- Damage Rolls are an abstraction of how lucky or skillful your attacks were in a given round;
- Damage Rolls are a representation of actual physical damage done by a weapon.
I prefer differentiating weapons based on what they can do rather than on some damage rating, so if I'm going to distinguish between a crossbow bolt fired from a crossbow, a bolt thrown by hand, an arrowhead, and a bowstring (all examples cited in the previous post,) I'm more likely to roll a d6 for each and just interpret the damage differently. Here's a quick system, rewritten from earlier posts on punching and kicking and using sporks or throwing kittens.
- Standard weapons do 1d6 damage; giants do more damage when using weapons designed for them, but otherwise size only affects reach.
- Some weapons can be used for unusual actions in addition to or instead of their normal attack (for example, disarming someone using a flail.) Roll the d6 as you would for damage, but on a 5+, the unusual action works. This roll can be modified: knocking someone down with your shield might get a bonus or penalty for Strength, for example.
- An improvised weapon of substantial size mostly works as a regular weapon, but there may be improvised limits imposed by the form (can't throw it as far as a dagger, weapon has a chance of breaking, etc.)
- In keeping with #3, if you judge a weapon to be undersized for the job, you could reduce damage (halve it, or only allow 1 point except on 5+ and then halve it, or only 1 point on a 5+.)
- Non-lethal weapons do full non-lethal damage, tracked separately, plus reduced normal damage as in #4. If ordinary + non-lethal damage is more than hit points, opponent is unconscious.
- Nuisance weapons do reduced non-lethal damage. If they are sharp, they will do 1 point of real damage on 5+. They may also have unusual actions, as per #2.
So: a bolt fired from a crossbow is a standard weapon; a bolt used as a dagger is an improvised weapon (can't pull bolt out on 5+;) a bolt thrown by hand has reduced range and perhaps reduced damage; a punch is non-lethal; a bowstring is a nuisance weapon (trips and does 1 point non-lethal damage on 5+;) thrown arrowheads are also a nuisance weapon (no damage except on 5+.)