Wednesday, June 19, 2019

All Swords are +1

This post is a collection of design notes on weapons and some equipment. They are largely system agnostic with the goal of shifting the mechanics from supporting a late-medieval setting to a city-state/king arthur/vikingr/mycenean greece/sengoku japan/conan the barbarian setting. Which I would argue is much more conducive to OSR play in themes, verisimilitude, and aesthetic. 

If you haven't seen this film, please stop reading this post and watch it.

Weapon Classes
Rather than a extensive weapons list with different mechanical effects, melee weapons are abstracted into one of the following types, with the exception of swords:

Light: Roll 1d8 twice and take the worst for damage, in a grapple instead take the best, 3 per inventory slot
Medium: 1d8 damage, 1 per inventory slot
Heavy: Roll 1d8 twice and take the best for damage, two hands, 1 per 2 inventory slots
Long: 1d8 damage and may attack from 2nd rank, two hands, 1 per 2 inventory slots

Weapons now have a matched dice with hit-dice. This speeds up "time till death" in combats and allows easy rulings on things like hammers dealing more damage to skeletons.

All +1 Weapons are Swords
The weapon classes are purposefully absent of swords which instead are +1 weapons. They are medium weapons if held in one hand, and heavy if wielded in both hands. Other types of magic weapons need not be swords. 

This means the majority of weapons wielded are spears, axes, and daggers while swords are only found in the hands of important people. This avoids the need to make all +1 weapons exciting by adding additional effects, and lets those rare few magical weapons be more magical. 

Arrows are Poor
Unless a combat round is spent aiming, attacks with arrows are rolled twice and the worst roll is taken. In a surprise round, there is no such penalty. Thrown weapons do not get this penalty. 

This is to shift more combat to melee. 

Shields, Helms, and Armor

Gambeson/Leather: Improve AC by 1
Cuirass/Lamellar: Improve AC by 2
Dendra Panoply/Chainmail: Improve AC by 3
Shield: Improve AC by 2
Helms: Improve AC by 1, but impart a -1 on reaction checks and initiative. 

This results in more shield use as well as faster and more lethal combat. This is a repeated theme here, and the halving of armor also applies to monsters AC as well. To be honest, combat which lasts more than 3 rounds is long for me to referee. 

HP Recovery,  Herbs, and Protection Charms

Sleep recovers 1d4 HP and is improved in the following ways
Shelter recovers 1 additional HP
Hearth recovers 1 additional HP
Medicinal Herbs or Liquor recovers 1 additional HP

Thus, a character who would rest in civilization would recover 1d4+3 HP per night as they have access to Shelter, Hearth, and Liquor.

Beneficial herbs can be found in the wilderness by the same rules as foraging or purchased in a settlement for 50 silver. 

Beneficial Herbs (All act as medicinal herbs as well )
1d8 RollEffect
1Rouse unconscious/Remove paralysis
2Rub in wounds to heal 1 HP
3Purify food or drink from poison
4Remove venom from person
5Appear to be dead, but merely be unconscious, for 1d4 hours
6Reduce HP by 1d3 and no need for breath for 1 turn
7Smells terrible when burnt inducing morale check for beasts
8Poison dealing 1d10 damage if imbibed, 1d6 damage through smearing on weapons or arrowheads, 1d3 damage if burnt vapors breathed in.
Protection charms
A protection charm is made against a certain entity or type of entities. These allow the wielder to attempt to rebuke the entity (as turning), a character presenting the charm would roll a 1d6 and if it is over the entity's HD it is rebuked. Multiple persons can use their charms together, rolling an additional roll. Charms which successfully rebuke, lose their potency. Each costs 50 silver. 

This is largely a replacement for the cleric class by turning them into items.


  1. Even independent of this being a sort of early city-state / Sword & (low-)Sorcery hack (although I agree that that kind of setting is more conducive to OSR per se than medieval fantasy), I really like these mechanics as just a general streamlining of weapon and armor rules!

    I've taken a couple stabs (pun intended) at weapon hacks, but I like what you've done with this. If I ever get around to making a 3.0 version I might incorporate some of this.

    In the past I've seen (and implemented) changes in weapon damage dice corresponding to weapon size, which intuitively I like, but your system of advantage/disadvantage with a flat damage die is also interesting, and in particular I like how it's implemented with light weapons. I like the idea of light weapons having a tactical advantage with "gritty" grappling combat.

  2. Really great stuff! Very streamlined and interesting :D
    "Weapons now have a matched dice with hit-dice." What does that mean? That you roll your damage die alongside your to hit die?

    1. So for the ruleset I am currently using both characters and monsters use a d8 for HD. Thus weapons are matched to monster HD. That being said, if I were to have a class with a different HD, then I would likely change the weapon damage they deal as well working off a a d8 as the “standard” HD.