Are all weapons leathal?

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This threat might also be seen in conjunction with the discussion around AC bonus by weapon defense.

In all the movies and all the fantasy books you always witness kills by well placed blows or just by a well placed hit with a single arrow, bolt or dagger. In D&D this is virtually impossible unleass the attacker is at least 10 level higher than the defender. Meaning: You can only kill a foe with one blow if you are 10th level, make use of a variety of feats and the foe is a 1st level warrior.

I would like to see the rules reflect the possible effectivness of a weapon - of any weapon. So a dagger can also kill effectivly as a broad sword.

A second effect you always see in movies or read in books is the advantage of a swift and agile fighter with a light weapon wearing light or no armor versus a heavy armored fighter wielding a big but clumsy weapon. So the rules should reflect that a rogue in had-to-hand combat might dance around the heavy armored fighter and has a chance to find the weak spot in his armor. Of course when the fighter hits with his battle axe this means a real problem for theunarmored rogue.

Armor should have an impact in initiative and on the number of attacks one can make. The size and agility of the weapon should have an impact on inititiative as well. The size of the weapon should come more into consideration comparing to the environment in which you are fighting. e.g. you are less effective with a huge slashing weapon in an underbrush than you are with a dagger; you cannot use wour double handed battle axe in a narrow corridor effectivly so somebody wielding a rapier will be in an advantageous position.
I think that all these things are already represented in the game.

If you're fighting level appropriate baddies, a single crit will take down a bad guy at low levels. At higher levels, a certain amount of "softening up" is required to make an opportunity for the killing blow (In Highlander, McCloud had to wail on the Kurigan for a while before getting that nasty head chop swing.) The game reflects this.

Swift, agile fighters are very effective (sneak attack, anyone?). And the initiative is accounted for (max dex bonus with armor types effectively reduces initiative bonuses for heavy armor wearing types).

As for the number of attacks being based on armor, I think that's taken into account as well. If you're proficient with armor, then you know how to fight in it. You've learned how to move and attack effectively, in spite of the weight or bulk.

Also, there was mentioned disadvantages for using certain types of weapons in certain conditions. This can be handled using the "DMs Best Friend" Rule (-2 for bad situations, +2 for good ones). Apply this to your greatsword vs. dagger in the underbrush scenario and see what happens!

Be well in all thnigs,
Rave
Answers never come to those who refuse to face the fact that there are questions. -R. Ryder
The main reason you do not usually want 'one shot' kills are because it is not heroic to have your master samarai die from a bandits thrown knife on a lucky day(for the bandit)

Also, player characters kind of have to be a little harder to kill than npc's. or beloved characters would be lost too often.

Realism is not always fun.

But, one thing you might do, is allow criticals to kill or incapacitate if your 'backup' roll for the crit is another natural 20(possibly with the second roll backed up as well)
A second effect you always see in movies or read in books is the advantage of a swift and agile fighter with a light weapon wearing light or no armor versus a heavy armored fighter wielding a big but clumsy weapon.

That's because movies and books tend vastly inflate what it means for weaponry or armor to be "heavy."

-- Alex
Swift, agile fighters are very effective (sneak attack, anyone?). And the initiative is accounted for (max dex bonus with armor types effectively reduces initiative bonuses for heavy armor wearing types).

Read your PHB again carefully. "Max Dex" Applies only to Armor Class. It does not affect reflex save, initiaive, or any other dexterity modified value.
When referring to movies with one hit kills you forget the fact that it's the hero or villain of the movie doing it. You never really see "solider 2" doing a one hit kill. The "one hit kill" in the movie represents a person being about 10 levels higher.

4E is the worst idea since low-rise jeans for guys!
Read your PHB again carefully. "Max Dex" Applies only to Armor Class. It does not affect reflex save, initiaive, or any other dexterity modified value.

Ah! Thanks for correction.

Be well in all things,
Rave
Answers never come to those who refuse to face the fact that there are questions. -R. Ryder
This threat might also be seen in conjunction with the discussion around AC bonus by weapon defense.

In all the movies and all the fantasy books you always witness kills by well placed blows or just by a well placed hit with a single arrow, bolt or dagger. In D&D this is virtually impossible unleass the attacker is at least 10 level higher than the defender. Meaning: You can only kill a foe with one blow if you are 10th level, make use of a variety of feats and the foe is a 1st level warrior.

I would like to see the rules reflect the possible effectivness of a weapon - of any weapon. So a dagger can also kill effectivly as a broad sword.

A second effect you always see in movies or read in books is the advantage of a swift and agile fighter with a light weapon wearing light or no armor versus a heavy armored fighter wielding a big but clumsy weapon. So the rules should reflect that a rogue in had-to-hand combat might dance around the heavy armored fighter and has a chance to find the weak spot in his armor. Of course when the fighter hits with his battle axe this means a real problem for theunarmored rogue.

Armor should have an impact in initiative and on the number of attacks one can make. The size and agility of the weapon should have an impact on inititiative as well. The size of the weapon should come more into consideration comparing to the environment in which you are fighting. e.g. you are less effective with a huge slashing weapon in an underbrush than you are with a dagger; you cannot use wour double handed battle axe in a narrow corridor effectivly so somebody wielding a rapier will be in an advantageous position.

I strongly disagree. I have killed meny an opponent (and some small number of other PCs) with 1 hit and without being 10 levels higher. A half-orc barbarian with power attack and a two handed weapon can hit 50 damage pritty quick, which requires a save vs death by massive damage. Also a rogue with sneak attack and a poisoned weapon can kill in one hit with a bit of luck. Then there are some wizard spells that when used correctly can do the same.
Movies almost never portray wounds accurately. Everyone, except perhaps the heroes, goes down instantly to single arrow or bullet. That's not how it works in our world. You can most certainly from a single wound, but it'll rarely be so quick.
...you always see in movies or read in books is the advantage of a swift and agile fighter with a light weapon wearing light or no armor versus a heavy armored fighter wielding a big but clumsy weapon. So the rules should reflect that a rogue in had-to-hand combat might dance around the heavy armored fighter and has a chance to find the weak spot in his armor.

That's because rooting for the underdog, irony taken to extremes, and agile ninja-types are currently popular cultural memes in modern entertainment.

History seems to indicate that, all other factors being equal, men in armour tend to destroy unarmoured fighters.

Which do you want your campaign to emulate? Shallow, two-bit Hollywood films or the Age of Heroes?

A lightly-armoured combatant should never have an advantage over a heavily-armoured one, unless certain special conditions apply--like underwater combat or something. Armour was worn to grant an advantage in combat, to make you a more effective fighter; it shouldn't be a hinderance.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

One thing you can't really do in D&D (past 4th lvl. at least) is the Hold Up. The highway robber can not have a crossbow pointed at the players asking them to hand over the gold or he will shoot, because there is no danger. Even if the players can not beat the highway robber, they know that they can survive the shot and get away.

There should always be a chance that one shot could be a players last hit, even if the chance for that is very, very small. At least some good optional and playtested rules. Maybe openended damage dice or a possibility to make multiple criticals with one shot. Just something that makes the players think twice, if surrounded by a ton of (low-level) cityguards, asking them to hand over their weapons or else.
I think it's kinda up to the DM to make those situations realistic/fun. Here's how I'd handle it:

Bandit is holding you up with a crossbow to the back of your head, you want to try to disarm him and not get shot, he wants your monies.

You both roll initiative, winner goes first since you're effectively initiating combat with the bandit (pointing guns at each other and talking does not equate to "combat"). If you succeed in beating his Sense Motive with a bluff check, I'd give you a +2 on the initiative check and your disarm/attack roll/whatever you try to do with that initiative if you win.

If you win initiative, you can act as normal and try to disarm him or knock him out or something. If he wins initiative, his attack automatically crits you.

I imagine with the condition track this situation is going to work a lot better as well.
There are ever so many house rules concerning immediate death effects from individual wounds. The best I've heard rearranges D&D combat rules to the point of unrecognizability yet still permits easy comprehension. Of course, Rune Quest did a pretty good job of this and I've heard Twilight 2000 has been adapted to fit with AD&D first edition by more than one innovative DM (no, not with guns). Also, Arduin Grimoire has a very lethal battle system and it appears to me that often players seem to yearn to make D&D more like Arduin Grimoire at the expense of what makes D&D so very adaptable.

Now as to weapons being immediately lethal, while this makes some sense it doesn't reflect the internal reality that D&D often tries to work with. It could be issued by any DM as a house rule that any damage whatsoever demands a Fortitude save at difficulty equal to damage or does equal damage to constitution. Further, it could be ruled that any critical hit demands a Fortitude save versus Death at difficulty equal to damage. This makes dragons and high damage spells and high initiative very dangerous indeed.

In earlier editions of D&D and AD&D one could rule that all damage demands a saving throw versus death.
A couple of good house rules on lethality I've seen include:
Instant Death: This may be a variant in a book or just a house rule, I'm not sure, but it basically works like this. If you roll a natural 20 and then confirm the critical with another natural 20, the target automatically dies. I can see how you wouldn't like this as it can cause a huge fight against the BBEG to end in a single lucky round, but considering it has a one in 400 chance of working, I think it works alright.
Multiple Criticals: These work sort of like Instant Death, but less dangerous. If you roll a critical, and confirm it with another roll that would be a threat, you can roll to confirm again. Confirming again results in a "Double Crit." Example: Krusk attacks the ogre with his greataxe and rolls a 20. He confirms the critical with a 20. Then he rolls again to confirm that threat. If he manages to hit again, he gets x6 damage, following the rules for multiple multiplications. This one is more balanced than the Instant Death one because, while a double crit will frequently (especially at lower levels) result in enough damage to knock an enemy unconscious or kill it outright, it still gives the monster a chance to pull through if the character rolls badly on his damage roll or if he's got a ton of HP.
I've seen both of these used effectively in campaigns.
Hm...sadly, the best option I see for this drastically affects game balance. My initial idea was to allow a character to take a full round action to ready a coup de grace action....which seems perfectly reasonable, until you take into account that this effectively turns every ranger/rogue/scout/ninja/stealth-skilled MONK into the assassin class minus arcane and with a better death attack, so that doesn't seem like a good plan... Man, under that rule, even a commoner with a ring of invisibility would be a viable instrument of death....Basically my point is that a viable mechanic for the hold-up that doesn't break stealth characters is nigh unreachable. With the auto-crit concept, on the other hand, the hold-up doesn't carry enough of a threat (a critical hit with a crossbow for double damage...if you're afraid of that as even a mid-level PC, you better be a mage), or the level of threat between different weapons just seems weird (an axe is inexplicably better to hold against someone's throat/kidneys than a sword or dagger), though it does seem to work better than my idea... *sigh* The solution? If you really need a hold up, have a mage hold the Finger of Doom against someone's back! MUAHAHAHAHA...*cough* Or you bite the bullet and let the stealthy characters in your campaign all have one-shot potential (but MAN does that make me cringe, thinking of a fourth level ranger with an axe )
The main reason you do not usually want 'one shot' kills are because it is not heroic to have your master samarai die from a bandits thrown knife on a lucky day(for the bandit)

Also, player characters kind of have to be a little harder to kill than npc's. or beloved characters would be lost too often.

Realism is not always fun.

I always found this mentality to be curiously humorous... The last part is true, but *total fantasy* is not fun either. Why not just play cops n' robbers, were you can't kill the cops(or robbers, as most people like playing the bad guys these days). ???
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Now, for the rest of this I am not picking on you, but it got my mind running in 5th gear, and I decided let loose in general... :P
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Exactly how "Heroic" is a guy who can't be killed that can wade into a armed mob and slaughter all his foes with no real chance of being killed by them(or in some cases, even wounded by them)?
He's not. He might be Uber, but certainly not Heroic.


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The person who risks their life to do something they believe in, usually with no thought of being noticed, is thought of by others as a Hero.

They cannot proclaim themselves a Hero. *Others* must do that...
And if they do try to proclaim themselves a Hero, they are an arrogant blowhard in most people's eyes.
And if the act was not witnessed, the act is Heroic, but the person is not seen for the Hero they are.
Life is tough sometimes.

Speaking of tough, if they died while doing the task, I could understand the feeling of being cheated. But you *SHOULD* feel that.
It's not right when a Hero dies.
But remember, that's part and parcel of what makes their actions Heroic, that risk.

In RPing a good GM might have a "safety net" handy, to bring them back from the dead.
(Personally, I do it only if the others in the group do something Heroic themselves... such a thing would be Memorably Heroic for everyone.
Having the handy healer just "res pop them back up" does not change the fact it was a Heroic effort on the character's part, but it does diminish the accolades afterwards. Try it sometime, it's an interesting experiment.)

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I tend to blame Action "Hero" stories (on and off the silver screen), combined with people in general not caring to think about it, for systematically changing the definition.

Somehow "low self-esteem" has turned generations of wanna-be's into a crowd of "If I can't be the *best* it's not worth it"(but ganking is ok) pansies? I don't know...

I do know a lot of people who love to brag about their "great victory" when the odds are totally in their favor, both in and out of game.

[As an example: Some of my co-workers were just bragging the other day about how they pwned a group of Alliance in WoW(2-70's), with a mere 3 to 1 odds in their favor... wow! ...they had a total of 167 levels on them... Yet somehow that was seen as a major coup?!?!

I told them to grow a pair and try it the other way around, then I might respect their feat.]


Anyhow, thanks for reading, especially if you do not agree with me. I like open minds. Realise this is just my opinion based soley upon my life experiences since I first opened Chainmail all those decades ago. :D

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In all the movies and all the fantasy books you always witness kills by well placed blows or just by a well placed hit with a single arrow, bolt or dagger. In D&D this is virtually impossible unleass the attacker is at least 10 level higher than the defender. Meaning: You can only kill a foe with one blow if you are 10th level, make use of a variety of feats and the foe is a 1st level warrior.

the problem is that you are basing your opinion on myths and stereotypes presented in bad fantasy books/movies. That is the myth that western armour and weapons were slow and clumsy due to their weight. This is simply not true and the myth was caused by poor Victorian age research that was unfortunetly taught in the 20th/21st centuries as fact.

weapons intended for the battlefield tend to be fairly light and very quick due to their balance, especially when compared to ordinary tools. For example while a sledgehammer weighs 10-20lbs, a typical warhammer barely weighed 2 lbs. Even poleaxes, bills, halberds and greatswords are surprisingly quick weapons and far lighter than you would expect when handled.

full suits of armour could be quite heavy (40-60lbs) but they too were not particularly cumbersome. Even a full plate harness allowed the user to be fairly quick in combat with his weapons. Of course heavy armour does make it more difficult to run and do acrobatics, as well affect your endurance, but the stories of knights all being slow & clumsy due to their weapons and armour are nothing more than myths.
A lightly-armoured combatant should never have an advantage over a heavily-armoured one, unless certain special conditions apply--like underwater combat or something.

Agreed. The armored fighter should tire more quickly, but the unarmored guy would have be better than him to last long enough for that to matter.

If they both had swords enchanted to ignore armor entirely, then I think the unarmored man would have a slight edge.
Agreed. The armored fighter should tire more quickly, but the unarmored guy would have be better than him to last long enough for that to matter.

unfortunetly endurance is not a factor in D&D. It is definitely something that I would love to see as part of the core system due to the fact that it is such an important factor in real fighting. However it is just too complicated to be added into the D&D rules as they currently stand.

I always thought that a endurance system that worked somewhat like the battletech heat management one might work. However there are just too many factors involved for it to be smoothly used in D&D currently except in an abstract way. Probably such a system would be better placed in a computer controlled system.

If they both had swords enchanted to ignore armor entirely, then I think the unarmored man would have a slight edge

The problem being that if they had swords that could cut through amour without any problems then their swords should also slice through other weapons in the same way. A living body would be like paper by comparison.

I guess it all depends on if you want the game to seem believable (which is not necessarily the same as realistic) in the context of the fantasy setting or if it is more just about stats and dicerolling.
However it is just too complicated to be added into the D&D rules as they currently stand.

I'm not so sure. It could be fairly simply. After fighting for x rounds, make a Fort save. Of course, combat is quick in D&D, so this would rarely matter. And that's not unreasonable. Fatigue should mainly matter when one or both sides are fighting defensive and thus prolonging the combat.

The problem being that if they had swords that could cut through amour without any problems then their swords should also slice through other weapons in the same way. A living body would be like paper by comparison.

Yeah, though the 00b3r swords wouldn't be able to slice through each other. Such weapons would be very dangerous, but thrusts, for example, can only do so much.

Swords can that easily penetrate any or almost any armor are common in fiction. You probably wouldn't want them in a game, though.
I think it's kinda up to the DM to make those situations realistic/fun. Here's how I'd handle it:

Bandit is holding you up with a crossbow to the back of your head, you want to try to disarm him and not get shot, he wants your monies.

You both roll initiative, winner goes first since you're effectively initiating combat with the bandit (pointing guns at each other and talking does not equate to "combat"). If you succeed in beating his Sense Motive with a bluff check, I'd give you a +2 on the initiative check and your disarm/attack roll/whatever you try to do with that initiative if you win.

If you win initiative, you can act as normal and try to disarm him or knock him out or something. If he wins initiative, his attack automatically crits you.

I imagine with the condition track this situation is going to work a lot better as well.

This... totally... missed... everything... he was saying.

First of all, this was unbelievably stupid.
Reread this and you'll realize that you turned having a crossbow pointed at your head as an advantage FOR YOU. In other words, the person who is a trigger away from a bolt to the skull is in the advantageous situation... That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Unless you screwed up royally and meant to type that the person who is at the opponet's back and already has their weapon ready gets a +10 to their initiative roll or something.

Second of all, the half that was being referred to was NOT you winning the initiative and disarming him so on and so forth. The part that was being referred to is what if you LOSE the initiative?

Always in the D&D system (except for some expanded rules that were always a bit silly and not very realistic or helpful) getting shot in the head, the chest, the arm, the leg or the ass was always equivalent to the exact same damage roll. Furthermore, that damage roll was never enough to soak up nearly all of a character's hitpoints and leave them physically more debilitated than before like a blow in reality would.

As such, in this scenario the bandit gets an attack roll that might get a small bonus for being point-blank range (usually miniscule to what it should be) and then gets to roll 1d8 of damage if they win. This 1d8 damage is applied to your 30 hitpoints....

Oh, and that is ignoring the fact that technically the character getting shot in this situation gets an AoO in the 3E rules because the bandit is using a ranged weapon while within the character's reach...

And so the character just got shot in the end at point blank range with a crossbow and took 6 damage... only 1/5th of the way to being unconcious and they suffer absolutely no other ill effects from having a bolt sticking through their head.


Now, obviously you don't want to kill the PC in such a situation, but all the danger of the situation is completely removed. In other words, there is absolutely no reason the PC shouldn't just shrug off the demand entirely.
However, the roles could obviously be reversed. What if the PC was holding up the enemy? Perhaps they intend to negotiate with a crossbow to the enemy's head, which may seem a bit villanous, but it is a bit less bloodthirsty than just shooting them from behind outright.
However, it is only fair that in this scenario that the enemy can do the exact same calculation as the PC and know that due to the... unique physics of the D&D world that the Crossbow is absolutely no real threat to them (in fact, they get a free attack if the PC uses it!) and so the PC can't hold the enemy hostage any better than the enemy can hold the PC hostage.

The only exception to this rule are those people who are 1st level or maybe 2nd level to whom a 1d8/1d10 damage roll does indeed pose a very real threat. However, the idea that you can't sneak up on someone and hold your crossbow or whatever to their back to demand they take some action going away after 2nd level is quite unsatisfying.


The only way to really solve this problem is to fundamentally change the whole attack roll/damage roll mechanic. One would have to make the system about avoiding getting hit, armor absorbing damage and active defenses utilizing shields and weapons to deflect hits and then minimize the amount of health one has to absorb damage through.

Such a system would be more about fights involving throwing attacks that were almost always missed or were deflected, parried, absorbed by armor or dodged and then only occassionally getting a successful hit which would leave the struck entity quickly debilitated.

On the plus side such a system would mean the above scenario or other sneak or surprise attacks (or even just getting the initiative) suddenly mean a whole lot more. Very likely you would no longer need a mechanic for 'sneak attack', but instead the ability to move silently up to someone or shoot them when they are not aware and be able to slip your dagger or aim your arrow into an unarmored area would be a natural progression of such a system.

However, this also means that auto-hit, auto-damage magic is a LOT scarier than it is now and, perhaps far more importantly, your ability to use hitpoints as a meter for how close your character is to being gone is effectively entirely lost. Healers almost become useless because the gap between being fine, being unconcious and being dead is so small that there would often not be a chance to heal characters before it was too late.

Healers almost become useless because the gap between being fine, being unconcious and being dead is so small that there would often not be a chance to heal characters before it was too late.

Well, death shouldn't happen so quickly such a system. While you might drop ten seconds after getting stabbed in the heart, it'll take you minutes to die.

Healing should be out of combat, in my opinion.
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