Weapon Damage and Level Progression

I was thinking in order to streamline things, maybe weapons should increase their damage die as you progress in level.  In this way, we can help the balance population out, simplify combat, and spped up a turn by not having as many bonuses.

It could look like this:

A typical dagger does d4.  But, by level 3 (or 5 or 7 or whatever) in a warrior's hand it does d6.  By 6th level it does d8.  Same could be true for other weapons as well.  A longsword might deal d8, but wouldn't increase till 5th level. 

Added onto this, you could add class and racial advantages.  Maybe the barbarian increases a bit faster with certain two handed weapons.  Maybe the ranger increases faster with bows as opposed to slings, etc.  Maybe the dwarf increases a bit faster with warhammers.  This way we can get rid of the bonuses, proficiencies, etc.

Just a thought.       
Wouldn't "damage-by-class" instead of a weapons table radically simplify this idea?
Wouldn't "damage-by-class" instead of a weapons table radically simplify this idea?


I'm warming up to the idea of weapon damage by class, but it isn't inherently simple.  Do you go by proficiency?  Do you use it blanketly for all weapons?  And should some classes have mechanics that alter this (like a rogue being able to do more than/as much damage with daggers as a fighter)?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Do you use it blanketly for all weapons?

that one.
And should some classes have mechanics that alter this (like a rogue being able to do more than/as much damage with daggers as a fighter)?

which only really exists because rogues generally get stuck with crappy weapons anyway.



Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.
Wouldn't "damage-by-class" instead of a weapons table radically simplify this idea?



It would simplify it.  I was thinking along the lines of simplifying the play, yet keeping complexity in choice.  You know, the old quote about Louis Armstrong, "Complex in his simplicity."  It seems to me, if the chart is too simple, people complain a lot.  When it has "complexity" to it, then people who like to look, analyze, compare and contrast, get their fill too. 

In the end, I was looking for something that while at the table would be amazingly simple: You're a level 5 fighter weilding a mace.  That does d8.  This way it knocks out bonuses that have to be remembered and calculated.  Yet, at the same time, a min/maxer might love it, cause they'll be able to find what weapon will work best regarding class and level. 
Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.



That is not what I was suggesting.  I was suggesting that weapons increase their damage based on class and level.  The higher level you are, the greater the damage your weapon produces.  I was trying to minimize keeping track of bonuses and adding them into a player's turn.
Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.



That is not what I was suggesting.  I was suggesting that weapons increase their damage based on class and level.  The higher level you are, the greater the damage your weapon produces.  I was trying to minimize keeping track of bonuses and adding them into a player's turn.



Is [W] + STR (+ MDD) that complicated, though? This seems more complicated, and harder in practice than just remembering how much damage a longsword does; now you have to remember how much it does at x level...
Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.



That is not what I was suggesting.  I was suggesting that weapons increase their damage based on class and level.  The higher level you are, the greater the damage your weapon produces.  I was trying to minimize keeping track of bonuses and adding them into a player's turn.



Is [W] + STR (+ MDD) that complicated, though? This seems more complicated, and harder in practice than just remembering how much damage a longsword does; now you have to remember how much it does at x level...



Yes, it actually is more difficult. 

You, as a player need to remember nothing.  Just d8.  That's all.  When you raise a level, when you look on the cart it'll state the damage.  d8.  Nothing changes.  Maybe next level, you look and say, "Oh, I got a feat and my damage is d10."

That's much easier than tinkering with numbers each and every time you roll.  I know it's not a big deal to some (and frankly it sometimes drives me crazy waiting for someone to add numbers up), but it takes time for a lot of people.  In this way, that doesn't exist.   
To do this properly, all weapons have to start at d4 to giveyou room to expand as you level.  But to distinguish weapon sizes, you could have multiple dice.

So light weapons inflict d4
one-handed weapons inflict 2d4. 
two-handed weapons inflict 3d4.

Then, as you advance, you increase the damage dice.

The problem is that the light weapons will not keep up in damage.  The difference between d4 and d12 is 4 median damage.  The difference between d4 and 3d4 is only 5 median damage.  But the difference between 4d4 and 12d4 is 20 median damage.
To do this properly, all weapons have to start at d4 to giveyou room to expand as you level.  But to distinguish weapon sizes, you could have multiple dice.

So light weapons inflict d4
one-handed weapons inflict 2d4. 
two-handed weapons inflict 3d4.

Then, as you advance, you increase the damage dice.

The problem is that the light weapons will not keep up in damage.  The difference between d4 and d12 is 4 median damage.  The difference between d4 and 3d4 is only 5 median damage.  But the difference between 4d4 and 12d4 is 20 median damage.



Perhaps they could increase at different levels then.  It may seem more difficult to balance from a designer's standpoint, but it would still be a lot easier on the player.  Maybe they could even increase at different levels based on class.  This way there's no clear cut winner, seeing how at level 5 you might be a little bit better off wielding a one handed weapon, but at level 10 a tiny bit better off using a light weapon and at 15 a two handed weapon.

To do this properly, all weapons have to start at d4 to giveyou room to expand as you level.  But to distinguish weapon sizes, you could have multiple dice.

So light weapons inflict d4
one-handed weapons inflict 2d4. 
two-handed weapons inflict 3d4.

Then, as you advance, you increase the damage dice.

The problem is that the light weapons will not keep up in damage.  The difference between d4 and d12 is 4 median damage.  The difference between d4 and 3d4 is only 5 median damage.  But the difference between 4d4 and 12d4 is 20 median damage.

The difference between 4d4 and 12d4 is proportionally the same difference between d4 and 3d4.
They're already simplifying the system, aren't they? Aren't MDD being traded out for X[W]+Stat mod?
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
In the Google Hangouts Session, didn't Mearls mention the possibility of making the extra damage based on weapon type [w]...[w]x2...[w]x3 as martial classes level up instead of MDD?   I like it that way.  I think adding 3d6, 4d6, 5d6 and 6d6 gets too bloated.    

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In the Google Hangouts Session, didn't Mearls mention the possibility of making the extra damage based on weapon type [w]...[w]x2...[w]x3 as martial classes level up instead of MDD?   I like it that way.  I think adding 3d6, 4d6, 5d6 and 6d6 gets too bloated.    



I wasn't actually trying to add any dice d4 goes to d6 goes to d8 goes to d10 goes to d12, etc), and I was trying to stay away from multipliers.  But, now that I'm thinking about it the mathematics would be too swingy for balance.  I mean, where do you go after d12, d20?  As great as what that is, it's just too random.
Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.


This.

I agree fighters should not be defined by their weapons like the older editions, but at the same time, players do want to make their choices mean SOMETHING.
Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.


This.

I agree fighters should not be defined by their weapons like the older editions, but at the same time, players do want to make their choices mean SOMETHING.



This is exactly why I prefer pre-3E editions. Your stats, NWPs, kits, and so on meant so much more than whatever weapon you were carrying. You didn't have to engage in the arms race every time you leveled like in later editions (*ding* I can get a +1 sword, *ding* now I can get a +2 sword, *ding* now I can get a +3 sword...). You could keep the same weapons and armor for 10 levels or more if you wanted...and they were just as effective. Something later editions abandoned for whatever reason.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.


This.

I agree fighters should not be defined by their weapons like the older editions, but at the same time, players do want to make their choices mean SOMETHING.


You can achieve that through properties though.  Damage is solely a measure of effectiveness as a weapon, making one lethal weapon do more damage than another weapon that is also lethal is a silly way to make weapon choice count.  Every weapon on the list can kill.  Killing with a lethal weapon is all about luck and skill/training, not about the weapon itself.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.


This.

I agree fighters should not be defined by their weapons like the older editions, but at the same time, players do want to make their choices mean SOMETHING.



This is exactly why I prefer pre-3E editions. Your stats, NWPs, kits, and so on meant so much more than whatever weapon you were carrying. You didn't have to engage in the arms race every time you leveled like in later editions (*ding* I can get a +1 sword, *ding* now I can get a +2 sword, *ding* now I can get a +3 sword...). You could keep the same weapons and armor for 10 levels or more if you wanted...and they were just as effective. Something later editions abandoned for whatever reason.


2e, the farthest edition back that I still recall in any detail, was very much part of the arms race.  "+X weapon to hit" is just as much a part of the arms race as needing a +X weapon to keep up with the math.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.


2e, the farthest edition back that I still recall in any detail, was very much part of the arms race.  "+X weapon to hit" is just as much a part of the arms race as needing a +X weapon to keep up with the math.



Do you know the percentage of monsters in 2E that required a +X weapon to hit? 16%, including demons, devils, lycanthropes, and so on. Remove the outer-planes creatures, and it drops to somewhere around 6%. That's it. That means that 94% of the creatures you will come across in a standard, non-planes-hopping campaign (of any level) have no such +X to-hit requirements. That sword the fighter got at level 1 is just as effective at level 5 and at level 10 and at level 15, etc.

With 3E, that all went away. Every single level the PCs gained, they could acquire new, more powerful items...and they did everything in their power to get them. By the time 4E rolled around, they implemented "wish-lists" so that the arms race flared up to huge proportions. Comparing the arms-race from 2E back and from 3E forward is as stark a contrast as black and white.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft

2e, the farthest edition back that I still recall in any detail, was very much part of the arms race.  "+X weapon to hit" is just as much a part of the arms race as needing a +X weapon to keep up with the math.



Do you know the percentage of monsters in 2E that required a +X weapon to hit? 16%


Could you share with me where you got that number?

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.


2e, the farthest edition back that I still recall in any detail, was very much part of the arms race.  "+X weapon to hit" is just as much a part of the arms race as needing a +X weapon to keep up with the math.



Do you know the percentage of monsters in 2E that required a +X weapon to hit? 16%


Could you share with me where you got that number?



The 2E Core Rules CD (and later the 2.5 Core Rules CD) came with a monster-maker tool. It also had a comprehensive compendium of all 2E monsters (released up to that point, anyway). That compendium had filters that allowed you to only view certain level monsters, certain AC monsters, certain XP monsters, and so on, so you could easily pick from level-appropriate monsters when adventure designing. Using those filters, you could narrow it down so that only monsters that required +X or better weapons to hit would be viewable. The list was surprisingly small when compared to the thousands of available monsters that were made in the 11 year run of 2E.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft

2e, the farthest edition back that I still recall in any detail, was very much part of the arms race.  "+X weapon to hit" is just as much a part of the arms race as needing a +X weapon to keep up with the math.



Do you know the percentage of monsters in 2E that required a +X weapon to hit? 16%


Could you share with me where you got that number?



The 2E Core Rules CD (and later the 2.5 Core Rules CD) came with a monster-maker tool. It also had a comprehensive compendium of all 2E monsters (released up to that point, anyway). That compendium had filters that allowed you to only view certain level monsters, certain AC monsters, certain XP monsters, and so on, so you could easily pick from level-appropriate monsters when adventure designing. Using those filters, you could narrow it down so that only monsters that required +X or better weapons to hit would be viewable. The list was surprisingly small when compared to the thousands of available monsters that were made in the 11 year run of 2E.


That's interesting.  Say, since you have such an easy reference tool, those 16% of monsters that required +X weapons to hit, what percentage are they when you start levelling up?  For example, what percents are they for monsters suitable for facing PCs at, let's say levels 10, 15, and 20?

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.


This.

I agree fighters should not be defined by their weapons like the older editions, but at the same time, players do want to make their choices mean SOMETHING.



Again, this is not what I was stating.  Not anywhere close. 

That's interesting.  Say, since you have such an easy reference tool, those 16% of monsters that required +X weapons to hit, what percentage are they when you start levelling up?  For example, what percents are they for monsters suitable for facing PCs at, let's say levels 10, 15, and 20?



Since the monster math of 2E was sometimes a bit wonky, you had a broad range to deal with. A 2 HD monster could have an amazing armor class and THAC0, while an 8 HD monster could have a terrible AC and THAC0. Oh, and by the way...there were no monsters that required higher than a +3 weapon to hit, and there were less than 20 of those that did require a +3 weapon to hit.

Going by your given examples of PCs level 10 to 20, and only listing monsters that required a +3 or better weapon to hit...

By level 10, a fighter that didn't even try very hard could successfully hit a Night Hag or Marut (both AC 0). By level 15, he could hang with a Pit Fiend, a Phoenix, and even a Death Slaad (ACs of -5, -3, -4, respectively). With any amount of success, he could even tie it on with a Balor, Arcanaloth, or Ultroloth (all AC -8), but I would suggest waiting until level 18 or so.

If you're below level 10 you probably won't ever come across anything requiring a +3 weapon to hit. If you do, it'll likely be an Intellect Devourer (AC 4). If you never leave the Prime, you probably won't come across anything, ever, that requires more than a +2 to hit. Even the fabled and mighty Tarrasque only requires a +1 or better to-hit (as do most lycanthropes and some of the more powerful undead).

In short, if a PC acquires a +2 weapon, he likely won't ever need to trade up for something better unless he plans on plane-hopping much later in his career.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
In short, if a PC acquires a +2 weapon, he likely won't ever need to trade up for something better unless he plans on plane-hopping much later in his career.


You keep mentioning plane hopping, but that is not the only place demons and devils and such are encountered.  There are plenty of demonic cults, evil clerics, and evil wizards who've enslaved demons as their muscle in the prime material plane.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

In short, if a PC acquires a +2 weapon, he likely won't ever need to trade up for something better unless he plans on plane-hopping much later in his career.


You keep mentioning plane hopping, but that is not the only place demons and devils and such are encountered.  There are plenty of demonic cults, evil clerics, and evil wizards who've enslaved demons as their muscle in the prime material plane.



This is true.
It also doesn't change the fact that a PC will never need more than a +3 magic weapon, no matter where he goes. And to that end, he won't need the +3 weapon until at least level 10 or so (that magic level number that most people claim they never play past).
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
In short, if a PC acquires a +2 weapon, he likely won't ever need to trade up for something better unless he plans on plane-hopping much later in his career.


You keep mentioning plane hopping, but that is not the only place demons and devils and such are encountered.  There are plenty of demonic cults, evil clerics, and evil wizards who've enslaved demons as their muscle in the prime material plane.



This is true.
It also doesn't change the fact that a PC will never need more than a +3 magic weapon, no matter where he goes. And to that end, he won't need the +3 weapon until at least level 10 or so (that magic level number that most people claim they never play past).


Yeah, 2e kept the value of X in "+X weapon" under better control.  That's no lie.  But the point is that you do eventually need a +X weapon because, as you level, the creatures that you don't need an army of to challenge the party grow more and more likely to require a +X weapon to hit them.  The arms race is still there, it's just a footrace compared to the nascar like race in 3e and 4e.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Weapons should be more than flavor. If I go to the trouble of wielding a greatsword, it should definitely not do the same damage as a dagger. Too simplified.


This.

I agree fighters should not be defined by their weapons like the older editions, but at the same time, players do want to make their choices mean SOMETHING.


You can achieve that through properties though.  Damage is solely a measure of effectiveness as a weapon, making one lethal weapon do more damage than another weapon that is also lethal is a silly way to make weapon choice count.  Every weapon on the list can kill.  Killing with a lethal weapon is all about luck and skill/training, not about the weapon itself.


Actually, I agree with this.  But I want it expanded past 'Slashing/Piercing/Blunt'.  Not sure what, though.

2e, the farthest edition back that I still recall in any detail, was very much part of the arms race.  "+X weapon to hit" is just as much a part of the arms race as needing a +X weapon to keep up with the math.



Do you know the percentage of monsters in 2E that required a +X weapon to hit? 16%


Could you share with me where you got that number?



The 2E Core Rules CD (and later the 2.5 Core Rules CD) came with a monster-maker tool. It also had a comprehensive compendium of all 2E monsters (released up to that point, anyway). That compendium had filters that allowed you to only view certain level monsters, certain AC monsters, certain XP monsters, and so on, so you could easily pick from level-appropriate monsters when adventure designing. Using those filters, you could narrow it down so that only monsters that required +X or better weapons to hit would be viewable. The list was surprisingly small when compared to the thousands of available monsters that were made in the 11 year run of 2E.


That's interesting.  Say, since you have such an easy reference tool, those 16% of monsters that required +X weapons to hit, what percentage are they when you start levelling up?  For example, what percents are they for monsters suitable for facing PCs at, let's say levels 10, 15, and 20?


And the bolded is the important part.  It doesn't matter if a small slice uses the + to hit requirement, what matters is how often they're supposed to be used.

Statistics don't show cause and effect, yes, I know they sure seem to, but rarely do they tell the whole story.  Please bear that in mind.