Thursday, December 9, 2010

Semi-Variable Weapon Damage Houserule

I've always been a variable weapon damage guy...when I first got my Otus Basic Box and I was perusing the rules, when I came to the part about how variable weapon damage is an optional rule, and that you can use 1d6 for all weapons I scoffed, "What a load of horseshit!'

Nowadays, I'm intrigued by the concept. I'm all for simplicity, encouraging flavourful weapon choices, and experimenting with the different systems throughout D&D's history. And, like many have said, a knife can kill you just as dead as a Dwarven Double Great Axe. It's not like D&D's variable weapon damages are based on any rigourous, true scientific realism or anything. Plus, non-variable weapon damage solves some firearm conundrums.

Now, the following is inspired by both the frequent house rule I see among OD&D types that all weapons inflict 1d6 damage, but for a two-handed weapon you roll twice and take the higher roll, and also the weapon notes in the awesome Terminal Space that suggest using a similar method for energy weapons and the like.

Blair's OD&D & B/X D&D Semi-Variable Weapon Damage Houserule
- Weapons inflict 1d6 damage on a hit.
- However, as many have been already doing, roll two dice for two handed weapons and use the higher roll. This may be applicable for heavy crossbows.
- But, when using a dagger/knife, club, sling stone or improvised weapon (chair, rock, broken bottle), roll two dice and take the lower of the two rolls.

And here's a similar system for use with the Carcosa variable damage dice rolls.
- Use the Carcosa dice type table to determine what kind of dice to use for weapon damage on a hit.
- However, when using a two-handed weapon, roll twice on the aforementioned table, and use the higher of the two results.
- And when using a dagger/knife, club, sling stone, or improvised weapon, roll twice, as above, but use the lower of the two rolls.

I'd probably use the above methods in conjunction with the OD&D Greyhawk Weapon Vs. AC Modifiers, just to be idiosyncratic (I love weapon vs. AC modifiers!).

I've been lax with the music's a great, classic track by a band that you all should be listening to instead of The Sword... ;)


  1. Awesome! I noticed the straight D6 option in rereading B/X recently.

    D6 damage combined with an AC mod gives the weapons some flavour.

    I'm currently messing around with a streamlined weapon vs AC table.

  2. Cool stuff. I'm about to run some adventures using Swords & Wizardry White box. Might incorporate these suggestions.

    Great music selection as well. I love early Sodom. So savage. My roommate came home the other day, trying to tell me how awesome The Sword were live. I suggested he go see an actual metal band some day.

  3. I don't understand why the highly effective slingstone should be put in the same category as a chair-leg - its principal drawbacks were the limited range and the lengthy period of training required to become a useful slinger.

  4. @ B. Portly: I used to use the AD&D weapon vs. AC modifiers, but that was a casualty of my mania for keeping combat as fast as possible. Have you seen the OD&D wpn vs. ac table? it's pretty spartan and concise.

    @ Mike: Yeah, I haven't tried this, although I'll definitely use it for any OD&D/Carcosa/White Box games I ever end up running.I'm pretty sure that The Sword haven't even heard of The Hall, never mind Leaving it...

    @ Prince Herb: I was torn on it, but I like mechanical differentiation between sling stones and sling bullets as a resource management feature.

  5. Sodom is fucking great. Wait, there's a thrash metal band that sounds like Discharge? OK, you sold me. Masturbate to kill myself...or something.

    Yeah, what's up with the Sword love in the OSR community? Real men listen to Manowar :)