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Weapon damage


Trifletraxor

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With the RuneQuest weapon tables, my players usually chose the same weapons over and over, because some weapons due to less damage or armor points just became filling on the weapon table.

Bows f.ex did 1d8+1. A throwing knife, dagger, axe or spear did less damage and had shorter reach, so why would anyone choose those missile weapons? The heavy crossbow was sometime employed due to its high one-shot damage, but the other crossbows where too slow for use (the one that didn't had puny damage so no reason to use it). Among the bows, the composite bow was the one who where always chosen.

Missile weapons showed this very well, but the same also applied for the melee weapons (though not as strongly). Some weapons where never chosen. With the STR and DEX requirement being as low as they where, there was really no reason not to pick a bigger weapon.

I considered (but haven't tried out) assigning damages to weapons like this:

natural weapons (for humans): 1d3

small 1h weapons: 1d4

short reach 1h weapons: 1d6

regular size 1h weapons: 1d8

bastard weapons 1h or 2h: 1d10

long reach 2h weapons: 1d12

Then differentiating the weapons based on the type of damage it did, or what weapon group it belonged to.

So long as I've played, none of my players have used a scimitar unless forced to due so, because the broadsword is just better.

Anyone else who've had this problem?

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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One of the problems with the D100 system has always been it its just as easy to skill up Nuclear physic as say, lawn care.

The big advantage a crossbow has over the Bow was ease of use. I Remember reading someplace that to train a good crossbow man it took 6 month , to train a good longbow man you started with his grandfather.

I have always felt skills should be listed as easy , normal and hard for increase rolls, perhaps use a D4 to increase hard skills, D6 for normal, and D8 for easy.

As far as throwing weapons go, they should be faster to use when surprised. I can throw the spear in my hand and then toss the ax in my belt before you string your bow and shoot off an arrow.

And for hand to hand weapons go there are many things that unfortunately are hard to take into account. For example the Cutlass was preferred on ships because it was crowded on a ship and some one with a long sword might end up cutting the rigging or hitting a friend. I understand that why Pike men used short swords as a back up weapon there was no room to swing a bigger weapon.

Other weapons where chosen because of economics, a Sling is and should be dirt cheap. The Highlanders of Scotland preferred the ax for most of the clansmen because they simply could not afford to purchase swords . Your average adventurer does not worry about if he should buy a broadsword or do I stick with an ax and buy everyone in the hearth a new cloak.

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Well, part of the answer is that when all weapons are available, some _won't_ get chosen as much. As an example, spears are by their nature a somewhat primitive and limited weapon. Other than specialized forms for certain forms of combat (pikes and lances, for example) you don't see them used all that late when other weapons were present. Throwing weapons are in much the same bucket; you carry them when you're not trained to use something better and/or when you think you might want one occasionally (a small axe functions both as a throwing weapon and a backup weapon in case your primary gets broken, for example).

That said, I think there are, as the prior poster noted, some issues with the fact that vanilla RQ and all forms of other BRP I know treat all skills as equally easy to learn; that was one of the things the Easy/Medium/Hard skill breakdown from RQ: AIG was trying to address. And of course, sometimes there are weapons that are simply likely overstated (I think the bastardsword tends to land in this category in a lot of cases).

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Well there are a few reasons for this.

First off, the sword is typically a better weapon overall than most other melee weapons. It is fairly strong, and highly verstile, as you can slash & stab with it. Many other weapons of the era were either not as study, slower, or not a versitile. Swords were the weapons for the rich. So in a way they should be better.

Eas of use has been mentioned, and is quite true, and should be factored in. The old adage that to train an archer start with the grandfather comes to mind.

THe ability to make and maintain weapons is a factor too. Sometimes people just got stuck with what was avaiable, rather than the "best" weapon.

Another thing overlooked is the various "special effects" of weapons usually don't come into play in RQ. For instance, Certain weapons are more effective at bashing down foes in armor and that plays a factor. I think the solution to the problem would be to facotor in different effects for special success. Maybe give each weapon two or three special effects to choose from. For instance, a sword might get a slash & stab options, with an axe might get at cleave (more damage than a slash), and a maul might get a bonus to knockdown (2x) or some such, a hammer might get an 1/2AP benefit, Bills & Hook could get a dismount special, and staves a trip, swotdcathers and sai could get a disarm (foe makes DEX roll or disarmed) on a special, and so on.

Also, weapon reach isn't a big issue in RQ, but is a big factor in real combat. The spear has been and continues to be (thanks to they bayonet) a very useful weapon in part because it has a nice reach advantage over most swords, aces, and maces.

Oh, and I disagree with Nighshade about the spear. The Egyptians, the Greeks, medieval militia, Swiss Pikemen, bayonet. The weapon has been one of the most used weapons throughout history.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I dont allow my players to choose weapons because these are very or less effective on the damage table. (because of metagaming)

They choose their weapons mostly in accordance to the culture they belong to or the game is settled. Their social status in the game world is also important and the fact if they can afford a certain weapon or not.

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Oh, and I disagree with Nighshade about the spear. The Egyptians, the Greeks, medieval militia, Swiss Pikemen, bayonet. The weapon has been one of the most used weapons throughout history.

Militia didn't use them because they were a good weapon; they used them because they were easy to use and cheap. Same is really true of the use of bayonet on weapons (the fact they'd do double duty as a dagger didn't hurt). Most of the others were using them during periods when the other weapon choices were, frankly, often substandard, and before breakout into specialized troops. I already acknowledged the benefit of the Pike, but notice its a specialized weapon in the end; it was designed primarily to deal with cavalry, which used lances.

The spear is a good formation weapon, but once formations break up, its reach doesn't really make up for its limitations in other ways. Its just got the virtue its cheap and easy to learn to use; it doesn't have the control issues you have to some degree with maces and axes, and even worse with flails, nor the cost associated with decent swords.

(Though as an aside, an awful lot of early swords were largely either-or in terms of thrust versus slash; its hard to find one that was really good for both functions, and some were almost useless for one of the two purposes (usually thrusting)).

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Yeah,

I agree with pretty much what both of you have posted. It is just that things such as "cheap and easy" generalyl don't apply in RQ/BRP. PCs, like most poeple who regualrly stake thier lives on their weapons, will try to buy the best avialbe, and spend the time to improve.

But, skill pays too too. A man skilled with a spear can be a very formidable adversary for someone with a sword or axe. They pretty much have to knock the spear out of the way prior to any real attack, and then step in.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I dont allow my players to choose weapons because these are very or less effective on the damage table. (because of metagaming)

I think, however, that the need to do at least some of this shows that the weapons aren't entirely represented properly. Past that, what it usually encourages is about what you'd expect; most people tend toward using a one handed sword.

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Yeah,

I agree with pretty much what both of you have posted. It is just that things such as "cheap and easy" generalyl don't apply in RQ/BRP. PCs, like most poeple who regualrly stake thier lives on their weapons, will try to buy the best avialbe, and spend the time to improve.

And that's usually it; unless you start people very light on money (and if so, they certainly aren't going to have appreciable armor above the level of heavy leather), they're liable to chose more generally functional weapons than the spear for their weapon choices, and carry the same.

But, skill pays too too. A man skilled with a spear can be a very formidable adversary for someone with a sword or axe. They pretty much have to knock the spear out of the way prior to any real attack, and then step in.

That adds up, in essence, to the spear having a slight strike rank edge, and that's if using strike ranks. So in practice, you end up giving them one shot at the start that you still get to parry.

The real benefit to the spear in most RQ games, is that it impales, which can be quite grim; but that also often risks you losing the spear. So even if someone does want to go that route, they'll almost always carry a sword or the like as a secondary weapon.

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Actually the SR benefit is oay for attack, but the spear sort of get's screwed defensively in RQ.

One thing that I liked about the Usagi Yojimbo RPG was that spears no only had reach (Similar to D&D 3+, but with people having differernt move rates), but that they had a rebound critical/special. Tat meant you could use a spear to cunterattack (basically attack vs. an attack instead of parry) and keep the counterattack to use in the round against another attacker (assuming you made the rolls. If you sucked of the other guy did good, you just got hit and wound in up close with a long range weapon).

It made spear users a bit tricky to handle. You could try to rush in and hope to beat the spearpoint aside for the attack, or slowing close in and try to trap the guy somewhere where he couldn't backpedal and be able to keep the spear in play. It made the pretty useful for fending off animals, too.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Several reasons spring to mind.

Some PCs don't have the STR/DEX to use certain weapons, so they use similar ones instead. One of my players has a PC with a low DEX who picked up Self Bow not Composite Bow.

Some weapons are a lot more expensive than others. Some are heavier than others. Where money is short or ENC is important, these factors come into play.

Some weapons are cultural. Lunars use Scimitars, Lunar enemies don't (in Glorantha). Vikings use Axes/Swords/Spears, Roman Legionaries don't use Axes, British Officers in the Zulu Wars wouldn't use a Spear and Shield.

Some weapons have religious merit or connotation and may be favoured or not favoured by members of certain cults. So, Humakti use Swords, Babeester Gori use Axes, Thuggees use Garrottes and so on.

Some weapons just aren't available. I've never been of the opinion that all weapons should be available everywhere. So, a phased plasma rifle might be in the rulebook, but that doesn't mean you should be able to pick one up anywhere. Similarly, composite bows should only really be available in areas with contact with those cultures that use composite bows.

Some weapons are banned. Most Gloranthan cities ban the carrying of long weapons. Imagine walking through modern day London with a sub-machine gun (OK, Los Angeles shouldn't be a problem, though:) ). If certain weapons were banned, it might slow down their takeup.

Some weapons are more suitable for certain situations. A thief, for example, might carry a knife rather than a dagger as it is less conspicuous, doesn't make him look like a killer and can be used to cut bread.

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First off, the sword is typically a better weapon overall than most other melee weapons. It is fairly strong, and highly verstile, as you can slash & stab with it. Many other weapons of the era were either not as study, slower, or not a versitile. Swords were the weapons for the rich. So in a way they should be better.

A couple of things there. Swords really aren't for just the rich. Many ancient and medieval societys had access to swords for their common soldiers, as well as the rich. (The poor farmers may not have had the "extra" resources to spend on a nice sword, but the poor soldier certainly would have been able to manage it.) I'd agree that a good slashing sword probably is a superior weapon to most other weapons in a standard 1-on-1 RPG style combat. I wouldn't agree that it's superior outside of that. It's main advantages are flexibiliity and balance.

One huge advantage of a sword, especially from an RPG perspective, is that you can sheath it. A spear, mace, axe, etc. really isn't designed to be "holstered", so are more effort to transport and are also much harder to appear nonthreatening with.

Also, weapon reach isn't a big issue in RQ, but is a big factor in real combat. The spear has been and continues to be (thanks to they bayonet) a very useful weapon in part because it has a nice reach advantage over most swords, aces, and maces.

It has reach and is quicker weapon to wield, if we're talking one handed spears. In many ways, a competent warrior with armor, shield, and spear has an advantage over a similarly skilled warrior with armor, shield, and sword. (I'm ignoring larger spears as they require formational tactics to be effective. They're too unwieldy to be used in small skirmish combat.) RQ does deal with reach. That's what weapon SRs represent. It just doesn't do it beyond a certain level of granularity (like anything else).

Oh, and I disagree with Nighshade about the spear. The Egyptians, the Greeks, medieval militia, Swiss Pikemen, bayonet. The weapon has been one of the most used weapons throughout history.

Correct. For most of history, the spear is the dominant battlefield weapon, especially in the hands of highly trained professional soldiers. There's a reason for this and it has nothing to do with the spear being cheap or easier to wield (which it isn't) than other weapons.

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Militia didn't use them because they were a good weapon; they used them because they were easy to use and cheap. Same is really true of the use of bayonet on weapons (the fact they'd do double duty as a dagger didn't hurt). Most of the others were using them during periods when the other weapon choices were, frankly, often substandard, and before breakout into specialized troops. I already acknowledged the benefit of the Pike, but notice its a specialized weapon in the end; it was designed primarily to deal with cavalry, which used lances.

You're all over the place here on how effective a spear is... :)

Obviously, militias use what is cheap and available. (Spears are no easier to use than a sword. However, they are inherently a defensive weapon, so are a natural for nonprofessionals.) Similarly, the bayonet is pretty much just the logical extension of what can physically be done with a rifle, and is the natural extension of pike and musket formations: combining the functions initially.

However, the part about spears being chosen because of a lack of other weapons is incorrect. Spears, of one sort or another, have dominated battlefields from the Bronze Age to the advent of the repeating firearm, and for good reason. Even you note that pikes (a spear) are developed (partially at least) to defend against the lance (a spear): so the two dominant weapons of the battlefield are both spears until the point when firearms become powerful enough to marginalize all melee weapons.

The spear is a good formation weapon, but once formations break up, its reach doesn't really make up for its limitations in other ways.

Once formations break up, one side is running away and it doesn't matter what weapon they have. The other side is chasing them down on cavalry (armed with spears ;) ) to cut them down. There is no good weapon once a formation breaks in ancient or medieval warfare.

Its just got the virtue its cheap and easy to learn to use; it doesn't have the control issues you have to some degree with maces and axes, and even worse with flails, nor the cost associated with decent swords.

The spear has a lot of advantages beyond those. I find it interesting, that all the other weapons you mention have fairly limited eras they existed on the battlefield, and yet the spear was there at the beginning and end. Even the sword doesn't fair nearly as well historically.

(Though as an aside, an awful lot of early swords were largely either-or in terms of thrust versus slash; its hard to find one that was really good for both functions, and some were almost useless for one of the two purposes (usually thrusting)).

True. The concept of a sword being used for both is something that postdates swords actually being used to any large extent on the battlefield. Actual swords are designed to do one or the other and are not balanced properly to do both. I don't allow the option in my RQ games. Big swords are slashing weapons, strictly, and short swords are thrusting weapons...though they can be used either way.

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one of the problems with the BRP combat system is lack of reach for weapons. A man with a dagger and another with a pike can fight just fine even though in reality The man with the dagger would have to get around the point of the pike first and if he manage that then the man with the pike would have a hard time sticking him with the pointy end if the dagger man got with in range.

Might add one thing that has in the past determine what weapon I or my players use is what we could start with. I had one character that used a sling as his main ranged weapon because by the time I could afford a longbow I had gotten pretty good with it. I mean if I had 65% with sling changing to a longbow which starts at 5% did not make sense to me. Same would apply to a character that started with an ax or mace, switching weapons and losing 20% skill is not worth it at times.

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As I understood the concept of Strike Ranks in RQ, it was a representation of weapon reach and wieldability.

Since the game mechanics for combat in almost all RPGs is just an abstract representation rather than a strict simulation, the rules are simple by necessity so that the game doesn't bog down.

As a matter of personal taste, you could always create your own combat House Rules for any RPG system.

The beauty of BRP is that you could add layers of complexity, and the system still stays robust.

If you want a good combat simuation system, look to GURPS. If you want a simple combat system, look to D&D.

I think that RQ3 combat mechanics are fairly detailed as written, and do a good job of represtation the basics of combat simuation.

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The BRP system where reach rules are present is Stormbringer 5. Parry and Dodge are interchangable within the round, and if fighting a spear-wielding opponent you first dodge to close. The spearman then must drop the spear, or dodge to open up the distance again. This is also one of the factors that make use of the +100% skills in the game...

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You're all over the place here on how effective a spear is... :)

Not from where I sit.

Obviously, militias use what is cheap and available. (Spears are no easier to use than a sword. However, they are inherently a defensive weapon, so are a natural for nonprofessionals.) Similarly, the bayonet is pretty much just the

This disagrees with the statements I've heard on the matter from everyone who's ever trained with both swords and spears (usually in a martial arts context) so you'll excuse me if I take it dubiously.

However, the part about spears being chosen because of a lack of other weapons is incorrect. Spears, of one sort or another, have dominated

I didn't say that was the only reason, but its often a big reason. An effective spear doesn't even really require metal, something you can't say about a sword or really an axe.

battlefields from the Bronze Age to the advent of the repeating firearm, and for good reason. Even you note that pikes (a spear) are developed (partially at least) to defend against the lance (a spear): so the two dominant weapons of the battlefield are both spears until the point when firearms become powerful enough to marginalize all melee weapons.

Lances are the only really effective horseback weapon until you get horse pistols, and pikes were formation weapons; I'd never deny the benefit of spears as a formation weapon, but that says little about their benefit as an individual weapon.

Once formations break up, one side is running away and it doesn't matter what weapon they have. The other side is chasing them down on cavalry

Formation fighting has hardly been the only form of warfare, especially the tight formations necessary for effective shield walls and spear use. In fact, its effectively disfunctional in certain environments.

The spear has a lot of advantages beyond those. I find it interesting, that all the other weapons you mention have fairly limited eras they existed on the battlefield, and yet the spear was there at the beginning and end. Even the sword doesn't fair nearly as well historically.

You don't think this happens to have anything to do with the fact that the sword requires effective metallurgy and a spear doesn't? Maces and axes have limited life because in the end, they are an evolutionary trend toward the sword; they kept some benefit in certain periods because they all interact slightly differently with different types of armor. But of course the sword isn't going to have as long a history as the spear; a spear requires a relatively straight stick and something to sharpen the end with, in the end. The closest you can get to a sword at the same technology level is a club.

True. The concept of a sword being used for both is something that postdates swords actually being used to any large extent on the battlefield. Actual swords are designed to do one or the other and are not balanced properly to do both. I don't allow the option in my RQ games. Big swords are slashing weapons, strictly, and short swords are thrusting weapons...though they can be used either way.

Some late period swords are relatively effecient at both (the saber wasn't bad at either though it was a better slashing weapon), but the realities of armor tended to limit it before that, because a slashing weapon had to have some heft behind it to do anything to an armored location, and a heavy sword is a lousy thrusting weapon.

(This is primarily an issue with longswords; shortswords seem to get much more complicated in this area, though they still tend to lean one way or another).

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As I understood the concept of Strike Ranks in RQ, it was a representation of weapon reach and wieldability.

I think that RQ3 combat mechanics are fairly detailed as written, and do a good job of represtation the basics of combat simuation.

Yes. RQ has SR based on SIZ (persons reach) and weapon (weapon reach and to a lesser extent speed). Also, RQ has rules for long weapons vs. short weapons in combat that gives more detail to this. Someone with a longer weapon, always gets first strike unless they allow the shorter weapon wielder to close, in which case the shorter weapon gets first strike. I thought RQ handled this pretty well, and fairly simply.

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Knights, the elite warriors of Western Europe, fought each other with spears on foot in tourneys and used cut down lances when on foot in battle. Boar, bear and deer were taken with spear on foot. The spear can be a dandy offensive weapon and can be used at long and short ranges, just choke up on it. They are not handed out to just the militia.

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This disagrees with the statements I've heard on the matter from everyone who's ever trained with both swords and spears (usually in a martial arts context) so you'll excuse me if I take it dubiously.

That doesn't surprise me. There's a lot of misinformation on how actual combat works floating around due to reenactors. Just keep in mind that your sources here are hobbiests, not professionals. They frequently don't have the correct techniques, or even technology, for a specific era.

Oh, and it's your choice whether to listen to me or not. It doesn't affect me one way or the other. (You could argue there's a little difference here and there with a specific sword design and technique vs. a specific spear and technique, but any blanket statement is impossible.)

I didn't say that was the only reason, but its often a big reason. An effective spear doesn't even really require metal, something you can't say about a sword or really an axe.

Sure, a spear can be created without metal, which is a bonus. So can an axe or a club/mace for that matter. However, metallurgy is advanced enough to produce swords for over 3000 years now, so I'm willing to skip the time periods before casting bronze was developed.

Lances are the only really effective horseback weapon until you get horse pistols, and pikes were formation weapons; I'd never deny the benefit of spears as a formation weapon, but that says little about their benefit as an individual weapon.

Don't forget the bow as a dominate horseback weapon and the javelin (still a spear, granted). Both saw large scale horseback use throughout history.

Formation fighting has hardly been the only form of warfare, especially the tight formations necessary for effective shield walls and spear use. In fact, its effectively disfunctional in certain environments.

All premodern professional armies base their core around disciplined formation fighting. The exact details of this vary significantly, and obviously some formations have advantages on one environment over another. This carries well into the era of firearms dominating the battlefield and doesn't totally dissappear until the 20th Century.

You don't think this happens to have anything to do with the fact that the sword requires effective metallurgy and a spear doesn't? Maces and axes have limited life because in the end, they are an evolutionary trend toward the sword; they kept some benefit in certain periods because they all interact slightly differently with different types of armor. But of course the sword isn't going to have as long a history as the spear; a spear requires a relatively straight stick and something to sharpen the end with, in the end. The closest you can get to a sword at the same technology level is a club.

As already mentioned, swords develop from knives. Maces and axes have their own parallel evolution, but both start as tools that are adopted for warfare on and off. Spears are the only weapon, I can think of, that starts and ends as a weapon: granted initially a hunting weapon.

The issue is more that spears are used in abundance (by more than just militia) in time periods when metallurgy is sufficient to build excellent swords. Obviously, there is a time when it's possible to build a spear and not a sword, but that's not what this conversation has ever been about and it completely misses the point.

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