Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finer Details In the Campaign


I was looking over my copy of "From Stone to Steel" today--a book for d20 about armour, weapons, and history. It has a plethora of details about all kinds of historical armour and weaponry through the ages, for 3E.

I was then thinking about AD&D, and the standard list of weapons and armour. At a glance--they do seem quite simplistic, and very generalized. However, while on one hand, a sword, is a sword is a sword, so to speak--aside from shortsword, longsword, scimitar, bastard sword and two-handed sword--that about covers things pretty well. Virtually any number of historical models do not chiefly perform in any different capacity from such base models. Thus, there doesn't really seem to be a mechanical representation of too much more variety than that. Plus, we keep in mind the fine pleasure of keepings most things fast, simple, and easy to deal with.

Ok--having said that, there is that nagging thought back in my head that says AD&D *doesn't* approximate the details in that effective a manner--even with the rough simplistic standards being essentially correct, accurate, and sufficient. The point of contention is, there *were* in fact a variety of weapons that seemed to be similar to their legions of lesser brethren, but in fact, their individual weapon performance and characteristics were often quite superior.

For example:

Mongolian Composite Bows--these were superior to other types of composite bows.

Roman Gladius--while plenty of other shortswords existed, the Roman Gladius was superior for a variety of reasons, from raw effectiveness in battle, to weight, and ease of manufacture, as well as strength and durability.

And on and on.

How so, then, would you handle such a challenge?

Semper Fidelis,


1 comment:

  1. I think that in many ways, the Tunnels & Trolls (5th Edition) weapons do the best job of differentiation, although the combat system is rather abstract, so that the effect is somewhat muted as a result. However, their paragraph descriptions explained /how/ the weapon was used, which, in T&T, is tantamount to a rule although no mechanics were really involved --allowing the Player and GM to describe how one was facing down their foe in single combat.

    That said, the inclusion of Blunt, Edged, Piercing weapon 'tags' (for lack of a better term) helps, I think, tremendously in the 'imaged logic' of the combat description, so that a cut-and-thrust rapier facing an estoc will produce different results than merely two generic 'swords'.

    I'd say that like everything else in the world, the more one knows about a given subject, the greater interrelated output is. In the case of gaming, the more the participants know about these differences, the more nuanced the resultant combat descriptions can/shall be.