Wrecan's neato weapon balance thing

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Hey I'm just moving this to its own thread so the weapon speed thing can perish or continue without confusion.


Edit: removed the quote to avoid confusion. See below for the lowdown.

Thanks, kadim!
Version 14, with revised at-bay and improvised shield rules!

This is an optional rules module for people who want more ways to distinguish weapons that do not depend on class features.
This comes in two parts: the "basic" rules for those who want a quick and simple weapon ruls that does not do much to distinguish weapons, and the "weapon module" that offers a bit more complexity and more differentiation.


WEAPON BASICS
These are the rules that are to be used if you want something simple. In these rules, the only thing that distinguishes weapons is the damage die, damage type, and how many hands you need to use the weapon.

Weapon Traits
All weapons have six or seven traits: family, length, damage, damage type, cost, weight and, for ranged and thrown weapons, range. These are defined as follows:


  • Family. Weapon families represent groupings of similar weapons.  This trait is only useful in the weapon module, except that only weapons in the thrown family can be thrown, and special rules apply to shields and unarmed, as described below.



  • Length. Weapon length represents the wieldiness of the weapon.  The weapon lengths are: closeshortlong, greatreach, and thrown.  Small creatures require two hands to wield items designated long or great, and cannot use reach weapons.   



  • Damage: Weapons inflict the damage on the table and range from d4 to d12, generally based on their length.  Melee and thrown weapons add the attacker's Strength modifier to attack and damage.  Bows and crossbows add the attacker's Dexterity modifier to attack and damage. You may receive other bonuses from your class, race, background, magic items, or specilaties.



  • Damage Type: Each weapon inflicts a damage type (bludgeoning (B), piercing (P), or slashing (S)), as described on the table, and generally based on the weapon's family.



  • Cost: The table reflects the typical retail price of a weapon in gold pieces. While you can buy gauntlets separately, they are usually included in any heavy armor.



  • Weight: The table describes the weight of the weapon in pounds for encumberance purposes, if you choose to use encumberance rules.  The weight of a gauntlet is generally included in the weight of heavy armor, but is one pound each if worn without heavy armor.



  • Range: Every ranged weapon has a maximum range beyond which you may not target enemies. Targeting enemies beyond half that distance incurs a -2 penalty on the attack roll.  Thrown weapons also each have a "launcher" that doubles the range of the thrown weapon and grants a +1 bonus to attacks and damage.  Stones use slings and all other thrown weapons use an atlatl designed for that family of weapon.  


Weapon Rules
The following additional rules also apply to weapons:


  • Improvised Weapons: You can use anything as a weapon, such as a chair leg, mug, or wagon wheel. The DM will decide how much damage the weapon inflicts based on the weapon's length. Use of improvised weapons incur a -2 penalty to hit.  Improvised thrown weapons have a maximum range of 20' (with an additional -2 penalty to attack targets more than 10' away).  Improvised shields grant a shield bonus one less than its non-improvised counterpart, but never less than a +1 shield bonus.



  • Monsters. A monster's melee attacks, unless made with a specific weapon, are considered to be made with close unarmed weapons whenever such a determination is needed. The monster's entry will explain what damage die and damage type the attack possesses, as well as any other effects of the attack.  Generally, claws inflict slashing damage, teeth, antlers, and horns inflict piercing damage, and fists inflict bludgeoning damage.



  • Nonproficiency Penalty. A weapon in which you are not proficient is considered an improvised weapon. A thrown weapon is considered an improvised weapon when used in melee, and a melee weapon is considered an improvised weapon when thrown.



  • Reach: Melee weapons other than reach weapons can only attack adjacent foes. Reach weapons can attack foes from five feet away, but incur a -4 penalty to damage (minimum 1) when used against adjacent creatures.



  • Shields: Shields that you wield grant you a shield bonus to AC as follows: buckler (+1), thrown shield (+1), small shield (+2), large shield (+3), great shield (+4), and tower shield (+5). Although damage is listed on the table for each shield, this only applies if you have the ability to "shield bash". When you wield a shield larger than a small shield, you incur a penalty to any d20 rolls modified by Dexterity equal to the number of hands required to wield it (either -1 or -2). Also remember that great shields and tower shields require both hands to weild.  In this respect, they operate more like mobile cover than a shield.



  • Unarmed: Your fist cannot be disarmed, but a successful attack with a fist on any creature with a touch attack (such as most oozes) will also be treated as if the creature had successfuly touched you. You cannot wield a close weapon in a hand with a cestus and you cannot wield a close or short weapon in a hand with a gauntlet.


WEAPONS MODULE
The following rules are provided for groups that want to distinguish weapons a little more, and are willing to put up with a little more complexity. Unless contradicted by rules set forth in the module, all the rules set forth above apply here.

Length Rules
Some rules require to compare weapon lengths and determine which is larger.  For purposes of determining which length is greater, the lengths, from smallest to largest are: close/thrown < short < long < great < reach.  

Here are the rules that are triggered by the length of your weapons:


  • At Bay: If you wield a great or reach weapon in which you are proficient against an opponent that is within one size of your size category, you may choose to try to keep it "at bay".  You must declare you are trying to keep the creature "at bay" before rolling your attack roll. If you hit the creature, instead of inflicting damage, roll a contested Strength check against the target.  If you succeed, the target may not use its next action to attack you with a melee weapon with shorter length than yours, and may not use its next move to move adjacent to you (but is not required to leave its space if it is currently adjacent to you).  You can keep no more than one opponent "at bay".  



  • Buckler: This weapon (close shield) lets you hold a thrown weapon in that hand as well, but not another melee weapon. You can wear a buckler while wielding a bow or crossbow, but it offers no shield bonus while you wield those weapons.



  • Close Quarters: You are in "close quarters" whenever you are grabbed, squeezed, or there are four or more creatures (friend or foe) or obstacles adjacent to you. In such a situation, you may only attack with close, short, or unarmed weapons. Attacks with short weapons incur a -1 penalty on damage rolls. 



  • Thrown: A thrown weapon can use its family benefit unless specified in the family benefit description, below.  Note that there is no thrown weapon in the blade, staff, or unarmed families.



  • Two-Weapon Fighting: If you wield two weapons, neither of which are longer than a short weapon, you may designate which weapon you use for your weapon attacks. This weapon is called your "primary weapon" and the other one is called the "secondary weapon". If you hit with a "primary weapon" in which you are proficient, you may add 1d3 to the damage, or 1d4 if both weapons belong to the same family. This additional damage will have the damage type of the "secondary weapon". A shield cannot be a "primary weapon" or a "secondary weapon" unless you have the ability to "shield bash".



  • Versatile Fighting: If you wield a short or long weapon with two hands, you add +1 to the damage you inflict. The short and long weapons are the largest weapons a small and medium sized creature, respectively, can carry that offers a free hand with which to hold a shield or a thrown weapon. A short weapon is the only weapon that lets you fight in "close quarters" and gain the versatile damage bonus.


Family Benefits
The twelve weapon families are: axebladeflailhammermacepickspearshield, staffunarmedcrossbow, and bow. You can only gain the features associated with a weapon's family if you are proficient in the weapon.  In order to gain the benefit of a weapon family's benefit (other than for shields and unarmed), you must choose to lose advantage on the attack roll when you have advantage, and you must not be attacking a creature resistant to the weapon's damage type.  Here are the rules pertaining to each weapon family:


  • Axe: These weapons are brutal.  A hit is treated as a critical hit.



  • Blade: These weapons are often used defensively.  Whether or not you hit, until the beginning of your next turn, all melee attacks against you incur disadvantage. 



  • Bow/Spear: You can use these weapons to pin an opponent.  On a hit, the target takes damage as norma and, unless your target is more than one size category larger than you, the creature you hit is also immobilized until the end of its next turn.  



  • Crossbow/Pick: These weapons are made to puncture an opponent's defenses with lingering effects.  On a hit, the target takes damage as normal and, on the beginning of your next turn, the target automatically takes damage equal to half the damage you inflicted with this hit.



  • Flail: These weapons have flexible cords or chains that can grasp.  On a hit, the target takes damage as normal.  Unless your target is more than one size category larger than you, you also grab the target or one of its visible possessions. A grabbed foe cannot leave your reach, but may, as its action, make an opposed Strength check to escape the grab. While it is grabbed, with a subsequent action, you can engage in an opposed Strength check. If you win, you can either cause the foe to fall prone, move the foe as you move on this turn, or disarm the foe of one object it holds. The disarmed object falls adjacent to the foe. Instead of using its familial benefit, a thrown flail immobilizes the target until the target or an adjacent creature uses an action to free the target.



  • Hammer: These weapons knock targets down.  On a hit, the target takes damage as normal.  Unless your target is more than one size category larger than you, you also push the target five feet away from you and knock it prone.



  • Mace: These weapons batter people into submission. On a hit, the target takes damage as normal and suffers from disadvantage on all attack rolls until the end of its next turn.



  • Shield: You may use your action to transfer the shield's shield bonus from yourself to one adjacent ally, up to a maximum bonus of +3.  If you wield a shield with two hands, you may use your action to extend your shield bonus to one adjacent ally without removing that bonus from yourself, up to a maximum bonus of +3. A thrown shield imposes disadvantage on an attack, if used as a delayed action (and does not require advantage to invoke).  



  • Staff: Both ends of these weapons may be used in an attack. On a hit, if you were wielding the weapon with two hands, roll damage twice and use their sum.  If the attack roll was a critical hit, only the first instance of damage is treated as a critical hit.



  • Unarmed: These weapons can always be used in "close quarters"but can never be used to hold creatures "at bay", no matter what their length.


Creatures of Unusual Size
Use the following rules for tiny, large, huge, and gargantuan creatures.  Weapons made specifically for them have lengths named after the size of the creature for which it is designed.  

  • Fists: Tiny, large, huge, and gargantuan fists use a 1d2, 1d6, 1d8, and 1d10 damage die, respectively, unless otherwise described in the creature's monster entry, and are always considered to be a length equal to the creature's size category.



  • Large or Larger Creatures: Large, huge, and gargatuan creatures can use any weapon with a length of reach or smaller with one hand.  They cannot use weapons more than four sizes shorter than the length that corresponds to their size.  (I.e., large creatures cannot use tiny or close weapons, and gargantuan creatures can only use great or longer weapons.) For each size category larger than medium, increase by two the number of adjacent creatures or obstacles needed to impose "close quarters". For each size category larger than medium, treat that creature is if it were one additional creature for purposes of imposing "close quarters" on others.



  • Large, Huge, and Gargantuan Weapons: These weapons can never be used by creatures or a size category smaller than the weapon's length.  They require two hands to wield if the creature has a size category equal to the weapon's length.  Otherwise, these weapons may be wielded with one hand.  These weapons may be used to hold creatures "at bay".  Large, huge, and gargantuan weapons have reaches of 10', 15', and 20', respectively. 



  • Shields: No creature may ever gain a shield bonus of greater than +3 from a shield wielded with one hand.  Large, huge, and gargantuan shields grant the wielder a shield bonus of +6, +7, and +8, respectively, but only when wielded with two hands.



  • Tiny Creatures: Tiny creatures require two hands to wield short weapons, and cannot use longer weapons or ranged weapons that are not sized for them.  They can only use the rules for two-weapon fighting when holding a close weapon in each hand. Tiny creatures are in "close quarters" only when a small-sized enemy is adjacent to it. Tiny creatures do not count for purposes of imposing the "close quarters" condition on others. 



  • Tiny Weapons. These can be used in close quarters and cannot be used by medium or larger creatures. 




DESIGN YOUR OWN WEAPONS

If a player wants a character to wield a weapon that is not listed, you can design your own as follows:


  • Step One: Determine what family the new weapon should possess. The weapon uses that family's benefit.  



  • Step Two: Determine what length the weapon should possess.  A thrown bladestaff, and unarmed weapon, and a close staff, get access to no family benefit.



  • Step Three: Determine the weapon's damage based on an analogously long or ranged weapon, as follows:
    • d2: Tiny
    • 
    d4: Close
    • 
    d6: Short, thrown, or hand crossbow
    • d8: Long, short bow, or crossbow
    • d10: Great, long bow, or arbalest
    • d12: Reach
    • 
    3d4: Large
    • 
    3d6: Huge
    • 
    3d8: Gargantuan
    Damage dice for ranged weapons for tiny, large, huge, or gargantuan creatures should be adjusted upwards or downwards from the analogous weapon based on the number of size categories away from medium the creature is.  (I.e., a huge weapon would have its damage die increased two steps.)



  • Step Four: Determine the weapon's damage type, which is usually the same as other weapons of that family, but may be changed to a different damage type as appropriate.  (For instance, a rapier may be in the blade family, but inflict piercing rather than slashing damage.)



  • Step Five: Determine the weapon's cost, based on an analogously long, ranged, or unarmed weapon, as follows:
    • 2 gp: Closethrown, quiver of 20 arrows/bolts, pouch of 20 stones, or cestus
    • 4 gp: Short or pair of gauntlets
    • 8 gp: Long
    • 
    10 gp: Reach, atlatl, or sling
    • 12 gp: Great
    • 
    20 gp: Crossbow
    • 30 gp: Short bow
    • 40 gp: Arbalest
    • 50 gp: Long bow
    • 75 gp: Hand crossbow 
    There is generally no market for tiny, large, huge, or gargantuan weapons.  



  • Step Six: Determine the weapon's weight, based on an analogously long, ranged, or unarmed weapon, or shield, as follows:
    • 1 lb.: Thrown or cestus
    • 2 lbs.: Close, atlatl, sling, hand crossbow, or pair of gauntlets (when worn without heavy armor)
    • 3 lbs.: Short, Quiver of 20 arrows/bolts, or Pouch of 20 stones
    • 4 lbs.: Long, shortbow, or buckler
    • 6 lbs.: Great, longbow, crossbow, or thrown/small shield
    • 8 lbs.: Reach, arbalest, or large shield
    • 10 lbs.: Great shield
    • 20 lbs.: Tower shield 
    The weight of a tiny weapon is half of its analogue.  The weight of a large, huge, or gargantuan weapon is five times, fifty times, and five hundred times the weight of its analogue, respectively



  • Step Seven: If the weapon possesses range, determine the range of the weapon by analogizing it to other ranged weapons as follows:
    • Thrown weapon: 15'/30'
    • Thrown weapon with launcher: 30'/60'
    • Hand crossbow: 30'/60'
    • Crossbow: 60'/120'
    • Shortbow: 90'/180'
    • Arbalest: 120'/240'
    • Longbow: 150'/300'
    Range for tiny weapons are halved. Range for large, huge, or gargantuan weapons are increased by 50%, 100% and 150%, respectively.



  • Examples: Some common weapons not on the above chart may include:
    • Chakra (thrown axe, d6 slashing, 2 gp, 1 lb., 15'/30')
    • Falchion (great blade, d10 slashing, 12 gp, 6 lbs.)
    • Rapier (short blade, d6 piercing, 4 gp, 3 lbs.)
    • Scimitar (long blade, d8 slashing, 8 gp, 4 lbs.)
    • Scythe (great axe, d10 slashing, 12 gp, 6 lbs.)
    • Sickle (short axe, d6 slashing, 4 gp, 3 lbs.)
    • Throwing knife (thrown spear, d6 piercing, 2 gp, 1 lb., 15'/30')



  • Exotic Weapons: You could also create unique weapons that break the rules, but these should be exceedingly rare, such as:
    Battle yo-yo (thrown stone, d6 bludgeoning, 10 gp, 1 lb., stone returns, cannot use with atlatl)
    • Garotte (close unarmed, d4 slashing, 2 gp., 1 lb., requires two-hands, grants advantage to strangle foe)
    • Whip (reach flail, d4 slashing, 10 gp, 2 lbs., allows you to hold an object in one hand, but not use as weapon or shield)


I use a house rule that defines "close quarters" as any area that is 10' wide or smaller, such as a typical dungeon corridor or a secret passge. It's kind of hard to use large melee weapons in areas that small effectively.

In the past, I've simply applied a -4 penalty to hit when using two-handed melee weapons under those conditions. However, Disadvantage works just 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 added a table with prices and encumberance.  Click on the photo for a larger view.
Very awesome.  

Not sure about Reach weapons doing 1d12 tho - I'd be inclined to switch reach with 2 handed seeing as reach is such an excellent benefit (1d10 + reach vs. 1d12).  The only other change I would make is changing quarterstaff and featherstaff to heavy mace and great club but then they are accounted for under the reflavoring anyway so it's moot.

Great work, Wrecan.
Thanks!

I don't think a greatclub is a reach weapon.  I'm not actually aware of any polearms or reach weapons that would qualify for the mace family.  And quarterstaff really needs to be on the weapon chart.  Unless we were going to make a "staff" family -- which seems pretty redundant with the mace family.  So I think the heavy mace and great clubs are going to have to be reflavored quarterstaffs.

As for reach weapons, I gave them a pretty big minus -- -3 damage when attacking adjacent foes, which basically turns it into a one-handed weapon.  If that's insufficient we could even state they cannot be used against adjacent foes, thus forcing people to switch weapons when combat gets too close.

(Of course, we've just eliminated double weapons, which is what quarterstaves were in 3e.  But I never liked that.  I guess if we made a staff family, "double" would be the family quality.)
Thanks!
I don't think a greatclub is a reach weapon.  I'm not actually aware of any polearms or reach weapons that would qualify for the mace family.  And quarterstaff really needs to be on the weapon chart.  Unless we were going to make a "staff" family -- which seems pretty redundant with the mace family.  So I think the heavy mace and great clubs are going to have to be reflavored quarterstaffs.

As for reach weapons, I gave them a pretty big minus -- -3 damage when attacking adjacent foes, which basically turns it into a one-handed weapon.  If that's insufficient we could even state they cannot be used against adjacent foes, thus forcing people to switch weapons when combat gets too close.

(Of course, we've just eliminated double weapons, which is what quarterstaves were in 3e.  But I never liked that.  I guess if we made a staff family, "double" would be the family quality.)



Ah, I see what I did there.  Of course a great club isn't a reach weapon.  Silly me.  

Just had a thought.  Seeing as disadvantage seems to be the way to handle minuses, why wouldn't reach weapons recieve disadvantage on their damage rolls against adjacent targets instead?  

Agreed. Double weapons should go away and die quietly in a corner.  They were initially cool because they were new and exotic but they quickly became bizarre and redundant.

I have to say, the more I look at it, the more I like it.
Just had a thought.  Seeing as disadvantage seems to be the way to handle minuses, why wouldn't reach weapons recieve disadvantage on their damage rolls against adjacent targets instead?  


It's really important for the game that we limit rules-based disadvantage as much as possible.  Ideally it should take a full action to impose disadvantage on someone, so I am hesitant to impose it on polearm users.  -3 damage seems like plenty.  I guess we could up it to -4, but at that point, the fighter may as well just hit people with his fists.

Actually disadvantage is such a penalty, that it too would mean it's better for the halberdier to just punch people when they got too close.  Since he'd probably be gauntleted, he's better off. 

Actually, I'd probably keep reach at the same damage levels as 2 handers, myself.


Reach balances itself by hosing you if they get in your guard so having at bay balancing the lack of a shield and then a penalty for having someone in your guard kinda evens it out, which tells me that reach weapons should be doing the same damage as any two hander with the reach quality being independant of hands.


Actually, reach ought to be a family of weapons rather than grouped with the hands category. I realise that all reach weapons would be 2 handed by default but it makes more sense.

Versatile fighting's wording is kinda awkward. Shouldn't it read:


Versatile Fighting: If you wield a hand-and-a-half weapon, may use your free hand to hold a thrown weapon or a shield. If you choose to use a buckler, you gain +1 to all damage rolls with that weapon. Hand-and-a-half weapons may not be used to keep opponents at bay as a two-handed weapon would, even if you have both hands free to wield them.



Am I reading that right?

Versatile Fighting: If you wield a hand-and-a-half weapon, you may wield it with two hands and gain a +1 bonus to any damage you inflict with this weapon.  When wielding a hand-and-a-half weapon, you may use your free hand to hold any item that can be held in one hand,  a thrown weapon or a shield and forgo the damage bonus.  You can not keep an opponent at bay with a hand-and-a-half weapon.

Is this better?

Hmm. From the way it's written in the main body of the mod I can't tell whether you're meant to get that +1 to damage is from keeping a half-hand free or for both hands free.


If the notion is to have two hands to occupy, the hand-and-a-half weapon should grant its bonus when using a half-hand item/weapon/shield in their off-hand, though I admit the reality of hand-and-a-half weapons is you really just need both hands free to get the most out of them.

Thanks for the comments! I've reworded Versatile to make it clearer.  I also eliminated my clumsy attempt to ban versatile weapon-users from also carrying a buckler and a thrown weapon in the free hand.  If the language is awkward, it's because I'm trying to word things in a way to preserve the rules in the event a future race is introduced with multiple hands (like a thri-kreen).

As for reach weapons, I think "reach" needs to be in the "hand" section, not the family, becaue polearms should be able to utilize the quality of the family to which it belongs.  That was a halberd acts differently from a pike, glaive, or a bec de corbin, while also having the qualities of a reach weapon.

As for the d12 for reach weapons, I would like to keep it.  First, it's a +1 damage from a two-handed weapon, which I think is manageable.  Second, I like keeping the "hand" damage progression consistent.  It makes things easier to describe and keeps things pretty intuitive.  Third, I really like the dodecahedron, and think it gets short shrift!  If that d12 seems too powerful, I'd rather balance it out by giving reach weapons a bit more weakness in some other area.

Right now, the difference between two-handed weapons and reach weapons are:


  • Reach weapons do +1 damage thanks to the increased damage size

  • Reach weapons get reach, allowing you to keep foes without reach from making melee attacks against you.

  • In the basic rules, reach weapons cannot be used improvised

  • In the module, reach weapons get a -3 damage penalty against adjacent targets (thus converting it into a one-handed weapon with the at bay ability)


Now, I think the basic rules are fine.  Maybe we remove the at bay ability from reach weapons used against adjacent targets?  Or possibly increase the damage penalty to -4 but make it clear you can still use the at bay ability?
@Wrecan

I humbly suggest ignoring multi-armed creatures and strive for natural language.

I love your module but had a hard time really understanding it at first.

Let the rules for multi-armed creatures be dealt with in that creature's list of racial traits.

Then, dumb this WAY down (imagine a 10 year old audience NEEDS to be able to understand).

Then, aim this module at MMearls' e-mail address and FIRE!

Really love it!

-Brad

Now, I think the basic rules are fine.  Maybe we remove the at bay ability from reach weapons used against adjacent targets?  Or possibly increase the damage penalty to -4 but make it clear you can still use the at bay ability?


Keeping people at bay inside a reach weapon's guard doesn't make sense to my brain 'cause at that point you've failed to keep them at bay.  I'd probably keep it exactly as it is but remove that when they're inside your weapon's reach.



You could expand the notion of getting inside someone's guard to include all weapons though. Like close-quartered fighting could give similar penalties to all weapons that are larger than half-hand which would scale it down to the damage of a half-hand weapon and also remove any advantages (at bay, versatile) in the process.


That'd be a bit more forgiving on players who really just love their two handed swords while still preserving small weapons as optimal for close quarters combat.



What about AC bonuses from 1 handed shields or larger in close quarters? Just hit me, do we lose those or have some kind of penalty imposed for using them? Or would that actually be a defensive advantage but it'd hose your attacks?



I'm also curious as to how a small sized two handed sword would interact with a large sized two handed sword. Would the small one be able to keep the large one at bay?



Also agree about keeping it to a humanoid assumption. Saves us some brain pain.

Okay, I went through the rules and tried to simplify the language.  Any further suggestions would be helpful. One think I did was to really simplify the mace penetrating quality.  I did something a little odd.  Let me know what you think.
Keeping people at bay inside a reach weapon's guard doesn't make sense to my brain 'cause at that point you've failed to keep them at bay.  I'd probably keep it exactly as it is but remove that when they're inside your weapon's reach.



I was thinking that as people get in reach you just "choke up" on your pole arm a bit and treat it like a two-handed weapon, at bay and all.

You could expand the notion of getting inside someone's guard to include all weapons though. Like close-quartered fighting could give similar penalties to all weapons that are larger than half-hand which would scale it down to the damage of a half-hand weapon and also remove any advantages (at bay, versatile) in the process.


That seems complicated.  I like the close quarters rules we have... with one change (see below).

That'd be a bit more forgiving on players who really just love their two handed swords while still preserving small weapons as optimal for close quarters combat.


Close quarters and at bay sit in equipoise.  Close quarters should be terrifying for folks with two-handed weapons and reach.  They have no shields and they can't use their main weapon, relegated to drawing a dagger, or punching folks with their fists.  That's why it's so important to keep enemies at bay.  It also makes swarming humanoids like kobolds and goblins terrifying in dungeons.  You're already surrounded by walls on one side and now you've got kobolds charging you.  If they get around you, you're stuck.  It's scary.

What about AC bonuses from 1 handed shields or larger in close quarters? Just hit me, do we lose those or have some kind of penalty imposed for using them? Or would that actually be a defensive advantage but it'd hose your attacks?


Good point.  I made it clear that you can't attack with large weapons.  So you still get your shield defenses.  That is another bonus versatile weapon-users have over two-weapon and reach users; they've got a shield to protect them in close quarters, or a free hand to draw a different weapon with.

I'm also curious as to how a small sized two handed sword would interact with a large sized two handed sword. Would the small one be able to keep the large one at bay?


Ug.  I hate differently sized weapons.  Just tell small creatures that they can't use reach weapons and can only use hand-and-a-half weapons two handed, but when doing so, they are treated as two-handed weapns for any rules that require them, other than "at-bay".  Done.
Also, bows need a family benefit.  Increased range just isn't going to cut it to distinguish it from crossbows (and I despise reloading rules for crossbows).  I'm thinking the piercing quality of the spear may be too powerful.  Otherwise, I'd give that to bows as well.
I believe bows should get a damage bonus from Dexterity OR Strength.

Crossbows can't benefit from a harder draw. They alway provide the same force to the bolt.

Arrows are fired on the draw of the archer. A taller/stronger archer can get a deeper draw.

-Brad

I believe bows should get a damage bonus from Dexterity OR Strength. Crossbows can't benefit from a harder draw. They alway provide the same force to the bolt. Arrows are fired on the draw of the archer. A taller/stronger archer can get a deeper draw.


That's not really a benefit commmensurate with the other families and it basically means that bows are really only useful to characters with high Strength bonuses.
I think maybe reach needs to be a separate property from handedness. Just as you described whips and flails in your exotic weapon section. How will I categorize my battle yo-yo?

Are we still operating on the assumption that players can change weapons automatically without any kind of action or penalty? If a fighter with a reach weapon has an opponent adjacent to them they can just switch to short sword for an attack without a penalty. I wonder if this system combined with free weapon change will begin a tedious process in combat of "formulaic weapon use"?

People that are experienced with the game will know in this situation use X. Inexperienced players won't know the ideal weapon for each situation and my feel either inadequate or take way too long to decide what to do. 
Mixed feelings myself.  First, I do like the effort to simultaneously streamline and differentiate weapons.  No more having three entries for the same weapon or strictly inferior options.  Interesting method of handling close quarters without a mat.  I do have some back-of-the-envelope balance issues though.

I still don't think reach is balanced against two handed.  It all comes down to the difficulty involved with engaging a fellow with reach and disengaging from one with reach, and of switching weapons.  If you're only going to get the benefit of reach for one round and then only when you win initiative, it's underpowered.  If you can 5' step/shift, or you get some kind of AoE when the enemy moves adjacent, it's overpowered.  I'll reserve judgment until the rules for that are finalized, but at the very least it sounds like it's going to be hugely swingy based on playstyle.  And of course, if the real penalty is that the fighter has to carry two weapons, it's no penalty at all.

At bay is kind of awesome.  Seems to me it beats the crap out of having a shield, and makes two handed strictly better than two weapon (unless you've got a huge number of bad guys that resist a given physical damage type, in which case you're still probably better off just carrying two weapons, especially if the off-hand type still gets resisted).  Again, depends on the number of enemies you typically fight at a time and how easy it is for them to just go kill the wizard.

Not entirely sure here whether one can use a longsword and a small or heavy shield at the same time.  I would assume that you can't have more than two hands sum, which means bucklers only, but then how do you use 2.5 handed reach weapons?  If there's no such limitation, it's a bit odd to get three hands' worth out of longsword + large shield.  If there is, it's a huge break with tradition (and arguably realism) to say you can't wield a longsword with anything more than a buckler.  I suppose if we're redefining longsword to actually be a longsword, as opposed to a broadsword/backblade type weapon as it's always been described/depicted.  But then we've got an even bigger break with tradition.  

Axes are hugely underpowered, especially at higher levels.  Treating 1s as 2s on a d10 is +0.1 damage.  Even if you're also getting a bunch of dice from CS, we're talking about fractions of a point of damage at high levels, compared to -level damage for blades, frequent +3 to hit for picks/crossbows, and forget about maces.  At least make it a "reroll ones," being worth 1/2 a point die.  

Crossbows/picks: I feel like +2 would be better, both for realism and balance.  Possibly +1.  But that's me.

Flail: personally I would have qualified it on piercing damage.  After all, if the spikes get stuck in but then can't cut their way around, they're still going grasp.  Foregoing damage altogether seems a bit weak.  Maybe half?

Mace: Hate it.  Sorry, but I do.  You roll a 2 against a dexterous character, and do almost full damage?  But if you miss by just a little, you do nothing?  Not to mention that it's hugely more valuable to a high level character than a low level character, whereas all the other group benefits scale pretty evenly (even blades, as a % of HP/monster damage).  How about, if you miss a creature in heavy armor (or carapace/stone etc.) (and don't roll a 1, or "miss by less than 5"), you do damage equal to your strength?

Spear: not exactly what I would have chosen as the defining ability of a spear, but whatever.  As with flail, I think giving up all damage is a bit weak.  Maybe half?


Keeping people at bay inside a reach weapon's guard doesn't make sense to my brain 'cause at that point you've failed to keep them at bay.  I'd probably keep it exactly as it is but remove that when they're inside your weapon's reach.



I was thinking that as people get in reach you just "choke up" on your pole arm a bit and treat it like a two-handed weapon, at bay and all.



I can see that, but I'm still not 100% with you on that one. Maybe with a feat or some kind of combat superiority thing? Dunno but I don't have a better idea.

That'd be a bit more forgiving on players who really just love their two handed swords while still preserving small weapons as optimal for close quarters combat.

 
Close quarters and at bay sit in equipoise.  Close quarters should be terrifying for folks with two-handed weapons and reach.  They have no shields and they can't use their main weapon, relegated to drawing a dagger, or punching folks with their fists.  That's why it's so important to keep enemies at bay.  It also makes swarming humanoids like kobolds and goblins terrifying in dungeons.  You're already surrounded by walls on one side and now you've got kobolds charging you.  If they get around you, you're stuck.  It's scary.


Yeah, I think the reason you'd soften it up is if you found yourself constantly playing fights at close quarters and not letting the heavy weapons guys shine.. but then probably if you're running a party full of heavy weapons guys in tight tunnels against guys with lots of swarm tactics then you're probably not being very sensitive to the party's idea of fun.


One thing you could do with at bay is allow a reaction attack if someone not your current target does come and attack you to stop their approach (not deal damage). That could also be a feat or combat superiority thing.

I made it clear that you can't attack with large weapons.  So you still get your shield defenses.  That is another bonus versatile weapon-users have over two-weapon and reach users; they've got a shield to protect them in close quarters, or a free hand to draw a different weapon with.


yeah I was thinking about hand and a half weapons in particular. Gives them a real edge. One handers seem to fall behind, in general, 'cause they have no real advantage compared to the hand and a half and suffer the same penalties as the hand and a half weapon does at close quarters. So at this moment there is no reason at all to use any one handed weapon apart for dual wielding, which offers no advantage over dual wielding half handers.


I suggest at the very least you allow people to attack at close quarters with a one handed weapon at a -1 to damage. Or we could extend versatile fighting to 1 handers and let the damage bonus stand with a 1-handed shield and so on... or both, actually. Let them have the +1 to damage when dual wielding or with a 1-handed shield and have close quarters negate that bonus and apply a -2 penalty to damage.


I'm also curious as to how a small sized two handed sword would interact with a large sized two handed sword. Would the small one be able to keep the large one at bay?

 
Ug.  I hate differently sized weapons.  Just tell small creatures that they can't use reach weapons and can only use hand-and-a-half weapons two handed, but when doing so, they are treated as two-handed weapns for any rules that require them, other than "at-bay".  Done.



The rub then is if a two handed guy is fighting a large sized creature. Can a medium sized creature keep a large sized creature at bay? If so, maybe the small guys should be able to keep the medium guys at bay.


Suggestion: allow folks wielding weapons two handed to keep anyone less than two size classes larger than themselves at bay. Small creatures don't benefit from reach, but they are able to wield hand-and-a-half weapons at close quarters with a -3 penalty to damage. Two handers cannot be used in close quarters for any reason.
Quidhala: I think maybe reach needs to be a separate property from handedness.
It really doesn't.  Polearms should benefit from the family it's in.  

Quidhala: Just as you described whips and flails in your exotic weapon section. How will I categorize my battle yo-yo?

Except polearms aren't exotic.  Whips and yo-yos are.  (Has the yo-yo ever been given stats in D&D?)

For me, I'd make the yo-yo a thrown stone with a string attached to it.  So you save money on ammo, but you're limited to a 10' reach.  (Mind you, according to Wiki, battle yo-yos are a myth, but since myths are a staple fo D&D, I'd still allow it.)

Quidhala: I wonder if this system combined with free weapon change will begin a tedious process in combat of "formulaic weapon use"?

It might.  That's a good point.  I think the cow was let out of the barn on that when they brought back damage types, though. 

Quidhala: Inexperienced players won't know the ideal weapon for each situation and my feel either inadequate or take way too long to decide what to do. 


Inexperienced players should not use the weapon module.  Then the choices are easy, and are probably dictated by the proficiency in shields and weapons that your class allows.  You want the biggest of both.

powerroleplayer: I do like the effort to simultaneously streamline and differentiate weapons.  No more having three entries for the same weapon or strictly inferior options.  Interesting method of handling close quarters without a mat.  

Thanks!

powerroleplayer: If you're only going to get the benefit of reach for one round and then only when you win initiative, it's underpowered.  If you can 5' step/shift, or you get some kind of AoE when the enemy moves adjacent, it's overpowered.  

This was drafted assuming, as the playtest packet does, there are no opportunity attacks.  I agree that if you don't get initiative, at bay isn't goingt o help you.  Which is why it's important that reach-users be able to use at-bay on adjacent foes.

powerroleplayer: At bay is kind of awesome.  Seems to me it beats the crap out of having a shield, and makes two handed strictly better than two weapon (unless you've got a huge number of bad guys that resist a given physical damage type, in which case you're still probably better off just carrying two weapons, especially if the off-hand type still gets resisted).  

Any suggestions?

powerroleplayer: Not entirely sure here whether one can use a longsword and a small or heavy shield at the same time.  

You can.

powerroleplayer: Axes are hugely underpowered, especially at higher levels.  Treating 1s as 2s on a d10 is +0.1 damage.  Even if you're also getting a bunch of dice from CS, we're talking about fractions of a point of damage at high levels, compared to -level damage for blades, frequent +3 to hit for picks/crossbows, and forget about maces.  At least make it a "reroll ones," being worth 1/2 a point die.  

I'm trying to limit rerolls.  It slows the game down.  Any other sugegstions for a balance way to to mimc an axe's brutality?

powerroleplayer: Crossbows/picks: I feel like +2 would be better, both for realism and balance.  Possibly +1.  But that's me.

Good point.

powerroleplayer: Flail: personally I would have qualified it on piercing damage.  After all, if the spikes get stuck in but then can't cut their way around, they're still going grasp.  Foregoing damage altogether seems a bit weak.  Maybe half?

Good point!

powerroleplayer: Mace: Hate it.  Sorry, but I do.  ... How about, if you miss a creature in heavy armor (or carapace/stone etc.) (and don't roll a 1, or "miss by less than 5"), you do damage equal to your strength?

Strength modifier, I assume?  Also, I wonder if players are supposed to know how much they miss by.

powerroleplayer: Spear: not exactly what I would have chosen as the defining ability of a spear

To tell the truth, I'm not crazy about it either.  I'm open to suggestions for a different spear family power, preferably one that would also work for bows.

kadim: One thing you could do with at bay is allow a reaction attack if someone not your current target does come and attack you to stop their approach (not deal damage). That could also be a feat or combat superiority thing.

Yeah, I think that would make a good ability for a specialty in polearms.

kadim: I suggest at the very least you allow people to attack at close quarters with a one handed weapon at a -1 to damage. Or we could extend versatile fighting to 1 handers and let the damage bonus stand with a 1-handed shield and so on... or both, actually. Let them have the +1 to damage when dual wielding or with a 1-handed shield and have close quarters negate that bonus and apply a -2 penalty to damage.

Good ideas!

kadim: Can a medium sized creature keep a large sized creature at bay?

No.  I thought I made it clear.  I'll go back and clarify.

Further - I completely understand the concept of handed-ness, but I feel what you're trying for is utility.

Handedness itself is useful only so far as it tells you what physically goes where.

What if you re-organized the concept around use/utility instead of hand/family.

You might have a more "classic" looking table with a more robust set of weapon properties.

Close/Light Weapons
1d4-1d6. Attacks made with these weapons can use either your str or dex modifier for attack and damage. These are the only permissible/usable weapons when you are adjacent to 3 or more creatures, are grappled, are squeezing, or otherwise confined to a small or tight space. In addition, while dual wielding, any attacks made with a close/light weapon deal their full damage but do not benefit from your str or dex modifier. These weapons do not gain a benefit from family type.

Medium Weapons
1d6-1d8. Attacks and damage with medium weapons typically use your str modifier. These weapons benefit from their family type (axe, blade, hammer, flail, unarmed, shield, bow, crossbow). These weapons typically occupy one hand only.

Great Weapons
1d10-1d12. Attacks & damage typically use STR modifier. These weapons typically require 2 hands to wield and benefit from their family. When you hit an opponent with a great weapon, they may not move away from you on their turn unless they disengage as an action.

Reach Weapon
1d12. Reach weapons require 2 hands to wield and use your Str modifier for attack and damage. When you hit a creature with a reach weapon, that creature cannot move through any space you can reach with that weapon, unless that movement is directly away from you. When you attack an adjacent creature with a reach weapon, roll the damage twice and use the lower amount (or deal half damage I guess).

Then you do the families.

What do you think?

-Brad

Just editing. Mace makes my brain hurt. I'm gonna have a go at rewriting this beast, but I'm not sure I fully understand what you want so I might be ballsing it up


Mace: Weapons in this family are "penetrating". If you miss a creatre that is not resistant to bludgeoning damage and you rolled a natural 5 or better on your attack roll, roll damage as normal. Subtract the result of your damage roll from the natural result of your attack roll and deal the difference in damage, minimum damage of 0.


I'm not crazy about this 'cause it's a lot of words. What about this:



Mace: Weapons in this family are "crushing". You can declare a crushing blow before their attack roll, which incurs a -2 penalty on the attack roll. A hit lowers their opponent's AC by 1 until the end of your next turn.


Or somesuch.

I admire the spirit, but this system is ripe with issues. I'll try to point out a few, but also note some good things as well.

.

  • Shields: Shields that you wield grant you a shield bonus to AC as follows: buckler (+1), thrown shield (+1), small shield (+2), large shield (+3), pavoise (+4), and tower shield (+5).  Although damage is listed on the table for each shield, this only applies if you have a feature that lets you "shield bash".  When you wield a large shield, pavoise, or tower shield, you incur a penalty to any d20 rolls modified by Dexterity equal to the number of hands required to wield the shield (either -1 or -2).





Am I alone in feeling that tower sheilds and pavice are way too war/seige oriented concepts to really be made so distinct? Isn't the main focus of this system to be for heroes running through caves and forests with three or four comrades, and not on lines of soldiers in formation? Past that, the scale of these defense bonuses causes havoc with the bounded accuracy system goal. Assuming that most monsters hit the average hero 60% of the time, a character's choice of shield can easily reduce the damage he recieves by a third. When you take into account that there's variance in base AC as well, then it's easy to imagine that some characters will be hit twice as often as others. This is the reason D&D started clamping down on the variety of shields.

 


  • At Bay: If you hit an opponent that is your size or smaller with a two-handed or reach weapon in which you are proficient, the opponent may not use its next action to attack you with a melee weapon with fewer hands than yours, and may not use its next move to move closer to you, or to pass you.





Very problematic mechanics. Should owlbears be prevented from attacking knights who hit them with an axe or a spear? What if everyone in the party is using two-handed or reach weapons? Especially against a mob of hobgoblins doing the same thing? Do we suddenly get the martial equivalent to contra dance? The emphasis on melee weapons encourages a rogue to drop his rapier and throw a dagger at his attacker . . . there's all sorts of weird nonsense in this but before we can even fix this we need to know what is the goal of this mechanic?

 


  • Close Quarters: You are in "close quarters" whenever you are grabbed, squeezed, or there are four or more creatures (friend or foe) or obstacles adjacent to you.  In such a situation, you may only attack with half-handed or unarmed weapons.  Creatures smaller than Small are never in "close quarters" and do not count for purposes of imposing the "close quarters" condition on others.  For each size category larger than Medium increase by two the number of adjacent creatures or obstacles needed to impose "close quarters".  For each size category larger than Medium treat that creature is if it were one additional creature for purposes of imposing "close quarters" on others.





This one isn't terrible, but counting obstacles is problematic and definitely not going to interact well with Theater of the Mind. This is a mechanic that could probably benefit more from 4e's focus on "squares." The mental math for size categories isn't difficult, but I can tell you most players are going to forget when and how to implement this rule, and it does a great disservice to the great number of players that want their hero to be able to cleave through multiple adjacent enemies with a giant weapon.

 


  • Reach: These weapons allow you to attack from five feet away, which is beyond the reach of non-reach melee weapons.  Attacks made against adjacent foes with these weapons incur a -4 penalty to damage (minimum damage of 1), but can still keep an enemy "at bay".  Under the weapon module, reach weapons can be used as improvised weapons by characters not proficient in them. 





A penalty for attacking adjacent enemies with a spear or flail still seem unwarranted in my opinion, but damage penalties are better tools for this than attack penalties.  After several levels this mechanic will almost cease to matter.

 


  • Two-Weapon Fighting: If you wield two weapons, neither of which are larger than a one-handed weapon, you may designate which weapon you use for your weapon attacks.  This weapon is called your "primary weapon".  If you hit with that "primary weapon" and you are trained in the use of that weapon, you may add 1d3 to the damage.  This additional damage will have the damage type of the weapon you wield that is not your "primary weapon".  





An acceptable approach. You'll still need some manner for this to scale with the rest of damage in the system.

 


  • Axe: Weapons in this family are "brutal".  When you hit a creature that is not resistant to slashing damage, you gain a +1 bonus to damage for each damage die that results in a natural "1".  





Or you can just say that for Axes any rolled 1's count as 2's.

 


  • Blade: Weapons in this family are "deflective".  When you hit a creature, and its next action is a melee weapon attack against you, you reduce the damage inflicted by such an attack by your class level.  





This will give most character near constant damage reduction. You'll have to check to make sure that it scales appropriately with the damage of monsters. If the damage doesn't scale linearly then this won't be easy to balance.

 


  • Crossbow/Pick: Weapons in these families are "puncturing".  Any attack against an opponent wearing metal armor is made at a +3 to hit.  At the DM's discretion, this bonus may also apply to creatures that are made of stone or metal (such as some golems), that have exoskeletons (such as giant insects), or that benefit from carapaces (such as turtle dragons).  A hand crossbow may target enemies up to 100' away, but attacks that target enemies farther than 50' away incur a -2 penalty.  A crossbow may target enemies up to 150' away, but attacks that target enemies farther than 75' away incur a -2 penalty.  An arbalest may target enemies up to 250' away, but attacks that target enemies farther than 125' away incur a -2 penalty.





Let's hope they never introduce metal armor that provides less than +3 AC.



  • Hammer: Weapons in this family are "battering".  When you hit a target that is not resistant to bludgeoning damage and is not larger than you, you may choose to reduce the damage you inflict by two points and instead push the target five feet away from you.  You must decide to invoke this quality before rolling to attack.





Again, 2 damage is going to be inconsequential later in the game. Combining this with at-bay and a reached weapon is just broken. 

 


  • Mace: Weapons in this family are "penetrating".  If you miss a creature that is not resistant to bludgeoning damage, and do not roll a natural "1", roll damage as normal, but subtract from that roll the unmodified result of your attack roll.  If that number is positive, you inflict that amount of bludgeoning damage on the foe.  Thrown weapons are treated as having one hand and reach weapons are treated as having two-and-a-half hands, for purposes of the penetrating quality.





Somewhat complicated and doesn't scale well since the d20 isn't modified. 

 


  • Spear: Weapons in this family are "piercing".  If you hit a creature that is not resistant to piercing damage and is not larger than you, you may choose to forgo inflicting damage, and instead immobilize it.  The creature remains immobilized until the end of your next turn unless you use your action to maintain the condition.  The condition ends immediately if you move (or are moved) out of reach of the target.





This becomes a tyrrany of accuracy issue where a character's reliability to hit can be transformed into a near constant status effect. For some creatures and situations this will be just devestating.

 


  • Shield: You may not weild multiple shields.  Pavoise (two-handed shield) allow you to use an action to transfer your shield bonus to one adjacent creature until the end of your next turn, as long as the creature does not move in the interim.  Tower shields (reach shield) extend the AC bonus to creatures adjacent to you if you use your action to wield your shield.  As set forth above, bucklers (half-handed) allow you to hold a thrown weapon in that hand.





I thought that the classical benefit of a pavice is portable cover. Interesting that it can be used to protect an ally while still stacking with cover. I think a better option would be to scrap the specific shield benefits and include a rule that allows shield carrying characters to provide cover for allies



WEAPON REFLAVORING

If a player wants a character to wield a weapon that is not listed, simply determine how many hands and what family it should be in, and use that weapon as a base to determine cost and weight.  Feel free to change the damage type it inflicts if appropriate.  For instance, a rapier may be a one-handed blade (i.e., short sword) that inflicts piercing damage instead of slashing damage, but keeps the blade's deflective quality.




This is pure and simple sanity. See, I'm not all grumbling criticism.
I think you can play with disadvantage a bit:

Mace - a mace can deliver a crushing blow. When you attempt to deliver a crushing blow, make an attack with disadvantage, if you hit, treat the hit as a critical hit dealing damage accordingly.

-Brad

I think you can play with disadvantage a bit: Mace - a mace can deliver a crushing blow. When you attempt to deliver a crushing blow, make an attack with disadvantage, if you hit, treat the hit as a critical hit dealing damage accordingly.


ooooooooooo I LIKE!

On families -

Blades - slashing damage
Blades are balanced and quick, so they don't require the same grip as other weapons. When using a blade in two hands (great weapon or reach) you may also equip a buckler. When fighting with two blades at the same time, you gain a +1 shield bonus to AC (this bonus is +2 if you have two weapon defense). When fighting with a blade in only one hand, attempts to disarm you have disadvantage.

Axes- slashing damage
Axes are brutal weapons. Treat all damage rolls of a 1 or 2 as a 3 instead when attacking with an axe.

Flails- bludgeoning or piercing damage
Flails (and whips) can make grasping attacks (as written). Attacks with flails ignore shield bonuses to AC.

Maces- bludgeoning damage
As written above.

Spears - piercing damage
Spears can be used to make penetrating attacks. Penetrating attacks ignore the defense bonus granted by cover (except for total cover).

Shields
Light - buckler. A buckler is a small shield for personal defense. It can be equipped alongside any bow or cross bow. Because of its small size, use of a buckler does not count as wearing a shield for purposes of protecting/defending others.

Medium shield. A medium shield gives +1 shield bonus to AC and satisfies shield requirements for feats and abilities.

Tower shield. Grants +1 shield bonus to you and adjacent allies. Because of its size and weight, attacks made while using a tower shield do not benefit from the special properties of weapons. For example, if you are wielding a tower shield and a flail, you may not make wrapping attacks.

-Brad

A part of me is kind of fond of the idea of all weapons doing the same dice of damage alah old OD&D ... with a bunch Wrecan Style Distinctive Features to make ALL the difference.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Reinhart: Am I alone in feeling that tower sheilds and pavice are way too war/seige oriented concepts to really be made so distinct? Isn't the main focus of this system to be for heroes running through caves and forests with three or four comrades, and not on lines of soldiers in formation?

The main focus, sure.  But traditionally, there have been abd can be adventures in which the PCs may want to besiege a castle.  3e had rules for tower shields and I've seen plenty of gammes in which they were used to good effect.

Reinhart: Past that, the scale of these defense bonuses causes havoc with the bounded accuracy system goal.

They don't go farther than +3.  The two-handed and reach shields grant bonuses only where someone uses an entire action to do nothing but shield his allies.


Reinhart: Should owlbears be prevented from attacking knights who hit them with an axe or a spear?

Owlbears are large.  They can't be held at bay.

Reinhart: what is the goal of this mechanic?

To allow reach weapons to do what pole arms were used for: keeping combatants at bay.

Reinhart: counting obstacles is problematic and definitely not going to interact well with Theater of the Mind.

Why?  

Reinhart: it does a great disservice to the great number of players that want their hero to be able to cleave through multiple adjacent enemies with a giant weapon.

Then keep your enemies in front of you. Also, someone should be able to get a specialization that lets them use a favored weapon in close quarters.  That's sort of beyond the mission of this project though.
 

Reinhart: A penalty for attacking adjacent enemies with a spear or flail still seem unwarranted in my opinion, but damage penalties are better tools for this than attack penalties.  After several levels this mechanic will almost cease to matter.

-4 to damage just turns the  reach weapon into a half-handed one.  If the -4 won't matter in a few levels than weapon size doesn't matter either.
 

Reinhart: You'll still need some manner for this to scale with the rest of damage in the system.

It does.  All two-weapon fighting does is offer a second die, so you feel like you're rolling a die for a second weapon, but brings your damage to the same level as when you are two-handed fighting.  It's inherently balanced. 


Reinhart: Or you can just say that for Axes any rolled 1's count as 2's.

I could.  I don't see that way is any better. 


Reinhart: This will give most character near constant damage reduction.

Only if you are near constantly hitting your opponent and that opponent is attacking you with a melee attack.

Reinhart: Let's hope they never introduce metal armor that provides less than +3 AC.

I've reduced the bonus to +1 


Reinhart: Again, 2 damage is going to be inconsequential later in the game.

Again, weapon damage differentiation is equally inconsequential later in the game.  If later in the game, you're relying on weapon differentiation to make your character feel distinct, then the game has other issues.

Reinhart: Somewhat complicated and doesn't scale well since the d20 isn't modified. 

It scales just like all the other mechanics you keep deriding as irrelevant at later levels. 


Reinhart: a better option would be to scrap the specific shield benefits and include a rule that allows shield carrying characters to provide cover for allies

I think I prefer to keep things simple and not have the shield rules dramatically chaneg between large shields and pavaise. 



bawylie: I think you can play with disadvantage a bit: Mace - a mace can deliver a crushing blow. When you attempt to deliver a crushing blow, make an attack with disadvantage, if you hit, treat the hit as a critical hit dealing damage accordingly.

Interesting idea!  I'll think on it.

bawylie: When using a blade in two hands (great weapon or reach) you may also equip a buckler. When fighting with two blades at the same time, you gain a +1 shield bonus to AC (this bonus is +2 if you have two weapon defense).

I think this is more appropriate for a two-weapon Specialty than a basic two-weapon rule.  Also, I'm not sure why we care to encourage people to use two blades instead of a blade and hammer or blade and dirk.

bawylie: When fighting with a blade in only one hand, attempts to disarm you have disadvantage.

I'm really trying to limit how often (dis)advantage is offered.  Advantage bloat is one of the riskiest parts of Next game design.

bawylie: Axes- slashing damage Axes are brutal weapons. Treat all damage rolls of a 1 or 2 as a 3 instead when attacking with an axe.

That makes the hatchet (d4 axe) really potent!

bawylie: Spears - piercing damage Spears can be used to make penetrating attacks. Penetrating attacks ignore the defense bonus granted by cover (except for total cover).

Why do spears ignore low walls?  Can they really pierce a wall?

bawylie: Shields Light - buckler. A buckler is a small shield for personal defense. It can be equipped alongside any bow or cross bow. Because of its small size, use of a buckler does not count as wearing a shield for purposes of protecting/defending others. Medium shield. A medium shield gives +1 shield bonus to AC and satisfies shield requirements for feats and abilities. Tower shield. Grants +1 shield bonus to you and adjacent allies. Because of its size and weight, attacks made while using a tower shield do not benefit from the special properties of weapons. For example, if you are wielding a tower shield and a flail, you may not make wrapping attacks.

I don't think the shield rules need amending at this point.  Though I should mention you can wear a buckle and use bow or crossbow.  I wouldn't allow it for other two-handed weapons.

Further - I completely understand the concept of handed-ness, but I feel what you're trying for is utility. Handedness itself is useful only so far as it tells you what physically goes where.


I see your point and I do see how "hand" is becoming a confusing term.  I'm not crazy about "use" or "utility" as those are pretty generic.  I'm thinking something like unwieldiness, though I'd want a word that is less, well, unwieldy.  Maybe "heft"?

The categories could be: close (d4), short (d6), long (d8), great (d10), and, of course, thrown (d6) and reach (d12).
I think maybe reach needs to be a separate property from handedness. Just as you described whips and flails in your exotic weapon section. How will I categorize my battle yo-yo?

Are we still operating on the assumption that players can change weapons automatically without any kind of action or penalty? If a fighter with a reach weapon has an opponent adjacent to them they can just switch to short sword for an attack without a penalty. I wonder if this system combined with free weapon change will begin a tedious process in combat of "formulaic weapon use"?

People that are experienced with the game will know in this situation use X. Inexperienced players won't know the ideal weapon for each situation and my feel either inadequate or take way too long to decide what to do. 

Actually it is kinda realistic. Swiss pikemen typically carried a heavy knife. If enemy infantry penetrated the pike thicket then they'd pull out the knife and at least they would be able to fight. Of course you have to DROP your polearm to do that, which may be free, but picking it up again probably isn't. At the very least the DM is unlikely to let you get away with a whole lot of dropping and sheathing and unsheathing and etc all in one round. Presumably the combat system will address this in detail when the rules are more polished.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
The categories could be: close (d4), short (d6), long (d8), great (d10), and, of course, thrown (d6) and reach (d12).

I like these categories. Going with size terms we apply to races can get too confusing and I think this is a good way to do it that avoids ambiguity.

I wonder if this system combined with free weapon change will begin a tedious process in combat of "formulaic weapon use"?


People that are experienced with the game will know in this situation use X. Inexperienced players won't know the ideal weapon for each situation and my feel either inadequate or take way too long to decide what to do. 


Actually it is kinda realistic. Swiss pikemen typically carried a heavy knife. If enemy infantry penetrated the pike thicket then they'd pull out the knife and at least they would be able to fight. Of course you have to DROP your polearm to do that, which may be free, but picking it up again probably isn't. At the very least the DM is unlikely to let you get away with a whole lot of dropping and sheathing and unsheathing and etc all in one round. Presumably the combat system will address this in detail when the rules are more polished.


Yeah I don't really mind people switching weapons. In fact the idea tha people would have to be prepared to fight with more than one weapon was one of the reasons I liked what was initially presented.


It also gives a decent advantage to two weapon fighting, because it provides for a means of attack in all situations without penalties.

Okay, I've changed the terminology from "hands" to "length", which I think really cleans up a lot of confusing terminology.  I'll have to change the chart later.

I'm still not crazy with the familial benefits for axes, bows/spears, and maces.  I'm thinking bawylie's "damage disadvantage" idea may be a better way to illustrate the axes' brutality than the turn 1's to 2's trick I was using.  I'm actually thinking all the weapon family tricks might be triggered by choosing to take disadvantage.  That way, if you want to keep things simple, you never have to choose to take disadvantage.  It lets people who want weapon differentiation sit at the table with those who don't and keep things relatively balanced.

Bows/spears really need something better, though, taking disadvantage to pin somebody on a hit, might work fine. And I agree the mace idea is a bit wonky.
Let's take a look at what the familial benefits would be if they all triggered when the player chooses to take disadvantage...  (I've decided the rules for range and thrown weapons should be listed separately in the "length" section.)

Family Benefits

You can only gain the features associated with a weapon's family if you are proficient in the weapon.  In order to gain the benefit of a weapon's familial feature (other than shields and unarmed), you must choose to take disadvantage on the attack roll, and you must not be attacking a creature resistant to the weapon's damage type.  You must roll twice and take the lower result, even if you have advantage from other sources.  This is the one circumstance in which advantage and disadvantage do not cancel one another out.  The feature manifests if the disadvantaged attack is successful.  Here are the rules pertaining to each weapon family:


  • Axe: Weapons in this family are "brutal".  A hit is treated as a critical hit.



  • Blade: Weapons in this family are "deflective".  In addition to the damage inflicted by the attack, a hit means the target takes damage as normal, and the target's next action cannot target you with a melee attack.



  • Bow/Spear: Weapons in these families are "piercing". In addition to the damage inflicted by the attack, the creature you hit is immobilized the target until the end of its next turn, ad long as it is not larger than you.  If you immobilized the target with a melee attack, you may use your next action to maintain the immobilized condition until the end of your next turn. If you immobilized the target with a melee attack and move (or are moved) out of reach of the target, the immobilized condition immediately ends.



  • Crossbow/Pick: Weapons in these families are "puncturing". In addition to the damage inflicted by the attack, the target incurs a -2 to AC until its armor can be repaired. At the DM's discretion, this feature may also apply to creatures that are made of stone or metal (such as some golems), that have exoskeletons (such as giant insects), or that benefit from carapaces (such as turtle dragons). For such creatures, the penealty applies until it it is fully healed of all damage.



  • Flail: Weapons in this family are "grasping". In addition to the damage inflicted by the attack, you grab the target or one of its possessions, if it is not larger than you. A grabbed foe cannot leave your reach, but may, as its action, make an opposed Strength check to escape the grab. While it is grabbed, with a subsequent action, you can engage in an opposed Strength check. If you win, you can either cause the foe to fall prone, move the foe as you move on this turn, or disarm the foe of one object it holds. The disarmed object falls adjacent to the foe.



  • Hammer: Weapons in this family are "battering". In addition to the damage inflicted by the attack, you push the target five feet away from you and knock it prone, unless the target is larger than you.



  • Mace: Weapons in this family are "penetrating". If the unmodified result of the higher of the two dice rolled on the disadvantaged attack is an 18, 19, or 20, you inflict half damage on the opponent.



  • Shield: You may not weild multiple shields. Great shields (great shield) allow you to use an action to transfer your shield bonus to one adjacent creature until the end of your next turn, as long as the creature does not move in the interim. Tower shields (reach shield) extend the AC bonus to creatures adjacent to you if you use your action to wield your shield. As set forth above, bucklers (close) allow you to hold a thrown weapon in that hand.



  • Unarmed: These weapons can always be used in close quarters. In addition, your fist (close unarmed) cannot be disarmed, but a successful fist (close unarmed) attack on any creature with a touch attack (such as most oozes) will also be treated as if the creature had successfuly touched you. A monster's attacks are always considered to be unarmed attacks, unless they are with a weapon. You can wield any weapon with a shorter length than your unarmed weapon.  (Thus, you can wield a close weapon in a hand with a cestus (short unarmed), and cannot wield a close or short weapon in a hand with a gauntlet (long unarmed).)

@wercan

I really like the Close Quarters combat rules.

Regarding the 'At Bay' mechanic I feel that the stopping effect happen at the wrong point in the round. It should trigger on enemy movement, not on attacks.
It should also work against a creature one step larger.

I have a houserule that if you advance through the reach area of a reach weapon (polearm), that attacker may make an attack of opportunity. If the attack of opportunity hits then the move is stopped. So if a character stands with a longspear against a bear, 15ft from each other, the bear will have to trigger an attack of oportunity if it wants to move closer than 10tf. If it gets hit by the opportunity attack then it will be stopped at 10ft. This is even if the spearman just goes defensive. Btw, bears are large.. and this is exctly how 'bear spears' were used in hunting, although when the bear got stuck, the spear-but was set against the ground.

Maybe the 'at bay' property should only work with spears and polearms.
A greatsword or a greataxe could definitely trigger on movement in the same way, but have some other effect instead of the stopping, something more fitting to smashing someone with a heavy object.
I think you can play with disadvantage a bit: Mace - a mace can deliver a crushing blow. When you attempt to deliver a crushing blow, make an attack with disadvantage, if you hit, treat the hit as a critical hit dealing damage accordingly.



Hmm... seems like a 5E Power Attack. Could maybe apply to more weapon groups?