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View Full Version : Making Weapons More Meaningful? [Rule Change]

Phosphate
2012-10-12, 04:13 PM
The stats in a weapon don't really mean a thing as it stands now. Too small and unrealistically so differences at lower levels, irrelevant at higher levels where number of attacks and myriads of bonuses are much more important.

I mean, think about the first part. 10 strength is considered normal in D&D, and 16 is basically peak normal human. A sorcerer with martial proficiency and 10 strength deals an average of 7 damage per hit with a two-handed sword. A fighter with 16 strength, so, irl, the difference between your average Joe and a bodybuilder, with the same weapon, will manage 10 damage with the same weapon, not even 50% more.

What I'm proposing is a way of calculating damage that emphasizes more the kind of weapon being used, and also, the stats of the utilizer. Also, it's a bit more in-depth. With this rule change, damage calculation occurs as such:

(X * Str - xP) or 1, whichever is higher

X * Str is always rounded up

Where X is a constant, rational number specific to each weapon (and that varies with size for the same weapon type), and P stands for precision and is calculated depending on precision type (x). x can be n (normal precision), f (finesse precision), s (steady precision), r (random precision). They are all calculated slightly differently.

For nP, roll dice as indicated by the weapon. Then, subtract your dexterity modifier from the result (naturally, the result gets higher if your dexterity is negative). If you get a negative number, use 0 instead. If you get a value higher than a maximum roll, use a maximum roll (for instance, if you have 7 dex and on a 1d6 roll 5, instead of a nP of 7 use a nP of 6).

fP works just like nP, except that if you get a negative number, you use that number instead of 0. Practically, high dexterity can increase your damage output this way.

sP works just like nP, except that if you have a negative dexterity modifier, you may treat it as 0.

rP works just like nP, except that you don't add your dexterity modifier at all.

When writing off the damage of a weapon, it should look like this:

Dagger - 2. 1d4 (fP)

"3." is X, and 1d8 is what you roll and subtract dex from. Since this particular weapon has fP, it appeals to agile people mostly. And now for comparison:

1st level wizard, 10 strength, 10 dexterity -> average 1 damage, maximum 1 damage
1st level fighter, 16 strength, 12 dexterity -> average 4,5 damage, maximum 6 damage
1st level rogue, 12 strength, 16 dexterity -> average 2,5 damage, maximum 4 damage
14th level fighter, 28 strength, 20 dexterity -> average 18,5 damage, maximum 20 damage

And now, to reuse my first example:

Two-Handed Sword - 5. 2d6 (nP)

1st level sorcerer, 12 strength, 10 dexterity -> average 1 damage, maximum 3 damage
1st level fighter, 16 strength, 12 dexterity -> average 6 damage, maximum 14 damage
14th level fighter, 28 strength, 20 dexterity -> average 45 damage, maximum 45 damage

Critical damage simply doubles the total. That's all.

So guys, if you like this system, you can tell me. If I get enough support I will try to write up the damage of all SRD weapons in it.

Spiryt
2012-10-12, 04:25 PM
This is quite interesting, but I feel too clunky in general, and for D&D in particular...

How do 'other' damage modifiers save Str etc. enter into it?

I mean, think about the first part. 10 strength is considered normal in D&D, and 16 is basically peak normal human. A sorcerer with martial proficiency and 10 strength deals an average of 7 damage per hit with a two-handed sword. A fighter with 16 strength, so, irl, the difference between your average Joe and a bodybuilder, with the same weapon, will manage 10 damage with the same weapon, not even 50% more.

In some ways, even 24 isn't peaking human 'normal', while in some 14 may be...

Basically, putting any real meaning into D&D stats is bound to lead to trouble - those are about 5 numbers - +1, +4 etc...

In no way suitable to represent reality.

Bodybuilders generally aren't all that dynamicaly strong either.

Re'ozul
2012-10-12, 04:36 PM
Very confusing to my tired mind at first (especially since you didn't actualy include size modifier in the forumla only in the description.

It could work, but causes all sorts of problems normal concepts like weapon finesse or bonuses.

A Str 8 character even with a dagger is suddenly a bit hosed:

"2. 1d4 fp" with Str 8 and Dex 18 means a damage distribution of:
1/0/0/0 so going with a minimum of 1 your level 1 dagger rogue is kinda bad at this.

Allowing weapon finesse to replace the Str aspect with Dex on the other hand would make dex characters immensly overpowered. Suddenly the same character does 11/10/9/8 for an average of 9.5 with daggers making a rogues sneak attack less decisive.

Interesting idea, but implementation and balancing would be a nightmare.

Ancient Hippo
2012-10-12, 06:29 PM
Well, first I wan't to say that a character with an Str under 12 will never hit for more than one point of damage, unless having a high Dex modifier. Under this system, a dagger and a two-handed sword are completely identical in the hands of a <12 str <16 dex character. And that is bad thing if your intention is make weapons differ from each other. On the top of that, it means that a character with 11 str and 15 dex will deal the same amount of damage than a character with 6 str and 6 dex.

How will this work for ranged weapons? Or how does Power Attack or wielding two-handed work? Size categories? A lot of other things will need to be altered.

On top of that this system will distort the power curve. The 1st level fighter of your example using a two-handed sword deals 5 points less damage on average per attack than when using the old system. But at level 14 he will deal on average 15 points more damage than his counterpart.

You would need to tweak the system a lot to make this feasible, more than just a simple rules fix should require. If I were making a homebrew system, I might consider it, but not in d20.

Phosphate
2012-10-13, 06:31 AM
How do 'other' damage modifiers save Str etc. enter into it?

Very confusing to my tired mind at first (especially since you didn't actualy include size modifier in the forumla only in the description.

There IS NO size modifier. A medium two-handed sword will simply have a different X from a large one.

A Str 8 character even with a dagger is suddenly a bit hosed:

"2. 1d4 fp" with Str 8 and Dex 18 means a damage distribution of:
1/0/0/0 so going with a minimum of 1 your level 1 dagger rogue is kinda bad at this.

Someone with a str of 8 should fight badly no matter how agile he is.

Allowing weapon finesse to replace the Str aspect with Dex on the other hand would make dex characters immensly overpowered. Suddenly the same character does 11/10/9/8 for an average of 9.5 with daggers making a rogues sneak attack less decisive.

That feat, under this system, will obviously have to be removed or reworked.

Interesting idea, but implementation and balancing would be a nightmare.

I got a long way ahead, I know that.

Well, first I wan't to say that a character with an Str under 12 will never hit for more than one point of damage, unless having a high Dex modifier. Under this system, a dagger and a two-handed sword are completely identical in the hands of a <12 str <16 dex character. And that is bad thing if your intention is make weapons differ from each other. On the top of that, it means that a character with 11 str and 15 dex will deal the same amount of damage than a character with 6 str and 6 dex.

Someone who is weak and bad with weapons is supposed to not use them properly, so in his hands, there's really not much difference between a zweihander and a dagger. Personally, I think I can do much more harm with my fists that with a 5 foot sword, simply because I have zero training in swords but did throw a few well aimed punches now and again.

How will this work for ranged weapons? Or how does Power Attack or wielding two-handed work? Size categories? A lot of other things will need to be altered.

Size categories don't matter, power attacking will be reworked, and ranged weapons will work with the same formula, I don't see the issue there.

On top of that this system will distort the power curve. The 1st level fighter of your example using a two-handed sword deals 5 points less damage on average per attack than when using the old system. But at level 14 he will deal on average 15 points more damage than his counterpart.

That's a good thing. Low level characters are too squishy in D.D 3,5.

You would need to tweak the system a lot to make this feasible, more than just a simple rules fix should require. If I were making a homebrew system, I might consider it, but not in d20.

Why not? you're still rolling d20 for hit and all.

Spiryt
2012-10-13, 11:17 AM
Someone with a str of 8 should fight badly no matter how agile he is.

'Fight badly', is one thing, not being able to do almost any damage is the other...

Although in D&D 'damage' is very, very much abstract, so I guess this may work.

Someone who is weak and bad with weapons is supposed to not use them properly, so in his hands, there's really not much difference between a zweihander and a dagger. Personally, I think I can do much more harm with my fists that with a 5 foot sword, simply because I have zero training in swords but did throw a few well aimed punches now and again.

How is dagger and being great-sword being identical in hands of pretty strong characters intended thing? :smallconfused:

As far as doing more harm with your first than with sword - no.

not even close. Zero training doesn't matter, having a weapon that can sever flesh and bone, offers range, point and so on triumphs punches any time.

DaTedinator
2012-10-13, 11:19 AM
Alright, kind of a long post. Apologies.

Personally, I think this system seems too complicated as-is. It's not *terribly* complicated, and I'm sure you could get used to it, but the problem is, combat is like, the core of D&D, and already the slowest part. Anything that's going to affect combat on such a scale as modifying weapon damage needs to either be simpler than the current system, or at least at the same level of simplicity/complexity.

In particular, I think it's the subtraction here that slows it down. For whatever reason, we as people - or at least, the people in my gaming group - tend to more noticeably - not extremely, but noticeably - slower when subtracting, rather than adding. In fact, one of the strengths of 3rd edition over previous editions is how they got pretty much everything to be addition, rather than subtraction.

Someone who is weak and bad with weapons is supposed to not use them properly, so in his hands, there's really not much difference between a zweihander and a dagger. Personally, I think I can do much more harm with my fists that with a 5 foot sword, simply because I have zero training in swords but did throw a few well aimed punches now and again.

I've specifically trained to use my fists for over a decade, and I promise you, I would do far, far more damage with a zweihander or a dagger than with my fists. It's true, I can be a lot more specific and precise with my fists, and I'm probably more likely to hit with a punch than with a massive sword, but if I hit with both? It's no contest, the blade wins every time. And the bigger the blade, the more it wins. Along those lines:

Someone with a str of 8 should fight badly no matter how agile he is.

Except that the entire focus of martial arts as whole - I'm not just specifying unarmed combat here, I mean any art that involves violence, whether that's unarmed combat, swordplay, archery, whatever - is to make it so the bigger man doesn't necessarily win. If strength were the only determining factor, there would be no martial arts, there would likely be few weapons, there would just be exercise.

Remember, the benefit of a blade is that it focuses all of the pressure of an attack onto a minuscule area, making strength irrelevant. A five-year-old child with a dagger could cut someone's artery as easily as a bodybuilder; strength is no factor there.

Also keep in mind that there are weapons - like swords - and unarmed combat systems - like Wing Chun - specifically designed for smaller, frailer people, to enable them to hit as hard as bigger, stronger people. Moreover, these weapons - again, like swords - are so effective at this, that even big, strong people practice with them, because otherwise they would lose to all the smaller, weaker people.

Finally, remember that the end goal of any system like this is fun, not realism. Realism is only helpful where it helps fun. If you made an entirely realistic weapon system, nobody would be able to play unarmed monks (or more likely, swordsages) anymore, because even after decades of training, you're not going to be able to punch someone so hard that they're hurt more than if they were hit by a mace. Plus, dagger-wielding rogues would be at a huge disadvantage when fighting a knight in armor, wielding a spear.

If that's what's fun for you? Awesome, go for it. Just be aware of the consequences, and make sure the others that you play with want that sort of game, too.