Weapon v Armor

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Although I don't want to get back into the extensive and confusing 1e version of weapons v armor styles, I would like something that represents how different weapons perform against specific armors. Also, some representation of weapon speeds would be nice. Or else everyone only looks at the damage die when choosing weapons. Why were the other weapons (rapier, short sword, etc) even invented in D&D worlds?

I know, I know - too much complication. Ah, the conundrum!
Well, an optional system of piercing/AC/DR avoidance could be added to certain weapons, like flanged maces, spiked flails, pikes, rapiers, and non-pageant lances.

The best way to reflect some of this, though, is a change to armor, rather than weapons. Give heavy metal armors regular ACs, closer to Leather and Chain, but add in progressivly greater Damage Reduction (like 10/Piercing).
The problem with such a system is that it's very tedious to work magic into it. Conan has the very element you are looking for, and even has some fighting method based around the whole concept. The thing is, is that magic isn't nearly as common in that system, and magic items even less so. It's done that way for two reasons.

It doesn't fit the Conan Genre.

It's very hard to convert D&D magic system to such a setup. (I know, I've been working on some conversions.)
They did this in 1E with the AC adjustments. In 2E they had something simpler as an optional rule as well. I tried it before and found it to not be worth the trouble. It will simply slow the game down with very little benefit to show for it.
<\ \>tuntman
Perhaps certain weapons could gain an attack bonus against certain types of armor? Like, maces gain +1 to hit against heavy armor or so, to show the increased effectiveness against that type of armor. This probably wouldn't slow down the game all that much and would make certain weapons better against certain types of armor.
Except that players need to keep track of their opponent AC when calculating their attack bonus. An AC or DR bonus is more elegant, but it is still quite time consuming.

I'm more and more convinced that there should be two level of complexity to combat. Basic combat which is attack-damage-attack-damage rutine, and tactical combat, with bull rushes, weapon vs armour rules, grapples, etc.
I think both of those (weapon v armor and weapon speed) are too complicated for what they provide, and unworkable, respectively.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I understand the considerations of efficiency.

But I would hope that WotC could give us variant rules systems for more "accurate" or "realistic" combat models. I'm hoping WotC will give us prebuilt custom rules that makes someone wielding a scimitar almost worthless against full plate, for example.
I'm hoping WotC will give us prebuilt custom rules that makes someone wielding a scimitar almost worthless against full plate, for example.

Poor Drizzt will never win a fight against plate armored foes ever again (let alone dragons)... sigh.

I do like the idea of giving certain armors DR versus the different damage types. So for ex: Chainmail DR 5/blunt and pierce, Plate DR 5/blunt etc

I also like the idea of making choosing a weapon (from a power gamer's standpoint) more than just looking at the damage die

Of course, I also understand the complexity issue so making 'basic' and 'advanced' combat rules sets might not be a terrible idea
Even a few basic modifiers to initiative dependent on the weapon would be cool. Something along the lines of longsword +0, rapier +1, 2H sword -1, etc.
Even a few basic modifiers to initiative dependent on the weapon would be cool. Something along the lines of longsword +0, rapier +1, 2H sword -1, etc.

The problem with that is two-weapon fighting and changing weapons in mid-attack-sequence. For example, a character with Quick Draw and a +6 BAB could easily (though Inari only knows WHY) swing with his rapier, drop it, then draw his Greatsword and swing with that. What happens to his initiative?

I think it would be far more burdensome than cool.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I've always found it amusing how terrified folks are of more complicated combat rules.

Have y'all ever looked at the magic system? Casting a single spell can often lead to fumbling through multiple books to figure out what the heck it does.
My group rolls initiative every round, so switching weapons that would not prove difficult at all.

But even if the 3.5e initiative approach of "one roll per encounter" is kept, and/or even if the PC switches weapons during the fight, I would not find the adjustment of "his rapier was +1, his greatsword's -1, that seems to be a difference of 2 taken from his initiative" to be burdensome.

I am not hoping for byzantine equations but would like a simple, grouped weapon speed. But, hey, that's just me.
Why would a rapier have an initiative bonus over the greatsword?
Why would a rapier have an initiative bonus over the greatsword?

It wouldn't. These rules for initiative modification are bad ideas. Sean Reynolds has a rant about it on his website.

Different weapons all have their advantages and disadvantages against different armor. Variant, more complicated rules would be appreciated.
Wow! Sean Reynold's rant? Oh my, I had no idea. And here I actually had my own opinion. :embarrass I'll monitor that assiduously.

Lighter/thrusting weapons are quicker. But that much attention to RW physics might be beyond the scope of the rules. As I said, I was hoping for a simply "nod" to the fact, not a complicated, nonintuitive spreadsheet of numbers.
I'm currently working on a simple mechanic to have the weapon type vs armour type interaction reflected in critical hits. Since it's still being evaluated and tinkered with there's no point in showing details (especially since we use the Skills & Powers crit charts) but at least the concept itself might get others looking into it as well.

By having this relationship represented in the critical hits we don't bog down the normal combat sequence constantly checking how the weapon matches up to the armour.

The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.

I think this is handled well enough by having some talents and feats for different types of weapons. We already know the fighter has abilities that are weapon dependent (good chance some of these at least are talent trees). That'll give him different attack styles based on the weapon he is using and focuses in. Perhaps some small abilities that are armor dependent would be nice as well.

I think that is all we need though. If a bow-focused Ranger decided to go hand-to-hand it isn't very important (on several levels) how he wields the weapon he uses, imho. Though, hopefully anyone who is likely to pick up a random weapon and use it will be able to have abilities that make using it a bit special. I'd like to see an Ogre able to pick up a table and swing it around, and have that distinctly different from the Ogre using his fists or a sword -- and maybe even different from using a club, if the Ogre can use that table to help a bull rush. 'Twould be neat.

The thing is that you don't want everyone having to pay attention to a bunch of special rules regarding armor and weapons. A guy with a sword should have any special rules for that sword as part of his character, and any special rules regarding how his armor works as either part of his character or part of the character attacking him. However, armor and weapon interaction is likely a pretty tedious affair, since it involves two people and can change dramatically from one person to another. So you'd probably want to avoid that if possible, and instead focus on different armor providing different benefits (perhaps as part of a talent tree for some classes or feats). With this sort of thing, it isn't good to slow the game down tremendously against armored opponents just for a little bit of realism, imho -- and looking up how weapons and armors interact on a table several times a battle (multiple PCs and multiple opponents = lots of looking up) can really slow the game down.
Perhaps certain weapons could gain an attack bonus against certain types of armor? Like, maces gain +1 to hit against heavy armor or so, to show the increased effectiveness against that type of armor. This probably wouldn't slow down the game all that much and would make certain weapons better against certain types of armor.

Supposed you have some additional tables where you allow various weapons to have some modifiers against certain types of armour. Now, what happens if the target has natural armour? What happens if the target is using Mage Armour? The rules will start getting very complicated. Every monster in the MM will have to have additional rules to indicate what type of modifiers weapons get when attacking it. Every spell or magical effect that grants armour bonuses will have to do the same as well.

I think that having weapon adjustments against various types of armour is just additional complexity without very much value at all.
<\ \>tuntman
Lighter/thrusting weapons are quicker.

Not in any way that matters. You don't run faster with the knife. The reach advantage of larger weapons exceeds the speed advantage smaller ones have.
Wow! Sean Reynold's rant? Oh my, I had no idea. And here I actually had my own opinion. :embarrass I'll monitor that assiduously.

Lighter/thrusting weapons are quicker. But that much attention to RW physics might be beyond the scope of the rules. As I said, I was hoping for a simply "nod" to the fact, not a complicated, nonintuitive spreadsheet of numbers.

I like it when people start off with an insult to someone else by means of discrediting their reasoning, and then turn right around and make a fool out of themselves by proving the other's reasoning right.

Lighter/thrusting weapons are easier to strike with, because they have less mass and less inertia. However, this does not necessarily mean they attack FIRST. Longswords have more range. That's why they made them, for god's sake. In fact, a dagger against a longsword loses, every time. The dagger will never get a hit in because the longsword will hit first.

All of this reasoning can be found in Sean Reynolds's rant. Don't you feel stupid now?

You may also find an explanation by Mr. Reynolds on why initiative modifiers based on weapon currently wielded is logically inconsistent and creates massive problems. In addition, Mr. Reynolds goes through a lot of suggested solutions for mimicking weapon speed in the d20 system. He shows that most have no merit.

So think before you make a fool out of yourself.
In fact, a dagger against a longsword loses, every time. The dagger will never get a hit in because the longsword will hit first.

Well, the longsword has considerable odds, anyway. You can beat a longsword with a dagger, but you'd be have to damn skilled or damn lucky.
*some* weapons are notably unwieldly (kind of a warmaul, for example. A warmaul will be slower to use than a longsword in 99% of situations).

But beyond that few special weapons (which can be houseruled -or exceptions in the core rules-) there is no point to complicate the rules that much.

As a side note: it is different to attack "before" than to attack "faster". A halbaldier will allways attack a dagger before the dagger attack the pike, but will allways attack less times in a minute. Specially if you dont face one against the other, but both against a , say, troll. The halbaldier should be the first one to attack (becouse of reach, he need less movements and positioning to attack). But once the attack from the pike is done, the guy with the dagger should be able to stab the troll a few times before the guy with the halberd makes the momemtum needed to swing again. This is simply too complex to make it work, and not worth it. Specially if you mix magic spells, non-attack actions, movement and psionic in the mix.

Few examples:
You and the evil lich both want to run and get the Wand of Mass Destruction. Since you wield a dagger, and he wields an staff, you run faster o_O

Imagine you put reach modiffiers to initiative, so a dagger might go faster than a short sword, but will not go before a longsword becouse of reach (kind of... you have -4 initiative to your weapon initiative vs weapons 1 size larger). This way longswords might be faster than, say, battleaxes or warhammer, but the reach of battleaxes and warhammers still give an adventage versus a dagger. Fine. But that means your initiative will change every turn you attack a foe with a different weapon. Good luck DMing a combat where 4 players (a swashbuckler, a barbarian, a rogue and a pike-warrior) face a brigand of gnolls (with a flail, dualwielding claws, a bill and a *crossbow*)

If you roll initiative every time (which is a BAD idea, best thing in 3.0 was the kill of the initiative each turn sacred cow), it is even worse. Less suppose you and the evil giant with a huge slow warmaul are fighting. You win initiative (you have a rappier) and charge. It is the giant turn, and do his 5 attacks versus you. Next round, he luckily rolls high, you unluckily rolls low, he wins initiative. He has done TEN attacks before you do your second. Are you sure your rapier is faster?
But once the attack from the pike is done, the guy with the dagger should be able to stab the troll a few times before the guy with the halberd makes the momemtum needed to swing again. This is simply too complex to make it work, and not worth it.

Wait, so this dagger wielder is charging into extremely close combat with the troll? Really, the main to go nuts with a dagger is by grabbing, surprising, or otherwise immobilizing your victim. And you could still thrust nearly as quickly with the halberd if wanted to. Forceful dagger thrusts aren't that quick.
Wait, so this dagger wielder is charging into extremely close combat with the troll? Really, the main to go nuts with a dagger is by grabbing, surprising, or otherwise immobilizing your victim. And you could still thrust nearly as quickly with the halberd if wanted to. Forceful dagger thrusts aren't that quick.

you could change the troll with a goblin. Or change the dagger with a kukri, sabre, or some other fast, easy to swing, low momentun slashing weapons. The point is:
against a secondary target (troll, goblin, whatever) i *will* be able to make more attacks in 20 seconds with a light scimitar than i'm able to do with a heavy claymore. Although every hit with the claymore will be way much more stronger.

My point is: this is extremelly difficult to represent with pen and paper rules. In a videogame, you can use decimal fractions of seconds and "yards" to be calculated by the program, but in a tabletop game, easiness to use is more important.

So keep it stupidly simple. And forget about weapon speeds :P
That's only true within distance, though. Standing within reach is very dangerous against any weapon. The dagger's fast, but it's also shorter, making it easier to slip away from. That goes a long way to negate the speed advantage of lighter weapons.
Have y'all ever looked at the magic system? Casting a single spell can often lead to fumbling through multiple books to figure out what the heck it does.

You mean they should make the weapon combat rule equally convulted? I hope the are going in the opposite direction.
That's only true within distance, though. Standing within reach is very dangerous against any weapon. The dagger's fast, but it's also shorter, making it easier to slip away from. That goes a long way to negate the speed advantage of lighter weapons.

Not all "lighter" weapons are "shorter". A rapier is lighter than a warhammer, and also longer. A scimitar is lighter / better balanced than a battle axe. Both of them should attack more times in 20 seconds than their clumsier counterparts against a broadsword armed opponent. (but do less damage too).

And that is the reason it is better just forget about the matter. You cannot make a rule that make attacking with each weapon realistic, becouse it will mean to make a rule for every combo of weapons possible (like bastardsword vs rapier, bastard sword vs battle axe, dagger vs shortsword, spear vs shortsword... etc) And dont get me started on two weapon fighting.... a fighter using a warhammer and a dagger versus a ranger using a bastard sword and a rapier?
As for the weapon's speeds being unrepresentable, I'll say yes...in initiative-based systems. You can make it work however, but it requires a system such as the newer WW systems. Initiative is rolled at the start, and determines the initial order (highest goes first at 0-seconds, then lower rolls go x number of seconds later). Every action has a speed, which pushes you down the chart a number of seconds equal to the speed. So, lighter weapons are quicker than heavy ones, but of course hit less powerfully.

It's a neat system, but it does mean players and the DM have to be on top of the speeds of actions, as there are a lot of different ones. DnD's is more simplistic, but also much easier to keep track of, which is one of the reasons that DnD still gets played in our group, along with lots of other RPG's.

If you want to see DnD with complicated rules for combat, look no further than the Game of Thrones variant. It's very realistic; armor adds DR and lowers AC; AC isn't static at 10, it's rolled; players have a "shock value" that if exceeded in damage, they drop, unconcious for a short time (coup de grace, anyone?); armor can be ignored partially/fully by taking attack penalties (to aim for a weak point/joint); fatigue penalties add up after certain numbers of rounds in combat, made worse by heavier armor. It is a very cool system, that only works due to the lack of magic (magic being more like LotR than DnD) in the setting.

Combat is very, very lethal, but it also is very accurate. Lightly armored/unarmored folks can literally dance around heavily-armored knights, but have to tire them out, or be very skilled, to beat them. The first significant hit can end a fight, or make it very one-sided.

I guess what I'm getting at, is that DnD's combat system is pretty much fine as is. It isn't complicated, it pretty accurately takes into account many factors, and most of all, is heroic. Heroes don't just get tired in combat, they don't get stabbed once and die (after level 2 anyway :P), and they're capable of fighting outnumbered without getting dragged under in a heartbeat.
You mean they should make the weapon combat rule equally convulted?

I have no problem with more complexity if makes combat more realistic. Yes, I know this is a pipe dream.

Not all "lighter" weapons are "shorter". A rapier is lighter than a warhammer, and also longer. A scimitar is lighter / better balanced than a battle axe. Both of them should attack more times in 20 seconds than their clumsier counterparts against a broadsword armed opponent. (but do less damage too).

Maybe, maybe not. If both sides attack and then fly out of distance, as some masters suggested, then probably not. The rapier certainly should have the advantage against a single-handed hammer or axe in unarmored combat. The rapier guy should do better against against the swordsman, yes.

You cannot make a rule that make attacking with each weapon realistic, becouse it will mean to make a rule for every combo of weapons possible

Yeah. I've done exactly that. Perhaps it's too complex for most gamers. As a DM, however, I know what I want the outcome to be. I don't have to remember the exact numbers.
This is going to sound somewhat callous, but if you desire realism, there are many other systems out there. In particular, try out Hackmaster, and their Arms Law supplement. Or, heck, AD&D2e for that matter, it used that strange initiative system where your weapon speed added to your initiative. Combat in DnD should be relatively fast and relatively simple. You have to remember that the combat rules are really models and simplifications of complicated physics rules, and while we COULD actually figure those out, it'd take a whole weekend to walk through a few rounds of combat. Simplification is good.

The trick is to not make it so simple that choices in equipment become useless. So, making the armors sufficiently different from each other would be good. This means that for most characters, there isn't a "best armor" for all situations. The same thing could be done with weapons. Right now, the Swords are the best weapons in core (if you ignore reach), because they have the highest damage potential.

What would be great is if Wizards could differentiate between weapons and balance them so that it'd make sense to have a character who's an axe user, and one who's a longsword user, and one who's a sabre and light shield user. I don't much care how they do it, but I do think that weapon speeds are a bad way to go. Weapon feat trees, a la Iron Heroes, would be much better.
You know, it's been mentioned that dragons, giants, and other creatures defy real world physics simply by existing. So it's obvious that we're dealing with a world with it's own, alternate physics.

Therefore, it makes no sense trying to apply a system meant to simulate real world physics in a detailed manner to D&D. :D :P
Yeah. I've done exactly that. Perhaps it's too complex for most gamers. As a DM, however, I know what I want the outcome to be. I don't have to remember the exact numbers.

I doubt you have a rule for every group of weapons possible. Getting combination of 2 weapons vs 2 weapons, the weapons in the PHB alone would make for thousands of combinations.
I have the advantages and disadvantages of nearly all the weapons I care about. I base them off of George Silver's system. He gave the most complete hierarchy of weapons.

It's fairly simple, really. The sword's the best single-handed weapon. Shorter one-handed weapons are inferior, though they may do better against armor. Two-handed and double weapons (sword & shield, for example) beat all single-handed weapons.

The staff or spear eight or nine feet long is best two-handed weapon. Of the shorter two-handed weapons, the longer ones are better. Staff beats halberd beats longsword. And so on.
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