Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Melee Weapon Classes Explained

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am avoiding deliberately generic names for the various Weapon Classes because they bore me to tears with their technical connotations and I suspect they make things that much harder for new players.  But, I realized that my current draft of Dying Sun didn't really explain that.  Deciding that players are unlikely to read my mind, I'll be adding the following section.

Melee Weapons are distinguished by Class and Size. The various Classes are provided on the chart below. Each Weapon Class provides a different modifier to the Combat Roll against the various Armour Classes.

Melee Weapon Classes are generic, encompassing all similar weapons.
  • Axe - any weapon with a relatively short blade on the heavily-weighted end of the haft, including hatchets, battle-axes, tomahawks, halberds.  Small axes can be thrown as clumsy missile weapons. 
  • Club/Stick/Rock - a catch-all Class for relatively ineffective, often improvised weapons, including truncheons, chair legs, femur bones, and the like. If the weapon is better crafted, it generally falls into another class, so that something like a Plains Indian war-club is better represented as a Mace/Hammer. However, a Quarterstaff is treated as a Large Club with the special ability of granting the +1 Parry Defense while being wielded with both hands.
  • Flail - weapons in which the haft has a chain, rope, or hinge with a bludgeon on the other end. Effectively, “a mace and chain” and thus may have spikes or flanges. 
  • Foot/Fist - also includes head butts, shoulder strikes, etc. 
  • Mace/Hammer - A weapon with a weighted, bludgeoning end. This end may include spikes (i.e. a morningstar), flanges, nails, shards of flint, or other details, but not a blade (in which case the weapon is an Axe).
  •  Sword - a weapon with a long blade, such weapons as the stiletto, khurkri, gladius, broadsword, and claymore. Small swords can be thrown as missile weapons. 
  • Spear - a relatively long-hafted weapon with a piercing point that may be metal, stone, bone, or even just fire-hardened wood. Small or Medium-sized Spears may be used as either melee or missile weapons.
Melee Weapon Sizes are Small, Medium, and Large.
  • Small melee weapons roll 2D for damage, with the lower result used. In addition, a small weapon can be used in the off-hand to parry. This grants a +1 Defense to incoming melee attacks, but no Defense to missile attacks. However, anytime such a character scores a critical hit (12+), he automatically gets a second hit in with the other weapon rolling 2D damage for damage, with the higher result used.
  • Medium melee weapons are the normal ,baseline weapons with no modifiers.
  • Large melee weapons roll 2D damage for damage, with the higher result used. They are unwieldy and impose a -1 to the Combat Roll. A character using a Large weapon cannot also use a shield (even Scorpion Men, due to tangling of limbs and tools).

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