Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thoughts on Weapon Specialization

Someone, I think it was Beedo, (ah yes it was) was talking about weapon specialization and I was reminded of why I went with simple fixed weapon damage.  I didn't want everyone to pick a longsword or a rapier.  Especially in a game where there were no real class limitations for weapon types, I didn't want everyone taking the weapon that did the most damage for the least money or whatever.  I like the idea of weapon being something that identifies a character - like a crazy rogue with daggers, daggers and more daggers, or a dangerous spear man.  Yes, I did settle on light and heavy weapons so as to complicate things a bit and account for pure smashing mass, but I think it is a good compromise having 1d6 and 1d8 as the two base weapon damages.  I do realize that some people might just game it and buy the cheapest weapon all the time, or even just pick up stuff off the battlefield and use that.  Where does that get you you crazy game designer - all your weapon prices are now moot - Ha Ha!  Well yes and no.  I guess people can do that but players like to spend money and so I expect it won't be a big issue, and characters with some cash will still fork out for a nice longsword if it makes them look good.

choose your specializations wisely...
I did have an idea about weapon specialization however.  Basically weapon specialization encourages use of a particular type of weapon instead of using many types.  The benefit I see coming from this is that it would reinforce character identity and it would somewhat discourage use of found weapons and weapon swapping. It would also add some spice to dropped weapons and magic weapons as treasure. Game wise it really doesn't matter in Beacon if you are using a war axe or a two handed sword since they both do 1d8 (and full STR bonus for two handedness), however it could matter if you dropped your weapon or when switching from ranged to melee weapons.  It also could matter when you stumble across an armory with many fine spears in a dungeon.  So I'm thinking a mechanic for encouraging characters to stick with certain weapons is worthwhile. It could be done as specialization and have the rules allow players to simply declare which weapon(s) they have specialized in, but then the question arises as to how many weapons a character can specialize in.  Maybe fighters could have two, is that enough?  Should it increase over time?  

Another way I'm thinking is more of weapon familiarity instead of weapon specialization.  You could make it simple by saying that a character is at -1 to hit and -1 damage with any weapon they are not familiar with.  Tada, they will pick weapons to be familiar with and try to use them.  For fighters, they get a pretty good attack bonus progression so it's not the end of the work if they break a sword and have to grab up an axe.  They are good at killing with anything.  For other classes it becomes a bit more of an issue so the druid may not be as eager to try something new when his pointed stick breaks.  I'm not sure what constitutes familiarity but it could be as simple as completing x combats with that weapon or leveling up with it or something.  Will this add value to the game?  Maybe.  I guess I should put this thought back in the roaster to simmer for a bit.

1 comment:

  1. -1 to-hit is way too low. I would go with -2 or even -4, possibly depending on the particular weapon. Fighting with a weapon one is not familiar with is simply not effective, and so the penalties from doing so should be.