D&D 1E How about a little love for AD&D 1E

Voadam

Legend
Monks are (to my delight) rendered almost completely useless.
Or they are terrible against anyone with armor (-7 against plate and shield) and pretty fantastic with +4 against anything without armor (so against magic users and possibly most nonhumanoid monsters if you take the armor type as unarmored). Having them be tiger-punchers as part of their niche specialty is kind of interesting.
 

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I do remember making small adjustments to the table - in particular to axes - but while I'm sure that the numbers can be quibbled with they are fun as is and completely alter the way you think about weapons in D&D. For example, halberds and morning stars are awesome when you factor in the weapon versus AC table, and the two-handed sword (a weapon wielded by Gygax's personal character) is if anything (perhaps unsurprisingly) over-powered. Monks are (to my delight) rendered almost completely useless.
I also remember, but can’t find the reference, that the weapon versus armor chart was only used against actual armor, and not monsters. So I assume that meant that only those humans and humanoids who were listed in the MM as actually wearing some type of armor.

I also think that in Gary’s games, where there were multiple parties exploring areas simultaneously (all that stuff about keeping strict time records, and other adventurers clearing out dungeons before your party got there), that this chart could have had ‘party v party’ in mind as its primary application, but who knows.

I always loved having the option to add this ‘crunch’ as well as the space needed rules. I mean, if the two-handed sword is really good, but you’re in a 3’ corridor, oh well, better pull out that spear.
 

Staffan

Legend
A few years ago I consolidated the weapon vs armor tables into a smaller table with weapon categories (all axes similar) and only 4 armor types: none, light, medium, and heavy. I also thought the tactical choices of certain weapons could be made interesting that way.

But I ended up not using that either. I still think there is some value in the concept, but it works better as a single special ability of the weapon that the player needs to remember, not an extra lookup on each d20 roll. For example, many pole arms could just be given +2 to hit vs heavy armor; others could give +2 to disarm attempts. Maybe a dagger could have +1 to hit vs unarmored foes since it is so fast. And so on...
Combat & Tactics for 2e did a similar thing where weapons particularly designed for armor penetration got +1 or +2 versus certain armor types (designated as plate, chain, and leather IIRC). You also had the really good penetrators just ignore X points of AC that came from armor: firearms ignored all/5/2 points at short/medium/long range, crossbows ignored 5/2/0 points, and bodkin arrows 2 points at short range.

The problem with that sort of thing in D&D is hit points. In reality, most hand-held weapons are perfectly capable of taking out another person on a good hit. Armor is meant to reduce the likelihood of such a good hit, and weapons develop to counter said armor. But in D&D, combat is a matter of attrition, so it's more important to do Big Damage than getting a minor attack bonus.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Combat & Tactics for 2e did a similar thing where weapons particularly designed for armor penetration got +1 or +2 versus certain armor types (designated as plate, chain, and leather IIRC). You also had the really good penetrators just ignore X points of AC that came from armor: firearms ignored all/5/2 points at short/medium/long range, crossbows ignored 5/2/0 points, and bodkin arrows 2 points at short range.

The problem with that sort of thing in D&D is hit points. In reality, most hand-held weapons are perfectly capable of taking out another person on a good hit. Armor is meant to reduce the likelihood of such a good hit, and weapons develop to counter said armor. But in D&D, combat is a matter of attrition, so it's more important to do Big Damage than getting a minor attack bonus.
If armor worked like damage reduction, this wouldn't be as much of an issue. Still trying to work that out.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
If armor worked like damage reduction, this wouldn't be as much of an issue. Still trying to work that out.
I like how Pirate Borg handles armor.

Armor reduces incoming damage by a variable amount based on tier. Heavy is -1d6, medium is -1d4, and light is -1d2. A crit reduces the protection, but not the penalties (slower move, check penalties, etc). Armor reduced to beyond light is destroyed. Armor can be repaired in town for a price.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I like how Pirate Borg handles armor.

Armor reduces incoming damage by a variable amount based on tier. Heavy is -1d6, medium is -1d4, and light is -1d2. A crit reduces the protection, but not the penalties (slower move, check penalties, etc). Armor reduced to beyond light is destroyed. Armor can be repaired in town for a price.
I like it.
 

Staffan

Legend
If armor worked like damage reduction, this wouldn't be as much of an issue. Still trying to work that out.
That would require so, SO much reworking that you'd be better off with a system designed for that from the start. The main thing being that in D&D and variants, three attacks each dealing 1d6 damage is pretty much the same as one attack dealing 3d6 damage (with the single attack being the high risk/high reward version), but in an armor-as-DR system the one attack dealing 3d6 damage is much stronger.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
That would require so, SO much reworking that you'd be better off with a system designed for that from the start. The main thing being that in D&D and variants, three attacks each dealing 1d6 damage is pretty much the same as one attack dealing 3d6 damage (with the single attack being the high risk/high reward version), but in an armor-as-DR system the one attack dealing 3d6 damage is much stronger.
On the other hand, that would almost make two handed weapons worthwhile.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
That would require so, SO much reworking that you'd be better off with a system designed for that from the start. The main thing being that in D&D and variants, three attacks each dealing 1d6 damage is pretty much the same as one attack dealing 3d6 damage (with the single attack being the high risk/high reward version), but in an armor-as-DR system the one attack dealing 3d6 damage is much stronger.
Not sure I have a problem with that, actually.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
The problem of course is that your damage really comes from static modifiers, which is what breaks two weapon fighting and relegates AD&D two handers to the bin once you get exceptional or higher strength through some means, plus magic weapons, and specialization (including "double specialization"). I've seen some freakish static damage on starting Fighters in AD&D.

And it's really tough to balance around this, because not every melee combatant is going to have those kinds of bonuses. If the DR is too good, that poor guy with a 16 Strength is never going to compete with anything, while the guy with 18*95, who can already outdamage that guy with a dagger, might go from being able to one shot your typical 1 HD monster to needing a second attack.

Even if you stress "well, this weapon ignores this DR", to bring up the right weapon for the job style of play, that's just going to wreak havoc for classes that have weapons of choice (Fighters and Cavaliers), and exceptional Strength characters can use those weapons too.
 

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