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Sword Houserule Idea

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While I understand the desire for swords to be pre-eminent, since they were the go-to sidearm for those who could afford them in medieval warfare, I'm not a big fan of the current implementation with ties breaking other weapons, because it's incredibly punishing to anybody who puts in the work to get non-Sword skills into higher crit ranges, I generally dislike punishing people for critical successes, and it doesn't actually represent the main advantages of swords in a fight; while they are sturdier than other weapons, their main advantage wasn't bashing other people's weapons apart. The real advantages of a sword are the extreme level of control from the even weight distribution and the versatility to hit with both slashes and stabs along the entire length of the weapon.


As such, I'd propose that while they should retain their durability as far as being the only weapon not broken on a fumble, their advantage on tied rolls should be hitting the enemy - possibly simultaneously, if both fighters are using swords. (On double-critical ties, regardless of what weapon the enemy is using, their reward for a critical success ought to be the sword still dealing normal damage, rather than doubled.) This does a bunch of things I like - it represents the sword being able to score hits in situations where any other weapon would be parried, doesn't make everything else seem ultra-flimsy and punish non-sword weapons with breakage on what should be a critical success, and (while this doesn't super apply to me because I houserule crit modifiers to allow results over 20 so not all crits are ties) it means that fights between very powerful sword wielders like high-end Round Table Knights are much more likely to achieve the kinds of dramatic storytelling moments where they're both continually wounding each other and potentially even hit the ground at the same moment. If you prefer to keep the rule where crits automatically tie against each other, then this leaves high-Sword characters with a significant but not ridiculously overwhelming advantage against characters who specialize in a different weapon - if you're a guy with Sword 30 going against a Saxon king with Axe 30 (possibly because one or both of you is Inspired), the sword-wielder has a clear and stark advantage, but not to the extent that the Saxon is basically a non-threat because he'll more likely than not lose his weapon instantly.


Also, while this isn't personally a houserule I'd go with because I just kinda think a wider variety of viable weapons make the game more interesting, if you're a big realism stickler and want to represent another primary advantage of swords that made their use so crucial to knights, I'd make it so any top-heavy swung weapons like axes, maces, hammers, flails, etc take a -5 on horseback. Your control of distance and strike timing window are significantly limited on horseback compared to on foot. Spears and swords are great at compensating for these limitations (and thus for exploiting the many advantages being on horseback provides) since thrusts are quick and linear (and benefit from the horse's momentum), and for sword slashes you have leeway for imprecise distance since hitting with any of the weapon's length will cut the enemy. Swung weapons are much more stringent with their timing and distance requirements since an imprecise hit is just bonking somebody with the haft, which is relatively harmless to somebody in any significant armor.

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