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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Weapon Damage Tables: Spears and Pole Arms

Another one of those weapon damage tables. The two-handed melee weapons table I’ve previously posted only covered massive weapons that an attacker would swing with both hands. It excluded long spears and pole arms, which are used two-handed because of their length, not their mass.

Damage Damage Effect
1 Normal effect + pointed weapon stuck in armor/flesh.
2 Normal effect, but smaller/weaker attackers are pushed back.
3-4 Normal effect
5-6 Severe cut from edged/pointed weapons.
7+ Crippling blow, Move 3 and -1 to actions until healed.

The main difference between this and the edged melee weapon table is the knockback effect when smaller or weaker attackers are charged by larger, stronger creatures. Note that this effect occurs on a 2, not a 1; setting a weapon for a charge does 2d6 damage, so a 2 is the lowest possible result. I didn't have room in the table for an overbearing rule, but basically any Low Strength warrior resisting a charge would roll a d6 if overrun by a large creature; on 5+, the attacker is knocked down and may take damage from large creatures.

The low damage roll effect is a stuck weapon. Low Strength characters would have to roll to see if they lose their grip; otherwise, take a round to pull the spear free. Cuts and crippling blows work the same as before.


  1. I question whether you need so much differentiation between different sorts of weapons, especially since the categories seem a little arbitrary. There's more in common between a spear and a poleaxe (more or less a two-handed maul) than between a poleaxe and a sword, to my mind.

    It's also largely because of their mass that spears and polearms are used two-handed, they're heavier than a two-handed sword, for instance, and I fail to see how a two-handed hammer isn't a polearm.

    Interestingly, the largest swords (such as the Zweihander) style of use converged with pole weapons.

    And there was already a lot of similarity between polearms and swords - Fiore, writing c. 1400 said "the sword is an axe", referring to the similarities between the use of the two weapons. And taking the longsword at the halfsword makes the sword into a short spear, and it works very similarly.

    Anyway, some food for thought.

    1. Essentially, all this table does is add a knockback effect when attackers set spears or pole weapons against a charge by larger opponents. But you may want to see the post I've scheduled for tomorrow.