Why don't all weapons deal the same damage?

According to page 17* of how to play, in D&D Next, the default assumption is that hit points are not health. It's a combination of multiple factors, including stamina or fatigue.

So here's my question. Is it that much harder to [put whatever fluff you want like block, dodge, etc...] a dagger blow than it is to avoid a great axe blow?

I honestly don't know the answer. But assuming it is easier to dodge a dagger, there is no weapon speed in D&D Next. Is it that unreasonable to assume that for every great axe swing you blocked, you had to dodge twice as many dagger stabs? So in the end, it's just as exhausting to defend against a dagger than it is against a great axe.

Since fatigue isn't health, shouldn't all weapons roughly deal the same amount of damage?

*I don't care if you want hit points to only be health. That's another topic I'm not interested in.

ooo this is good. The opening statement alone dooms this whole thread.


Hit points may or may not be health, depending on who you ask. There is no answer, and none of the systems interacting with hit points are affected by how you decide to describe HP.


That's a good thing. It means that the whole argument about what HP are is moot. It should stay that way.


ooo this is good. The opening statement alone dooms this whole thread.


Hit points may or may not be health, depending on who you ask. There is no answer, and none of the systems interacting with hit points are affected by how you decide to describe HP.


That's a good thing. It means that the whole argument about what HP are is moot. It should stay that way.




Let me change the post.
[insert needless rant about hitpoints being health here]

Weapon speed would be an interesting module that would work well with the tactical module and that style of play. Certain weapons would be faster and more useful in certain situations.

Proficiency required and the choice or more offense versus more defence are potential reasons why some weapons deal more damage. A wizard should not deal as much melee pain from an attack as a fighter. The greatsword fighter giving up his shied should not deal as much damage as a sword-and-board warrior. 

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Because when things are all the same, it becomes boring.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Because when things are all the same, it becomes boring.

essentially yeah.

Hit Points is what you make of it... too some it represents just health though, and its not fair to dictate how they choose to perceive it.

And in any case, its pretty clear that a great axe is ten times more lethal then a dagger regardless how you see Hit Points... In a sword fight — size matters.

Weapon Speed and Weapon Reach would be ideal but those tend to mechanically slow the game to a crawl or are just simply too clunky for most of our comforts, in the end, I find adding that detail of realism takes away more from the game then it gives.

I think its fine the way it is... what I would like to see is tactical options given to weapons so that those weapons that do less damage, still have some edge. Maybe light weapons should have a higher critical threat range? or do more damage on a crit/sneak attack? These are just examples.
Because my players love their polyhedral dice.

Seriously.  The hardest hurdle I have to overcome to get my players to try a new game system was it the system uses onlt one typ eof dice (ala White Wolf's d10-only) or GURPS' d6 only.

There are people who love the polyhedrals. The look, the feel.  Collecting them, rolling them.

Heck, I like that aspect of D&D (though I play plenty fo games that don't require polyhedrals). 

Damage is one of the few things left in the game where you get to roll your polyhedrals. 
Why not take an extra step; weapons don't have different weapon damages but as a weapon is as dangerous as the person wielding it why not have damage based on class and/or profficiency?

Mage: 1d4 damage
Rogue/cleric: 1d6 damage
fighter: 1d8

specialisation or progression through level: _> 1d10 , -> 2d6, ->2d8, ->3d6 for example.

1st level wizard with sword does 1d4 damage, 5th level mage with magic sword does 1d6+1 damage
Because when things are all the same, it becomes boring.



Agreed. But doesn't this just mean that weapons should be differenciated using something else than damage?

But doesn't this just mean that weapons should be differenciated using something else than damage?




No, it doesn't.  The primary purpose of using a weapon is to deal damage.  The primary differentiation between weapons is the amount of damage delt.  This makes perfect sense if you think about things.
Because when things are all the same, it becomes boring.



Agreed. But doesn't this just mean that weapons should be differenciated using something else than damage?



They should be differentiated using something other than damage, yes.  But also damage.

Why damage?  Simple:  some weapons are better at being weapons than others.  The "historical" or "simulation" or "realistic" or "versimilitude" words get thrown around a lot, but the bottom line is that a longsword is a more effective weapon than a dagger.  That a longbow is a more effective weapon than a shuriken.  That a warshovel is a more effective weapon than a...well...nevermind that last one.

Yes, it's possible for a rogue, through his roguey awesomeness, to do a lot of damage with a dagger.  But that's because of the rogue, not because of the dagger.

Better for hurting = more damage.  Whether it's one strike or ten for a "hit," whether you consider hitpoints to be abstract or represent actual harm, some weapons will be better at causing it than others.  That distinction should be recognized, appreciated, and utilized, not ignored.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Because my players love their polyhedral dice.

Seriously.  The hardest hurdle I have to overcome to get my players to try a new game system was it the system uses onlt one typ eof dice (ala White Wolf's d10-only) or GURPS' d6 only.

There are people who love the polyhedrals. The look, the feel.  Collecting them, rolling them.

Heck, I like that aspect of D&D (though I play plenty fo games that don't require polyhedrals). 

Damage is one of the few things left in the game where you get to roll your polyhedrals. 

This I can fully support. The core mechanics should include plenty of uses for all of the polyhedrals. I'm convinced relegating polys to only damage was a bad move. Polys are one of the few true hallmarks of D&D not shared with most of the other competing RPGs.

If WotC integrated the different polys to the skill system, they could also incorporate combat also into skills Have skill ranks for d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12, and now every poly might see some real use. This approach has been talked about before, but it deserves another look.

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Yes, it's possible for a rogue, through his roguey awesomeness, to do a lot of damage with a dagger.  But that's because of the rogue, not because of the dagger.

That would be another way to handle a "sneak attack" maneuver. Bump up the base weapon damage on a light weapon by two steps (d4->d8).

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Why not take an extra step; weapons don't have different weapon damages but as a weapon is as dangerous as the person wielding it why not have damage based on class and/or profficiency?

Mage: 1d4 damage
Rogue/cleric: 1d6 damage
fighter: 1d8

specialisation or progression through level: _> 1d10 , -> 2d6, ->2d8, ->3d6 for example.

1st level wizard with sword does 1d4 damage, 5th level mage with magic sword does 1d6+1 damage

I'm a proponent of this approach.


Because when things are all the same, it becomes boring.



Agreed. But doesn't this just mean that weapons should be differenciated using something else than damage?



They should be differentiated using something other than damage, yes.  But also damage.

Why damage?  Simple:  some weapons are better at being weapons than others.  The "historical" or "simulation" or "realistic" or "versimilitude" words get thrown around a lot, but the bottom line is that a longsword is a more effective weapon than a dagger.  That a longbow is a more effective weapon than a shuriken.  That a warshovel is a more effective weapon than a...well...nevermind that last one.

Yes, it's possible for a rogue, through his roguey awesomeness, to do a lot of damage with a dagger.  But that's because of the rogue, not because of the dagger.

Better for hurting = more damage.  Whether it's one strike or ten for a "hit," whether you consider hitpoints to be abstract or represent actual harm, some weapons will be better at causing it than others.  That distinction should be recognized, appreciated, and utilized, not ignored.

I agree, but I think that distinction would be best handled by making properties more meaningful within the system. Since hit points are so abstract, tying them to specfic weapon output isn't as evocative as it otherwise would be (if they were more specific).

Class-specific damage would be a very welcome change to the system for this gamer.

Danny

All weapons dealing the same damage? I don't think that this is necessary, damage is a thing that can be used to differentiate weapons, and honestly in general making weapon choice irrelevant is not fun for me.
Because my players love their polyhedral dice.

Seriously.  The hardest hurdle I have to overcome to get my players to try a new game system was it the system uses onlt one typ eof dice (ala White Wolf's d10-only) or GURPS' d6 only.

There are people who love the polyhedrals. The look, the feel.  Collecting them, rolling them.

Heck, I like that aspect of D&D (though I play plenty fo games that don't require polyhedrals). 

Damage is one of the few things left in the game where you get to roll your polyhedrals. 

This I can fully support. The core mechanics should include plenty of uses for all of the polyhedrals. I'm convinced relegating polys to only damage was a bad move. Polys are one of the few true hallmarks of D&D not shared with most of the other competing RPGs.


If WotC integrated the different polys to the skill system, they could also incorporate combat also into skills Have skill ranks for d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12, and now every poly might see some real use. This approach has been talked about before, but it deserves another look.


Hellz yeah! Bring back the d10 initiative roll! YEAH MOUNTAIN DEW!

For serious though, I actually would like to see more variety in dice we roll.


Edit: and the skill system using different dice is awesome. I've been toying with this myself.

I second all the 'rolling polyhedrals is fun' comments.  I certainly have made the choice to use a greatxe (or hand them out as DM) largely based on the nostalgia I have for that dodecahedron and the rarity with which it gets used.
I personally am keen on a semi-gamma-world-ish progression:

Simple light d4
Simple one-hander d6
Simple two-hander d8
Martial light d6
Martial one-hander d8
Martial two-hander d10
Here is reality, read and understand: Rangers aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Fighters aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Casters aren't "god mode" or overpowered, in any edition. The tarrasque isn't broken. And you aren't voicing your opinion by claiming otherwise, you're just being a pain. Now, stop complaining.
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I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.


Since fatigue isn't health, shouldn't all weapons roughly deal the same amount of damage?




It doesn't matter what you think a HP represents, the answer to your question is simply NO.
There's abosolutely no reason to change the weapon damage system that has always worked and never caused a problem for anyone in every RPG ever.
According to page 17* of how to play, in D&D Next, the default assumption is that hit points are not health. It's a combination of multiple factors, including stamina or fatigue.

So here's my question. Is it that much harder to [put whatever fluff you want like block, dodge, etc...] a dagger blow than it is to avoid a great axe blow?

I honestly don't know the answer. But assuming it is easier to dodge a dagger, there is no weapon speed in D&D Next. Is it that unreasonable to assume that for every great axe swing you blocked, you had to dodge twice as many dagger stabs? So in the end, it's just as exhausting to defend against a dagger than it is against a great axe.

Since fatigue isn't health, shouldn't all weapons roughly deal the same amount of damage?

*I don't care if you want hit points to only be health. That's another topic I'm not interested in.


Simple.

It makes shields mandatory for defense.  If all weapons do, say, 1D6, no matter if it's one or two handed, then what's the point of NOT carrying a shield?  You get a +1-2 bonus to AC on top of doing...  1D6.
It doesn't matter what you think a HP represents, the answer to your question is simply NO.



Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.

This is a purely  intellectual exercice. I'm not asking whether you would like all weapons to deal the same amount of damage or not, I'm asking you whether it makes sense or not.
 
Are all weapons going to deal the same amount of damage in Next? I doubt it. I'm not sure I want it either except maybe in an optional module that makes hit points pure fatigue and deals with damage using some kind of wound system.
It doesn't matter what you think a HP represents, the answer to your question is simply NO.



Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.

This is a purely  intellectual exercice. I'm not asking whether you would like all weapons to deal the same amount of damage or not, I'm asking you whether it makes sense or not.
 
Are all weapons going to deal the same amount of damage in Next? I doubt it. I'm not sure I want it either except maybe in an optional module that makes hit points pure fatigue and deals with damage using some kind of wound system.

Would you mind sharing with us how you thought what you quoted has anything to do with how hard it is to dodge/block/parry a longsword?

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Why not take an extra step; weapons don't have different weapon damages but as a weapon is as dangerous as the person wielding it why not have damage based on class and/or profficiency?

Mage: 1d4 damage
Rogue/cleric: 1d6 damage
fighter: 1d8

specialisation or progression through level: _> 1d10 , -> 2d6, ->2d8, ->3d6 for example.

1st level wizard with sword does 1d4 damage, 5th level mage with magic sword does 1d6+1 damage



Bleh. 
I can see the base reasoning that the more weapon oriented a class, the better they are at using weapons to deal damage.
But this is already in effect.  Has been for decades.  The attack matrices, THAC0, BaB, etc. - Fighters already hit better than clerics/rogues, who inturn hit better than wizards....
I might be talked into even giving the various classes +'s on the damage dealt as a class feature.  Say fighters do +3 damage, clerics/rogues +2, & wizards etc +0.

But you'll never convince me that (for ex) a dagger, an axe, a lance used on the charge, & a catapult shot  - while all are weapons - deal the same base amount of damage if they connect with you.  No matter what you think HP represent.
That's just stupid.  Even in a game where we're pretending to be hobbits....       
While I feel that some form of abstraction is necessary for the game if you do it too much it just strays too far away from being D&D. People need to be able to roll those polyhedron dice.

I like how the most recent version of Gamma World did it. Heavy Melee, Light Melee, Two handed Melee, Two Handed Light Melee, and you get to determine what exactly they are. I liked that. I wouldn't mind it being used in 5th Edition. 
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It doesn't matter what you think a HP represents, the answer to your question is simply NO.



Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.

This is a purely  intellectual exercice. I'm not asking whether you would like all weapons to deal the same amount of damage or not, I'm asking you whether it makes sense or not.
 
Are all weapons going to deal the same amount of damage in Next? I doubt it. I'm not sure I want it either except maybe in an optional module that makes hit points pure fatigue and deals with damage using some kind of wound system.



Would you mind sharing with us how you thought what you quoted has anything to do with how hard it is to dodge/block/parry a longsword?



He answered no to my question. Which means he thinks that all weapons should deal different amounts of damage.

With the definition of hit points in Next, hit points represents your ability to convert what otherwise would have been a lethal blow into a graze. When you get hit, you're not wounded. You used your luck, skill at dodging, blocking or whatever interpretation you want to give it. The amount of hit points you take when you get hit with a weapon does not represent the physical damage you took, it represents the amount of effort, skill, luck, experience or whatever it took you to convert that lethal blow into a harmless blow.

That's how I got thinking about this. Does it make sense that it requires more effort, skill, luck, experience or whatever to convert the lethal blow of a dagger into a graze than the one of a longsword? And frankly, I don't see why it would be harder to avoid a longsword than a dagger, but as I already said I'm not expert.

If a longsword and a dagger deal different amounts of damage, that means it requires more effort to avoid the lethal blow of a sword than of a dagger because that's what dealing more damage means.

So if you answer no to my question, it either means one of the following:

1) You didn't think, thinking is not your thing, you just don't like it and that's all you need to know. No offense, but I'm not interested in your opinion, this is an intellectual conversation, not your personal likes or dislikes (not aimed at anyone in paticular).

2) You have arguments or experience in sword fighting to back up that it's harder to avoir a sword than a dagger.

3) There's a flaw in my reasoning and swords and daggers should deal different amounts of damage for reasons I'm not currently seeing.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />With the definition of hit points in Next, hit points represents your ability to convert what otherwise would have been a lethal blow into a graze. When you get hit, you're not wounded. You used your luck, skill at dodging, blocking or whatever interpretation you want to give it. The amount of hit points you take when you get hit with a weapon does not represent the physical damage you took, it represents the amount of effort, skill, luck, experience or whatever it took you to convert that lethal blow into a harmless blow.



But since the 'cure light wounds' spell is called that, and not 'restore luck,' your premise falls pretty flat.



He answered no to my question. Which means he thinks that all weapons should deal different amounts of damage.

With the definition of hit points in Next, hit points represents your ability to convert what otherwise would have been a lethal blow into a graze. When you get hit, you're not wounded. You used your luck, skill at dodging, blocking or whatever interpretation you want to give it. The amount of hit points you take when you get hit with a weapon does not represent the physical damage you took, it represents the amount of effort, skill, luck, experience or whatever it took you to convert that lethal blow into a harmless blow.

That's how I got thinking about this. Does it make sense that it requires more effort, skill, luck, experience or whatever to convert the lethal blow of a dagger into a graze than the one of a longsword? And frankly, I don't see why it would be harder to avoid a longsword than a dagger, but as I already said I'm not expert.

If a longsword and a dagger deal different amounts of damage, that means it requires more effort to avoid the lethal blow of a sword than of a dagger because that's what dealing more damage means.

So if you answer no to my question, it either means one of the following:

1) You didn't think, thinking is not your thing, you just don't like it and that's all you need to know. No offense, but I'm not interested in your opinion, this is an intellectual conversation, not your personal likes or dislikes (not aimed at anyone in paticular).

2) You have arguments or experience in sword fighting to back up that it's harder to avoir a sword than a dagger.

3) There's a flaw in my reasoning and swords and daggers should deal different amounts of damage for reasons I'm not currently seeing.

Now there is something to consider. Hit Points does include overall health and physical durability.
Attack rolls and damage rolls are inseparable, they are two parts of a single abstraction.

During a turn, you may be able to hit once with a big attack or many times with quick and less damaging attacks.

The attack roll determines if your general tactics has succeed against your opponent this round, the damage roll determine the level of success.

And then the game assume that tactics involving some weapons are more optimal than with some other weapons.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

But since the 'cure light wounds' spell is called that, and not 'restore luck,' your premise falls pretty flat.



Page 17 of How to Play, there's the definition of Hit Points. I didn't make up anything. There are a lot more contradictions in the rules than just cure light wounds with this definition of hit points though.

Why don't you take hit point damage when you resist mind-affecting spells like in 4th edition? Aren't you using your luck, mental stamina or whatever to resist the spell?

Why don't you take hit point damage when you attempt a bull rush? Resisting a bull rush is really exhausting.

Why isn't there a second wind mechanic in Next like in 4th edition? I'm a runner, it really does exist.

That's just on the top of my head, there's probably a lot more out there.
But since the 'cure light wounds' spell is called that, and not 'restore luck,' your premise falls pretty flat.

Not all wounds are physical in nature. Trauma can be mental as well. CLW deals with both indiscriminately, and lets the player/DM decide what *really* happens.

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But since the 'cure light wounds' spell is called that, and not 'restore luck,' your premise falls pretty flat.

Not all wounds are physical in nature. Trauma can be mental as well. CLW deals with both indiscriminately, and lets the player/DM decide what *really* happens.




Certainly there is the precedent of 'psychic damage!'   To me, the nature/abstraction of hit points has never been an issue at all -- D&D is not the only game to have hp, or have varying attacks dealing more hp damage than others.  We'll all get along just fine.   Certainly don't need to read so much into it that we start arriving at conclusions like 'all weapons should deal the same damage.'
There's abosolutely no reason to change the weapon damage system that has always worked and never caused a problem for anyone in every RPG ever.



Didn't they have vitality and wound points in Star Wars d20?

The hit point abstraction is full of contradictions. I don't have anything better to suggest though. The alternatives is not what I'm looking for when I'm playing D&D.

But that doesn't mean you can't think about these contradictions! And who knows, maybe a better system will come out of it (I doubt it).
It doesn't matter what you think a HP represents, the answer to your question is simply NO.



Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.

This is a purely  intellectual exercice. I'm not asking whether you would like all weapons to deal the same amount of damage or not, I'm asking you whether it makes sense or not.
 
Are all weapons going to deal the same amount of damage in Next? I doubt it. I'm not sure I want it either except maybe in an optional module that makes hit points pure fatigue and deals with damage using some kind of wound system.



Would you mind sharing with us how you thought what you quoted has anything to do with how hard it is to dodge/block/parry a longsword?



He answered no to my question. Which means he thinks that all weapons should deal different amounts of damage.

He also said, "It doesn't matter what you think HP represents." 

Please do not try to extend one particular version of what hitpoints mean, because Next does not define hitpoints in any one singular way.  In fact the devs have been very clear that they want to leave hitpoints open-ended.

I agree with him though:  regardless of what you think HP mean, some weapons should cause you to lose more of it.

By the way, this is not helpful:
So if you answer no to my question, it either means one of the following:

1) You didn't think, thinking is not your thing, you just don't like it and that's all you need to know. No offense, but I'm not interested in your opinion, this is an intellectual conversation, not your personal likes or dislikes (not aimed at anyone in paticular).

2) You have arguments or experience in sword fighting to back up that it's harder to avoir a sword than a dagger.

3) There's a flaw in my reasoning and swords and daggers should deal different amounts of damage for reasons I'm not currently seeing.

You've provided an excellent example of how to be insulting and demeaning.  Please don't do it.  You seem to have latched on to 1 and 2, but seem highly resistant to the idea that 3 might be the case.  Constructive debate requires you to lead with 3, not 1.  Always assume that you might be wrong, rather than assuming that people who disagree with you are just dumb or don't understand.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.



It's about reach, not weight, primarily.  It's significantly easier to hit people with a longer weapon, up to a point (halberds are pretty unwieldy and don't give the same level of advantage over a longsword that a longsword does over a dagger).

Hitting an aware opponent who can see you and has unrestricted movement with a dagger is incredibly difficult, because your reach is only barely longer than your punching reach.  It gets vastly worse if they have a weapon themselves that you need to be wary of.


That said, the fact that longswords are a more effective weapon of war than shortswords should be obvious to anyone who looks at even a little bit of history.  The longsword was invented later than the shortsword and almost completely subsumed its usage in combat.  If the longsword was not more effective, it would not have done so; people would have kept using the Roman model of shortsword + shield.
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Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.



It's about reach, not weight, primarily.  It's significantly easier to hit people with a longer weapon, up to a point (halberds are pretty unwieldy and don't give the same level of advantage over a longsword that a longsword does over a dagger).

Hitting an aware opponent who can see you and has unrestricted movement with a dagger is incredibly difficult, because your reach is only barely longer than your punching reach.  It gets vastly worse if they have a weapon themselves that you need to be wary of.


That said, the fact that longswords are a more effective weapon of war than shortswords should be obvious to anyone who looks at even a little bit of history.  The longsword was invented later than the shortsword and almost completely subsumed its usage in combat.  If the longsword was not more effective, it would not have done so; people would have kept using the Roman model of shortsword + shield.



The heavier weapon makes it easier to overpower the defender's block/parry, which can set the attacker up for a rapid second attack against a defenseless opponent.

Also, contrary to common belief, big two handed swords could be swung at exceptionally fast speeds, especially when combined with proper footwork. The number of attacks you could make with a big two handed sword was about the same as the number you could make with a longsword or ever a dagger during the same timespan.

I prefer to look at weapon damage/HP as  "the amount of effort needed to turn a would be fatal strike into a dodge/block/parry/scratch/bruise/etc." It is a lot more taxing to defend against a two handed sword than it is to defend against a dagger.

Would you mind sharing with us what brought you to the conclusion that it's harder to dodge/block/parry a longsword than a shortsword? I'm no swordsman or medieval warfare expert, I don't know the answer. I can imagine it's harder to block or parry a heavy weapon but it's easier to dodge a sluggish heavy weapon.



It's about reach, not weight, primarily.  It's significantly easier to hit people with a longer weapon, up to a point (halberds are pretty unwieldy and don't give the same level of advantage over a longsword that a longsword does over a dagger).

Hitting an aware opponent who can see you and has unrestricted movement with a dagger is incredibly difficult, because your reach is only barely longer than your punching reach.  It gets vastly worse if they have a weapon themselves that you need to be wary of.


That said, the fact that longswords are a more effective weapon of war than shortswords should be obvious to anyone who looks at even a little bit of history.  The longsword was invented later than the shortsword and almost completely subsumed its usage in combat.  If the longsword was not more effective, it would not have done so; people would have kept using the Roman model of shortsword + shield.

Cut and Thrust style shortswords were in use until almost the end of the 18th Century.  Likewise the navaja was used in street fights in Spain well after the longsword was no longer en vogue.  Longswords were heavy and cumbersome due to their center of gravity being far forward in relation to the hand.  Easily parried and wrapped into cloth, the dominance of the longsword is a myth.

Even the katana wielding samurai carried wakizashi and tanto onto the battlefield, and in the heart of battle it was these shorter weapons that became more key.  An enemy that can be dispatched with a katana can likely just as easily be dispatched with a yari.  Once an enemy has closed in however, the shorter weapon really is the better weapon.

Mythological combat often places attackers a ridiculously large distance apart.  Melee combat is a close, brutal, and ugly affair.  The longsword never really excelled in those quite common situations.

Isnt the longsword a fantasy trope?



To answer the OP. HP has always served as the main representation of health. Be it that hp isnt just ambiguous but also an abstraction you can pin weapon damage on its representation of health.

This topic reminds me of a glitch I caught while reading the D&D Basic booklet (from the red box with Elmore art).

Starting out, your PC does a single point of damage (in the introductory adventure).  Then, during a later adventure, it doesn't matter if a dagger or sword is being used, damage is 1d6.  

It's only near the end of the 64-page Player's Guide that the rules mention "Variable Weapon Damage" as an 'advanced' damage system.

This disntinction was only ever brought up in the red box booklets, not in the later boxed sets.  So, variable weapon damage was obviously rules as intended (RAI).  Just thought it was interesting in light of this thread ;).
/\ Art

Isnt the longsword a fantasy trope?



To answer the OP. HP has always served as the main representation of health. Be it that hp isnt just ambiguous but also an abstraction you can pin weapon damage on its representation of health.



Well incase you were not joking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longsword this pretty much matches the encyclopedia on the matter.
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