[House Rule] Simplifying Weapons

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PencilBoy99
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[House Rule] Simplifying Weapons

#1 Postby PencilBoy99 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:04 pm

The objectives of the house rule would be to:
1. remove/minimize the importance of "D&D" "Monte Hall" style-gaming (e.g., accumulate wealth and treasure to make your character more powerful in combat;
2. simulate cinematic combat, where skill / being a wild card determines damage more than weapons themselves
3. simulate cinematic heroes, who can use whatever weapon is "signature" for their character and seems cool

Given the above, I was thinking about something like the following. I say "something like" because I'm sure what I have below isn't well thought enough.

For normal weapons (non-mad science, magic, wierd properties etc.):
1. all melee weapons and ranged weapons do the same damage: Str+1/2 fighting skill for melee, 1d6 + 1/2 shooting/throwing skill for ranged
2. all ranged weapons have the same s/m/l distances. This is nonsense (it's hard to throw a tomahawk as far as a rifle, but well let it go)
3. weapons can have special features (armor piercing, + to parry, + to disarm), but there's some offsetting minus either to hit or whatever

Any suggestions on how to actually make this workable will be helpful.

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#2 Postby Clint » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:46 pm

The Pecs & Pulchritude setting rules I did had something similar to that; in fact, I reposted those weapon rules in this post. Might help...

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=226099&highlight=pecs+pulchritude#226099
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#3 Postby Ultimoose » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:56 pm

Hmm this could certainly simplify things but do you (generic you) really want it that simple?

I can see where you're going but I question just how much more simple combat in SW needs to be? Right now weapons seem to be the biggest distinction between two guys who have the same Fighting/Shooting/Throwing skills.

Realistically if I can do the same damage with a dagger that I can do with a greatsword why not carry the daggers? Greatswords are obvious, bulky, heavy and in general a pain in the butt to haul around, always clanging on things and dragging on the ground or catching on the window sill as you try to jump out.

Same difference with a derringer and a shotgun. Both might hold two shots but I can carry a lot bullets for a derringer than I can shells for a shotgun.

I'm not saying it's a bad idea per se for what you're wanting to accomplish but to me it seems you're removing one of the easiest for two characters to be different in feel in a system that's already pretty light.

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Re: [House Rule] Simplifying Weapons

#4 Postby chugosh » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:31 pm

furashgf wrote:(it's hard to throw a tomahawk as far as a rifle, but well let it go)


A rifle can be hard to throw very far.

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#5 Postby 77IM » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:27 pm

One idea is to give each weapon one or two special abilities, rather than using offsets. For example, maybe the special ability of a greatsword is Brutal (bonus damage on a raise); while the special abilities of a dagger are Concealable and Throwable . Likewise a sniper rifle might have a special ability of Long Range, an assault rifle might have ROF 3 and Medium Range, a pistol might have Concealable and One-Handed. (You could also phrase this as "Weapon Hindrances," for example, a sniper rifle might have Snapfire as a hindrance. Although if you go too far down that route it becomes a point-based weapon-building system which seems like the opposite of "simplification.")

The idea is to distinguish items entirely by qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. This way everyone is doing equal damage but can select what sort of special abilities they want, and switching weapons just switches your special abilities.

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#6 Postby PencilBoy99 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:45 pm

That seems like it would work. If we combine Pects and Pulcritude with 77IM's comment then we get cinematic combat. I think I could apply this to guns also.

I'd be using this for Deadlands: The Flood initially.

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Re: [House Rule] Simplifying Weapons

#7 Postby robert4818 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:46 pm

furashgf wrote:The objectives of the house rule would be to:
1. remove/minimize the importance of "D&D" "Monte Hall" style-gaming (e.g., accumulate wealth and treasure to make your character more powerful in combat;
2. simulate cinematic combat, where skill / being a wild card determines damage more than weapons themselves
3. simulate cinematic heroes, who can use whatever weapon is "signature" for their character and seems cool

Given the above, I was thinking about something like the following. I say "something like" because I'm sure what I have below isn't well thought enough.

For normal weapons (non-mad science, magic, wierd properties etc.):
1. all melee weapons and ranged weapons do the same damage: Str+1/2 fighting skill for melee, 1d6 + 1/2 shooting/throwing skill for ranged
2. all ranged weapons have the same s/m/l distances. This is nonsense (it's hard to throw a tomahawk as far as a rifle, but well let it go)
3. weapons can have special features (armor piercing, + to parry, + to disarm), but there's some offsetting minus either to hit or whatever

Any suggestions on how to actually make this workable will be helpful.


I would, instead of over-simplifying as you have. Break Categories into somewhat larger, broad categories.

Lets take melee weapons. You have 3 categories:
Small, Regular, Large

All weapons within these large categories have the same statistics, but the player is able to choose the "exact" weapon.

Small weapons might be daggers, saps, small clubs, etc.

Regular weapons would be normal swords, maces, axes, Rapiers, etc.

Large weapons would be great swords, great axes, war mauls, etc.

Each category has its own bonuses and negatives.

When it comes to range, you might do something similar.

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Re: [House Rule] Simplifying Weapons

#8 Postby Lord Lance » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:01 pm

furashgf wrote:2. all ranged weapons have the same s/m/l distances. This is nonsense (it's hard to throw a tomahawk as far as a rifle, but well let it go)

:mrgreen: Ok, ok, you like really simple things, but please, keep at least 2 type of ranged weapons: "throwed" and "shooted". Of course you should find good reasons to use one type or the other one.
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#9 Postby Thunderforge » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:43 pm

77IM wrote:One idea is to give each weapon one or two special abilities, rather than using offsets. For example, maybe the special ability of a greatsword is Brutal (bonus damage on a raise); while the special abilities of a dagger are Concealable and Throwable . Likewise a sniper rifle might have a special ability of Long Range, an assault rifle might have ROF 3 and Medium Range, a pistol might have Concealable and One-Handed. (You could also phrase this as "Weapon Hindrances," for example, a sniper rifle might have Snapfire as a hindrance. Although if you go too far down that route it becomes a point-based weapon-building system which seems like the opposite of "simplification.")

Although I like Clint's melee damage variant, I think this is pretty cool too, largely because it would be a simple way to invent very distinctive improvised weapons. A chair is "shielding", "heavy", and "breakable", but a table is "covering", "unwieldy", and "sturdy." Likewise, a watermelon is "heavy", "breakable", and "messy/slippery" whereas a Molotov cocktail is "light", "throwable", and "explosive."

Maybe a trait for weight, a trait for range if not immediate, a trait for durability if appropriate, and a special trait for the weapon. Mix and match as needed.

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#10 Postby EddieTheThird » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:52 pm

So the question remains... Where do corpses fit in to this setup?

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#11 Postby 77IM » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:49 pm

The thing I like about Pecs & Pulchritude's system is that it features very clear trade-offs, so characters can have "different" damage (and toughness), but not "better."

One way to balance characters is to make everyone the same, but that's boring. So instead, most games use a system of trade-offs. Problems arise when it's unclear exactly what you are trading and how useful it will be (classic example: D&D fighter dumping Charisma to get more Strength). Since P&P links damage, damage-on-a-raise, and Parry, and assumes high Fighting, it's easier to see how the trade-offs affect every character.

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#12 Postby dawnmaster » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:56 am

How do you simplify the melee weapons?
Last edited by dawnmaster on Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#13 Postby 77IM » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:19 pm

I don't, I think the melee weapons are plenty simple already. There may be some minor balance issues around certain fighting styles (single-wield dagger with Str higher than d4 comes to mind) but nothing a few new Edges can't fix.

I suggested a way one could simplify melee weapons if they wanted, but I don't actually do that. Pecs & Pulchritude is also a way.

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#14 Postby Zadmar » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:52 am

I've been toying with the idea of running an Eberron game again after I've finished my current Necessary Evil campaign - but this time using Savage Worlds instead of D&D. One thing I really want to do is encourage the players to use weapons because they're conceptually cool, rather than mechanically cool, and while searching through the forums I came across this thread which covers pretty much exactly what I want.

Clint's "Pecs and Pulchritude" rules are great, but they don't cover things like polearms, flails, etc, so I've been thinking of how I could combine them with 77IM's "trappings" concept. After playing Necessary Evil for a few months I'm really getting into the idea of trappings, and it seems fairly natural to apply them to weapons.

The idea is that each weapon is based on one of the five categories from Pecs and Pulchritude, and work exactly like that with the following addition: Large (d10) and Huge (d12) weapons are two-handed, while the other weapons are (at least initially) one-handed, and weapons cannot normally be thrown. You can then apply any trappings you wish, within reason, from the following:

Hand-and-a-half: This trapping may only be applied to a one-handed weapon. This weapon now has an extended grip, allowing it to be used in either one hand or two. Increase the weight by 1, and reduce the weapon's parry by 1. When used in both hands, the weapon inflicts +1 damage. Example: Bastard sword.

Reach: This trapping may only be applied to a one-handed weapon. Pick one or both of the following options: (1) The weapon gains +1" reach and is now considered a two-handed weapon. (2) The weapon gains +1" reach but no longer counts as a melee weapon when determining if you are an unarmed defender. Example: Spear (two hands), Whip (unarmed defender), Pike (both).

Defensive: This weapon is designed with defence in mind. If you don't use it to attack, you gain a +1 bonus to your (not the weapon's) parry rolls in the same way as a shield. When used to attack, you suffer -1 to your Fighting roll, unless you're performing a disarm attempt. Example: Buckler, main gauche, swordbreaker.

Offensive: This weapon is difficult to defend against. You ignore 1 point of weapon/shield parry, as well as 1 point of cover, whenever attacking someone in melee combat. However the weapon is also difficult to defend with, giving it a -1 penalty to parry. Example: Flail, net.

Dangerous: This weapon is outright dangerous. It inflicts +2 damage, but if you roll a 1 on the Fighting die then you hit yourself. If you manage to hit both yourself and your opponent (because of the Wild Die) then roll the damage dice twice, applying the higher result to your opponent and the lower result to yourself. Example: Chainsaw, spiked ball-and-chain.

Throwable: This weapon is designed for throwing, and may be thrown at the range listed in the Pecs and Pulchritude rules. However this also makes it less suitable for melee combat, giving it a -1 penalty to parry. Example: Throwing axe, spear.

Nonlethal: This weapon normally only inflicts nonlethal damage. You may inflict lethal damage if you wish, but the Fighting roll is made with a -1 penalty. Example: Sap.

Entangle: This weapon has a +1 Fighting bonus when performing a grappling attack, and a -1 Fighting penalty when performing any other type of attack. Once entangled, the defender may attempt to break free normally, but the attacker uses their Fighting die instead of Strength or Agility. Example: Whip, net.

Concealable: This weapon is more easily hidden and carried than expected for its size. If you must make an Agility roll to draw the weapon, you gain +2 on the roll. Opponents also suffer -2 to any notice rolls made to spot the weapon, assuming it's concealed. However the weapon is also more fragile than a regular weapon of the same type, suffering a -2 penalty to its toughness. Example: telescopic baton, switchblade.

Reinforced: The weapon is reinforced and/or constructed from sturdier materials, gaining +2 toughness. Increase the price and weight by 50%.

Masterwork: The weapon is better quality and/or constructed from more expensive materials, gaining either +2 toughness or -25% weight. Double the final price.

Attached: The weapon is attached to the wielder's hand or arm in such a way that it grants a +2 bonus to any Strength rolls made to resist disarm attempts. It requires a full round to attach or remove the weapon. The hand may be used for other actions (including using other weapons instead), but suffers -1 to all such rolls. Example: Buckler, Batman-style spiked gauntlets.

Some examples:

Longsword: d8, no trappings
Bastard sword: d8, Hand-and-a-half
Dagger: d4, Throwable
Throwing knife: d4, Throwable, Concealable
Swordbreaker: d4, Defensive
Flail: d6, Offensive
Whip: d4, Reach, Offensive, Nonlethal, Entangle
Telescopic staff: d4, Reach, Concealable
Ironshod quarterstaff: d6, Reach, Reinforced
Net: d4, Defensive, Offensive, Throwable, Nonlethal, Entangle
Trident: d6, Hand-and-a-half
Spiked buckler: d4, Defensive, Reinforced, Attached
Spear: d6, Reach, Throwable

These are primarily aimed at melee and thrown weapons, but the same concept could work for missile weapons.

The main idea is that each trapping is balanced by both positives and negatives, so that it doesn't turn into the point-building system 77IM mentioned - but at the same time, the trappings would hopefully allow me to better simulate a wider variety of weapon types, such as flails, polearms, swordbreakers, etc, without needing an explicit list of weapons.

Has anyone tried anything like this? Any thoughts from a balance perspective?

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#15 Postby Ultimoose » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:06 pm

Just as an FYI, simulations seem to indicate that if you want to simplify weapons in terms of balance 1H weapons work with a 2d6 and 2-hand with a 2d8 but you have change Two-Fisted to only reduce the MAP by -1 and ambidexterty to reduce the offhand to -1. If you allow full Ambidexterity (no offhand penalty at all) and Two-Fisted (no map at all) then increase the margin to 2d6 and 2d10 to keep dual wielders on par with 2H fighters. I'd also advise adding an edge "Massive Weapon" that lets a player gain 2H weapons +1 damage.

I'm writing my own system which has some basic math fundamentals similar to SW's and wanted to 'genericizing' the weapons much like Gamma World 4E in terms of damage dice but the weapons can be varied by essentially applying trappings to them with Reach, Quick (free fast draw with that weapon), Flashy (boost to taunt and intimidate skills), as some examples.

That's where all the math results come from, I've simulated probably a billion battles between various base builds to see what works.

I have a mix of roleplayers and rollplayers and the min/maxing is something I'm trying to avoid.

Generic weapons aren't for everyone certainly although if they're inherently balanced then over time it's the same thing. But what we found as a group was that it made weapons a lot more RP in Gamma World than they've ever been in any system. People had a blast coming up with the descriptions for their weapons even though they were identical stat wise.

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#16 Postby Zadmar » Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:55 pm

Ultimoose wrote:Just as an FYI, simulations seem to indicate that if you want to simplify weapons in terms of balance 1H weapons work with a 2d6 and 2-hand with a 2d8 but you have change Two-Fisted to only reduce the MAP by -1 and ambidexterty to reduce the offhand to -1.

It was my understanding from your simulations that dual-wield vs two-handed was pretty evenly matched before adding any edges, if you lowered the offhand penalty from -2 to -1, and that it was Ambidextrous and (particularly) Two-Fisted that upset the balance. If that's the case then I would much rather address the balance through edges than by messing with the damage dice.

Have you run the Pecs and Pulchritude rules through your simulator as well? At a glance they look quite well balanced to me, and I think they'd be a lot more interesting than fixed dice, particularly with the addition of trappings.

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#17 Postby Gavinwulf » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:14 pm

You could just switch out the d6 damage bonus from a raise with the character's Fighting/Shooting/Throwing die.

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#18 Postby jpk » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:44 pm

Ultimoose wrote:...Right now weapons seem to be the biggest distinction between two guys who have the same Fighting/Shooting/Throwing skills...

I would say that's not true. The biggest distinction would probably be Edges and, to a lesser degree, Strength, at least in my mind.

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#19 Postby steelbrok » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:37 am

To simplify the system I would look at armour and armour piercing rahter than weapons

It's fairly straightforward to have your dice to roll on the charecter sheet but then toy have to compare to armour, deuct armour piercing ammount etc, that's where I think a simplification would be interesting

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#20 Postby Ultimoose » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:57 pm

@Zadmar

Correct 2W is on par with 2H with a -1 offhand and -2 MAP for the 2W with damage dice of 2d6 and 2d8.

With two fisted removing a total of -4 penalty and ambidextrous removing -2 penalty (per straight rules) it has the result that 2H becomes the littlest fighter so to speak.

The system I'm writing uses fixed damage dice hence my calculations for those. While one can balance a system with edges/feats/advantages certainly I'm going with a base balance. We (my group with the exception of one power gamer) really enjoy the lack of needing to worry if you're underpowered or overpowered based on weapon choice. Definitely not for everyone though.

I didn't use any mechanisms from P&P, I remember reading it a year or so ago but honestly couldn't tell you anything that's in it at this point. The simulation is starting to veer far enough in terms of basic math and mechanics that it's becoming less applicable in determining odds and percentages for savage worlds mechanics.


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