Making sure All weapons are actually Viable

One big thing in the 'ivory tower' system was that many weapons were traps.

-Some were no better than others, yet required feats to even use
-Some were simpler, or just as easy to use as others [martial was such a massive list, with so many simple-only classes or races having "and also these martials" there atop it], and were outright better
-Some are identical to other simpler weapons, but required additional feats to use.
-Some were so bad that nothing with int 3+ would ever use or purchase it against a better option. This included many weapons that were actually MORE complex, expensive or difficult to produce than the better options.
-Some weapons required years to be proficient in, yet were bundled in with the 'martials', while a slightly differently statted club required an exotic proficiency.

Hells, over in Pathfinder, everyone with Martial is proficient in chakrams, while the simple, non-returning boomerang [an aerodynamic throwing stick] is exotic [and also inferior in every single way and stat, as well as three times the price]


We're already seeing this coming right back with crossbows: they're already inferior to Bows once more [and potentially more difficult to use], and we've only seen levels one to three. If 'multiple iteratives + manyshot' reared their ugly heads again, we'd be right back to the old days of "trap choice weapon"


What are the odds of, or how do we ensure, that every weapon has at least one valid, viable niche to it, or is at least a valid option for certain playstyles? In a universe where one fights both wars and dragons, most inferior weapons oughta be getting weeded out a little better. A few odd outliers are no big deal, but does anyone want to see 3/4 of the list being "ignore or be inferior to everybody else" again?
There's basically five ways I can think of to keep a bunch of weapons from being superior or functionally superior to other stuff: You can either
- Give weapons a lot of meaningful ways to differ from each other (Hit bonus, reach, proficiency required, damage, handedness, speed if you can make that work, debateably damage type).
- Do some kind of weapon-vs-armor table that makes different weapons situationally better.
- Make a bunch of feats or other character options that let you do all kinds of nutty stuff with specific weapons.
- Don't describe very many weapons.
- Describe a bunch of weapons, but make a bunch of them essentially identical so that weapon choice becomes mostly a flavor thing.

I don't think that all of these are equally good by any means, and there's really obvious things to do to avoid flooding the weapon table, like not describing eleven kinds of eastern club-like weapons that are all nearly the same but are at random places on the proficiency lineup.

Lastly, if there are going to be some weapons that are just kind of better, it'd be nice if they were, like, "sword" and "flail" and "glaive", with more unusual things being things that might have interesting niche properties that while legitimately potentially useful require enough dedication to make the most of that Sahaugin Fishscaler doesn't become a tempting default weapon for a wide swath of characters.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I wouldn't mind seeing all weapons do the same damage, modified by class, and each weapon merely having special qualities outside raw damage. Don't see it happening, but I might do it myself.
The weapon selection in 3rd and 3.5e was simply phenomenal. Not all the time were weapons fully viable in combat, but the flavor was there. Nothing like seeing a succubus attack the party with a whip just for the flavor of it.

I think that absolutely making weapons balanced is a mistake. Some weapons in real life are just better than others, even some things used as weapons are not even weapons at all! (sickles, scythes,  kamas, nun-chucks, tonfas, a walking staff, axes, hammers and so on)

Players will tend to use "more optimal" weapons, like swords, composite bows,  pikes and the like. But once in a while they will find a magic hammer or dagger that is worth using and will use that for a while.

As far as x-bows vs bows, it's never been a fair fight, they are aimed at 2 different users. Bows are meant to be used with speed and strength, x-bows are meant to be used by... children. Have a whole orphanage armed with x-bows siege a garrison,  and watch the DM cry.

This isn't WoW or another RPG where the weapons are as colorful as the background music. In D&D fighters use swords, bows and pikes. Unless they have a good reason not to.
I wouldn't mind seeing all weapons do the same damage, modified by class, and each weapon merely having special qualities outside raw damage. Don't see it happening, but I might do it myself.



For 3.5 I did a pretty extensive rebalancing of the weapons, quantifying the effective value of various properties and such, and then rebalancing all of the existing weapons to that standard. So you could have a 2d6 damage weapon with relatively little benefits, and a 1d4 weapon with lots of cool properties.

Of course for it to work as intended there needs to be a mechanic in place to keep weapon damage relevant as you level (in 3.5 by default a d4 weapon vs a 2d6 weapon is only the difference of 4.5 damage, which is miniscule compared to bonus damage. In my campaigns a high level character is looking at more like 10d6 vs 1d4+12 [or 5d4 if they prefer, but that is less average damage], basically making the extra weapon damage more valuable and thus worth giving up for some potential utility), but even without that it's handy at low to mid levels, and keeps all weapons valuable.
For 3.5 I did a pretty extensive rebalancing of the weapons, quantifying the effective value of various properties and such, and then rebalancing all of the existing weapons to that standard.



Why do you want all weapons to do similar damage? It makes me think of that IKEA commercial where the lamp gets thrown out in a sad music, and the announcer says someting like:

"you feel sorry for the lamp, but that is non-sense. It has no feelings, and the new one is much better"

Please see my above post for some advice! 
Interesting niche properties cetainly do well by me.

An example from the newest Hackmaster, is the Battle-Axe vs the Longsword.
Both are fat, one-handed weapons, and the longsword is a little faster and has an extra half-foot on the battle-axe*. Same average damage though different dice, and the longsword is slightly faster as well, meaning you'll scale your "dps" up a little faster when improving speed.

If two nobles or lightly armored folk are duking it out in front of an assembly, the guy with the axe has a decent disadvantage. Unless he gets lucky or is that much better than the other guy, he's probably getting gutted.

However, the Battle Axe, despite the speed, hits heavily armored targets or strikes against a shield is comparatively devastating. It loses very little from striking a shield, generally doing several points of damage through it despite suffering a block, and it ignores a bit of heavy armor.

If both are in mail or heavier, with a shield, the swordsman had best be significantly luckier or better skilled; his average hits glance off or get absorbed, while the returning 'average' is wrecking his arm beneath the shield and taking its toll on his health [points].

Polearms too: with that system readying for charge is something you can actually do in response to seeing one come in, and the speedy dual-wielding paper-cutter might do more damage, but a single massive hit can just fold a bugger over helpless, despite half his health being still there [most likely screaming his lungs off at what just happened]. And as slow [daggers can easily hit three times as often as a pike] as they may be, if the guy is down, you can just move on or take a couple to coup-de-grace: weapon speed doesn't matter once the target's out.


*while this seems rather extreme to calculate reach like this, the system is actually quite fast, and the first exchange of blows between two characters just uses those reaches to determine who hits first... assuming of course they're in range of eachother. You could have to still move a few seconds to get there against a pike. 5th needs to be quite solid to provide a proper rival product.
XWP needs to die.  Period.
XWP needs to die.



Eh, I disagree.  Investment of character resources into more offense can be a compelling decision point.  To use 4e as an example, while it's true that many strikers go straight for XWP, things become much more interesting for the other classes.  Whether to go XWP for a defender, for example, can be a major decision point for the build.

It'd be nice if XWP weren't just a straight-up "you do more damage nao" structure, so that it becomes an interesting choice and not an auto-pick for strikers too, rather than being removed entirely.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
For 3.5 I did a pretty extensive rebalancing of the weapons, quantifying the effective value of various properties and such, and then rebalancing all of the existing weapons to that standard.



Why do you want all weapons to do similar damage? It makes me think of that IKEA commercial where the lamp gets thrown out in a sad music, and the announcer says someting like:

"you feel sorry for the lamp, but that is non-sense. It has no feelings, and the new one is much better"

Please see my above post for some advice! 



Who said anything about similar damage? Sure if all the weapon can do is damage, that weapon should have the same damage as another weapon that does nothing but damage. If a weapon has high crit, or reach, that weapon's damage will be lower. If a weapon is a throwable returning martial weapon, it should not be better than the regular throwing exotic weapon. 

Balance does not necessarily mean the same. Different weapons have different uses. If swords were the best thing for everything, why would anybody ever use anything else? That's a stupid method of game design, because you would be designing everything else as trap options. Why make a game where one option is clearly superior, rather than having different weapons suited to different tasks? Why not have a game where a rapier is better for a duelist to use than a longsword. Or where a rogue prefers a dagger over a short sword? Why not have it be possible for a character who wants to use a spear to do so without feeling small in the pants compared to the guy who picked up a sword?

You say some weapons aren't made to be weapons, and you're right. Those weapons that weren't designed as such fit into the "simple weapons" category, which are in fact inherently weaker than martial weapons. This makes having martial weapon proficiency an actual benefit. Similarly, one of the big benefits of the rebalancing was that exotic weapons (which nobody gets free proficiency with, and you have to spend one feat for each one) could actually be significantly better, to warrant that feat. So if you spend the feat to use that bastard sword, you can expect that it will actually be worth using, as opposed to feeling like you wasted a feat for flavor. Or so you don't get things like monk weapons that are designed as exotic weapons but provably worse than most simple weapons. 

It's not about giving everyone the same damage, it's about making sure that different options are useful. That proficiencies are meaningful. That you can't get two weapons where one weapon is "Exactly what that other weapon is, but better". 
Are we referring to the same XWP?
eXotic Weapon Proficiency needs to die.  It serves no purpose other than blowing a feat on fluff.
Are we referring to the same XWP?
eXotic Weapon Proficiency needs to die.  It serves no purpose other than blowing a feat on fluff.



XWP, in 3e, yes.  SWP in 4e.

Sure, crappily designed exotic/superior weapons make the existence of XWP/SWP somewhat suspect.  But well-designed ones, that really do add an increase in capability that justifies spending character resources to get?  That should definitely be in. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Kitton, it goes further than just pure mechanics. The fighter with a longsword does have a statistical combat advantage vs the one with the axe.

But D&D isn't pure combat, well not in my games anyways. If it is pure combat in yours, then go ahead and use the most combat oriented weapon.

But the fighter with the axe is better in many situation then the one with the sword. Examples:
You're assaulting a keep, the guards closed the wooden gates on you.  The fighter with the sword can hack at the door all day, with little to no result. Bring an axe to it on the other hand...

You are in the forest and looking to fortify your position, chopping trees to make barricades might take you a decade with a sword, but no problem for my trusty axe named jacques!

As far as exotic weapon proficency goes, It may need to remain. Some weapons are obviously exotic and hard to master. Spiked chains are the best example, reach, good damage, double handed, trip tying people up, using it as a medieval chain saw... Bastard swords, awsome trip weapons etc... 

XWP may need to be extended to apply to many weapons, but outright deleting it wouldn't be constructive.
 
Might be some confusion over the role XWP plays in different games. In 3.5, it's generally a fluff feat unless you're going for a spiked chain or something. In PF it's generally even more of a fluff feat, except like two of the best weapons in the game numerically are exotic. In 4e, "exotic weapon" means "numerically better weapon", not "oddball weapon that might be better mechanically but is probably just worse, but you blew a feat so you could use a mace with an eastern name."

@KingGoro: Do players not have access to tools in your games?
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
If you ask me, the ultra-broad-category system that spawned it oughta go as well.

Focus and Specialization can be done as part of a proficiency system. It worked well enough [about as well as anything else in that system, rather] for 2nd edition. I'd suggest tight-groups for proficiency, with focus and higher being more and more specific.

Sure, people can get some training in their youth, but that's what starting slots are for. As things were under 3.x, every sixteen year old level one fighter learned
-Proficient accurate non-volley firing with the longbow [okay so that's a few years there]
-Rapier-dueling
-Staff-fighting
-Crossbow use and maintenence [okay that one was like half a weekend]
-Battle-axe proficiency
-Flailing, both afoot and horsed
-Ten or more different kinds of polearms
-Knife-fighting with numerous different blades
-Proper truncheoning [well okay that's a freebie]
-Swordfighting with as many different blades and styles as there are polearms just about
-Knife throwing
-Dart tossing
-Axe throwing
-Javelin-Tossing
-Many things listed under ETC, etc...
-And how to fight in about forty different kinds of armor combinations and how to use bucklers, heater shields, round shields and tower shields.

Instead, go tight-groups. "crossbows", "bows", "heavy swords", "knives" for basic proficiency
Focus and basic specialization would take deep: "Light crossbows" "Throwing Knives", "Short Bows", "Two-Handed swords"
And higher grades still would refine it to a specific weapon: "Glaive-Guisarme", "Hatchet", "Claymore"

You can even instead use proficiencies to buy up equipment tricks or things like pathfinder's "critical feat" line [staggering critical, blinding critical] for the weapon class [probably no more specific than tight-group or the focus group].

Weapons that are more difficult and long to learn can simply take additional slots for basic proficiency. Bows certainly come to mind here. Even if it turns out slightly better when average DPR is calculated in the long run [let's say things get really buffed up and the crossbows fire half as often but for one and a half times or more the damage, making them worth using], not needing as many slots, and/or just having extra tricks up your sleeve if you DID spend as much time mastering a simpler weapon than they did learning a tough one, will make it worth doing for many more than it has before.
I would prefer a system where base damage, or at least base damage relative to critical hit properties, was relatively standard across one-handed weapons (with two-handed weapons having a noticeable improvement in damage). 

The problem comes when they try to balance the major properties of a weapon (damage, crit, accuracy in 4E) with highly situational properties (bonus to disarm checks).  In 3.5 at least, taking any weapon with a special property meant that you were going to deal less damage than a similar weapon without that property, so the special properties only ever got used by someone with a very specific build who would be relying on that gimmick in every fight.

I think the solution is to give every weapon an equally-trivial situational bonus (trip, disarm, bull rush, non-lethal, throwable, etc), then you can vary weapons by damage/crit (to personal taste) and damage type (each equally useful against different enemies), and you should have a fairly wide selection with no "best" option.


The metagame is not the game.

Who said anything about similar damage?



My bad, I meant balanced statistics.

 If swords were the best thing for everything, why would anybody ever use anything else? That's a stupid method of game design, because you would be designing everything else as trap options. Why make a game where one option is clearly superior, rather than having different weapons suited to different tasks? Why not have a game where a rapier is better for a duelist to use than a longsword. Or where a rogue prefers a dagger over a short sword? Why not have it be possible for a character who wants to use a spear to do so without feeling small in the pants compared to the guy who picked up a sword?



Swords are the statistical awesome option as of pure damage option. As for rapiers, they can have weapon finesse, daggers can be hidden and easily thrown and disposed of, spears have reach! All different options, with one statisticaly better, but not strictly better.

Not saying stricly better weapons shouldn't exist. The not so better kind could be used by a specific tribe or people, or for flavor options.

one of the big benefits of the rebalancing was that exotic weapons (which nobody gets free proficiency with, and you have to spend one feat for each one) could actually be significantly better, to warrant that feat. So if you spend the feat to use that bastard sword, you can expect that it will actually be worth using, as opposed to feeling like you wasted a feat for flavor.



Bastard sword, 1d10 vs equivalent 1d8 longsword, that is effectively 0-2 more damage as well as the option to wield with 2 hands. Weapon specialisation is +1 damage, without the 2 hand wield option... I see that feat as great! specially that it has no prerequisites.

 you don't get things like monk weapons that are designed as exotic weapons but provably worse than most simple weapons. 



Most monk weapons are glorified asian gardening tools, that you gain proficiency with while being a monk. That you can actually, flurry with. Don't see the down side here...

not about giving everyone the same damage, it's about making sure that different options are useful. That proficiencies are meaningful. That you can't get two weapons where one weapon is "Exactly what that other weapon is, but better". 



Like I said, sorry I meant statistically balanced. And I think you may see the flavor element in having wierd looking weapons wielded by troglodites being useless to actual human and dwaven fighters.

Kitton, it goes further than just pure mechanics. The fighter with a longsword does have a statistical combat advantage vs the one with the axe.

But D&D isn't pure combat, well not in my games anyways. If it is pure combat in yours, then go ahead and use the most combat oriented weapon.

But the fighter with the axe is better in many situation then the one with the sword. Examples:
You're assaulting a keep, the guards closed the wooden gates on you.  The fighter with the sword can hack at the door all day, with little to no result. Bring an axe to it on the other hand...

You are in the forest and looking to fortify your position, chopping trees to make barricades might take you a decade with a sword, but no problem for my trusty axe named jacques!

As far as exotic weapon proficency goes, It may need to remain. Some weapons are obviously exotic and hard to master. Spiked chains are the best example, reach, good damage, double handed, trip tying people up, using it as a medieval chain saw... Bastard swords, awsome trip weapons etc... 

XWP may need to be extended to apply to many weapons, but outright deleting it wouldn't be constructive.
 

Kingoro; I'd love to agree with you, but unfortunately, those mechanics also toy with the fluff in those conditions.

In 3.x, they've got the same damage die.
You're assaulting a keep, the guards close the wooden gates on you, the fighter with the sword AND the fighter with the axe are getting through it just as fast.

You're in the forest, looking to fortify your position, well, they're both 1d8 slashing against the same hardness. Its no problem for your trusty sword named jaqueline either.

Some weapons that are exotic and hard to master, and those can easily take extra proficiency slots. Its not as bad as a feat, but it also means we don't need the weapons to be that different.

The reason we want to hammer at the XWP itself, is that the 'tiered' system [as badly as it was done when it came to actual results] led directly to "this weapon HAS to be much worse than these equivalents or we just can't make it simple", or "of course its got better stats, it takes a feat to learn".

  • Exotic Weapon Proficiency in 3.5 was very similar to Superior Weapon Proficiency in 4E.  Look at the dwarven waraxe or the greatbow.  Each one trades a feat for +1 damage (on average).

  • Monk weapons are a necessary weasel, and should not be judged outside of their context: monks needed some way to deal slashing or piercing damage, and it was deemed fair that they also get maneuver-specific weapons as well.  They were never intended for use by anyone who would need to spend a fear on them.

  • Weapon proficiencies, as of third edition, became more in line with weapons allowed in previous editions.  This is more obvious when you look at how limited resources allow you to improve your proficiency: AD&D let you spend a precious proficiency slot to get rid of a -4 bonus to hit, while 3E let you spend a precious feat to gain a +1 bonus to hit.  In either case, fighters have more weapons available as base, and more resources to spend on improvement.

  • The idea that an axe is better for chopping wood is something that almost requires DM intervention to make sure, because even though it's obvious, the rules would be bogged down significantly if they'd accounted for that sort of thing.  For what it's worth, in 3E a military pick (or the improvised, civilian equivalent mining pick) is entirely incapable of breaking stone in the hands of the average person.

The metagame is not the game.

This thread is going fast, but I'm trying to keep up.

I agree that the weapons have the same die, but if your DM allows you to hack through a door with a sword as fast as with an axe or chop down trees... I invite you to attack everything with the 1d43 damage sap (unerrated PHB, the sap had 1d43 damage for those newer to the game).

Exotic weapons don't necessarily take a feat, you might have a race, a tribe or a background that allow you to use it. If an option is not worht using for your PC, don't take it. It doesn't mean it shouldn't exist.

Wielding a spiked ball at the end of a chain hooked up to a ugrosh should take at least 2 exotic feats, and barely be any different from a flail at all.
Unfortunately its more along the lines of "I do just as much damage, why can't I do it with my sword? you gonna tell me a wooden door is worse for it than a shield and plate armor" arguments that bog things down as well.

Its not as if making them different cannot be done; even with the same average damage. You could make the axe ignore some hardness [say, five]. That gives you a sundering weapon right there; no better against an unarmored face, but great for gouging out a shield itself, or doing a logging job.

And yeah, certainly, the more exotic weapons aren't necessarily hands-off for everyone. My problem is more with the great variety [of all categories] of weapons that ARE not worth using for anyone, PC or not. Its one thing if said weapon is, say, an older, simpler weapon that's suffering obsolecence. But when the newer, more complex variant that's harder to get or build is also inferior in every way, its hard to see it replacing anything. At the very least, if using my un-monked fists is an equal or better option, they've managed to bungle something together that's of less worth than a table-leg.

Said special tribes though, might have no reason whatsoever for those from there to ever have learned all those other 'normal' weapons in their youth; which works better with a system of small or individual proficiencies than it does when the guy from island-where-spiked-ball-on-flail-on-boomerang-fishing-rods-is-the-only-weapon somehow also knows how to use every sword, axe, throwing weapon, bow and polearm in the books just because they're "martial".

Of course, anyone making absolutely odd weapons deserves to be paying for it even if its no better. But there's a difference between paying for it because its a powerful and expensive piece of yew and sinew that took four years to slowly bend to shape, and because someone thought stuffed-animal-chucks on antlers were a good idea.
I agree about balancing weapons out, although I don't think it'll happen with 5e. If something looks or sounds cool, but is an inferior weapon, the game text should probably spell this out. "Crossbows are easy to use, but due to their slow reload times and relatively low damage potential compared to bows, they are favored more by non-adventurers." "Atlatls only see use in the modern age by cultures who reject most technological advances in favor of tradition. In many settings, lizardfolk fit this descriptor."

Actually, if this game is supposed to be as modular as it's supposed to be, perhaps the "Exotic" category for weapons shouldn't even exist in the core rules, just "Superior." 'Exotic' dilineations should probably be reserved for campaign settings, with perhaps a basic listing or two in the DMG.

Sort of off-topic, but this thread reminded me of another point of frustration I had with 3e - proficiency with a weapon cost much more than proficiency with a language (1/7 feats compared to 1 or 2/at least 23 skill points).
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Another issue I've had with exotic weapons is how it could unintentionnaly gimp an already gear dependant character. Early on its not a huge deal, but at higher levels it could become  difficult to keep up if you couldn't find better versions of that weapon (or find the time to make/commision them). Granted 4E made it easier by greatly altering how long it took to make magic weapons, but it could still be an issue.

I say we shift the benifits of improved training from the weapon to the weilder. The end result is the same and it decreases some of the clutter on the weapons list.
 the newer, more complex variant that's harder to get or build is also inferior in every way, its hard to see it replacing anything.



Then such a weapon has no use of being built in the first place. I don't have an issue on most weapons being relatively equal. I'm just saying that "all" weapons should not be balanced, and that some weapons should be designed for flavor or specific uses and evetually surpassed by other weapons, even if it is in everyway.
Perhaps if the feats that you have to take to equip weapons in 4e actually became features of the weapon, that would allow some more distinction in the who equips what.  Right now you can have proficiency in Simple Weapons, but if you take the Bludgeon experitse, you can knock people prone when you score a hit, or something like that.  What if in D&DNext, you can select your warhammer or mace, and it CAME with that benefit, off the rack?  That would help make my fighter different from your fighter, and help to give the weapons a more distinctive feel and flavour than just a math equation based on cost / weight/ damage, etc.  This would work well especially if magic items are going to be more rare in Next.

Knowing that I can knock an opponent prone when I have Advantage with my club will let me take another look at it over a short sword that does more damage, for instance.  I honestly can't remember ever seeing anyone buy a club in 30 years of D&D. I'm sure it's hapened, i just can't remember it.  :D
As long as there are enough viable weapons that I can reflavor without reinventing the wheel, I'll be ok with the mechanics.  I can always write down the stats of a longsword and change the name to whip.  However, I'm hoping for more than that out of the weapons, especially once we get the options of the tactical combat module.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

#BoobsNotBlood

 the newer, more complex variant that's harder to get or build is also inferior in every way, its hard to see it replacing anything.



Then such a weapon has no use of being built in the first place. I don't have an issue on most weapons being relatively equal. I'm just saying that "all" weapons should not be balanced, and that some weapons should be designed for flavor or specific uses and evetually surpassed by other weapons, even if it is in everyway.

That was unfortunately a large portion of the weapon list, and what I would like to see avoided this time around.

I also have no issue seeing 'relatively equal' instead of 'the same', the same would be boring. Just, the ones designed for flavor should NOT be so inferior that flavor's a questionable reason.

Mind you, I'm not referring to cases where the difference will overall just be 10ft of range or a point or two of damage per full-attack round. That much doesn't matter and is where flavor and those special alternative effects [as in the trip, brace, reach, etc stuff] shine anyways.

If its in the standard weapon list for the setting, but you need a feat just to be allowed normal usage out of it *and* its still inferior to things on the list that don't, there's probably a serious problem.

If most weapons in the setting are simpler [don't necessarily mean "simple/martial/XWP" but rather 'ease of discovery/production'], cheaper, lighter and significantly more effective, then if you want it on the list, you need to fix some of the above, or there's no use it being built in the first place.

Its not "halberd vs lance", or even "longsword vs flail" [bludgeoning was less resisted anyways] I'm talking about personally, but rather "Chakram vs Boomerang", "Crossbows" [for the 'needs more feats to be functional and still worse than other options type]. Or, at the other end of the spectrum in 3.X the Kukri, though that was fixed a bit in pathfinder.
Ok guys, basically, I love choice.

And choice includes awful weapons. An Ettin charging you with a huge deformed club made out of a ship's mast. Peasants using pitch forks and boar hunting spears to poke you. Miners using pick axes to drive back club wielding troglodytes.

All would be much more efficient with a good ol' long sword. But why remove these items, or even buff them? They are terrible weapons, but accept them like they are and embrace them in your game. We used a lot of weapons in our games, and even if we tried buy and enchant the ones that were a little better, we would not turn down magical drops of other weapon kinds...

As for x-bows vs bows, I have no idea what you are talking about. Not the same weapon, not comparable at all. 
As for x-bows vs bows, I have no idea what you are talking about. Not the same weapon, not comparable at all. 


My issue with bows v xbows, which may be different from Kitton's, is that someone with a bow can contribute every round while the person with the crossbow can't do so without having to take the rapid reload feat.  The reload mechanic on the crossbow really gimps the weapon and makes it an inherently inferior choice to a bow.

Personally, I'm glad DDN changed that by allowing you to reload and fire as a single action.  I'll be houseruling out the disadvantage that you are forced to have if you choose to do so, but it's an easy fix so it's good enough.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

#BoobsNotBlood

someone with a bow can contribute every round while the person with the crossbow can't do so without having to take the rapid reload feat.



*Heavy crossbow.

A hx-bow takes a full round to reload. A lx-bow take a move action. The x-bow is a simple weapon, a kid can use it, it's less expensive and can be fired with one hand. You can make traps with a crossbow mechanism, hell you can train a monkey to use it.

Bows area martial weapon used by warriors in combat.

It's like saying an axe is better than a mace because it's sharp.

That's special, and/or improvised weapons. If you're running around with a ship's mast, it actually probably SHOULD, as unwieldy as it may be, do a lot more damage on a hit than a long-sword. That's like a three-size-up club or staff [now that's what I'd like to see; an ogre using that redwood proficiently].

Its an "awful" weapon that makes sense. And sure, a proper greatsword in his size would be a great improvement, but we can actually for once say that he's not finding one of those anytime soon, and he'd need to get proficiency in the things because most ogres don't have general weapons training.

Now if the greatsword was an exotic feat to him, AND infinitely more expensive [several hundred golds versus free], and it turns out said huge greatsword needs both his hands while the tree was a one-hander, and somehow the club still does a die size larger than the blade? There's yer problem.

The crossbows bit refers to how they work in the game mechanics: since physical ranged combat is all about getting all your attacks per round, the weapon needs the reload feat[s] to do more than a small fraction of those with no load-action requirements. Even then, they'll never catch up to composites or strength-boosted throwing damage, and they'll never get as many attacks as a bow either. Slings have a similar problem.

 They're basically a 'trap' option for anyone other than a level 1 wiz/sorc that wants a back-up for his earliest levels, even after getting the magical aid to reload them automatically without a feat. Traps are pretty much the only use for them; except for those two casters, anyone that would want ranged combat that's limited to simple weapons also gets bows, and some races get bows no matter what as well.

Actually, EXCEPT for england, no one else really had those long bows in europe; they used crossbows. Crossbows had significantly more power to them in exchange for that lower rate of fire, but even then, bows were used in large groups firing volleys from afar, and said archers had melee weapons for when things inevitably got close; they were actually quite decent without their bows as a result, and despite the occasional claim, really could not do much against heavy armor. The crossbow was the weapon of professional soldiers and mercenaries, made to take a guy or horse down from afar. The largest ones were made for siege defense; those were the winched models that could go right through a man standing behind a pavise.
someone with a bow can contribute every round while the person with the crossbow can't do so without having to take the rapid reload feat.



*Heavy crossbow.

A hx-bow takes a full round to reload. A lx-bow take a move action. The x-bow is a simple weapon, a kid can use it, it's less expensive and can be fired with one hand. You can make traps with a crossbow mechanism, hell you can train a monkey to use it.

Bows area martial weapon used by warriors in combat.

It's like saying an axe is better than a mace because it's sharp.



Right.  For you, the simulation is more important.  That's a valid preference, but it's one that I don't share.  When I have a character who has to rely on a weapon, I want to be able to contribute every round.  "I reload," as my turn, just isn't fun to me.  Again, I'm not saying that's Kitton's issue with bow v xbow, but it is mine.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

#BoobsNotBlood

When I have a character who has to rely on a weapon, I want to be able to contribute every round.  "I reload," as my turn, just isn't fun to me.



take a light crossbow, reload and fire in the same round for 1d8 instead of 1d10. Crossbows are horrible for bab 6+ PCs I give you that. But it doesnt mean that they don't have their place.

That's special, and/or improvised weapons.



Actually, no... a club is just a piece of wood of appropriate size. That's why no one buys one, pick up a branch, you have a club! a table leg? a club! A zombie leg? a club! Well.. maybe not that las one...
When I have a character who has to rely on a weapon, I want to be able to contribute every round.  "I reload," as my turn, just isn't fun to me.



take a light crossbow, reload and fire in the same round for 1d8 instead of 1d10. Crossbows are horrible for bab 6+ PCs I give you that. But it doesnt mean that they don't have their place.



Fortunately, I won't have to.  In DDN, I'll just houserule away the disadvantage for loading and firing as a single action.  Either that or I'll just write down the stats for a bow and change the name.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

#BoobsNotBlood

The moment one has 12 or more strength, a composite bow is better in every concievable way unless you are a chair with a tripwire attached.

Toss in bracers of archery or gauntlets of ogre strength and you've left it in the dust.
If I'm a mage? a Monk? a poor peasant? there is a use for the x-bow. Not saying it's better than the bow, I'm saying it has it's uses.

But don't worry I bet that the lx-bow will already be only 1 attack action in 5e. 
I see no reason so-called 'pull bows' (composites) should be considered to automagically have infinite draw.  They weren't always like that.  They should have a maximum str on a per-bow basis.  Finding someone to craft such a bow (if you can't do it yourself) could be interesting, and there's a nice social interaction with being known as the person with the largest bow in three countries.

Likewise, if we're taking that route, crossbows really should have a Strength-equivalency stat to simulate just how much stronger than your 'standard' bow they really are, probably starting at around 16 or so.

At least in Pathfinder, these work out -very- well -- they've been a longstanding house rule of mine.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

For ranged weapons like bows and crossbows, why not let reload speed be determined by proficiency? If the player only has simple proficiency in bows and crossbows, then it takes the standard action to reload and fire. If they have martial proficiency, they could reload as a free action. For melee weapons, why not let the stats improve depending on the player's proficiency? For instance, a person with only simple weapon proficiency might deal 1d8 damage with x2 critical damage bonus on a natural 20 with a longsword. Then, when he gains martial proficiency, the critical range would increase to 19-20.
I see no reason so-called 'pull bows' (composites) should be considered to automagically have infinite draw.  They weren't always like that.  They should have a maximum str on a per-bow basis.  Finding someone to craft such a bow (if you can't do it yourself) could be interesting, and there's a nice social interaction with being known as the person with the largest bow in three countries.

Likewise, if we're taking that route, crossbows really should have a Strength-equivalency stat to simulate just how much stronger than your 'standard' bow they really are, probably starting at around 16 or so.

At least in Pathfinder, these work out -very- well -- they've been a longstanding house rule of mine.



If you do go back to the old method of specific draw strength for bows, then there should be an extremely cheap and common magical enhancement that makes it auto scale. Or alternatively some easy way to adjust the pull strength given a couple minutes. There's nothing more annoying than being an archer who gets a strength boost somehow or another and can't take advantage of that on his weapon.
Hey, tell that to the crossbowman who didn't get it with or without a boost.

Adjusting pull-strength isn't really feasible, not without magic. You could technically string it a bit more loosely, but you'd be at a serious penalty in terms of it even working right. Practically speaking, if its too hard for you to draw, its too hard to draw.

Mechanically, you could take the difference as a penalty to attack and damage. Probably twice how much you're missing to each, unless you don't mind taking an ROF loss and some serious fatigue after a round or two of firing [you're kind of using 'max press' rating with every draw]

You could technically over-draw a normal bow and get more power out of it, but you'd probably first need to make sure the string can handle it, and after that, getting that +2 strength bonus is putting the weapon's structure itself at serious risk. Fire a +2Mighty at Strength 22 and that +5 enchanted bow just turned into firewood before you finished drawing it, unless you were real lucky and the string snapped before the stave gave up on living.

Personally, for crossbows, I'd use a pair of ratings:

The first is its equivalent draw strength, the second, its equivalent loading strength.
Every 2 points of Strength Mod above 8 gets you 1d4. So 2d4 for a strength 12 [a hand crossbow for a particularly strong man, or a light crossbow for many], 3d4 for strength 16, 4d4 for strength 20, and so on.

Then there's the strength its built for relative to that.
A crossbow with loading strength mod 2 higher than its firing strength can be drawn freely.  Hand and repeating crossbows work this way.

A crossbow with loading equal to draw strength takes an action to reload. Disadvantage if you don't. This is a light crossbow. Belt and foot, or a heavy lever. Effective and still versatile.

A crossbow with loading two [again, strength mod] below its firing strength  needs two actions to reload. Attack with Disadvantage if you take just one, and you cannot take less than one. That's a 'quick' cranequin, or really tough-turning winch. For a strength 20 crossbow, that's a 16 to do it this slow.

A crossbow with loading four below its firing strength needs four actions to reload. Disadvantage if you take just two, and you can't take less than that. That strength 20 crossbow used by a strength 12 adventurer is a solid first shot, but won't be seeing the rest of the fight in most cases.

And we could probably double it once more, making a strength 8 guy extremely dangerous once every few minutes if left alone. Certainly a good choice to make gatekeepers or angry inkeepers a threat to more than the lowest adventurers.
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