View Full Version : DM Help A Question of Balance, Literally (Weapon Enthusiasts Needed)

2016-10-26, 12:12 PM
In my homebrew game setting, Gatinya, there is a weapon called Aeonbane that is primarily balanced (in terms of it's relation to other artifacts) by the fact that is horrendously balanced (in terms of it's physical distribution of weight). However, given that I don't know how balance actually works in real life, I would appreciate some input on how this might work.

Aeonbane is a glaive who's head is made of adamantine (x2 weight in the setting) and whose haft is made of darkwood (x.5 weight in the setting).

Assuming that it was created with the same shape and portions of a normal steel/wood glaive, would this make it hard to wield?
Would it make it harder to wield than say a weapon that was made of normal wood that had an adamantine head?
Finally, if is there an alternate solution to making the weapon physically hard to wield by only changing the materials involved (I would like it to keep the standard glaive shape)?

Feedback appreciated.

Additional Notes:
In game terms, currently, the weapon is always treated as non proficient due to it's terrible balance.
It is one of many artifacts wielded by the gods, but it's the only one capable of destroying an immortal's soul, which makes it fairly plot important for a lot of campaigns.

2016-10-26, 12:45 PM
As someone who fights with large heavy bladed weapons, yes it would be more difficult to use after the first strike. I lift weights 6 days a week and am in pretty good shape and I would have issues with it. That first strike though, if it hits it will hit hard likely destroying any shield it hits and possibly taking out the arm under it. Same for a helm, even a good heavy gauge steel helm. I have actually seen a simple one handed spiked mace penetrate a 12 gauge steel helm. Thankfully the guy had more than the standard padding under it. After the first hit however, that thing would be slow as hell. As a fighter with my standard weapon, a Dacian falx, I would wait for the strike to start and then charge under the blade, blocking the haft if need be and get in close where the heavier weapon would be absolutely useless.

If I were to have a weapon like that, I would have a weapon speed reduction of say -8 after the first turn and an AC reduction of say -2 if the opponent gets in close.
On the other hand, I would give it a nice damage bonus, and destroy shields and armor that it hits with the first strike.

Jay R
2016-10-27, 04:03 PM
It is differently weighted. With a heavier head and a lighter haft, I would choke up a little, and separate my hands more, for leverage. The difference between this and a standard glaive is similar to the difference between a sword and an axe, except that with both pole arms, the best striking surface is at the end.

It would be more a bludgeoning weapon than a slashing one, though you would still use the edge. I might give it a -2 on initiative, and possibly increase the DEX bonus for the opponent. [But against somebody flatfooted it would be devastating]. But I'd also also give it a bonus against plate or a shield.

Corsair14 is correct about rushing in under it. The wielder of this weapon wants a shield-wielder protecting him for that reason. I would also lose the initiative penalty for anyone with STR 22+ or so.

2016-10-27, 04:15 PM
So basically a front heavy spear with a long head?

The thing about spears is that they are pretty fast for their size and they have great range advantage. The extra mass would make it better at penetrating mail and imparting concussive damage. But the imbalance of weight is a bad thing.

Having lighter shaft is probably a BAD thing in this case. You're better off with regular wood shaft. Super strong head is a good thing though, if you make it very thing and pointy.

Jay R
2016-10-27, 05:42 PM
So basically a front heavy spear with a long head?

Not really. More like a front-heavy bashing weapon, like a great axe - which is more of a wedge than a slashing weapon.

2016-10-30, 10:35 AM
Finally, if is there an alternate solution to making the weapon physically hard to wield by only changing the materials involved (I would like it to keep the standard glaive shape)?
Since others have addressed the balancing question, I'll take a look at this.

(On the balancing question, though: to me, I'd imagine it like trying to use a heavy sledgehammer in combat; that's a tool that's great at delivering force to a stationary target but gives you all kinds of problems otherwise. Wondering, given its properties, if whoever created it did so specifically as an executioner's tool rather than a combat-ready weapon. Anyway...)

Other material properties that could give it the same shape but make it unwieldy in combat, with options ranging from physically-plausible to obviously-magical:

- the haft is made of a material much springier than normal wood, causing the weapon to flex far more than a normal glaive under the stress of a swing or an impact. Will feel unnatural to someone used to fighting with this type of weapon, will potentially improve the weapon's ability to cut by drawing the impact along the surface but make it harder to deliver a powerful impact to armored targets.

- the haft is (due to material and/or magical effect) extremely tacky/sticky, making it very hard to shift your grip.

- the head is made of a material with, along with its other properties, generates a powerful magnetic field. Wielding it while armored or against opponents in metal armor is problematic. (As is lugging it around.)

- the head is made of a material that transfers kinetic energy completely on contact, creating wounds very efficiently but causing the weapon to stop dead upon contact (jarring the wielder pretty sharply in the process)