Saturday, August 1, 2020

Flavorful d6 Weapons

Reading the blogs that I have over the last ten years or so, I've had a morbid curiosity with the whole "all weapons do d6" paradigm. I've seen similar things work in different games, like earlier editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (I haven't played the current edition, so if that's still the case, forgive my ignorance.)

With everyone doing d6, I thought that the poor fighter might be utterly shafted. However, I had to remember that these were the days before class proliferation became the order of the day, and I thought that fighters still having better hit points, better attack progression, and (generally) better armor would keep them competitive.

Still, that urge to tinker. (Plus I think that fighters in old D&D just suck if you allow sub-classes or much beyond the LBBs.)

There's also the matter of...effectiveness. Under the rules in OSE, if you use d6 for everyone, there is no reason to ever use a battle axe or a two handed sword. Ever. Those weapons do the same damage as everyone else, but if you use them, you can't use a shield and you automatically lose initiative. I want all weapons to have some kind of in-game appeal.  

Here's my solution: all weapons do d6, but individual weapons either a.) have a little extra bonus of some kind that is persistent, or b.) have a bit better bonus that only happens on a natural 20. (I'm not using crits in my game, just the OSE default that nat 20 is just an automatic hit.)

I only created "specials" for the weapons in the OSE books.

Disclaimers/Design Decisions:
-Under the rule that all weapons do d6, the spear is incredibly versatile and useful, so I didn't give it a special beyond how it already performs in the OSE rules.
-Flaming oil does damage twice, and the second time is for free. That's special enough.
-Holy water is special and situational. I did expand it to be able to damage devils and demons, not just undead. (I don't recall if that's an OSE thing or not.)
-I know some of these weapon specials aren't necessarily realistic. This is also a game with wizards and gnomes and shit. I think most of the abilities are reasonable.
-Some of the weapon specials have a common sense factor. A mace can knock an opponent over. The DM can probably tell the player that their dwarf can't knock a cloud giant over with a mace. The warhammer's ability to damage armor doesn't matter if the monster isn't wearing armor.
-No, not every weapon is equally useful in all situations. That's fine.

Alright, enough with the disclaimers. Here are the rules as they exist now:

*Battle Axe- Melee, Slow, Two-handed. 
Special: +2 damage against opponents of giant size. (Ogres and larger) 

*Club- Blunt, Melee
Special: On a nat 20, opponent is stunned for 1 round if subject to stunning. 

*Crossbow- Missile (80/160/240), Slow, Reload, Two-handed
Special: Crossbows treat armor as one category lighter (Effectively -2 AC, where applicable) 

*Dagger- Melee, Missile (10/20/30)
Special: Daggers can be used while grappled or in very tight quarters, easy to conceal 

*Hand axe- Melee, Missile (10/20/30) 
Special: +1 damage when thrown 

*Holy water vial- Missile (10/20/30), Splash weapon
Special: Damages undead, demons, and devils. No effect on others besides getting wet. 

Special: 75% of javelins can be retrieved after combat (arrows only 50%) 

*Lance- Charge, Melee 
Special: On a nat 20, unseats mounted opponent (1d6/fall damage as appropriate, knocked prone) 

*Longbow- Missile (70/140/210), Two-handed 
Special: May be fired every round. 

*Mace- Blunt, Melee 
Special: On a nat 20, opponent is knocked prone. (If applicable- quadrupeds have -2 to next attack ) 

*Oil flask, burning- Missile (10/20/30), Splash weapon  
Special: Violates Geneva Convention, can make a humanoid warm for the rest of their life 

*Polearm- Brace, Melee, Slow, Two-handed 
Special: On a nat 20, will unseat a mounted opponent (1d6/fall damage as appropriate, loses next initiative) 

*Short bow- Missile (50/100/150)
Special: May be fired every round, may be fired from horseback or in tight quarters. 

*Short sword- Melee - 
Special: Inflicts +2 damage if used during a surprise round 

*Silver dagger- Melee, Missile (10/20/30)
Special: As dagger, but silver can harm lycanthropes and similar creatures. 

*Sling- Blunt, Missile (40/80/120)
Special: May be fired every round, no need to track ammo.  

*Spear- Brace, Melee, Missile (20/40/60) 
Special: None- the spear is already incredibly versatile. 

*Staff- Blunt, melee, slow, two-handed 
Special- When wielding a staff, you count as having a shield vs. melee attacks. 

*Sword- Melee 
Special: On a nat 20, roll damage twice and take the best roll. 

Special: Inflicts +1 point of damage from burning tip, 1-in-6 chance of being extinguished per attack.

*Two-handed sword- Melee, slow, two-handed 
Special: +1 to all damage rolls 

*Warhammer- Blunt, melee 

Special: On a nat 20, opponent’s shield is destroyed or armor damaged. (-1AC if applicable)


  1. I've gone down this road before, man, and while it seems all well and good, my experience has been that IN PRACTICE it doesn't work all that great.

    But give it a go. Maybe your experience will be different.

    1. What were the hangups for you and your group?

      Everyone has already agreed that if this doesn't work out, we just switch back to variable weapon damage as written and shrug our collective shoulders.