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Fixed or Variable Armour Points?

Fixed or Variable AP  

47 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you prefer fixed or Variable Armour Points?

    • Fixed AP
      21
    • Variable AP
      26


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8 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

Variable armour doesn't make sense if you have variable weapon damage. Why else would weapons have a range of damage possibilities if not that they hit more vulnerable spots. 

My understanding is that damage primarily represents kinetic energy, as heavier weapons deal more damage, and damage modifier is a function of wielder's STR and SIZ.

The reason why it's random is because a huge number of factors have an influence on the amount of kinetic energy a blow can have, and how it is applied on the target.

Hitting weak spot is certainly one factor, but not the only one.

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Right, and the damage is variable whether the target wears armour or not - it also models whether the target is hit in a vulnerable spot, while variable armour models whether the armour is hit in a weak spot.

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14 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

Variable armour doesn't make sense if you have variable weapon damage. Why else would weapons have a range of damage possibilities if not that they hit more vulnerable spots. 

Sure it does, and for several reasons. First off it's possible to get a good hit on a well protection spot. Likewise, it is possible to score a glancing blow on a poorly protected spot. Then there is the fact that not all weapons would do the same amount of damage- a solid hit from a pole axe is probably going to hit harder than a solid hit from a dagger regardless of what armor the target has. 

 

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Here's how I view it

Variable weapon damage - represents the culmination of all the wind resistance, swing angle, trust, etc. A result of 1 meaning you didn't have those things to your advantage and a 6 (or 8, etc) meaning you did.

Critical success - represents striking a particularly weak spot in the armour, which is how I interpret the "...A critical attack result always ignores armour, even if the armour is all-encompassing" bit.

So it is my opinion that variable armour is already well covered , and perhaps a group could further reduce the number of rolls by not having variable weapon damage and letting critical and special successes take over responsibility for lucky blows in combat.

Edited by Baconjurer

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22 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

Variable armour doesn't make sense if you have variable weapon damage. Why else would weapons have a range of damage possibilities if not that they hit more vulnerable spots. 

Choose one or the other, I prefer the attacker finds the weak spot with his roll rather than the defender rolls to see if the attacker hits his weak spot, but that's just me.

Just you and the other 41% of poll respondents.

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Variable weapon-damage & variable armor-protection create 2 dice of "swing", except for the parts where damage equals zero-or-less (one presumably doesn't get Healed by getting weakly-hit in a well-protected location).  This is actually more swinginess than I prefer, myself; others MMV, of course.

Baconjurer made an interesting suggestion:

15 minutes ago, Baconjurer said:

... further reduce the number of rolls by not having variable weapon damage and letting critical and special successes take over responsibility for lucky blows in combat.

So you just say that (for example) a weapon that currently is rated as "1d8+1" would do fixed damage, such as 4/9/15 hp on normal/special/critical hits (I chose those numbers as low / max / max+HighAverage on damage-die).

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2 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

Here's how I view it

Variable weapon damage - represents the culmination of all the wind resistance, swing angle, trust, etc. A result of 1 meaning you didn't have those things to your advantage and a 6 (or 8, etc) meaning you did.

Critical success - represents striking a particularly weak spot in the armour, which is how I interpret the "...A critical attack result always ignores armour, even if the armour is all-encompassing" bit.

So it is my opinion that variable armour is already well covered ,

I agree. I'm mostly in the fixed armor camp. Partially for those reasons and partially because it gives better PC survival. But, a variable armor roll does "make sense", especially since armor protection isn't always the "all or nothing" approach that comes with critical hits. Sometimes you hit a weak spot but not the weakest. You see many types of armor consist of various materials which might overlap in places, so the armor protection wouldn't be uniform. For instance, on a suit of gothic plate, there are two layers of plate on the chest, but other places (i.e. joints) are protected by cloth, leather and/or mail, while still other places have no real covering at all (eyes, although the visor/eyeholes make them hard to hit). So a variable armor roll does make sense. But, IMO it's usually just not worth the trouble. 

2 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

 

and perhaps a group could further reduce the number of rolls by not having variable weapon damage and letting critical and special successes take over responsibility for lucky blows in combat.

It can/has been done in other RPGs. The problem with doing so in RQ/BRP is that you wind up with situations where a weapon can never score a minor cut, or always ends up taking out a limb because of the way hit points work. Worse still, you also wind up with situations where somebody can never penetrate a certain type of armor with a certain weapon, without scoring a critical or special. And then there is the db to factor in. You can wind up with a situation where armor becomes too good, or no good at all. 

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1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

I agree. I'm mostly in the fixed armor camp. Partially for those reasons and partially because it gives better PC survival. But, a variable armor roll does "make sense", especially since armor protection isn't always the "all or nothing" approach that comes with critical hits. Sometimes you hit a weak spot but not the weakest. You see many types of armor consist of various materials which might overlap in places, so the armor protection wouldn't be uniform. For instance, on a suit of gothic plate, there are two layers of plate on the chest, but other places (i.e. joints) are protected by cloth, leather and/or mail, while still other places have no real covering at all (eyes, although the visor/eyeholes make them hard to hit). So a variable armor roll does make sense. But, IMO it's usually just not worth the trouble.

I agree, and I think "doesn't make sense" was the wrong choice of words. What I really meant was that the extra step of variable weapon + variable armour doesn't really simulate the range of effective hits any better than a single roll would.

1 hour ago, Atgxtg said:

It can/has been done in other RPGs. The problem with doing so in RQ/BRP is that you wind up with situations where a weapon can never score a minor cut, or always ends up taking out a limb because of the way hit points work. Worse still, you also wind up with situations where somebody can never penetrate a certain type of armor with a certain weapon, without scoring a critical or special. And then there is the db to factor in. You can wind up with a situation where armor becomes too good, or no good at all. 

That's a good point about weapons never being able to score a minor cuts or always taking out limbs, I think I'd make sure in my game that should be possible. I suppose if one wanted to reduce rolls they could tie different amounts of damage to different gradients of success, but of course that means more maths, and probably would end up taking longer than a simple extra dice roll. As to the second point I don't see any problem with some weapons not being able to penetrate some armour without criticals. I'm just imagining someone trying to injure someone wearing full plate or an energy shield with a sharpened stick, I believe I'd definitely want to see a critical in order for that to work.

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A crazy idea I had two weeks ago, but which I thought it ate:

Off the top of my head, what if we always rolled 2d6 - 2d6 for damage, adding a fixed positive damage modifier for a weapon (and +db) and a fixed negative damage modifier for armor?  E.g. a Scimitar (1d8+1) would have a +5 damage modifier; with a decent Damage Bonus (+1d6, for example), that would be +8.  Leather and Ring armor (1d6+1) would take away -4 of that damage.  So the average damage would still be 4, but the standard deviation would always be +/-3.42. or roughly 3.  That is, about two-thirds of the time you'd get the sum of the modifiers +/-3 ... but possibly anything from +10 to -10 (each 0.08%).  Even against full plate armor, (1d10+2) there's a slight chance that a dagger does significant damage, but a very large chance it doesn't.  Conversely, there's a small chance that a greatsword might just nick an unarmored opponent.

(I noticed the dX vs dY effect as I was designing kobold-like creatures that had an average -1d4 damage modifier.  If a short sword does 1d6, then the creature only does damage 58% of the time.  I'm tempted to declare that they've created properly scaled knives and spears that eliminate the damage modifier but do two die steps less, e.g. 1d3-1 or 1d2 damage.  But then that eliminates the stunning successes.  It might be better to keep the 1d6 - 1d4 but declare that every attack always does at least 1 pt of damage.  They'd do more than that only 42% of the time, with 25% chance of 3 or more points and 4% chance of 5 points.)

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6 hours ago, g33k said:

Variable weapon-damage & variable armor-protection create 2 dice of "swing", except for the parts where damage equals zero-or-less (one presumably doesn't get Healed by getting weakly-hit in a well-protected location).  This is actually more swinginess than I prefer, myself; others MMV, of course.

Baconjurer made an interesting suggestion:

So you just say that (for example) a weapon that currently is rated as "1d8+1" would do fixed damage, such as 4/9/15 hp on normal/special/critical hits (I chose those numbers as low / max / max+HighAverage on damage-die).

The approach I eventually took for my hitpointless combat system was to use fixed damage for both weapons and armour, the maximum for each. If you are hit, you subtract your armour rating from the damage rating of the weapon. You compare that value to your Resistance (or Hit Points) on the Resistance table and roll to see if you are still OK to fight. If not, you work out how injured you are later. There's only one variable (your Resistance roll), no hit locations.

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7 hours ago, Questbird said:

The approach I eventually took for my hitpointless combat system was to use fixed damage for both weapons and armour, the maximum for each. If you are hit, you subtract your armour rating from the damage rating of the weapon. You compare that value to your Resistance (or Hit Points) on the Resistance table and roll to see if you are still OK to fight. If not, you work out how injured you are later. There's only one variable (your Resistance roll), no hit locations.

So you're either "OK" or "Down" -- every "hit" is a roll on the Resistance Table against your "OK" state?  Big hits are "likely" to take you down, but if you roll well you may continue to be OK and keep fighting, while little hits are likely to leave you OK but a really-unlucky Resistance Roll might take you down?  This is a very interesting notion, and rather cleverly done!  It's actually a bit reminiscent (in a get-the-same-place-in-VERY-different-ways manner) of the original D&D/AD&D hitpoint system, where you're "OK" so long as your HP's are positive.  

I find these all-or-nothing approaches less-desirable, personally (I expect you feel rather differently, since you built a custom mechanic this way!).  I never found it sensible or satisfying to have a 20-HP fighter (for example) be just as combat-effective at "95%-dead" (1HP) as they were "Fresh" at 20HP.

One of my favorite things about RQ-style hp-per-location is that you can lose USE OF an arm or a leg, and deal with the consequences of that:  fight desperately on (despite being impaired), surrender, "play dead," run away, change tactics/strategy, etc, etc, etc (despite the "limbs flying around the battlefield" rep of old-school RQ dismemberment, my experience has been MUCH more along the lines of "limb too injured to use, act accordingly until Healed (heal ASAP)"); I like that a "too injured to use" result in the head means "knocked out," and in the chest it means "wheezing/choking/can't catch breath" (i.e. out of combat, but NOT unconscious) etc.  I'll be revisiting the rules to see if I am misremembering the dismembering, or if we were using a House Rule that I had presumed was "official," or an Optional Rule from the Appendix... or if the limbs-flying rep is just that exaggerated!

Later on, I played games with "penalties" for being damaged -- so many HP's or boxes or body-levels of damage = so big a penalty on the dice.  I still liked the RQ approach better:  the mechanics actually CREATED different narratives of the combat (if three fighters each got an arm disabled, the twin-daggers guy dropped one, the rapier-guy fought on (or perhaps fought less-skilled with the "off" hand!), and the PoleAxe guy had to drop his weapon; etc).  The dreaded "death spiral" of increasing penalties was, I found, a less-flavorful step backward from the comparable-in-outcome effects imposed by taking location-specific injuries.

To this day, I have found no game-mechanic I like so well for combat & damage; plenty of other good and/or interesting options, and even a few improvements/tweaks I might want to borrow/adapt into the core RQ mechanic... But then, that'd be MY own taste, and (given yours, above) I doubt you'd care for it ...  ;-)

 

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18 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

 

That's a good point about weapons never being able to score a minor cuts or always taking out limbs, I think I'd make sure in my game that should be possible. I suppose if one wanted to reduce rolls they could tie different amounts of damage to different gradients of success, but of course that means more maths, and probably would end up taking longer than a simple extra dice roll. 

What I did in a BRP variant was to tie the weapon damage to the 10s digit. Strength and weapon type was accounted for with a modifier. That way it reduced the number of die rolls (no damage roll needed), tied the different amounts of damage to gradients of success (the 10s die), and didn't add more math.

18 hours ago, Baconjurer said:

 

 

As to the second point I don't see any problem with some weapons not being able to penetrate some armour without criticals. I'm just imagining someone trying to injure someone wearing full plate or an energy shield with a sharpened stick, I believe I'd definitely want to see a critical in order for that to work.

The sharpened stick is actually quite effective.That's why it is still around. But I was thinking more along the lines of a dagger. In game terms it doesn't do as much damage as a heavier weapon, such as, say, a battleaxe, but it is probably more likely to actually penetrate the armor, especially with a thrust.  Plus, whenever you end up with somebody being virtually immune to an attack gameplay gets weird.  Characters will start to ignore the attacker. 

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

So you're either "OK" or "Down" -- every "hit" is a roll on the Resistance Table against your "OK" state?  Big hits are "likely" to take you down, but if you roll well you may continue to be OK and keep fighting, while little hits are likely to leave you OK but a really-unlucky Resistance Roll might take you down?  This is a very interesting notion, and rather cleverly done!  It's actually a bit reminiscent (in a get-the-same-place-in-VERY-different-ways manner) of the original D&D/AD&D hitpoint system, where you're "OK" so long as your HP's are positive.  

I find these all-or-nothing approaches less-desirable, personally (I expect you feel rather differently, since you built a custom mechanic this way!).  I never found it sensible or satisfying to have a 20-HP fighter (for example) be just as combat-effective at "95%-dead" (1HP) as they were "Fresh" at 20HP.

There were two goals with the hitpointless system. One was to allow fast combats by not tracking anyone's hit points and making the blows that did hit hard decisive (you can easily model minions/mooks in this system by making their resistance rolls Difficult).The other was to allow pulpy swords and blaster combats without making the guns overwhelming (see other threads about lethality of gun damage) and killing the vibe of the game. I don't use the system all the time, but I do find it good for its purpose. The system skips the 'chipping away until dead' and so doesn't need to consider degrading combat effectiveness. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie Troy, but there's a scene when Achilles faces up to a huge giant. They stare at each other with their armies waiting. Then Achilles leaps up, stabs the giant in the neck and he falls down dead (or unconscious -- but it doesn't matter) immediately. Fight over. Admittedly that's Achilles we're talking about, but that's the kind of quick combat resolution I had in mind.

Quote

One of my favorite things about RQ-style hp-per-location is that you can lose USE OF an arm or a leg, and deal with the consequences of that:  fight desperately on (despite being impaired), surrender, "play dead," run away, change tactics/strategy, etc, etc, etc (despite the "limbs flying around the battlefield" rep of old-school RQ dismemberment, my experience has been MUCH more along the lines of "limb too injured to use, act accordingly until Healed (heal ASAP)"); I like that a "too injured to use" result in the head means "knocked out," and in the chest it means "wheezing/choking/can't catch breath" (i.e. out of combat, but NOT unconscious) etc.  I'll be revisiting the rules to see if I am misremembering the dismembering, or if we were using a House Rule that I had presumed was "official," or an Optional Rule from the Appendix... or if the limbs-flying rep is just that exaggerated!

To this day, I have found no game-mechanic I like so well for combat & damage; plenty of other good and/or interesting options, and even a few improvements/tweaks I might want to borrow/adapt into the core RQ mechanic... But then, that'd be MY own taste, and (given yours, above) I doubt you'd care for it ...  ;-)

 

I can see the appeal for certain types of games. I used to love the limb-flying days of original (Games Workshop) Stormbringer. But even that had variable armour if I recall correctly. Just very dangerous criticals. I skipped or fudged the games which had hit locations and never got into them, even when I used their material.

Edited by Questbird

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13 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

What I did in a BRP variant was to tie the weapon damage to the 10s digit. Strength and weapon type was accounted for with a modifier. That way it reduced the number of die rolls (no damage roll needed), tied the different amounts of damage to gradients of success (the 10s die), and didn't add more math.

Would it work better with the 'ones' die? The 10s might mean that the more likely you are to get a critical, the less damage you do.

There are a few games (Fire and Sword, WFRP) where all 'hand weapons' do pretty much the same damage, and it's not a terrible premise.

Edited by Questbird

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16 minutes ago, Questbird said:

... I skipped or fudged the games which had hit locations and never got into them, even when I used their material.

When I was introduced to RQ/Glorantha, the GM had us roll a collection of dice (4-6 dice) on our action:

  • 2d20 (%-to-hit)
  • NdX (1-3 dice for damage)
  • 1d20 (hit-location)

I quickly learned to "rack them" in my hand and roll them such that they came out left-to-right in that order.  Then I'd read off, "23% -- that's a hit -- to the gut -- doing 5 points of damage!"  (or whatever the "read" was).  Despite the multiples of dice, it was ONE roll, and took that much time.  The read-out of course took fractionally longer than reading any one element from rolling 3 separate times, but the speed was really quite notable; despite having an extra roll (for hit-location) over the other games (AD&D, GammaWorld) I had played, each person's action went FASTER by virtue of this method (as compared to what I had done for the TSR games -- roll d20 to-hit, and ONLY IF A HIT, pick up and roll damage-dice).

YMMV, as my YG (or other world).  :D

Edited by g33k
clarity of contrast.

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33 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

But I was thinking more along the lines of a dagger. In game terms it doesn't do as much damage as a heavier weapon, such as, say, a battleaxe, but it is probably more likely to actually penetrate the armor, especially with a thrust.  Plus, whenever you end up with somebody being virtually immune to an attack gameplay gets weird.  Characters will start to ignore the attacker. 

This is where mobility + grapple + takedown becomes a key strategy.  A mounted knight was generally counted on the battlefield as being worth 10 levied foot-soldiers, IIRC, but once they had bill-hook'ed the knight off his horse -- and often prone, from the fall! -- the knight's days (hours... moments) were numbered.

Of course, in a fantasy-game that "attacker" may not be a knight but a fire-breathing dragon; odd indeed to ignore THAT!  Again, however, I suggest that the game needs to offer some other effective strategy than "ignore the too-tough-to-hurt attacker." 

Edited by g33k

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Just now, g33k said:

When I was introduced to RQ/Glorantha, the GM had us roll a collection of dice (4-6 dice) on our action:

  • 2d20 (%-to-hit)
  • NdX (1-3 dice for damage)
  • 1d20 (hit-location)

I quickly learned to "rack them" in my hand and roll them such that they came out left-to-right in that order.  Then I'd read off, "23% -- that's a hit -- to the gut -- doing 5 points of damage!"  (or whatever the "read" was).  Despite the multiples of dice, it was ONE roll, and took that much time.  The read-out of course took fractionally longer than reading any one element from rolling 3 separate times, but the speed was really quite notable; despite having an extra roll (for hit-location) over the other games (AD&D, GammaWorld) I had played, each person's action went FASTER by virtue of this method.

YMMV, as my YG (or other world).  :D

Makes sense to streamline the roll. Might adopt that. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay uses the inverse of the attack roll to determine the hit location, though it handles criticals differently to BRP.

 

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14 hours ago, Questbird said:

Would it work better with the 'ones' die? The 10s might mean that the more likely you are to get a critical, the less damage you do.

No, because I didn't use the standard roll low for critical and specials - it was a variant. Linking the damage to the tens digit also made it more skill dependent. 

I did use the 1's die for the hit location, eliminating another roll (1-2 = RL, 3-4 =  LL, 5 = AB, 6-7 CH. 8= RA.  9 = LA 10 = HD)

You could also shift hit location by trading off points from the tens die to the ones die. For example, if you rolled a 59 (5 points of damage to the Left Arm), you could trade off a point of damage to get a 4 point head hit. 

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14 hours ago, g33k said:

 

Of course, in a fantasy-game that "attacker" may not be a knight but a fire-breathing dragon; odd indeed to ignore THAT!  Again, however, I suggest that the game needs to offer some other effective strategy than "ignore the too-tough-to-hurt attacker." 

Yeah, but realistically there really was no such thing as a "too-tough-to-hurt attacker." If they ignored somebody he'd just get time to aim a well placed shot. Something like KPhan2121's "double feint" type rule (ala Pendragon) seems about right here. 

 

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18 hours ago, g33k said:

When I was introduced to RQ/Glorantha, the GM had us roll a collection of dice (4-6 dice) on our action:

  • 2d20 (%-to-hit)
  • NdX (1-3 dice for damage)
  • 1d20 (hit-location)

I quickly learned to "rack them" in my hand and roll them such that they came out left-to-right in that order.  Then I'd read off, "23% -- that's a hit -- to the gut -- doing 5 points of damage!"  (or whatever the "read" was).  Despite the multiples of dice, it was ONE roll, and took that much time.  The read-out of course took fractionally longer than reading any one element from rolling 3 separate times, but the speed was really quite notable; despite having an extra roll (for hit-location) over the other games (AD&D, GammaWorld) I had played, each person's action went FASTER by virtue of this method (as compared to what I had done for the TSR games -- roll d20 to-hit, and ONLY IF A HIT, pick up and roll damage-dice).

YMMV, as my YG (or other world).  :D

The Dice Gods smile on players who roll everything at once (and in this new-fangled age of two different flavours of d10 they do not even need to rack the dice up in order to avoid confusing 'to hit' and 'hit location' d20s)

Back to the original question: I like players to make all of the rolls

So in my game they roll weapon damage against a fixed AP

And roll Armour protection against a fixed damage

(To hit in the first place they get a bonus or penalty to their weapon skill depending upon the opposition, and to Block, Parry or Dodge they have a bonus or penalty according to the opponent's skill)

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On 08/02/2017 at 0:41 AM, Questbird said:

Would it work better with the 'ones' die? The 10s might mean that the more likely you are to get a critical, the less damage you do.

There are a few games (Fire and Sword, WFRP) where all 'hand weapons' do pretty much the same damage, and it's not a terrible premise.

Unless you count a crit as a "10" and not a "0". ;)

There's a problem with using the unit die : your average damage output is heavily dependant on the units of your skill.

If your skill is a multiple of 10, your unit die will give you any result from 1 to 10 (or 0 to 9) with an equal chance for each result.
If your skill has a unit value of Y, results between 1 and Y will be slightly more frequent than results between Y+1 and 10.

Someone with skill 30, 40, 50, 70 or 100 will have an average unit die of 5.5.
On the other hand, someone with skill 35 will have average unit die of 5.14, and someone withh skill 75 will have 5.33.

Another possible variant is to base damage on:

-The lowest die for "small 1 handed weapons"
-The highest die for "medium 1 handed weapons"
-Both dice for two-handed weapons.

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On 8/2/2017 at 0:16 AM, Atgxtg said:

What I did in a BRP variant was to tie the weapon damage to the 10s digit. Strength and weapon type was accounted for with a modifier. That way it reduced the number of die rolls (no damage roll needed), tied the different amounts of damage to gradients of success (the 10s die), and didn't add more math.

I do this with the unit die and armour, instead :) But the idea is the same.

That said, all these mechanics are interesting and well worth a try, but they have a big problem: they do not scale. You always have the same range of variation (0-9) for any kind of weapon, and it becomes problematic: a dagger and a troll maul are difficult to describe in terms of "0-9 damage plus appropriate modifier".

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1 hour ago, RosenMcStern said:

I do this with the unit die and armour, instead :) But the idea is the same.

That said, all these mechanics are interesting and well worth a try, but they have a big problem: they do not scale. You always have the same range of variation (0-9) for any kind of weapon, and it becomes problematic: a dagger and a troll maul are difficult to describe in terms of "0-9 damage plus appropriate modifier".

I don't understand your point.

What's problematic in doing one of the following solutions ?

Dagger deal [X] dmg
Broadsword deal [X]+3 dmg
Zweihander deal [X]+6 dmg

Dagger deal [X] dmg
Broadsword deal 2*[X] dmg
Zweihander deal 3*[X] dmg

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Dagger doing 9 points of damage might sound problematic to someone. Even I would find it problematic, if the mechanics is not carefully grounded in cases that occur in real combat.

The big problem is that we would be adapting the damage to a fixed interval (0 to 9 or 1 to 10), rather than trying to study the various weapons and describe how much damage they deal, and of what kind. This sounds artificial to me. A multiplier could be better, but it decreases granularity and is annoying for people who are in bad terms with maths.

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58 minutes ago, RosenMcStern said:

Dagger doing 9 points of damage might sound problematic to someone. Even I would find it problematic, if the mechanics is not carefully grounded in cases that occur in real combat.

The big problem is that we would be adapting the damage to a fixed interval (0 to 9 or 1 to 10), rather than trying to study the various weapons and describe how much damage they deal, and of what kind. This sounds artificial to me. A multiplier could be better, but it decreases granularity and is annoying for people who are in bad terms with maths.

In case where you use the 10s of the roll, only critical strikes are going to deal 10 damage with a dagger.

Basically, it will be the same as dealing 1dX+Y damage on normal strikes and 10+Y on critical strikes (X being the 10s of your skill, and Y a weapon-dependant factor) .

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