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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weapon Damage Tables for Flails (and Others)

When I did the weaponless damage tables, I was think ahead to how they may be used for special weapons. For example, the flail. Either the two-handed grain flail or the one-handed spiked-ball-on-a-chain is both a weapon and a tool for entangling limbs or weapons of opponents. But do we need an actual table for either version?

Not really. The grain flail can use whichever table the attacker prefers: the one for two-handed melee weapons, or the Disarm Table, or the Trip Table, depending on what the attacker aims for. The spiked (military) flail is more versatile; when used to Disarm, Trip, or Immobilize a limb, look up the result on the appropriate table, but also apply the damage roll normally, looking it up on the edged (spiked) weapon table. I’d give the military flail this slight edge (ha ha) because of the longer chain, which can wrap around a limb or weapon and send the spiked ball hurtling at some part of the anatomy.

This trick can be used for any combo weapon, too. For example, there are a bunch of pole arms with different kinds of heads. Charles Taylor recently talked about the lucerne hammer, halberd, and bec de corbin, recommending treating them all as essentially the same – which, in pre-Greyhawk OD&D, means 1d6 damage. But all three can use either the polearm table or the two-handed melee weapons table, player’s choice, with the latter table being read as edged for halberd/bec de corbin or blunt for lucerne hammer.

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