Class-based Weapon Damage

I borrowed and modified this house rule from Dyson Logos over at Dyson’s Dodecahedron, but I think I’ve made enough additions to it that I can call this my own variation. It’s also worked out pretty well in my game so far, too.

As with Dyson, I was very disappointed in the variable weapon tables used in Labyrinth Lord’s AEC book; longswords and greatswords were by far the best weapons for a Fighter. In fact, when you roll a magic weapon what kind is it most of the time? A sword. Of course, my random weapon table doesn’t apply here. What does apply is that weapons should be largely cosmetic and damage output should reflect the character’s martial training. What difference does it make if he uses a sword, a waraxe, or a pair of daggers?

For definitions:

  • A one-handed weapon ranges from a punching-dagger to a dwarven waraxe. Really any weapon intended to be held in one hand.
  • A two-handed weapon range from a greataxe to morningstars to polearms.
  • An improvised weapon is any object or tool that’s being used to cause damage instead of something created to be a weapon. This includes shields (as in a shield-bash), a table leg, a glass bottle, or steak knife.
  • A ranged weapon is any thrown projectile, a bow & arrow, a crossbow & bolt, and so on.
  • Two-weapon fighting means wielding a one-handed weapon in each hand. Personally, I don’t care if the off-hand weapon is a “light” weapon (such as a dagger, hand axe, shortsword, etc) or not; the result is the same. One’s proficiency with two-weapon fighting is determines by one’s DEX modifier. Penalties start at -2 on the main-hand and -4 on the off-hand, but each + one has in Dexterity reduces the penalty to hit; DEX may never improve the result to better than +0, but magic bonuses to hit may.
  • Races listed below are the racial class as defined in the base Labyrinth Lord book.

Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, and Dwarves

  • One-handed weapons: 1d8
  • Two-handed weapons: 1d10
  • Two-weapon fighting: 1d8 / 1d4
  • Improvised weapons: 1d6

Clerics, Druids, and Elves

  • One-handed weapons: 1d6
  • Two-handed weapons: 1d8
  • Two-weapon fighting: 1d6 / 1d4
  • Improvised weapons: 1d4

Thieves, Assassins, Monks, and Halflings

  • One-handed weapons: 1d6
  • Two-handed weapons: 1d8
  • Two-weapon fighting: 1d6 / 1d6
  • Improvised weapons: 1d4

Magic-users and Illusionists

  • One-handed weapons: 1d4
  • Two-handed weapons: 1d6
  • Two-weapon fighting: 1d4 / 1d3
  • Improvised weapons: 1d3

Ranged Weapons

Ranged weapons always do their listed damage.

Unarmed Attacks

With the exception of the Monk, unarmed damage is always 1d3+STR.

I’ll finish with some notes on some of my choices:

  • It’s my opinion that a fighter-type is trained more in the use of a single weapon technique than in two and are more likely to greatly favor their dominant arm. That being said, there’s nothing stopping him from using a shield-bash as an off-hand attack. Fighters are also less likely to have a very high Dexterity score, so they’re more likely to score a hit with their main-hand on any given round. Fighter-type have good, reliable damage.
  • Alternatively, characters in classes that traditionally depend on having a high Dexterity score are ambidextrous and are very comfortable using both weapons equally. Also, even though they are likely to hit with both weapons (since their penalties are likely to be reduced), they may lack a high Strength score to improve them. Dextrous characters take a chance on burst damage.
  • In conclusion, a Fighter will strike much more often in a range from 1d8+2 (3-10), but sometimes strike for 1d8+1d4+4 (6-16). However, an Assassin is more likely to alternate evenly between 1d6 and 2d6 damage, which is much lower than the Fighter’s.
  • In a drawn-out fight, I think the Fighter will edge out the Assassin in damage dealt, but the Assassin might get two hits just when it’s needed or take out two henchmen where a Fighter might only kill with one.
  • These are examples, of course. One can always build a munchkin Assassin who puts out serious hurt, but is otherwise useless.
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8 thoughts on “Class-based Weapon Damage

  1. Scott Anderson

    I think you have done as good a job with it as any. Really excellent work.

    But on a personal note:
    I dearly want to love this idea. It seems “right.” I don’t love any of the executions so far. Yours is as good as any and better than some. But I just can’t fall in love with it, no matter how much I want to.

    Maybe it’s the crunch. Rules that take more than 30 words to describe often leave me cold.

    Reply
    1. Adam Rizevski Post author

      Well, I tried putting in as much detail as possible, to be clear.

      That being said, the essence of the rule are the four blocks for each class type and that ranged weapons do their listed damage.

      Reply
    1. Adam Rizevski Post author

      I’m glad you think so. I’ve heard some complaints that this system is complicated. Most of the credit goes to Dyson, who introduced me to the concept.

      Reply
      1. Charlie Warren

        Your system doesn’t seem complicated at all. I think it’s much better than all weapons do the same damage according to class but some weapons can be used more or less often according to size or bulk.

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