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Weapon Specialization


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Greetings All!

Having just got my hands on the BRP, and seeing as how there are many knowledgeable souls here...I have the first question of many!

I am not quite understanding how Weapon Specialization works in the game.

For example: A Warrior has the Melee Weapons/Long Sword skill.

Using the less-ruthless method suggested in the game guide, the warrior

'may be able to use related weapons of the same class at a slightly modified skill, based on the different base skill chances for each weapon.'

Does this mean that (according to the example on p.258) ALL other Melee/Sword skills will have a penalty for the warrior to pick up and use? (Depending upon their respective Base Skill chance)

And if the above is true, it seems as if 'Specialization' is more of a bane to characters in BRP, than in other rpg's. I understand the reasoning behind it, but I guess it just works differently, than in other games.

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I've read the example on the page you mentioned and, I have to say, I don't really understand it - but since nobody else has stepped up, I'm going to try to answer your question anyway.

As the GM, it's up to you to establish how you want to set up weapon skills for your game, depending on the level of detail you want in combat. There are basically three choices:

This first choice is to treat each of the Weapon Classes on page 257 of the Gold Book as a skill. Thus, you weapon skills would be: Axe, Bow, Brawl, Club, Crossbow, etc. If you choose this route, then all of the weapons listed under that skill could be used equally and without penalty. So if the skill was Axe, then a BattleAxe, Great Axe, Hand Axe, Vibro-axe, or wood axe could be used equally well.

The second way of doing skills is to give each particular weapon it's own skill. Battle Axe would therefore be a separate skill from Hand Axe. If you choose to go this route, then technically the guy who is skilled in Great Axe would have to start at the base when he picks up a hand axe for the first time. But since there is some degree of expertise that can be transferred from one weapon to another similar weapon, you also have the option of allowing the Great Axe wielder a little more skill with new weapons of the same category. The book mentions two ways for doing this. The 'more severe' method is to allow the Great Axe wielder to pick up the hand axe and use it at either its base chance, or at half his Great Axe skill, whichever is greater. The other method, from which you quoted, doesn't make much sense to me as written. I would ignore it. It seems to be suggesting that if the weapon you want to use has a different base skill, then you could use your existing weapon skill, but modified by subtracting the difference between the two. Thus the Bastard Sword user (base 10%) could pick up the a short sword (base 15%) and use it at his bastard sword skill -5% (the example suggests adding 5%, though I can't imagine why, if you trained with a bastard sword, you should be able to use a short sword at a higher ability). If this is the intent of the rule, I would personally ignore it. Hand Axe (1H) and Great Axe (2H) both have the same base, despite one being a one handed weapon and the other a two handed weapon - in which case by this rule there would be no penalty for using one or the other, despite them being really quite different.

Anyway, the third level of weapon skill granularity is to reduce the weapon skills even more, down so say "Melee Weapons" and "Ranged Weapons", and that's it.

By the third method, a PC would have the same chance to use ALL melee weapons.

By the first method, a PC would have the same chance to use all axes, but would use other types of melee weapons at their base chance (or, if similar and at GM discretion, at half their Axe skill).

By the second method, a PC could only use his Great Axe at full skill. Other axes could be used at a reduced skill, and other melee weapons of other categories would be used at base skill.

As the GM, you should consider which method you will be using at the time of character creation, and adjust how many skill points you allow accordingly. In a game where the only skill is Melee Weapons, you won't need as many starting skill points as in a game where each weapon has it's own skill and characters will be equipped with a sword, a shield, a bow, a dagger, and a long spear.

Hope that helps!

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb



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