3.5 Weapon Balance System

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D&D Weapon Balance System v1.4

To test if a weapon is balanced, for D&D 3.5, we’ll use a percentage system. Start with 100% and subtract the appropriate amount based on relative encumbrance. This basically sets the starting amount based on weapon type (ranged, two-handed, etc). Then add to that calculation the amounts associated with each of the attributes the weapon has.

The goal is to end up with 100% again. If you end up with higher or lower than 100%, the weapon is overpowered or underpowered by about that much. A range of 95% to 105% is acceptable, but 100% is best.

[b]Relative Encumbrance[/b] [b]Special Attributes[/b] <br /> Light Melee Weapon -25% Exotic Proficiency Required -5%<br /> One-Handed Melee Weapon -30% Thrown (10ft base range) 6%<br /> Two-Handed Melee Weapon -40% Thrown (per +5ft range) +2%<br /> Ranged Weapon: Project -35% Thrown (counts as ammo) +10%<br /> Ranged Weapon: Thrown -25% Trip 5%<br /> Unarmed -25% Disarm Bonus (per +2) 5%<br /> Cannot Be Disarmed 5%<br /> [b]Damage Dice (medium)[/b] Non-Lethal Damage 5%<br /> 1d2 0% Damage Type (option) 2%<br /> 1d3 5% Damage Type (multiple) 5%<br /> 1d4 10% Monk Special Weapon 5%<br /> 1d6 15%<br /> 1d8 20% [b]Melee Weapon Attributes[/b] <br /> 2d4 22% Reach 5%<br /> 1d10 25% Reach (Inclusive) +5%<br /> 1d12 28% Set Against Charge 2%<br /> 2d6 30% Weapon Finesse (non-light) 5%<br /> 2d8 34% Double Weapon 15%<br /> 2d10 40% Shield As Weapon 10%<br /> Extra Specialized Abilities -10% to +10%<br /> [b]Critical Threat/Multiplier[/b]<br /> 20/x2 5% [b]Projectile Weapon Attributes[/b] <br /> 20/x3 10% Projectile (under 100ft) 0%<br /> 20/x4 15% Projectile (100ft+)[drawback] 0%<br /> 19-20/x2 10% Reload (full-round action) 0%<br /> 18-20/x2 15% Reload (move action) 5%<br /> Reload (free action) 10%<br /> Reload (free/full hybrid) 5%

Extra Specialized Abilities:
No system can account for everything. However, if a weapon has a specialized ability, not listed, you will need to decide what value it holds. One example from the PHB is the Lance, which has “x2 damage mounted charge & one-handed while mounted” as an ability. This ability is highly specialized and conditional, but still not trivial. Attach a 5% value to it, and when you calculate the Lance it comes out to 100%. A second example would be the Rapier, with the ‘weapon finesse’ ability, but also ‘cannot be used hand+half’. These abilities are of comparable value, so apply a -5% to the ‘no hand+half’ and it balances out. Finally, the Dagger has an example of an almost valueless ability in its ‘conceal bonus’, so you may perhaps give it a 1% value.

Double Weapon Special Note:
If a double weapon has different ends, use the damage dice and critical threat/multiplier numbers from the end which adds up to the greater amount in your calculations. (Ex. Dwarven Urgosh damage/critical numbers total 30%, not the 25% from the spear end.)

Projectile Weapon Special Note:
Projectile weapons basically come in two types; Drawn and Loaded.
[INDENT]Drawn weapons (bows) require two hands to use, and only a free action to reload. But, they suffer Strength penalties (if any) to damage.[/INDENT]
[INDENT]Loaded weapons (crossbows/sling) generally use two hands, but will allow an optional one handed firing (but not reloading) at a penalty.[/INDENT]

A projectile weapon’s range increment has no percentage cost, but it will govern some of the other attributes associated with the weapon. If a weapon’s range is less than 100ft, we’ll call that short range. If the range increment is 100ft or greater, we’ll call that long range.
[INDENT]Drawn weapons of long range should have some kind of minor drawback (for longbows, it is that they cannot be used while mounted).[/INDENT]
[INDENT]Loaded weapons have a one-handed option that is a function of it’s range. A short range weapon suffers a -2 penalty if used one-handed, and can be used off-hand as a light weapon. A long range weapon suffers a -4 one-handed penalty, and is used off-hand as a one-handed weapon.[/INDENT]

Any deviations from those basics would require a value associated. One example of this is the Hand Crossbow’s lack of any penalty while using it one-handed, or the Sling’s full strength modifier. If we calculate those weapons without these abilities, they each come in at 85%. So, those abilities must be worth around 10%. Seams a bit high, but oh well.

Exotic Weapon Freebies:
Exotic weapons sometimes need something ‘special’ to make it clear that it’s exotic. So, an exotic weapon can have one or both of the following abilities as a freebie. Only use these if it is appropriate for the weapon, though. Also, non-exotics should probably never have these abilities.
[INDENT]-One handed weapon can be use two-handed as a martial weapon.
-Racial Weapon Familiarity[/INDENT]

Should Not Be A Consideration When Balancing Weapons:
[INDENT]Cost [gp] – Doesn’t have an impact beyond 1st level startup.
Size – This is a self regulating factor. Every weapon should potentially come in every size.
Weight – Generally of no value. Might be considered in the extremes.[/INDENT]

Final Comments:
When applying this system to the PHB weapons, almost all fall within the 95%-105% margins, with most hitting 100% exactly. One notable exception is the javelin. It stands out coming in at 114%, but this is because it seams to be confused as to whether it is a truly ‘ranged’ (thrown exclusively) weapon, or simply a melee weapon that can be thrown better than it can be wielded in melee combat. If we pretend it is a 1-handed Exotic (which explains our -4 non-proficiency penalty), it totals 98%... charge a small fee [5%] for having no penalty if thrown, and it falls nicely at 103%.
Weapon Percentages: [95% to 105% = Fine]

PHB:

90% – Gauntlet

95% – Dagger, punching / Gauntlet, spiked / Mace, light / Mace, heavy / Shield, heavy / Greatclub / Siangham / Crossbow, hand / Crossbow, repeating light
96% – Club / Whip / Shuriken
97% – Longspear / Falchion

100% – Unarmed strike / Sickle / Morningstar / Shortspear / Quarterstaff / Hammer, light / Handaxe / Kukri / Pick, light / Sap / Shield, light / Spiked shield, light / Sword, short / Battleaxe / Longsword / Pick, heavy / Rapier / Scimitar / Spiked shield, heavy / Warhammer / Glaive / Guisarme / Lance / Kama / Nunchaku / Sword, bastard / Waraxe, dwarven / Axe, orc double / Sword, two-bladed / Sling / Crossbow, heavy / Crossbow, light / Shortbow / Shortbow, composite / Crossbow, repeating heavy / Dart

101% – Axe, throwing / Bolas
102% – Spear / Guisarme / Ranseur
103% – Spiked armor / Trident / Greataxe
104% – Dagger / Halberd / Scythe / Urgrosh, dwarven
105% – Flail / Flail, heavy / Greatsword / Flail, dire / Longbow

106% – Sai
107% - Chain, spiked / Hammer, gnome hooked
110% - Longbow, composite
114% – Javelin
Interesting, have you seen the melee weapon point system.
You should also have some sort of multiplying effect for a combo threat range and crit multiplier increase(like the pre-errata Talenta Sharrash)
Interesting, have you seen the melee weapon point system.

I may have, do you have a link? Or perhaps a source?

You should also have some sort of multiplying effect for a combo threat range and crit multiplier increase(like the pre-errata Talenta Sharrash)

An example of an unerrata'd similar weapon would be the Braid Blade from Dungeon Magazine #120 p35 which has an 18-20/x3 crit.

Those costs are not exclusive, so the Braid Blade would suffer a 15% and 10% cost due to those numbers.
Leet, I want my:
Exotic (-30%), Two Handed (-15%), -1AC (-5% extra special ability)
2d10 (+50%) weapon

thanks

Doesn't sound very balaced to me.
Shazam!

Melee Weapon Balance System
Damage (Medium; +1/-1 die per size difference)
Light: 1d4 20/x2
One-Handed: 1d6 20/x2
Two-Handed: 1d8 20/x2

Values
Simple: 1 point
Martial: 2 points
Exotic: 3 points

Costs
Reach (R): 1/2 point
Disarming (D): 1/2 point
Tripping (T): 1/2 point
1 handed while mounted (M): 1/2 point
Double Die: 1/2 point
+1 Die size: 1 point [1 > 1d2 > 1d3 > 1d4 > 1d6 > 1d8 (2d4) > 1d10 > 1d12 (2d6) > 2d8 (4d4) > 2d10 > 2d12 (4d6)]
19-20 critical range: 1 point
x3 critical multiplier: 1 point
Throwing Range: 1 point
+2 Die size: 2 points
18-20 critical range: 2 points
x4 critical multiplier: 2 points
Double Headed: 2 points
Adjacent Reach (Ar): 2 points
Cannot be disarmed (Cd): 1 point
Extreme Reach (Er.): 3 points (15 ft. reach, can attack adjacent foes)
-1 Die size: -1 point
-2 Die size: -2 points
Nonlethal (S): 0 points
2 Damage types: 1/2 point
Set Against Charge (C): 0 points

That's the weapon balance calculator, created by Conjurer, and modified by me. It works for every melee weapon in the PHB, though it does reveal certain weapons (I'm looking at you greatclub) to be inappropriately placed within the Simple > Martial > Exotic hierarchy. That and the monk weapons ... but that's another debate.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Leet, I want my:
Exotic (-30%), Two Handed (-15%), -1AC (-5% extra special ability)
2d10 (+50%) weapon

thanks

Doesn't sound very balaced to me.

Um ... so a 2d10 20/x2 two-handed exotic weapon? That's perfectly fine actually.

Take the 2d6 19-20/x2 two-handed martial weapon that is the greatsword. Reduce the critical range by 1, and instead increase the damage die by one, giving us a 2d8 20/x2 two-handed martial weapon. Then we'll make it an exotic weapon and kick the damage up to 2d10. That works with my system; heck, in my system you won't have to pay with -1 AC.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Er, Risner... it actually is balanced. It's a fullblade with a 1 point 2-handed power attack that draws from AC.

I'm gonna test this out, and see if I can make a useful weapon not already covered in the rules.
Sorry to post so many times, but critical range and multiplier are multiplicatively related (is that a word?).

Look at it as a table:

Range<br /> Mult 20 19 18<br /> x2 1 2 3<br /> x3 2 4 6<br /> x4 3 6 9

See, increasing from 20 to 19 is doubling the threat range, increasing from 20 to 18 is trippling it. Likewise, increasing from x2 to x3 is doubling the multiplier, and x2 to x3 is trippling it.

We'll need to bring someone in here who's much better with numbers than I, but trust us when we say that a weapon which is naturally 19/x3 is as powerful as a weapon which is naturally 17/x2 (3 steps), not something that is naturally 18/x2 (2 steps). Please trust us.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Likewise, increasing from x2 to x3 is doubling the multiplier, and x2 to x3 is trippling it.

Assuming you mean x2 to x4 is trippling it.
Assuming you mean x2 to x4 is trippling it.

Hai, so desu.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

For interests sake;

The Talenta Sharrash calculates as such:
115% = Before Errata
100% = After Errata

They must have used this system ;)
We'll need to bring someone in here who's much better with numbers than I, but trust us when we say that a weapon which is naturally 19/x3 is as powerful as a weapon which is naturally 17/x2 (3 steps), not something that is naturally 18/x2 (2 steps). Please trust us.

Close, but not quite...

Viewing each aspect of criticalism (I can make up words too!) as additional damage, we get...

x2 = 1
x3 = 2
x4 = 3

20 = .05
19 = .10
18 = .15

Multiply the 2 numbers together, and you get the average additional damage for that crit multiplier/range. The high-end crit weapons all work out to a 15% damage increase (.15 x 1 or .05 x 3). A 19-20/x3 weapon would multiply out to 20%; slightly better than the best core weapons.

If you notice, a high-end crit weapon under this system costs 15%, while a 19-20/x3 costs 20%. Coincidence?? I think not.
Close, but not quite...

Viewing each aspect of criticalism (I can make up words too!) as additional damage, we get...

x2 = 1
x3 = 2
x4 = 3

20 = .05
19 = .10
18 = .15

Multiply the 2 numbers together, and you get the average additional damage for that crit multiplier/range. The high-end crit weapons all work out to a 15% damage increase (.15 x 1 or .05 x 3). A 19-20/x3 weapon would multiply out to 20%; slightly better than the best core weapons.

If you notice, a high-end crit weapon under this system costs 15%, while a 19-20/x3 costs 20%. Coincidence?? I think not.

And by your progression, a 17/x2 weapon would be .20 ... or 20%, just like I said. So I got the same results as you, just in a different direction.

The point is that in my system, a 19-20/x3 weapon would cost you 3 points, not two points. You can't just buy a 19 range and then a x3 multiplier, because that's as potent as a +15% increase, a 17/x2 weapon, or worse, a 20/x5 weapon.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Exotic Weapon -30%
Monk Special Weapon 10%

Take the Dwarven waraxe ... with a dwarf.
For them, it's a Martial weapon. Drops it back to -25% by your chart, and thus substantially overpowered compared to other one-handed (martial) melee weapons. So race can be a factor.

Or take the wizard armed with a quarterstaff. +10% ? Please! The class has a very limited selection, and no special tricks with the weapons. So do you mean to apply the 10% only if the character has a level of Monk? So class gets to be a factor too.

Generally, I go with average damage, max damage, and sometimes variance. One-handed and two-handed factor in a fair bit, too - a 1st level dwarven barbarian could (theoretically) smack someone for around 87 pts with a pair of axes.

I like the idea of trying to calculate 'balance', but it's ultimately pointless.
You'll notice that there is no 17-20 range nor x5 multiplier in this system. That's because those numbers have no place being on a weapon.

You'll also notice that there are no weapons in any book with those stats.
That's because those numbers have no place being on a weapon.

Magic, Feats, or Class Features might elevate a weapon to those levels... but a weapon balancing system shouldn't consider such factors.

LordPendragon was illustrating what the math is regarding the various combinations, and also nicely pointed out that this system follows those percentages to the letter. [It costs 10% to gain a 10% damage increase, 15% for a 15% increase, and 20% for a 20% damage increase]

It might be worth noting, though, that when one gets outrageous about combinations, the numbers get fudged. [A 18-20/x3 weapon, though it grants a 30% damage increase, only imposes a 25% increase to cost, for example]
You'll notice that there is no 17-20 range nor x5 multiplier in this system. That's because those numbers have no place being on a weapon.

I didn't say you were doing 17-20 or x5 weapons, but your system doesn't disallow a 19-20/x3 weapon for the price of an 18-20/x2 or 20/x4 weapon.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Take the Dwarven waraxe ... with a dwarf.
For them, it's a Martial weapon. Drops it back to -25% by your chart, and thus substantially overpowered compared to other one-handed (martial) melee weapons. So race can be a factor.

That is already addressed in the system. Just because to 'someone' the weapon acts differently doesn't change it's balancing factors.

In this case, it is an exotic weapon (so balance it as one), and 'racial familiarity' is one of the listed freebies for exotic weapons. See the Exotic Weapon Notes section.

[as a side note: if you balanced it as a one-handed martial (which you shouldn't), it comes in at 105% which is still within limits.]

Or take the wizard armed with a quarterstaff. +10% ? Please! The class has a very limited selection, and no special tricks with the weapons. So do you mean to apply the 10% only if the character has a level of Monk? So class gets to be a factor too.

No, class is not a factor when balancing anything but a class.

Now, a weapon may have an ability that can only be utilized by some classes (like for instance 'martial weapons' in the case of half the classes), but that weapon has the inherant ability and must be considered as a balancing factor regardless of who is or may wield it.

[as a side note: if you balanced it as if it wasn't flurriable (which you shouldn't), it comes in at 95% which is still within limits.]

I like the idea of trying to calculate 'balance', but it's ultimately pointless.

Well, we can disagree on that point.
I didn't say you were doing 17-20 or x5 weapons, but your system doesn't disallow a 19-20/x3 weapon for the price of an 18-20/x2 or 20/x4 weapon.

My system says this:
18-20/x2 costs 15% (netting a 15% damage increase)
20/x4 costs 15% (netting a 15% damage increase)
19-20/x3 costs 20% (netting a 20% damage increase)

How is that wrong?
And by your progression, a 17/x2 weapon would be .20 ... or 20%, just like I said. So I got the same results as you, just in a different direction.

The point is that in my system, a 19-20/x3 weapon would cost you 3 points, not two points. You can't just buy a 19 range and then a x3 multiplier, because that's as potent as a +15% increase, a 17/x2 weapon, or worse, a 20/x5 weapon.

I'm sorry, I mistook the purpose of your post. We did indeed reach the same conclusion, but there's something you're missing.

In OrbitalB's system, a 19-20 range costs 10%, and a x3 mutiplier also costs 10%. Adding those 2 together costs 20%, not the 15% which is the cost of a 18-20/x2 or 20/x4 weapon. He's already provided for the fact that stacking critical ranges and multipliers gets you greater results.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I interpreted your post correctly this time.
So... what's the highest crit you can get in this system with an exotic 1d2 light weapon?

ie how high would it be to be considered 130%?
So... what's the highest crit you can get in this system with an exotic 1d2 light weapon?

ie how high would it be to be considered 130%?

18-20/x4

Which is a 45% damage increase, incidentally. But keep in mind that's 45% of 1D2, and compare it to 15% of 1D6. Also, you'd be sucking pretty hard against anything immune to crits.
The shiruken of death..

Exotic 1d2 18-20/x4 throwing weapon, comes out to 100%

Fear my 4d2's on a crit! Fear the 4-8 damage 15% of the time..

It's balanced, but who'd take it?
Okay... so start with 100%

-30% exotic, -15% Two Handed. 55%

+30% 18-20x4
+10% 1d6
+5% Reach


Impaler of DOOM
1d6 18-20x4 Two Handed Reach Weapon.

^I give you the ideal weapon for all charge builds.
Okay... so start with 100%

-30% exotic, -15% Two Handed. 55%

+30% 18-20x4
+10% 1d6
+5% Reach


Impaler of DOOM
1d6 18-20x4 Two Handed Reach Weapon.

^I give you the ideal weapon for all charge builds.

Bump the damage down a step, and throw in the lance's ability set with the x2 on a charge and one-handed while mounted. Then it's the Horseback Impaling Spike of DOOOOM!!!
First let me say that I'm quite impressed. It's great to have such a system to make sanity-checks when new weapons are introduced in supplements.
However, I have to agree with The_Geek to a certain degree:
I like the idea of trying to calculate 'balance', but it's ultimately pointless.

Weapons don't exist in a vacuum. Damage is affected by all kinds of other things, like feats, spells, materials, magic weapon qualities, etc.

So, unless you manage to create a similar balance system for every other game mechanic that can potentially change the effectiveness of a weapon, it's a purely academic exercise.

There's an additional cave-at:
Such point-based or percentage-based systems are always problematic when combining extremes. Unless you have additional restrictions by not allowing certain combinations you end up with weapons that are utterly unrealistic or situationally unbalanced.
This is an inherent flaw of these systems if they are used as a basis for min-max-designs that can ultimately only be alleviated by applying common sense.

So, the system can be used to identify weapons that are not balanced but it cannot be used to prove or guarantee that a weapon is balanced.
The shiruken of death..

Exotic 1d2 18-20/x4 throwing weapon, comes out to 100%

Fear my 4d2's on a crit! Fear the 4-8 damage 15% of the time..

It's balanced, but who'd take it?

It's not the 4d2 that's the problem; it's the x4 strength damage 15% of the time.

As for the OP's system, I hadn't realized that they worked that way. Seems your system works, then, since you've covered for that. The original point system Conjurer created just seems easier to deal with, but to each their own.

PS: Your system shows that the light mace and heavy mace are 95% weapons, which is untrue. This happens because you don't have a 20/x2 crit cost 5%; you could also fix this by decreasing the cost for crits by 5% and decreasing the percentage reduction for weapon proficiencies by 5%.

Heck, even my earlier statements could be used to say a one-handed exotic 1d6 19/x3 weapon is balanced, but it isn't. Between Strength, specialization, and enhancement bonuses, such a weapon will do far more damage than a 1d10 19/x2 one-hander (bastard sword).

Poe's Law is alive and well.

There is also the thought that anything with an 18-20 or a 4x multiplier should never have the other side of the critical higher than the minimum.

So far nothing exists with x4 multi on anything more than a 20, and only 1 thing has an 18-20 higher than x2 (braid blade).

Most potential crit abuses could be avoided by simply putting [20 threat only] beside the x4 entry. And perhaps [x2 multiplier only] beside the 18-20 entry... but that would invalidate the braid blade.

That said, I left it open for now because I'd like descussion on the subject.

For example... the shuriken of death (above) it quite powerful when one considers strength bonus to damage.

Thoughts?
PS: Your system shows that the light mace and heavy mace are 95% weapons, which is untrue. This happens because you don't have a 20/x2 crit cost 5%; you could also fix this by decreasing the cost for crits by 5% and decreasing the percentage reduction for weapon proficiencies by 5%.

95% is within limits, just a little weak... which the maces are. That simply illustrates this system's ability to show that a weapon is 'ok' (within limits), yet highlights if a weapon is a bit on the weak or strong side of 'ok'.

That said, i'm going to examine a 5% cost on 20/x2, and simply extending the system to include the reasonable combinations of crit/multi.
95% is within limits, just a little weak... which the maces are. That simply illustrates this system's ability to show that a weapon is 'ok' (within limits), yet highlights if a weapon is a bit on the weak or strong side of 'ok'.

I don't know, I still vote that the dagger is an overpowered simple weapon (its throwing range should be removed; people don't throw daggers, they throw throwing daggers, which are represented by darts). The morning star is fine, because the addition of piercing damage generally does nothing (I can't recall a creature with piercing DR).

In my opinion, there are only a few PHB weapons that are out of balance. If you care, I'll list them (and my proposed fixes).

As for your system and the crit issue, just simply list prices for each critical style, like you did, but include the range/multiplier:

19-20/x2 = 10%
20/x3 = 10%
18-20/x2 = 15%
20/x4 = 15%

If you add 20/x2 = 5%, you can make weapons which cannot crit and give them 20/x1 (such as subdual weapons; I use WP/VP system so I've taken to believe that crits represent injuries, so a subdual weapon cannot crit) have an extra 5% worth of abilities. Like a sap could be a 20/x1 weapon, but on a crit it provokes a fort save vs. daze, or something like that. Just tossing out ideas.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

As for your system and the crit issue, just simply list prices for each critical style, like you did, but include the range/multiplier

That's kinda funny, I just editted my previous post saying i was just looking into that

It so far looks like it's working out fine, and I'll be dropping the 'monk' ability to 5% (seams more resonable) and it balances those weapons better (seeing as they're all 20/x2).

EDIT:
K, some changes... I think for the better.

Changed cost of crit/multi to ‘precalculate’ for each combination. Included a cost 20/x2 of 5% (a 5% damage increase). I also lowered ‘monk’, ‘thrown’, and ‘shieldweapon’ by 5% each to re-balance those items... they were all 20/x2, and had the +5% basically rolled into their cost before.
Well, I hammered our the new numbers with that small change. It evens out the PHB weapons even nicer, which I like to see.

One sore spot, though... and this is not new... is the Javelin.
Darned thing can't decide if it's a strictly thrown weapon or if it's actually a melee weapon that just throws better than it is wielded melee. So it fudges the numbers calculated as a 'thrown' weapon. Does anyone know where one finds out how one wields a javelin in melee, btw? Is it as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon?

[If we pretend it is a 1-handed Exotic (which explains our -4 non-proficiency penalty), it totals 98%... charge a small fee for having no penalty if thrown... could work out ok I suppose]
It's a pretty admirable feat to have calculated all that.

The two systems listed imply that all weapons basically even out in damage over the length of a battle. How strange if true. But it makes sense if you think that in the end, any weapon hurts just the same. How would guns be affected by it? (yeah, guns don't belong in D&D but still ...wondering).

And how do weapons from Arms and Equipment Guide hold up against your formulas?

I don't know, I still vote that the dagger is an overpowered simple weapon (its throwing range should be removed; people don't throw daggers, they throw throwing daggers, which are represented by darts). The morning star is fine, because the addition of piercing damage generally does nothing (I can't recall a creature with piercing DR).

How are daggers overpowered? If it's just the throwing range, then make daggers which aren't specially made for throwing treated as improvised when thrown. But dagger damage is so puny, how could it be overpowered -- or even compare to bigger weapons?

In my opinion, there are only a few PHB weapons that are out of balance. If you care, I'll list them (and my proposed fixes).

Go ahead, curious.
Well, we can disagree on that point

One thing your calculations don't take into effect is, for want of a better term, something I refer to as the crunch factor. Your table lists a 20 x3 and a 19-20 x2 both at 10%. For a D8 weapon, the average damage is exactly the same (4.95).

However, if your opponent has DR 16, the 19-20 x2 weapon is useless.

In the same vein, if you are commonly coming up against opponents with 17 hp, you cannot 1-shot them with the 19-20 x2 weapon, but have a (whopping :D ) 3/160 chance with the 20 x3.

I should have qualified my earlier comment of 'pointless'. You have done a very good job at a system that quantifies weapons, and allows them to be compared. However, there are some things that are situation dependant, as the above two examples show, and are thus unquantifiable.

Or to be more explicit, which is the better weapon? If your foes are 10 hp, a D8 19-20x2 is better, if 17 hp, the D8 20x3; how does one calculate which is the better weapon overall? (Unless you can tell in advance what the DM is going to throw at you)
It's a pretty admirable feat to have calculated all that.

The two systems listed imply that all weapons basically even out in damage over the length of a battle. How strange if true. But it makes sense if you think that in the end, any weapon hurts just the same. How would guns be affected by it? (yeah, guns don't belong in D&D but still ...wondering).

And how do weapons from Arms and Equipment Guide hold up against your formulas?


How are daggers overpowered? If it's just the throwing range, then make daggers which aren't specially made for throwing treated as improvised when thrown. But dagger damage is so puny, how could it be overpowered -- or even compare to bigger weapons?


Go ahead, curious.

The fact that a dagger is a more powerful weapon than a throwing axe or a light hammer, that's what. And yes, those weapons are a little on the weak side, but the dagger is a little on the strong side.

To the OP: "Monk Weapon" does not make a weapon more powerful. Only the monk can use Flurry, and the monk gets proficiency in all of the "monk" weapons automatically. The Kama and Sickle are statistically identical; the Kama should be a simple weapon (heck, they should be the same weapon).

Poe's Law is alive and well.

The fact that a dagger is a more powerful weapon than a throwing axe or a light hammer, that's what. And yes, those weapons are a little on the weak side, but the dagger is a little on the strong side.

That's strange. Thrown daggers should do less damage anyway because they don't have the force of an arm driving it deeper into flesh. That way throwing hammers can do more damage than a thrown dagger. But a hand-held dagger and a light hammer seem like they would do about equal damage, but a dagger shouldn't have a larger crit range than a light hammer.

Also, aren't you going to post your fix for those few PHB weapons you mentioned are unbalanced?
Yes, soon. I'm heading down to my FLGS after work, and I'll post when I get home.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Comments are more than welcome.

My goal is to make this even more comprehensive, but still easy to chew on.

Kinda hard to chew on, when the in the course of historical and technological progress, the purpose of developing a new weapon is to outshine the existing ones.
Hmm...let's see if my idea of a gun would work here. Note, I'm using something closer to the arquebus to explain the comparatively low damage and range. The primary advantage/tactic would be using it as an opener, because you could realistically carry it loaded, fire it once at the beginning, and go to some other tactic. Really, the only reason I'd prefer this weapon over the X-Bow is for being stored loaded option.

Gun: Simple, Ranged (1d6, 80' range, 20/x3)
-20% Simple
-10% Projectile
10% 20/x3 Critical
0% Full-round Reload (provokes AoO)
0% -2 attack penalty with one hand fire (kickback)
15% 1d6 base damage
5% Can be stored loaded
Further testing showed that the base value for simple and martial (interestingly enough) should be the same... so that change has been made. This fixed a number of issues, and put the dagger into better perspective (still extra-powered, but no longer over-powered.

Also, an extra 1% cost on the base for having a thrown range, cleaned up a few things... that change has also been made.

I also added a list of the PHB weapons and their calculations, for easy reference, as the second post in this thread.
What? Simple and martial being the same?

Light mace 1d6 20/x2 simple light
Hand axe 1d6 20/x3 martial light

Why on earth would simple weapons be as good as martial weapons? If you're basing that off the few simples that are as powerful, or more powerful, than the weak martials, that's a pretty strange arguement.

Please stop while you're ahead and listen to us.

PS: here are the weapons I think are weak or too powerful, and my solutions:

Weak:
  • Light Hammer: Increase damage to 1d6 (unless you really think the higher throwing range warrants the weaker damage).
  • Sap: Make simple (it's as powerful as a light mace; you can't tell me that a weapon dealing subdual damage makes it more powerful ...)
  • Kama/Saingham: Make simple (compare Kama to Sickle ... I'll give you a second ... are you done? See a difference? Weight and cost hu? Oh, Kama's a Monk weapon? Does the Monk start with proficiency in Kama? Can anyone else flurry without taking a level of Monk? Taking a level of Monk would grant proficiency in the Kama, wouldn't it? Thought so ...)
  • Nunchaku/Sai: Could both be simple, but are a little more powerful than other simples. Nunchaku and Flail are *very* similar, so just increase the nunchaku's disarm bonus to +4 and make martial. Make the sai martial too, no changes, and you should be fine.
  • Whip: Make martial; make an exotic version that deals 1d4 damage and can deal lethal damage; remove the stupid armor restrictions (if you want armor to protect against attacks, use Armor as DR; you can't have your cake and eat it too).
  • Urgrosh: Spear end is slightly weak; just increase it's damage to 1d8 and you're cool.


Too Powerful:
  • Dagger: Remove throwing (if someone wants a throwing dagger, give them a dart).
  • Spear: Reduce critical multiplier to x2 (it still deals more damage than a short spear).
  • Heavy Flail: Increase damage to 1d12 and reduce critical range to 20/x2 (like the flail).


That's really it.

Poe's Law is alive and well.