Fighter who relies on the longsword might take the talents Heavy Blade Mastery, Heavy Blade Supremacy and Longsword Virtuoso. Feats would then exist to shore up or augment the talents. No feats or talents like this are in the game at present, as they would all be beyond the reach of a 1st or 2nd level character. However, if work on HD&D continues beyond the playtest, then I will certainly bring them into the game.

Next…

Rules for the Fighter are already written and ready to go. However, I’ll give you a little while to digest this post. I’ll upload the Fighter to the blog on Monday.

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10 thoughts on “HD&D: Weapons and Armour

  1. That’s not an unreasonably observation.

    Bludgeoning weapons are less effective against Scale armours (which includes Brigandine – probably the most common armour for any adversary who means business). There are also no Bludgeoning weapons with the High Crit property, so you’ll score critical hits with them less often than with (e.g.) a sword. Of course, most Bludgeoning weapons are Brutal, so when you do hit you’ll deal more damage….

    Maybe things are stacked a little in the favour of Bludgeoning weapons at the moment. Of course, they won’t be when the rules are complete (but that won’t make any difference for the playtest).

    Having thought about it, I’m not sure if I agree with you or not. What does everyone else think?

  2. Personally i think the +2 to damage for bludgeoning weapons is excessive for plate, after all the plates and chain will still spread the force of the impact over a wider area, which not wearing any armour will not do. Therefore why give plate a disadvantage? Heavy armour already has penalties to the wearer through armour check penalties, reduced movement, decreased max dex bonus, and the requirement of feats to use it anyway! In my opinion just scrap the whole weapon versus armour table and keep it simple.

  3. Hi James. The penalties and bonuses for weapons against various sorts of armour were based optional rules from second edition AD&D. Given how, this sort of thing was much more important in previous editions, I was happy to accept it at face value.

    That said, you could well be right. This does add a layer of complexity, and does seem to bash plate armour more than other types (if you’ll pardon the expression). The problem I have from a game design point of view is that the principle – ‘certain weapons are more effective against certain armours’ – is a core principle of HD&D. Each type of weapon evolved for a reason: I therefore want each weapon to be unique.

    As I stated in the post above, you’re not seeing the whole picture yet. The blanket “all bludgeoning weapons do +2 damage against plate armours” may not survive. But I hope it would be be replaced by something personalised for each weapon. Maybe a light hammer has no particular advantage against plate armours, but a Mordenkrad does.

    What I’m most interested in seeing in the play test is how much hassle it is subtracting and adding damage to your damage rolls based on your opponent’s armour. I’m hoping not much.

  4. I think you’ve gone overcomplex with the damage rules, i’m sure there is a far more elegant solution.

    Off the top of my head, what i’d do is apply Armor Penetration rather than damage bonuses; use the right kind of weapon against the right kind of armor and you ignore some of the armor value of that armor.

    This, i think, would be more smooth than adding damage for certain attack types. Personally i’d keep the rules as general and open as possible because i suspect that keeping track of exactly what weapons are impacting on what armor would rapidly become a nightmare, but even if you keep the specific stuff, having the weapons ignore a certain amount of armor works better thematically too: Maces don’t magically deal more damage against Plate armor (unless, of course, they are magical), but rather Plate armor is less effective at resisting the blows of Maces than it is at resisting the blows of Swords.

    I think if you ran with a general ‘guideline’ of Bludgeoning weapons deal less damage overall, but have AP values that let them ignore armor, Slashing weapons deal the most damage on average (larger damage dice than Bludgeoning and Piercing weapons), and Piercing weapons deal low damage but crit harder and more often. Throw in a few special cases like Bodkin Arrows having an AP value against Chainmail and you’d have a pretty solid basis for a system.

    Just my 2 cents of course. Probably tainted by the fact that i absolutely hate tables, as my experience with tables in 3.5 has generally been that nothing stops the game faster than having to reference one. Keep the rules specific and attached to each individual weapon rather than putting them in a big table. It saves hassle if i look at the Bodkin Arrow description and it says “These arrows ignore 3 points of armor from targets wearing Chainmail” or whatever than if i have to read the description and then discover i need to reference a table as well.

    I don’t think it will add too much hassle to have armor subtract damage, since 3.5 and 4e already contain DR and Resistance; both of which the PC’s can often get a hold of and i havn’t witnessed any serious issues with them, but try and reduce the back and forth as much as possible. Saying “The Gnoll strikes at you with his Warhammer, dealing 8 damage with an AP of 2”, then the player goes “Ok, 8 damage, i have 5 armor, but he has an AP of 2, so that’s 3 armor, 5 damage.” is much faster and easier than going “The Gnoll strikes at you with his warhammer, what armor are you wearing?” “Platemail.” “Ok, the Gnoll deals 8 damage, +2, so 10 total.” “Ok, i have 5 armor, so that’s 5 damage.”

    In a related note, i’ve never really understood why armor doesn’t work against spells. Assuming a Fireball is, well an explosion, most of the damage done would actually be caused by the shockwave with burns and possible ignition from the heat. Wearing armor would definitely reduce the impact of an explosion, and what about Force effects? Magic Missile is basically little bolts of force that smack into somone like magical flying punches, why on earth doesn’t armor work on those?

    I’m not sure if anyone else will agree with me, but it’s food for thought none the less. I do hope i’m not aggrevating you with all this opinionizing i keep doing :P

  5. Typo fixed. And please continue to opinionise.

    The problem with an Armour Penetration value for each weapon, is that it doesn’t reflect the type of armour you are attacking. If a warhammer had an AP of 2, how would that relfect that warhammers are better suited for attacking plate armour than leather armour?

    What I am hoping is that, because the onus for implementing these rules is on the attacker, the attacker will take a greater responsibility for calculating damage correctly. As a GM, I’ll know what armour all the PCs are wearing, so I’ll be able to modify the damage rolls of NPCs accordingly. The PCs only need to be told the armour of their opponents once. Then they can work it out.

    Of course, that might all be bollocks.

    Your comments, and those of James, are leading me to believe that I might not have got this right. I know that the eventual complexion of these rules will be different, but the above table may not be the best of stop-gap measures.

    I’m thinking that it may be better to either invent a new Weapon Quality (along with Brutal, High Crit et al) that can be applied to penetrative weapons, or to add separate rules for this on a weapon-by-weapon basis in the description of each weapon (something I haven’t written yet). That seems a more ‘D&D’-like solution to this issue.

    I may still use these rules in the playtest, just to see how wrong they are.

  6. I have to say, speaking as a long time pen and paper gamer, keeping track of the armor values of all the NPCs i’m beating on would be tricky. Assuming that the DM uses ‘cookie cutter’ creatures it’s usually not hard to remember the stats for those, but if he’s getting creative and using multiple different monster types it can rapidly become a nightmare. The DM can remember the PC’s stats easily enough because they don’t change all that often, but the PC’s will often run into a dozen or more different monster types each session, and it’s not uncommon to see 3 or more different kinds of monsters with different stats in a single encounter. Since these monsters rarely last longer than that single encounter i suspect that trying to keep track of all their stats at once is asking a bit much.

    I think that’s one of the reasons behind the F/R/W changes in 4e, beyond consistency; it reduces a layer of back and forth. Instead of the DM going “roll reflex” *roll* “15, do i succeed?” “DM yes\no”, the DM just goes “15 against reflex, hit\miss.” There are ovbiously disadvantages to the concept, and indeed you’ve referenced them before in the blog, but i suspect that reducing back-and-forth and giving the players less to keep track of at once is one of the reasons for that change, and it’s a good reason in my opinion. Juggling monster stats is something i enjoy while DMing, but when playing it’s usually the last thing i want to do :3

    On to the weapons, your warhammer is going to be pretty much exactly as effective against leather armor as it is against plate armor. The difference is that swords are -not- effective against plate.

    The reason blunt weapons didn’t really see a rise in popularity until heavy armor became commonplace was because edged weapons were more effective against unarmored or lightly armored targets. You need less force to deal a nastier wound with a nice edged weapon, wheras in order to really take someone out of commission with a blunt weapon you need to give him a good smack. This is also why Japan never really saw a rise in blunt weapon usage; not enough metal armor.

    Lets say you make Warhammers do, oh 1d4 Damage, with an AP of 6. Then you make their edged ‘equivilant’ the Longsword, with 1d8 damage and some potent crit stuff. The Longsword, on average, will be a much better choice against unarmored or lightly armored targets; the Warhammer will ignore light armor entirely, but against someone with 1 Armor, the Warhammer is doing 1d4 damage, while the Longsword does 1d8-1, so it’s still winning, plus on a crit it’s much nastier. The Longsword keeps winning until the armor hits 4, at which point the Warhammer takes the lead. At 8 armor the Warhammer is still doing damage half the time, but the Longsword can’t do any harm at all. At lower armor levels the Longsword will average higher damage than the Warhammer, but will occasionally do nothing at all, while the Warhammer will always do -something-, just nothing like as much as the Longsword.

    The other advantage to a blanket AP system is that you instantly make the corner cases like Bodkin Arrows really special. When the PC’s get themselves a quiver full of Bodkin Arrows and discover to their surprise that all of a sudden they have an arrow that works on chainmail, those arrows feel really special. They feel alot less special if half the weapons on the table have special specific rules in relation to what armor they’re hitting.

    Now, i will admit it’s not absolutely 100% perfect, but as a system to simulate the different types of weapons and their advantages within the framework of a game i think it’s better than making entire sets of weapons do more damage to specific armor types. There is a line somwhere between complexity and simplicity, i will admit that finding that line is tricky.

    I will also add that i’m not sure i see the logic behind some of the choices in your table. Why is slashing weaponry effective against scale armor? Why is piercing ineffective against scale, but effective against plate? And why is bludgeoning ineffective against Scale?

    You should also keep gameplay issues in mind too with this sort of thing. Looking at the table, i don’t think i’d ever actually want to wear Plate; it’s too risky. If my opponent is wielding a warhammer i’m in deep shite, if he’s using a sword i’m pretty resistant to him, and if he’s shooting me full of arrows i’m normal. Wheras if i go with Scale instead i get slightly less AC, but no weaknesses at all.

    The Weapon Quality might do it, but at some point if you’re going to do this, you’re going to have to sit down and work out exactly how you’re going to mechanically represent some weapons being more effective against some armors than other weapons, and you also need to keep in mind that these rules work against the players as much as they do for them, possibly even moreso; the NPC’s the players are fighting will often be wearing different armor, but the players are usually going to be wearing the same armor. You can switch weapons mid-fight, but you can’t switch armor.

    Also, on a related note, i like the idea of having weapons and their uses be the Fighters ‘spells’, 4e did balance the classes by unifying their systems, but it does make it feel a bit bland sometimes. Just keep in mind the progression thing though; Wizards can make just as much use out of magical equipment as Fighters can, so Fighters need to get something extra with their stuff, and if Fighters do rely on their equipment (magical or otherwise) they need to pay for it, which means Fighter strength progression becomes intimately tied to gold, but does the same apply to Wizards or Sorcerors? If i remember correctly in HD&D your Sorcs gain new spells by spending talents on them, but Fighters don’t gain new weapons by spending talents on them, they need to spend talents -and gold-.

    Now i’m not saying you need to homogenize everything so that everyone advances equally, but it’s wise to keep in mind that if Fighters -have- to buy new weapons -and- spend talents in order to be competetive, but other classes only have to spend talents, then the Fighters are going to be at a disadvantage that will really become noticable if equipment is hard to come by.

    Whee, wall of text.

  7. On think, I didn’t mention in my last reply is that we had quite lengthy discussions about whether armour should defend against energy attacks like a fireball. There was even a poll on the subject.

    The result was an agreement that while armous should defend against solid kinetic assaults, it shouldn’t work against energy attacks. This kept the same delineation that exists in third edition between Damage Reduction and Energy Resistance. It seemed appropriate.

    Now to your wall of text.

    Multiple Monsters and Encounters

    The scenario you describe would be a logistical nightmare for the players. I’m not sure how often that sort of thing would come up in the campaigns I run. However, even the most cerebral investigative game pauses for a good balls-to-the-wall fight every now and then. I certainly don’t want combat to take too long.

    The trick is going to be balancing complexity with utility, and coming up with something that allows me to do everything that I want to do, but doesn’t slow combat down. No problem then.

    On Weapons

    I really like your example of the long sword vs. the warhammer. Something like that makes me think that an AP system could be made to work in HD&D. Not every weapon would be able to penetrate armour. Those that do, either inflict less damage or can only be used in specific situations – I’m thinking of the gamut of interesting polearms here.

    Assigning an AP value to some weapons is a simplification, but perhaps it is a good simplification. Although it would basically mean that all dragonslayers would use hammers as their weapon of choice.

    I could go through the table assigning all weapons an AP value (and in some cases altering their damage die accordinging). Then some weapons, perhaps most weapons, will have some sort of extra trick that they can do – like the bodkin arrows. Most arrows don’t have an AP value, but these ones do. That makes them special.

    The beak on mediaeval polearms like the Bec de Corbin were specifically designed to punch through armour. I guess weapons like that would also need an AP value, despite being primarily slashing or piercing weapons rather than bludgeoning weapons.

    The Table

    As I mentioned, the table is based on the one found in the 2nd edition AD&D Player’s Handbook. I took it mostly whole cloth because, largely, I don’t understand the way weapons and armour interact. That’s why bludgeoning weapons are less effective against Scale and Leather than Plate. Nothing that cannot be changed of course.

    Fighters Resources

    I have to say that the equipment gulf between Fighters and Sorcerers hadn’t really occurred to me. As far as acquisition of gear and mundane equipment is concerned, I tend to handwave that part of the game. I’m not really interested in bean-counting.

    A fighter with the right equipment should be balanced with a wizard or sorcerer, even if the Fighter doesn’t have any magical tomfoolery. HD&D shies away from magic items that give flat bonuses to attack rolls or damage rolls.

    I will have to make sure that this equipment isn’t something that non-martial characters can also take advantage of.

  8. Ah, i missed the discussion about energy damage and armor. I mentioned it before more sort of in passing because it’s something i’ve been thinking about for years rather than something that should be discussed here.

    I look forward to the next post :)

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