Damage by HD in OSE/Od&d

Cruentus

Adventurer
I'm running two concurrent small campaigns using OSE. I've seen some variant rules here and there, one of which caught my eye:

Characters do damage based on their HD. So, a fighter does d8, a cleric d6, and a wizard or thief d4. The way it was pitched was this reflected training. So any weapon a fighter used would do d8 damage, likewise, give a wizard a two handed sword, and it does d4. This also serves to simplify weapons quite a bit, and weapon choice is then a bit more "cosmetic" or for the "cool look factor" rather than in-game mechanics.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I like this, since as a fighter I can use a spear, or axe, or sword, or bow and do d8. Wizards still do no damage (limited to dagger and staff mostly anyway), thieves lose 1 pt of damage on average (d6 shortsword to d4), but still do double damage on a backstab, etc.

Keep in mind, eveyone throughout the entire game only gets one attack, ever. Or one spell. Or one shot with a bow or crossbow each round. So its not severely impacting classes that couldn't wield swords anyway.

So, thoughts on this kind of implementation in an OSE/Od&d/Basic setting?
 

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thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
The only major thing it changes is if you give access to swords to magic-users/clerics. Magic swords make up the majority of magical weapons, and there are more powerful varieties of magic swords than any other magic items. Limiting swords to fighters/thieves gives them a little bit of an advantage in combat.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
That's a good call. It hadn't actually occurred to me that allowing thieves and wizards to use swords would open them up to being able to use magic ones as well :sneaky:. That would end up allowing more flexibility for those classes. Hmm.
 

thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
That's a good call. It hadn't actually occurred to me that allowing thieves and wizards to use swords would open them up to being able to use magic ones as well :sneaky:. That would end up allowing more flexibility for those classes. Hmm.

Well, thieves are allowed to use swords. It's mostly clerics and magic-users that can't.
 

Andvari

Explorer
It’s a topic I’ve been thinking on as well. Downsides I’ve thought of is that power gamers may gravitate towards the small weapons.

If the fighter deals the same damage with a dagger as with a sword or a polearm, the dagger tends to become the best weapon. Because it’s a lot easier to hide and carry. And you probably can throw it more easily.

So in a way, in the process of eliminating damage as a factor in which weapon is best, another factor can take over. But it might not matter if the players don’t abuse the system.

You probably still want some advantage for two-handed weapons as you can’t use a shield with them, like a +1 damage bonus.
 


Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
The idea has merit. If I were to implement it, I would probably bump up the die for 2-handed (as already suggested) and bump it down for small weapons. I would also consider increasing the die for thieves when back-stabbing and maybe with missile weapons.
 

Andvari

Explorer
The idea has merit. If I were to implement it, I would probably bump up the die for 2-handed (as already suggested) and bump it down for small weapons. I would also consider increasing the die for thieves when back-stabbing and maybe with missile weapons.
It is perhaps losing its simplicity at that point, but it still allows for a wider range of weapon choices, which I suspect is Cruentus’ primary goal.
 

To keep the simplicity of the approach, instead of stepping up the die, I would probably just let players roll damage with advantage for a two-handed weapon. Sneak attack is a different beast, though, and I feel it still needs a special solution.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
Thanks all for the comments and thoughts. It is an interesting thought experiment, as the earliest versions of dnd just did d6 with any and all weapons. Then they added varying weapon damages as an 'optional' rule.

@Nikosandros @Andvari The dice stepping mechanic is one I've seen in Beyond the Wall. IIrc, they have three broad ranges of weapons, basically d4 (dagger, sling, club, wooden sword), d6 (spear, staff, mace, bow, shortsword), d8 longsword, battle axe, longbow, d10 great sword, great axe, lance, halberd. An elves affinity for bows, for example, then bumps the Longbow from d8 to d10 damage, likewise a dwarves ability with axes (bumps it a die). So there is a "simple" way to implement it, the question is whether you do it by class (i.e. weapon specialization), or via other ability. It could get messy if you bumped or lowered dice based on class and weapon.

I hadn't considered the "going lower" in terms of size if you can still do more damage (i.e. always rocking the dagger). I figured if you were using a spear, or two handed weapon, there would be times where you couldnt due to space considerations. But ultimately I think players will likely go for the most damage possible just as a matter of course.

The game I saw the damage based on HD also added tags to the weapons (another level of complexity), which I can only assume means that there is a mechanical downside to a dagger compared to a sword, for example. But the dagger could work in a pinch. I haven't seen the tags or the weapons list, so I can't describe it much better.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I like the idea and have been mulling it for a while, but it does have the downsides other folks already mentioned- access to magic edged weapons would be a significant buff to Clerics, especially, and there is that issue of smaller/cheaper weapons just always being better, unless you come up with specific narrative advantages for bigger weapons.

There's also the issue of the Thief being pathetic enough already, and giving them d4 damage really would consign them into the position of Worst Class Ever.

Honestly if I were experimenting with HD-based damage in OSE I'd seriously consider giving Thieves d8 HD while I was at it. I don't even think it would be unbalanced, with their restriction to leather armor and no shields; they're still not going to be tanks.
 
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I dig the idea! I kinda like the original D&D "every weapon does d6 damage" rule, and this feels like a refinement of that.
Speaking of which, that reminds of a common OD&D house rule for folks who want to differentiate weapons while sticking with the d6, which could probably be combined with the damage by HD rule.

The OD&D house rule I'm thinking of for keeping weapons super simple is:

Regular weapons: d6
Two handed weapons: Roll twice, take the higher.
Light/small/concealable weapons: Roll twice, take the lower.
Fighting with two weapons at once instead of a weapon and shield: Either +1 to hit or +1 damage. Still just one attack.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
Speaking of which, that reminds of a common OD&D house rule for folks who want to differentiate weapons while sticking with the d6, which could probably be combined with the damage by HD rule.

The OD&D house rule I'm thinking of for keeping weapons super simple is:

Regular weapons: d6
Two handed weapons: Roll twice, take the higher.
Light/small/concealable weapons: Roll twice, take the lower.
Fighting with two weapons at once instead of a weapon and shield: Either +1 to hit or +1 damage. Still just one attack.
I like those. Regarding the last, I've seen "advantage" given for two weapon fighting in some OSE circles. That seems like a lot (effectively a +5 to hit). I like the +1 (or maybe even 2?), and allowing the player to pick hit or damage. Still one attack :) (gotta keep things moving).
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I like those. Regarding the last, I've seen "advantage" given for two weapon fighting in some OSE circles. That seems like a lot (effectively a +5 to hit). I like the +1 (or maybe even 2?), and allowing the player to pick hit or damage. Still one attack :) (gotta keep things moving).
Yeah, I think I've seen the two weapon bonus usually implemented as just +1 to hit, which is pretty symmetrical with shields giving +1 AC, and rolling damage twice for two handers averaging about +1 damage.

That being said, IMO +1 hit bonuses on a d20 are usually a little finer-grained than I prefer, so +2 to hit is arguably more worthwhile and mathematically probably actually closer to even with the other combos.
 

Ah yes, no doubt a direct response to the "darts are the best OD&D weapon" concept.

What I love about these sorts of fixed damage dice is that people pick their weapons more along the lines of what they think looks cool than anything.

Speaking of which, that reminds of a common OD&D house rule for folks who want to differentiate weapons while sticking with the d6, which could probably be combined with the damage by HD rule.

The OD&D house rule I'm thinking of for keeping weapons super simple is:

Regular weapons: d6
Two handed weapons: Roll twice, take the higher.
Light/small/concealable weapons: Roll twice, take the lower.
Fighting with two weapons at once instead of a weapon and shield: Either +1 to hit or +1 damage. Still just one attack.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
Yeah, I think I've seen the two weapon bonus usually implemented as just +1 to hit, which is pretty symmetrical with shields giving +1 AC, and rolling damage twice for two handers averaging about +1 damage.

That being said, IMO +1 hit bonuses on a d20 are usually a little finer-grained than I prefer, so +2 to hit is arguably more worthwhile and mathematically probably actually closer to even with the other combos.
I was also tinkering (i.e. using currently) in two games the idea of a shield being able to be "sundered", whereby it is destroyed, but ignores the damage done on that hit. So a shield bearer could use it for a big hit, or when they're down to a couple Hp, etc. The +2 would probably work since the shield provides a pretty big benefit (albeit one time, unless you bring multiple shields - but watch that weight!).
 

GreyLord

Legend
Some nice ideas I've seen here.

If doing BECMI or BX, I might pump up the damage die by one...so d10 for fighters and dwarves, d8 for clerics, mystics, elves, and halflings, and a d6 for Rogues and Wizards.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Some nice ideas I've seen here.

If doing BECMI or BX, I might pump up the damage die by one...so d10 for fighters and dwarves, d8 for clerics, mystics, elves, and halflings, and a d6 for Rogues and Wizards.
If I were bumping dice, I might bump Fighters to d10 but leave Dwarves at d8. Dwarves have a bit of an issue of just being better Fighters; they don't cost a ton more XP than Fighters, the way Elves do compared to Magic Users, their level cap of 12 is almost never going to be relevant, and the weapon restrictions are also basically irrelevant.

I don't really think any of the others are necessary. Except Thieves, of course. Thieves getting stuck at d4s, or even d6s, is a clear flaw which is absolutely in need of correction if one were doing damage = HD.
 


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