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Is the bowie knife overpowered?

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  • Is the bowie knife overpowered?

    Am I not seeing something or is the bowie knife really overpowered? At only $4 with it's 1d4+1 it should be as effective as a d6 bit it has also AP1. You can't throw it as far as the others, but the difference is not big.

  • #2
    Just about every gun in the game is AP 1. Is AP 1 considered overpowered?

    Bowie knives are huge. They’re like the size of your forearm. They’re “balanced” by the fact that they’re no more concealable than a revolver. Your PCs are not “hiding” a Bowie knife on them like they could arguably conceal a regular knife. You’re not keeping a Bowie knife in your boot “just in case.”

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ellipses View Post
      Just about every gun in the game is AP 1. Is AP 1 considered overpowered?

      Bowie knives are huge. They’re like the size of your forearm. They’re “balanced” by the fact that they’re no more concealable than a revolver. Your PCs are not “hiding” a Bowie knife on them like they could arguably conceal a regular knife. You’re not keeping a Bowie knife in your boot “just in case.”
      Not overpowered against firearms, but against other melee weapons. If the alternative is a machete (that should be a d6 melee weapon, with no AP) one would probably always choose the Bowie knife. Also against a tomahawk. Unless you go two handed, get a katana or as you said you want something concealable, the Bowie knife seems to be the best choice.

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      • Doctor Crunch
        Doctor Crunch commented
        Editing a comment
        You're assuming that most enemies will have armor. Many of the most common genre enemies (cowboys, most animals and bandits) are unarmored. In Rifts treating a point of AP as a point of damage is a safe assumption. In Deadlands I think AP is a lot more conditional.

      • stadi
        stadi commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, you won't have armor that often, but if it's there, you'll be happy for that AP1. But anyway, d4+1 is not really worse that d6 (or is it maybe even a little bit better) so even without enemies with armor you are good.

    • #4
      You've already identified another reason why you would choose a different melee weapon, and that's the throwing ranges. Bowie knives even have worse ranges than Spears. Also, anyone who has the Old Ways oath, which probably is going to heavily favor melee weapons, isn't using a Bowie knife.

      I mean, if we're talking about "best" choices, why would anyone choose a pistol that does 2d6 damage over a pistol that does 2d6+1 damage? The different options are there mostly for flavor instead of game mechanics. Maybe you don't picture your frontier preacher to be a Bowie knife man, but uses a stout hickory stick for thumping heads that need thumping. Is that mechanically the "best" choice? Arguably no, but if it fits your conception of the character, you're probably arming them with a Club.

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      • stadi
        stadi commented
        Editing a comment
        Flavor: I have nothing against a priest with a stick being less powerful than someone with a Bowie knife. But if we are comparing fighter types, why should be someone with a machete less powerful than someone with a Bowie knife (even if it's only that AP1 difference that won't be an issue most of the time).

        Maybe if we'll get something like The Flood for Deadlands SWADE, with asian weapons, that will even it out more.

    • #5
      Quincy killed Dracula with his Bowie knife.

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      • #6
        I leaning towards it being because the Bowie knife is iconic for Westerns.

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        • #7
          Originally posted by stadi View Post
          Am I not seeing something or is the bowie knife really overpowered?
          It is powerful. Not "really", but definitely "punches above it's weight".
          Arguably that is because it is a really big knife, well designed for disemboweling or going through light objects (chopping trees, butchering livestock, or cutting through armor-quality leather). It is objectively more dangerous than a four-inch boot knife and arguably more so than a roundel, dirk, or similar medieval / renaissance dagger, possibly justifying the game stats.

          I suspect that mac40k is correct, and the stats reflect the knife's iconic status in Westerns. It is too good not to use, so most will use it as a primary fighting knife, reinforcing the frequent appearance in stories and prominent place in tales of violence.
          I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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          • paladin2019
            paladin2019 commented
            Editing a comment
            And it killed Dracula

          • ValhallaGH
            ValhallaGH commented
            Editing a comment
            paladin2019 Yep. Killing Dracula helps you become an icon.

          • alphaloup
            alphaloup commented
            Editing a comment
            I tend to agree. The Bowie knife is a fighting weapon with likely better quality craftsmanship than tomahawks, machetes (really just a thin slashing tool), and the medieval equivalents. More importantly though, without the increased stat bonus, how would Crocodile Dundee the player ever back up, "That's not a knife, "THAT's a knife" with his Marshal?
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