Dungeons & Delvers: Weapon Tweaks

I ended up stumbling on some YouTube videos pertaining to medieval structures and weapons, the latter of which got me thinking about a few possible tweaks to weapons in Dungeons & Delvers.

The first is giving weapons a baked in attack bonus based on the weapon's size. For example, "small" weapons such as daggers and short swords would let you use your class and ability score modifier, but "medium" weapons like arming swords and battle axes would give you an additional +1 to hit, while two-handed weapons would grant an additional +2 to hit.

The idea is that a bigger weapon gives you an advantage (beyond dealing more damage): it'd be easier to block or dodge a dagger, less so an arming sword or a halberd. You'd only get this bonus if you're proficient with the weapon, which means I'd also drop the proficiency penalty because I already don't expect wizards and the like to wade into melee swinging swords about.

Another is allowing you to use your Strength for ranged damage rolls (not attack rolls) in which your Strength could be a factor (ie, everything but crossbows). The reasoning here is that the stronger you are, the further back you can pull a bowstring/the harder you can throw something. I can see how being a better shot makes it more likely that you'll hit a vital area, so I'd let you choose the better of Strength or Dexterity.

This can reduce a character's Dexterity dependency, and in the long run will probably only result in a few extra points of damage when they make ranged attacks, and let's face it: characters that intend on making lots of ranged attacks will probably have their Dexterity ramped up anyway. This way you could have barbarians throwing something so hard that their opponent is knocked back.

Lastly, abstract weapons.

I kind of like the idea of abstract weapons, because in theory it makes it a bit easier for players to say "I'm using an axe or spear in one or two hands" without worrying if they are making a sub-optimal choice. I'd considered putting them in Black Book as an optional system, but quickly ran into a few issues for melee weapons.

The first is that prices won't always make sense. For example, clubs are generally free, but are otherwise mechanically exactly the same as a short sword. The second is that some weapons can be thrown, while others in the same category cannot, such as daggers and sickles respectively. Finally, some weapons in the same category have various properties (usually light), which was partially offset by a damage and/or price difference.

When it came to ranged weapons, there weren't as many and they all really needed their own stats, so that plus the issues with melee weapons meant that at the time I didn't see much benefit.

While working on some other games I revisited the idea, and decided to make a small table with size categories and exceptions for some weapons, such such as clubs and daggers. In some cases the weapon has its own section, and in others I just made a note saying that "weapons in this category can be thrown and/or given the light property by increasing their cost by x". This iteration I liked well enough to stick in Appendix D; we'll see what people think during the second round of closed feedback.

Price will still be an issue in some cases, but not as drastic as it was originally, and the weights will likely be a pound or two off, but I figure GMs can handle these on a case-by-case basis if they really want to. The point is to make things easier, and provide a rough template for adding new weapons to the game: if you and your players want to be as accurate as possible, you're better off sticking with the standard list.

But I'm curious what everyone else thinks: good ideas? Bad ideas? Got better ideas (especially for the abstract weapons)?

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

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