Seerow

2011-09-24, 11:50 PM

So, on another forum a complaint recently came up: Weapons are too ****ing weak. When you have literally a +60 bonus to damage, the difference between the 1d8 of your longsword and 2d6 of your greatsword feels pretty weak. You probably wouldn't even notice switching to a dagger if you could hold it in two hands. Ultimately, weapon damage dice are fairly useless because damage from other sources is so much easier.

D&D 4e tried to solve this by giving specific attacks higher weapon damage, and reducing other damage modifiers. This actually did help, weapon damage dice meant a lot more this way. I think this was honestly a good direction to go, but 4e messed up enough other stuff that it's not something most people want to switch to.

On the other hand, making maneuvers for everybody in 3e is a more attractive option (and you can see the ToB variants of most any martial class on this forum somewhere, plus other variants that aren't ToB but have some sort of power mechanic), it is a pretty large system shift. One that not quite everyone is willing to make. So I have here a pretty simple suggestion that could be seamlessly slided into just about any 3e game to make Weapon damage values more important:

-Strength now applies at a 1:1 ratio for all weapons, even if being held in two hands.

-You may now trade in 3 points of strength damage modifier to roll your weapon damage dice an extra time. So if you have 18 strength, instead of rolling 2d6+6 [avg 13] with your greatsword (current system), you would get to roll 4d6+1 [avg 15]. If you have a 22 strength, instead of 2d6+9[avg 16], you could roll 6d6 [avg 21].

-You may also trade in damage values from other attributes if you have means of applying them to damage, at the same rate. So if you are a level 3 swashbuckler, with 16 int and 16 str, instead of rolling 1d8+6 [avg 10.5] for damage, you could be rolling 3d8 [avg 13.5].

This change primarily increases the average damage of melee fighters who have a weapon with a damage die of 1d8 or higher. It makes your weapon damage die matter more, so spending a feat to get that bastard sword may actually be worthwhile. The benefit of a two handed weapon is no longer the extra damage bonus from strength, but rather the larger damage die, which lets them leverage their strength better.

The above conversions assume a medium weapon. Larger weapons require more strength to be traded in for the extra damage dice. This is primarily due to mechanical balance because larger sizes have significantly larger damage dice. The following table shows the threshold for trade in for the various size categories:

{table=head]Size Category | Average Weapon Size | Threshold

Medium| 1d8 | 3

Large | 2d6 | 5

Huge | 3d6 | 7

Gargantuan | 4d6 | 9

Colossal | 6d6 | 14[/table]

So for example, a Medium Character with Greater Mighty Wallop on his weapon, increasing the size to Colossal, would need to give up 14 points of damage from his strength to gain an extra set of damage dice. But a Medium Character with a normal medium weapon would only require 3 points of strength to increase his damage dice. A large monster would require 5 points of strength to increase his natural weapon damage.

Sidebar: Weapons beyond colossal

There are rare occasions in Dungeons & Dragons where Weapon Size may exceed colossal. There are some creatures classified as "Colossal+" and there are magical effects that can increase the weapon's size beyond the normal maximum. In these cases, you may need to know how to calculate the threshold for exchanging strength for extra weapon dice.

To determine this, you must first calculate the damage dice of a weapon of that size category with a 1d8 base damage as a Medium weapon. Then, you calculate the average damage of this weapon damage (for reference to calculate the average, take the minimum, add the maximum, and divide by 2. So 1d8 is (1+8)/2 = 4.5). After finding the Threshold, divide the average damage by 1.5, and this is your weapon damage for that size category.

For example, if a character has somehow gotten his weapon to 3 categories above colossal, you would calculate the damage of a d8 weapon at Colossal+3, which is 16d6. Then you take 16d6 and calculate the average, which is 56. Finally, divide that average by 1.5, to get your Threshold of 37 for that size category. So for a character with a weapon that big to exchange his strength for doubled weapon dice, he must possess and trade off at least a +37 strength bonus to damage.

This doesn't really change much for rogues and those who use smaller weapons, primarily because the change is intended to make higher damage dice more valuable. Rogues generally have plenty of sneak attack dice to roll around anyway, and typically pretty low strength, so wouldn't get much mileage out of this anyway. Though I do think there may be room to modify how sneak attack works to make light weapons take better advantage of this, the way it currently works is ultimately fine.

I'd also recommend cutting bonuses out from other places to emphasize the damage from this more, but that's basically a whole extra can of worms to open that I'll avoid for now.

Sidebar: More Optional Rules

While the system described above works well as described, you may be interested in tweaking things a bit more. Here are a couple more optional rules that may interest you:

Lower Powered Weapons-Right now, the damage scaling is tuned so that trading in your attribute damage bonus for weapon damage bonus is a 50% average damage increase when using a d8 weapon. (ie you trade in 3 points of strength for a d8 which is 4.5 damage, netting a 50% damage increase). That extra amount of power is too much for some people. If you like the concept but want to keep closer to the default power level, the following conversions should keep a much lower average damage:

{table=head]Size Category | Average Weapon Size | Threshold

Medium| 1d8 | 4

Large | 2d6 | 7

Huge | 3d6 | 10

Gargantuan | 4d6 | 14

Colossal | 6d6 | 21[/table]

This gives medium weapons a slight advantage over larger weapons (roughly 10% faster scaling), but without introducing fractions, this was the closest I could get. Under this system, the difference in damage from the normal system and the new system is much smaller (actually non-existant at the balance point for everything except medium).

Alternate Crit Resolution-Under the current mechanic, you roll your damage dice, then multiply the result by the crit multiplier, as normal. You can alternatively change crit resolution to work more like it does in 4e. This doesn't actually depend on this system, but it was brought up as something people were interested in, so it's being added here.

The alternate resolution is simple: When you land a critical hit, rather than rolling damage, you maximize damage. If the weapon has a x3 crit multiplier, you roll damage as normal, but after rolling, you add the maximized damage to the rolled amount. (So if you roll a crit on a x3 weapon that is currently dealing 6d6 damage, you would get 36+6d6 damage). If the weapon has a x4 crit multiplier, you deal double the normal maximum damage (so with the example 6d6 damage weapon, you deal 72 damage on the crit).

D&D 4e tried to solve this by giving specific attacks higher weapon damage, and reducing other damage modifiers. This actually did help, weapon damage dice meant a lot more this way. I think this was honestly a good direction to go, but 4e messed up enough other stuff that it's not something most people want to switch to.

On the other hand, making maneuvers for everybody in 3e is a more attractive option (and you can see the ToB variants of most any martial class on this forum somewhere, plus other variants that aren't ToB but have some sort of power mechanic), it is a pretty large system shift. One that not quite everyone is willing to make. So I have here a pretty simple suggestion that could be seamlessly slided into just about any 3e game to make Weapon damage values more important:

-Strength now applies at a 1:1 ratio for all weapons, even if being held in two hands.

-You may now trade in 3 points of strength damage modifier to roll your weapon damage dice an extra time. So if you have 18 strength, instead of rolling 2d6+6 [avg 13] with your greatsword (current system), you would get to roll 4d6+1 [avg 15]. If you have a 22 strength, instead of 2d6+9[avg 16], you could roll 6d6 [avg 21].

-You may also trade in damage values from other attributes if you have means of applying them to damage, at the same rate. So if you are a level 3 swashbuckler, with 16 int and 16 str, instead of rolling 1d8+6 [avg 10.5] for damage, you could be rolling 3d8 [avg 13.5].

This change primarily increases the average damage of melee fighters who have a weapon with a damage die of 1d8 or higher. It makes your weapon damage die matter more, so spending a feat to get that bastard sword may actually be worthwhile. The benefit of a two handed weapon is no longer the extra damage bonus from strength, but rather the larger damage die, which lets them leverage their strength better.

The above conversions assume a medium weapon. Larger weapons require more strength to be traded in for the extra damage dice. This is primarily due to mechanical balance because larger sizes have significantly larger damage dice. The following table shows the threshold for trade in for the various size categories:

{table=head]Size Category | Average Weapon Size | Threshold

Medium| 1d8 | 3

Large | 2d6 | 5

Huge | 3d6 | 7

Gargantuan | 4d6 | 9

Colossal | 6d6 | 14[/table]

So for example, a Medium Character with Greater Mighty Wallop on his weapon, increasing the size to Colossal, would need to give up 14 points of damage from his strength to gain an extra set of damage dice. But a Medium Character with a normal medium weapon would only require 3 points of strength to increase his damage dice. A large monster would require 5 points of strength to increase his natural weapon damage.

Sidebar: Weapons beyond colossal

There are rare occasions in Dungeons & Dragons where Weapon Size may exceed colossal. There are some creatures classified as "Colossal+" and there are magical effects that can increase the weapon's size beyond the normal maximum. In these cases, you may need to know how to calculate the threshold for exchanging strength for extra weapon dice.

To determine this, you must first calculate the damage dice of a weapon of that size category with a 1d8 base damage as a Medium weapon. Then, you calculate the average damage of this weapon damage (for reference to calculate the average, take the minimum, add the maximum, and divide by 2. So 1d8 is (1+8)/2 = 4.5). After finding the Threshold, divide the average damage by 1.5, and this is your weapon damage for that size category.

For example, if a character has somehow gotten his weapon to 3 categories above colossal, you would calculate the damage of a d8 weapon at Colossal+3, which is 16d6. Then you take 16d6 and calculate the average, which is 56. Finally, divide that average by 1.5, to get your Threshold of 37 for that size category. So for a character with a weapon that big to exchange his strength for doubled weapon dice, he must possess and trade off at least a +37 strength bonus to damage.

This doesn't really change much for rogues and those who use smaller weapons, primarily because the change is intended to make higher damage dice more valuable. Rogues generally have plenty of sneak attack dice to roll around anyway, and typically pretty low strength, so wouldn't get much mileage out of this anyway. Though I do think there may be room to modify how sneak attack works to make light weapons take better advantage of this, the way it currently works is ultimately fine.

I'd also recommend cutting bonuses out from other places to emphasize the damage from this more, but that's basically a whole extra can of worms to open that I'll avoid for now.

Sidebar: More Optional Rules

While the system described above works well as described, you may be interested in tweaking things a bit more. Here are a couple more optional rules that may interest you:

Lower Powered Weapons-Right now, the damage scaling is tuned so that trading in your attribute damage bonus for weapon damage bonus is a 50% average damage increase when using a d8 weapon. (ie you trade in 3 points of strength for a d8 which is 4.5 damage, netting a 50% damage increase). That extra amount of power is too much for some people. If you like the concept but want to keep closer to the default power level, the following conversions should keep a much lower average damage:

{table=head]Size Category | Average Weapon Size | Threshold

Medium| 1d8 | 4

Large | 2d6 | 7

Huge | 3d6 | 10

Gargantuan | 4d6 | 14

Colossal | 6d6 | 21[/table]

This gives medium weapons a slight advantage over larger weapons (roughly 10% faster scaling), but without introducing fractions, this was the closest I could get. Under this system, the difference in damage from the normal system and the new system is much smaller (actually non-existant at the balance point for everything except medium).

Alternate Crit Resolution-Under the current mechanic, you roll your damage dice, then multiply the result by the crit multiplier, as normal. You can alternatively change crit resolution to work more like it does in 4e. This doesn't actually depend on this system, but it was brought up as something people were interested in, so it's being added here.

The alternate resolution is simple: When you land a critical hit, rather than rolling damage, you maximize damage. If the weapon has a x3 crit multiplier, you roll damage as normal, but after rolling, you add the maximized damage to the rolled amount. (So if you roll a crit on a x3 weapon that is currently dealing 6d6 damage, you would get 36+6d6 damage). If the weapon has a x4 crit multiplier, you deal double the normal maximum damage (so with the example 6d6 damage weapon, you deal 72 damage on the crit).