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Friday, July 23, 2010

Strength-Based Weapons Redux

I previously posted an alternative Strength-based weapons system based on Melee/The Fantasy Trip, but I'd actually prefer something simpler when playing D&D and not TFT. Here's a simple little hack that uses the Strength/3 (round down) rating: if a weapon's length in feet is greater than this rating or the character's height, the character must use the weapon two-handed. This doesn't apply to weapons which require two hands for reasons other than size, like bows, garrote or quarterstaff.

Weapons that are more than twice as long as the character's height can't be used in combat at all, except bracing spears for a charge. Melee weapons that are more than three times the character's height are completely unusable by a single character, as are weapons longer than the character's raw, undivided Strength rating. Magical assistance may remove this limitation; so could two characters working together to brace an extremely long spear by combining their Strength scores.

Edit: Per a comment by Prince Herb, I've tweaked this and condensed weapon lengths to:
  • 1-hand weapon <= Strength/3 OR character's height
  • 2-hand weapon up to 4 x height OR 2 x raw Strength
  • two-person pole arm > 4 x height OR 2 x raw Strength
Two-person pole arms can only be braced for a charge if characters aren't trained in some kind of group fighting technique.


  1. This needs a bit of tweaking; as written, you can't use pikes properly.

  2. Hmmm. I was thinking pikes were in the 10- to 12-foot range, but it looks like some pikes were longer. I could change it from 2x/3x to 4x/5x, but now I'm wondering if I can merge it into one category: weapons more than four times the character's height (or twice raw Strength) are completely unusable by a single character without assistance; even then, without special training, the weapon can only be braced for a charge.