... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Size Matters

In a comment on yesterday's post about using the same damage range for every weapon, Coldstream raised the issue of the size of weapons versus the size of the creature struck. 'Does a dagger really do the same "damage" to a dragon, or even a cow, that a two-handed sword does or halberd?' He also raises the side issue of fighters dumping two-handed weapons in favor of weapon and shield combos.

I've already expressed my opinion on how to handle weapon size/mass against human-sized opponents: give a to-hit bonus to fighters using bigger weapons. I only distinguished one-handed from two-handed weapons in that post, but I could use the same basic principal to differentiate finer differences:

  • against a human-sized opponent, one-handed weapons of short sword size or higher have the default "to hit" roll;
  • smaller weapons are at a 1-point disadvantage on the combat roll;
  • two-handed weapons are at a 1-point advantage on the combat roll;
  • any weapon that is at least 3/4ths the size of an opponent has a further +1 advantage;
  • any weapon that is bigger than an opponent has a +2 advantage;
  • any opponent who is twice human size has a +1 defensive advantage, +1 for every further doubling.
This breaks down this way for a human fighter:

  • dagger versus giant = +2 defense bonus for giant
  • sword versus giant = +1 defense bonus for giant
  • great sword versus giant = standard roll
  • great sword versus goblin = +3 attack bonus for fighter
You can also allow fighters (only) to try sweeping blows with two-handed weapons, knocking back opponents instead of damaging them. This plus the benefits of weapon length give players of fighter characters a reason to sacrifice a shield to use a two-handed weapon in some cases.


  1. I really like the idea of giving a plus one for two handed swords, to balance the shield penalty. I am totally going to steal that!

  2. Note that, in the rules I listed above, a Great Sword is more likely to be +2 against man-sized opponents or smaller.