Weapon Damage Types & Other Little Fixes

Please excuse me if this is already a thread.

The weapon chart is silly.  Don't misunderstand me - I like having a weapon chart.  I enjoy the extra little bit of complexity and realism that comes with weapon damage types.  I like that shields have weapon rules, and that the katana made it in.  Throwing darts?  Awesome.  But I do have just a few complaints:

1.  What's with the morningstar?  Why does a spiked mace get to be the only weapon that deals two types of damage?  A character with a longsword, for example, should have the option to do slashing OR piercing damage with an attack.  That's why they're pointed.  At the very least, the halberd needs to be fixed.  The whole point (ha!) of combining a spear with an axe is that is that you end up with something that is both a spear and an axe.

2.  In a similar vein, bastard swords should not be two-handed only.  I imagine the only reason it's in its current state is because they're preoccupied with more important design elements, but it bears mentioning.

3.  Mauls don't weigh 25 lbs.  That would be ridiculous.

Since this seems to be developing into the sort of game where every character carries a weapon, we should really try to perfect the available options.
I'll add a couple more to your rant that I know have shown up in other places

4) Shields do more damage than Daggers... and Clubs, and Handaxes.

5) No 'axe' type weapons in the finesse weapons. I only bring this up because of Abe Lincolin.

6) Longswords can't be used with Dex. Maybe I'm just a min/maxer, but Elves should be rewarded for being iconic.

I'm also not about getting rid of the weapon chart, but I do think that characters should be able to use the weapons they want, considering they are mostly asthetic anyway.
I'll add a couple more to your rant that I know have shown up in other places

4) Shields do more damage than Daggers... and Clubs, and Handaxes.

5) No 'axe' type weapons in the finesse weapons. I only bring this up because of Abe Lincolin.

6) Longswords can't be used with Dex. Maybe I'm just a min/maxer, but Elves should be rewarded for being iconic.

I'm also not about getting rid of the weapon chart, but I do think that characters should be able to use the weapons they want, considering they are mostly asthetic anyway.



I think we'd just do better giving elves a bonus to short swords as well than changing longsword to finesse. Less changes that way.
My two copper.
I agree many, many weapons should have multiple damage type options.  And D&D weapons have always been too heavy.  I know the 25 lb. Maul is the most obvious absurd weight, but even 5 lbs. for a Longsword is totally ridiculous.  Or my favorite: The slashing blade at the end of a Glaive weights 10 lbs. more than the spearhead on a Longspear.

As for the shield dealing more damage than a dagger thing: good.  Getting hit with a shield hurts like hell and they can and were frequently used as deadly weapons.  And I'd rather up the damage of the club (seems more like a baton) and the handaxe than nerf the shield.

Bastard swords weren't really one or two handed, they were one and a half handed.  You could sort of use one briefly in one hand, but 90% of the time, you're going to go for the two handed thing.

On the topic of Longswords for Elves, the High Elf doesn't get Strength or Dex, so why does it matter that Longswords can't be finessed?  High Elves fight with strength and a longsword, Wood Elves use Longbows.   
I'll add a couple more to your rant that I know have shown up in other places

4) Shields do more damage than Daggers... and Clubs, and Handaxes.

5) No 'axe' type weapons in the finesse weapons. I only bring this up because of Abe Lincolin.

6) Longswords can't be used with Dex. Maybe I'm just a min/maxer, but Elves should be rewarded for being iconic.

I'm also not about getting rid of the weapon chart, but I do think that characters should be able to use the weapons they want, considering they are mostly asthetic anyway.



I think we'd just do better giving elves a bonus to short swords as well than changing longsword to finesse. Less changes that way.

I think a better solution would be to just give elves a racial trait that allows them to treat longswords as finesse weapons.  It's come up in other threads.  I like it, since it's simple and maintains the iconicity of elves wielding longswords with grace and skill rather than the raw strength employed by typical swordsmen of less agile races.
And D&D weapons have always been too heavy.  I know the 25 lb. Maul is the most obvious absurd weight, but even 5 lbs. for a Longsword is totally ridiculous.  Or my favorite: The slashing blade at the end of a Glaive weights 10 lbs. more than the spearhead on a Longspear.

Remember, it's quite possible they are factoring not just weight, but mass as well. A maul may only weigh about 8-12 pounds, but its mass is equivalent to about 25 lbs...It's a bulky weapon. The same is true of a 5-pound sword...it may only weigh 2-3 pounds, but because of its length and overall mass, it factors in at about 5 lbs.

That's what I tell myself, anyway, since there really isn't a practical way of dealing with object size any other way. 

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

Bulk used to be a factor.  50' hemp rope had a very large encumbrance score because of its bulk in early editions.  Fresh rations likewise took up a lot of space.
Remember, it's quite possible they are factoring not just weight, but mass as well. A maul may only weigh about 8-12 pounds, but its mass is equivalent to about 25 lbs...It's a bulky weapon. The same is true of a 5-pound sword...it may only weigh 2-3 pounds, but because of its length and overall mass, it factors in at about 5 lbs.

Mass is not measured in pounds, it is measured in grams.  Pounds specifically measure weight (which is determined by mass and gravity).  If something weighs 8-12 pounds (which is still nuts for a wieldable weapon, even a Maul), then its weight should be 8-12 lbs.  If they want to measure bulkiness and stuff as well, then they should use "encumberance units" or something else abstracted, because you can't say things are pounds and then decide that bulky things are more pounds than they actually weigh.

If they want to measure bulkiness and stuff as well, then they should use "encumberance units" or something else abstracted, because you can't say things are pounds and then decide that bulky things are more pounds than they actually weigh.

I was simply inferring that the weight listed might be an abstraction of mass, but I agree the term encumbrance would be better. And a nice nod to classic D&D, as well.

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

I'll add a couple more to your rant that I know have shown up in other places

4) Shields do more damage than Daggers... and Clubs, and Handaxes.

5) No 'axe' type weapons in the finesse weapons. I only bring this up because of Abe Lincolin.

6) Longswords can't be used with Dex. Maybe I'm just a min/maxer, but Elves should be rewarded for being iconic.

I'm also not about getting rid of the weapon chart, but I do think that characters should be able to use the weapons they want, considering they are mostly asthetic anyway.



I think we'd just do better giving elves a bonus to short swords as well than changing longsword to finesse. Less changes that way.

I think a better solution would be to just give elves a racial trait that allows them to treat longswords as finesse weapons.  It's come up in other threads.  I like it, since it's simple and maintains the iconicity of elves wielding longswords with grace and skill rather than the raw strength employed by typical swordsmen of less agile races.


Here's the issue with giving elves finesse longswords. That makes them have the highest weapon damage potential of any race with finesse weapons. Longsword as finesse+longsword die increase = d10 longsword. Finesse weapon doing bastard sword damage? I think not. It's not simple, and gives many more rippling mechanic changes than the short sword alternative.

Whereas if you just give them a short sword die buff then they get a d8 finesse weapon, same as halflings, and there's no specific mechanics at work that throw the race out of balance Simplicity is generally a better path than complexity.
My two copper.
I'll add a couple more to your rant that I know have shown up in other places

4) Shields do more damage than Daggers... and Clubs, and Handaxes.

5) No 'axe' type weapons in the finesse weapons. I only bring this up because of Abe Lincolin.

6) Longswords can't be used with Dex. Maybe I'm just a min/maxer, but Elves should be rewarded for being iconic.

I'm also not about getting rid of the weapon chart, but I do think that characters should be able to use the weapons they want, considering they are mostly asthetic anyway.



I think we'd just do better giving elves a bonus to short swords as well than changing longsword to finesse. Less changes that way.

I think a better solution would be to just give elves a racial trait that allows them to treat longswords as finesse weapons.  It's come up in other threads.  I like it, since it's simple and maintains the iconicity of elves wielding longswords with grace and skill rather than the raw strength employed by typical swordsmen of less agile races.


Here's the issue with giving elves finesse longswords. That makes them have the highest weapon damage potential of any race with finesse weapons. Longsword as finesse+longsword die increase = d10 longsword. Finesse weapon doing bastard sword damage? I think not. It's not simple, and gives many more rippling mechanic changes than the short sword alternative.

Whereas if you just give them a short sword die buff then they get a d8 finesse weapon, same as halflings, and there's no specific mechanics at work that throw the race out of balance Simplicity is generally a better path than complexity.


not to mention it foesnt make sense.

a weapon being finesse comes down to the structure of the weapon itself, not the race of that who uses it.  if an elf can use a longsword with finesse, that means the longsword is finessable for anyone

And D&D weapons have always been too heavy.  I know the 25 lb. Maul is the most obvious absurd weight, but even 5 lbs. for a Longsword is totally ridiculous.  Or my favorite: The slashing blade at the end of a Glaive weights 10 lbs. more than the spearhead on a Longspear.

Remember, it's quite possible they are factoring not just weight, but mass as well. A maul may only weigh about 8-12 pounds, but its mass is equivalent to about 25 lbs...It's a bulky weapon. The same is true of a 5-pound sword...it may only weigh 2-3 pounds, but because of its length and overall mass, it factors in at about 5 lbs.

That's what I tell myself, anyway, since there really isn't a practical way of dealing with object size any other way.


Weight is weight. They shouldn't change the weight to try and pretend everything's some arbitrary but sillily high density. If they want to incorporate size they could just do it the way they did it before, with item size classes.
IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/2.jpg)
If they want to incorporate size they could just do it the way they did it before, with item size classes.

No. The easiest, most practical way would be to use the term encumbrance instead of weight. That way it's abstract enough to keep the math nerds at bay and to quell any petty arguments over weight vs. mass vs. size vs. time of day.

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />6) Longswords can't be used with Dex. Maybe I'm just a min/maxer, but Elves should be rewarded for being iconic.



I'm slightly confused about this one. Can they currently? Because I've seen nothing to indicate that they can.

Or are you saying that they should be able to? In which case, I partly agree. I hate how the European single handed sword can only be used with strength, but the Eastern swords can both be used with dex. This makes the longsword an impractical weapon for the character that is my namesake (with 13 strength and 16 dex, there's no way I'd use a martial weapon if I have finesse weapons available - +1 to attack and damage vs +3? It's  a no-brainer!!).

I've suggested before that, to make martial weapons more accessible (and to give them a bit of a difference), their attack bonus should be an average of strength + dex (i.e. added together and halved, rounding up). That way, someone with 13 strength and 16 dex would get +2, instead of the +1 he'd get normally.
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!
No, longswords cannot be used with Dex. And they should not be.

But on the subject of racial weapons - the dwarves are a problem (aren't they always....)

Most races get three weapons - dwarves get two entire categories.

The dwarves need to be trimmed back to something like battle axe, hand axe and throwing hammer.  Or (better yet): give Mountain Dwarves Warhammer, hammer (a finesse or basic weapon)  


And, as a general rule - I think classes should have one martial weapon, one basic or finesse weapon and one ranged weapon.     This gives fighters a clear benefit, but also makes the racial ability useful to a wide range of other classes.

what would this do:

Elf:  Currently Longsword (martial), Longbow (heavy missile), Shortbow (martial missile) - this is singularly useless to most classes.  Only fighters can take full advantage of the benefits, athough a couple of other classes can use one or two of the weapons.  I'd change it to:  Longsword (martial), Shortbow (martial missile) and Rapier (finesse).   

Halfling:  Currently dagger (finesse), shortsword (finesse) and sling (simple missile).  I'd change dagger to sickle (basic weapon  - fits with their pastoral nature).  This doesn't quite fit the pattern I outlined above - but they are halflings after all.  But the important point is still satisfied - almost any class can benefit from their weapons.

I especially don't like the idea of improving the heavy weapons.  These are already the highest damage weapons in the game.  I don't think they need to be improved beyond that by something as simple as a racial ability.

To put it another way - it should not be the case that the top damage in the game is the sole provence of a single race.  Right now - only a dwarf can do 2d6 damage.  This  is just too strong an incentive (especially when combined with all the other racial benefits) for a fighter to be a dwarf.  


Carl
Actually, bumping the 1d12 to 2d6 is the least beneficial bump because it only goes up by .5 average damage, instead of +1.

Plus, the idea that every class needs to benefit from the racial weapon buffs is silly.  The entire point of them is to compensate for the extra +1 to hit and damage humans are likely to have in their main stat.

Example:

Elf Fighter with long sword and 16 Str: 1d10+3 averages 8.5 per hit
Human Fighter with long sword and 18 Str: 1d8+4 averages 8.5 per hit

On the other hand, Elf Wizard with Ray of Frost and 16 (probably 17) Int: 1d6+3 averages 6.5 per hit
Human Wizard with Ray of Frost and 18 Int: 1d6+3 averages 6.5 per hit

Characters who are going to be doing their main fighting without weapons don't need a racial weapon buff.

 
Actually, bumping the 1d12 to 2d6 is the least beneficial bump because it only goes up by .5 average damage, instead of +1.

Plus, the idea that every class needs to benefit from the racial weapon buffs is silly.  The entire point of them is to compensate for the extra +1 to hit and damage humans are likely to have in their main stat.

Example:

Elf Fighter with long sword and 16 Str: 1d10+3 averages 8.5 per hit
Human Fighter with long sword and 18 Str: 1d8+4 averages 8.5 per hit

On the other hand, Elf Wizard with Ray of Frost and 16 (probably 17) Int: 1d6+3 averages 6.5 per hit
Human Wizard with Ray of Frost and 18 Int: 1d6+3 averages 6.5 per hit

Characters who are going to be doing their main fighting without weapons don't need a racial weapon buff.

You mentioned the human's hit bonus, but you're assuming hits in your math.  Actually, the character with the higher relevant ability is going to be hitting slightly more often, and thus dealing higher damage on average.  So, the elf still falls behind the human using both elf-favored weapons (longswords and magic).
You mentioned the human's hit bonus, but you're assuming hits in your math.  Actually, the character with the higher relevant ability is going to be hitting slightly more often, and thus dealing higher damage on average.  So, the elf still falls behind the human using both elf-favored weapons (longswords and magic).

The implication was that damage would be the same per hit, but the Human would get +1 to hit in exchange for all the immunities and other abilities the other races got.

Seriously, if you use the array, humans get:
+1 to hit
+1 to the modifier of your third best attribute (which generally means Dex for every class except Rogues or Finesse Fighters)

Meanwhile, Elves, for example, get:
Advantage on Perception
Low Light Vision
Trancing
Immunity to Sleep and Charm
Either a free cantrip or extra speed

Dwarves:
Low Light vision
Never get lost underground
Immunity to Poison
+1 Hit Die type or +1 AC

Seems pretty fair to me.
You mentioned the human's hit bonus, but you're assuming hits in your math.  Actually, the character with the higher relevant ability is going to be hitting slightly more often, and thus dealing higher damage on average.  So, the elf still falls behind the human using both elf-favored weapons (longswords and magic).

The implication was that damage would be the same per hit, but the Human would get +1 to hit in exchange for all the immunities and other abilities the other races got.

Seriously, if you use the array, humans get:
+1 to hit
+1 to the modifier of your third best attribute (which generally means Dex for every class except Rogues or Finesse Fighters)

Meanwhile, Elves, for example, get:
Advantage on Perception
Low Light Vision
Trancing
Immunity to Sleep and Charm
Either a free cantrip or extra speed

Dwarves:
Low Light vision
Never get lost underground
Immunity to Poison
+1 Hit Die type or +1 AC

Seems pretty fair to me.


You didn't even mention bonus weapon damage. That's a huge factor :P Especially for dwarves.
My two copper.
You didn't even mention bonus weapon damage. That's a huge factor :P Especially for dwarves.

No, the +1 damage die type exactly equals the +1 damage from having a higher attribute that the humans get.  Except for going from 1d12 to 2d6, which only increases damage by .5 average.  If a Dwarf uses a Greataxe or Maul, they actually deal less damage than a Human doing the same.