First of all, Gus L has mentioned getting rid of leather, chainmail, and plate in favour of Light, Medium, and Heavy armour over at Dungeon of Signs a few times now. Which happens to be one of the things I really liked in the one game of Gamma World I played. I’d much prefer players to make up exactly what they’re wearing and apply an appropriate armour class than say they’re wearing chainmail and leave it at that. It also links in well aesthetically with LotFP’s existing weapon list.
Speaking of, in general I’m pretty happy with the LotFP weapon list, being that it consists of a few specific weapons and then Minor Medium Large Great make up what it is it does this much damage okay. No fuss, no muss. But. I’d still kind of like for the choice about what your Medium weapon actually is to make a difference beyond flavouring, without turning the weapon list into a 10-page section.
So, the size categories stay, that’s your damage, but depending on what the weapon actually is you also get this..
Sword: If you haven’t been hit this round roll twice for damage, take the best.
Hammer: When you attack choose +1 vs. Medium or better, or a normal attack which
reduces Heavy AC by 1 but deals half damage.
Axe: Minimum half damage vs. Light or less.
Flail: +1 vs. Medium or better, ignores shields. Can choose to attack weapon, Strength check
to disarm on hit. On any miss roll under your AC or hit yourself.
The reasoning being that swords are versatile, hammers can punch through with spikes or crush joints to reduce mobility, axes are built for chopping right into things (my thumb can attest), and flails.. well flails is flails.
[Edit: these and the Notch rules have been updated in The House of Rules]
That’s Not A Knife..
I use group Initiative, but would also like characters who have an Initiative bonus to get some kind of benefit from that. So, different kinds of weapons have benefits in different situations.
At this point I’d like to mention that this and the weapon categories were inspired by a couple of things mentioned by Brendan Strejcek, now of Necropraxis. In fact the dagger part is stolen directly from him and Gus L.
- If you successfully hit someone with a dagger you can choose to grab hold and keep stabbing, automatically hitting Flesh in subsequent rounds every time you win a wrestling roll (contested d20 + AB and Strength modifier). Anyone wielding a Medium or larger weapon will need to kick you away before attacking with their weapon.
(Daggers should be deadly and useful, if you manage to get in close to someone you can cut straight to the meat, bypassing Grit and damaging Flesh. Finesse isn’t worth a damn when someone has a knife to your belly)
- While wielding a Medium or larger weapon you may make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a Minor weapon closes into melee range.
- While wielding a weapon with reach you may make a contested Initiative roll to attack first when someone with a smaller weapon closes into melee range, and automatically attack first and cause double damage to anyone that actually charges you.
Another Notch on the Axehaft
I find it really boring for characters to be able to pick a weapon when they start out and then hold onto it forever unless they find something magic or wake up naked in a pit. I mean sure, it’s nice to have a weapon with history, but don’t you want that history to actually mean something? I also want some kind of indication that all this murdering necessitates equipment maintenance, but I don’t want that to be a gaping pain in the arse.
Every time you roll a 1 or 2 to hit in combat your weapon takes a Notch, this doesn’t necessarily mean it was damaged just then, more a simple way of quantifying wear and tear.
Each weapon can take Notches equal to its damage die (so a dagger can take 4 Notches, a long sword can take 8, Lumpy Space Princess’s knifemace can take 10).
Once the weapon has 2 Notches, roll 2 of the weapon’s damage die after every attack, if the roll is equal to or less than the number of Notches, the weapon breaks. So you might embarrassingly break your axe with a wild swing against the wall, or you might snap your dagger off in the merchant priest’s chest.
If the weapon takes another Notch after it has reached its limit, it breaks.
Now, armour makes it harder to hurt your squishy parts, fair enough, but what about the armour? Every time an attack against you rolls 19 or 20 your armour is damaged, reducing your AC by 1.
The standard rate for repair is a tenth of the item’s full cost per Notch or AC point (so one Notch on a Medium sword costs 2 silver groats to repair, and it will set you back 100 silver groats to repair the point of damage that drugged-up Nun of the Lotus caused to your Heavy armour).
Prices are subject to review and gouging.
[Edit: Go read Brush of Fumbling’s excellent post that works weapon quality into Notches if you’re tired of brooms being as durable as battleaxes and all of your blacksmiths being the same guy with a different moustache. I’m using it effective right now.]
If You Liked It Then You Should Have Put a Pistol On It
When you have to walk around with everything strapped to your back, economy of utility can become pretty important, and getting hold of something that actually performs more than one function may just make you fall to your knees for a bit of an ugly joy cry. Credit for sparking this particular thought fire goes to Tom at Middenmurk.
Fuck your +1 sword, give me a shield with a lantern in it and big spikes sticking out of it.
Basically, coveted equipment doesn’t have to have some bullshit charm on it, it just needs to be uncommonly useful for the kind of foolish things you’ve chosen to run around doing.
I’d rather carry an iron cresset than a torch, it burns just as long, using pitch, rosin, or pine knots, and if someone jumps out of the dark I can beat them with it for d6 damage. As a bonus on 18-20 they also catch fire.
10′ poles are useful but DAMN are they unwieldy to just lug around. Why not carry a 10′ spear or polearm instead, with several interlocking foot long sections at the end that can be easily removed if damaged? Hell, while we’re at it let’s make the top section removable as well so that it can be used as a weapon in close-quarters. Like Tom said, “As is often the case with historical reality, similar business ends are applied to different lengths of wood for different purposes.”
Check Tom’s other article and follow the link to My Armory at the end for more examples. Sure, a lot of them are just things with pistols jammed onto them, but you get the point.
For seriously though, fuck your +1 sword.
Gus L’s light, medium, heavy is a beautiful thing, it’s kind of surprising how little there is in the game to push the players into a bit of creative thinking about their characters.
The Another Notch rule is cool as shit, I’ll definitely be stealing it. Maybe there could be differing quality weapons, either that can take more/less notches or that get notches only on 1s, give more gradients between basic sword and omg magicsss.
I’d be loathe to mess with the amount of Notches simply because it requires more thought than just looking at the damage die and knowing the weapon’s limit, but I don’t mind the idea of a higher quality weapon only taking a Notch on a 1.
Blooddrinker iron might actually repair a Notch on a critical.
To reiterate conversation elsewhere:
Dodgy or improvised weapons could be damaged much easier, like the apprentice’s sword that will take a Notch on 4 or less.
I wrote a post with some of the stuff we discussed and some other ideas I had around this idea, hope you like.
I am taking the weapon rules, calling them “stabby”, “smashy” and so forth, and nicking them immediately.
Finding a a weapon that’s smashy on one side and choppy on the other would totally be an awesome thing to find!
Smiler’s weapon quality stuff is delicious as all hell too. Oh shit your sword broke but it’s ok you can rope the blade to a ten foot pole and make the shittiest spear I’ve ever seen.
I’m adding a thing that goes like this –
Look after your weapons and they’ll look after you. For every hour you spend cleaning and oiling your stuff you get a “free” Notch. If your weapon or armour gets Notched you can use up one of these instead! Maximum of three at a time, lose one a day if unused.
That should give the fighters something to do while the wizards sit around with their spellbooks in the morning, plus potentially give them a class-specific thing that they can carry around. Thieves have tools, wizards have spellbooks, clerics have icons, and fighters have their oils and whetstones.
Maintenance is an interesting idea, though I wouldn’t really want to add extra Notches because it’s less simple than looking straight at the damage die.
I think if I was to use it I’d make it a rule that if you’re a Fighter and spend time maintaining your equipment with oils and whetstones and such, you treat it as a Quality better for the rest of the day, i.e. your pretty shitty Quality 4 longsword you bought at a flea market now takes only takes Notches on a decidedly average 3.
Time would probably be best as half the weapon Quality in hours, i.e. two and a half hours for Quality 5, two hours for Quality 4, etc.