Monday, November 22, 2010

Some follow-up on non-variable weapon damage

I used the flat d6 weapon damage in Friday's Forsaken Halls session (a report on that later), and...

No problems whatsoever.

I decided to use the 2d6-keep-the-best-d6 idea for 2handed weapons, but none of the players happened to have a 2-handed weapon, so that never got tested.

There were no complaints, and no confusion. Some quick observations:

-It seemed to bring basic combat in line with some "standard" spells like magic missile and cure light wounds, both of which use a basic d6 also (we used Labyrinth Lord for the Halls session just for fun).

-There was a magic javelin (+1) that got a lot of use. I suspect this item may have been eschewed in favor of a non-magical d8 or d10 weapon in variable-damage campaigns due to basic number crunching. Just the impression I got.

-This option may have actually sped up combat just a hair, no more hands hesitating over the dice pile ("what damage does a crossbow do again?"). Everyone pretty much kept a d20 (for attacks and saves) and a d6 (for damage, initiative, and "skills") in easy reach, and saved the other dice for special occasions.

I think a couple of more sessions with non-variable weapon damage are in order to determine if this option is actually better, but I can safely say it definitely wasn't worse, and caused no problems, in case you were thinking of trying it out yourselves.


  1. I've been thinking over this and I have two questions that did not come up in the original post or here:

    1) Does non-variable weapon damage mean that all weapons have the same cost? Maybe I'm playing different systems or style (I haven't played S&W), but budget is a factor just as much as damage.

    2) Does non-variable damage imply that there are no unique or special weapons? It sounds like there are only one handed-, two handed-, and reach-weapons. I'm used to more variety...

  2. 1) Weapon price is unaffected.
    2) There is just as diverse a selection of weapons as before, some with different functions (like nets or mancatchers) and some with magical enhancements. The only difference is that the base damage for all the weapons is a flat d6.

    The hope here is that the numbers side of weapons is focused on less, while the flavor side is focused on more. :)

  3. This sounds like a good result, and the observation about spell parity is interesting. But I wonder how much time is really lost by people searching for the correct dice? Does it truly slow the action down? I hear people say this but I never see this taking as much time as many other game activities, like clarifying how long a passage is, checking what the contents of a room might be if someone chooses to rummage through a pile of rags, etc.

  4. @Spawn "How much time is really lost..."

    Yeah, I don't think it was *that* big of a difference, but the fact that I noticed it at all says there must be something going on there.

  5. I blame that most cursed of afflictions, versimilitude, for the penchant for variable weapon cost, and variable damage.

    This is how the first game session could unfold ... "Pick a weapon, it don't matter which you pick, they all do the same damage. Now here's 10 gold, let's role-play!"

  6. Did you adjust the damage done by monsters when implementing non-variable weapon damage for the players? I have been wondering if that would be necessary.

  7. My game uses d6 HP for PCs and monsters, d6 damage for all weapons.

    Unarmed PCs roll damage twice and take the worse. Two-weapon use you roll to hit twice and take the better. Two-handed weapon you roll damage twice and take the better.

    Monsters almost all do 1d6 damage. Tiny ones of less than 1 HD like kobolds roll damage twice and take the lower. Monsters of 1 or 2 HP just do 1 HP damage, but often do nothing (cats, puppies) unless also fighting monsters under 1 HD. Usually doesn't happen.

    Some big monsters do 2d6 (Giants) or even 3d6. Some monsters have multiple tentacles, so they actually do separate attacks and the tentacles have HP separate from the main body. Some monsters just have a small damage bonus (1d6+2 for Ogres).

    Stat bonuses are low, so a high STR for example just gives you +1 damage and higher cary capacity.

  8. @Quatzl - yep, most monsters do d6, except in some special cases.

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