D&D 5E Darksun Bow alternative materia

maritimo80

First Post
We are playing DarkSun (Reddit and Enworld adapted) for D&D 5th, and at the end of the second session we have a question you would like to hear from you all.


In Darksun the weapons most often are made of alternative materials as metals are rare.


These rules adapted to 5ed:


Wood Weapon: -1 in attack and - 2 in Damage
Bone Weapon: - 1 in the attack and - 1 in damage.


So far so good but ..... In the case of an Longbow, what counts is the material of the Longbow or ammunition?
A wooden Longbow with arrow with bone tip, the damage is the wooden bow (-2) or bone arrow (-1)?
 

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Bera

Explorer
I think a simpler system is to give metal weapons a bonus rather than bone/stone/wood weapons a penalty.

That said, the damage-doing portion is the arrow, not the bow.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
So far so good but ..... In the case of an Longbow, what counts is the material of the Longbow or ammunition?
A wooden Longbow with arrow with bone tip, the damage is the wooden bow (-2) or bone arrow (-1)?

If you'd like to have a penalty for "inferior materials," I wouldn't penalize a bow or an arrow for being made of bone or wood, since that is what they are usually made out of anyway.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I could see a penalty for wood-tipped arrows, but I certainly wouldn't hold it against a bow if it was made out of wood.
 


The force of a longbow comes entirely from the bow. A bone arrow should be *almost* as effective as a metal one (so long as your target is not wearing metal armour). A bone bone would likely not work well at all though, but I imagine with the right type of bones something could be cobbled together.
 

Nine Hands

Explorer
My thought is just ignore the damage changes. In Darksun its just one of the normal materials used. Now that makes metal weapons almost magical. You could just make metal weapons effectively magical (with the increased cost to boot). IE a metal weapon is a +1 sword (with the same cost and construction time), a +2 sword is just a better quality metal weapon.

For those that like weapon breakage rules, just have natural 1s break non-metal weapons.
 


I always thought it was a little weird that dark sun was short of metal, but had wood, bone, chitin and the like to spare.

They have plenty of sand, make weapons out of glass. ;)

Anyway, stone weapons are plenty heavy and sharp and every bit as deadly as metal ones. They're just not as durable.

Instituting armor vs weapon type adjustments could give you some added realism to the point(npi) that materials characteristics of weapon & armor could start making a difference.
 

I see no need for a penalty "to hit" for non-metal weapons (since 2nd Ed Dark Sun), but the -2 to damage for bone and -2 to damage for wood seems cool (obviously a minimum of 1 point on a hit).
 

Bera

Explorer
I always thought it was a little weird that dark sun was short of metal, but had wood, bone, chitin and the like to spare.

They have plenty of sand, make weapons out of glass. ;)

Anyway, stone weapons are plenty heavy and sharp and every bit as deadly as metal ones. They're just not as durable.

Instituting armor vs weapon type adjustments could give you some added realism to the point(npi) that materials characteristics of weapon & armor could start making a difference.

Item saving throws by material type were a thing in second edition, so this was also built in as well as the attack/damage modifiers which were added for Dark Sun.
 

Staffan

Legend
In 2e Dark Sun, the material that counted was the arrow (the bow was assumed to be made out of wood anyway, or possibly horn and stuff for a composite bow). However, ammunition had a special rule that material only affected damage, not attack rolls.
 

Unwise

Adventurer
The force of a longbow comes entirely from the bow. A bone arrow should be *almost* as effective as a metal one (so long as your target is not wearing metal armour). A bone bone would likely not work well at all though, but I imagine with the right type of bones something could be cobbled together.

I'm not claiming any historical expertise, but I can tell you that when it comes to shooting fish in water with a bow, wooden or bone arrows shatter and destroy themselves without penetrating the water significantly. Carbon and steel arrows go straight in and hit the fish. Then again, water is weird, my bow could hit things much deeper than a sniper rifle.

On topic - I strongly suggest just making properly prepared wooden/chitin/bone weapons the standard. Give metal weapons a bonus. If you give other weapons a negative, it just tells the players that they have crappy gear, below expectation. This leads to discontent and a self of entitlement to metal weapons. Keeping metal weapons as a bonus to be aspired to is much better.

Also, Dark Sun is such a tough environment that you really can't afford to penalize players even further. The Dark Sun monsters are horrendous and I believe no balanced around having weapons penalized.
 
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I'm not claiming any historical expertise, but I can tell you that when it comes to shooting fish in water with a bow, wooden or bone arrows shatter and destroy themselves without penetrating the water significantly. Carbon and steel arrows go straight in and hit the fish. Then again, water is weird, my bow could hit things much deeper than a sniper rifle.

On topic - I strongly suggest just making properly prepared wooden/chitin/bone weapons the standard. Give metal weapons a bonus. If you give other weapons a negative, it just tells the players that they have crappy gear, below expectation. This leads to discontent and a self of entitlement to metal weapons. Keeping metal weapons as a bonus to be aspired to is much better.

Also, Dark Sun is such a tough environment that you really can't afford to penalize players even further. The Dark Sun monsters are horrendous and I believe no balanced around having weapons penalized.
Liquids are not a great comparison. Water doesn't compress.

That said, if I were making arrow in Dark Sun, I'd use neither wood nor bone for the head, but cap them with obsidian.

Still, the bow is the tricky bit. Since there needs to be some give yet most bone doesn't bend like wood.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Wooden bow with bone arrow tips? You've almost described the Mongol bow, one of the top 5 deadliest weapons of the medieval period:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_bow

The actual bows were made of horn and sinew, both easy to come by in Dark Sun. So a proper bow, whether short, long, or composite, shouldn't be getting any penalties for having no metal in the construction.
 

I always thought it was a little weird that dark sun was short of metal, but had wood, bone, chitin and the like to spare.

They have plenty of sand, make weapons out of glass. ;)

They do. Obsidian. IIRC it's -2 to hit and -1 to damage.

I'd take an cute from magical ammunition: the modifiers for ammo stack with modifiers for the bow. Wooden bow is fine, but bone arrowhead is -1. Ergo, -1 is your total unless the bow is magical.
 




Good luck with that.

I challenge you to go out into a random desert
Already lived in California...

and make yourself enough large bits of high quality glass to make weapons.
And what do you use as fuel?
In Dark Sun, presumably, psionics. Or that bizarre 'air lens' spell.

But, yeah, if you start thinking about Dark Sun too hard it does seem like nothing should be able to live there.

Why would obsidian have a penaly
obsidian is crazy sharp

Obsidian is also very brittle.

In the D&D paradigm, a comparatively soft or brittle weapon would have a harder time 'hitting' due to armor - where a steel dagger might punch through armor, an obsidian dagger might shatter, for instance.

No reason it shouldn't do full damage, when it does 'hit,' though.

And, of course, shattering is worse than just a 'missing.'
 

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