artifacts that level up. It’s a post on a possible combat house rule, even though I know my posts on combat infuriates everyone else who blogs about combat in D&D. But maybe it will be less controversial than weapon length vs. armor class, even if it kind of uses the same trick.
The crude weapon length, in feet, can be treated as the weapon’s level, by those proficient with the weapon. Fighters use either the weapon’s level or their own level, whichever is higher, when attacking. NPC mercenaries use the weapon’s level, when using one of their default weapons, or ones they are specifically trained in. Clerics, Magic-Users, and Thieves do not get this benefit. This is the main reason M-Us don’t use swords: in a 1d6-damage-only system, there’s really no benefit for an M-U to use anything other than a dagger.
An alternative would be to allow Clerics and Thieves to have the benefit only with weapons they've been trained on; mostly, the weapons they buy when first creating their characters.
There may be other factors affecting weapon use, such as minimum strength or height. But this looks like a simple way to add distinctions between weapons without a flurry of plusses or damage tables.