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Monday, May 31, 2010

Strength-Based Weapons

Someone posted about converting the D&D weapon lists to a "minimum Strength needed to use" format, sort of the way The Fantasy Trip (Melee) did it. I can't find where this was posted, but I feel guilty for never having posted my TFT-to-D&D conversion. It could have helped some people! Personally, I'm still dedicated to d6-only weapon damage and no hard "minimum Strength" numbers, but I'll be reusing parts of these rules.

To avoid creating equipment lists, weapons can be designed semi-freeform around minimum Strength scores needed to use + additional features. Base minimum Strength for weapons (other than small ones barely bigger than a hand) is 9. Every adjective, ability or improvement (+1 point of damage, hard to break, physical abilities like entanglement for flails) adds +1 to the minimum Strength needed. Some features, like "extra sharp", might not add to minimum Strength, but will still affect the cost (see below.)

Base one-hand weapon damage = 1d6, or 1d6-2 for small weapons like daggers.

Extended reach (long, longer, longest): +1 damage, +2 Strength per range; these are two-handed weapons, but they can be used one-handed if character has twice the minimum Strength needed. Each range allows a character to attack an opponent 1 step further away than the previous range, so a character with a long weapon can step outside the reach of an opponent with an ordinary sword or club while still being able to attack.

Weapons made of common material (wood, leather, bone) cost the same amount in "cheap" coins (silver pieces, in a gold-piece economy) equal to minimum Strength (1 coin for small weapons,) +1 per adjective. Cost for iron weapons is in "common" coins (gold pieces, for D&D as written.) Other materials may double or triple the base cost, and the base cost for silver weapons might be ten times the base cost for iron weapons; rarer materials will have higher multipliers.

So: your basic short sword is metal, no special features, 1d6 damage. Minimum Strength is 9, cost is 9 gp (compare 8 gp cost in 1e PHB.) Figure larger one-handed swords -- broad swords, long swords, etc. -- add damage under this system: a 1d6+1 broad sword would be minimum Strength 10, cost 10 gp (identical to PHB;) a 1d6+2 long sword would be Strength 11, cost 11 gp (less than the 15 gp cost in PHB.) Bastard swords are a little tricky, because of the option to use them two-handed: calculate it as a two-handed short sword (long reach, 2d6 base damage, minimum Strength 9) plus a one-handed sword heavier than a long sword (1d6+3 damage, Strength 12.) Final cost: 21 gp (compare 25 gp in 1e PHB.)

1 comment:

  1. In general I liked the way TFT approached weapons, although it still created a situation where some weapons were objectively better for a given Str score.

    Magic Realm's approach is attractive to me because it lumps all Heavy Weapons together. There are some subtle variations, but generally a heavy weapon is a heavy weapon, and those subtle variation made certain weapons better against certain monsters, but none are universally better in all circumstances.