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Weird weapon weights - has this been updated?

  • Thread starter WhosDaDungeonMaster
  • Start date

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I certainly don't want my PC looking like that.

He's gnot gnomish enough, and gneither are the weapons.
I am seeing just all sorts of confusing posts this week. First, that Barnes & Nobles physical stores still exist and now what seems to be an assertion that a gnome could have too many weapons?

What kind of crazy upside down statement is that?
 

Satyrn

Villager
I am seeing just all sorts of confusing posts this week. First, that Barnes & Nobles physical stores still exist and now what seems to be an assertion that a gnome could have too many weapons?

What kind of crazy upside down statement is that?
No, you misunderstand me. It's not that he has too many weapons. He just has too many weapons that don't look like they're about to explode.
 
It is funny to me how people take old 1e rules quirks and treat them as reflecting reality more than well-documented history. There really aren't 15 pound 2-handed swords and 10 pound morning stars out there that were actually used, but a number of people who started on old D&D think the actual weights are too light. If you try to fight a swordsman with a dagger he's always going to have initiative because of his reach and you will be reacting and looking for occasional opportunities to strike with a dagger, but because 1e gave him extra attacks and 2e gave him an initiative bonus some people think the dagger wielder should strike first or more often.
 
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lluewhyn

Villager
It is funny to me how people take old 1e rules quirks and treat them as reflecting reality more than well-documented history. There really aren't 15 pound 2-handed swords and 10 pound morning stars out there that were actually used, but a number of people who started on old D&D think the actual weights are too light. If you try to fight a swordsman with a dagger he's always going to have initiative because of his reach and you will be reacting and looking for occasional opportunities to strike with a dagger, but because 1e gave him extra attacks and 2e gave him an initiative bonus some people think the dagger wielder should strike first or more often.
I always thought this was wonky with 2E, and liked how Runequest did it, with inverting the way D&D did it. Yeah, you probably can swing that dagger a heck of a lot faster than that guy who's got a Halbard, but he's still going to get a first shot at you.
 
I always thought this was wonky with 2E, and liked how Runequest did it, with inverting the way D&D did it. Yeah, you probably can swing that dagger a heck of a lot faster than that guy who's got a Halbard, but he's still going to get a first shot at you.
1e was even weirder, BTW. A guy swinging a dagger actually could swing TWICE AS FAST against an opponent carrying a fairly heavy weapon as he could against an unarmed or dagger-wielding opponent, and three times as fast against someone carrying an awl pike (the only weapon that speed factor ever gives three attacks against). The idea that you can get in more hits with a dagger if I'm fighting you with a two-handed sword than if I'm unarmed is really bizarre, and it's even more bizarre when you realize that the dagger gets two attacks against a footman's mace or a battle axe but not against a horseman's mace or any sword smaller than two handed.

But don't take my word for it, take the word of the man who came up with the idea: "Forget weapon speed factors! I must have been under the influence of a hex when I included them in the bloody rules." - Gary Gygax
 

lluewhyn

Villager
1e was even weirder, BTW. A guy swinging a dagger actually could swing TWICE AS FAST against an opponent carrying a fairly heavy weapon as he could against an unarmed or dagger-wielding opponent, and three times as fast against someone carrying an awl pike (the only weapon that speed factor ever gives three attacks against). The idea that you can get in more hits with a dagger if I'm fighting you with a two-handed sword than if I'm unarmed is really bizarre, and it's even more bizarre when you realize that the dagger gets two attacks against a footman's mace or a battle axe but not against a horseman's mace or any sword smaller than two handed.

But don't take my word for it, take the word of the man who came up with the idea: "Forget weapon speed factors! I must have been under the influence of a hex when I included them in the bloody rules." - Gary Gygax
I bet. But 1E was the epitome of bizarre rules for their own sake*. It's the only edition I never played, not counting the SSI Gold Box games. Went straight from D&D Basic to AD&D 2E around 1989 or so. I remember that also being the edition that Wizards (Magic-Users) could learn to throw darts at an opponent but a crossbow was too dang complicated.

It's also the edition that has codified so many inaccuracies in fantasy RPGs these days, including what a "longsword" actually is, and armor that never existed to any great extent in reality. At least subsequent editions of D&D were able to gradually divest themselves of Gygax's bizarre pole-arm fetish.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
1e was even weirder, BTW. A guy swinging a dagger actually could swing TWICE AS FAST against an opponent carrying a fairly heavy weapon as he could against an unarmed or dagger-wielding opponent, and three times as fast against someone carrying an awl pike (the only weapon that speed factor ever gives three attacks against). The idea that you can get in more hits with a dagger if I'm fighting you with a two-handed sword than if I'm unarmed is really bizarre, and it's even more bizarre when you realize that the dagger gets two attacks against a footman's mace or a battle axe but not against a horseman's mace or any sword smaller than two handed.

But don't take my word for it, take the word of the man who came up with the idea: "Forget weapon speed factors! I must have been under the influence of a hex when I included them in the bloody rules." - Gary Gygax
While true in that edition, the dagger wielder did still have to get inside the reach of the pike.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Yeah, I saw the wiki page on claymores before posting this, but still wanted feedback. I suppose in 5E the greatsword is really more akin to a bastard sword, than a true two-handed only weapon, which typically weighs at least 8-10 pounds, and can be even heavier. I guess since the argument for the "model" of the weapon is part of it, you could argue they went with the kindest (i.e. lightest) versions they found in researching the weapons.
THe claymore was most definitely a 2-handed sword. Have you ever tried it use a sword that weighed that much? Here look at this wiki about the german 2-handed sword: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zweih%C3%A4nder

Two things of note: Once they weighed more than 4.4 lbs they pretty much had to be used 2-handed and swords of 8-10lbs were for ceremonial use only, not battle.

On a side note, my highschool english teacher used to keep a 10lbs steel rod in his room. He claimed it was what swords weighed and he would always ask the biggest person in the room to swing it. It was nearly impossible to swing effectively and completely unwieldy. He wanted to show how strong the the knights were or whatever. Completely missing that the high boy was about 6-8" taller and about 50lbs of muscle bigger than the "knight." This was about 30 years ago so he didn't have the benefit of the internet to correct his mistake, but it made for a fun class nonetheless.
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
This is the biggest reproduction sword from a reputable maker that's supposed to be somewhat functional that I've found on the internet.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=DT5168 (I don't think Del Tin makes these anymore).

This style of sword was used by Landsknecht mercenaries. It's laughably big. Supposedly they used these things less as swords and more as nimbler polearms. Pike formation coming at you? Bat the pointy sticks aside with your gigantic definitely not compensating for something sword, get inside their reach, and then cut them open. I've also heard people say that they were used by bodyguards as an area denial weapon.

It's still barely over 8 pounds.

This is a saner example: http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=DT2162 7 lbs. And I think somebody posted the Lowlander from Hanwei in here, which is almost as long as the German Flame-bladed greatsword but with less hilt furniture; also 7 pounds.

The maul on the other hand... What is it even? A sledgehammer? This Bec de Corbin is a dedicated armour killer and needs two hands to wield, but is only 5 pounds! http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=600969&name=Bec+de+Corbin
 
While true in that edition, the dagger wielder did still have to get inside the reach of the pike.
There wasn't a reach mechanic. If the dagger wielder chose to charge then the pike guy could get one attack set vs charge, but the dagger wielder could just move in instead of charging.
 
There wasn't a reach mechanic. If the dagger wielder chose to charge then the pike guy could get one attack set vs charge, but the dagger wielder could just move in instead of charging.
It's tucked away in the initiative rules. Alongside the formula for KFC's spice blend, the secret incantation to summon Cthulhu, and the shooting order for the faked moon landing videos.

Unfortunately, the 1st Ed initiative rules are completely incomprehensible, so we'll never really know. But it definitely is in there. :)
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
It's tucked away in the initiative rules. Alongside the formula for KFC's spice blend, the secret incantation to summon Cthulhu, and the shooting order for the faked moon landing videos.

Unfortunately, the 1st Ed initiative rules are completely incomprehensible, so we'll never really know. But it definitely is in there. :)
Yes, we used it all the time.
 
It's tucked away in the initiative rules. Alongside the formula for KFC's spice blend, the secret incantation to summon Cthulhu, and the shooting order for the faked moon landing videos.

Unfortunately, the 1st Ed initiative rules are completely incomprehensible, so we'll never really know. But it definitely is in there. :)
IMO one of the hilarious things about 1e is that there really isn't even a consensus on how basic things like the initiative rules work. With 2e-5e you may have some people who refuse to agree about fiddly things, and lots of people using house rules, but there aren't any parts of the rules where people just throw up their hands and really have no idea how it works. 3e grappling just doesn't hold a candle to 1e's complexity.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
IMO one of the hilarious things about 1e is that there really isn't even a consensus on how basic things like the initiative rules work. With 2e-5e you may have some people who refuse to agree about fiddly things, and lots of people using house rules, but there aren't any parts of the rules where people just throw up their hands and really have no idea how it works. 3e grappling just doesn't hold a candle to 1e's complexity.
I think it is less about consensus and more about how some people either don't remember or didn't play with the rules -- house rules were the norm, not the exception during that period of time. I don't think I ever played in a group that played entirely RAW. It could also be a matter of tactics and group size (see below).
-------------------
I think one of the things people forget is initiative was rolled on a d6 for each side -- you didn't roll for initiative individually.

Simultaneous Initiative: When opponents in melee have tied for initiative, blows (attack routines included) occur simultaneously, except when both opponents are using weapons. Each weapon has a speed factor, and in the case of otherwise simultaneous blows, the opponent with the weapon which has the lower speed factor will strike first. Thus, a blow from a fist occurs before a blow with a dagger (1 to 2), a dagger before a short sword (2 to 3), a short sword prior to a hammer (3 to 4), and so on.
Speed Factor only came into play when two opponents were using melee weapons and initiative was a tie. The weapon with the lower speed factor would then strike first.

Weapon Speed Factor: This number is indicative of the wieldiness of any particular weapon, how long it takes to ready the weapon against an opponent, or how long it takes to recover and move it in its attack mode. A pike, for example, is a 13, as it must be lowered, grasped, and then held/thrust firmly. Such a weapon is not usable in dungeon settings, or anywhere else without masses of other pikes to support it. In the latter case, an opponent surviving the first attack from the bearer of the pike will likely be able to strike several times before recovery of the pike for a second thrust. This is further detailed below. A two-handed sword, with a 10 speed factor, likewise requires a lengthy readying time and recovery period after its attack due to its size and weight.

When weapon speed factor is the determinant of which opponent strikes first in a melee round, there is a chance that one opponent will be entitled to multiple attacks. Compare the score of the lower-factored weapon with that of the higher. If the difference is at least twice the factor of the lower, or 5 or more factors in any case, the opponent with the lower factored weapon is entitled to 2 attacks before the opponent with the higher weapon factor is entitled to any attack whatsoever. If the difference is 10 or greater, the opponent with the lower-factored weapon is entitled to 2 attacks before the opponent is allowed to attack, and 1 further attack at the same time the opponent with the higher-speed-factored weapon finally is allowed to attack. Note that such speed factor considerations are not applicable when either closing or charging to melee, but after on initial round of combat, or in cases where closing/charging was not necessary, the speed factor considerations are applicable.
Modern action RPG games like the Souls series in effect do the same thing through their animation loops.

It also came into play when

Other Weapon Factor Determinants: The speed factor of a weapon also determines when the weapon strikes during the course of the round with respect to opponents who are engaged in activity other than striking blows.

Reach was used when two opponents were closing with the opponent with the longer weapon striking first. Once engaged, then only initiative and speed factor mattered. While charging was one method of closing (and a dangerous one at that since no dexterity bonus was applied to AC or the would be lowered (increased) by one and set weapons did double damage, it wasn't the only way to close.

As Hit Points were lower in AD&D, striking first was a big advantage -- thus my earlier comment about getting past an opponent's reach. A pike in AD&D was 18' which translates to 15' reach in 5e. Often we would setup three ranks with different lengths of weapons -- sword and board in front, polearm guy next, and pike guy last. We rarely saw multiple attacks due to simultaneous initiative speed factors since short weapons could not get to the characters with longer weapons because of our tactics. We also had tables at that time with a dozen players to one DM so we could use those tactics.
 

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