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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Looking for ideas re: Adjusting 5e Weapons and Armor



LudicSavant
2017-03-23, 04:24 PM
So it's no secret (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?378583-Weapon-Damage-Logic-How-to-Homebrew-and-Why-Some-Weapons-are-Trap-Options) that in 5e, a fair bit of the equipment offered are trap options. For example, a trident is a spear, but heavier, more expensive, and requires a martial proficiency rather than a simple one. The spear even gets the same underwater bonus as the trident... there is nothing at all in its favor. There is a fairly limited selection of "best" weapons and the rest largely get thrown by the wayside.

Likewise, some of the equipment seems to be just senselessly designed, such as Plate Armor weighing 65 pounds, even though real suits of plate armor I've seen are more like 35.

So, the purpose of this thread is to identify cases that are out of whack (either in terms of flavor, mechanics, or both) and brainstorm ideas for potential fixes.

To get started, here's some equipment that I find issue with:

1) Sickle (mechanics): Markedly inferior to a handaxe. Being slightly cheaper doesn't make up for this... no PC would ever use one.

2) Light Hammer (mechanics): Inferior to handaxe. At least offers versatility in the bludgeoning damage type, but that's not saying much.

3) Greatclub (mechanics): Inferior to a quarterstaff in every way.

4) Mace (mechanics): Inferior to a quarterstaff in every way.

5) Trident (mechanics): Inferior to a spear in every way.

6) Blowgun (mechanics): The worst of all worlds for Ranged weapons, markedly inferior to every other option (both in the simple and martial category). Heck, if your target is within 60 feet, you're better off taking the darts out of the blowgun and throwing them at your enemy. It even requires less skill! (Simple weapon vs martial weapon).

7) Flail / War Pick / Morningstar (mechanics): Inferior to battleaxe, warhammer, rapier, and longsword.

8) Padded Armor (mechanics / flavor): Gambesons, aketons, and so forth (called "padded armor" in 5e) were, as far as I understand it, one of the most common and effective forms of armor throughout the medieval period (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODS7ksbBRuE), but 5e D&D makes it out to be complete garbage, providing nearly no protection and just as much noise as full plate. One wonders why anyone would ever use such an awful piece of gear. And yet, in real life, it was apparently in widespread use throughout the medieval period, moreso than leather or "studded leather" (which seems to be a misinterpretation of what a brigandine (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/aa/aa/f6/aaaaf6eee30048cead8b792c91d3f1eb.jpg) is).

Beyond the flavor concerns, it's just plain underpowered. The fact that it saves you 5gp from leather armor just plain doesn't make up for how bad it is.

9) Studded Leather (flavor): Seems to be a misinterpretation of what brigandine (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/aa/aa/f6/aaaaf6eee30048cead8b792c91d3f1eb.jpg) is (there's metal armor under that), rather than a real piece of armor.

10) Weights (flavor): 65 pounds is considerably higher weight than any infantry full plate that I'm aware of (which were more like 35 pounds). Other suits of armor and weapons may have inaccurate weights as well.

11) Shield (flavor): Donning and doffing a shield requires an action. You'd think that you had to tie the damn things down like ship's rigging or something. This bugs me both in terms of realism and in terms of fantasy. In terms of realism, there are plenty of shields that are held in the hand rather than strapped on (let alone so securely). In terms of heroic fantasy, obviously you want to throw your shield like Captain America. It doesn't work on either level.

Edit: Some further concerns about shields (and also thrown weapons) (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=21843394&postcount=13)

So... what are some ideas for evening the playing field?

I think we can do better, but here's a few conservative quick-patches I've been using in my own games to make taking these weapons for flavor purposes a little less painful:
- A Trident is a Simple weapon. Still heavier and more expensive than a spear (which is otherwise identical)
- A Mace has the Versatile trait (similar to a Quarterstaff). Quarterstaff is still superior however, as it is cheaper and synergizes with more features (like shillelagh and polearm master).
- A Light Hammer deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage (rather than 1d4).

GalacticAxekick
2017-03-23, 05:40 PM
Fixing weapons (http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HyZjKJmpte) was simple enough, since 5e gives all similar weapons identical stats. The inferior weapons can be rolled into superior weapons (such as the club into the light hammer).

Armour, less straightforward. The whole categorization of light, medium and heavy is kinda arbitrary, and some of the armours on the list really don't exist.

LudicSavant
2017-03-23, 06:04 PM
Fixing weapons (http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HyZjKJmpte) was simple enough, since 5e gives all similar weapons identical stats. The inferior weapons can be rolled into superior weapons (such as the club into the light hammer).

What's the reasoning for the flail there?

Crisis21
2017-03-23, 07:02 PM
8) Padded Armor (mechanics / flavor): Gambesons, aketons, and so forth (called "padded armor" in 5e) were, as far as I understand it, one of the most common and effective forms of armor throughout the medieval period (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODS7ksbBRuE), but 5e D&D makes it out to be complete garbage, providing nearly no protection and just as much noise as full plate. One wonders why anyone would ever use such an awful piece of gear. And yet, in real life, it was apparently in widespread use throughout the medieval period, moreso than leather or "studded leather" (which seems to be a misinterpretation of what a brigandine (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/aa/aa/f6/aaaaf6eee30048cead8b792c91d3f1eb.jpg) is).

Beyond the flavor concerns, it's just plain underpowered. The fact that it saves you 5gp from leather armor just plain doesn't make up for how bad it is.


Hmm... Let me see if I can give this a shot.


Gambeson (Padded Armor)

Properties/Bonuses:
Weighs roughly 6.5 pounds (or 3 kilos)
AC +0
DR 3/Bludgeoning*
DR 3/Slashing*
DR 3/Piercing*
*Does not apply against called shots to the head, hands, or legs

Wearable by the following classes and races without penalty:
All Classes*
All Races*
*Barring special circumstances like, say, a race made of living fire.

Special:
Extra armor may be worn over a gambeson at no additional penalty.
Provides weather protection against the cold.
Accelerates negative effects from heat.
When the gambeson has absorbed (reduced) a total of 15 hp worth of slashing and/or piercing damage without being repaired, all of its damage reduction is reduced by 1. Stackable until the damage reduction bonus is reduced to zero.
Every five fire damage the wearer takes has the same degradation effect on the gambeson as above.
An undamaged gambeson can be worn as casual clothing in many societies without raising attention.


What do you think?

GalacticAxekick
2017-03-23, 07:14 PM
What's the reasoning for the flail there?It deals bludgeoning damage because it's a ball on a chain. It's two-handed because two hands are needed to wield it effectively. It is a finesse weapon because built up momentumŚnot just brute forceŚcan power its attacks. It has reach (10/5) because it's difficult to use in confined space, but effective distance.

The 1d8 damage die is purely for balance reasons. Lower than the lucerne/pike/glaive to compensate for the finesse.

Potato_Priest
2017-03-23, 07:37 PM
Hmm... Let me see if I can give this a shot...


I think this is 5e, and, although it would make more sense if all armors worked that way (soaking up damage rather than making you hard to hit) they don't. You'd have to work every armor in a similar fashion for gambesons to be a usable mechanic. Additionally, it seems to make the heavy armor master feat (already neglected) even worse.

Potato_Priest
2017-03-23, 07:42 PM
It deals bludgeoning damage because it's a ball on a chain. It's two-handed because two hands are needed to wield it effectively. It is a finesse weapon because built up momentumŚnot just brute forceŚcan power its attacks. It has reach (10/5) because it's difficult to use in confined space, but effective distance.

The 1d8 damage die is purely for balance reasons. Lower than the lucerne/pike/glaive to compensate for the finesse.

There are multiple different historic types of flails. Your stats make sense for the longer version, but not the ball-and-chain flail. Here's Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)) on the subject.

GalacticAxekick
2017-03-23, 08:00 PM
There are multiple different historic types of flails. Your stats make sense for the longer version, but not the ball-and-chain flail. Here's Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)) on the subject.With 5e's precedent for treating similar weapons as identically statted, I think a shorter flail would be rolled into the warhammer in my opinion. The longer threshing flail (or the Chinese meteor hammer) can't be rolled into any existing weapons, and so my flail stats accommodate them.

Crisis21
2017-03-23, 08:49 PM
I think this is 5e, and, although it would make more sense if all armors worked that way (soaking up damage rather than making you hard to hit) they don't. You'd have to work every armor in a similar fashion for gambesons to be a usable mechanic. Additionally, it seems to make the heavy armor master feat (already neglected) even worse.

Well, damage reduction is essentially what padding does in real life by cushioning the blow, so I felt it appropriate. Also, I think the DR would easily stack with Heavy Armor Master.

The real advantage to padded armor, from what I can tell, is that you can easily wear other armor over it, such as chain mail and plate. This trait is what made it so popular in real life. You got the choice of buying this or leather armor as your starting soldier kit, and you bought this so that when you could afford chain mail you had something to wear under it.

I mean, it was the medieval equivalent of one of today's standard issue bullet-proof vests in terms of ability to stop weaponry of the era.


Here's what I understand the gambeson needing to be for 5e (and indeed any fantasy rpg):
1) It needs to be good armor for relatively cheap. Essentially in the same neighborhood as leather armor for overall game effect.
2) It needs to reflect freedom of movement, meaning even the wizard can wear the thing with no penalty.
3) It needs to be able to stack with heavier armors such as chain mail and plate with no penalty to the wearer.
4) It needs properties to reflect how thick and insulating it is. So good to wear in cold weather, bad to wear in hot weather.
5) It needs to appear like casual everyday wear in the setting. Many types of armor stand out in public surrounded by people not wearing it, but the gambeson shouldn't when worn on its own.


So, let me take another crack at this. I've actually looked up the stats for the thing this time. :P


Padded Armor
Cost - 10 gp
AC - 11 + Dex modifier, +1 if worn under medium or heavy armor
STR requirement - None
Stealth advantage/disadvantage - None
Weight - 6-8 lb.
Special: No armor proficiency needed, can be worn under medium or heavy armor (except hide), can appear as casual clothing by itself, provides insulation from cold weather and accelerates penalties in hot weather.


Gambeson (Improved Padded Armor, i.e. the equivalent of studded leather)
Cost - 40 gp
AC - 12 + Dex modifier, +2 if worn under medium or heavy armor
STR requirement - None
Stealth advantage/disadvantage - None
Weight - 6-8 lb.
Special: No armor proficiency needed, can be worn under medium or heavy armor (except hide), can appear as casual clothing by itself, provides insulation from cold weather and accelerates penalties in hot weather.

Padded Jack (edited for below comment)
Cost - 50 gp
AC - 13 + Dex modifier (capped at +2), +3 if worn with any form of mail
STR requirement - None
Stealth advantage/disadvantage - Disadvantage
Weight - 8-10 lb.
Special: Can be worn under any type of mail, provides insulation from cold weather and accelerates penalties in hot weather.

LudicSavant
2017-03-23, 09:07 PM
Historically there are also a variety of gambesons, ranging from the stuff you'd wear under other armor, to a padded jack, to reinforcing with jack chains (https://www.google.com/search?q=jack+chains&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjshICKh-7SAhWr6IMKHQCIAOkQ_AUICSgC) and the like.

Given this, I can sorta just see having multiple options equivalent to leather and studded leather armor, covering different price points.

Potato_Priest
2017-03-23, 10:42 PM
snip

Those seem good. I too think that damage reduction would more accurately reflect the purpose of ALL armors, but unfortunately that's not the system we were given.

RATHSQUATCH
2017-03-23, 11:05 PM
I can maybe help some with armor, but am still debating what to do about weapons. My idea for armor is this:

LIGHT ARMOR
Padded Armor: Make super cheap (11 + Dex Mod)
Leather Armor: A little more expensive (11 + Dex Mod)
Mixed Light Armor: This could be leather/hide combo or leather scale armor, or even light chain shirt mixed with leather (12 + Dex Mod)

MEDIUM ARMOR
Heavy Leather/Furs: Big thick furs worn by barbaric tribes, cheap but minimal protection (13 + Dex modifier max +2)
Breastplate: Metal breastplate which only covers vital organs (14 + Dex modifier max +2)
Mixed Medium Armor: This could be anything from Brigidaine armor, to Lamallar, to Roman style segmented armor, you can describe the armor worn (15 + Dex Modifier Max +2)

HEAVY ARMOR
Chain Mail (Chain Mail which covers the the whole upper body) (16 AC)
Plate Combination (This could be half-plate, 3/4 plate, or chain mail with metal bracers or greaves, whatever you want to describe) (17 AC)
Full Plate (As described in the PHB)

Weights will need to be adjusted as well as prices, but I think each DM is different about how they want to go about doing that. I also have a house rule for shields where you can get a buckler (+1), Shield (+2) or Tower Shield (+3), with scaling prices.

LudicSavant
2017-03-24, 12:17 AM
Additional thoughts (mostly regarding throwing weapons):

- The Fighter picture in 5e depicts a guy holding a javelin in his shield hand. (http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/forgottenrealms/images/7/76/Fighter_PHB5e.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140921091611) By the rules, he can't do so, and I always find it frustrating when the game's art depicts something the game doesn't actually let you do! Note holding javelins in your shield hand (http://www.dbaol.com/images/faces/1404_face.jpg) seems to be a real thing.

Seems like an additional issue to add regarding shields in 5e.

- By the rules as written, you cannot draw multiple thrown weapons in the same round, thus preventing people with Extra Attack from throwing multiple weapons. Should this change? (My initial thought is that making Strength throwing more viable would be a good thing, and not be too bad for balance given how strong casters and dex builds are in 5e, but would like to hear opinions).

GalacticAxekick
2017-03-24, 12:35 AM
I'd absolutely allow drawing a thrown weapon as part of the action you use to throw one, so that a character who looses one dart/javelin/handaxe/whathaveyou can immediately draw and throw another through their Extra Attack.

Some rules for collecting thrown weapons might be convenient too, since you'll never have a quiver of 20 javelins and reclaiming them throughout the fight may be very important.

LudicSavant
2017-03-25, 01:40 AM
How's this look:
Characters with multiple attacks may throw multiple weapons with the Thrown property during an Attack action. You still need to use your "interacting with objects around you" action to draw the initial javelin in the first place.

You can hold items in your shield hand, but cannot make use of them (e.g. cannot attack or use a focus to cast a spell or otherwise engage in any fine manipulation). So, for instance, you could hold javelins in your shield hand and not require an "interacting with objects around you" use to switch them to your other hand.

Mourne
2017-03-25, 05:31 PM
I had some of the same issues with weapons and armor; (imo) 5E weapons left few real options in regards to choice, overall lacked in flavor and versatility, and didn't completely fill all "niches". My approach to fix this was not entirely systematic (the weapons are not balanced across the board) and certainly wasn't an attempt to replicate true historical models.

I've not had much time lately to test and polish, so please keep that in mind...

Weapons Revisited WIP: http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/By-9sdcCSg

This may be more complex than the fixes you were seeking but hopefully there's something useful here.

LudicSavant
2017-04-04, 08:46 PM
I've been trying to find some details on how flails were actually used (if at all). Here's the Chigiriki, a two-handed flail favored by the Araki Ryu school:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeCrBDlWixM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt__otLtfZ0

Quite different from how people seem to generally assume flails are used.

As for European flails, finding examples is surprisingly difficult (there was some controversy over whether they were used at all. I've done some research and I'm leaning towards "they were, but were uncommon.")

Here's some discussion regarding that:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AGf7n7iUF_k
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B85tEumvz3w

As for actual demonstrations... the only thing I was able to find was this, and I have no idea how practical it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vjqOeBMnC4

Hopefully this helps provide some ideas on how to add some more unique and balanced mechanics for flails. Any suggestions on that front would be appreciated, as would any more info about the real use of flails.