Weapons and Damage

Some input about the damage of weapons.

A dagger is pretty dangerous, but the concept of equalizing it to a fist is... well not great.

I solved it simple by using the new disadvantage rule. Dagger does 1D6 damage but you are at disadvantage if fighting against anything else which doesnt happen to be another knifefighter or pugalist. And yes they do 1D6 in ranged damage. It's simply a flavour choice from the other ranged alternatives.

I equalized Bastard Swords  (possible to use with 2-hands) special, and applied it to all weapons in that category, to make it a flavour choice. Not so sure where that put longswords. Bastard Swords as they are, removes Longsword from play.

Longspear and Halberd will continue to be none used weapons unless they get equal damage, and even then most players loath dragging around long shafts in dungeons, inns or where ever.

A hunter like class will probably get a choice of Crossbow or Longbow. Putting a Fighter with a heavy crossbow at the top tier feels weird. Just an observation.

Regards

Aurel
 
You forget Fists can only apply STR bonus, while Daggers allow the use of STR or DEX. In addition, daggers also allow you to make range attacks with it. With this, I find the Dagger not lacking from the fist, and is still a much better weapon for a Rogue than a Fist ever will be.

Bastard Swords are indeed, kind of weird, but I wouldn't really say they replaced the Longswords... Longswords are much lighter and cheaper in comparison to bastard swords. In addition, any fighter using a Longsword most likely uses a Shield in addition to that. I say, the Bastard Sword is kind of lacking in this department, due to the other two-handed weapons being more devastating.

Longspears and Halberds are guard weapons mostly, so yeah, they aren't effective in dungeon crawls. They, however are great weapons in defensive situations or on horse-back.

Fighters are meant for fighting, nothing more. Hunters can do other stuff along with fighting. Fighters have Fight+, while Hunters have Fight + Stuff. On another note, Crossbows have the disadvantage that it requires a round for reloading, or they give you disadvantage on your attack. Longbows don't have that problem and are likely more efficient in combat anyway...

Seeing as your typical 3.5 human commoner has 4 hp and a warrior has 8. The dagger is plenty deadly, especially if used with sneak attack. Though it's kinda vague as to what the blade length is, many medieval daggers had blades over a foot long, that's almost a short sword... maybe "long daggers" do 1d4+1.

Bastard Swords are expensive. A fighter may replace his longsword with one when he can afford it. I still see plenty of longswords as "standard issue" for city watch, royal army, etc.

Longspears and halberds are probably best left in the stable with the packs animals and other gear. But in a wilderness setting they come in handy. Less so in a dungeon crawl.

The Ranger has usually been the "hunter", they can track, survive, and use the bow.
Actually, given what is often fairly narrow corridors, spears and halberds should be in great demand for dungeoncrawling. They can get by on stabbing or simple motions, while fighting with a sword, particularly a two-handed model, in a five foot corridor?

Not good for the guy next to you. Have the fighters learn some phalanx fighting.

I do, however, fail to understand their decision to make a heavy crossbow a complex weapon to learn. This smacks of their "we have to absolutely make sure its inferior in every way to a longbow" of previous editions. Repeaters were dead simple; to the point where they couldn't even stay nocked and drawn, because, like a short bow, the 'reloading' lever was a simple action that drew the weapon.

Hopefully, though I won't hold my breath given the numbers they currently have and their lowered rate of fire, English bows won't be the only item allowed to be "fantasy good" while other ranged weapons get their own stuff ignored...
I'm a big fan of applying the die-type-up mechanic across the board for using a single handed weapon in both hands.

I could also see treating any single handed weapon when wielded two handed as "finesse" to allow Dex to be the primary stat.

I'd even consider offering the choice (you're either using your other hand to swing harder with more leverage, or using it it to maintain superior weapon balance as well as your own balance).

And yes, it would render the "longsword" obsolete, though I don't really mind that because a bastard sword IS a long sword. The proper name of the bastard sword is the Normal Longsword.

Now as to Daggers, 1D4 is fine as base damage, but there are plenty of backgrounds or themes that could increase their die type as a component, similar to how the rogue gets a dagger die type bonus. The problem with giving "long knives" 1D4+1 damage is that it makes them statistically better than a short sword (same average, but higher minimum), which seams not so bueno.

Likewise, applying Disadvantage to knife attacks vs longer reach weapons is a prohibitive penalty. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of Advantage/Disadvantage.

Example: Pregen rogue with dagger attacks at +5 for 1D6+3

Vs humanoid with AC 14 (pretty common) with neither Ad or Disad has a 60% hit chance to hit for an average 6.5 dmg, which means an average 3.9 damage per attack roll.

With Advantage however, your hit chance climbs from 60% to 84%, which boosts average damage/attack roll to 5.46.

Disadvantage drops hit chance to only 36%, which translates to only 2.34 damage per attack.

That means we're looking at a roughly 30% damage swing when AD or Disad are applied. That's big.
Nice input and comments!

To clarify my base view.

Comparing the 4E and DNDN weapon list the base line is that they have normalized most weapons to a flavour choice IMO. Almost to the WFRP "Hand Weapon" Category. You could argue that price is a differentiator but, I feel it's not that important beyond LVL 1. Most campaign involves getting magic weapons pretty quick and puts the basic cost in the backwater. IMO it's not that much of a balancer.

An allround adventurer in my experience go for A - As much damage as possible and B - Versatility, in the sense it's allround.

The question to use a shortsword or a dagger is mostly to a scenario where the dagger can be concealed. In most D&D adventures not that important and extremly situational. I simply feel the dagger is not a viable choice anytime or at any moment.

There is no mechanic in the game in any version that I know of that puts twohanded weapons or shaft weapons at disadvantage cause of space, it's more of a DM call as of the hidden dagger concept. I just feel that shaft weapons are underused in general, from experience.

Now the whole DEX VS. STR thing is'nt a gamechanger in the sense that you baked it into the basic rules. Before u hade Class benefits that made these choices viable.
 And the idea that a fighter pwns a knifefighter with his fists instead of drawing a dagger? I dunno.

And yes you could give the rogue the ability to throw daggers with 1D6 damage instead of forcing him to switch to whatever weapon (which might in my general view not be the characterizing trait the player want).
 You could give the hunter the feats to make a choice between crossbow and longbow a flavour choice (surely with a mechanic differentiator) .

Looking at how the classes in 4E HotFK and HotFL (Which kinda streamlined it) solved it. They took it to a level where it was viable to use these weapons, by using feats or class features.
 I get the feeling they are trying to  put this in the basic rules. If that is the goal they have to be viable in it's basic form. Most of the weapon choices in 4E was simply extremly uninteresting in my experience.

About the heavy crossbow I must say it feels like a fighter only option to actually give them a good choice of ranged damage. Now it's only thrown that are viable for a fighter if it would end up in a ranged fight, and thrown tend to end up short, range wise. Good damage and using STR as base makes it THE ranged weapon to pick up for a fighter.



Howdy folks,

I have moved this thread to the Playtest Packet Discussion forum where it is more on-topic.

Thanks.  

All around helpful simian

I still see plenty of longswords as "standard issue" for city watch, royal army, etc.



Swords were definitely not standard issue for the militia, because swords were (supposed to be) very expensive. Actually, I'm not sure they even had standard issue kit at all, but if they did, it'd be no more than a padded jack, livery coat and a spear.

Medieval soldiers were, generally, expected to provide their own kit. While I can see them being given livery to identify themselves, and spears to let them fight in formations, I doubt they'd be given anything better than that. They certainly wouldn't be given swords.

Dagger does 1D6 damage but you are at disadvantage if fighting against anything else which doesnt happen to be another knifefighter or pugalist.



I wouldn't be opposed to things like this. One of the (many) things that bugs me about D&D is how every weapon performs virtually the same - the only difference being damage.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
Slightly off topic I semi-agree about swords.

Militia were mostly expected to bring their own gear. Soldiers as in you were in someones sold (dunno if that is an english word really), you mostly were provided for as in the whole wording was suggesting you got paid and provided for. It however varied history wise.

Short swords, shields and polearms/spears/pikes were the primary weapons to use if you were fighting in formation. Foot soldiers with long sword might have been the case but I have no reference to it that I can remember historically. It is simply very hard to use in formation.

But I digress, my main point with the new weapon list is simply highlighting the equalization of the new version and that choice is really (not saying it was) not that important but promotes standard weapons (swords).

Daggers are disfunctional as they are. Most of the other damages are streamlined.
 
Well historically, what the militia had depended on when and where we're talking about. Now the sheriff's men or the castle troops (that's army vs. militia) would have some decent armor and weapons (brigadine, mail, spears and swords). Militia tended to have just pikes. In the late middle ages, men with the means were supposes to keep their own equipment at home, usually a spear (pike), gambeson or other light armor, helmet, bow, etc.

In a fantasy setting this kinda goes out the window and we see massive armies armed with sword and shield and covered in armor.  Just remember any of the battles from the Lord of the Rings or Narnia films.

I do think some of the weapons weights need to be changed. I've held the real thing and a lot of these weapons are lighter than you think. The bastard sword was definately not 10 pounds, maybe 5. A typical longsword is maybe 3-4 pounds. Maces were around 4 pounds. And why is a spear heavier than a longspear?

I think the list has enough to get started and maybe a "Weapons" book can give more options and rules for them. 


I think the list has enough to get started and maybe a "Weapons" book can give more options and rules for them. 



I disagree.
 The standard weapons in the basic game should all be viable. Not a crap common card from MTG that no one ever uses.

Introducing new weapons as in the adventurers vault etc. was interesting but in the end out-played (already) with the standardization of using magic weapons.

Again I press that it is a low lvl mechanic choice. A flavour choice. This should be the core.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />In a fantasy setting this kinda goes out the window and we see massive armies armed with sword and shield and covered in armor.  Just remember any of the battles from the Lord of the Rings or Narnia films.



This is true - and never fails to make me laugh. Kitting every soldier up in liveried plate harness...do they have any idea how much that's going to cost? I can't remember if that was the case in the literature, but it was definitely the case in the film.

However, I would rather get away from that if possible - while I realise that realism isn't possible, I think some measure of believability is, and unless steel is dirt cheap and dwarven smiths are willing to churn out a harness a day for relatively little pay, it can't work.

Of course, the other extreme is: if swords and plate armour are so expensive that only a Lord can afford them, most PCs will never be able to afford one, and that's not fun either - when people think fantasy, they think "men with plate armour and big swords marching alongside wizards in robes". We need a balance: kit that's expensive enough to reflect its rarity and high status, but not so expensive that nobody can afford it. :-)

Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
Of course, the other extreme is: if swords and plate armour are so expensive that only a Lord can afford them, most PCs will never be able to afford one, and that's not fun either - when people think fantasy, they think "men with plate armour and big swords marching alongside wizards in robes". We need a balance: kit that's expensive enough to reflect its rarity and high status, but not so expensive that nobody can afford it. :-)



Some things, like plate armor would have been, were also difficult to find for sale, in addition to being very expensive. There weren't a lot of smiths who were skilled enough to produce or even alter riveted plate during the middle ages, and alteration was very important.

Most suits of plate armor more complex than a simple breastplate were custom made, and they had to be since they were so articulated. If you try and wear a suit of plate not custom fitted, your motion will be restricted and you'll end up with chafing, bruises and blisters in all kinds of uncomfortable places, if you can get it to fit at all!

I know a few other game systems have mechanics for tracking down rare items or merchants/tradesmen (which would tie in with scrounging, diplomacy, merchant or some such). A mechanic like that could be included to limit the availability of plate without increasing it's cost, though honestly there's probably not much point.

And although the common militiaman or guard during the middle ages was not equipped with plate and a sword, during roman times Legionnaires were issued their whole kit (Lorica Segmentata, Gladius, Scuta, and several Pilums), so it's not completely unheard of in ancient times.





And although the common militiaman or guard during the middle ages was not equipped with plate and a sword, during roman times Legionnaires were issued their whole kit (Lorica Segmentata, Gladius, Scuta, and several Pilums), so it's not completely unheard of in ancient times.





As you point out, it all depends on the time period you're talking about.  In the early middle ages, after the fall of the Roman Empire (and through the early crusades), chain mail was expensive and considered heavy armor.  But it became increasingly common and less expensive.  This gave way to more advanced forms of plate armor, which were expensive at first, and then eventually at least part plate (breasplate at least) was within the reach of mercenary units and guardsmen of richer cities.  Swords and crossbows and such, too, came down in price, though the good quality ones would still be quite expensive. 

BTW, I interpret most "magical" weapons and armor as well-crafted mundane weapons.  I don't like to have everything magical, and I like the mystique and respect that should be given to a very skilled artisan.  Thus, I don't have a problem with purchasing some of those items.  Just so long as they don't have spell-like abilities (which really would be magic).

If we look to ancient times, Persia, late Greek, and Roman empires were able to outfit heavy infantry and heavily armored cataphracts.  One must remember that it wasn't technology that was the problem so much for "middle ages" Europe; it was economics and demographics.  Centuries of Moorish, Turkish, Tartar, and Viking invaders; a collapse of civil government and physical infrastructure; the Black Death and some other waves of plague; and the Little Ice Age all combined to wreak incredible havoc over this civilization.  You could truly call it post cataclysmic.  Hence, we Westerners have ingrained in our fantasy the idea of mighty, more prosperous lost/ancient civilizations, and post-apocalyptic civilization.  We see it in Dark Sun, Dragonlance (aptly named "cataclysm"), Forgotten Realms (Time of Troubles, Spellplague); Eberron (Cyre and the war); Birthright (Deismaar and the fall of the Anuirean Empire); etc.  Every setting has these elements.

So the key issue is simply how good or how ruined do you want your economy to be?  I don't mind having plate armor within reach of a wealthy adventurer.  Adventurers can indeed accumulate the wealth of a lord with a large estate pretty quickly, and easily recover a suit of plate and seek out someone to refit it.  Dwarvish armorers should typically be up to the task, if humans are not.

I do like the fantastical invention of "plate mail," though.  It covers a good middle ground between fully-encasing plate harness, and chain mail with some plate augmenting it.  Seems reasonable enough, and cheap enough
One must remember that it wasn't technology that was the problem so much for "middle ages" Europe



Actually technology was a problem through much of the dark ages. Methods and techniques in a lot of feilds, including masonry, architecture, metallurgy, medicine, and many other fields were essentially lost when Rome fell. Europe wasn't able to re-create the many of these technologies for hundreds of years. The Byzantines are said to have retained much of that knowledge, but they hoarded it and kept it form the rest of the world.

Totally off topic though, I apologize.

Given that D&D is a homogenized pseudo-historical setting, anything is up for grabs, and really just depends on the setting.
Yes, extremly off topic.
From an on-topic standpoint, I'm mostly a fan of homogenizing weapon damage even further. Instead, let the pros and cons of weapons show up in situational bonuses or shortcomings.

Most of the weapons throughout history weren't designed because you could always inflict more harm with them. If that were the case, they likely would have stopped with the giant axe. Most of them were developed to suit a specific purpose. To facilitate a different KIND of killing.

In the case of daggers, I'd go ahead and give them 1D6 base damage, but I'm thinking something along the lines of -1 AC except vs unarmed attacks or other daggers (in other words, anything with a greater reach), and +1 to hit when used in "grappling" or "Close quarters" situations.

Shortswords, on the other hand, can still be used in close quarters situations without penalty, unlike the majority of weapons, and would benefit from maybe a +1 attack in rank-and-file situations (if appropriate formations are in use).

Spears might offer a +1 effective AC vs targets with that don't have either a spear or a reach weapon. Perhaps just targets in the front arc however, or even just a single target per turn.

Warhammers were historically designed to penetrate rigid armor, so offer warhammers a +1 to hit vs "hard" armor.

And so on. If the bonuses are kept small or situational, then it shouldn't leave one or two weapons as the standout winners, but they don't need to be 100% balanced either. Some situational bonuses will come up more often than others. This could be a good way to define weapons not covered by the books as well. Start with the base damage: 1D6 for 1-h basic or finesse, 1D8 for 1-h Martial. 1D8 for 2-h Finesse, 1D10 for 2-h Basic and hand-and-a-half weapons, and 1D12 for 2-h Martial. Then you give the weapon (for instance) one situational modifier to start, and an additional for each situational penalty the weapon has.
I agree with giving weapons special properties.  I've advocated special write ups for each weapon like a cantrip--or as someone else has put it, to give weapons and armor the same attention that spells get, in terms of number and detail.

I see your point about homogenizing damage: weapons should ALL be able to be lethal (with one or at least few hits) in the right circumstance.  But to make that right circumstance matter, I'd make your situational modifiers MORE significant, not small.

I had toyed with bonuses to certain actions (like the Trip, Bull Rush, Disarm, Grapple, etc. that are likely to come in the next release), and I think there's a place for that, but we don't know where the designers are going with those actions yet.

So it may be worthwhile to consider whether weapons could be given Advantage and Double Damage in certain circumstances, Disadvantage in others, be more defensively-capable, or combine well with movement or against certain armors, shields, or weapons/natural weapons of different lengths or types.
But to make that right circumstance matter, I'd make your situational modifiers MORE significant, not small.



So it may be worthwhile to consider whether weapons could be given Advantage and Double Damage in certain circumstances, Disadvantage in others, be more defensively-capable, or combine well with movement or against certain armors, shields, or weapons/natural weapons of different lengths or types.



I'm hesitant to throw around bonuses that are too large in this case since inevitably it still results in one weapon being numerically superior to the rest, but unlike with very small bonuses, large bonuses will take much of the stylistic choice off of the table because if you're not using the numerically superior weapon you'll be hamstringing yourself. Especially since you're talking about advantage/disadvantage again and double damage like in another post.

Both of those conditions are HUGE. Ad/Disad represent (against an average humanoid) around a 30% damage swing. and Doubling damage is something that shouldn't be thrown around lightly. In fact, my knee jerk reaction is to run for the hills from that one. Any multiplicative damage increase is a really dangerous thing, because you end up looking at the "stack-attack". Now you've got this situation (presumably fairly common) in which you're dealing double damage, so you go through the rules and find every ability, action, and item that gets you an additional static damage boost. Every one of those other damage increases, which was balanced around the static number it offers is now doubled in this double damage situation, and the whole scenario ends up broken.

Trust me on this one, there are better ways to accentuate differences than multiplying damage, and ones that keep games much more fair and fun.
But to make that right circumstance matter, I'd make your situational modifiers MORE significant, not small.



So it may be worthwhile to consider whether weapons could be given Advantage and Double Damage in certain circumstances, Disadvantage in others, be more defensively-capable, or combine well with movement or against certain armors, shields, or weapons/natural weapons of different lengths or types.



I'm hesitant to throw around bonuses that are too large in this case since inevitably it still results in one weapon being numerically superior to the rest, but unlike with very small bonuses, large bonuses will take much of the stylistic choice off of the table because if you're not using the numerically superior weapon you'll be hamstringing yourself. Especially since you're talking about advantage/disadvantage again and double damage like in another post.

Both of those conditions are HUGE. Ad/Disad represent (against an average humanoid) around a 30% damage swing. and Doubling damage is something that shouldn't be thrown around lightly. In fact, my knee jerk reaction is to run for the hills from that one. Any multiplicative damage increase is a really dangerous thing, because you end up looking at the "stack-attack". Now you've got this situation (presumably fairly common) in which you're dealing double damage, so you go through the rules and find every ability, action, and item that gets you an additional static damage boost. Every one of those other damage increases, which was balanced around the static number it offers is now doubled in this double damage situation, and the whole scenario ends up broken.

Trust me on this one, there are better ways to accentuate differences than multiplying damage, and ones that keep games much more fair and fun.

I was thinking more in terms of double damage dice, with no other modifiers included in the doubling.  Sort of like the damage scale of encounter powers, since these are more situational and harder to pull off.

If damage is first determined by how much you hit by and then added to (another proposal that I've liked for a while and has been tossed around on some threads here), the dice component isn't as big, anyway (but Advantage would matter more).