December 24, 2011

A second look at Table 7: Weapons

The basic idea here is that if a class can use any of the individual weapons listed in parentheses, then they should pay the cost for the category. 

I did my best to break the weapons into sensible categories.  If a class can use one of the weapons in a category, they can probably use them all.  Given the infinite number of possible classes there is bound to be the odd exception. Like how robots can't use blowguns unless they have an air compressor.  It's hard to account for the infinite number of possible species and shapes.  Also, the existing classes forced the creation of some categories. The clerics wanted me to split the blunt weapons from the sharps.  Magic users needed daggers split from short swords.  The dwarves and halflings want the short bows split from the long bows.  Maybe I should split the bows again so the small folk can just pay 5% for the short bows? Hmm.

I can't seem to stop making changes to this table.  I keep splitting and combining categories and changing costs.  Something about this table just doesn't feel right, you know?  I'll look it all over one last time and see if I can finally let it go.

Table 7: Weapons
+0% - Fist/Finger (brass knuckles, war fan, spiked gauntlet, bagh nakh)
+0% - Thrown Blunt (boomerang, stick, stone, flask)
+0% - Thrown Sharp (dart, throwing knife, shuriken)
+0% - Point & Shoot (blowgun, slingshot, wand)
~Ranged Weapons~
+5% - Mechanical (catapult, crossbow, ballista)
+5% - Thrown Poles (spear, javelin, trident)
+10% - Bows (short bow, long bow)
~One-Handed Weapons~
+5% - Blades (dagger, knife, kukri, sickle)
+5% - Blunt (club, hammer, mace, sap)
+5% - Flexible (flail, sling, whip, spiked chain, bola, net, nunchaku)
+10% - Choppers (hand axe, light pick, kama, spiked mace)
+15% - Swords (short sword, long sword, scimitar)
~Two-Handed Weapons~
+5% - Quarterstaff
+10% - Heavy Weapons (heavy version of any used one-handed weapon)
+15% - Pole Arms (pike, glaive, morning star, lance)
+90% - Any Weapon

Freebies is the section for weapons that are low damage and just dead easy to use.  They all cost 0% because I didn't feel that a class should have to pay extra xp to use this stuff.  I thought categories might still be useful though.  Clerics can't use the Thrown Sharps.  Fist/Finger weapons are hard to use when you only have tentacles.  A creature whose primary sense is smell might not be able aim at enough distance to use Point & Shoot.

Mechanicals are those weapons that require a bit of preparation.  They need to be wound up, pulled back, have the spring set into place, ect.  I imagine that some species just aren't bright enough to ever use this stuff, like trolls and ogres maybe.  Crossbows aren't available to magic users, I assume for being too cumbersome as opposed to too complicated.  Oh, and here is the part where I realize that I forgot to ever give Clerics access to catapults.  Nooooooooooooo.  Looks like I'm doing another revision at the end of this post.  Should magic users be able to use catapults?  Depends on the situation, right? Hmm, maybe the siege weapons should all cost 0%. 

I could probably do a whole post about why the pole weapons are split into Thrown Poles, Quarterstaff, and Pole Arms.  The short answer is that a Halfling can use a spear or javelin, but the other poles are too big; while a Hawkman (or Snail-dude) can use a Quarterstaff, but the back end of spears and pole arms would knock against their wings (or shell).

I ended up combining the short and long bows into Bows.  I think if you can use one then you know how to use the other.  I'd argue that halflings and dwarves can use longbows, they'd just need to stand on a table.  Oh wait!  Their short arms probably couldn't pull the string back far enough.  Huh, I guess I should split these up again.

The Blunt and Choppers I almost combined because they all use the same swinging arm motion.  I suppose that the Choppers do require a little more control to keep the blade pointed forward.  Honestly though I find it hard to imagine any class except cleric who would use one type but not the other.  Anti-clerics who use only edged weapons?  I'd best just leave it alone.

Flexible weapons require a fair amount of coordination to use.  If you're building an especially clumsy class, they probably can't use any of these without hurting themselves.

I set the cost for Swords a little higher than other weapons.  Swords are versatile.  They can slash, stab, or bash with the pommel (that's where the word "pummel" originated).  Besides that, the best magical weapons tend to be swords.  I think the cost is justified.  If your class can't use swords you probably deserve a little more xp than the class that can't use bows, right? Maybe? Hmm.  Maybe I should split the short swords from the long swords again.  I can imagine species able to use one but not the other.

I rather like the way that Heavy Weapons are set up now.  Use of a heavy flail requires Flexibles and Heavy Weapons.  A two-handed sword requires Swords and Heavy Weapons.  It does force a giant class to pay for categories of weapons that might be too small for them to actually use, but they'll be able to hold a great sword in one hand and a shield in the other so I bet they'll get over it.

Revision time again.

I'm going to rename ~Freebies~ to ~Very Small Weapons~
I'm going to remove any mention of siege weapons and just rename Mechanical to Crossbows 5%
I'm splitting the swords into short swords 5% and long (and bastard) swords 10%
I'm splitting the bows into short bows 5% and long bows 5%
I'm raising all the Level Limit costs 5%, so I can make a custom class that tops out at 7th level
I'm making Magic Users pay for Flexibles 5%, I figure they can use nets and maybe whips or slings
I'm reducing the cost of Magic User Spell Table to 250%, because I've always wanted to

Now I'm going back to edit the original post again.  My sense of aesthetics wants this weapon table to be more streamlined, but it seems to work best when it's messy and full of options.  It feels finished now, so hopeful I can leave it alone.


  1. Glad to see that you had come back to revisit this one too. I was bouncing around the idea of going Small, Medium, Large with One, Two-Handed, and Ranged. Blunt/Edged/Piecing would only have been descriptors... But yea, I see how you had the desire to continually work on it, tweak at it. Hard table! I gave, specially when I considered you may have tied some classes off of it so that the balanced out.


  2. Yeah, I was thinking along those same lines for a while. I'd love to simplify this table. If I wasn't worried about B/X weapon restrictions at all, I'd use something like this...

    Classes pay for the weapon size category that requires them to use two hands. Smaller weapons can be used one handed.

    Size (damage) - Cost

    Tiny (d3) - 10%
    Small (d4) - 20%
    Medium (d6) - 35%
    Large (d8) - 55%
    Huge (d10) - 80%
    Ridiculous (d12) - 110%

    Those costs are all wrong, but I'd love to dream up some elegant solution like this that would line up with the B/X totals. I suppose I could try changing the costs in every other table, but that's a lot of effort to fix something that already works.

    My weapon table is so ugly though... *sigh*

  3. If it all comes out in the wash, I wouldn't worry about it. Like you say, it would take a lot of effort to revamp it.