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Ricky S
2010-09-11, 09:25 PM
I was looking at the vorpal weapon description and it doesn't really seem appropriate as a +5 magic modifier because surely when wielding a bladed weapon you would be aiming to decapitate your foe anyway? Think about it in real life swordplay. Most of the time you would be aiming to kill your foe which is either a thrust to the heart or cutting their head off. It is not actually that hard to kill something by decapitating them. If you look at LotR Eowyn decapitates the witch kings steed with almost one blow does that mean that her blade was vorpal? No it doesn't. Aragorn while fighting kills numerous orcs and goblins simply by cutting their head off. So if you are a high level fighter even against say a dragon it should be theoretically possible to cut its head off without having the vorpal quality.

I know that dnd doesnt work on theory but it just seemed odd to me.

(Oh and what happens when you use a vorpal weapon on a hydra? Does it decapitate all the heads at once or only one?)

Flickerdart
2010-09-11, 09:27 PM
Vorpal is a terrible, overpriced enhancement that does awfully little. Never use it.

It also only gets one head at a time.

Boci
2010-09-11, 09:29 PM
So if you are a high level fighter even against say a dragon it should be theoretically possible to cut its head off without having the vorpal quality.

You can, you just need to reduce it to 0hp.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 09:31 PM
Vorpal is a terrible, overpriced enhancement that does awfully little. Never use it.

It also only gets one head at a time.

Yea that was what I was thinking. It doesn't seem worth the price tag for a 1 in 20 chance of decapitating foes. Especially when at high levels most enemies will not die if you decapitate them or indeed do not have the anatomy to be decapitated.

(It sucks even more that you can only decapitate one head at a time)

Flickerdart
2010-09-11, 09:32 PM
In 3.0, a vorpal blade decapitated on any critical hit (and in 3.0, it was possible to get a crit range down to 9-20 or so). This made it quite potent, and the cost is a legacy of that.

thubby
2010-09-11, 09:33 PM
in real swordplay you just want to stab or cut your enemy anywhere you can. even a leg wound is potentially lethal, or at least debilitating.
it wasn't uncommon for troops to aim for an armored knight's legs for the simple reason that, even in striking the armor, you could reasonably cripple them.

while vorpal is horribly overpriced, it's worth mentioning that something as simple as a high level twf build gets 8 attacks. meaning it could reasonably activate vorpal every 3-4 rounds.
pile on the cheese and im sure someone could get vorpal to proc almost every round.

AslanCross
2010-09-11, 09:37 PM
It was originally a form of more permanent death. I think back in AD&D, the Vorpal Silver Sword actually severed the victim's astral cord, destroying its soul or something. It wasn't just mere decapitation. Why they powered it down for D&D 3.5 and yet kept it as a +5 property, I have no idea.

EDIT: As for the Hydra, the DMG says that gray areas regarding decapitation are up to the DM to call. I'd say it would only take one head off.

jmbrown
2010-09-11, 09:38 PM
Combining real life with D&D will get you nowhere and even at that it's nearly impossible to cleanly remove a standing man's head in even a single stroke with the sharpest sword in the world. Physics and all that.

The truth of the matter is that, like Flickerdart said, 3.0's vorpal worked on any critical hit and critical threat bonuses stacked so you could reach a point where you were threatening 50% of the time. Like most things prior to 4E, it was carried over from a previous version without being changed.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 09:40 PM
Flickerdart: Oh that would make more sense. Perhaps when I dm I will just use that rule instead because thats what I thought it was at first but then I saw it was only on 20 and thats pretty pathetic considering I usually only roll 20's on superfluous things like gather information checks.

thubby: You are most definately right about that. I was just trying to draw parallels to the fact that you can still decapitate a foe in real combat assuming you are using a bladed weapon. In dnd terms you cannot even decapitate a peasant until after you have killed him which seems a tad bizarre.

dgnslyr
2010-09-11, 09:44 PM
Somebody should homebrew a limb-removal system. What would the Hardness of bone be? Would flesh have any hardness?

Orbin Dules
2010-09-11, 09:49 PM
Flickerdart: Oh that would make more sense. Perhaps when I dm I will just use that rule instead because thats what I thought it was at first but then I saw it was only on 20 and thats pretty pathetic considering I usually only roll 20's on superfluous things like gather information checks.

thubby: You are most definately right about that. I was just trying to draw parallels to the fact that you can still decapitate a foe in real combat assuming you are using a bladed weapon. In dnd terms you cannot even decapitate a peasant until after you have killed him which seems a tad bizarre.
Well your average peasant (lvl 1 commoner) has approximately 4 hp. Therefore, your average 1st level fighter adventurer with 18 str, wielding a bastard sword, would only need to roll a 4 or higher on damage to chop the head off of a peasant.

iDM
2010-09-11, 09:51 PM
Aragorn while fighting kills numerous orcs and goblins simply by cutting their head off.

Pretty sure that orcs had like d4 or d6 hit dice in MERP, so a good longsword would probably one-hit them anyway.

Plus, Anduril was probably vorpal, even though he didn't have it for most of the series.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 09:52 PM
Somebody should homebrew a limb-removal system. What would the Hardness of bone be? Would flesh have any hardness?

Haha I would but it sounds like a lot of work and wouldn't really be able to be used very effectively. Bone is pretty hard and has more give than concrete. Flesh can be pretty unpredictable. I know of a case where a man was shot in the chest at point blank range but didn't die because got lodged in his fat (granted he was extremely obese but still...). The problem is you wouldn't only be giving hardness to human bone. You would have to give a rating to everything in the DnD world. What is the hardness of a Tarrasque's bone? The hardness of a goblin? Far too much effort.

iDM
2010-09-11, 09:55 PM
About 2 1/2 feet of fat are usually needed to stop a bullet.

Wow.

Flickerdart
2010-09-11, 09:55 PM
It's pretty reasonable to rule that Vorpal activates on a critical hit, since it's a lot harder to cheese critical threat range in 3.5. By the time that a +6 weapon is affordable, the PCs will be doing much more ridiculous things.

Orbin Dules
2010-09-11, 09:56 PM
If you go down the limb removal, you might as well also go through the internal organs, and broken limbs. After all you want to make this realistic right? Also, change the 10% chance for stabilization to a fort save. A tough person should be more likely to stabilize than a 1st level commoner.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 09:59 PM
It's pretty reasonable to rule that Vorpal activates on a critical hit, since it's a lot harder to cheese critical threat range in 3.5. By the time that a +6 weapon is affordable, the PCs will be doing much more ridiculous things.

Yea and it makes spending the money for a vorpal weapon much better. Alternatively I could use the Ad&d description of it. Severing the life force of a creature so it actually kills it rather than just decapitation that would be on a natural 20 only because that is far more powerful.

dgnslyr
2010-09-11, 10:00 PM
If you go down the limb removal, you might as well also go through the internal organs, and broken limbs. After all you want to make this realistic right? Also, change the 10% chance for stabilization to a fort save. A tough person should be more likely to stabilize than a 1st level commoner.

Somebody should make Dwarf Fortress d20.

Flickerdart
2010-09-11, 10:02 PM
Yea and it makes spending the money for a vorpal weapon much better. Alternatively I could use the Ad&d description of it. Severing the life force of a creature so it actually kills it rather than just decapitation that would be on a natural 20 only because that is far more powerful.
Considering that vorpal is a nonsense word that doesn't mean anything, go right ahead. I'd caution you to make sure that stuff can still be immune to it, though, just like many monsters you'd want to use as bosses are immune to save-or-die magic.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-09-11, 10:03 PM
Combining real life with D&D will get you nowhere and even at that it's nearly impossible to cleanly remove a standing man's head in even a single stroke with the sharpest sword in the world. Physics and all that. Sharpness has little to do with it, unless it plans to go between the vertebra in the neck. You need something with a heavy, chopping blade. See also: Kukri (the real thing), Scimitar, or a Dao. Force = Mass * Acceleration. A heavier sword will go through a human neck no problem.

Y'know... physics, and all that :smallbiggrin:


The truth of the matter is that, like Flickerdart said, 3.0's vorpal worked on any critical hit and critical threat bonuses stacked so you could reach a point where you were threatening 50% of the time. Like most things prior to 4E, it was carried over from a previous version without being changed.

The original Sword of Sharpness would decapitate automatically on a natural 20, and the Vorpal Sword would automatically decapitate on a natural roll of 17-20. Period. Even if that didn't make your THAC0 check.

Orbin Dules
2010-09-11, 10:03 PM
Somebody should make Dwarf Fortress d20.

As soon as I posted that, I thought to myself, "Dang, I have been playing too much dwarf fortress."

dgnslyr
2010-09-11, 10:09 PM
As soon as I posted that, I thought to myself, "Dang, I have been playing too much dwarf fortress."

There is no such thing as too much Dwarf Fortress.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 10:09 PM
Considering that vorpal is a nonsense word that doesn't mean anything, go right ahead. I'd caution you to make sure that stuff can still be immune to it, though, just like many monsters you'd want to use as bosses are immune to save-or-die magic.

Gotta love alice in wonderland. Starting this whole crazy vorpal weapon.

Zhalath
2010-09-11, 10:10 PM
Reading about goblins having hardness makes me think of Goblin as a standard material.

Materials:
Wood
Glass
Iron
Goblin

What happens if you use vorpal on a creature with no head? Like a headless horseman? Do you just get disappointed because you just wasted a 20?

Ernir
2010-09-11, 10:12 PM
pile on the cheese and im sure someone could get vorpal to proc almost every round.

No need for a pile of cheese. Just a little slice of Surge of Fortune (Complete Champion) is all you need.

Knaight
2010-09-11, 10:14 PM
I was looking at the vorpal weapon description and it doesn't really seem appropriate as a +5 magic modifier because surely when wielding a bladed weapon you would be aiming to decapitate your foe anyway? Think about it in real life swordplay. Most of the time you would be aiming to kill your foe which is either a thrust to the heart or cutting their head off. It is not actually that hard to kill something by decapitating them. If you look at LotR Eowyn decapitates the witch kings steed with almost one blow does that mean that her blade was vorpal? No it doesn't. Aragorn while fighting kills numerous orcs and goblins simply by cutting their head off. So if you are a high level fighter even against say a dragon it should be theoretically possible to cut its head off without having the vorpal quality.

Concerning real life swordplay, what you aim to do depends heavily on weapons and armor. You certainly wouldn't only try to decapitate or stab someone in the heart though, most strikes to the torso that are at all deep are probably going to be fatal (eventually, it might take a while with a smallsword), and if you can hit a limb you are impairing footwork, preventing use of shield/parrying dagger/cloak/two handed strikes, or possibly taking the sword arm out of commission. Any shot to the head or neck is a very good opportunity however.

To D&D. A decapitation without vorpal works by bringing HP down below -10 in most cases, and fluffing it. Vorpal provides an advantage with an instant kill effect. It just does so infrequently, only works on certain creatures, and costs a bunch to do so. If you want something that situational, at least grab brilliant energy instead, it gives huge bonuses when it works, and only a few critters resist it completely. For that matter, Speed, Ghost Touch, and Defending are all much better than vorpal, and even the elemental damage enchantments probably work out to more of an effect in the long run.

To make vorpal useful, I would make it at the very least instant kill on any target. Maybe eliminate resurrection too.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-09-11, 10:15 PM
There is no such thing as too much Dwarf Fortress.

There is only Grudge Bombs and Magma

iDM
2010-09-11, 10:15 PM
Reading about goblins having hardness makes me think of Goblin as a standard material.

Materials:
Wood
Glass
Iron
Goblin

A +5 Sword of Goblin-Slaying... made of goblin.

Would it be usable in wood weapons, metal weapons, or as drow cannon fodder?

BladeofOblivion
2010-09-11, 10:21 PM
Somebody should homebrew a limb-removal system. What would the Hardness of bone be? Would flesh have any hardness?

Dead Space D20?

Scratch that, actually. Call of Cthulhu is bad enough.

SurlySeraph
2010-09-11, 10:23 PM
Somebody should make Dwarf Fortress d20.

It's called Hackmaster, and it's designed for people who don't like to do anything without rolling on charts.

Remmirath
2010-09-11, 10:26 PM
Vorpal... depends. It's probably a bit over-priced. If it was on any critical hit, it would be better than it is now, assuredly.

Its usefulness goes up by the number of attacks you have. And, as most things do, it depends a lot on the type of game you're playing. If you're expecting to mostly be running up against enemies that would be effected by it, it's a useful thing to have - if you're expecting to be fighting mostly things with no discernable anatomy, not so useful.

You could theoretically go for a called shot to the neck with anything, but vorpal is just a nice 1 in 20 kill chance. I think it's only really good with additional abilities. You don't want to rely on it, but it could make all the difference at some point.


Pretty sure that orcs had like d4 or d6 hit dice in MERP, so a good longsword would probably one-hit them anyway.

Plus, Anduril was probably vorpal, even though he didn't have it for most of the series.

Nah, MERP doesn't have hit dice exactly. Your average orc in MERP has 35, 60 or 85 hits depending on whether it's a weak, medium or strong orc. I believe the maximum number of hits you can do from one strike is somewhere in the upper 30s (so you'd only be able to one-shot the weak orc), but then, MERP has critical tables. I'm not sure if severing the head is explicity on there, but things such as 'shot through the ears' and 'strike to chest destroys heart' certainly are.

Anyhow, I don't recall any descriptions of him specifically beheading an orc, but my memory may be faulty on that.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 10:28 PM
Concerning real life swordplay, what you aim to do depends heavily on weapons and armor. You certainly wouldn't only try to decapitate or stab someone in the heart though, most strikes to the torso that are at all deep are probably going to be fatal (eventually, it might take a while with a smallsword), and if you can hit a limb you are impairing footwork, preventing use of shield/parrying dagger/cloak/two handed strikes, or possibly taking the sword arm out of commission. Any shot to the head or neck is a very good opportunity however.

To D&D. A decapitation without vorpal works by bringing HP down below -10 in most cases, and fluffing it. Vorpal provides an advantage with an instant kill effect. It just does so infrequently, only works on certain creatures, and costs a bunch to do so. If you want something that situational, at least grab brilliant energy instead, it gives huge bonuses when it works, and only a few critters resist it completely. For that matter, Speed, Ghost Touch, and Defending are all much better than vorpal, and even the elemental damage enchantments probably work out to more of an effect in the long run.

To make vorpal useful, I would make it at the very least instant kill on any target. Maybe eliminate resurrection too.

The main thing with the real life sword play was that it is possible to decapitate a person in combat. Granted you would have to be very strong and probably weilding a two handed sword but it is possible. In dnd there is no way to do it without first reducing a creature to 0 hit points which I find quite frustrating. Imagine an epic level fighter with a belt of Epic strength and carrying a magical blade of (well it doesnt really matter as long as it is not vorpal) and he still cannot decapitate things until they are at 0hp. Despite having probably around 30+ strength. It is not something I am going to worry about too much as dnd is a game but it just is annoying.

Yea I think that would work as a weapon that causes an instant death. The fact that it is a close combat weapon also reduces some of the power of it as well. You have to be physically withing reach of whatever you are attacking.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-09-11, 10:30 PM
A Coup-De-Grace can be considered decapitation, thus you can decapitate as a standard action on anything who is considered Helpless, with a feat.

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 10:36 PM
A Coup-De-Grace can be considered decapitation, thus you can decapitate as a standard action on anything who is considered Helpless, with a feat.

I was looking more for something that could be used in actual combat.
This seems to be somewhat along the lines of decapitation. It is however an epic feat...

Devastating Critical.
Benefit
Whenever you score a critical hit with the chosen weapon, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + Ĺ your level + your Strength modifier) or die instantly. (Creatures immune to critical hits canít be affected by this feat.)

Flickerdart
2010-09-11, 10:38 PM
Well, there's something you're forgetting, namely the Massive Damage rule. Your 30 STR Fighter is probably hitting the 50 damage threshold quite regularly, so that's a whole string of DC15 Fortitude saves. Not a hard save to make, but they'll roll a one soon enough...

Ricky S
2010-09-11, 10:40 PM
Well, there's something you're forgetting, namely the Massive Damage rule. Your 30 STR Fighter is probably hitting the 50 damage threshold quite regularly, so that's a whole string of DC15 Fortitude saves. Not a hard save to make, but they'll roll a one soon enough...

*Major palmface* Damnit how could I forget.

Spiryt
2010-09-11, 10:43 PM
Even without 50 damage, anytime you one shot - one kill anything, you can describe it as decapitation, cut right in half, shutting down all his ki points, severing the spine, fatality, quivering palm...

Or whatever you really like, considering it's RPG. So I don't really see a problem.

You don't have rules for 46103 other things as well in D&D, as it's relatively simple game, and still not so quick to play. There's nothing strange about it.

Knaight
2010-09-11, 10:45 PM
Or Rolemaster, if Hackmaster doesn't have enough charts for you.

Morquard
2010-09-11, 10:51 PM
The main thing with the real life sword play was that it is possible to decapitate a person in combat. Granted you would have to be very strong and probably weilding a two handed sword but it is possible. In dnd there is no way to do it without first reducing a creature to 0 hit points which I find quite frustrating. Imagine an epic level fighter with a belt of Epic strength and carrying a magical blade of (well it doesnt really matter as long as it is not vorpal) and he still cannot decapitate things until they are at 0hp. Despite having probably around 30+ strength. It is not something I am going to worry about too much as dnd is a game but it just is annoying.

Yea I think that would work as a weapon that causes an instant death. The fact that it is a close combat weapon also reduces some of the power of it as well. You have to be physically withing reach of whatever you are attacking.
I'm not sure, I think you think swordfighting is way too easy. Yes sure, you can decapitate with a sword, but as you said you probably have to wield it two handed, and get a lucky hit too. The enemy isn't going to hold still you know, he doesn't fancy a sword going through his neck so he'll be moving and dodging.
Also the most important issue as I see it is that when you prepare for a two-handed swing like that, you'll most likely leave yourself WIDE open, and the other guy can thrust his offhand dagger or the sword right in your guts. And then you're done for. You made thrusts and cuts that have a chance to hit the enemy without sacrificing too much of your own defense.

So I really don't see as many decapitations happening in medivial battle as you apperently do.

Even in shows like Highlander - which isn't exactly Historical Fighting 101 - most of the time they get stabbed or otherwise injured first, sink to their knees and then comes the decapitating blow against the helpless enemy. (yeah sometimes comes the roundabout swing that takes the head of a standing enemy, but as i said, don't think its that accurate :) )

Knaight
2010-09-11, 10:59 PM
The main thing with the real life sword play was that it is possible to decapitate a person in combat. Granted you would have to be very strong and probably weilding a two handed sword but it is possible. In dnd there is no way to do it without first reducing a creature to 0 hit points which I find quite frustrating. Imagine an epic level fighter with a belt of Epic strength and carrying a magical blade of (well it doesnt really matter as long as it is not vorpal) and he still cannot decapitate things until they are at 0hp. Despite having probably around 30+ strength. It is not something I am going to worry about too much as dnd is a game but it just is annoying.

The entire point of HP is as a shield to avoid getting killed instantly. Magic is allowed around this for some reason, but allowing everyone around it defeats the purpose. Have you considered the possibility that you should be playing a more lethal, more realistic system? If this sort of stuff annoys you so much in D&D, you should probably try GURPS. Or Blood Sweat and Steel, once it comes out.

Morquard, consider that D&D really focuses on small skirmishes in which stuff like formations is of limited utility, preventing proper "battle" tactics, and in which dueling really doesn't apply. Once things get chaotic, and one side gets a numerical advantage there may well be a beheading because someone is caught from behind and hit without knowing what is going on in the entire situation. Sure, in a duel beheading would be very rare, but in a chaotic skirmish it should happen more often, though I would still expect way more shots at arms. Though its going to take either a very heavy sword, or something like a Guan Dao to pull it off.

Remmirath
2010-09-11, 11:00 PM
Well, there's something you're forgetting, namely the Massive Damage rule. Your 30 STR Fighter is probably hitting the 50 damage threshold quite regularly, so that's a whole string of DC15 Fortitude saves. Not a hard save to make, but they'll roll a one soon enough...

... Yeah, I certainly forgot about that. I've been playing in games with No Massive Damage as a house rule so long I seem to have clean forgotten it ever actually existed.

It makes vorpal quite a bit less useful.

The problem with Devastating Critical is that, typically speaking, the save actually ends up being relatively easy to make. And yeah, 1-checking comes out to the same as 20-checking - actually, a 1-in-20 chance on every hit is better than a (probably) 3-in-20 chance followed by a 1-in-20 chance if the first one occurs - but 20-checking on your end just feels better than waiting for your opponent to roll a 1.

herrhauptmann
2010-09-11, 11:10 PM
Somebody should homebrew a limb-removal system. What would the Hardness of bone be? Would flesh have any hardness?
Story:
I think a crit/fumble table would do the job for you. It'd at least be awesome for giggles.
2 guys playing their first characters in years, monk and halforc barbarian.
-First round of combat, barb charges a monster and misses. Monk next moves up and attacks, fumbles.
-Rolls on table and gets result "Hit adjacent person." In this case, the barbarian gets struck. He's the only one adjacent to the monk.
-Rolls again to hit, crit with natural 20. Confirms with a natural 20.
-Crit chart says the double 20 means max damage. Rolling to see what happens, the chart says "body part severed, roll for body part."
-Body part roll says "Neck".
-First round of combat, and the monk kills the barbarian with a handaxe.
The thing is, that sequence of events didn't need the vorpal enchantment to be awesome. And given that both characters were 18th level, I've decided to never play with a crit/fumble chart.


To OP:
Ummm, where are you getting your views of real combat? There's not much for me to say on the subject since everyone else has already stated it, but I really don't think it works the way you've described. (For instance, a 14th/15th century knight in cap a pie [full plate], really had nothing to worry about when fighting a man with a single handed sword. Against a guy with a mace on the other hand...)

Thrawn183
2010-09-11, 11:11 PM
Let's stop and think about this strength 30 melee guy. Assuming he doesn't take weapon spec and uses a +5 greatsword... He'd be doing 2d6+10+5. It would only take a little bit of power attacking to make him hit 50 damage in a single hit on a crit, but on a normal attack? Not so much. Sure, he can have other enchantments on his weapon, but they won't change the fact that he's not going to be hitting 50 damage without scoring a critical hit. He'd need to be super-buffed for that.

The downside of having multiple attacks from BAB instead of a single attack that scales in damage.

Dr.Epic
2010-09-11, 11:12 PM
Vorpal is a terrible, overpriced enhancement that does awfully little. Never use it.

What if you're fighting a jabberwok?

BladeofOblivion
2010-09-11, 11:18 PM
What if you're fighting a jabberwok?

Then get one or run for your life. Perhaps trick it into fighting some Jubjub Birds?

jmbrown
2010-09-11, 11:39 PM
Somebody should make Dwarf Fortress d20.

I'm working on one but it's based on OD&D so you might want to pick this up for free. (http://www.swordsandwizardry.com)

Dwarf Fortress would be too bogged down by erroneous rules in 3.5.

Mikeavelli
2010-09-12, 12:38 AM
Yea and it makes spending the money for a vorpal weapon much better. Alternatively I could use the Ad&d description of it. Severing the life force of a creature so it actually kills it rather than just decapitation that would be on a natural 20 only because that is far more powerful.




It was originally a form of more permanent death. I think back in AD&D, the Vorpal Silver Sword actually severed the victim's astral cord, destroying its soul or something. It wasn't just mere decapitation. Why they powered it down for D&D 3.5 and yet kept it as a +5 property, I have no idea.


some silver swords were vorpal

but not all silver swords were vorpal.

and not all vorpal swords were silver swords.

AD&D Silver Swords were holy weapons made by the Gith that were able to sever your silver cord on the Astral Plane, resulting in immediate death.

Vorpal swords just auto-killed on a crit.

Neither of them had any "make you deader than dead" aspect.

wayfare
2010-09-12, 12:50 AM
I once played in an AD&D campaign where Vorpal just meant "cuts through anything." It wasn't a decapitation thing, it was "that guy just cut through your armor and spinal cord in one hit." Very nasty stuff, and more effective against constructs and headless entities.

dgnslyr
2010-09-12, 12:54 AM
I think Vorpal should include Bane (Jabberwocky) in its effect.

Also, I think the idea of a Vorpal weapon cutting through anything is a cool idea, and makes it more useful.

wayfare
2010-09-12, 01:15 AM
I think Vorpal should include Bane (Jabberwocky) in its effect.

Also, I think the idea of a Vorpal weapon cutting through anything is a cool idea, and makes it more useful.

I thought so too -- the "its snaps off your head" this is just a bit too specific to me -- shouldn't that kind of narration be left up to the DM or Player?

Kelb_Panthera
2010-09-12, 01:21 AM
About 2 1/2 feet of fat are usually needed to stop a bullet.

Wow.

No.... just no. Maybe if you use a sub-sonic .22 round, Maybe.


Let's stop and think about this strength 30 melee guy. Assuming he doesn't take weapon spec and uses a +5 greatsword... He'd be doing 2d6+10+5. It would only take a little bit of power attacking to make him hit 50 damage in a single hit on a crit, but on a normal attack? Not so much. Sure, he can have other enchantments on his weapon, but they won't change the fact that he's not going to be hitting 50 damage without scoring a critical hit. He'd need to be super-buffed for that.

The downside of having multiple attacks from BAB instead of a single attack that scales in damage.
You forgot a basic assumption when it comes to melee types. Leap Attack. 2d6+15+5 +24 =51 average. 2d6 for the great sword, 15 for the str bonus since it's 2 handed, 5 for the enhancement, and for a 24 for a -8 to-hit for power/leap attack. Not difficult at all by the time you have 30 str.

Hague
2010-09-12, 02:49 AM
Well, can't you just allow the attacker to choose an extremity to cut off? If the target uses their cleave feat, they can sever another extremity. So say you're fighting an iron golem and you score your vorpal hit. You can choose to cut off their legs or arms instead, being infinitely more effective.

Talakeal
2010-09-12, 05:23 AM
I don't suppose anyone here is old enough to remember the second edition sword of sharpness which could:

"sever an extremity - arm, leg, neck, tail, tentacle, whatever (but not head)"

That is an exact quote from the book. Emphasis mine.

Peregrine
2010-09-12, 10:26 AM
No.... just no. Maybe if you use a sub-sonic .22 round, Maybe.

Feet, Kelb. iDM said feet of fat. 2.5 feet, or 76cm. Yeah, I can believe that that'll stop a bullet.


You forgot a basic assumption when it comes to melee types. Leap Attack. 2d6+15+5 +24 =51 average. 2d6 for the great sword, 15 for the str bonus since it's 2 handed, 5 for the enhancement, and for a 24 for a -8 to-hit for power/leap attack. Not difficult at all by the time you have 30 str.

Splatbook feats aren't what I call "basic" assumptions... :smallcool:

As for vorpal... I can accept that there's a magical power that causes a blade to veer towards the neck and sever heads. It might even be easier to "program" magically than one that severs any extremity. Something that cuts through anything (like a critical hit becomes a sunder as well?) is also quite workable.

Mechanically speaking, a 1-in-20 chance of no-save death against most living enemies is pretty nice, though perhaps not "+5 equivalent" nice.

MarkusWolfe
2010-09-12, 10:47 AM
Combining real life with D&D will get you nowhere and even at that it's nearly impossible to cleanly remove a standing man's head in even a single stroke with the sharpest sword in the world. Physics and all that.

The truth of the matter is that, like Flickerdart said, 3.0's vorpal worked on any critical hit and critical threat bonuses stacked so you could reach a point where you were threatening 50% of the time. Like most things prior to 4E, it was carried over from a previous version without being changed.

Tha' depends on whit size a sword yer usin', laddy. (http://www.spike.com/video/sneak-peek-testing/3173479)

BeholderSlayer
2010-09-12, 10:52 AM
I kinda like the idea of making vorpal ignore AC bonuses and damage reduction. A vorpal weapon sheering straight through armor (armor bonuses, natural armor, shield bonuses) and shields is a fun enhancement to have.

IIRC there are some rules for losing limbs and body parts in the Black Company d20 game. It makes combat significantly more dangerous and deadly.

true_shinken
2010-09-12, 11:01 AM
One easy way to get a more gritty D&D is using the alternate rules for massive damage from Unearthed Arcana (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/massaveDamageThresholdsAndResults.htm).
With a massive damage threshold = Constitution, you have decapitations from level 1. Use the scaling saving throw for heads flying everywhere.

Zhalath
2010-09-12, 01:48 PM
A +5 Sword of Goblin-Slaying... made of goblin.

Would it be usable in wood weapons, metal weapons, or as drow cannon fodder?

Does that make hobgoblins or blues masterwork goblins?

Also, how does one sever the neck but not the head? It's like Loki wrote the rules on that one, just to piss off dwarves.

NotScaryBats
2010-09-12, 01:59 PM
4th edition Vorpal works well: if you roll the highest amount on a die you could roll (IE an 8 on a d8) you reroll the die and add the numbers. Keep doing this if you reroll the highest number again.

So, it is like brutal, but for high numbers. I think that's pretty cool sounding, but have never used it before.

dgnslyr
2010-09-12, 02:07 PM
4th edition Vorpal works well: if you roll the highest amount on a die you could roll (IE an 8 on a d8) you reroll the die and add the numbers. Keep doing this if you reroll the highest number again.

So, it is like brutal, but for high numbers. I think that's pretty cool sounding, but have never used it before.

Combine it with a weapon that deals 1d2 damage, and an ability that rerolls 1s. Crusaders have a stance that rerolls max damage, which gave birth to the legendary 1d2 crusader, who annihilates planets with a sufficiently small dagger.:smalleek:

Glimbur
2010-09-12, 02:57 PM
I kinda like the idea of making vorpal ignore AC bonuses and damage reduction. A vorpal weapon sheering straight through armor (armor bonuses, natural armor, shield bonuses) and shields is a fun enhancement to have.

There's an enhancement like that. It's called Brilliant Energy (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#brilliantEnergy), and it's probably overpriced at +4. I would let it ignore natural armor as well, because +4 is really flipping expensive.


The problem with allowing maiming in combat is that PC's will get attacked more than any particular monster will. Sure, it's cool to think about chopping off a goblin's arm so he can't use his shield any more. But do you want most fighters who have been played for a few levels to be missing a hand, ear, eye, or even a leg?

Knaight
2010-09-12, 03:16 PM
The problem with allowing maiming in combat is that PC's will get attacked more than any particular monster will. Sure, it's cool to think about chopping off a goblin's arm so he can't use his shield any more. But do you want most fighters who have been played for a few levels to be missing a hand, ear, eye, or even a leg?

Regeneration isn't that high level of a spell though, so between that and something like Hero Points, everything should be just fine.

Kinsmarck
2010-09-12, 03:42 PM
My group and I have house-ruled the Vorpal enchantment back into usability. It's not much better, but it's a least available to more weapon-types. Piercing weapons pierce either the heart or the brain (DM's choice), as do most ranged weapons, and bludgeoning weapons smash the skull.

It doesn't really fix the core problem, I know, but for those who want a little more variety in their enchantments, the option is there.

Glimbur
2010-09-12, 04:36 PM
Regeneration isn't that high level of a spell though, so between that and something like Hero Points, everything should be just fine.

It's Cleric 7, so you need to be 13th level to cast it. To put that in perspective, you can fix death four character levels earlier than you can fix a missing limb. Druids get it as a 9th level spell. The system just isn't ready for permanent maiming of PC's.

big teej
2010-09-12, 04:41 PM
slightly off topic... but my curiosity won't leave me alone...


what's dwarf fortress?

I'm going to go hide under a rock now:smallredface:

Knaight
2010-09-12, 05:01 PM
It's Cleric 7, so you need to be 13th level to cast it. To put that in perspective, you can fix death four character levels earlier than you can fix a missing limb. Druids get it as a 9th level spell. The system just isn't ready for permanent maiming of PC's.

Yes, its higher than it should be, but a scroll wouldn't be too hugely expensive. That said, it has no business being higher level than Raise dead. I would probably knock it down to a level 3 spell.

dragonfan6490
2010-09-12, 07:04 PM
In my group, Vorpal kills on a Nat 20, but also double crit threat range (a la keen) and increases the crit modifier by 1.

Rainbownaga
2010-09-12, 07:30 PM
Vorpal weapons only really become useful when you can't kill the target anyway on a confirmed crit, and are almost never worth +5 (roughly 5d6 damage x 20 hits averages at 350 damage).

In my opinion they should count as lesser artifacts- they're far more scarey in the hands of NPC's than players, and they also scale in power with the character as they fight more enemies and have improved ability to score multiple confirmed 20's.


As for decapitating in actual combat, I really don't see that being a common occurance- the risk of getting the blade stuck in the spine and the fact that a blade to the side of the head will be lethal anyway makes it kind of pointless. In German longsword, at least, it isn't even one of the standard targets (head, clavicle, abdomen, arms).

Kelb_Panthera
2010-09-12, 09:04 PM
Feet, Kelb. iDM said feet of fat. 2.5 feet, or 76cm. Yeah, I can believe that that'll stop a bullet.



Splatbook feats aren't what I call "basic" assumptions... :smallcool:

As for vorpal... I can accept that there's a magical power that causes a blade to veer towards the neck and sever heads. It might even be easier to "program" magically than one that severs any extremity. Something that cuts through anything (like a critical hit becomes a sunder as well?) is also quite workable.

Mechanically speaking, a 1-in-20 chance of no-save death against most living enemies is pretty nice, though perhaps not "+5 equivalent" nice.

I saw that it say's feet. 2 1/2 feet of fat won't stop even a small-caliber bullet. I don't know where you heard/read that, but it's not true.

As for leap attack, while it is a splat-book feat, that can't be assumed in core only game, it is a widely-known and generally-assumed feat for melee builds. Even without leap attack it only changes the math to a -12 to hit, which with 30str and all the other usual melee build components, is still acceptable.

Ricky S
2010-09-12, 09:34 PM
I saw that it say's feet. 2 1/2 feet of fat won't stop even a small-caliber bullet. I don't know where you heard/read that, but it's not true.

As for leap attack, while it is a splat-book feat, that can't be assumed in core only game, it is a widely-known and generally-assumed feat for melee builds. Even without leap attack it only changes the math to a -12 to hit, which with 30str and all the other usual melee build components, is still acceptable.

TO clarify the with guy being shot. The guy survived being shot with a 9mm handgun from about 3 m away. It wasn't subsonic and it was fired directly at where his heart is from front on. He was morbidly obese and I believe the report said that the fat slowed down the bullet pretty dramatically so that when it hit the rib it didn't go through but changed direction. So he survived. It was just one of those freak occurances of nature. I do not suggest becoming obese just in the hope that it might stop a bullet. A flak jacket is alwats preferable.

Knaight
2010-09-12, 09:36 PM
I saw that it say's feet. 2 1/2 feet of fat won't stop even a small-caliber bullet. I don't know where you heard/read that, but it's not true.

It might. Mostly vertical shots have fairly minimal energy going forward, I'm not sure what terminal velocity of a falling bullet is, but it may well be low enough that fat would stop it in the case of certain bullets. If someone fired a bullet mostly up, say at a celebration or something, 2 1/2 feet of fat might stop it on the way down. A bullet that hasn't slowed down much, fired at someone, will go right through without issue.

Kelb_Panthera
2010-09-13, 03:17 AM
TO clarify the with guy being shot. The guy survived being shot with a 9mm handgun from about 3 m away. It wasn't subsonic and it was fired directly at where his heart is from front on. He was morbidly obese and I believe the report said that the fat slowed down the bullet pretty dramatically so that when it hit the rib it didn't go through but changed direction. So he survived. It was just one of those freak occurances of nature. I do not suggest becoming obese just in the hope that it might stop a bullet. A flak jacket is alwats preferable.

There you go, the rib stopped the bullet. 9mm slugs have been stopped by the ribs of skinny people too. Actually, if it was going straight for the heart it probably hit the sternum which is, I think, a bit tougher than the ribs.

Anyway, this is completely off topic. Back to the vorpal weapons!

Ricky S
2010-09-13, 07:23 AM
If we agree that a +5 magic modifier is too much for the vorpal quality as it is would it be better suited as a +4 or even a +3?

Peregrine
2010-09-13, 08:42 AM
I saw that it say's feet. 2 1/2 feet of fat won't stop even a small-caliber bullet. I don't know where you heard/read that, but it's not true.

I didn't hear it. But given just how mind-bogglingly obese somebody would have to be to have two and a half feet of fat on any one trajectory into their body, and given my sharply limited scientific experience of ballistics (i.e. watching MythBusters shoot ballistics gel, often blocks that do indeed stop bullets in under 2.5 feet if memory serves), I found it quite believable, is all I was saying. :smallsmile:


As for leap attack, while it is a splat-book feat, that can't be assumed in core only game, it is a widely-known and generally-assumed feat for melee builds.

...on forums. :smalltongue:

Knaight
2010-09-13, 05:26 PM
I didn't hear it. But given just how mind-bogglingly obese somebody would have to be to have two and a half feet of fat on any one trajectory into their body, and given my sharply limited scientific experience of ballistics (i.e. watching MythBusters shoot ballistics gel, often blocks that do indeed stop bullets in under 2.5 feet if memory serves), I found it quite believable, is all I was saying. :smallsmile:


Ballistics gel is more comparable to muscle than fat, 2.5 feet of muscle are going to slow a bullet down big time if not stop it altogether, assuming anti infantry stuff.

Kantolin
2010-09-13, 05:34 PM
As a slight statement, when you get very high level (Say level 20), it becomes very feasible to give a ridiculous flurry of swings at your opponent, of which one in twenty(ish) will kill your foe due to vorpal.

This becomes more and more true the less optimized your party is. In the game I'm in at the instant, the boss swung four times at whomever was in range, which then became five with haste. This meant the odds of someone's head popping off was irritatingly high - we could deal with /damage/, but not 'and you die', so disarming the vorpal weapon became order of operations #1. This was made more factual as I'm wearing armour of heavy fortification.

That said, it still isn't worth it at +5, and probably isn't worth it in general for a PC. The higher level you get the more reasonable it becomes, but in the hands of a PC it has fairly high odds of popping the head off a mook-who-would've-died-anyway, so meh.

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-09-13, 05:43 PM
Yea, Vorpal probably doesn't need to exist, as written. A 'no save, you die' effect is something that should not be able to have a 5% 'proc' rate on a melee weapon. Maybe a Fort save or Die, DC based on wielder's Str or Dex, depending on which was used for the attack roll

Deth Muncher
2010-09-13, 05:52 PM
Or Rolemaster, if Hackmaster doesn't have enough charts for you.

Oh dear sweet God the charts. I played a mage in Rolemaster one time...the DM had three huge binders of charts. Just for melee.

Knaight
2010-09-13, 06:29 PM
Heh. Still, if you like detail and differentiation between equipment and characters it doesn't get much better, if you can take the charts. I'm personally in the anti-chart camp, but I see the appeal.

iDM
2010-09-13, 09:24 PM
Oh dear sweet God the charts. I played a mage in Rolemaster one time...the DM had three huge binders of charts. Just for melee.

CHARTS!
I love charts. Maybe I'll bust out the old RM books... that I keep in a huge trunk downstairs. Which, incidentally, originally held every other RPG book I ever had... until I had to move them all out to make room for my Rolemaster books.

Oops. Off topic. Anyway, the sword of sharpness is infinitely better than the vorpal sword. Personally, I prefer keen over vorpal, but I like critical hits... because I like rogues.

Hague
2010-09-14, 02:49 AM
I'd just make it behave like the Sword of Sharpness and tone down the bonus a notch. Cutting off limbs instead of insta-slaying would make it better to use against PCs whom can be terribly injured but still survive.