PDA

View Full Version : Spiked Chain



Pages : [1] 2

herrhauptmann
2007-11-21, 02:35 AM
As we all know, you can wield a spiked chain and strike opponents both adjacent and 10 feet away in the same round.

However, the one DM i've seen that actually included spiked chains in his campaign, required that no ally get within 10 feet of the chain wielder. If they did, they would mess up the chain guys attack routine and prevent him from attacking.
Now it seems to me that was my DM being an idiot, because what about wielders of polearms? Whips? Or even just a guy with a sword. Wouldn't his rule mean that allies could not fight shoulder to shoulder?
Opinions

greenknight
2007-11-21, 02:42 AM
I think there's a certain justification in it. Polearms are (naturally enough) on a rigid pole, so you can get a reasonable amount of control with them. I think you'd have to whirl the spiked chain around a bit in a circular motion, and to get the full 10' reach you'd have to do a horizontal circle at that. It would be very hard to hit your enemies while avoiding your allies at that rate. As for whips, maybe your DM thinks they aren't really all that useful in combat and doesn't penalize anyone any further for using them?

ZekeArgo
2007-11-21, 02:44 AM
As we all know, you can wield a spiked chain and strike opponents both adjacent and 10 feet away in the same round.

However, the one DM i've seen that actually included spiked chains in his campaign, required that no ally get within 10 feet of the chain wielder. If they did, they would mess up the chain guys attack routine and prevent him from attacking.
Now it seems to me that was my DM being an idiot, because what about wielders of polearms? Whips? Or even just a guy with a sword. Wouldn't his rule mean that allies could not fight shoulder to shoulder?
Opinions

The biggest problem with spiked chains is the illustration given in the PHB of them.

Frankly, a chain is a very, very basic weapon. How many movies have you seen with a streetfight or brawl where theres at *least* one guy who uses a chain? Nevermind the plethora of historic weapons that utilized them.

Peoples problems with the thing are arbitrary. One goofy illustration and poof: tons of useless rules for the one good melee weapon other than the greatsword.

h2doh
2007-11-21, 02:45 AM
There is no rule saying that allies interfere with any reach weapon. You are supposed to be skilled with the weapon, not flailing it around with no concern with who you hit. It is the DM's call but he is inventing rules that do not exist. Ask him about if all reach weapons are like this or just the chain.

herrhauptmann
2007-11-21, 02:59 AM
There is no rule saying that allies interfere with any reach weapon. You are supposed to be skilled with the weapon, not flailing it around with no concern with who you hit. It is the DM's call but he is inventing rules that do not exist. Ask him about if all reach weapons are like this or just the chain.

It's a bit of a moot point at this time h2doh. I left that group because the DM was being so stupid. 7 person party, ECL7, so we're fighting a 13th level priestess of Lolth with 2 15ft flesh golems. Saving throws vs her mass inflicts are so high that the only way to survive is to roll a natural twenty. The rest of the party didn't even know why they were adventuring in the underdark because the plotline was so bad. (Think DM of the Rings, but worse)

edit: Oh yeah, if my allies can't stand within 10 ft of me, wouldn't that mean that I couldn't attack the evil priestess 10 ft away because there was an orc next to me?

Aquillion
2007-11-21, 03:37 AM
One thing you have to remember with the Spiked Chain is that generally, you're spending a feat to get Exotic Weapons Proficiency just to begin using it. Usually you're spending even more feats to get the most out of it. So of course it's better than other weapons; all exotic weapons that are actually intended to be used in gameplay should be significantly better than regular melee weapons.

Unfortunately, this is pretty much only true for the spiked chain...

Overlard
2007-11-21, 08:22 AM
One thing you have to remember with the Spiked Chain is that generally, you're spending a feat to get Exotic Weapons Proficiency just to begin using it. Usually you're spending even more feats to get the most out of it. So of course it's better than other weapons; all exotic weapons that are actually intended to be used in gameplay should be significantly better than regular melee weapons.

Unfortunately, this is pretty much only true for the spiked chain...
Not true at all. There's also the... uhhh... hmm.

The kurasi gama from the DMG?

Just look at the light exotic weapons in the PHB: why?

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 08:29 AM
Actually, there ARE good exotics out there: They're known as elven blades, more specifically lightblade, thinblade, and courtblade.

Stephen_E
2007-11-21, 08:30 AM
Shuriken and Dwavern Waraxe are the other decent core Exotic Weapons, but for Shuriken it's easier taking a lev or 2 of Monk, and for Dwarven Waraxe you just play a Dwarf Fighter.

Stephen

Hannes
2007-11-21, 08:35 AM
Am I the only one who reads the spiked chain description as not broken?
As I understand it, spiked chain has reach. In addition, unlike other reach weapons, it can be used to attack an adjacent foe.
As in, you can attack 10 ft. away, OR an adjacent foe.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 08:37 AM
That's nary the brokenness. The brokennes stems from using that to AoO people.

Hannes
2007-11-21, 08:39 AM
So it's not the weapon that's broken, it's the AoO characters.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 08:40 AM
Aye. The brokenness is allowing an AoO char to use a weapon that gives it extra reach, which means extra AoO's. It's a reason bladewhips are fearsome.

Gungnir
2007-11-21, 09:00 AM
So it's not the weapon that's broken, it's the AoO characters.
Perfect Combo. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0216.html)

Roderick_BR
2007-11-21, 09:26 AM
You DM thinks that you need to swing it around you to use, and it's not the case. Point it to him that the description doesn't mention an "open space" around the wielder, and if he asks it, it'll be house-ruling.

Theodoxus
2007-11-21, 09:58 AM
My DM outlawed Spiked Chains, not on account of the AoO's which he was ok with, but because of the trip/disarm cheese the weapon allows. One character nick-named 'the chain-weilding maniac' would start every round with a disarm then trip attack, then make lots of AoO's when the opponent was getting up and retrieving their weapon(s).

It got to the point that the DM stopped sending armed opponents at us. When my friend and I joined the game, we didn't know about this guy, and built a couple of rogues around the chain, as AoO monkeys... we never used the trip or disarm rules, but we got caught in the ban. Fortunately the DM was cool enough to allow us to completely rework our combat feats, and we're just as happy with paired daggers.

Spiked Chains fall into that nebulous continuum of 'why do people think they're so good?' Once that begins to happen, you can be certain there is a definitive cheese factor. The problem only starts when the person playing with cheese uses it so often the only course of correction is removal.

Thanks to boards like these, the face of D&D has changed much. Back in the 80s, the closest thing to a forum were the Dragon magazines. Where you'd read about tricks the developers had thought up. Sometimes, you'd run into a really smart player who thought outside the box, and came up with unique uses for spells and abilities - but it was rare, and you couldn't manipulate all the rules, nor could any one person be expected to understand how everything meshed together. But now, we have 10 thousand experts on different aspects of the game, all sharing their narrowly focused research. Then 10 thousand other people start mixing information from one source with another and we have distilled countless man hours into the perfect gems of cheese nirvana. Add in power creep into the mix, and within days of a new release information is pouring out on how best to maximize your character. We end up with things like DMM, Factotums, Spiked Chains, Batman, etc.

As long as it's kept in the realm of 'this in an interesting synergy' and doesn't come into play in games, very often, they're just fun thought puzzles. But things quickly turn ugly when super-optimized characters actually show up in a game where other characters aren't quite so well off...

I found that out a couple weeks ago, when, during the second session of an epic game I'd joined - as an IotSV - I could easily have ruined the entire nights session by killing off the horde of bad guys. But, after the first rush, with everyone saying 'I wait to see if any survive disintigration' I canceled the effect and let them have their fun. I found out that being Batman isn't quite as thrilling in a real game as it is in the movies.

Theo

Armads
2007-11-21, 10:05 AM
My DM outlawed Spiked Chains, not on account of the AoO's which he was ok with, but because of the trip/disarm cheese the weapon allows. One character nick-named 'the chain-weilding maniac' would start every round with a disarm then trip attack, then make lots of AoO's when the opponent was getting up and retrieving their weapon(s).

I don't actually understand how this tactic is 'cheesy'. The +8 disarming bonus from trip is more than negated with locked gauntlets, and the trip can be negated with swift action stand-up-with-no-AoO-items like Anklets of Translocation, a certain pair of boots (in MIC), one of the skill tricks in CScoundrel.

Ralfarius
2007-11-21, 10:14 AM
I would counter the logic of herrhauptmann's DM by saying that the spiked chain may need to be swung about prior to any attack. However, the fact that you can attack opponents 5 feet away means that you can 'choke up' on the grip significantly. Therefore, the swinging can be done within your threatened area, or even right above your head on your own 5-foot square. The attack is simply a matter of releasing it (like a sling) at the correct moment so that the momentum carries the length of the chain into the face of your opponent.

Actual chain-fighting aside, I'd say that's a pretty decent argument against such a kooky house ruling.

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 10:14 AM
The closest real-world parallel to the spiked chain is the kusari-gama, and there is a story of a kusari-gama wielder who died when his sword-wielding foe lured him into a bamboo grove, denying him room to swing his weapon. So, yeah, I think this house rule is justified.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 10:17 AM
Actually...you DO need some room to swing it around, say, by twirling it at your side, so that you can use that momentum to throw it farther and more powerfully. You DON'T, however, need all of the squares free. You don't even need an extra square free, you just need to be alone in your square.

Attilargh
2007-11-21, 10:23 AM
A bamboo grove surrounds one pretty completely, and would probably be fairly dense as well. While someone standing within 10 feet of a guy with a whirling piece of chain is most definitely dense, the situations are not that similar.

Saph
2007-11-21, 10:23 AM
The biggest problem with spiked chains is the illustration given in the PHB of them.

Frankly, a chain is a very, very basic weapon. How many movies have you seen with a streetfight or brawl where theres at *least* one guy who uses a chain?

Lots, and they were mostly really really dumb.

The spiked chain is just an incredibly stupid weapon, so the fact that it's so effective irritates many people, including me. There is no way you can use a chain out to 10 feet in cramped conditious with any kind of reliability. And as for putting spikes on it . . . honestly.

So I sympathise with the houserule. Just use a guisarme or something.

- Saph

Keld Denar
2007-11-21, 10:25 AM
From a mechanical standpoint, a spiked chain represents a trade-off. The character is spending a feat (a limited resource) for a weapon that mechanically combines the benefit of 2 weapons (a glaive and armor spikes). It allows the character to invest more money into one items enhancement bonus instead of dividing that money between the enhancement bonuses of 2 weapons. You also gain the synergy that having focus feats count for all attacks, instead of 1/2.

In my opinion, this is a fair trade. You are trading a feat for gold and a little synergy. A character only gets so many feats over their lifetime, and most of the time, only so much gold over their life time. Its then up to the player to determine which is more valuable to their character.

Also, it is worth noting, since many people often overlook it, that while a spiked chain CAN be used for tripping, it recieves no mechanical benefit to the trip roll. It DOES recieve a +2 to opposed disarm rolls when used in a disarm attempt, but there is no bonus to trip. And disarm is mechanically an inferior choice, because locked gauntlets provide such a huge difference that is poorly modeled by the other disarm mechanics.

EDIT: And if you don't like the flavor of the spiked chain, we'll call it somethign else. Call it a spear type weapon. The weapon is used at range by thrusting the sharp end at people. Then, at the area where the front hand goes, there are a couple of spiked projections that can be punched with. There is also a hook on one side that can be used to trip, and aides with disarm attempts. Being proficient with it means that a character can intersperse close and reach attacks at will, but requires extra training (exotic weapon). It is enchanted as a single weapon, but can be sundered as one. Damage on all spikes is 2d4 at medium size. There you go....mechanically, its exactly a spiked chain. Flavorwise, its more of a pole arm. No Jackie Chan physics defying properties about it.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-11-21, 10:35 AM
Also, it is worth noting, since many people often overlook it, that while a spiked chain CAN be used for tripping, it recieves no mechanical benefit to the trip roll.

No other weapons from the PHB receive a bonus to Trip attempts.

Keld Denar
2007-11-21, 10:39 AM
No other weapons from the PHB receive a bonus to Trip attempts.

I thought there were a couple that did...like halberd, and maybe like, kama. I could be wrong, it has been known to happen. As usual, I'm at work and AFB.

EDIT: And the way you say "other" makes it sound like the spiked chain does, and no other weapons do, which the spiked chain does NOT. Just to pick a bit of nit.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-11-21, 10:44 AM
I thought there were a couple that did...like halberd, and maybe like, kama. I could be wrong, it has been known to happen. As usual, I'm at work and AFB.

You are wrong. :smallsmile:

It is very rare. I have not looked through splatbooks, but I will be surprised if there are more tahn one or two if any at all.


EDIT: And the way you say "other" makes it sound like the spiked chain does, and no other weapons do, which the spiked chain does NOT. Just to pick a bit of nit.


You made it sound like the Chain did not and every other weapon did, therefore such a use.

Keld Denar
2007-11-21, 10:57 AM
You are wrong. :smallsmile:
Doh, it was bound to happen sooner or later.



You made it sound like the Chain did not and every other weapon did, therefore such a use.



Also, it is worth noting, since many people often overlook it, that while a spiked chain CAN be used for tripping, it recieves no mechanical benefit to the trip roll. It DOES recieve a +2 to opposed disarm rolls when used in a disarm attempt, but there is no bonus to trip.

Hmm, I'm pretty sure I made it clear in the bolded part. I didn't think I had to exclude every other weapon, since we were talking specifically about one. Either way, it SHOULD be perfectly clear now. BY OUR POWERS COMBINED, I AM GRAMATICALLY CORRECT! or something like that.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-11-21, 11:14 AM
Hmm, I'm pretty sure I made it clear in the bolded part. I didn't think I had to exclude every other weapon, since we were talking specifically about one.

You don't, but, to me at least, it seemed like you perhaps thought the lack of a bonus was something special, since you devoted a whole paragraph to pointing out that it received no bonus on trip attempts and claimed it was often overlooked. :smallamused:


Either way, it SHOULD be perfectly clear now. BY OUR POWERS COMBINED, I AM GRAMATICALLY CORRECT! or something like that.

Indeed. :smallwink:

Keld Denar
2007-11-21, 11:22 AM
You don't, but, to me at least, it seemed like you perhaps thought the lack of a bonus was something special, since you devoted a whole paragraph to pointing out that it received no bonus on trip attempts and claimed it was often overlooked. :smallamused:


Nah, I included an entire paragraph on it because not once, not twice, but several times, I've had players come to me saying that their trip check was (HUGE#). Looking at their math, I saw they included a +2 to trip checks because they THOUGHT that was included in the tripping feature, and got it confused with the +2 disarm. So, if multiple people have made this mistake, I'm either surrounded by idiots, or several other people have made this mistake as well. *looks around* THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!!!! OMG I'M SURROUNDED!!!!

[/tongue-in-cheek]

Idea Man
2007-11-21, 11:34 AM
I've had the pleasure of a chain-wielding maniac in my game before. Done correctly, melee encounters are almost completely nullified. I think I had to hit him with giants CR 4 above the party's level before something actually threatened him.

Sure, CWMs have a huge gaping weakness: archers! But a wind wall from the wizard can shut that down too. Maybe magic? Sure, but that works on any fighter, and I want to challenge him, not kill him.

Always had an issue with the double reach option the weapon provided, plus the fact it's two-handed allows for substantially powerful attacks and resistance to disarm (being two-handed). On the upside, it should be the weapon of choice for any dwarven defender.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 01:23 PM
Opinions My opinion, to be honest, is that the spiked chain is an imbalanced weapon and some kind of downside is advisable if your DM is going to allow it without modifying the rules somewhere. I don't personally disagree with the "allies keep their distance" approach, though, as I prefer to just alter the weapon itself.

My current favorite is to simply restrict the range it threatens to a standard 5' melee. It can attack 10' away, but does not threaten those squares, much like a ranged weapon.

SadisticFishing
2007-11-21, 01:29 PM
Lots, and they were mostly really really dumb.

The spiked chain is just an incredibly stupid weapon, so the fact that it's so effective irritates many people, including me. There is no way you can use a chain out to 10 feet in cramped conditious with any kind of reliability. And as for putting spikes on it . . . honestly.

So I sympathise with the houserule. Just use a guisarme or something.

- Saph

I hate to say it, but this is completely wrong. I have trained with chains before, and you need virtually no room at all to hit someone - you just can't strike over people's heads. Oh, and they hurt. BADLY.

SadisticFishing
2007-11-21, 01:30 PM
My opinion, to be honest, is that the spiked chain is an imbalanced weapon and some kind of downside is advisable if your DM is going to allow it without modifying the rules somewhere. I don't personally disagree with the "allies keep their distance" approach, though, as I prefer to just alter the weapon itself.

My current favorite is to simply restrict the range it threatens to a standard 5' melee. It can attack 10' away, but does not threaten those squares, much like a ranged weapon.

The Spiked Chain is no more overpowered than using a Glaive and Armor Spikes.

Melee characters need some kind of buff, the Spiked Chain is a pretty cool way to do it, even if it seems Supernatural.

Attilargh
2007-11-21, 01:32 PM
The Spiked Chain is no more overpowered than using a Glaive and Armor Spikes.
Less, actually. You don't have to spend a feat for those.

herrhauptmann
2007-11-21, 01:42 PM
Thanks for all your input guys.
For those who say that the spiked chain is overpowered, don't forget that it deals damage per normal hit just a little better than a longsword. It's critical is a 20x2, as opposed to the 19-20x2 or 20x3 most melee weapons have.
And as far as two handed weapons go, its damage per hit actually seems a little light compared to the most common two-handers.
The one thing that really balances it out, is giving it to someone with combat reflexes.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 01:44 PM
The Spiked Chain is no more overpowered than using a Glaive and Armor Spikes. ...which also doesn't work unmodified when I'm DMing. You can't use the spikes while you're threatening with the glaive.
Melee characters need some kind of buff, the Spiked Chain is a pretty cool way to do it, even if it seems Supernatural. The problem is that it buffs in a way that causes greater power disparities. What is a suitable challenge for chainmonkey fighter that is also suitable for sword-and-board fighter?

SadisticFishing
2007-11-21, 01:49 PM
What fair fights are there for CoDzilla and a Sword and Board? The game is unbalanced. Don't make it worse by getting rid of one of the few things that lets melee characters be decent.

Plus, anyone who's trained at ALL with a Glaive will be able to not use it and hit someone with their armor spikes, even if they're holding the glaive. It's not that hard to shoulder someone while holding a broom. Logic is even more important than balance.

kyuubigan
2007-11-21, 01:51 PM
My DM outlawed Spiked Chains, not on account of the AoO's which he was ok with, but because of the trip/disarm cheese the weapon allows. One character nick-named 'the chain-weilding maniac' would start every round with a disarm then trip attack, then make lots of AoO's when the opponent was getting up and retrieving their weapon(s).

It got to the point that the DM stopped sending armed opponents at us. When my friend and I joined the game, we didn't know about this guy, and built a couple of rogues around the chain, as AoO monkeys... we never used the trip or disarm rules, but we got caught in the ban. Fortunately the DM was cool enough to allow us to completely rework our combat feats, and we're just as happy with paired daggers.

Spiked Chains fall into that nebulous continuum of 'why do people think they're so good?' Once that begins to happen, you can be certain there is a definitive cheese factor. The problem only starts when the person playing with cheese uses it so often the only course of correction is removal.

Thanks to boards like these, the face of D&D has changed much. Back in the 80s, the closest thing to a forum were the Dragon magazines. Where you'd read about tricks the developers had thought up. Sometimes, you'd run into a really smart player who thought outside the box, and came up with unique uses for spells and abilities - but it was rare, and you couldn't manipulate all the rules, nor could any one person be expected to understand how everything meshed together. But now, we have 10 thousand experts on different aspects of the game, all sharing their narrowly focused research. Then 10 thousand other people start mixing information from one source with another and we have distilled countless man hours into the perfect gems of cheese nirvana. Add in power creep into the mix, and within days of a new release information is pouring out on how best to maximize your character. We end up with things like DMM, Factotums, Spiked Chains, Batman, etc.

As long as it's kept in the realm of 'this in an interesting synergy' and doesn't come into play in games, very often, they're just fun thought puzzles. But things quickly turn ugly when super-optimized characters actually show up in a game where other characters aren't quite so well off...

I found that out a couple weeks ago, when, during the second session of an epic game I'd joined - as an IotSV - I could easily have ruined the entire nights session by killing off the horde of bad guys. But, after the first rush, with everyone saying 'I wait to see if any survive disintigration' I canceled the effect and let them have their fun. I found out that being Batman isn't quite as thrilling in a real game as it is in the movies.

Theo

Speaking of super optimized, broken characters, our halfing paladin/hospitar/something else, at lvl 8, is doing on average 140+ damage whenever he charges. And we ALL checked his math. Three times each.

Personally, I don't see how the spiked chain could be considered so powerful. It doesn't do that much damage, and is only really effective when using an AoO, Trip, or Disarm focused build. The only class that really makes good use of a spiked chain as just a melee weapon is the Swashbuckler, mainly because the chain can be used with Weapon Finesse and you add your Int bonus to the damage.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 01:55 PM
What fair fights are there for CoDzilla and a Sword and Board? The game is unbalanced. Don't make it worse by getting rid of one of the few things that lets melee characters be decent. I think of it the other way--you don't balance a game by allowing sources of imbalance.

Plus, anyone who's trained at ALL with a Glaive will be able to not use it and hit someone with their armor spikes, even if they're holding the glaive. It's not that hard to shoulder someone while holding a broom. Logic is even more important than balance. Logically speaking, can you shoulder someone who is nearly 10' away while you're attacking someone who is about the same distance away in the opposite direction? :smallconfused:

SadisticFishing
2007-11-21, 02:00 PM
No, but if they're only 5 feet away, by D&D rules of squares, absolutely. But the squares are such an oversimplification of movement that it doesn't particularily matter.

Do you disallow ANY combination that the PC's think of that makes them more powerful than they should be?

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 02:09 PM
Do you disallow ANY combination that the PC's think of that makes them more powerful than they should be? Depending on how you're defining "how powerful they should be", absolutely yes--don't you?

I know pun-pun doesn't play in my campaigns :smalleek:

Kaelik
2007-11-21, 02:19 PM
Perhaps you missed the point of the word "ANY." Everyone disallows Pun-Pun, you are the only one arguing that the Spiked Chain is too broken to be played in the same game as the CoDzilla and Wizard.

If someone can make a melee build that's actually good I prefer that to forcing my players into suboptimal choices. Especially if it's non-casters.

How does making the Fighter class weaker improve balance?

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 02:26 PM
Perhaps you missed the point of the word "ANY." Everyone disallows Pun-Pun, you are the only one arguing that the Spiked Chain is too broken to be played in the same game as the CoDzilla and Wizard.

If someone can make a melee build that's actually good I prefer that to forcing my players into suboptimal choices. Especially if it's non-casters.

How does making the Fighter class weaker improve balance?

I see your point. Still, I'd prefer to bring other weapons up to par and toss out the silly spiky chain.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 02:33 PM
Perhaps you missed the point of the word "ANY." Everyone disallows Pun-Pun, you are the only one arguing that the Spiked Chain is too broken to be played in the same game as the CoDzilla and Wizard. I made no such argument. You're inventing it as a strawman. I said "you don't balance a game by allowing sources of imbalance" and that I definitely do disallow combinations that make a character more powerful than it should be--by one definition of the phrase, at least.
If someone can make a melee build that's actually good I prefer that to forcing my players into suboptimal choices. Especially if it's non-casters.

How does making the Fighter class weaker improve balance? Upon what do you base your assumption that I simply change the spiked chain and make no other balance adjustments, particularly when I've already mentioned making other changes?

Don't forget, it's not just Fighters who can use spiked chains. It's not a class feature, it's a single feat with easy prerequisites. Going back to your flagship example, what happens when ClerZilla picks up a spiked chain? I can already smell the cheese from here.

Stop to consider what you're claiming here and look at it from a game-balance context. If changing the spiked chain so that it's not clearly mechanically superior to other weapons is a significant weakening of the fighter class, doesn't that show that the class is underpowered and the weapon is overpowered? Now what happens when someone who isn't as underpowered uses the weapon (he gets even more powerful)? Wouldn't a better solution involve simply fixing the fighter class?

You don't improve game balance by allowing imbalance to counter imbalance, you improve game balance by removing imbalance wherever you can.

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 02:34 PM
Perhaps you missed the point of the word "ANY." Everyone disallows Pun-Pun, you are the only one arguing that the Spiked Chain is too broken to be played in the same game as the CoDzilla and Wizard.

If someone can make a melee build that's actually good I prefer that to forcing my players into suboptimal choices. Especially if it's non-casters.

How does making the Fighter class weaker improve balance?

I see your point. However, I'd prefer to bring fighters as a whole up to par and toss out the silly spiky chain. With the system as it is, there's really no reason for a fighter to use any other weapon, unless you're so hard up for feats you can't afford EWP.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 02:37 PM
With the system as it is, there's really no reason for a fighter to use any other weapon, unless you're so hard up for feats you can't afford EWP. I do disagree a bit that there's no reason to use any other weapon, but I know the sentiment you're expressing and I definitely agree. If a single choice is mechanically superior by far, then the outlier is what needs to be changed, not the entire field.

Edit: ninja edits are stalking me!

kme
2007-11-21, 02:42 PM
Also, it is worth noting, since many people often overlook it, that while a spiked chain CAN be used for tripping, it recieves no mechanical benefit to the trip roll. It DOES recieve a +2 to opposed disarm rolls when used in a disarm attempt, but there is no bonus to trip. And disarm is mechanically an inferior choice, because locked gauntlets provide such a huge difference that is poorly modeled by the other disarm mechanics.
Yes, but the fact that it CAN be used for tripping makes it so good. Normally you would be able to make trip attempt only with unarmed attack and risk being tripped yourself. With spiked chain you get a bonus from weapon enchantments to hit, you can drop it to avoid being tripped in return and most importantly you can trip with reach (especially good if you do it on AoO when someone approaches you).

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 02:45 PM
That's not necessarily a solution, though. A Fighter isn't as strong as, say, a Barbarian...but improving all weapons makes them both stronger by about the same amount.

Problems just don't get fixed by beating around the bush. If the Fighter is underpowered, the Fighter is what needs to be changed. Changing other things in order to make the Fighter look better just creates more imbalance in the end.

See my ninja reply to this. :smallbiggrin:


I do disagree a bit that there's no reason to use any other weapon, but I know the sentiment you're expressing and I definitely agree. If a single choice is mechanically superior by far, then the outlier is what needs to be changed, not the entire field.

Precisely.

I think a large part of the problem is that so much of weapon balance is based on the idea that the weapon's damage dice matter, when in fact they're--well, not entirely irrelevant, but a very small factor in how good the weapon is. Between Strength bonuses, weapon enchantments, Power Attack, and assorted buffing magic, the base damage is usually less than 50% of a warrior's total damage output. At high levels or if playing a ToB character, it's more like 20% or even 10%. Reach, tripping/disarming, finessability, and other such modifiers are generally far more valuable than base damage.

The spiked chain is supposedly partly balanced by its having 2d4 base damage as a two-handed weapon. In actual play, the difference between 2d4 and 2d6 is piddly. Conversely, the bastard sword supposedly justifies its exotic status by doing 1d10 damage instead of 1d8, but in fact this upgrade is nowhere near being worth a feat.

Quietus
2007-11-21, 02:52 PM
Of course, it's no more powerful than a guisarme anyway as far as multi-attacks vs charges go, because even if they charge you, you only get ONE attack of opportunity for it. One action = one provoke, no matter how many times they move through your space.

So, that in mind - if a guisarme+armor spikes can do everything the spiked chain can in terms of attacks of opportunity and threatening, what makes the chain so broken?

WhiteHarness
2007-11-21, 02:54 PM
I have trained with chains before, and you need virtually no room at all to hit someone - you just can't strike over people's heads. Oh, and they hurt. BADLY.

Prove it.

I still don't think a chain, spiked or not, would stand much chance of being able to injure someone in armour.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 03:08 PM
Prove it.

I still don't think a chain, spiked or not, would stand much chance of being able to injure someone in armour. Well, for some info on that type of weapon, you could try a wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_hammer)...it appears that similar weapons can be used to very quickly and unpredictably strike at an opponent.

Aquillion
2007-11-21, 03:10 PM
Remember that for trip / disarm builds, you're spending an awful lot of feats to go that route... and as effective as they are, there are creatures out there that can't be usefully tripped or disarmed.

If your DM is annoyed at you for abusing the heck out of a spiked chain, they just need to send a few flying critters after you or some such thing. Problem solved.

Justin_Bacon
2007-11-21, 03:17 PM
I don't actually understand how this tactic is 'cheesy'. The +8 disarming bonus from trip is more than negated with locked gauntlets, and the trip can be negated with swift action stand-up-with-no-AoO-items like Anklets of Translocation, a certain pair of boots (in MIC), one of the skill tricks in CScoundrel.

Good point. This is one of those areas which I neatly side-stepped without every realizing I was doing it: I added rules for making a Tumble check to stand up from prone without provoking an AoO (DC 15, DC 25 as a swift action). Tumble's a trained-only skill, but this would quickly cancel out anyone trying to abuse this cheese.

Justin Alexander
http://www.thealexandrian.net

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 03:21 PM
Prove it.

I still don't think a chain, spiked or not, would stand much chance of being able to injure someone in armour.

Hmm... well, it depends. Chain-based weapons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)) were used in real medieval combat and could crack armor pretty effectively; however, the chains were fairly short, the weapons were designed to allow them to be "spun up" rapidly, and the goal was to bash your opponent with the spiky ball on the end, not to tear them up with spikes on the chain itself.

Townopolis
2007-11-21, 03:41 PM
Of course, it's no more powerful than a guisarme anyway as far as multi-attacks vs charges go, because even if they charge you, you only get ONE attack of opportunity for it. One action = one provoke, no matter how many times they move through your space.

So, that in mind - if a guisarme+armor spikes can do everything the spiked chain can in terms of attacks of opportunity and threatening, what makes the chain so broken?

Has it been established that guisarme+armor spikes isn't broken?

My own opinion is that all the other weapons (and shields) could use some buffing up. Give all blades X ability, all axes Y ability, Z ability to maces and hammers, etc...

V Because historical armies use physics, not RAW.

Chronos
2007-11-21, 03:49 PM
The Spiked Chain is no more overpowered than using a Glaive and Armor Spikes.This is where I point out that armor spikes (at least, as they're currently implemented) are silly, too. My problem with them isn't even a matter of balance: It's a matter of versimiltude. Historically, you can find plenty of examples of folks fighting with a one-handed sword (or axe, or club, or other weapon) and a shield. You can find a good many examples of folks fighting with a single big sword or axe or whatever two-handed. You can find some examples of folks fighting with two weapons. So I've no problem with having any of those in a game (even if the mechanics need work). But there are very few examples of folks historically using chain-like weapons, and even fewer of them fighting by bodyslamming people while wearing spikey armor (with or without another weapon). I still wouldn't mind such weapons being available, since D&D should be limited only by the players' imaginations, and they could even be useful in a few specialized situations (spiked armor would be good if someone grapples you, for instance). The problem is when bizarre weapons like that are so useful that almost everyone would want to use one. If they're that good, why weren't all armies in history equipped that way?

WhiteHarness
2007-11-21, 04:00 PM
Hmm... well, it depends. Chain-based weapons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)) were used in real medieval combat and could crack armor pretty effectively; however, the chains were fairly short, the weapons were designed to allow them to be "spun up" rapidly, and the goal was to bash your opponent with the spiky ball on the end, not to tear them up with spikes on the chain itself.

I'm not disputing the effectiveness of flails. But a flail is not a spiked chain. I don't even think it's anywhere implied that the spiked chain has any weights attached to it. I don't think you could hurt anyone in rigid armour with it at all.

Exeson
2007-11-21, 04:07 PM
This might have been mentioned before but just take the Short Haft feat from complete warrior, its not as good but it is a reasonable compromise.

Frosty
2007-11-21, 04:14 PM
Fighters don't need any more nerfing. If you wanna nerf spiked chains, then you should nerf all casters.

Captain van der Decken
2007-11-21, 04:23 PM
Or the fighters could simply use a different weapon.

Woot Spitum
2007-11-21, 04:26 PM
I don't think it's that hard to counter a spiked chain wielder. Ranged weapons do this rather nicely. A scout that has earned fast movement seems to be ideal, as the spiked chain fighter can't move fast enough to get into range. There are also a number of low-level spells that can disable the tripmeister by restricting his vision. Obscuring Mist, Darkness, and best of all, Blindness/Deafness will leave the chainfighter crippled. As for lower-level enemies to put the chainfighter at a disadvantage, go with Duergar dwarves. In addition to the usual dwarven stability providing +4 against trip attempts, Duergar have Enlarge Person usable once per day as a spell-like ability, making them even tougher to trip. And that's if they don't use their once per day Invisibility as a spell-like ability to get close and grapple the chainfighter. All these abilities come with only a +1 level adjustment, meaning your party could face them right away. So as you can see, the chainfighter is nowhere near uncounterable.

Overlard
2007-11-21, 05:18 PM
I don't think it's that hard to counter a spiked chain wielder. Ranged weapons do this rather nicely. A scout that has earned fast movement seems to be ideal, as the spiked chain fighter can't move fast enough to get into range. There are also a number of low-level spells that can disable the tripmeister by restricting his vision. Obscuring Mist, Darkness, and best of all, Blindness/Deafness will leave the chainfighter crippled. As for lower-level enemies to put the chainfighter at a disadvantage, go with Duergar dwarves. In addition to the usual dwarven stability providing +4 against trip attempts, Duergar have Enlarge Person usable once per day as a spell-like ability, making them even tougher to trip. And that's if they don't use their once per day Invisibility as a spell-like ability to get close and grapple the chainfighter. All these abilities come with only a +1 level adjustment, meaning your party could face them right away. So as you can see, the chainfighter is nowhere near uncounterable.
Of course it's not uncounterable. But then again, the any fighter is gonna be screwed by these methods - not having a spiked chain doesn't make them immune. They can take a ranged weapon to deal with the archers and flying creatures, but spiked-chain wielders are allowed bows too.

The melee-er who uses a spiked chain has made a wise mechanical choice, simple as that. You may not like the flavour, or claim it wouldn't work, but it's still there in the PHB, to be used or banned. And do fighters really need nerfing? There's a reason you don't see clerics or druids taking EWP: Spiked Chain: they don't need it. After the first few levels, fighters struggle to keep up, and using one of their many feats (their only class feature) on a mechanically superior weapon helps close the gap. It works well with three feat chains (combat reflexes, power attack and improved trip/disarm), and only the fighter really has the feats to pull more than one of those off.

If the DM is only sending medium-sized, weapon-wielding humanoid opponents at you, then it could get frustrating for him, but very few other players will be outshone by the spiked-chain fighter.

As others have said, it's not that the spiked chain needs to be worse, it's that other weapons need to be better. There should be a reason to take the heavy flail, not just a reason not to take the spiked chain. Luckily it looks like 4th ed is giving us that.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 05:24 PM
I don't think it's that hard to counter a spiked chain wielder. Ranged weapons do this rather nicely. A scout that has earned fast movement seems to be ideal, as the spiked chain fighter can't move fast enough to get into range. There are also a number of low-level spells that can disable the tripmeister by restricting his vision. Obscuring Mist, Darkness, and best of all, Blindness/Deafness will leave the chainfighter crippled. As for lower-level enemies to put the chainfighter at a disadvantage, go with Duergar dwarves. In addition to the usual dwarven stability providing +4 against trip attempts, Duergar have Enlarge Person usable once per day as a spell-like ability, making them even tougher to trip. And that's if they don't use their once per day Invisibility as a spell-like ability to get close and grapple the chainfighter. All these abilities come with only a +1 level adjustment, meaning your party could face them right away. So as you can see, the chainfighter is nowhere near uncounterable. The problem with that is simple: the same countermeasures--range, vision, special opponents--hamper a non-chainmonkey at least as much. This means they are irrelevant in terms of weapon balance, since they don't change anything balance-wise.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 05:25 PM
Fighters don't need any more nerfing. If you wanna nerf spiked chains, then you should nerf all casters. This is not an either-or proposition--I strongly recommend doing both by specifically targeting sources of imbalance.

Innis Cabal
2007-11-21, 05:40 PM
ever think...the person dosnt have to stand up? If they are larger creatures and have larger area's of attack that -4 wont hurt worse then not getting to attack at all. Dont nerf a weapon because you cant think of tactics around it

Woot Spitum
2007-11-21, 05:56 PM
The problem with that is simple: the same countermeasures--range, vision, special opponents--hamper a non-chainmonkey at least as much. This means they are irrelevant in terms of weapon balance, since they don't change anything balance-wise.I wasn't addressing weapon balance, rather I was speaking of how easy it is to counter trap/disarm "cheese" even at the beginning of the game.

AslanCross
2007-11-21, 06:22 PM
I'm not disputing the effectiveness of flails. But a flail is not a spiked chain. I don't even think it's anywhere implied that the spiked chain has any weights attached to it. I don't think you could hurt anyone in rigid armour with it at all.

Well, the D&D spiked chain weighs the same as the heavy flail. (10 lbs) The heavy flail has a better crit range (19-20) and does better damage (1d10 vs 2d4). It can also be used to trip and has a bonus to disarm attempts. I'm pretty sure it's just as capable of damaging an armored person as a flail is, just that the piercing damage seems a bit weird. I'd expect it to be used more to whack someone, as one would with this, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_whip) or probably wrenching or grappling. (Which would definitely be more broken, as all it would need to do is hit with a touch attack; it wouldn't need to penetrate armor to do that.)

I think the spiked chain's pretty cool in general, just that the other exotic weapons should be viable alternatives. The disparity is just insane.

Double weapons (typical core exotic weapons); specifically two-bladed sword
Damage: 1d8/19-20/x2
+Can be used as a two-handed long sword
+Can be used as a long sword in each hand, giving an extra attack
-Still incurs the penalty for fighting with two one-handed weapons
-Requires an exotic proficiency feat

Bastard Sword
Damage: 1d10/19-20/x2
+Can be used two-handed as a martial weapon, requiring no feat.
+Can be used as an exotic weapon one-handed, allowing a shield.

The Elven Courtblade, a non-core exotic weapon, fares slightly better. It's two-handed, has respectable damage dice, has a high crit range, and can be used with Weapon Finesse. But the spiked chain. Oh, the spiked chain.

Spiked Chain
Damage: 2d4/x2
+Is Two-handed; gains STR bonus x1.5 added to damage.
+Can be used with Weapon Finesse; can use DEX bonus for AB.
+Gets a bonus to disarm.
+Can be used to trip.
+Is a Reach weapon
+Can be used against adjacent weapons despite being a Reach weapon.
-Requires an exotic proficiency feat.

So yeah, there's quite a bit of disparity there. I'm not in favor of nerfing the spiked chain, but I think the other exotic weapons deserve a boost.

I've tried using a spiked chain fighter against my players. He was a level higher than them, too.
Human Fighter 7
LE Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +6; Senses Listen +5, Spot +5
Languages: Common
---------------------
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 19
(+9 armor, +1 DEX);
hp 77 (7 HD)
Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +3
---------------------
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee mwk spiked chain +10/+5 (2d4+4) Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Base Atk +6/+1; Grp +9
Atk Options Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes (+2 AOOs), Improved Trip, Improved Disarm
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds x2, potion of endurance
---------------------
Abilities Str 16, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 8 Feats Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Spiked Chain, Combat Reflexes(B), Improved Toughness(B), Combat Expertise(B), Hold the Line, Improved Trip(B) ,Improved Initiative, Improved Disarm(B)
Skills Listen +5, Spot +5
Possessions Masterwork spiked chain, +1 full plate, +1 cloak of resistance plus combat gear

*He was able to disarm the paladin, knocking his +1 flaming greatsword to the ground. The paladin draws his backup greatsword. Beating continues.
*He was able to trip the rogue. She falls and attempts to stand up next turn. The AOO misses.
*Paladin and Rogue flank the fighter. Rogue gets in a painful sneak attack.
*The Swashbuckler comes in later and sticks her rapier in...er, his posterior (she really RPed that >_o)
*Swashbuckler eventually kills him by critting him up the nose with her rapier.

Maybe I just wasn't playing him properly, but I do think the three PCs working together were able to kill him quickly. I don't think the combo is that broken, but I do believe other exotic weapons need a boost.

Stephen_E
2007-11-21, 06:36 PM
There is a reason you don't see CoDzillias running around with Spiked Chains. The Spiked Chain is feat intensive. It takes 1 feat to use as a simple reach/adjacent weapon, and far more feats to use effectively. CiDzillas don't have the feats.

As for the brokeness of it as a Trip weapon. All trip weapons can be dropped to avoid been tripped back. The Spiked Chain trips just the same as all other Trip weapons. If you don't like Trippers just throw Giants/Trolls ecetre against them. Between the +4 Size benefit (and if it's 4 footed it gets another +4) and the fact that the enemy has a much higher Str, and the Trip monkey won't be having much joy.

As for Disarm. Again mechanically it operates exactly the same as the other "Disarm" weapons. Natural Weapons and Locked Gauntlets handle that just fine.

Weapon Finnese in a 2HW is nice, but only really useful if your Dex is higher than your Str. That ussually means you have low Str. Low Str neutralises the Trip option and some of the benefit from having a 2HW re: Strx1.4 damage bonus. It does mean a Dex based fighter can power attack effectively. Clealry soooo broken.:smallwink:

And please don't compare anyone to a Sword and Board fighter. They're generally considered the weakest combat type.

Stephen

Saph
2007-11-21, 06:43 PM
I hate to say it, but this is completely wrong. I have trained with chains before, and you need virtually no room at all to hit someone - you just can't strike over people's heads. Oh, and they hurt. BADLY.

Through armour?

You can use a chain with virtually no room if you're hitting someone who's close - but not if you're trying to hit someone 10 feet away. There's a reason armies didn't use them.

- Saph

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 06:52 PM
Nah, that was mostly the lack of time, money, and other resources for training large numbers of skilled troops. To tell the truth, spiked chains could probably rip through armor and drop enemies...well, not like flies, but more than, say, a longsword. However, training a whole army in their use wasn't easy at all, and they wouldn't have made a diff in small numbers, so they weren't favored.

Dullyanna
2007-11-21, 07:10 PM
I know this is kinda off topic, but the reason axes, flails and whatnot were used over arming swords in the Middle Ages was because they could actually deal with armor , specifically plated armor. Swords just weren't effective at cutting through armor... It's always sort of annoyed me that 3.5 DnD doesn't reflect that.

Quietus
2007-11-21, 08:09 PM
Has it been established that guisarme+armor spikes isn't broken?

My own opinion is that all the other weapons (and shields) could use some buffing up. Give all blades X ability, all axes Y ability, Z ability to maces and hammers, etc...

V Because historical armies use physics, not RAW.

I haven't noticed reams of people crying about it, so....

As for the others, they do have X ability. Swords harm zombies better than any other weapon, as maces do to skeletons.

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 08:15 PM
Nah, that was mostly the lack of time, money, and other resources for training large numbers of skilled troops. To tell the truth, spiked chains could probably rip through armor and drop enemies...well, not like flies, but more than, say, a longsword. However, training a whole army in their use wasn't easy at all, and they wouldn't have made a diff in small numbers, so they weren't favored.

Uh, no. If that were the only limitation, there would have been elite cadres of chain fighters, and there was nothing of the sort. Spiked chains are worthless for any kind of formation fighting (a vital element of medieval warfare), and their value is dubious elsewhere.

The other thing about chain weapons is that once your opponent gets up close to you, they stop working very well. That was one of the advantages of the sword; even when your opponent was in your face, as he often was, you could spin it around and bash his teeth in with the hilt, or grab it halfway up the blade and ram it through the joints of his armor. Chains need too much time to get moving and too much space to build momentum.

You might notice how most of the real-world chain weapons involved some sort of non-chain part (the handle of a flail, the sickle of a kusari-gama) that you could use in close quarters.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 08:27 PM
Most real spiked chains weren't as stupidly designes as D&D's chain. They had, you know, a SPIKE on top, which serves as a dagger. The D&D chain, however, is a grotesque abomination, and doesn't represent what you'd do for a real battle.


The bit about formation fighting is true too. Thinkin' out of the box and spacing people wasn't common in the middle ages, but the effectiveness of a chain wielding, well trained army is pretty unquestionable-

WhiteHarness
2007-11-21, 08:28 PM
I know this is kinda off topic, but the reason axes, flails and whatnot were used over arming swords in the Middle Ages was because they could actually deal with armor , specifically plated armor.

But once again: The spiked chain isn't a flail. It's a chain with spikes on it. Flails make wonderful anti-armour weapons. Not so the spiked chain.


...spiked chains could probably rip through armor and drop enemies...well, not like flies, but more than, say, a longsword.

...and your basis for this claim is...? Let's see your hoplology credentials.

I still don't see how a chain with spikes on it is going to do anything more than mar the finish on plate armour. It doesn't matter how much it weighs--the mass distribution of a chain isn't the same as an impact weapon like a flail or a mace. It's not going to drive one of its spikes through armour plate. Heck, I don't even think the spikes on a spiked chain would even be long enough to do much harm even if they could pierce armour. I have difficulty imagining how you'd handle something like a spiked chain anyway; making the spikes long would make it even harder to imagine...


...the effectiveness of a chain wielding, well trained army is pretty unquestionable-

Yeah...unquestionably bad.

Where do you kids come up with these notions? I challenge you to back up this wild assertion with some sort of documentation. Did you ever wonder why the most common battlefield weapons were variations on the same things in every culture the entire world over? Spears, bows, polearms, shields, axes, and swords. The Medieval Europeans, the Chinese, the Romans, the Greeks, the Indians--everyone made use of these weapons. No spiked chains, no meteor hammers, no double-bladed swords, etc. Silly weapons don't work.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 08:30 PM
Ever seen a crossbow bolt? Those ripped through armor, and are spikes, more or less. Granted, a human probably can't replicate the momentum of an Xbow, but a well thrown chain spike would still work.

WhiteHarness
2007-11-21, 08:35 PM
Ever seen a crossbow bolt? Those ripped through armor, and are spikes, more or less. Granted, a human probably can't replicate the momentum of an Xbow, but a well thrown chain spike would still work.

You're not serious, are you? Please don't be serious...

How can you compare a crossbow bolt to a spiked chain?

Find me a picture of a "real" spiked chain. Then demonstrate to me how you could use it to achieve the penetrating power of a crossbow bolt.

tainsouvra
2007-11-21, 08:37 PM
Where do you kids come up with these notions? I challenge you to back up this wild assertion with some sort of documentation. Did you ever wonder why the most common battlefield weapons were variations on the same things in every culture the entire world over? Spears, bows, polearms, shields, axes, and swords. The Medieval Europeans, the Chinese, the Romans, the Greeks, the Indians--everyone made use of these weapons. No spiked chains, no meteor hammers, no double-bladed swords, etc. Silly weapons don't work. Actually, the kusarigama was a very popular weapon in Japan for around 5-6 centuries. Wiki it :smallsmile:

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-21, 08:37 PM
How? In the same way you compare a nail to a bullet. A bolt is a tiny metal spike attached to a wooden... whatever the word for it was. A chain spike is a bigger spike placed on a metallic chain, or rope, or whatever. The biggest difference is where you get the momentum from.


Also, I have to leave for a meeting now, so I'll resume this tomorrow.

AslanCross
2007-11-21, 08:50 PM
I won't attempt to argue for how viable spiked chains are in real life; that's not what we're talking about here, anyway. I don't have the credentials for this, so I won't pursue that any further.

Silly weapons do work in D&D, however, where they are not so much about physics as they are a bunch of numbers. There is no less verisimilitude with regard to weapons than there is with regard to an ancient race of long-lived, magical, flying, energy-breathing lizards with genius intellect not taking over the world despite them being perfectly capable of doing it if they wanted to. Or nerdy bookworms breaking the virtually nonexistent laws of physics with a few words, gestures, and bat guano.

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 09:15 PM
How? In the same way you compare a nail to a bullet. A bolt is a tiny metal spike attached to a wooden... whatever the word for it was. A chain spike is a bigger spike placed on a metallic chain, or rope, or whatever. The biggest difference is where you get the momentum from.

Which is what makes all the difference. Take a largish bullet and throw it at a guy in full plate. It won't even leave a dent. Take the same bullet, put it in a gun, and fire it; it'll punch through.

So if you can come up with an explanation for how your chain-spike manages to match the velocity of a crossbow bolt, you can compare the two. Otherwise, crossbows are totally irrelevant.

Oh--and fighting in formation had nothing to do with the failure of medieval tacticians to "think outside the box" or to space out their men. Medieval armies fought that way because that was how you won. Armies that knew how to fight in formation (infantry armies, at least) tore through armies that didn't.

People back then were not substantially dumber than people are now. They just didn't have as much knowledge of science and technology as we do. There was plenty of innovation and creative thinking going on, and if there had been a good use for a corps of chain-wielders on the battlefield, somebody would have thought of it. If it had been as devastating as you say, the innovation would have been copied widely. Funnily, that never happened, anywhere, ever... because spiked chain warfare just does not work.

WhiteHarness
2007-11-21, 10:17 PM
Actually, the kusarigama was a very popular weapon in Japan for around 5-6 centuries. Wiki it :smallsmile:

...and the kusarigama is not a spiked chain.

It is known that the weapon was used. I see no evidence that it was, as you say, "very popular." I don't see any pictorial representations of its use in contemporary tapestries or illustrations. Japanese battlefield weapons were the same as everyone else's: spears, swords, bows, and polearms.

Jannex
2007-11-21, 10:53 PM
How? In the same way you compare a nail to a bullet. A bolt is a tiny metal spike attached to a wooden... whatever the word for it was. A chain spike is a bigger spike placed on a metallic chain, or rope, or whatever. The biggest difference is where you get the momentum from.

No, the biggest difference is the amount of force the bolt has, compared to that of the chain spike. In your nail vs. bullet analogy, consider this quote pulled directly from Wikipedia's "Handgun" entry:


Many rifles are commonly able to achieve bullet velocities of over 3,000 feet (910 m) per second, whereas handguns are rarely able to achieve velocities over 1,500 feet (460 m) per second.

Some quick Googling on my part yielded similar results. (Googling "muzzle velocity charts" should confirm this.)

Compare to this, the speed at which the human arm can physically propel an object. Granted, I couldn't find any statistics on nail-hurling speeds, but statistics about throwing baseballs are well-documented, and again referring to Wikipedia, this time in their "Pitching" entry, I learned this:


Some pitchers are able to throw a fastball at a speed of over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).

That sounds fast, but if you convert the units, 100 miles per hour comes out to about 147 feet per second. That's about an order of magnitude (ten times) slower than a handgun can propel a bullet. And remember, force = mass x acceleration. What this ultimately boils down to is that human muscle power cannot propel an object nearly as fast as a gun (or even a crossbow, which admittedly doesn't have the same power--some quick Googling suggests a range of 200-350 feet per second, though these statistics are largely drawn from modern models), nor with the same degree of precision. Consider the difficulty of achieving the sort of dead-on 90-degree blow that would be required to penetrate armor, with a spike you're swinging on a chain. You're much more likely to have the spike strike at an angle, which will diffuse a lot of its force and give it much less penetrating power. Crossbows and guns are designed to keep the projectile flying true once it leaves the weapon, making a dead-on strike far more likely. There's really no comparison here, between the penetrating power of projectile weapons and that of the spiked chain.

Sorry for the overly-technical post... I watched Mythbusters tonight.

Kompera
2007-11-21, 10:56 PM
However, the one DM i've seen that actually included spiked chains in his campaign, required that no ally get within 10 feet of the chain wielder. If they did, they would mess up the chain guys attack routine and prevent him from attacking.
Now it seems to me that was my DM being an idiot, because what about wielders of polearms? Whips? Or even just a guy with a sword. Wouldn't his rule mean that allies could not fight shoulder to shoulder?
OpinionsYour DM is being a bit of an idiot. He is imposing a houserule on a weapon which requires a Feat to wield and at least one other Feat to wield effectively (i.e.with greater effectiveness than any other two-handed weapon). His rationale is probably that he finds it illogical. But this is a fantasy game, where Elves and spell casters exist. Logic is already out the window, and the game designers saw no problem with designing the spiked chain as a weapon option.

However, it's his game. If he's made this ruling after you've spent the Feat (or didn't let you know about his house rules), ask for the opportunity to spend that Feat elsewhere. It's only fair. My own GM flipped out after the first fight in which I used my freshly purchased spiked chain, and had to be talked down from completely houseruling massive changes to the AoO rules. Given that I had spent a Feat for the EWP and another for Combat Reflexes, I was going to ask for such a re-spend if he stuck to his proposed nerfs to AoO.

On the weapon itself, there's been a lot of back and forth about the real world application of such a weapon. I have a small amount of experience in the use of such a weapon, and I would not like to be hit by one, wearing armor or not.

Flails work by using a short chain to add a leverage advantage to the swing. The spiked chain is a long chain, which grants additional leverage. Don't doubt that it could penetrate armor. The momentum of the end of the chain on impact is enormous. The tip of the whip breaks the speed of sound. A spiked chain can not do the same, but this does offer a bit of perspective on the physics involved. *catgirls die*

Up close, the two handed hold on the chain offers the ability to parry weapon swings, possibly entangling them and disarming the opponent. Interesting that the spiked chain is given a +2 to Disarm attempts. In a grapple the chain can be used as a garrote, or to entangle the opponents limbs.

The spiked chain is a reasonable weapon all around, if you consider that by itself its only advantage over a guisarme is the ability to not require an action to change the distance threatened. And that comes at the cost of a Feat, since the guisarme is a martial weapon. And the guisarme has a x3 crit multiplier as an advantage over the spiked chain. Where the spiked chain starts to shine, and perhaps to look unbalanced to some, is when additional Feats are spent. Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise and Improved Disarm and/or Improved Trip. This requires a lot of Feats, and means passing on the purchase of other Feats to specialize in this one weapon. In any situation in which the character doesn't have his spiked chain handy he's probably going to be at a disadvantage to nearly any other melee type. Really, this weapon by itself is not overpowered. Combined with extra Feat investment it has some synergy, yes. But all Feat investment gives some benefit (with a few notable exceptions...), and so the spiked chain plus Feats is not overpowered. Your DMs house rule is out of bounds unless he has several other house rules which restrict the casting classes from similar synergies.

Jannex
2007-11-21, 11:23 PM
Your DM is being a bit of an idiot. He is imposing a houserule on a weapon which requires a Feat to wield and at least one other Feat to wield effectively (i.e.with greater effectiveness than any other two-handed weapon). His rationale is probably that he finds it illogical. But this is a fantasy game, where Elves and spell casters exist. Logic is already out the window, and the game designers saw no problem with designing the spiked chain as a weapon option.

I'm not going to dispute your specific thoughts on the validity of the spiked chain as a weapon at the moment, but I am going to comment on the idea you seem to be presenting, that just because a game has fantasy elements, nothing needs to make sense. If that were true, we wouldn't bother having rules. Even a fantasy world needs to remain consistent within itself. While such things as magic may exist, even magic has rules by which it operates--in effect, it has its own logic. Thus, if a particular game mechanic is not intended to overwrite the default rules of reality with which we are all vaguely familiar, I see no reason to "throw logic out the window" with regard to that mechanic.

As for your last statement about the game designers, it is a widely held (if not universal) sentiment that perhaps the developers of D&D are not the most proficient at determining which aspects of their system are balanced and which are not. Commonly-cited examples include Celerity, Time Stop, Divine Metamagic, and at the most egregious extremity, Pun-Pun.

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 11:31 PM
Your DM is being a bit of an idiot. He is imposing a houserule on a weapon which requires a Feat to wield and at least one other Feat to wield effectively (i.e.with greater effectiveness than any other two-handed weapon). His rationale is probably that he finds it illogical. But this is a fantasy game, where Elves and spell casters exist. Logic is already out the window, and the game designers saw no problem with designing the spiked chain as a weapon option.

...Your DMs house rule is out of bounds unless he has several other house rules which restrict the casting classes from similar synergies.

First off, there's no such thing as a house rule which is "out of bounds." There are house rules which your players can tolerate, and house rules which they can't. If you insist on the latter, you'll be DMing to an empty table; but I would be surprised by a player who quit over this one house rule.

One can also argue the merits of house rules on game balance; however, the spiked chain does not come off well here, because it is vastly better than its supposed peers. Forget tripping and all the other stuff, simply the fact that it's a two-handed weapon combined with its near/far reach puts it way past any other exotic in the PHB. That's a balance problem. Either the chain is too good, or all the other exotics suck. I think it's more the latter than the former, to be honest, but there is certainly a good case to be made for bringing the chain into line with the other exotic weapons, one way or another.

And the idea that "logic is out the window because elves and spellcasters exist" is... well, bluntly, it's baloney. The rules of a fantasy world still need to be internally consistent. Moreover, one of the rules of most fantasy worlds is that physics works the way it does in the real world except where nullified by an explicit fantasy element; this allows us, who live in the real world, to have an intuitive understanding of how the fantasy world works.

A house rule enforcing marginally realistic physics on spiked chains is no more unreasonable than a house rule saying that dead people, in the absence of necromantic magic, have to lie down and not move. Nowhere in the rulebook does it say you aren't allowed to do anything when you're dead; if realistic physics is out the window, then you have no basis for saying a dead character can't get up, walk about, cast spells, and so on. It's only our understanding of the real-world concept of "dead," and the unspoken assumption that that concept applies in fantasy just as it does in reality, that leads people to think death has such effects.

Yahzi
2007-11-21, 11:37 PM
The spiked chain is just an incredibly stupid weapon, so the fact that it's so effective irritates many people, including me.
And me!

Why isn't the coolest weapon the coolest weapon? Make the Katana or Bastard Sword or Greatsword have the sweetness. Heroes use those kinds of weapons. Heroes do not use spiked chains.

:smallannoyed:

Yahzi
2007-11-21, 11:39 PM
The Spiked Chain is no more overpowered than using a Glaive and Armor Spikes.
Well, Armor Spikes are pretty dang stupid, too.

The only person that is ever gonna get snagged on your armor spikes is... you. You know, the guy who spends more time next to your armor than any one else in the world. :smallbiggrin:

Dausuul
2007-11-21, 11:41 PM
And me!

Why isn't the coolest weapon the coolest weapon? Make the Katana or Bastard Sword or Greatsword have the sweetness. Heroes use those kinds of weapons. Heroes do not use spiked chains.

:smallannoyed:

Better yet, have a variety of weapons, each of which is cool in its own way. Then people can use whatever seems cool to them.

Yahzi
2007-11-21, 11:52 PM
Better yet, have a variety of weapons, each of which is cool in its own way. Then people can use whatever seems cool to them.
A capital idea!

There's nothing wrong with "Sword does X; sword with feat does X+1." I don't know why they didn't just do that. There should be a whole list of exotic weapons which are basically upgrades to the ordinary weapons.

"You can tell by his expensive katana/rapier/claymore that he's an elite warrior" sounds so much better than "Look, a spikey chain. He must be a real hero!"

Stephen_E
2007-11-21, 11:59 PM
Why isn't the coolest weapon the coolest weapon? Make the Katana or Bastard Sword or Greatsword have the sweetness. Heroes use those kinds of weapons. Heroes do not use spiked chains.

:smallannoyed:

Please, heroes use whatever weapon the writers say they use. Hell I can remember a movie where the heroe use a stonking barstard sword with 3 blades, with two of the blades able to be fired off like spears. And you think Spiked Chains are silly for heroes. Chain Weapons are more a feature of oriental fantasy, and even the dabblings I've had in that area indicate plenty of heroes using them. As for Great Swords, they are a power weapon in DnD.

1) Spiked Chains aren't overpowered, and claims they are can be torn apart on technical grounds with ease.

2) Many people hate Spiked Chains, the reasons are ussually related to something about how they look in the book, or views on their practicality. People been people tend not to like saying "I don't like it becasue I'm prejudiced about them"., Instead they say "it's broken" or "over-powered" (apologies for Saph and the smatterings of others who have the balls not to pretend about their dislike).

3) The RL practicality or impracticality of the weapon is completely irrelvant to having them be a decent weapon in DnD. This is fantasy, you know, Wizards casting high level magic ecetre. And please don't give me the BS "just because we let wizards exist doesn't mean we have to let compleatly unrealistic weapons be effective". Come on listen to yourself and recognise the BS you're saying. The Game designers put in whatever fantasy they like, and as things go Spiked Chains aren't even breathing hard. To try and claim that Spiked Chains are beyond the pale somehow is simple bigotry.

Stephen

the_tick_rules
2007-11-22, 12:10 AM
i say keep the chain, it's cool. especially when you have teammates to mob the tripped dudes. my monk's grappling had a similar effect. keeps those pesky runners under control.

Jannex
2007-11-22, 12:14 AM
3) The RL practicality or impracticality of the weapon is completely irrelvant to having them be a decent weapon in DnD. This is fantasy, you know, Wizards casting high level magic ecetre. And please don't give me the BS "just because we let wizards exist doesn't mean we have to let compleatly unrealistic weapons be effective". Come on listen to yourself and recognise the BS you're saying. The Game designers put in whatever fantasy they like, and as things go Spiked Chains aren't even breathing hard. To try and claim that Spiked Chains are beyond the pale somehow is simple bigotry.

That really depends on an individual group's play style. As I said earlier, the introduction of certain fantasy elements does not require one to dispense with all verisimilitude. Some groups enjoy more cinematic, unrealistic combat, where Buster Swords and the like are useful options, but other people find that these unrealistic elements throw them out of immersion in the game world, and are therefore less fun. Often (though not always), people with a greater familiarity with real-world medieval-style combat have a harder time accepting unrealistic weapons and fighting styles in their games, much like one might have one's enjoyment of a movie disrupted because the movie got certain details wrong in any field about which one has specialized knowledge. Having a character leap a fifty foot chasm without any sort of magical advantage, as another example, would jolt me out of the moment, because it's unrealistic. There's no "bigotry" about this; there's simply what's enjoyable and what interferes with enjoyment. Wanting to avoid elements that break verisimilitude is not "BS," it's legitimate use of the DM's prerogative.

Oh, and Obnoxious Pedantic Nitpick:


ecetre

Et cetera.

Stephen_E
2007-11-22, 12:24 AM
There's no "bigotry" about this; there's simply what's enjoyable and what interferes with enjoyment. Wanting to avoid elements that break verisimilitude is not "BS," it's legitimate use of the DM's prerogative.


That works if you say "I don't use them because they break my suspension of disbelief". When people say "they shouldn't be allowed because...." it's bigotry/BS.


Et cetera.

Ta. I know "ecetera" is wrong, but can never remember what the correct way to put it is, and people do understand "ecetera".

Stephen

WhiteHarness
2007-11-22, 12:43 AM
Don't doubt that it could penetrate armor.

But that is precisely what I doubt.

As another poster said, how are you going to expect the spike to land at the right angle? I don't think the spikes are long enough to deal damage through armour, and I don't think you could swing it at a target and expect the spikes to land point-down on said target, what with the spikes being on a wobbly chain and all.

Seriously, can we even agree on what this weapon looks like? What culture used it? Did it even exist? Yes, yes...we've heard all about kusarigama, meteor hammers, and other chain weapons. But a real-life, honest-to-god spiked chain? I haven't seen one. Show me.

Chronos
2007-11-22, 01:53 AM
Come on listen to yourself and recognise the BS you're saying. The Game designers put in whatever fantasy they like, and as things go Spiked Chains aren't even breathing hard. To try and claim that Spiked Chains are beyond the pale somehow is simple bigotry.The problem with this argument is, nonmagical weapons aren't fantasy. Swords aren't fantasy; swords really exist in the real world, with basically the same properties as they have in D&D. People actually used them historically. Likewise axes aren't fantasy, nor are spears, nor warhammers. But spiked chains are fantasy? If you want to have a chain which contains the spirit of a dragon or something and animates to entangle an enemy, sure, that's fine. But what's a fantasy chain doing on a list of nonmagical weapons?

Dausuul
2007-11-22, 03:12 AM
The problem with this argument is, nonmagical weapons aren't fantasy. Swords aren't fantasy; swords really exist in the real world, with basically the same properties as they have in D&D. People actually used them historically. Likewise axes aren't fantasy, nor are spears, nor warhammers. But spiked chains are fantasy? If you want to have a chain which contains the spirit of a dragon or something and animates to entangle an enemy, sure, that's fine. But what's a fantasy chain doing on a list of nonmagical weapons?

Thank you for summing this up perfectly.

Stephen_E
2007-11-22, 10:26 AM
The problem with this argument is, nonmagical weapons aren't fantasy. Swords aren't fantasy; swords really exist in the real world, with basically the same properties as they have in D&D. People actually used them historically. Likewise axes aren't fantasy, nor are spears, nor warhammers. But spiked chains are fantasy? If you want to have a chain which contains the spirit of a dragon or something and animates to entangle an enemy, sure, that's fine. But what's a fantasy chain doing on a list of nonmagical weapons?

Your statement is fine right upto this point "with basically the same properties as they have in D&D." Wrong.

DnD screws with the historical reality of standard weapons all over the place. From the weights, type of damage they do, their ability to actually kill people, and so on. DnD weapons are simply historical names attached to DnD fantasies. The Spiked Chain may be more fantastical than the other weapons, but it's a matter of degree of fantasy rather than a difference be "Real" and "Fantasy".

And thus your argument falls apart.

Stephen

Jannex
2007-11-22, 11:19 AM
Your statement is fine right upto this point "with basically the same properties as they have in D&D." Wrong.

DnD screws with the historical reality of standard weapons all over the place. From the weights, type of damage they do, their ability to actually kill people, and so on. DnD weapons are simply historical names attached to DnD fantasies. The Spiked Chain may be more fantastical than the other weapons, but it's a matter of degree of fantasy rather than a difference be "Real" and "Fantasy".

And thus your argument falls apart.

Stephen

I guess this depends on whether the differences between D&D's mechanics for weapons and their real-world attributes represent a deliberate decision on the designers' part to "fantasy-ify" them, or merely a failure to do the appropriate research and the need to simplify matters for the sake of a (somewhat) manageable rules-set. Personally, I wouldn't bank on the former, but I suppose the question is open to debate.

Ralfarius
2007-11-22, 11:25 AM
The problem with this argument is, nonmagical weapons aren't fantasy. Swords aren't fantasy; swords really exist in the real world, with basically the same properties as they have in D&D.
Stephen_E already covered it, but seriously... D&D's 'weapons' are most definitely fantasy-based. Most real-world definitions of Long sword constitute a two-handed weapon, and 'shortsword' was, as a term, never really used. Arming sword, perhaps, but generally speaking a sword was a sword in most of Europe up until the middle ages, when they were given extra length and pointy cross-guards.

Ever seen historical re-creationists dueling in plate armor with long swords? Half the time they whip the damn thing around and try to hammer each other in the head with the cross guard! Generally speaking, swords aren't great against heavily armoured opponents. Heck, a good portion of the time a decent thrust will only cause superficial damage against someone wearing a mail shirt (supposing you don't hit them in a vulnerable location). That's why things like the war hammer - also nothing like its D&D counterpart- mace, and axe were so popular. They could get the proper force to puncture steel plates, or crack bones beneath, and otherwise significantly hurt a heavily armored opponent.

Pretty much every weapon in the PhB is a misrepresentation of its real-world counterpart. Based on that fact alone, I can live with people swinging spiked chains about. I'm looking to the fantasy-based imagery of someone whipping about this scary length of chain, tripping people and entangling weapons and generally making lives miserable while opening up faces with the spiketies.

BardicDuelist
2007-11-22, 11:33 AM
I can live with the spiked chain, but I do have one stipulation that I enforce when I play (yes, it is a house rule): If you have somone infront of you, you cannot attack the person behind them. You don't need 10ft clear on every side, but I have a rather hard time believing that you can attack somone when somone is directly between you, without hurting that person between you as well (or having a very difficult time hitting them by trying to wrap the chain around the person and have it hit your target, or somthing like that, and even then, how could you say that that person would not be distracted, have an easy time disarming you or preventing you attacking, etc).

No one in my group seems to mind (even though two of our players love the chain).

I use a similar rule for the whip (although I also have a house rule that removes much of the whip's suckieness), even though I am the person who uses the whip most in our group.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-11-22, 11:38 AM
That's pretty understandable. I'd stipulate a char with Cleave can do it if he kills with a piercing or slashing weapon, since it'd make sense, but it's otherwise a perfect and unbreakable rule.

Mike_G
2007-11-22, 12:05 PM
I stand with Saph, White Harness, Dasuul and others.

I think it's a silly weapon, it breaks my immersion in the game, I have never seen any real world equivalent, and I refuse to believe it would work very well.

Sure, a length of bicycle chain swung against a guy who has a switchblade in a gang fight, sure, but on the battlefield, I just don't see it.

The classics became classics because they work. Everybody used spears, bows, swords and axes. Sure, some weapons had a chain element, but nobody, ever, ever, ever used the "spiked chain" as seen in the PHB, and nobody ever trained a company of chain fighters.

This had nothing to do with cost or training since troops were often equipped with expensive weapons f they worked. Guns cost far more, and are much harder to forge than chain, and a longbowman trained his whole life. These were good investments, since they worked.

Thus, I ban the Spiked Chain in my campaign, not out of bigotry, but because it disrupts the verisimilitude.

If a player can show me documented real world use of one, or build one and swing it without breaking everything within ten feet and killing himself, I'll think about allowing it.

Yahzi
2007-11-22, 12:14 PM
Hell I can remember a movie where the heroe use a stonking barstard sword with 3 blades, with two of the blades able to be fired off like spears.
AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

I had successfully erased that abomination from my mind, and now you've gone and dredged it up again. One of the stupidest movies ever. Ever.

Now I must go wash my brain out in acid. Excuse me.

:smallbiggrin:


3) The RL practicality or impracticality of the weapon is completely irrelvant to having them be a decent weapon in DnD.
Verisimilitude matters, because the rules can't cover everything. The bits they don't cover, we have to fill in by ourselves. People should be able to apply their ordinary knowledge and have it work in the game-world. Down is still down, unless you explicitly state that it isn't; fire still burns, unless you explicitly state that it doesn't; and spiked chains suck against armor unless you explicitly state that they don't. The first two are covered under the "magic" rules, but what's the excuse for the second rule?

That said, in an Oriental campaign, it doesn't bother me. Actually, the spiked chain doesn't bother me that much; it's that rapiers, katanas, bastard swords, battleaxes, and naginatas - the traditional "uber" weapons - don't seem to as special as the spiked chain.

I think it's cool that a hero can use a weapon ordinary folk can't (which is implemented by requiring a feat). In fact, it kind of describes classical history (although in the old days it was society and not feats that kept the peasants poorly armed). I'm just annoyed that the uber-weapon everybody seems to think justifies a half-dozen feats is a spiked chain and not Excalibur.

(As for the technical superiority of it, I'll have to take other people's opinions on that. Having never actually played in a game containing a spiked chain, I don't have any experience.)

Yahzi
2007-11-22, 12:20 PM
DnD weapons are simply historical names attached to DnD fantasies.
That's a very good point. But dang it, D&D's fantasies aren't even internally consistent. When was the last time you saw a "+4 Holy Defender Spiked Chain" in any published module?

You've mostly made an argument for why the entire weapon table needs an overhaul. :smallbiggrin:

Rigel Cyrosea
2007-11-22, 12:55 PM
I'd like to note that the Spiked Chain is not useless for Clerics, as some people stated before. If you play a cleric of an ideal with favoured weapon spiked chain, take the war domain, and spend a few feats, you can be fairly effective. It is more useful for the fighter, but it's not useless for Clerics.

Ralfarius
2007-11-22, 01:20 PM
If a player can show me documented real world use of one, or build one and swing it without breaking everything within ten feet and killing himself, I'll think about allowing it.
I know it's wikipedia, but still...

This whip-chain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_whip), while not dead-on, covers a lot of what the spiked chain does in its use. Disarming opponents, binding (i.e. a leg, to trip) their limbs, striking from a distance and around objects/blocks... It apparently requires a great degree of skill to use without injuring oneself, but I suppose that would be the point of the exotic weapon proficiency.

There you go, a chain of metal links with a pokey mchurtypart on the end. Not an exact analogue of the spiked chain in D&D, but I'd say its closer in its feel than an actual war hammer is to D&D's example.

BardicDuelist
2007-11-22, 01:40 PM
I know it's wikipedia, but still...

This whip-chain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_whip), while not dead-on, covers a lot of what the spiked chain does in its use. Disarming opponents, binding (i.e. a leg, to trip) their limbs, striking from a distance and around objects/blocks... It apparently requires a great degree of skill to use without injuring oneself, but I suppose that would be the point of the exotic weapon proficiency.

There you go, a chain of metal links with a pokey mchurtypart on the end. Not an exact analogue of the spiked chain in D&D, but I'd say its closer in its feel than an actual war hammer is to D&D's example.

Actually, a good example. Still, I can see why somone would not want one in a Western campaign.

Attilargh
2007-11-22, 01:43 PM
Sure, some weapons had a chain element, but nobody, ever, ever, ever used the "spiked chain" as seen in the PHB
I must point out the same can be said for many of the weapons as seen in the PHB. Seriously, that's supposed to be a greataxe? I have mentally blocked out those parts of the book and just use Google or something if I need a picture.

Personally, I don't have a problem with spiked chains. But hey, I think Final Fantasy VIII's gunblades are cool.

Ralfarius
2007-11-22, 01:47 PM
Actually, a good example. Still, I can see why somone would not want one in a Western campaign.
Yeah, that's understandable. I can see someone disallowing certain weapons in a campaign because it's of a flavour dissimilar to the sort of culture(s) they're trying to represent. Spike-ity chains are extremely east-Asian in their influence.

Mike_G
2007-11-22, 01:53 PM
I know it's wikipedia, but still...

This whip-chain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_whip), while not dead-on, covers a lot of what the spiked chain does in its use. Disarming opponents, binding (i.e. a leg, to trip) their limbs, striking from a distance and around objects/blocks... It apparently requires a great degree of skill to use without injuring oneself, but I suppose that would be the point of the exotic weapon proficiency.

There you go, a chain of metal links with a pokey mchurtypart on the end. Not an exact analogue of the spiked chain in D&D, but I'd say its closer in its feel than an actual war hammer is to D&D's example.

Can we get an example of somebody actually fighting a real person with it? In armor? Street fights are different. Hell, tire irons are a good weapon in a street fight, but I don't see any Legionaires wielding them on Trajan's Column. Jackie Chan beats up a dozen guys with a broom, a bicycle and a step ladder in various movies, but they aren't statted out in the PHB.

I can even see it as a "unique, maybe a few crazy eccentric martial artists have used the thing in ritual combat" kinda thing, but, like I (and many others) have said, if spiked chains were better than swords, somebody would have adopted them for their army.

Sure, sure, exotic weapon, training time, blah, blah.

Consider how much resources went into training and equipping a knight. Making heavy armor and weapons, breeding horses for the purpose, care feeding and training horse and man for years. This is a huge expense compared to teaching a man to wield a fairly cheap chain. But every medieval culture spent the effort on heavy cavalry because it was worth it.

For the cost of a knight, you could outfit and train a dozen lightly armored footmen to use whip chains and have conquered Europe.

Except nobody did, since the whip chain isn't all that good.

Fawsto
2007-11-22, 01:54 PM
Lol... Being a Pally fan, I've done some research and I can make a Pally work for a little longer extended period of time... Against mostly evil foes. That is the problem...


Check this:

Any Polearm with decent damage + Charging Smite + Knockdown Combo + Divine Might (and Power attack) + few extra smitings and extra turnings + Fist of Raziel from Exalted Deeds.

Ok, what will happen? Charge + smite + divine might + power attack + Fist of Raziel crazy smite boosts + keen weapon. It is a fair damage against any evil enemy, and the Pally can hold his own against non-evil enemies with the Knockdown combo and Divine Mights.

Worked with me. But as I stated in some previous threads, I am a lucky bastard. For some reason this works pretty well in the battlefields and against some casters... If I can charge near them soon enough..


Back to topic, and sorry for the LOOOOONG elocubration:

Basicaly, the spiked chain is likely to be the best Exotic Weapon we may encounter... Others you can find usefull: Duon (the Spear with blades to attack near oponents from Sword and Fist), Poisoned Shurikens and a few, few others. Worst Exotic weapon? Fukimi Bari, Fullblade (c'mon, it is the freaking greatsword, only with a d12 damage! o.O), Harpoon (when you consider that you are now unarmed against everybody else you didn't hit this turn...) and the Bastard Sword...

BTW... Sometimes Spiked Chain isnt only for GM headache combo, sometimes it is for flavor.

Oh... About the rule. Disagree... I am a ex-kung fu student. In KF we learn to use something that resembles a spiked chain. You'd be amazed to see how small area you need to fight with it properly. Also the Feat basicaly tell taht you can use the weapon without penalties. Period.

Ralfarius
2007-11-22, 02:01 PM
Can we get an example of somebody actually fighting a real person with it?
Well, the article does say:

According to the book Soft Weapons: Nine-Section Whip and Rope Dart, "The nine-section whip, regarded as a 'powerful hidden weapon,' was first used on the battlefield during the Jėn Dynasty (265-420)."[1]

The term "used on the battlefield" makes me thing that, yes, it has seen practiced, wartime use.

See, I'm not trying to defend the whip-chain, or the spike-ity chain, or any kind of chain. It requires a ridiculous amount of training to use with any degree of effectiveness, and as such wouldn't be useful as a standard piece of equipment for any house soldier or conscript.

However, you asked for a real-world analogue/example of it being used, and there it is.

Spikety-chain, used for hurting people. It happened, and not just in a "Hey, sucka! I'ma whip you good with my trusty chain, Mr. Links!" context.

Also, it's not European. In fact, I agree wholeheartedly with someone whom wants to put the kibosh on such a weapon for reasons of it being improperly flavoured for their campaign.

Blanks
2007-11-22, 04:55 PM
Im with the "I hate spikey" crowd.

But the main reason, as others have mentioned in slightly different terms is:
If someone optimized the standard medieval footsoldier from a "laymans view" (sword, shield, chain armor or something and maybe some sort of crossbow) versus an optimized chaindude the footsoldier would have his *** handed to him. Thats just bogus to me.
If one of my players said "I want to play a traditional knightly dude" he cannot because he will be totally outshined by this mechanical by-the-raw-efficient monstrosity?

Not cool dude! Not cool!

A core class should be just as viable as some weird creation that relies on mechanics to succed.

Who ever heard of specialized grapplers or trippers on the battlefield? If you say "its magic!" fine, but otherwise get out of my game :smallwink:

tainsouvra
2007-11-22, 05:28 PM
...and the kusarigama is not a spiked chain. It is, however, in the category of weapons that you said nobody actually used...and it was used.
It is known that the weapon was used. I see no evidence that it was, as you say, "very popular." Then look? The evidence is there, if you check :smallwink:
I don't see any pictorial representations of its use in contemporary tapestries or illustrations. Japanese battlefield weapons were the same as everyone else's: spears, swords, bows, and polearms. Depends on what you consider their battlefield weapons, then. If you mean the average combatant, then a pike and a rock are about the best you can do, and often it was hardly even that much--their conscript armies were particularly ill-equipped. If you mean the average nobleman (samurai, etc), then the familial/traditional value of the sword is a big reason it shows up in more paintings--it carried symbolic weight. If you want an actual check, look for things like how many schools were teaching any particular weapon--that shows real demand. There were a lot of schools for the kusarigama for a span of several centuries, and that says something--someone was attending those schools, after all.

Chronos
2007-11-22, 05:57 PM
Who ever heard of specialized grapplers or trippers on the battlefield?Grappling isn't a very good tactic on a "battlefield", if by that you mean a meeting of armies, since all of the other guys who aren't in a grapple can poke you with pointy bits of metal while you're engaged. But in smaller engagements, yeah, you do see a lot of grapple fighting in the real world.

If you mean the average nobleman (samurai, etc), then the familial/traditional value of the sword is a big reason it shows up in more paintings--it carried symbolic weight.Ah, but why did the sword carry symbolic weight? The reason that swords were the weapons which ended up as family heirlooms is that swords work well.

WhiteHarness
2007-11-22, 05:59 PM
Then look? The evidence is there, if you check

So prove it.

Primary source documentation, please. The Wikipedia article wasn't convincing; you can't use it to make your case for you. The burden of proof is on you to convince me of this. Show me this evidence that's "there."

Blanks
2007-11-22, 06:11 PM
But in smaller engagements, yeah, you do see a lot of grapple fighting in the real world.
Agree with the rest of your post, but this is only true if you count drunken brawls.

If the opponent is armed, noone would think the optimal fighting style was to abandon your own weapons. But it can be in DnD. Sure its fantasy, so monks have their place but mexican wrestlers?

AslanCross
2007-11-22, 06:14 PM
Fullblade (c'mon, it is the freaking greatsword, only with a d12 damage! o.O)
The fullblade deals 2d8 damage.

Someone up the line mentioned that the art for the weapons in the PHB is partly to blame for this mess. I agree.

Historically, we have this, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_hammer) while the PHB shows us this, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sledgehammer) except with an unbelievably short haft.

It's not limited to the art, however. What about the falchion? Why don't people complain about that? The historical falchion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falchion) is not an "oversized scimitar."

Anyway, I'd like to note something: D&D adventures are not battlefield encounters. They're generally savage raids on evil creatures.

For battlefield encounters, you wouldn't even have guys wielding spiked chains because they wouldn't have the feats to use them properly! Might as well have them use the polearms and martial weapons they have proficiencies in. Joe McGrunt, at Warrior 1 or Fighter 1, would rather use his feats for formation tactics. It's PCs who use spiked chains (as a rule). Would a powerful creature on the enemy side use it? An Ogre War Hulk, maybe? (though he wouldn't be able to do the trip build anyway due to his lack of Int) A single hero?

And as to whether they pierce armor or not, you might have to go back to D&D's AC system, where armor is a chance to deflect weapons without damage instead of reducing damage. Should Buster McClaymore have the same chance of penetrating armor (dealing damage) as Spike McCheney? Obviously not. And yet there are numerous situations where it is possible that fighters wielding mechanically different weapons have the same chance of penetrating the armor (same AB) of the same enemy.

My point is, there's so much verisimilitude thrown out of the window in the first place with regards to the combat system, which is an abstraction. I'm not saying that fantasy should be completely free of verisimilitude, but I just don't think it's such a big problem.

Mike_G
2007-11-22, 06:16 PM
Im with the "I hate spikey" crowd.

But the main reason, as others have mentioned in slightly different terms is:
If someone optimized the standard medieval footsoldier from a "laymans view" (sword, shield, chain armor or something and maybe some sort of crossbow) versus an optimized chaindude the footsoldier would have his *** handed to him. Thats just bogus to me.
If one of my players said "I want to play a traditional knightly dude" he cannot because he will be totally outshined by this mechanical by-the-raw-efficient monstrosity?


Sure he can. We do in my group. I play a Sword and Board Fighter, since that's the concept I wanted. He's optimized for one handed weapon and shield, and may not be the mechanical equal of Trippy McChainsalot, but I don't feel like a nine year old Dragonball Z fan and can sleep at night.

None of us gravitate toward the silliness anyway, since we're not squeezing the most mathematical advantage out of a build but playing the concept we like, and we're all veterans of Red Box D&D. Plus, all of us have fenced and played with the SCAdians, and half of us have been in the military and a third of us have earned pretty colored belts in various styles and we all think the Spiked Chain (as shown) is a silly as the Orc Double Axe or Dire Flail.

mostlyharmful
2007-11-22, 06:20 PM
Agree with the rest of your post, but this is only true if you count drunken brawls.

If the opponent is armed, noone would think the optimal fighting style was to abandon your own weapons. But it can be in DnD. Sure its fantasy, so monks have their place but mexican wrestlers?

On its own, maybe, but the ability to get inside an opponents guard and cripple them by hand or remove their weapon can be very effective. Look at martial arts such as Judo and Aikido, styles based around expanding a fighters abilities beyound sword swinging.

Agreed it's pretty dumb to wade into a melee with nothing but a smile but there is uses to wrestling, essecially when armour gets good enough to start creating double handed weapons

Stephen_E
2007-11-22, 08:55 PM
Thus, I ban the Spiked Chain in my campaign, not out of bigotry, but because it disrupts the verisimilitude.


Fair enough. IIRC from similiar discussions you don't advocate kicking it out of DnD or that it is broken gamewise.

House rules are house rules, and different people have different things that break their suspension of disbelief. I only call it bigotry when people try and say eveyone should drop it, often tossing on spurious reasons about it been unreasonably powerful. Some people dislike magic, but so long as they don't try and tell me that no one should play with magic and it's sacrilege I don't mind.

Stephen

Stephen_E
2007-11-22, 09:05 PM
Im with the "I hate spikey" crowd.

But the main reason, as others have mentioned in slightly different terms is:
If someone optimized the standard medieval footsoldier from a "laymans view" (sword, shield, chain armor or something and maybe some sort of crossbow) versus an optimized chaindude the footsoldier would have his *** handed to him. Thats just bogus to me.
If one of my players said "I want to play a traditional knightly dude" he cannot because he will be totally outshined by this mechanical by-the-raw-efficient monstrosity?

Not cool dude! Not cool!

A core class should be just as viable as some weird creation that relies on mechanics to succed.

Who ever heard of specialized grapplers or trippers on the battlefield? If you say "its magic!" fine, but otherwise get out of my game :smallwink:

1) Spiked Chain build don't "he will be totally outshined by this mechanical by-the-raw-efficient monstrosity?". Their are plenty of strong Knightly builds. Of course a high level mage outshines them all, but that's another problem.

So you obejct to Trip weapons "Who ever heard of specialized grapplers or trippers on the battlefield?". I guess you also ban that trip weapon the Halberd. Completely unhistorical, unrealistic weapon that it is.....
Oh, that's right it's a historical weapon used on the battlefield.

Stephen

Stephen_E
2007-11-22, 09:12 PM
Ah, but why did the sword carry symbolic weight? The reason that swords were the weapons which ended up as family heirlooms is that swords work well.

Unsupported supposition. The issue has come up in the RL weapons ectre thread before without any particular resolution.

Good Swords do tend to be expensive, and cost has a status of it's own. Symbolic value doesn't necessarily equal real value.
In modern warfare officiers traditionally have been armed with pistols/revolvers regardless of their practicality, and the pistol/revolver has had considerable symbolic value. It doesn't mean they were ever that great a weapon.

Stephen

Setra
2007-11-22, 09:24 PM
Agree with the rest of your post, but this is only true if you count drunken brawls.

If the opponent is armed, noone would think the optimal fighting style was to abandon your own weapons. But it can be in DnD. Sure its fantasy, so monks have their place but mexican wrestlers?
Technically.

While not 'optimal', if a samurai were disarmed, he would often resort to Jujitsu, which actually worked pretty damned good on armored soldiers.

Actually there were probably cases where they WOULD abandon their swords, as the armor is meant to deflect swords and arrows, not the ground.

Dervag
2007-11-23, 12:09 AM
Good Swords do tend to be expensive, and cost has a status of it's own. Symbolic value doesn't necessarily equal real value.
In modern warfare officiers traditionally have been armed with pistols/revolvers regardless of their practicality, and the pistol/revolver has had considerable symbolic value. It doesn't mean they were ever that great a weapon.

StephenOne of the reasons they give officers pistols is so that they won't get sucked into a gunfight except in desperate situations. Normally, an officer should always be able to accomplish more by directing his troops than by fighting as one of them. Therefore, it makes sense to give the officer a weapon useful only for self-defense in the kind of chaotic close combat where an officer might reasonably be targeted for attack.

As for swords, it should be pointed out that there were a number of armies that used swords as their primary weapon (such as the Roman legion), and that the knightly types who carried swords could easily afford any weapon. You'd think that over a period of millenia, if swords were consistently less effective than other melee weapons in the hands of the most highly trained uses, that the aristocrats would abandon the sword for that other weapon.

Eldritch_Ent
2007-11-23, 12:58 AM
I'm all for the Spiked Chain, myself. I don't see how it breaks suspension of disbelief when there are Trolls and Wizards running about. Plus it's not nearly as powerful, cheesy or unbelievable as, say, Initiate of the Sevenfold Veils or the like.

I think it's mostly due to the representation of it in the Manual. That thing looks CLUNKY. A Spiked chain would probably just be a regular length of chain with spikes wielded on it. Not something as ornate as shown in the PHB.

Fun Anecdote- Back in highschool I knew someone who fought in a gang regularly. He actually used a chain a lot, he said. The trick involved just spinning 1 foot or so at the end, then letting Centrifugal Motion carry it out while keeping momentum... You don't need much space to get it going, as it were. Of course he could have been full of it, but sometimes he'd show up to school pretty roughed up...

As for me, I just think of it as the two-handed version of the whip. Longsword is to Greatsword as Whip is to Spiked Chain.

Although I agree it has a major asian flavor, there's nothing wrong with cultures mixing. Be it loanwords, commodoties, or weapon styles, some people just pick stuff up from other places. I mean, how many people today take Martial Arts? All I ask is for my players to be able to explain where they got the training to use a Spiked Chain, (IE who taught them the feat) and that's all I need in regards to "flavor"...

tainsouvra
2007-11-23, 01:08 AM
So prove it.

Primary source documentation, please. The Wikipedia article wasn't convincing; you can't use it to make your case for you. The burden of proof is on you to convince me of this. Show me this evidence that's "there." The kusarigama is a two-part weapon, the "sickle and chain". The type of sickle used, the kama, was a very common peasant self-defense weapon, as it was fairly easy to conceal the kama's purpose as a weapon and peasants were not allowed to own swords. Adding the chain was a common modification when the weapon didn't need to be concealed or when the risk of arrest for carrying a weapon was worth the extra effectiveness. Now, I mentioned schools that taught the use of the kusarigama--it was taught in Kusarigamajutsu and Kobudo.

Before I continue, is there any information above which you don't consider ubiquitous enough to not need a source?

Blanks
2007-11-23, 01:49 AM
So you obejct to Trip weapons "Who ever heard of specialized grapplers or trippers on the battlefield?". I guess you also ban that trip weapon the Halberd. Completely unhistorical, unrealistic weapon that it is.....
Oh, that's right it's a historical weapon used on the battlefield.
I know it was used but im glad you brought it up:
Nobody ever used the halberd to make people fall on their bottom - they used it to bash peoples head in/slice their head of.

Problem 1
Some weapons are just not real weapons (whip, spiked chain)

Problem 2
Some efficient methods of fighting in DnD have no realworld meaning (trip specialization, grappling etc)






@mostlyharmful
We agree thats grappling/punching is useful if you lost your weapon somehow, but otherwise its not gonna be used :smallsmile:

Matthew
2007-11-23, 01:49 AM
As for swords, it should be pointed out that there were a number of armies that used swords as their primary weapon (such as the Roman legion), and that the knightly types who carried swords could easily afford any weapon. You'd think that over a period of millenia, if swords were consistently less effective than other melee weapons in the hands of the most highly trained uses, that the aristocrats would abandon the sword for that other weapon.

Moreover, they were sought after and acquired by Vikings and Saracens alike. There's no evidence at all to support the notion that the sword was not an effective weapon, if not the most effective weapon on a battlefield. A Spear or Bow is preferable before close quarter fighting becomes necessary, but that doesn't detract from the sword at all. That said, axes, maces, hammers, picks, and flails are all perfectly effective weapons with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Talic
2007-11-23, 03:12 AM
Completely different cultures with little contact all came up with handheld sharp pointy things, known as swords. They're effective, yes.

The reason other weapons didn't become more popular, is that, with the exception of the spear-type weapon, other weapons didn't lend themselves as well to fighting en masse. Whirling chains tend to tangle, axes leave unacceptable openings whilst you remove said axe from the previous victim's clavicle. Maces/hammers are too weight intensive, and thus aren't as good on the march.

The ideal weapon was one that could be used with little training, weighed little, was cost effective, lent well to formations, and was combat effective. The sword meets all of the above. Few other weapons do.

The average militia in medieval history was poorly trained conscripts pressed quickly into battle with little training. Since the point of war is arguably to win, it made sense to get weapons that the commoner could learn to use quickly. The noble or career soldier might pick up an odd weapon to play with, but the army used blades. It worked.

Odd, the main reason crossbows were favored over longbows was the ease in training of the crossbow troop, even though it was a more complex and expensive weapon.

Stephen_E
2007-11-23, 06:56 AM
I know it was used but im glad you brought it up:
Nobody ever used the halberd to make people fall on their bottom - they used it to bash peoples head in/slice their head of.

I'm not aware of how Halberds are used in non-battlefield combat, which represents the vast majority of DnD combat. Regardless it appears you object to "tripping" in DnD rather than the Spiked Chain.


Problem 1
Some weapons are just not real weapons (whip, spiked chain)

Depending on what you consider a Spiked Chain to be it may or may not be real as people have repeatedly pointed out. Falchions are real weapons, but the DnD Falchionisn't as far as I'm aware (except maybe as an executioners tool).


Problem 2
Some efficient methods of fighting in DnD have no realworld meaning (trip specialization, grappling etc)

I recall not that long ago in the RL weapons thread some one posted several pages from a middle ages sword-fighting manual. It involved quite a lot of grappling to get a person in the position that you could deliver a fatal blow through their armour.

I'd also note that in DnD magic is a efficient method of magic and has no RL meaning. So I guess you don't allow any combat magic in your games?

Stephen

Talic
2007-11-23, 07:14 AM
Bear in mind, the prominence of swords, spears, and bows was entirely due to their battlefield usage. Since the majority of D&D takes place with small-scale individual combat, rather than army-scale battles, this arguement doesn't apply.

In such battles, anything goes. Biting, shoving, pokes to the eyes, a swift kick to the twig and berries, it's all valid. Whips are certainly effective as a weapon, in the hands of a highly trained individual. Just as a spiked chain could be. It takes more training than the average person invests to use such weapons... Which makes them exotic.

Realism has a place in D&D, but at its core, this is a game designed to spark the imagination. It can, and should, be so much more than an unscripted play with randomness. Why else include dragons, fireballs, and Pit Fiends capable of demolishing the entirety of downtown Atlanta whilst happily chuckling and whistling "Devil went down to Georgia"?

Fawsto
2007-11-23, 09:19 AM
Lol...

Fullblade: Sword and Fist: 1d12 damage
Arms and Equipment Guide: 2d8 damage

LOL.

The problem is not that the SC is overpower, the problem is that the other weapons are underated due to DnD aspects! There are no feats to suport good n' old sword and borders... Simply there isn't. They say those new feats from PHII are good for sword and boarders. I say that with them you can throw your sword away... So, no real Sword and Board feats... None that emphasizes on the best balance between offense and defense this style provides.

Btw, DnD magic is bad for Sword and Borders... Shields: They don't affect touch attacks, or rather require a feat to do so... Nosense. And you can't use them to protect yourself from area damage. Nosense again...

This is a pretty sucky area in DnD... The Sword and Board Shinny Knight is obviously in a bad position... Sorry. Homebrew FTW to correct these...

Rigel Cyrosea
2007-11-23, 09:48 AM
A lot of people seem to be saying that chain weapons were never used to fight because they weren't used on the battlefield. That's not neccessarily true. Though I agree that chain weapons would be near useless in a large scale battle, DnD is not about about large scale battles. DnD is about a few people fighting in small groups, usually less than 15 combatants. I really can't see that sort of combat being prevelant at any point in european medevial (sp?) history, therefore basing what weapons are practical off of what weapons were popular at that time is not necessarily a good practice. Somebody said that in real battles, Halberds were never used to trip people. I don't dispute that. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to trip people with Halberds, because sometimes thats a good thing to do. Not in a large battle, but in a small engagement, against tough enemies, it might be in your best intrest to send someone sprawling, especially if you couldn't get through their armour.
It's the same thing with grappling. Grappling is a valid way to fight, especially if you're really good at it. However, it's near useless on the battlefield, and few real world people actually used it. That doesn't make it suddenly not valid. Few people used it because it's:
a) Only really useful in small battles with a few people a side, or even better, one on one combat, and these types of combat were not common.
b) It's a strange way to fight- even among those who did fight in small battles or one on one regularly, not many would think of grappling.

Ralfarius
2007-11-23, 11:24 AM
I recall not that long ago in the RL weapons thread some one posted several pages from a middle ages sword-fighting manual. It involved quite a lot of grappling to get a person in the position that you could deliver a fatal blow through their armour.
That may have been me, when I was talking about Fiore's di Battalgia's works. A big fundamental of that fighting style was knowing what was applicable at what distance. When fighting with a Long Sword (that is, the two-handed sword you had around the 14th century), often times only the last 18 inches or so would actually be sharp, because you were either thrusting it into an opponent, or swinging to hit with the tip. Because of this, if you (or your opponent) got closer than 3-4 feet, you pretty much had to move into a grapple and either put them into an arm-bar - for snapping at the elbow/pushing their weapon out of their hand - or hold them in place, draw a dagger, and make with the stabbity.

In fact, most fighting styles throughout history have had a reasonable focus on how to grapple and otherwise disable an opponent without the use of your weapon. By building on that sort of core, you can apply the basics of "how to hurt someone" in learning how to do so with a weapon.

Also, I would tend to agree that the sword was the most efficient, well-rounded weapon at basically any point in history. It had better length than a dagger, was lighter and more wieldly than an axe, and required less use of force than a mace/club. Most conscripted soldiers almost always had no armor, and therefore a sharp length of metal was best for cutting them down. A sword and a good shield in the hands of a member of a lord's personal retinue made a sharpened hoe or scythe look pretty pitiful.

Is the sword the best weapon? I'm not certain, but it's definitely the most universally useful.

If I were to do anything with D&D, I wouldn't so much make a spiked chain less effective as I would make a sword and shield (and a lot of other weapon combinations) more effective. Through most of history, a sword and shield was pretty much the ideal way to fight. Before having some sort of protective clothing/armor, a shield was pretty handy for keeping a man alive, especially when you line it up with the shields on either side of you and start forming a wall of double-layered wood.

Blanks
2007-11-23, 12:35 PM
Just to clarify my ideas about this:
I think its great that they included the whip, grappling and tripping.
They make sure i dont have to houserule everytime some player gets a strange idea ("Dude we can totally use the sheets as weapons!!!").

What i DONT like is players specializing in tactics which clearly only make sense in the DnD mechanics. AoO, whips, tripping and grappling specialized builds are all funny and effective, but not very realistic.



I'm not aware of how Halberds are used in non-battlefield combat, which represents the vast majority of DnD combat. Regardless it appears you object to "tripping" in DnD rather than the Spiked Chain.
See the qoute you included in your own post - im not opposed to tripping but to people specializing in it.


Depending on what you consider a Spiked Chain to be it may or may not be real as people have repeatedly pointed out. Falchions are real weapons, but the DnD Falchionisn't as far as I'm aware (except maybe as an executioners tool).
Someone was able to find a weapon which resembled the spiked chain somewhat, in a culture different from most DnD campaigns, in a time period that somewhat matches the typical DnD campaign. The spiked chain as it is described in the PHB is pure fantasy.
Falchions may or may not be real but "something swordlike" is at least plausible (to me).


I recall not that long ago in the RL weapons thread some one posted several pages from a middle ages sword-fighting manual. It involved quite a lot of grappling to get a person in the position that you could deliver a fatal blow through their armour.
So grappling WITH A WEAPON is nice. Cool. But thats not what you do in DnD, so its nice to know but doesnt make grappling "realistic".


I'd also note that in DnD magic is a efficient method of magic and has no RL meaning. So I guess you don't allow any combat magic in your games?
Just because someone else knows magic doesnt mean that you can defy gravity. And just because someone else knows magic, your sword is still just a piece of metal. The laws of physics* in DnD only changes when someone uses magic not just because someone can.


*Do the laws of physics in DnD have to be the same as IRL? No, but as someone pointed out its REALLY convienient that they are...

Matthew
2007-11-23, 01:15 PM
Indeed. "It's fantasy, so anything goes" is not much good for suspending disbelief. It all goes back to the 'How Real is Your Fantasy?' section of the DMG. Personally, I prefer things to be fairly realistic with 'fantastic' supernatural exceptions, as that helps me maintain a reasonable degree of versimilitude and keeps magic impressive and special, rather than making it just another mundane aspect of the setting. Obviously, that doesn't apply to every game of Dungeons & Dragons I might play, but for the most part I prefer it.

Spiked Chains fall into the category of 'things I don't like about 3e'. They're right up there with Monks, Two Handed Weapons, Two Handed Spears, None Simultaneous Combat, Saving Throw Progressions, Multiple Attacks derived from Base Attack Bonuses, the art for many of the weapons and art style in general, the Feat and Skill Systems, the default rapidity of level increase, overpowered Magic, etc...

Unlike many of those other things, though, it's very easy to get rid of without disrupting the balance of the game, so I generally do.

That said, I have no problem with others including the Spiked Chain or liking any of the above, it's just a matter of preference.

Yahzi
2007-11-23, 01:27 PM
I know it was used but im glad you brought it up:
Nobody ever used the halberd to make people fall on their bottom - they used it to bash peoples head in/slice their head of.
They did use the bill-hook to pull people off of horses, though. And to pull down your shield while their buddy bashes your head in.

Let's face it, D&D mechanics just aren't very precise at modeling combat. That's ok. But dang it, the Bastard sword should be the weapon everybody complains about being overpowered, not the spiked chain.

Premier
2007-11-23, 02:15 PM
Regarding the real-life utility of the sword versus axes, maces and whatnot...

Reading the relevant posts, I get the feeling that some people have an image of the Middle Ages not unlike most fantasy worlds - centuries and millenia pass without anyone ever inventing new weapons, new types of armour, new forging techniques etc..
That's obviously incorrect. The Middle Ages - like all periods of history - have seen dynamic technological, economical, cultural and other sorts of development, including the area of warfare. Yes, swords invariably cropped up at various times in various cultures - but notably always at times when that culture didn't have the technological and/or economical ability to produce heavy armour. Why did swords crop up? Because they were a highly effective design - for that given technological paradigm. And as some people said, yes, they rightly became iconic symbols of nobility etc. etc..

But then the times changed. Centuries passed with people trying to come up with ways to protect yourself against the ubiquiteous sword, and as smithing and metal-mining technology developed, so did armour. Late medieval/renaissance armour became better and better and eventually a sword could only hurt someone wearing such armour if it was stuck in-between two armour components. So yes, swords were, after a while, rendered ineffective against armour. Sure, they were still great for peasants wishing to protect their families against bandits, urban courtiers and professional soldiers (knights included) whenever they got the urge to go after the poor conscripted bastards in the enemy army. But against other knights, against people who could afford the latest developments in armour, they became rather ineffective, and thus they were outpaced by maces and axes which were the dedicated "anti-armour" weapons by then.

Matthew
2007-11-23, 02:53 PM
It may be the case that axes, maces, hammers flails and picks were significantly more effective than swords at overcoming plate armour, but I'm yet to see any direct evidence to that effect. What I have seen is the penetration of plate armour by 'specialised' bows and spears, where the attacks were direct. I am yet to see whether a 'specialised' sword thrust could breach plate in this way; I wouldn't be surprised if it did, though I should imagine there would have to be significant force behind the blow.

That's the core of the problem, though. There has never been a direct universally accepted demonstration of the effectiveness of medieval arms and armour in the modern age, for obvious reasons. The best we can say is that combatants appear to have worn the best armour they could afford and that there appears to be an increasing diversity of arms that runs parallel with developments in armour.

Dausuul
2007-11-23, 03:21 PM
But then the times changed. Centuries passed with people trying to come up with ways to protect yourself against the ubiquiteous sword, and as smithing and metal-mining technology developed, so did armour. Late medieval/renaissance armour became better and better and eventually a sword could only hurt someone wearing such armour if it was stuck in-between two armour components. So yes, swords were, after a while, rendered ineffective against armour. Sure, they were still great for peasants wishing to protect their families against bandits, urban courtiers and professional soldiers (knights included) whenever they got the urge to go after the poor conscripted bastards in the enemy army. But against other knights, against people who could afford the latest developments in armour, they became rather ineffective, and thus they were outpaced by maces and axes which were the dedicated "anti-armour" weapons by then.

Remember, however, that while an axe or a mace was better against a foe in full plate, a sword was better against virtually everyone else; and full plate was too expensive for most nations to outfit more than a small, elite corps with it. That's why swords remained popular, and why so much effort was dedicated to devising fighting techniques that could get a sword point through full plate. If everyone had been in plate, then of course everyone would have switched to axes and maces, but on the battlefield most of the people you fought would be wearing mail and helm, maybe a breastplate. So you used a sword to hack down those unfortunate folks, and when you did run up against your fully-armored opposite number, you'd make do. Axes and maces were for when you knew you were going to be fighting primarily armored knights.

Anyway, back to the spiked chain... I agree that chain-based weapons are much more useful in small-scale combat. However, they should not be so far ahead of all others, particularly when you consider that the best model for a lot of D&D fights is not the skirmish or the duel but the boar hunt. You're going after monsters that are much bigger, much stronger, and much tougher than you, often in confined spaces. Against such a foe, a spiked chain should be a distinctly sub-optimal weapon. Yet it is, in fact, still better than pretty much anything else, simply due to its being two-handed, its 2d4 base damage, and its reach.

The spiked chain ought to be like the whip; a specialized weapon for disarming and tripping, highly effective at those maneuvers, but limited in its application elsewhere.

Rigel Cyrosea
2007-11-23, 05:16 PM
Anyway, back to the spiked chain... I agree that chain-based weapons are much more useful in small-scale combat. However, they should not be so far ahead of all others, particularly when you consider that the best model for a lot of D&D fights is not the skirmish or the duel but the boar hunt. You're going after monsters that are much bigger, much stronger, and much tougher than you, often in confined spaces. Against such a foe, a spiked chain should be a distinctly sub-optimal weapon. Yet it is, in fact, still better than pretty much anything else, simply due to its being two-handed, its 2d4 base damage, and its reach.

The spiked chain ought to be like the whip; a specialized weapon for disarming and tripping, highly effective at those maneuvers, but limited in its application elsewhere.
Uh, the Guisarme is two-handed, has 2d4 base damage, reach, and a better crit range than the spiked chain. What makes the spiked chain good is it being specialized for tripping and disarming. That and it being usable against adjacent opponents as well, but you can equal that by using armour spikes with your Guisarme. The Guisarme can even trip too.
Wait... why is the spiked chain better than the Guisarme anyway?

Clementx
2007-11-23, 05:29 PM
Wait... why is the spiked chain better than the Guisarme anyway?
Because the ability to threaten at 5ft is huge, and probably worth a lot more than a feat (look at how limiting Short Haft is, and see the difference). The lower crit range pays for the finesse-ability, but that still leaves quite a bit over the other exotics. Of course, all the other exotics completely suck...

Rigel Cyrosea
2007-11-23, 05:30 PM
But what about Guisarme + Armour spikes?

Matthew
2007-11-23, 05:34 PM
You only have to enchant/specialise with one weapon? You have access to the Exotic Weapon Master Prestige Class? Dunno, it's a tough decision.

Clementx
2007-11-23, 05:38 PM
But what about Guisarme + Armour spikes?
Requires you to spend a feat, take -2 on all your attacks, deals less base and Str damage, does not benefit from any weapon-specific feats you have taken, and requires another weapon to enchant, which takes -6 net on disarms and can't trip, which are your special attacks. See the difference?

Rigel Cyrosea
2007-11-23, 06:39 PM
Alright, so spiked chain is better. But the Guisarme is a viable option for those with less feats to spend, or those whose concepts don't include chain weapons.

Stephen_E
2007-11-25, 11:38 PM
Anyway, back to the spiked chain... I agree that chain-based weapons are much more useful in small-scale combat. However, they should not be so far ahead of all others, particularly when you consider that the best model for a lot of D&D fights is not the skirmish or the duel but the boar hunt. You're going after monsters that are much bigger, much stronger, and much tougher than you, often in confined spaces. Against such a foe, a spiked chain should be a distinctly sub-optimal weapon. Yet it is, in fact, still better than pretty much anything else, simply due to its being two-handed, its 2d4 base damage, and its reach.

The spiked chain ought to be like the whip; a specialized weapon for disarming and tripping, highly effective at those maneuvers, but limited in its application elsewhere.

See this is the point that keeps been raised that I see as completely unproven.

The claim that the Spiked Chain is pretty much better than every other weapon out there.

It just isn't so. If it was I'd expect it to be used all the time. The 2 biggest "optimisers" I know never use it. They talk about how it's overpowered and cheese but they never use it despite never having shown any morales about using anything and everything to pump their PCs..

The Spiked Chain is funky and loved by some because of this, but it's a feat hog to use all it's options (to the degree that even a Fighter struggles to have enough), and not really any better at all the options than the non-exotic weapons for those options. If you want to damage with a 2HW use a 2H Sword, it's better. If you want to trip it's slightly superior to the Halberd, but Tripping is a very limited ability in DnD (only really works on M sized humanoids). If you want to Disarm it no better than the other Disarm weapons (and Disarm is only useful vs weapon wielders, especially those using Combat Expertise).

It can reach targets 5' away unlike most weapons that can only attack adjacent, but that's only worth noting because the other weapons that can reach 5' away suck so badly unless you're a Monk or have Armour Spikes ecetre.

As for people specalising in Tripping or anything else. If you don't like this then you're complaining about the limits of the DnD combat system, rather than about any weapon.

Stephen

tyckspoon
2007-11-25, 11:55 PM
Requires you to spend a feat, take -2 on all your attacks, deals less base and Str damage, does not benefit from any weapon-specific feats you have taken, and requires another weapon to enchant, which takes -6 net on disarms and can't trip, which are your special attacks. See the difference?

I'm pretty sure you don't take any penalties for simply *having* an off-hand weapon; you have to attack with both weapons. Armor spikes+ Guisarme/other reach aren't meant to be used against one target at the same time, so you typically don't deal with the penalties for two-weapon fighting. And yes, the armor spikes aren't especially good at special attacks, but so what? You're only wearing them so you can attack into your normal space as well as your reach space, which is usually only important if you're Large or otherwise have expanded reach. If you're Medium, you 5-foot away from the guy who ran up next to you and whack/trip/disarm him with your reach weapon instead. Assuming you didn't Knock-down, Stand Still, or Improved Trip him as he ran in through your reach zone first.

You're not intending the armor spikes to be a primary weapon, either. Make 'em +1 so they get past DR/magic, maybe a special material, and you've got as much enhancement as they absolutely need. You can get away with less if you've got a friendly spellcaster who can drop a (Greater) Magic Weapon on them.

sikyon
2007-11-26, 01:20 AM
Also, I would tend to agree that the sword was the most efficient, well-rounded weapon at basically any point in history. It had better length than a dagger, was lighter and more wieldly than an axe, and required less use of force than a mace/club. Most conscripted soldiers almost always had no armor, and therefore a sharp length of metal was best for cutting them down. A sword and a good shield in the hands of a member of a lord's personal retinue made a sharpened hoe or scythe look pretty pitiful.

Is the sword the best weapon? I'm not certain, but it's definitely the most universally useful.


I would disagree, and say that the spear was the most efficient weapon. Combining with even a simple wooden sheild, and you have reach (very important), power en masse, defensability and most importantly they were cheap. They lent themselves perfectly to massed infantry. Hell, they can even be thrown short ranges. It's all about reach, reach reach. You undervalue reach. If you wanted to kill someone in full plate you used a warhammer to bash their armour in, breaking their bones/skull, and trapping them inside the suit to die a slow and painful death if the blacksmith couldn't remove the armor. But that's beside the point.

Spears my friends, spears are the king of weapons.

Talic
2007-11-26, 01:31 AM
I would disagree, and say that the spear was the most efficient weapon. Combining with even a simple wooden sheild, and you have reach (very important), power en masse, defensability and most importantly they were cheap. They lent themselves perfectly to massed infantry. Hell, they can even be thrown short ranges. It's all about reach, reach reach. You undervalue reach. If you wanted to kill someone in full plate you used a warhammer to bash their armour in, breaking their bones/skull, and trapping them inside the suit to die a slow and painful death if the blacksmith couldn't remove the armor. But that's beside the point.

Spears my friends, spears are the king of weapons.

Spears are also less forgiving than a sword. They all have their uses. Spears, en masse, are great for stopping advances and the like. They can be a ranged weapon, and a reach weapon...

But in one on one fights, the sword has a marked advantage... Especially the Sword shield combo vs the shortspear/shield combo.

As the spear is basically a thrust weapon, its angle of attack is easier to predict and deflect. Also, as the spear is extended, center of gravity makes it harder to control, lending to the spear-wielder having a tendency to overextend.

The Sword, however, was either a thrust or a slash weapon, based on the weapon. The thrust weapons, while having less reach, were also easier to control and feint with, giving less opportunity to defend. The slashing weapons had a host of angles they could come from, making it that much harder to defend.

In short, the spear was generally more effective in formation, against formation charges, much as horses were. What was especially formidable was the combination sword/spear/shield formations, such as the Phalanx, wherein the front rank used shields and swords, and the rear ranks had spears to give a lethal kill zone.

That said, the sword wasn't quite universal throughout all the world's cultures (nearly, but not quite). The spear, or sharpened stick, was.

Dausuul
2007-11-26, 02:11 AM
Spears are also less forgiving than a sword. They all have their uses. Spears, en masse, are great for stopping advances and the like. They can be a ranged weapon, and a reach weapon...

But in one on one fights, the sword has a marked advantage... Especially the Sword shield combo vs the shortspear/shield combo.

As the spear is basically a thrust weapon, its angle of attack is easier to predict and deflect. Also, as the spear is extended, center of gravity makes it harder to control, lending to the spear-wielder having a tendency to overextend.

The Sword, however, was either a thrust or a slash weapon, based on the weapon. The thrust weapons, while having less reach, were also easier to control and feint with, giving less opportunity to defend. The slashing weapons had a host of angles they could come from, making it that much harder to defend.

In short, the spear was generally more effective in formation, against formation charges, much as horses were. What was especially formidable was the combination sword/spear/shield formations, such as the Phalanx, wherein the front rank used shields and swords, and the rear ranks had spears to give a lethal kill zone.

That said, the sword wasn't quite universal throughout all the world's cultures (nearly, but not quite). The spear, or sharpened stick, was.

Indeed. Each weapon had its strong points (pun intended) and its drawbacks. Given how easy it is to make a spear, and how difficult, expensive, and time-consuming it is to make a sword, it's hard to imagine anyone would have bothered inventing swords in the first place if there weren't some value in them.

Kompera
2007-11-26, 05:43 AM
Two very similar objections:


I'm not going to dispute your specific thoughts on the validity of the spiked chain as a weapon at the moment, but I am going to comment on the idea you seem to be presenting, that just because a game has fantasy elements, nothing needs to make sense. If that were true, we wouldn't bother having rules. Even a fantasy world needs to remain consistent within itself. While such things as magic may exist, even magic has rules by which it operates--in effect, it has its own logic. Thus, if a particular game mechanic is not intended to overwrite the default rules of reality with which we are all vaguely familiar, I see no reason to "throw logic out the window" with regard to that mechanic.


And the idea that "logic is out the window because elves and spellcasters exist" is... well, bluntly, it's baloney. The rules of a fantasy world still need to be internally consistent. Moreover, one of the rules of most fantasy worlds is that physics works the way it does in the real world except where nullified by an explicit fantasy element; this allows us, who live in the real world, to have an intuitive understanding of how the fantasy world works.

So, perhaps Elves and Magic were poor examples. Let's keep things on the physical level, since the objections seem to concern themselves with the supposed "unrealism" of the spiked chain.

I'll just mention a few other physical actions or items which stretch the boundaries of physics to the breaking point. Perhaps that'll give some perspective on why I see the supposed "unrealism" argument against the spiked chain as merely a failure of the imaginations of those who so object.

Feats
Great Cleave;
Spring Attack;
Whirlwind Attack;
Snatch Arrows;
Blind Fight;
Two Weapon Fighting;
Large TWF;
Manyshot;
Monkey Grip;

Weapons
Axe, orc double;
Flail, dire;

Skills
High skill levels in Jump;

And any number of stances and maneuvers from the ToB.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. And yet it does provide some perspective. If you accept all of the above, why is the spiked chain such a hard thing to suspend your disbelief regarding?

All of the above are patently ridiculous, but not any more so or any less than the spiked chain.

It's a fantasy game, fantastic elements are de rigueur, and that includes fantastic maneuvers and fantastic weapons, as well as the Elves and Magic cited previously. Claiming that the inclusion of the spiked chain as an available weapon ruins the verisimilitude of the game setting is frankly only revealing of the claimants lack of imagination.

Talic
2007-11-26, 05:56 AM
Two very similar objections:





So, perhaps Elves and Magic were poor examples. Let's keep things on the physical level, since the objections seem to concern themselves with the supposed "unrealism" of the spiked chain.

I'll just mention a few other physical actions or items which stretch the boundaries of physics to the breaking point. Perhaps that'll give some perspective on why I see the supposed "unrealism" argument against the spiked chain as merely a failure of the imaginations of those who so object.

Feats
Great Cleave;
Spring Attack;
Whirlwind Attack;
Snatch Arrows;
Blind Fight;
Two Weapon Fighting;
Large TWF;
Manyshot;
Monkey Grip;

Weapons
Axe, orc double;
Flail, dire;

Skills
High skill levels in Jump;

And any number of stances and maneuvers from the ToB.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. And yet it does provide some perspective. If you accept all of the above, why is the spiked chain such a hard thing to suspend your disbelief regarding?

All of the above are patently ridiculous, but not any more so or any less than the spiked chain.

It's a fantasy game, fantastic elements are de rigueur, and that includes fantastic maneuvers and fantastic weapons, as well as the Elves and Magic cited previously. Claiming that the inclusion of the spiked chain as an available weapon ruins the verisimilitude of the game setting is frankly only revealing of the claimants lack of imagination.

Indeed, Mythbusters actually did a piece on snatching arrows. Result? Busted. Not possible for a human, provided the arrow and bow are the real deal.

Blind fighting, though, not so much... that's just listening more closely, much like blind people do.

Matthew
2007-11-26, 06:01 AM
I seriously doubt that the majority of those who discard the Spiked Chain include the Dire Flail, Orc Double Axe and other 'unrealistic' weapons.

As for Feats and Skills which stretch reality, some of them do go 'too far', but many of them don't. I don't see the problem with Two Weapon Fighting or Oversized Two Weapon Fighting. Spring attack is truly no big deal at all [Move, Attack, Move] and Great Cleave/Whirlwind Attack are none too hard to incorporate into an abstract combat round.

Snatch Arrows... well that's Monks for you, Many Shot is pretty unlikely, but Monkey Grip is no big deal.

Kompera
2007-11-26, 06:42 AM
Ok, so each of the points is arguable by itself (as I'd argue that a reading of Blind Fighting easily shows that it is physically impossible to act "in reality" as described. An invisible opponent gains absolutely zero benefit to attack you? So I am invisible and stand 5 feet away from you, and you can hear me because of the Blind Fighting Feat. Now I thrust my spear into your belly. What kind of superhuman hearing would it take to sense that coming? More than any blind person possesses, that's what kind.)

The point remains: There are enough other "mainstream" and fully accepted aspects of the game which break the laws of physics in enough ways that accepting a spiked chain shouldn't be such a hard thing to do.

A good many objections to the weapon seem to be that if other Feats are purchased that they have a lot of synergies with the spiked chain. And that's true, but buying those Feats precludes the purchase of other Feats.

And a Fighter using a Guisarme can Trip opponents just as well. Hey, even a Fighter using a "sword and board" can buy improved Trip and trip all day long. The spiked chain just allows it to be done at a 10' range, but the "sword and board" Fighter gets a 5' step and so can easily Trip an opponent 10' away. And again he hasn't spent a Feat on an Exotic Weapon or given up his shield AC bonus. With Imp: Trip you don't even provoke an AoO while performing a Trip unarmed, so the Guisarme Fighter can indeed Trip someone at 5' distance without having to worry about the area threatened or the Short Haft Feat.

Matthew
2007-11-26, 06:51 AM
You're still making the same argument, though, which is "Well if I allow X, then I should totally allow Y." The argument that is actually being made, though, is "I don't want to allow X, but I will allow Y." Including an Elf or Blind Fighting in a game is not a mandate to include "anything". What you appear to be describing is the 'thin edge of the wedge'. To put it another way, the Spiked Chain is one element amongst many that people might remove from the game for the sake of their suspension of disbelief. It's a pretty visible component, so it's hardly surprising when people seek to excise it.

Is it arbitrary to exclude it, but not something else that seems 'more stupid'? It may seem that way, but you can bet that the person excluding it considers it to be 'more stupid' than skill, feat or item Y. That's just the nature of 3e D&D. The default rules are very permissive and increasingly so with the various optional supplements. Revoking some of those permissions is a perfectly normal response for someone seeking to 'ground their game' or make it less Dragon Ball Z and more Lord of the Rings or Conan (though a Spiked Chain might be totally appropriate in certain iterations of Conan).

Take a look at the 'How Real is your Fantasy' Side Bar of the DMG (3e DMG, p. 154, 3.5e DMG, p. 136). I wish they still had the article about weapon design up on the Wizards Website, but it vanished several years ago, to the best of my knowledge.

In short, though, Dungeons & Dragons is a game designed to support different levels and views of fantasy.

Kompera
2007-11-26, 07:40 AM
You're still making the same argument, though, which is "Well if I allow X, then I should totally allow Y." The argument that is actually being made, though, is "I don't want to allow X, but I will allow Y." Including an Elf or Blind Fighting in a game is not a mandate to include "anything".Close, but not quite. Some folks have said that the spiked chain breaks their verisimilitude, and used arguments which included that they found it to be too improbable, or that it was physically impossible to do what the rules describe with a spiked chain. I'll gladly allow that any GM is free to allow or disallow any element of the rules, and that it's then up to the players to chose to play or not. But I won't allow that the GM is question is maintaining a logical consistency, when there are so many other elements of the game which are non-magical and which also can be clearly demonstrated to break the exact same "physical laws" which so offended the GM about the spiked chain.

If you hate something and want it out of your game, feel free to say so. But don't try to tell me that you're doing so on the basis of "logic" or "verisimilitude" or "physics", while still allowing the 3' tall Halfling with 20 ranks in jump to make demonstrably impossible leaps or while allowing a blind man to be able to tell that the attacker is using a spear rather than a sword and so he should block against a thrust instead of a swing or even a thrust against his throat rather than a thrust against his thigh, or while allowing the Fighter using a sword and with a free off-hand to snatch arrows out of the air (just three examples of the many I've given in my post above). Because if a person were to make that argument, they'd be a hypocrite.

Matthew
2007-11-26, 07:54 AM
What I don't get is this idea that by excluding the Spiked Chain, somebody must therefore be saying 'everything else is fine'. D&D is full of demonstrably impossible things, that's not really the point. It's how much of it you want in your game. Generally speaking, the more impossible the thing, the higher level the characters. The Spiked Chain, though, is level independent. If I choose to play D&D at low levels, I still have to deal with the Spiked Chain, even though many of the other improbable elements have 'taken a walk.' To put it another way, there isn't much that a Warrior 1 can do that is improbable, but using a Spiked Chain is one of them.

It may well be that some of these disagreements are directly related to 'normal level of play' preferences. If I were playing a Level 15 Game, I probably would be less inclined to care about Spiked Chains, but since most of my games take place between Levels 1-5, I'm inclined to remove it. Again, though, removing it on grounds of physics, versimilitude or logic are perfectly fine, so long as you are removing anything else that offends you that way. On the other hand, the Spiked chain is a lot easier to remove than rewriting the Jump rules or Skill rules in general.

To be clear, though, D&D is supposed to be based in real 'physics' with exceptions. That's the assumption made in the DMG, as wrong as it may be. Which of those exceptions you choose to include/exclude is up to you, but they are exceptions, not part of a unified 'physics of D&D' (even though, mechanically speaking, that's exactly what they are).*

* I should probably explain this. The mechanics of D&D are a model of the physics of the Campaign Setting, not the physics of the campaign setting itself. Whenever the game rules contradict something about the 'reality' of the setting they are describing, the setting should always take priority. Unfortunately, this is something that is often ignored or misunderstood, but it's a key difference between a CRPG and an RPG.

Charity
2007-11-26, 08:38 AM
I tend to look at these things only from a balance and mechanics viewpoint.
I find nothing particularly unbalancing in the use of the spiked chain, nor is it adding unnessisary complexity to the game so I quite happily allow it.
I can't really see why another more believable reach weapon couldn't be concocted using the same stats as the spiked chain. If you don't like the way it looks, call it a wacky polearm name and Bob's your uncle.
As for the mirriad of ludicrous physics anomolies in the game they are not really related to this as I think it is mainly a fluff issue.
Heck, I hate the fact that eastern style monks have been polluting my western fantasy setting since 1st ed, though at least in 1st ed they never lived to second level...

Dausuul
2007-11-26, 08:40 AM
What I don't get is this idea that by excluding the Spiked Chain, somebody must therefore be saying 'everything else is fine'. D&D is full of demonstrably impossible things, that's not really the point. It's how much of it you want in your game. Generally speaking, the more impossible the thing, the higher level the characters. The Spiked Chain, though, is level independent. If I choose to play D&D at low levels, I still have to deal with the Spiked Chain, even though many of the other improbable elements have 'taken a walk.' To put it another way, there isn't much that a Warrior 1 can do that is improbable, but using a Spiked Chain is one of them.

Agreed. High-level characters are clearly superhuman, even the classes like fighters and barbarians who are theoretically non-magical, and can do all kinds of wacky stunts. I feel that low-level characters, however, should play by physics as written--at least to the extent that the D&D ruleset can model PAW without excessive house-ruling. (It's a lot easier to toss out spiked chains than it is to, for example, rewrite the skill system.)

And what makes people think we spiked-chain haters are just fine with double axes and dire flails? I toss all that crap over the side in my games. It's just that the spiked chain is the only one of those weapons that's actually worth bothering with, so it's the one people pay attention to.

Keld Denar
2007-11-26, 09:04 AM
Does no one read my posts?


And if you don't like the flavor of the spiked chain, we'll call it somethign else. Call it a spear type weapon. The weapon is used at range by thrusting the sharp end at people. Then, at the area where the front hand goes, there are a couple of spiked projections that can be punched with. There is also a hook on one side that can be used to trip, and aides with disarm attempts. Being proficient with it means that a character can intersperse close and reach attacks at will, but requires extra training (exotic weapon). It is enchanted as a single weapon, but can be sundered as one. Damage on all spikes is 2d4 at medium size. There you go....mechanically, its exactly a spiked chain. Flavorwise, its more of a pole arm. No Jackie Chan physics defying properties about it.

Problem solved. I'll even draw something up in MS paint if you need a physical description.

Matthew
2007-11-26, 09:11 AM
I tend to look at these things only from a balance and mechanics viewpoint.
I find nothing particularly unbalancing in the use of the spiked chain, nor is it adding unnessisary complexity to the game so I quite happily allow it.
I can't really see why another more believable reach weapon couldn't be concocted using the same stats as the spiked chain. If you don't like the way it looks, call it a wacky polearm name and Bob's your uncle.
As for the mirriad of ludicrous physics anomolies in the game they are not really related to this as I think it is mainly a fluff issue.
Heck, I hate the fact that eastern style monks have been polluting my western fantasy setting since 1st ed, though at least in 1st ed they never lived to second level...

Indeed, though it really is fluff we're discussing. I have no problem with all kinds of things, such as applying Weapon Finesse to all Weapons or dumping Iterative Attacks or whatever. Really, though, fluff matters a lot more than people make out. It's easy to ignore, but I would rather not have to.


Does no one read my posts?

I'm sure they do, but it's no surprise to see the same idea brought up again independently in a lengthy thread.


Problem solved. I'll even draw something up in MS paint if you need a physical description.

Well, except that isn't actually the problem. As far as I can tell, it's not the mechanics that people object to, for the most part.

Here's an amusing link related to the subject of game rules and setting reality: Lava Rules (http://www.lavarules.com/)

Charity
2007-11-26, 10:55 AM
Sorry Matthew, in my haste to say something someone else had already posted,

Does no one read my posts?
I failed to get over my one nuggat of remotely original input, I understand that fluff is pretty much all that makes an RPG different to a single character wargame.
I was attempting to say that it is versatile, it is easy to enact a fluff change/bypass without having any in game, knock on effects.

Matthew as an aside, doesn't lacking iterative attacks further hamper the melee classes?

Matthew
2007-11-26, 11:06 AM
Sorry Matthew, in my haste to say something someone else had already posted,

I failed to get over my one nuggat of remotely original input, I understand that fluff is pretty much all that makes an RPG different to a single character wargame.
I was attempting to say that it is versatile, it is easy to enact a fluff change/bypass without having any in game, knock on effects.

Right, yeah, very true.


Matthew as an aside, doesn't lacking iterative attacks further hamper the melee classes?

Heh, well they'd probably have to be replaced with something; either Saga's +X to Damage and Rapid Strike thingy, or something similar to the AD&D version of Multiple Attacks.

Charity
2007-11-26, 11:26 AM
Ah, see, 3/2 or even worse 7/4... or was it 7/3... anyhow those always complicated matters, though I guess you just lob those out as a bad job.

More aside, if this is bugging anyone just tell me and I'll shut up.
To be honest I find the whole turn taking in combat thing makes realism versimilitude of any sort difficult to achieve. What we need is a SFB (Star Fleet Battles (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1589)) style impulse movement system... though god knows how complex that would make it all... and you'd have to roll opposed initiatives whenever two of you were in range to swing... you know if 4e doesn't sort it out I might just get off my backside and bolt it on...maybe... most likely not

Matthew
2007-11-26, 11:44 AM
Heh, I never had a problem with fractional Multiple Attacks... but I wouldn't be inclined to introduce them to 3e.

Like you, I much prefer simultaneous action to action by sequential initiative count. It's a bit harder to orchestrate, but so much more satisfying. Of course, that's how I play every edition prior to 3e...

Blackbrrd
2007-11-26, 12:00 PM
As a DM I would give my players two options:
a) Ban spiked chain
b) Nearly all NPCs wielding melee weapons are using spiked chain

daggaz
2007-11-26, 12:41 PM
Indeed, Mythbusters actually did a piece on snatching arrows. Result? Busted. Not possible for a human, provided the arrow and bow are the real deal.

Blind fighting, though, not so much... that's just listening more closely, much like blind people do.

LMAO! Mythbusters? What a crock of **** those guys are! Please, dont use fake tv-science in a phsyics debate, ever.

If those guys want to prove/disprove a theory, all they would really have to do is sit down and do the freaking math! Only on occasions where the theories are incomplete and unproven or unprovable (chaotic conditions), would they even need to do one of their pranks. (tho you do still do the phsyical test, just in case, to test the math you did first)

Take arrow snatching for example:
An arrow released from some bow X will have a certain velocity at a certain distance, we will set those parameters, as they are arbitrary. The human hand is on average perhaps six inches or so wide. Do the math, using the length of the arrow, the width of the hand, and the arrow's velocity, to figure out how much time the human has to clinch his hand down. Its probably not very much at all. Then you need to do some tests to see how quickly a human can exert force on an arrow shaped object, by having them tightly squeeze an arrow shaped object that can measure said force. Finally, measure the friction coefficient between the arrow and human skin. At this point, if a human can exert enough force in enough time to stop the arrow, based on the initial velocity and the friction coefficient, then arrow snatching is possible, and at this point it is simply a matter of timing. If the human is incapable of timing it? It becomes a matter of luck. Only mythbusters would simply try to catch the arrows first to prove/disprove this, without doing any other testing.

//rant against dumbed down television over

As for the OP, well, I am with all the other people who said that the spiked chain just happens to be the only weapon decent enough to burn a feat for, and it is all the other weapons that need upgrading/specialization in order to make melee combat stand out more. As it is, nobody cares if the monster is wielding a pick/an axe/a sword/a mace/a club/a dagger/a gnomed hooked hammer... all they care about is the monsters to hit modifier, and its reach. Its a terribly lacking system.

Frosty
2007-11-26, 01:30 PM
As a DM I would give my players two options:
a) Ban spiked chain
b) Nearly all NPCs wielding melee weapons are using spiked chain

If the flavor is right, I'd say there's nothing wrong with the majority of NPCs wielding spiked chains. If that's the mainstay of the army, why not? The NPCs will have to spend a feat to be proficient. And then two more feats if they wanna trip. Most NPC soldiers probably won't have 3 feats to spend because level 6 is fairly elite.

There's plenty of ways to get around tripping. At level 6, flight is available, and being large sized will make you harder to trip as well. Elite soldiers trained to trip are fine, but not every soldier is elite, and those elite soldiers will have the appropriate CR and award the appropriate EXP.

spiked chains are not a big problem and definitely should show up against the PCs every now and then.

tainsouvra
2007-11-26, 02:00 PM
Most NPC soldiers probably won't have 3 feats to spend because level 6 is fairly elite. First level human fighter. Third level human warrior. If you're in a campaign where humans are the most prevalent race, as with many campaigns, a spiked-chain squad could show up much sooner than you expect.

Tokiko Mima
2007-11-26, 02:59 PM
Indeed, Mythbusters actually did a piece on snatching arrows. Result? Busted. Not possible for a human, provided the arrow and bow are the real deal.

Blind fighting, though, not so much... that's just listening more closely, much like blind people do.

I didn't see the Mythbusters segment, but are you sure it's busted? Because they actually show Terry Bryan catching two arrows (one blindfolded) on Ripley's Believe it or Not. YouTube video Link (http://youtube.com/watch?v=uLj8eK814o0)

Ralfarius
2007-11-26, 03:17 PM
I would disagree, and say that the spear was the most efficient weapon. Combining with even a simple wooden sheild, and you have reach (very important), power en masse, defensability and most importantly they were cheap. They lent themselves perfectly to massed infantry. Hell, they can even be thrown short ranges. It's all about reach, reach reach. You undervalue reach. If you wanted to kill someone in full plate you used a warhammer to bash their armour in, breaking their bones/skull, and trapping them inside the suit to die a slow and painful death if the blacksmith couldn't remove the armor. But that's beside the point.

Spears my friends, spears are the king of weapons.
All excellent points you bring up. The spear is definitely the most efficient, especially when considered in terms of material required and ease of use when grouped. I also enjoy that spears can usually double as staves when you're up close, be thrown, and are extremely replaceable.

However, my thought is that the sword is more 'universally' useful, making it more efficient as a weapon in terms that it can be used both for thrusting and slashing (in many cases), and that a well-made example could last for generations, and become considered by many cultures the 'professional warrior's' weapon.

Still, spears are totally great.

Matthew
2007-11-26, 03:18 PM
Quite a lot of Arrow catching videos there, actually...

Bow, Spear, Sword, Dagger, they're pretty universal. It's the Axe, Mace, Pick, Flail and Hammer that muddy the waters, since they tend to replace an armament, rather than add to what is carried (though, not in every case).

tbarrie
2007-11-26, 03:18 PM
LMAO! Mythbusters? What a crock of **** those guys are! Please, dont use fake tv-science in a phsyics debate, ever.

If those guys want to prove/disprove a theory, all they would really have to do is sit down and do the freaking math! Only on occasions where the theories are incomplete and unproven or unprovable (chaotic conditions), would they even need to do one of their pranks. (tho you do still do the phsyical test, just in case, to test the math you did first)


So they're not doing real science because they rely on experiments?

Frosty
2007-11-26, 03:20 PM
First level human fighter. Third level human warrior. If you're in a campaign where humans are the most prevalent race, as with many campaigns, a spiked-chain squad could show up much sooner than you expect.

And it's totally fine if that's all they want to spend their feats on. That means they're not spending feats on other things. Spiked chains are effective. I feel melee enemies should be effective. It makes it challenging for the players.

Jayabalard
2007-11-26, 03:21 PM
I didn't see the Mythbusters segment, but are you sure it's busted? Because they actually show Terry Bryan catching two arrows (one blindfolded) on Ripley's Believe it or Not. YouTube video Link (http://youtube.com/watch?v=uLj8eK814o0)/shrug

there's a fair bit of difference between catching an arrow that someone is shooting at you, and waiting with your hand outstretched to catch an arrow that someone is shooting right by your hand for you to catch. It seems likely to me that Mythbusters would have been working on busting the former, and not too concerned with the latter.


If those guys want to prove/disprove a theory, all they would really have to do is sit down and do the freaking math! Only on occasions where the theories are incomplete and unproven or unprovable (chaotic conditions), would they even need to do one of their pranks. Many of the things on mythbusters fall into that "chaotic conditions" bracket, with either too many unknowns or assumptions to work a definitive answer from math alone, or things that cannot be measured mathematically (ie, alcohol vs talking on a cell phone).

They often do "do the freaking math" to get a general feel for how likely something is, but since they're trying to determine whether something actually works in practice, working out mathematically whether something is theoretically possible is only a minor part of the process, and isn't going to get much screen time. Myths persist, regardless of "the freaking math" because laymen aren't interested in the math, they want to see a demonstration... which is why that show works.

Kantolin
2007-11-26, 03:25 PM
If you're in a campaign where humans are the most prevalent race, as with many campaigns, a spiked-chain squad could show up much sooner than you expect.

Oh no, a spiked chain squad. Almost as intimidating as a squad of people with reach weapons and spiked armour.

In fact, about as intimidating as a squad of people with reach weapons and spiked armour, since instead of the hman fighter's three level 1 feats being Combat Expertise, Improved Trip (Or disarm), and Exotic Weapon Proficiency... it's Power Attack, Combat Expertise, and Improved Trip (or disarm).

Two handed power attacks are noticably more intimidating than being able to deal 2d4 damage when you can't take a 5' step.

Personally, I vote for the 'say it's magic' part if you don't like it.

tainsouvra
2007-11-26, 03:41 PM
Oh no, a spiked chain squad. Almost as intimidating as a squad of people with reach weapons and spiked armour. The point was that it wasn't a sixth-level stunt, it was potentially a first-level one without resorting to anything non-core or extra-cheesy.

Kantolin
2007-11-26, 03:47 PM
Well, the actual original point was this one:


As a DM I would give my players two options:
a) Ban spiked chain
b) Nearly all NPCs wielding melee weapons are using spiked chain

Which is an attempt to imply that spiked chains are the most terrifying things ever, especially when in the hands of every NPC.

I was pointing out that they are no more intimidating (and sometimes, less so) than just reach weapons, with spiked armour as icing on the cake. I mean, being power attacked is more intimidating than being hit with a spiked chain when you can't take a 5' step backwards.

tainsouvra
2007-11-26, 03:53 PM
True, I just don't want my comment to be taken in a wider context than the quote I provided.

Frosty
2007-11-26, 04:21 PM
Well, the actualI mean, being power attacked is more intimidating than being hit with a spiked chain when you can't take a 5' step backwards.

Agreed. I cringe if fighting against Fighters with Power Attack, Shock Trooper and Leap Attack much more compared to against EWP: Spiked Chain, Combat Expertise, and Improved Trip.

Tokiko Mima
2007-11-26, 05:48 PM
/shrug

there's a fair bit of difference between catching an arrow that someone is shooting at you, and waiting with your hand outstretched to catch an arrow that someone is shooting right by your hand for you to catch. It seems likely to me that Mythbusters would have been working on busting the former, and not too concerned with the latter.

Likewise, there's a fair bit of difference between something being a complete myth and being very possible under certain controlled conditions. It would also be fair to say that while aiming at the hand does make the job easier, it was primarily done to make the catch *safer.* No one wants to die testing this out!

That is not to say that one could ever expect to reliably catch one arrow every 6 seconds like the Deflect Arrow feat allows, but it does lead one to call into question the Mythbusters calling this myth "busted." They probably did not have access to talent of a caliber required to make the trick work. I would like to see the segment if someone finds it, though.

Jayabalard
2007-11-26, 07:45 PM
They probably did not have access to talent of a caliber required to make the trick work. I would like to see the segment if someone finds it, though.Their talent was a robotic hand closing faster than a human supposedly can close their hand... so it's one of those cases where based on "the freaking math" it's not possible, but in practice, in specific circumstances, it can be done.

Kompera
2007-11-26, 08:02 PM
What I don't get is this idea that by excluding the Spiked Chain, somebody must therefore be saying 'everything else is fine'.The reason you don't get it is because that's not at all what I've said. I've stressed that this is not my position, and yet you keep coming back to it anyway. If you continue to keep coming back to a straw man that you've set up for yourself, you can expect to continue to not get it.

sasuke898
2007-11-26, 08:07 PM
adsfa


http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/whatcolor_isgreen.jpgTake the Magic: The Gathering 'What Color Are You?' Quiz. (http://www.wizards.com/magic/playmagic/whatcolorareyou.asp)

Matthew
2007-11-26, 08:29 PM
The reason you don't get it is because that's not at all what I've said. I've stressed that this is not my position, and yet you keep coming back to it anyway. If you continue to keep coming back to a straw man that you've set up for yourself, you can expect to continue to not get it.

No need to be rude, Kompera. I'm certainly not intentionally setting up a Straw Man, but if you will only quote a short section of my posts and ignore the rest, then there's not really much I can do about it. That said, do note that I am not quoting you particularly when making that comment nor attempting to misrepresent you, I am in fact explaining why I think it is okay to discard Spiked Chains because it contradicts your (the DM's) conception of physics, versimilitude and logic (and yet keep other things that may also do so).
However, it does seem to me that you are saying "Spiked Chains aren't nearly as impossible as Halflings jumping through the air distance X, so you're a hypocrite if you don't allow them on account of your conception of physics, versimilitude or logic and do allow for the possibility of high level antics in your games," which I think is a croc. If I am misrepresenting you, then I apologise, but that is my understanding of what you wrote, which I will quote below for the sake of clarity:


If you hate something and want it out of your game, feel free to say so. But don't try to tell me that you're doing so on the basis of "logic" or "verisimilitude" or "physics", while still allowing the 3' tall Halfling with 20 ranks in jump to make demonstrably impossible leaps or while allowing a blind man to be able to tell that the attacker is using a spear rather than a sword and so he should block against a thrust instead of a swing or even a thrust against his throat rather than a thrust against his thigh, or while allowing the Fighter using a sword and with a free off-hand to snatch arrows out of the air (just three examples of the many I've given in my post above). Because if a person were to make that argument, they'd be a hypocrite.

and the list of items:


Two very similar objections:

So, perhaps Elves and Magic were poor examples. Let's keep things on the physical level, since the objections seem to concern themselves with the supposed "unrealism" of the spiked chain.

I'll just mention a few other physical actions or items which stretch the boundaries of physics to the breaking point. Perhaps that'll give some perspective on why I see the supposed "unrealism" argument against the spiked chain as merely a failure of the imaginations of those who so object.

Feats
Great Cleave;
Spring Attack;
Whirlwind Attack;
Snatch Arrows;
Blind Fight;
Two Weapon Fighting;
Large TWF;
Manyshot;
Monkey Grip;

Weapons
Axe, orc double;
Flail, dire;

Skills
High skill levels in Jump;

And any number of stances and maneuvers from the ToB.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. And yet it does provide some perspective. If you accept all of the above, why is the spiked chain such a hard thing to suspend your disbelief regarding?

All of the above are patently ridiculous, but not any more so or any less than the spiked chain.

It's a fantasy game, fantastic elements are de rigueur, and that includes fantastic maneuvers and fantastic weapons, as well as the Elves and Magic cited previously. Claiming that the inclusion of the spiked chain as an available weapon ruins the verisimilitude of the game setting is frankly only revealing of the claimants lack of imagination.

As I explained before, half of these items I don't consider improbable, many of the others are high level or 'optional', but I can't see any reason to bring them up other than to make the argument that I understand you to be making [i.e. it's a fantasy game and you lack imagination/are a hypocrite if you exclude one kind of fantasy but include another on the basis that it offends your view of logic, physics or versimilitude].

To be clear, what I am proposing is that you can include things that contradict logic, versimillitude or physics if you like them and exclude those that you feel neutral about without being a hypocrite or unimaginative, which is quite different from simply excluding things that you simply and irrationally (or for whatever undisclosed or disclosed reason) hate.


adsfa

What?

Triaxx
2007-11-26, 09:26 PM
Let's see... Spiked Chain as a weapon in DnD.

Point 1) Does it really do damage? Easy, take a five foot piece of rope, put a knot in one end, and swing it around you. When it hits, does it hurt? Now imagine it's ten feet long, weighs ten pounds, and is pointed.

Point 2) Attacking with it. Troika's Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil depicted the attack motion fantastically, the character leans back then steps forward, sending the chain lashing out in the direction of attack. No twirling, no auxilliary damage.

Point 3) Trip Monkey's are easily prevented, simply enforce a 'AoO's provoked by standing up use the lowest attack bonus of a full attack.'. So if there's three attacks, the last BAB is used when making the attack.

Kompera
2007-11-26, 09:47 PM
However, it does seem to me that you are saying "Spiked Chains aren't nearly as impossible as Halflings jumping through the air distance X, so you're a hypocrite if you don't allow them on account of your conception of physics, versimilitude or logic and do allow for the possibility of high level antics in your games," which I think is a croc. If I am misrepresenting you, then I apologise, but that is my understanding of what you wroteYou got closer, but I never said anything resembling "high level antics". You can't apologize at the same time you misrepresent me again and set up yet another straw man without the apology ringing very false. It's interesting that you'd do so as an argument against my charge of hypocrisy. Perhaps you should look the word up.

Level is irrelevant, even if some of the (non-exhaustive, remember?) list I provided do require a higher level than 1st level.

Kaelik
2007-11-26, 10:15 PM
Point 3) Trip Monkey's are easily prevented, simply enforce a 'AoO's provoked by standing up use the lowest attack bonus of a full attack.'. So if there's three attacks, the last BAB is used when making the attack.

Or you could use the million and one methods that don't involve making up rules and crippling any character based off of AoOs.

Stephen_E
2007-11-26, 10:52 PM
As a DM I would give my players two options:
a) Ban spiked chain
b) Nearly all NPCs wielding melee weapons are using spiked chain

Please Sir, can we have option b).

Make our front rank Fighters Dwarf Barbarians and have our Wizard/Sorcerors with Grease or Colour Spray (Int 13, Con 14 and Str 15 takes all the NPCs best stats). Spiked Chains are one of the most expensive weapons, and you have to have multiple spiked chains so after the NPC's disarm themselves we kill them and sell their spiked chains. Est 3 Spiked Chains per NPC = 75gp, assuming none are MW.

Dwarf with Str 18, Rage +4 Str, Stability +4 = +10 Trip Defensive, +6 Offensive
vs
NPC Human Warrior with 15 Str, Improved Trip +4 = +6 Offensive, +2 Defensive.

The NPC has to roll 5 higher than the PC to Trip him, and if he doesn't, has to then roll 4 higher to avoid been tripped back, or voluntarily disarming themselves.
So we know who's likely to be winning the trip battle, and since a trip attack does no damage, while Dwarves can be smashing the nemies, I'm pretty sure I know who'll be winning the battle period.

Stephen

Matthew
2007-11-27, 03:12 AM
You got closer, but I never said anything resembling "high level antics". You can't apologize at the same time you misrepresent me again and set up yet another straw man without the apology ringing very false. It's interesting that you'd do so as an argument against my charge of hypocrisy. Perhaps you should look the word up.

Level is irrelevant, even if some of the (non-exhaustive, remember?) list I provided do require a higher level than 1st level.

You know what Kompera, if you don't feel like being civil that's up to you. I have tried my best to see your point and I have stated my opinions to the contrary (which you continue to simply not address). If you feel like explaining yourself instead of rabbiting on about none existent Straw Men or making thinly (if at all) veiled insults, I will be listening.

Blanks
2007-11-27, 04:05 AM
Please Sir, can we have option b).

...

I'm pretty sure I know who'll be winning the battle period.

Stephen
So you argue that Spiked Chain isn't all that efficient. You are probably right.
But if someone stattet out a teddybear as a weapon i STILL wouldn't allow it. For me, its not about efficiency but about the "feel" of the game.
No specializing in 2handed teddybears or spiked chains :smalltongue:

Premier
2007-11-27, 05:41 AM
Let's see... Spiked Chain as a weapon in DnD.

Point 1) Does it really do damage? Easy, take a five foot piece of rope, put a knot in one end, and swing it around you. When it hits, does it hurt? Now imagine it's ten feet long, weighs ten pounds, and is pointed.

You're joking, righ? Pain, especially light pain, does not equal measurable damage. Getting flicked with a wet towel also hurts, but I'm sure you don't really think it would cause even 1 HP of damage.

Also, you forgot to imagine that the "victim" would be very often wearing armour. Kinda matters, don't you think?


Point 2) Attacking with it. Troika's Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil depicted the attack motion fantastically, the character leans back then steps forward, sending the chain lashing out in the direction of attack. No twirling, no auxilliary damage.

You're arguing for its real-life utility by citing a computer game animation? :smalleek:

But just to play along with this absurd notion: A, a weapon that can only be used in one single particular attack motion is not a weapon but an elaborate practical joke, and B, "throwing" the spiked weight directly forward at the enemy (especially from the awkward position of leaning back) would impart much, much less kinetic energy on impact than a good swing, twirling or otherwise.)

Kompera
2007-11-27, 06:40 AM
You know what Kompera, if you don't feel like being civil that's up to you. I have tried my best to see your point and I have stated my opinions to the contrary (which you continue to simply not address). If you feel like explaining yourself instead of rabbiting on about none existent Straw Men or making thinly (if at all) veiled insults, I will be listening.The straw men you set up are completely existent. If you want to be offended that I point out your logical fallacies, that's your prerogative. But it's not an insult, thinly veiled or not, to point out a thing which is.



A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent. Often, the straw man is set up to deliberately overstate the opponent's position.[1] A straw man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact a misleading fallacy, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.[2]

Its name is derived from the practice of using straw men in combat training. In such training, a scarecrow is made in the image of the enemy with the single intent of attacking it.[3] It is occasionally called a straw dog fallacy, scarecrow argument, or wooden dummy argument.

You've regularly put words in my mouth and misrepresented my position. Re-read the above definition again until you understand.


What I don't get is this idea that by excluding the Spiked Chain, somebody must therefore be saying 'everything else is fine'.I never said that. I had explained well before you posted the above that this was not at all my position.


However, it does seem to me that you are saying "Spiked Chains aren't nearly as impossible as Halflings jumping through the air distance X, so you're a hypocrite if you don't allow them on account of your conception of physics, versimilitude or logic and do allow for the possibility of high level antics in your games," which I think is a croc.Textbook straw man, as I explained before. Taking my position and adding on "[...]and do allow for the possibility of high level antics in your games", which I never said, is a deliberate overstatement designed to make my position look less reasonable. I never said it, I don't subscribe to it, you only added it to set up a straw man to attack.

And now you post "You know what Kompera, if you don't feel like being civil that's up to you", as if I were being uncivil for pointing out your misrepresentations and exaggerations. Another straw man for you to joust with. It's that behavior of yours which is uncivil, not mine.

Matthew
2007-11-27, 06:52 AM
Kompera, I fully understand what a straw man is. I have made no straw men. You still hold on to one comment that I made that was not even directed particularly at you, but completely fail to actually state what is amiss with my restatement of your position. The offence that I take is not from what you say, but the manner in which you say it. I have invited you to restate your position in clearer terms and I have attempted to present your position as I understand it; that is not building a straw man, that is seeking to understand what you are saying. You, however, seem only interested in accusing me of setting up a straw man, which increasingly appears to me to be nothing more than a rhetorical device of your own construction to side step the fact of your statements (quoted above for your convenience).

'High level antics' is a short hand for describing several of the things you listed, not a description of all of the things you listed (such as Jump 20 Ranks or Whirlwind Attack). Indeed, I quoted the full list of your items above for the very purpose of avoiding accusations of concentrating on one item or more. As I initially remarked of your list, many of the items are optional, many are high level and others are simply not improbable. About the only ones I can agree with are Blind Fighting and Arrow Snatching, and those with the caveat that I know nothing of the Martial Arts onw hich they are based. The other 'dumb' racial weapons belong to the same category as the Spiked Chain, which is no doubt part of what prompted the 'straw man' that you think you have detected.

Please stop accusing me of using a rhetorical device to support my position, when all I am doing is questioning yours. Since you do not seem to wish to explain your position any further, there's not a lot I can do, but refute your accusation of my constructing a straw man.

However, if you would be so good as to restate your position in terms that are less pejorative or simply clearer, then I would be much gratified. In fact, if you could answer the following question then it would clear up a great deal for me:

Do you consider the removal of the Spiked Chain from the game on the basis of it being illogical, physically impossible or interfering with versimilitude, given that other aspects that are illogical, physically impossible or interfere with versimilitude are allowed to remain, to be a failure of the imagination and/or hypocritical?

Kompera
2007-11-27, 07:17 AM
Kompera, I fully understand what a straw man is. I have made no straw men.
I find those two statements to be contradictory. I've provided quotes from you which demonstrate that the second is false. The second statement having been demonstrated to be false, that logically leads to the conclusion that the first statement is also false.

It's hard to understand how you could seriously refute that you've taken things I've said and added on to them, given that I've used your own quotations to demonstrate that this is in fact the case. But if you chose to deny it, that's fine with me.

As for my position on the spiked chain, I've laid it out in detail earlier in the thread. If you're looking for more fodder with which you can continue to misrepresent me, I'll politely decline to provide you with any, and will refer you to my prior posts. If you'll read them without adding anything or changing the meaning or looking to exaggerate one portion while ignoring the whole, you'll find that all should become clear to you.

Matthew
2007-11-27, 07:20 AM
I think it quite obvious that I do not agree that you have done anything of the sort. As far as I am concerned, these claims of straw men, misrepresentation and exaggeration are unfounded.

Honestly, though, why do you avoid answering the above question? Why not answer it with a simple yes or no? Is it not a fair question to ask of you? I framed it as clearly as I could. As far as I can see, from reading your posts, the answer is yes, but you then claim I am making straw men if I say this is the case. If it is no (or yes/no with important caveats of some sort), then please do tell me.

Charity
2007-11-27, 07:48 AM
http://annaanderik.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/Deli%20under%20the%20bridge.jpg
Want a sarnie Kompera?

Matt mate, you'll need your two brothers for this one.

Kompera
2007-11-27, 08:42 AM
I think it quite obvious that I do not agree that you have done anything of the sort. As far as I am concerned, these claims of straw men, misrepresentation and exaggeration are unfounded.Well, you can say that, but I've provided quotes by you which demonstrate that you saying that is false. If all you can do is say "I did not", when faced with your own words, then you've got a pretty weak position. How about using more than just denial to prove your point?



Honestly, though, why do you avoid answering the above question? Why not answer it with a simple yes or no? Is it not a fair question to ask of you? I framed it as clearly as I could. As far as I can see, from reading your posts, the answer is yes, but you then claim I am making straw men if I say this is the case. If it is no (or yes/no with important caveats of some sort), then please do tell me.Because quite frankly Matthew, I've said my piece. I stated an opinion, and all I've done since then is defend the integrity of that opinion against your mutilations of my words, exaggerations, and outright fabricated additions. I don't think I can have a reasonable conversation with you on the subject, but I hate to let a misrepresentation of my words go unchallenged. If you don't care for my opinion, that's fine. I can respect that. But if you want to change my words and then say that I've said something which I have not, and attempt to make your misrepresentation of my words the talking point, then I have far better things to do.

Dausuul
2007-11-27, 08:52 AM
Well, you can say that, but I've provided quotes by you which demonstrate that you saying that is false. If all you can do is say "I did not", when faced with your own words, then you've got a pretty weak position. How about using more than just denial to prove your point?

...

Because quite frankly Matthew, I've said my piece. I stated an opinion, and all I've done since then is defend the integrity of that opinion against your mutilations of my words, exaggerations, and outright fabricated additions. I don't think I can have a reasonable conversation with you on the subject, but I hate to let a misrepresentation of my words go unchallenged. If you don't care for my opinion, that's fine. I can respect that. But if you want to change my words and then say that I've said something which I have not, and attempt to make your misrepresentation of my words the talking point, then I have far better things to do.

I have to say I agree with Matthew here. He stated what he thought your position was and asked you if he got it right. That's not attempting to misrepresent you, that's trying to settle the debate in a reasonable way; if he did not in fact get it right, you can simply say "No, you got it wrong, and here's why."

Instead, you refuse to give him so much as a yes or no, and say, "Refer to what I already said." Obviously, if your position were clear from reference to what you already said, it wouldn't be necessary to ask.

Kompera
2007-11-27, 09:53 AM
I have to say I agree with Matthew here. He stated what he thought your position was and asked you if he got it right. That's not attempting to misrepresent you, that's trying to settle the debate in a reasonable way; if he did not in fact get it right, you can simply say "No, you got it wrong, and here's why."

Instead, you refuse to give him so much as a yes or no, and say, "Refer to what I already said." Obviously, if your position were clear from reference to what you already said, it wouldn't be necessary to ask.*sigh* You're overlooking the several posts I made where I did exactly what you suggest above. On more than one occasion he posted some interpretation of his on what I said, and I corrected him. I did not further argue the point, I simply did not want to let his mangling of my words stand uncorrected. If you're not happy with my dismay at being asked to repeat the same exercise more times, when I believe it's fairly clear that Matthew and I simply hold differing opinions, I can't help that.

There is no right or wrong here, and that is the bottom line. I could care less if Matthew dislikes my opinion. That's the nature of opinions. There's little value in either of us trying to change the others mind. And at this point I could care less if Matthew even understands my opinion. I've stated it in fairly plain language, it doesn't shouldn't require that I rephrase it for his benefit simply so he can continue to carry on some kind of crusade against my viewpoint. He's mangled it enough that I would prefer that he read my old posts if he feels the burning need for clarity.


that's trying to settle the debate in a reasonable wayBut you see, there is no debate which needs to be settled. There is only Matthew misrepresenting me and my correcting him. As I said above, I hate to allow someone to come along and change my words or blow one part of what I said out of proportion and then try to make that some kind of talking point. After that is understood it's simply that we hold opposing opinions, and I'm ok with that. I wish that he was as well.

Ralfarius
2007-11-27, 10:16 AM
You're joking, righ? Pain, especially light pain, does not equal measurable damage. Getting flicked with a wet towel also hurts, but I'm sure you don't really think it would cause even 1 HP of damage.

Also, you forgot to imagine that the "victim" would be very often wearing armour. Kinda matters, don't you think?
I dunno, I've had a friend towel snap me in the back so hard that it opened a giant, bleeding welt that stayed open the rest of the evening.

Also, while D&D's HP system is not very effective for 'measuring' actual damage, one should note that a length of knotted rope can be used to inflict serious damage to a person. I find WoD represents this better with bashing/lethal/aggravated damage.

Also, Triaxx was saying to compare how the knotted rope felt when you got hit with it, then extrapolate that to it being made of metal links and a pokey bit or two on the end. Being that there is such a thing as a whip-chain weapon, I would assume that it has some noticeable effect.

As for armour? Wearing armor doesn't make you immune to damage. Even plate armor is generally full of large-ish gaps, and a flexible weapon in skilled hands (That is to say, someone who actually has the exotic weapon feat) would be feasibly decent for wrapping about the protected areas to strike vulnerable portions of the body.

Not to say that makes a whip-chain (and by proxy, spiked chain) the ideal weapon, or even a very sensible weapon most of the time. This remains true in D&D, as proven by the folks explaining how a reach weapon and armour spikes can get the job done just as well, perhaps better in some situations, what with feats going to things other than making you proficient with the weapon.

So, yeah. Spiked chain? Possible for use as a weapon, if somewhat improbable given its inherent limitation of difficulty in use. It's just not a weapon for most, as it requires a feat investment to be effective that could make one similarly effective, perhaps more, by focusing on weapons that don't require feats to be proficient.

Matthew
2007-11-27, 10:42 AM
Well, you can say that, but I've provided quotes by you which demonstrate that you saying that is false. If all you can do is say "I did not", when faced with your own words, then you've got a pretty weak position. How about using more than just denial to prove your point?

Here's why Kompera. As far as I understand it, a straw man generally requires me to actively seek to misrepresent you. I am not seeking to misrepresent you. I am not seeking to win a debate or engage in rhetoric. What I am interested in is discovering what your position actually is. If I knew what that was, I would not be asking the question.
If, on the other hand, what you are accusing me of is creating unintentional straw men (which seems to me to be an odd thing to use the phrase for, as that is simply a misunderstanding, but as far as I can tell is a possible use), then please do me the courtesy of explaining where I am in error.


Because quite frankly Matthew, I've said my piece. I stated an opinion, and all I've done since then is defend the integrity of that opinion against your mutilations of my words, exaggerations, and outright fabricated additions. I don't think I can have a reasonable conversation with you on the subject, but I hate to let a misrepresentation of my words go unchallenged. If you don't care for my opinion, that's fine. I can respect that. But if you want to change my words and then say that I've said something which I have not, and attempt to make your misrepresentation of my words the talking point, then I have far better things to do.

It has got nothing to do with caring for your opinion or not. Right at this moment I cannot see what your opinion even is. If I thought you had stated it clearly enough for me to be able to understand it, I wouldn't be asking you about it now. I thought I understood your contention, you say that I do not, but are unwilling to further explain it.
Why won't you answer the question posted above? All I can conclude is that you don't wish to contradict yourself. Perhaps somebody else would be kind enough to explain what your position is, since you do not wish to.

To be clear, this is my opinion:

I consider the removal of the Spiked Chain from the game on the basis of it being illogical, physically impossible or interfering with versimilitude, given that other aspects that are illogical, physically impossible or interfere with versimilitude are allowed to remain, to not be a failure of the imagination or hypocritical. This is because I exclude anything that interferes with versimilitude, except for those things that I think the game benefits from.

Now, without worrying that I will take this as an indication of some sort of 'victory', do you agree or disagree with it?


*sigh* You're overlooking the several posts I made where I did exactly what you suggest above. On more than one occasion he posted some interpretation of his on what I said, and I corrected him. I did not further argue the point, I simply did not want to let his mangling of my words stand uncorrected. If you're not happy with my dismay at being asked to repeat the same exercise more times, when I believe it's fairly clear that Matthew and I simply hold differing opinions, I can't help that.

There is no right or wrong here, and that is the bottom line. I could care less if Matthew dislikes my opinion. That's the nature of opinions. There's little value in either of us trying to change the others mind. And at this point I could care less if Matthew even understands my opinion. I've stated it in fairly plain language, it doesn't shouldn't require that I rephrase it for his benefit simply so he can continue to carry on some kind of crusade against my viewpoint. He's mangled it enough that I would prefer that he read my old posts if he feels the burning need for clarity.

But you see, there is no debate which needs to be settled. There is only Matthew misrepresenting me and my correcting him. As I said above, I hate to allow someone to come along and change my words or blow one part of what I said out of proportion and then try to make that some kind of talking point. After that is understood it's simply that we hold opposing opinions, and I'm ok with that. I wish that he was as well.

Seriously? This is what you think is going on? That I am on some sort of personal crusade to 'prove you wrong'? I don't like to be misrepresented either.

Here is a list of posts from our current exchange. I have gone over them (yet again) and I still do not see how your position varies from the one I understand you to have.

Kompera Post #154 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3571226&postcount=154)
Matthew Post #156 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3571253&postcount=156)
Kompera Post #157 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3571328&postcount=157)
Matthew Post #158 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3571349&postcount=158)
Kompera Post #159 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3571436&postcount=159)
Matthew Post #160 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3571455&postcount=160)
Kompera Post 186 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3574712&postcount=186)
Matthew Post 188 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3574847&postcount=188)
Kompera Post #190 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3575201&postcount=190)
Matthew Post #193 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576137&postcount=193)
Kompera Post 196 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576386&postcount=196)
Matthew Post #197 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576398&postcount=197)
Kompera Post #198 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576437&postcount=198)
Matthew Post #199 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576440&postcount=199)
Kompera Post #201 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576608&postcount=201)
Kompera Post #203 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576770&postcount=203)
Matthew post #205 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3576909&postcount=205)

Post Number #154


So, perhaps Elves and Magic were poor examples. Let's keep things on the physical level, since the objections seem to concern themselves with the supposed "unrealism" of the spiked chain.

I'll just mention a few other physical actions or items which stretch the boundaries of physics to the breaking point. Perhaps that'll give some perspective on why I see the supposed "unrealism" argument against the spiked chain as merely a failure of the imaginations of those who so object.

Feats
Great Cleave;
Spring Attack;
Whirlwind Attack;
Snatch Arrows;
Blind Fight;
Two Weapon Fighting;
Large TWF;
Manyshot;
Monkey Grip;

Weapons
Axe, orc double;
Flail, dire;

Skills
High skill levels in Jump;

And any number of stances and maneuvers from the ToB.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. And yet it does provide some perspective. If you accept all of the above, why is the spiked chain such a hard thing to suspend your disbelief regarding?

All of the above are patently ridiculous, but not any more so or any less than the spiked chain.

It's a fantasy game, fantastic elements are de rigueur, and that includes fantastic maneuvers and fantastic weapons, as well as the Elves and Magic cited previously. Claiming that the inclusion of the spiked chain as an available weapon ruins the verisimilitude of the game setting is frankly only revealing of the claimants lack of imagination.

Post Number #156


I seriously doubt that the majority of those who discard the Spiked Chain include the Dire Flail, Orc Double Axe and other 'unrealistic' weapons.

As for Feats and Skills which stretch reality, some of them do go 'too far', but many of them don't. I don't see the problem with Two Weapon Fighting or Oversized Two Weapon Fighting. Spring attack is truly no big deal at all [Move, Attack, Move] and Great Cleave/Whirlwind Attack are none too hard to incorporate into an abstract combat round.

Snatch Arrows... well that's Monks for you, Many Shot is pretty unlikely, but Monkey Grip is no big deal.

Post #157


Ok, so each of the points is arguable by itself (as I'd argue that a reading of Blind Fighting easily shows that it is physically impossible to act "in reality" as described. An invisible opponent gains absolutely zero benefit to attack you? So I am invisible and stand 5 feet away from you, and you can hear me because of the Blind Fighting Feat. Now I thrust my spear into your belly. What kind of superhuman hearing would it take to sense that coming? More than any blind person possesses, that's what kind.)

The point remains: There are enough other "mainstream" and fully accepted aspects of the game which break the laws of physics in enough ways that accepting a spiked chain shouldn't be such a hard thing to do.

A good many objections to the weapon seem to be that if other Feats are purchased that they have a lot of synergies with the spiked chain. And that's true, but buying those Feats precludes the purchase of other Feats.

And a Fighter using a Guisarme can Trip opponents just as well. Hey, even a Fighter using a "sword and board" can buy improved Trip and trip all day long. The spiked chain just allows it to be done at a 10' range, but the "sword and board" Fighter gets a 5' step and so can easily Trip an opponent 10' away. And again he hasn't spent a Feat on an Exotic Weapon or given up his shield AC bonus. With Imp: Trip you don't even provoke an AoO while performing a Trip unarmed, so the Guisarme Fighter can indeed Trip someone at 5' distance without having to worry about the area threatened or the Short Haft Feat.

Post #158


You're still making the same argument, though, which is "Well if I allow X, then I should totally allow Y." The argument that is actually being made, though, is "I don't want to allow X, but I will allow Y." Including an Elf or Blind Fighting in a game is not a mandate to include "anything". What you appear to be describing is the 'thin edge of the wedge'. To put it another way, the Spiked Chain is one element amongst many that people might remove from the game for the sake of their suspension of disbelief. It's a pretty visible component, so it's hardly surprising when people seek to excise it.

Is it arbitrary to exclude it, but not something else that seems 'more stupid'? It may seem that way, but you can bet that the person excluding it considers it to be 'more stupid' than skill, feat or item Y. That's just the nature of 3e D&D. The default rules are very permissive and increasingly so with the various optional supplements. Revoking some of those permissions is a perfectly normal response for someone seeking to 'ground their game' or make it less Dragon Ball Z and more Lord of the Rings or Conan (though a Spiked Chain might be totally appropriate in certain iterations of Conan).

Take a look at the 'How Real is your Fantasy' Side Bar of the DMG (3e DMG, p. 154, 3.5e DMG, p. 136). I wish they still had the article about weapon design up on the Wizards Website, but it vanished several years ago, to the best of my knowledge.

In short, though, Dungeons & Dragons is a game designed to support different levels and views of fantasy.

Post #159


Close, but not quite. Some folks have said that the spiked chain breaks their verisimilitude, and used arguments which included that they found it to be too improbable, or that it was physically impossible to do what the rules describe with a spiked chain. I'll gladly allow that any GM is free to allow or disallow any element of the rules, and that it's then up to the players to chose to play or not. But I won't allow that the GM is question is maintaining a logical consistency, when there are so many other elements of the game which are non-magical and which also can be clearly demonstrated to break the exact same "physical laws" which so offended the GM about the spiked chain.

If you hate something and want it out of your game, feel free to say so. But don't try to tell me that you're doing so on the basis of "logic" or "verisimilitude" or "physics", while still allowing the 3' tall Halfling with 20 ranks in jump to make demonstrably impossible leaps or while allowing a blind man to be able to tell that the attacker is using a spear rather than a sword and so he should block against a thrust instead of a swing or even a thrust against his throat rather than a thrust against his thigh, or while allowing the Fighter using a sword and with a free off-hand to snatch arrows out of the air (just three examples of the many I've given in my post above). Because if a person were to make that argument, they'd be a hypocrite.

Post #160


What I don't get is this idea that by excluding the Spiked Chain, somebody must therefore be saying 'everything else is fine'. D&D is full of demonstrably impossible things, that's not really the point. It's how much of it you want in your game. Generally speaking, the more impossible the thing, the higher level the characters. The Spiked Chain, though, is level independent. If I choose to play D&D at low levels, I still have to deal with the Spiked Chain, even though many of the other improbable elements have 'taken a walk.' To put it another way, there isn't much that a Warrior 1 can do that is improbable, but using a Spiked Chain is one of them.

It may well be that some of these disagreements are directly related to 'normal level of play' preferences. If I were playing a Level 15 Game, I probably would be less inclined to care about Spiked Chains, but since most of my games take place between Levels 1-5, I'm inclined to remove it. Again, though, removing it on grounds of physics, versimilitude or logic are perfectly fine, so long as you are removing anything else that offends you that way. On the other hand, the Spiked chain is a lot easier to remove than rewriting the Jump rules or Skill rules in general.

To be clear, though, D&D is supposed to be based in real 'physics' with exceptions. That's the assumption made in the DMG, as wrong as it may be. Which of those exceptions you choose to include/exclude is up to you, but they are exceptions, not part of a unified 'physics of D&D' (even though, mechanically speaking, that's exactly what they are).*

* I should probably explain this. The mechanics of D&D are a model of the physics of the Campaign Setting, not the physics of the campaign setting itself. Whenever the game rules contradict something about the 'reality' of the setting they are describing, the setting should always take priority. Unfortunately, this is something that is often ignored or misunderstood, but it's a key difference between a CRPG and an RPG.

As far as I am aware, since since Post #159 you have provided no further explanation of your position, but simply accused me of misrepresenting and straw manning you. I have underlined those passages that I particularly took note of, but I don't see them contradicted or modified anywhere else in your discourse.

Dausuul
2007-11-27, 11:02 AM
I dunno, I've had a friend towel snap me in the back so hard that it opened a giant, bleeding welt that stayed open the rest of the evening.

Nonlethal damage, perhaps?


As for armour? Wearing armor doesn't make you immune to damage. Even plate armor is generally full of large-ish gaps, and a flexible weapon in skilled hands (That is to say, someone who actually has the exotic weapon feat) would be feasibly decent for wrapping about the protected areas to strike vulnerable portions of the body.

Umm... depends on what kind of plate you're talking about, I guess. Full plate, the sort knights wore in the very late Middle Ages, does not have large-ish gaps by any stretch of the imagination. What gaps exist are small, hard to reach, and mostly protected by mail and/or leather.

There were two ways of getting through full plate of that type in melee. One was to use a sword or dagger and try to slip it through one of those vulnerable spots, which required considerable precision. The other was to use a mace or axe and just slam it into the guy, figuring on crushing the plate (mace) or punching through it (axe, using the spike on the back).

A spiked chain is certainly not suitable for the former tactic. Its effectiveness at the latter is dubious, given that it isn't weighted toward the end as armor-cracking weapons typically were.

Incidentally, does anyone else find it bizarre that whips do not threaten but spiked chains somehow do? A spiked-chain wielder can react faster than a whip-wielder? How does that work, anyway?

Premier
2007-11-27, 11:09 AM
Also, Triaxx was saying to compare how the knotted rope felt when you got hit with it, then extrapolate that to it being made of metal links and a pokey bit or two on the end. Being that there is such a thing as a whip-chain weapon, I would assume that it has some noticeable effect.[/qutoe]
Sure, such weapons WOULD have a noticable effect - on people not wearing any sort of armour. Note that (IIRC), the only vaguely similar real-life parallel brought up in this thread so far was the Japanese kusari-gama, used in a time and place where people armour was pretty poor-quality and very rare. Why? Because such a weapon would be useless against proper European-style armour, which is pretty common in D&D.

One, the spikes would be unable to penetrate plate armour, for several reasons. Reason one, there's not enough mass (and therefore not enough kinetic energy) behind the impact, unless you go by the "ridiculously oversized weights on the end"-look for the chain that some illustrations have.
Reason two, even if you DO go by that look, or if the opponent is only clad in maille, the spikes still wouldn't be able to penetrate, since 99 to 100 they would be at the wrong angle. The weight to which the spikes are attached is at the end of a long chain twisting and turning around unpredictably, so it would be a pretty safe bet that at the moment of intact the spike would be at a relatively low angle to the armour's surface. Considering that many illustration put on two spikes on each chain link, the chances of one of them contacting at a right angle and without any spin are practically nil.
A reason three (if we're going with the less heavy-weighted look), they're on the end of an unstable chain. On a rigid stick, the full strength of the impact is transmitted to the target. On a chain that doesn't have a significant weight at the end like a flail, most of the kinetic energy is lost as the individual chain links that DIDN'T hit move along their original trajectory. Think of it this way: take a long nail and drive it through a baseball bat. As long as you hold it at a right angle (or you have lots of nail sticking out at all angles), you can hit a soft wooden object and make the nail stick in it. Now take a long string with a tennis ball at the end, stick the nails through the ball, and swing it at the same item. It won't stick, unless you're using a ball much heavier than a .tennis ball and you get really lucky with the impact angle and spin.


[quote]As for armour? Wearing armor doesn't make you immune to damage. Even plate armor is generally full of large-ish gaps, and a flexible weapon in skilled hands (That is to say, someone who actually has the exotic weapon feat) would be feasibly decent for wrapping about the protected areas to strike vulnerable portions of the body.

Let's see eye-to-eye regarding issues of real-life armour: plate armour is NOT "full of largish gaps". See this image for a suit of Gothic arrmour. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Maximilienne-p1000557.jpg) As you can see, there are very few "gaps".
Sure, a rigid, flat, not particularly long pointy weapon (like an early rapier or a dagger) could find a number of spots where it could penetrate between two overlapping plates during scuffling and grappling. However, weapon that's flexible (and thus much harder to control), lacking any narrow long pointy bits and used from a significantly greater distance would have access to very, very few points - especially since the opponent will be moving and actively trying to avoid contact at these spots. Let's also add that plate armour is not just plate armour. One would also wear maille (chain) under it covering the torso, the head and limbs, and softer padding (designed to soften the shock of impact) beneath that.

Ralfarius
2007-11-27, 11:34 AM
Nonlethal damage, perhaps?
Ehhh, even that's kind of iffy. Being that some of the descriptions of HP have been 'a character's ability to turn a killing blow into something less lethal' or the like, it's kind of hard to say what you would get for weapons that don't strictly cut/pierce an individual. I would say you're less likely to immediately die from being beaten into unconsciousness with a club than stabbed into unconsciousness with a dagger, yet the club does more damage. Now, I'm talking strictly from a humanoid perspective, being that creatures not relying on circulatory systems send the whole debate for a loop.

Anyhow, weapons designed to cut and pierce flesh would generally seem more deadly than those designed simply to bludgeon. Granted, they may not have as much force behind them (if they're lighter), but the actual wounds they cause are more dangerous to a human.



Umm... depends on what kind of plate you're talking about, I guess. Full plate, the sort knights wore in the very late Middle Ages, does not have large-ish gaps by any stretch of the imagination. What gaps exist are small, hard to reach, and mostly protected by mail and/or leather.
Even Maximilian Armor leaves the back of the legs almost completely exposed, as well as most of the joints in the arm, and the buttocks. There would be some chain to protect, granted, but that could only be so thick or one would have a very difficult time moving any of their limbs.


There were two ways of getting through full plate of that type in melee. One was to use a sword or dagger and try to slip it through one of those vulnerable spots, which required considerable precision. The other was to use a mace or axe and just slam it into the guy, figuring on crushing the plate (mace) or punching through it (axe, using the spike on the back).
There is also the chance to thrust/strike, and have the follow-through carry the blade along the plate into vulnerable gaps. Granted, fluting on certain styles were designed to reduce this, but their development might suggest that plate armor didn't make one impervious to non-specialized methods of attack.


A spiked chain is certainly not suitable for the former tactic. Its effectiveness at the latter is dubious, given that it isn't weighted toward the end as armor-cracking weapons typically were.
But consider the flexible nature of the chain whip. Similar to a flail, or other hinged weapon, it can wrap about portions of the body, allowing one to strike against the other side of a block, a shield, even the plating on the front of an opponent's leg. This sort of tactic would allow one to strike at armored opponents, and the sort of speed one can achieve by swinging the chain whip around could cause serious harm, potentially even to someone wearing armor.

I mean, have you seen how fast a professional martial artist can get a pair of nunchaku going? Imagine that, but you can have even more acceleration at the tip because of the extra length. Plus, every portion of the chain whip is metal, which allows basically any port of the weapon to cause damage, unlike the more rigid single-piece bullwhip. I know there's not a lot to go on, but I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that the chain whip can be a deadly weapon, even potentially against armored opponents.

Of course, this is all assuming someone takes the time to become properly trained in this weapon. The fact that its considerably dangerous to the wielder (who only controls the portion of the weapon actually in their grasp) makes it pretty silly to bother training most soldiers when there are more practical alternatives available.

However, just because the weapon is impractical for general use, doesn't mean it's not useful in its own right. I think that this is somewhat represented by the feat investment required for the use of its spiked chain counterpart. While available to a low level fighter, that means forgoing other, potentially more useful feats to be highly specialized in the use of a single weapon. Sure, you can whip a chain about and trip people, but you can't power attack or set up any of those other deadly combinations.


Incidentally, does anyone else find it bizarre that whips do not threaten but spiked chains somehow do? A spiked-chain wielder can react faster than a whip-wielder? How does that work, anyway?
I am in agreement on this. It's weird and somewhat nonsensical.

Ralfarius
2007-11-27, 11:49 AM
Let's see eye-to-eye regarding issues of real-life armour: plate armour is NOT "full of largish gaps". See this image for a suit of Gothic arrmour. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/Maximilienne-p1000557.jpg) As you can see, there are very few "gaps".
I could be a little over-exaggerated in my definition of large-ish, but I would say tat those joints in the elbows, and that I'm fairly certain those leg plates don't wrap all the way around
For instance, look at the backside of this Maximilian Armor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maximilan_Armour_Diagramm_%28rear%29.jpg). That's a lot of big, meaty thigh to tear into.

Obviously, I'm no expert. Trying to look more into the chain whip has yielded some results about it basically acting in a manner similar to a flail. Basically, you work up a lot of velocity on a long length of metal rods and then wail on someone.

Now, if we ignore the somewhat shaky idea of the chain being able to actually stabulate people very well, if they're wearing armor, what would people say to the damage potential of a blur of metal flicking against you at speeds similar to the sound-barrier breaking bullwhip? Is that any more convincing?

Triaxx
2007-11-27, 11:51 AM
You're joking, righ? Pain, especially light pain, does not equal measurable damage. Getting flicked with a wet towel also hurts, but I'm sure you don't really think it would cause even 1 HP of damage.

Also, you forgot to imagine that the "victim" would be very often wearing armour. Kinda matters, don't you think?

True, but like a flail, ten pounds of steel at speed is still going to transfer a significant amount of energy.


You're arguing for its real-life utility by citing a computer game animation? :smalleek:

But just to play along with this absurd notion: A, a weapon that can only be used in one single particular attack motion is not a weapon but an elaborate practical joke, and B, "throwing" the spiked weight directly forward at the enemy (especially from the awkward position of leaning back) would impart much, much less kinetic energy on impact than a good swing, twirling or otherwise.)

Much like the kick in pitching a baseball, the forward motion of the throw definitely adds power, second, I wasn't talking in real life. In reality, it might well be used like a bolo, swung over head, and launched to deliver all it's power. Third, I wouldn't expect to use only that motion, but in the sort of close combat that's been mentioned, tossing it is very useful. Not to mention the toss could be aimed up, allowing gravity to assist the blow on the down stroke. Or swung over the head, and pulled forwards into a huge overhand swing.

I only cited the animation, because I've never seen it anywhere else. If you know of another source that shows it in use, I'd be happy to see it.

Kompera
2007-11-27, 01:54 PM
As far as I am aware, since since Post #159 you have provided no further explanation of your position, but simply accused me of misrepresenting and straw manning you. I have underlined those passages that I particularly took note of, but I don't see them contradicted or modified anywhere else in your discourse.And why should any further explanation be required? You posted a veritable wall of text of quotes where I explained very clearly and in simple language my position. And as for the underlined passages which you took special note of, they are all mine. So why would you expect to see contradictions or modifications within a collection of statements which are all mine? I don't tend to spend a lot of time contradicting myself or retro-modifying my positions. So why the surprise?

I've previously quoted some of your straw man arguments, there is no need for me to do so again or to include the ones I've failed to quote to date. And I've stated that I'm quite OK with us maintaining a difference of opinion. Why is it that you are not? What is it that you seek to gain from furthering this conversation? I particularly do not see any value in it at all.

Matthew
2007-11-27, 02:00 PM
A difference of opinion requires us to actually understand the other person's opinion. I haven't got a clue what yours is and I'm starting to doubt if you understand mine. Why don't you answer the two questions I have posed you and clear the matter up for me instead of saying "I explained very clearly and in simple language my position" or falling back on your "straw man" nonesense?

Dausuul
2007-11-27, 02:00 PM
Even Maximilian Armor leaves the back of the legs almost completely exposed, as well as most of the joints in the arm, and the buttocks. There would be some chain to protect, granted, but that could only be so thick or one would have a very difficult time moving any of their limbs.

On the contrary, the buttocks and backs of the thighs have a thousand pounds of horsemeat protecting them. And where are these unprotected arm joints? I don't see many openings on these (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maximilan_Armour_Diagramm_%28front%29.jpg) diagrams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maximilan_Armour_Diagramm_%28rear%29.jpg).

The reason the back of the leg was left unprotected was that the armor was made for cavalry use. Covering those areas in plate would have made it very hard for the knight to control his mount, not to mention keeping his seat in the chaos of battle, and the benefit would have been minimal since you're sitting on a horse anyway. Dungeon crawling on foot wasn't a common profession among real-life knights, but if it had been, I suspect there would have been armor designed to protect that area as well.


But consider the flexible nature of the chain whip. Similar to a flail, or other hinged weapon, it can wrap about portions of the body, allowing one to strike against the other side of a block, a shield, even the plating on the front of an opponent's leg. This sort of tactic would allow one to strike at armored opponents, and the sort of speed one can achieve by swinging the chain whip around could cause serious harm, potentially even to someone wearing armor.

The ability to go around shields and such is the big advantage of flexible weapons, true. However...


I mean, have you seen how fast a professional martial artist can get a pair of nunchaku going? Imagine that, but you can have even more acceleration at the tip because of the extra length. Plus, every portion of the chain whip is metal, which allows basically any port of the weapon to cause damage, unlike the more rigid single-piece bullwhip. I know there's not a lot to go on, but I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that the chain whip can be a deadly weapon, even potentially against armored opponents.

But a pair of nunchaku is like a flail; most of the weight is in the rigid impact portion, not the flexible portion. Thus, once you get the weapon up to speed and then bring it into contact, all of the kinetic energy of the rigid portion (the shaft of the nunchaku, the ball of the flail) is delivered into the target.

A spiked chain, on the other hand, has no rigid portion. When you get hit by one, each link transfers its energy separately as it comes into contact with your body, spreading the impact out over both space and time. Each spike has only the weight of its own individual link behind it. Your kinetic energy is dissipated over the length of the chain--if the chain is, say, twenty links long, you've only got a twentieth the "punch" you would if you swung a rigid weapon of the same weight at the same speed.

And, as Premier points out, the likelihood of an individual spike hitting dead on is quite small, so you're relying on impact damage alone.


Now, if we ignore the somewhat shaky idea of the chain being able to actually stabulate people very well, if they're wearing armor, what would people say to the damage potential of a blur of metal flicking against you at speeds similar to the sound-barrier breaking bullwhip? Is that any more convincing?

Not really, because there's no way in hell you can spin a heavy chain up to anything like the speed of a cracking bullwhip.


True, but like a flail, ten pounds of steel at speed is still going to transfer a significant amount of energy.

See above. A spiked chain is the worst of all possible worlds. You have to spin it up all at once, so your velocity is limited by your ability to move ten pounds of steel, but when it connects, it ceases to be ten pounds of steel and becomes half a pound of steel hitting in twenty different places at twenty different times.


I only cited the animation, because I've never seen it anywhere else.

This should tell you something. :smallbiggrin:

tainsouvra
2007-11-27, 02:02 PM
Incidentally, does anyone else find it bizarre that whips do not threaten but spiked chains somehow do? A spiked-chain wielder can react faster than a whip-wielder? How does that work, anyway? In my opinion, it doesn't, which is where my previous rule about the spiked chain only threatening out 5' despite being able to make an attack at greater range came from. :smallsmile:



Also, Triaxx was saying to compare how the knotted rope felt when you got hit with it, then extrapolate that to it being made of metal links and a pokey bit or two on the end. Being that there is such a thing as a whip-chain weapon, I would assume that it has some noticeable effect.Sure, such weapons WOULD have a noticable effect - on people not wearing any sort of armour. Note that (IIRC), the only vaguely similar real-life parallel brought up in this thread so far was the Japanese kusari-gama, used in a time and place where people armour was pretty poor-quality and very rare. Why? Because such a weapon would be useless against proper European-style armour, which is pretty common in D&D. Actually, against a heavily-armored foe, that particular weapon would be used to trip the opponent or entangle his weapon with the chain, then go in for the kill with the sickle. It is still a useful weapon, actually a fairly effective one, but actual kills were scored primarily due to the hand-to-hand weapon's ability to deal with an entangled/armored foe rather than the ranged end's ability to consistently score significant damage. The chain could injure an unarmored foe severely (of course), and could strike at unarmored portions of an armored foe consistently due to its speed, but a foe that was truly in a tin can would simply be swept off his feet and stabbed/slashed with the kama.

It's different from the spiked chain in many regards, so it doesn't prove anything about the performance of the spiked chain in this situation, but the kusarigama is more effective than you're giving it credit.
Just a random tidbit for you.

Kompera
2007-11-27, 02:31 PM
A difference of opinion requires us to actually understand the other person's opinion. I haven't got a clue what yours is. Why don't you answer the two questions I have posed you and clear the matter up for me instead of saying "I explained very clearly and in simple language my position" or falling back on your "straw man" nonesense?

You've posted a good 24 inches of text where I explain myself and still demand that I provide further clarification. I don't see any need to do so. As I've said before my prior words will need to stand on their own merits. If you're incapable if understanding (and I do give you more credit than this) them then you will need to remain unenlightened. Perhaps you should bring them to an English teacher or to a native English speaker if they give you difficulties. There are also online dictionaries which may assist you in your quest for understanding.

And speaking of questions left unanswered: if you're looking for answers, answer my questions in my last post:
And why should any further explanation be required?
So why would you expect to see contradictions or modifications within a collection of statements which are all mine?
I don't tend to spend a lot of time contradicting myself or retro-modifying my positions. So why the surprise?
What is it that you seek to gain from furthering this conversation?

That last question may be the most relevant.

If you chose to answer these or to respond in any other way, I'll let you have the last words. As I've said previously, I don't see any reason to continue this conversation.

Ralfarius
2007-11-27, 02:38 PM
On the contrary, the buttocks and backs of the thighs have a thousand pounds of horsemeat protecting them. And where are these unprotected arm joints? I don't see many openings on these (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maximilan_Armour_Diagramm_%28front%29.jpg) diagrams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Maximilan_Armour_Diagramm_%28rear%29.jpg).
Ahh yes, the thighs and buttocks would be protected by a knight's mount. That's certainly reasonable to assume someone wearing that armour would most likely be a mounted combatant. As for the elbow-gaps and the like, I was actually referring back to the picture of the gothic plate, and was lacking a rear-view of the gothic for the open thighs, and resorted to referencing the Maximilian.


The reason the back of the leg was left unprotected was that the armor was made for cavalry use. Covering those areas in plate would have made it very hard for the knight to control his mount, not to mention keeping his seat in the chaos of battle, and the benefit would have been minimal since you're sitting on a horse anyway. Dungeon crawling on foot wasn't a common profession among real-life knights, but if it had been, I suspect there would have been armor designed to protect that area as well.
I'm not certain that there really would be a "mountless" variety of such armor, especially if the assumption for their design is that they're hella-expensive. I would think that almost all plate armor would have the similar designs for riding, as anyone affording them would probably have a mount to help transport their extra weight and more restricted movement around.


A spiked chain, on the other hand, has no rigid portion. When you get hit by one, each link transfers its energy separately as it comes into contact with your body, spreading the impact out over both space and time. Each spike has only the weight of its own individual link behind it. Your kinetic energy is dissipated over the length of the chain--if the chain is, say, twenty links long, you've only got a twentieth the "punch" you would if you swung a rigid weapon of the same weight at the same speed.
True, the D&D visual representation of the spiked chain does suffer from this sort of less sensible design. However, being that the PhB has a pretty poor track record for representing weapons that would work in the real world, I've been trying to work from more of a chain-whip perspective (the real world equivalent). Its 'links' are actually rigid metal rods, so would they not act much more flail-like in transferring their energy upon impact?


And, as Premier points out, the likelihood of an individual spike hitting dead on is quite small, so you're relying on impact damage alone.
Yeah, on further introspection, I realized that was generally a little much to assume.



Not really, because there's no way in hell you can spin a heavy chain up to anything like the speed of a cracking bullwhip.
I dunno... Maybe not breaking the sound barrier, necessarily. But some (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSt_6cUHLYU) of these (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8OKQ1cxyh4) videos (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqaWKBm5TBs) lead me to believe you can get one of those bad-boys going pretty darn fast. I think you might stand a chance to injure (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPWx7R3AlV4) even a protected individual, especially when you start throwing in tripping and other entanglements.

Whoops... Better ignore that last one. :smalleek:



See above. A spiked chain is the worst of all possible worlds. You have to spin it up all at once, so your velocity is limited by your ability to move ten pounds of steel, but when it connects, it ceases to be ten pounds of steel and becomes half a pound of steel hitting in twenty different places at twenty different times.
Lots of D&D's weapons probably wouldn't work very well. However, they have some vague basis in reality, and being that a chain whip is a real weapon, I can only come to the conclusion that it has good killing potential. If you think of a spiked chain in more of that way, metal rods linked together so they can be spun at a high velocity, and then if you bring the last rod into an opponent, would that energy be as dissipated?

Matthew
2007-11-27, 02:47 PM
You've posted a good 24 inches of text where I explain myself and still demand that I provide further clarification. I don't see any need to do so. As I've said before my prior words will need to stand on their own merits. If you're incapable if understanding (and I do give you more credit than this) them then you will need to remain unenlightened. Perhaps you should bring them to an English teacher or to a native English speaker if they give you difficulties. There are also online dictionaries which may assist you in your quest for understanding.

Oh great. Resorting to insults again, are we? Nice. Any English teacher should be able to tell you that many passages of text can be read multiple ways, that is the nature of English Literature studies (and, indeed, of many types of research).


And speaking of questions left unanswered: if you're looking for answers, answer my questions in my last post:

Sure, I am happy to answer your questions.


And why should any further explanation be required?

Because my reading of your discourse leaves me in no doubt as to your position, but your statements beyond that point indicate that I am incorrect.


So why would you expect to see contradictions or modifications within a collection of statements which are all mine? I don't tend to spend a lot of time contradicting myself or retro-modifying my positions. So why the surprise?

Because your statements lead me to believe one thing, whilst your discourse past that point refutes that understanding, but without providing an alternative reading beyond what you have already stated. I have looked for this alternative reading, but so far without success.


What is it that you seek to gain from furthering this conversation?

To understand your position, so that next time the subject of the Spiked Chain comes up (and it will come up again), I will be better equipped to understand any statements you happen to contribute (or, indeed, any future discourse that would benefit from knowledge of your position here).


If you chose to answer these or to respond in any other way, I'll let you have the last words. As I've said previously, I don't see any reason to continue this conversation.

Truly, I would rather you do me the same courtesy as I have just done you and answer my two previous questions. Why would I choose not to respond?

Dausuul
2007-11-27, 03:02 PM
I'm not certain that there really would be a "mountless" variety of such armor, especially if the assumption for their design is that they're hella-expensive. I would think that almost all plate armor would have the similar designs for riding, as anyone affording them would probably have a mount to help transport their extra weight and more restricted movement around.

Well, as I say, this assumes the standard D&D scenario in which dungeon crawling is a lucrative profession. Adventurers at any reasonable level have enough gold to commission custom suits of plate designed for the sort of fighting they favor (on foot, in close quarters, against big nasty monsters).

In fact, pretty much every suit of plate was custom-made anyway. It had to be or it wouldn't fit.


Lots of D&D's weapons probably wouldn't work very well. However, they have some vague basis in reality, and being that a chain whip is a real weapon, I can only come to the conclusion that it has good killing potential. If you think of a spiked chain in more of that way, metal rods linked together so they can be spun at a high velocity, and then if you bring the last rod into an opponent, would that energy be as dissipated?

Yes, but less so; basically, the fewer segments your weapon has, the more kinetic energy each segment carries, and the more punch it delivers when it hits. I haven't been able to find documentation on how the chain-whip was actually used, but I'd be rather surprised if it were very effective through armor and heavy padding. I'm sure it's nasty as heck on unprotected flesh, but getting through armor requires the ability to concentrate force on a single point.

Ralfarius
2007-11-27, 03:14 PM
I think I can see what you mean. We seem to have reached a sort of compromise of opinion, here, and we don't have much actual information to go any further on to prove or disprove the chain whip's effectiveness. So I'm willing to let it conclude with the chain whip being a sort of schroedinger's weapon, where it's simultaneously making you and not making you dead, and shall remain as such so long as we continue to not make any physical observation.

Triaxx
2007-11-27, 07:22 PM
Twenty little punches? A large number of small punches still adds up. And after you've been hit two, or three, or more times, You've got some significant denting. The fact that the spikes on the chain are deepening those dents, concentrating the force of each hit, and getting through adds up. Plus each time I jerk back to pull the chain free adds that much more. That's going to hurt when the chain being pulled loose wrenches your body, not to mention any magical effects added to the damage.

Stephen_E
2007-11-27, 09:00 PM
[QUOTE=Ralfarius;3576829]Sure, such weapons WOULD have a noticable effect - on people not wearing any sort of armour. Note that (IIRC), the only vaguely similar real-life parallel brought up in this thread so far was the Japanese kusari-gama, used in a time and place where people armour was pretty poor-quality and very rare. Why? Because such a weapon would be useless against proper European-style armour, which is pretty common in D&D.


I'm sorry. Are you seriously using "the nearest RL equivalent to the Spiked Chain would have trouble doing damage to someone in fullplate" as an argument against the spiked chain. :smallbiggrin:
You appear to have missed the fact that many/most of the DnD weapons would have trouble doing damage to someone in Fullplate. DnD armour doesn't handle the fact that top quality/technologically armour stops you taking damage from many things. If you don't like that don't play DnD, but don't try and pin it on one weapon as proof that the weapon shouldn't exist in the game.

Re: The Mathew/Kempura debate, which has become a debate about the debate about the debate.

Can I check the basics (skipping the you said/I said stuff)

1) Mathew considers that the flaws in the Spiked Chain as a RL construct upsets his supension of disbeleif for game purposes enough that he drops it from his games.

2) Kempura thinks that due to the vast amount of DnD things that don't work in RL, using a argument of "this is unrealistic" is not a valid argument in general for saying something shouldn't be allowed in DnD.

3) Mathew thinks that just because there are other unrealistic things in DnD that he allows doesn't mean that he has to allow everything that is unrealistic, and that this is a lousy argument.

4) Kempura doesn't think anyone is making the arguement that Mathew is complaining about in 2).

These are the stuff I'm pretty sure I've understood correctly.

The uncertainties I have is -

a) Whether Mathew thinks his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns is a valid argument for not having them in DnD period.

b) Whether Kempura thinks Mathew was applying his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns to a suggestion that spiked chains should be banned in DnD in general.

In short a lot of the arguing seems centered on a lack of clarity/understanding as to whether people are speaking about what they think is appropriate for their game or the game.

Stephen

Jannex
2007-11-27, 09:31 PM
Actually, Stephen_E, as I understand it the argument between Kompera and Matthew has proceeded like this:

1. Matthew thinks that the spiked chain can disrupt verisimilitude, and that this is a good reason for someone to disallow it in his games.

2. Kompera seems to say that banning the spiked chain for verisimilitude-preserving reasons is dishonest and hypocritical; he goes on to list a number of other elements of the D&D milieu which defy the laws of physics, seeming to imply that if one retains these elements despite their verisimilitude-breaking qualities, it is hypocritical to reject the spiked chain.

3. Matthew states that most of the elements Kompera listed were either (a) not really that impossible, (b) only available at such sufficiently high levels that the PCs are already capable of many other supernatural feats (even the non-casters), or (c) adding something of value to the game as a whole, in sufficient quantity to compensate for their verisimilitude-straining qualities. He disputes the notion that it is contradictory or hypocritical to include these other elements, but reject the spiked chain.

4. Kompera claims that he did not, in fact, make the latter claim (which Matthew is disputing), and accuses Matthew of constructing straw-men against him.

5. Matthew asks for clarification of Kompera's point, since Kompera is denying that Matthew's understanding of his previous posts matches Kompera's intended points.

6. Kompera tells him to reread his previous posts, and states that they speak for themselves.

7. Matthew attempts to explain that, if he read Kompera's previous posts and came to a mistaken conclusion about Kompera's intended points, then those previous posts were insufficient to elucidate Kompera's meaning.

8. Kompera tacitly accuses Matthew of willfully misunderstanding his previous posts and constructing straw-men against him, in an effort to "win" their discussion.

9. Matthew again appeals to Kompera for clarification, saying that it is not his intention to misrepresent Kompera. Return to #6 and repeat.

I can certainly understand Matthew's concern; accusations have been leveled against him of dishonest debate tactics, and nobody likes to be misrepresented in such a manner. It seems to me that he is merely interested in coming to some sort of understanding about what both parties are actually saying, as it seems a misunderstanding is at the root of the issue.

BardicDuelist
2007-11-27, 09:43 PM
As far as the way a spiked chain would be built, I would go with a length of chain with a spiked ball on the end. This may or may not contradict the way it is described or anything like that.

In my mind, it would be fought with by twirling it and hitting you opponent. To attack a close opponent, you just use a shorter length of chain by grabbing it closer to the spike.

Kompera
2007-11-27, 10:50 PM
Re: The Mathew/Kempura debate, which has become a debate about the debate about the debate.
[...]
The uncertainties I have is -

a) Whether Mathew thinks his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns is a valid argument for not having them in DnD period.

b) Whether Kempura thinks Mathew was applying his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns to a suggestion that spiked chains should be banned in DnD in general.

In short a lot of the arguing seems centered on a lack of clarity/understanding as to whether people are speaking about what they think is appropriate for their game or the game.Stephen_E, you've nailed it. I'm not interested in debating any longer with Matthew, because it's gone well beyond the subject matter and is pointless.

But I will answer your question, not with any new words but with a quote. The thread is very long at this point and I can see how it could have been missed:

I'll gladly allow that any GM is free to allow or disallow any element of the rules, and that it's then up to the players to chose to play or not.I hope that this clears up your uncertainties wrt my position, at least.

Dausuul
2007-11-28, 02:42 AM
Twenty little punches? A large number of small punches still adds up.

No, they don't. That's the point. If I punch you in the face, it's going to hurt. If I take that same kinetic energy and spread it out over twenty "little punches," it won't hurt at all, because all I'm doing is putting my fist against your skin and pushing gently, twenty times. It's not like each successive tap inflicts more and more damage. I can keep pushing my fist against your skin all day long and it'll never do anything, except annoy the heck out of you.

Damage is inflicted, not by the sum total of kinetic energy transmitted into the target anywhere ever, but by kinetic energy delivered to a single spot at a single time. Weapons are designed to help concentrate kinetic energy. Armor is designed to diffuse it. The spiked chain is already so diffuse that it would take very little in the way of armor to reduce it to nothing.

You'll notice that of all the real-world chain weapons we've been discussing, not a single one actually relies on the chain itself to do damage. The chain-whip and the nunchaku are solid rods with chains connecting them; the kusari-gama uses the chain simply to entangle, while a rigid blade in the wielder's hand does the dirty work; the flail and the meteor hammer rely on a weight at the end of the chain.


As far as the way a spiked chain would be built, I would go with a length of chain with a spiked ball on the end. This may or may not contradict the way it is described or anything like that.

Hmm, so a sort of hybrid meteor hammer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_hammer)/flail. Possibly effective; nothing like the weapon depicted in the books, not that any of the depictions in the books are even remotely plausible; and the name "spiked chain" isn't really appropriate IMO, since it's not the chain that's spiked.

Still, it could work.

Funkyodor
2007-11-28, 03:09 AM
I don't have a problem with the concept of the spiked chain (just with how it is displayed in the book). It's a chain with spikes welded to it. Whats hard to understand about that? The kinetic energy transferred by the whirling chain striking a target is the small part of the damage, it is the chain being ripped off and all those small spikes gouging and tearing flesh that does the damage. The entire principle of the chain saw is based around spikes welded to a spinning chain.

WhiteHarness
2007-11-28, 03:52 AM
I don't have a problem with the concept of the spiked chain (just with how it is displayed in the book). It's a chain with spikes welded to it. Whats hard to understand about that? The kinetic energy transferred by the whirling chain striking a target is the small part of the damage, it is the chain being ripped off and all those small spikes gouging and tearing flesh that does the damage. The entire principle of the chain saw is based around spikes welded to a spinning chain.


And have you ever seen what happens when a chainsaw hits a piece of thin sheet-steel? It's not pleasant for the chainsaw.

I still don't think you could "gouge and tear flesh" with a spiked chain, if said flesh is sheathed in armour.

Fuzzy_Juan
2007-11-28, 03:57 AM
err...the argument of the chain distributing the energy evenly between the links isn't exactly accurate of how the chain is used in combat. A spiked chain is twirrled and spun around so that the links are traveling at high speed like a flail. true, the even nature of the chain is such that the weight is dispursed, but the kinetic energy of the part of the chain that strikes is determined by the speed of the link and the effective mass of the links that hit...followed quickly by the sawlike ripping of the spikes as the chain whips past and wraps as it is pulled back/travels on.

The chain hurts cause it is spun so that the end that strikes is moving fast...a skilled chain user could probably get the end moving really fast, though as the chain gets further out, the energy required to speed up the end to damaging potential gets to much for anyone to reliably do in some ways. Another big thing about long chain weapons is that they require open space..alot of open space. In DnD terms, the weapon would require that the threat range of the weapon should be clear of obstruction else a penalty would have to be assigned to represent the lack of available space to twirl the weapon.

I point to the 'wet towel' as a weapon to show the potential of the spiked chain...a good wet beach towel has an effective reach of 8 ft from your core with your arms, a bit more when you take into account your step into the snap. you can slap anyone within range and cause some pain if it is rolled right by making that end move really fast...same as if you slapped them with your hand...if you snap it right, you can break skin, rip clothing, even dent a locker door (thin sheet metal). If that can be done with just a wet towel...why can't it be done with a spiked chain?

I will agree that it doesn't really fit the paradigm very well though...more fantasy horror than high fantasy...

Dhavaer
2007-11-28, 05:22 AM
I still don't think you could "gouge and tear flesh" with a spiked chain, if said flesh is sheathed in armour.

You couldn't do much with a dagger, either, but they still work on people in full plate.

Mike_G
2007-11-28, 05:34 AM
You couldn't do much with a dagger, either, but they still work on people in full plate.

A dagger, even a not-for-combat kitchen knife, can do horrible things to a human body.

Work on an ambulance in a high crime city for a few years and you'll see exactly what I mean.

The Spiked Chain, in addition to being silly in concept, does about the same damage as a Battle Axe, which is mechanically ridiculous. If it did damage like a dagger, I'd be much more ok with it.

Matthew
2007-11-28, 05:41 AM
Re: The Mathew/Kempura debate, which has become a debate about the debate about the debate.

Can I check the basics (skipping the you said/I said stuff)

1) Mathew considers that the flaws in the Spiked Chain as a RL construct upsets his supension of disbeleif for game purposes enough that he drops it from his games.

What I consider is for it not be hypocritical or a failure of the imagination to drop the Spiked Chain from the game for reasons of versimilitude, physics or logic and yet retain other elements that also contravene those expectations of normality. This view was expressed in response to what I understood (and still understand) to be Kompera's position and has its foundation in a sidebar in the 3e DMG entitled 'How Real is Your Fantasy', p. 136.

This section on world building assumes that your campaign is set in a fairly realistic world. That is to say that while wizards cast spells, deities channel power to their clerics, and dragons raise villages, the world is round, the laws of physics are applicable, and most people act like real people. The reason for this assumption is that, unless they are told otherwise, this is what your players expect.



2) Kempura thinks that due to the vast amount of DnD things that don't work in RL, using a argument of "this is unrealistic" is not a valid argument in general for saying something shouldn't be allowed in DnD.

That is what I understand to be Kompera's position.


3) Mathew thinks that just because there are other unrealistic things in DnD that he allows doesn't mean that he has to allow everything that is unrealistic, and that this is a lousy argument.

I do think this, but I also think that "this is unrealistic" is in general a valid argument for saying something shouldn't be allowed in default Dungeons & Dragons, particularly none magical things that are available at very low levels.


4) Kempura doesn't think anyone is making the arguement that Mathew is complaining about in 2).

Apparently.


a) Whether Mathew thinks his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns is a valid argument for not having them in DnD period.

I surely do; I don't think the Spiked Chain adds anything positive to the game. I consider it to be a 'thing that should not be', much like the Rollerblades (Cyran Gliding Boots (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cw/20061120a)) that were put up on the Wizards Web Site (i.e. a joke). On the other hand, I wouldn't stop anyone including them if they so wish (which also applies to the Rollerblades).


b) Whether Kempura thinks Mathew was applying his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns to a suggestion that spiked chains should be banned in DnD in general.

No idea, not even from his above quote that supposedly clears this up.


Stephen_E, you've nailed it. I'm not interested in debating any longer with Matthew, because it's gone well beyond the subject matter and is pointless.

See Jannex's post for a summing up of the progression.

Dhavaer
2007-11-28, 05:48 AM
A dagger, even a not-for-combat kitchen knife, can do horrible things to a human body.

And so can a 10 pound chain covered in spikes.

WhiteHarness
2007-11-28, 05:55 AM
You couldn't do much with a dagger, either, but they still work on people in full plate.

Daggers work fine on people in armour. Like so:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/De_Alte_Armatur_und_Ringkunst_Talhofer_285.jpg

You don't try and drive the dagger through the plate. You stab your opponent in an unarmoured spot, between the plates of his harness. That's what rolling well enough to hit a man in full plate when armed with a dagger in D&D means--that you've found a gap in his armour and driven your weapon into it; it doesn't mean that you've totally rammed the thing through his breastplate.

There's just no way I can see for a spiked chain to do that. It's not going to go through the armour, and it's not going to go around the armour as a specialized weapon like a dagger can, so what would a wielder of a spiked chain do when faced with a heavily-armoured opponent?

He'd die, that's what...


And so can a 10 pound chain covered in spikes.

I certainly don't think it would do much at all to an armoured opponent.

We can't even agree on what a spiked chain looks like. Nobody's yet found a weapon that a majority of us can agree represents the spiked chain. How can we debate its abilities if we can't find a real example?

Dhavaer
2007-11-28, 05:58 AM
You don't try and drive the dagger through the plate. You stab your opponent in an unarmoured spot, between the plates of his harness.

There's just no way I can see for a spiked chain to do that. It's not going to go through the armour, and it's not going to go around the armour as a specialized weapon like a dagger can, so what would a wielder of a spiked chain do when faced with a heavily-armoured opponent?

It's flexible and covered with spikes. It wraps around the armour and the spikes poke into a gap.

Matthew
2007-11-28, 06:00 AM
It's flexible and covered with spikes. It wraps around the armour and the spikes poke into a gap.

How big are these spikes? I just don't see this happening.

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/dndcolumn_chain.jpg

WhiteHarness
2007-11-28, 06:08 AM
Yeah, once it gets past any mail, padding, and clothing the guy is wearing in the gaps of his plate, it might penetrate...what? A couple of millimeters? At best, it's going to be a pinprick. There is no justification for this thing doing as much damage as a battleaxe, at least not to someone in armour.

Matthew
2007-11-28, 06:16 AM
Yah!

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/cw_ag/75468.jpg

Lucky shot!?

Charity
2007-11-28, 08:27 AM
Out of curiosity would it help if it did bludgeoning damage?
I could almost see that.

As it goes, I set light to verimilitude a long while back to see how well it burned so I care little about the outcome. If you remove spiked chains you might as well ditch exotic weapon profficiency altogether as no-one will take the manky feat otherwise, and spiked chain does at least make whirlwind attack a little less pants... I said a little.

*sets up a straw donkey to test his new animated chainsword*

just yanking your chains guys.

Matthew
2007-11-28, 08:51 AM
For my part, I would treat it as an Improvised Weapon, but allow Exotic Weapon Proficiency to undo the -4 Attack Bonus Penalty.

Exotic Weapon Proficiency is an odd sort of Feat to begin with, encompassing weapons that are both 'foreign' or 'difficult to use'.

Triaxx
2007-11-28, 09:10 AM
Given that description, Then the best method to kill with it is to swirl it overhead once, and wrap it around the neck of the target. Even if they're in full plate the only way to protect the neck is chainmail. The spikes pierce the mail and are significantly deadly. *shrug* Not much use on a battlefield, but one on one, a spiked chain would be vicsiously effective.

As for it's ability to penetrate, remember that if it's wrapping around the (arm/leg/neck) of the victim, the further wrapping is putting pressure on that (arm/leg/neck). Plus it's going tobe twisted when I pull the chain away

Ralfarius
2007-11-28, 09:23 AM
Hmm, so a sort of hybrid meteor hammer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_hammer)/flail. Possibly effective; nothing like the weapon depicted in the books, not that any of the depictions in the books are even remotely plausible; and the name "spiked chain" isn't really appropriate IMO, since it's not the chain that's spiked.

Still, it could work.
Ahhh, that's actually a good insight, there. I think the big problem people have with the spiked chain is the idea that it would be able to hurt people in armour by penetrating their defenses with wrapping around and such, which is kind of hard to believe. And scoring a hit in very specific gaps every single time doesn't sound so much like regular hits as it does critical hits.

Perhaps the best solution would be to modify the spiked chain? If you turn it into a double chain whip, or meteor hammers, and change the damage to bludgeoning, then you could justify being able to hurt someone wearing armour, even full plate. I imagine if you got one of those weighted ends going, it could probably do enough damage to crack a bone, even beneath all that protection. Then, it still retains the disarm/trip qualities, the reach, but you're not saying that what you're doing is hurting someone by getting them with all the little spikeities.

Kompera
2007-11-28, 10:20 PM
Perhaps the best solution would be to modify the spiked chain? If you turn it into a double chain whip, or meteor hammers, and change the damage to bludgeoning, then you could justify being able to hurt someone wearing armour, even full plate.I don't understand the need to justify the weapon being able to harm a person in full plate. I'm no expert in ancient weapons or armor, but I believe that there are many weapons on the PHB list which would have a very difficult time harming someone in full plate. If you alter the spiked chain, will you also be modifying the following weapons?

Gauntlet
Unarmed Strike (this can be done without being a Monk...)
Club
Sap
Rapier
Whip
Bolas

If not, than a person wearing full plate can be punched into unconsciousness, or whipped unconscious. Or killed by a light, flexible sword designed for unarmored dueling such as the rapier. Or killed by a bolas, a weapon designed to bring down light game. An armored knight is not a rabbit or a grouse...

The D&D combat system is abstract, and it needs to be. Otherwise the combats will bog down into endless charts and tables, such as the AD&D full page of weapons vs. armor cross reference for hit bonuses and penalties. I don't know anyone who ever used that monstrosity, as it would have made a fight with 5 people on each side, all wearing different armor types (very common for the PCs), into an all day event.

There is not much point, or rational justification, for singling out any given weapon and making changes to it, while ignoring the remainder and ignoring the abstraction built into the current combat system.

Stephen_E
2007-11-28, 10:33 PM
What I consider is for it not be hypocritical or a failure of the imagination to drop the Spiked Chain from the game for reasons of versimilitude, physics or logic and yet retain other elements that also contravene those expectations of normality. This view was expressed in response to what I understood (and still understand) to be Kompera's position and has its foundation in a sidebar in the 3e DMG entitled 'How Real is Your Fantasy', p. 136.

This section on world building assumes that your campaign is set in a fairly realistic world. That is to say that while wizards cast spells, deities channel power to their clerics, and dragons raise villages, the world is round, the laws of physics are applicable, and most people act like real people. The reason for this assumption is that, unless they are told otherwise, this is what your players expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_E
a) Whether Mathew thinks his argument for not having spiked chains in his campaigns is a valid argument for not having them in DnD period.

I
surely do; I don't think the Spiked Chain adds anything positive to the game. I consider it to be a 'thing that should not be', much like the Rollerblades (Cyran Gliding Boots (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cw/20061120a)) that were put up on the Wizards Web Site (i.e. a joke). On the other hand, I wouldn't stop anyone including them if they so wish (which also applies to the Rollerblades).


OK. I see your point Matthew but disagree with it regarding the default DnD game.

I don't see the spiked chain as been remotely close to "fantastically out of this world" to the extent that it impacts on most gamers ability to suspend disbelief", and that's the level IMHO that is required to say that it shouldn't be in the core world.

Do you ignore the DR5 Skelotons have against slashing weapons like Battleaxes, because with no flesh to cut, and only bones to break a battleaxe is going have difficulty doing damage (note skeletons are low level and not necessasarily magical in DnD). Did you follow the previous edition rules regarding clerics using bludgeoning weapons to avoid spilling blood. Do you consider the DnD Flachion an ok standard weapon? What about the Scythe? Note: I'm not talking about in your game, but do you think these should be in core DnD at all?

What does the Spiked Chain add to the game.
1) It gives a 2H weapon for Dex based fighters.
2) It gives an exotic weapon worth using (yes, there are people who like the idea of using semi-fantastical weapons in a fantasy world, and they don't want to suck while doing it).
3) It gives the game a reach weapon that isn't crap (well there is armour spikes or spiked gauntlets as well, but they upset almost as many people as spiked chains).
4) It gives the fighter a weapon that he can use better than your average Cleric. I'd go further and say it gives the fighter a weapon that is primarily designed for him to use.
5) It gives the Melee type a battlefield control weapon. For those who want to do more than be weak meatshields for the Wizard (remember it's pre-ToB).

These are ample reason IMO for the Spiked Chain to be a core DnD weapon. The reasons you've given are excellent reasons for SOME DMs to Rule Zero it out.

Stephen

Ralfarius
2007-11-29, 12:09 AM
There is not much point, or rational justification, for singling out any given weapon and making changes to it, while ignoring the remainder and ignoring the abstraction built into the current combat system.
Eh, I'm just trying to work with people who have a particular dislike for a weapon. If they can work it out to see how or why something could work, then the rest should fall into place.

Granted, some just don't care for Wushu-themed weapons in their game. Not much to be done, in that case.

Mostly, I'm just trying to provoke more discussion, because this particular topic has piqued my interest, for some reason. A certain... Je ne sais quoi.

But, yes. That has been one of my big points: D&D does not do justice to the weapons it tries to represent in the game. If a warhammer can be a big, clunky mallet and a long sword some manner of one-handed chicanery and two-bladed swords work without cutting you to ribbons... Then what's the problem with a meteor hammer looking weapon with spiketies? If it's not a thematic problem, that is.

BardicDuelist
2007-11-29, 12:14 AM
I don't understand the need to justify the weapon being able to harm a person in full plate. I'm no expert in ancient weapons or armor, but I believe that there are many weapons on the PHB list which would have a very difficult time harming someone in full plate. If you alter the spiked chain, will you also be modifying the following weapons?

Gauntlet
Unarmed Strike (this can be done without being a Monk...)
Club
Sap
Rapier
Whip
Bolas


Gauntlets were used in battle as weapons when the knights lost their weapons. They would hit at the head.

Unarmed strikes are a bit of a problem, but I always took this as hitting specific areas that were unarmored or armored with chain (back of the leg, under the arm, neck, etc.). A kick can do sufficient damage to somone wearing plate, if only to off balance them or throw them off guard (although I'm pretty sure it wouldn't hurt much, it can be very detrimental in a fight, and HP are abstract anyway).

Saps are nonlethal and used to surprise opponents (I have never seen anyone other than a rogue use one).

Rapiers would aim to hit the chinks in the armor. Plausable enough for me, as it is fantasy.

The whip specifically does not work against full plate.

Bolas should be used to trip or injure the legs, which is completely plausable against somone wearing full plate.

While the above are not completely sound arguments, I admit, they are plausable enough to work for me (although a spiked chain, as long as the ends are weighted, is plausable enough for me).

Please note that if the campaign is set in a very mideval period, I do not allow the rapier (even though it is my favorite weapon in the PHB).

Crow
2007-11-29, 12:39 AM
How likely are a wolf's teeth to get through full-plate? Do you houserule-out wolves? It's a game of make-believe. If you don't like it, don't use it.

Fuzzy_Juan
2007-11-29, 12:53 AM
remember that one does not have to pierce or even damage the armor to hurt the person inside. Impact transferred through the armor will reach the person inside and batter them if struk hard enough or in the right places.

A mailed fist or plate gauntlet on the end of a strong arm is akin to being smacked with a punch holding a weight...when this strikes the head of an opponent, even an armored one, it will jar them a bit.

An unarmed attack does not seek to damage through armor, rather to attack the joints to bend them in odd ways. Armor won't prevent the damage form someone stomping your knee backwards, or elbow.

A rapier is ineffective against the large plates, but anywhere there is mail, the point can usually slide right in. A skilled fencer will be able to place a thrust exactly where they want. Including a seam.

Sap...useless...

whip...useless...unless you can get an unarmored head or neck...stil good for tripping/entangling.

Bola...damage is pretty much a non-issue...the problem is the entangling effect which still works just fine.

Kompera
2007-11-29, 02:53 AM
remember that one does not have to pierce or even damage the armor to hurt the person inside. Impact transferred through the armor will reach the person inside and batter them if struk hard enough or in the right places.

A mailed fist or plate gauntlet on the end of a strong arm is akin to being smacked with a punch holding a weight...when this strikes the head of an opponent, even an armored one, it will jar them a bit.

An unarmed attack does not seek to damage through armor, rather to attack the joints to bend them in odd ways. Armor won't prevent the damage form someone stomping your knee backwards, or elbow.

A rapier is ineffective against the large plates, but anywhere there is mail, the point can usually slide right in. A skilled fencer will be able to place a thrust exactly where they want. Including a seam.

Sap...useless...

whip...useless...unless you can get an unarmored head or neck...stil good for tripping/entangling.

Bola...damage is pretty much a non-issue...the problem is the entangling effect which still works just fine.The damage for the bolas is not a non-issue. It can kill a person wearing full plate, per RAW. 1D4 may take twice as long to kill as the 2D4 of the spiked chain, but it still kills. The entangling ability is handled nicely by the rules for tripping, and tripping deals no damage.

The rest of your points are fine, but they apply equally to the spiked chain. It will hit harder than any mailed fist can hope to, due to the leverage provided by the chain. If you're abstracting an unarmed strike to being able to stomp a knee or elbow and inflict damage, then surely a spiked chain can inflict more damage through either greater impact or piercing ability. Similar comparisons can be made for the remainder of your points.

Matthew
2007-11-29, 07:03 AM
OK. I see your point Matthew but disagree with it regarding the default DnD game.

I don't see the spiked chain as been remotely close to "fantastically out of this world" to the extent that it impacts on most gamers ability to suspend disbelief", and that's the level IMHO that is required to say that it shouldn't be in the core world.

That's fine, I can certainly appreciate the other side of the argument and would not expect everyone to have the same preference as me. I wouldn't like to comment on what 'most' gamers want, but it's possible that most gamers have no problem with it. That said, there are a lot who do seem to have a problem with it. Whether that's down to familiarity with historical weapons, perception of D&D or what, I don't really know.


Do you ignore the DR5 Skelotons have against slashing weapons like Battleaxes, because with no flesh to cut, and only bones to break a battleaxe is going have difficulty doing damage (note skeletons are low level and not necessasarily magical in DnD). Did you follow the previous edition rules regarding clerics using bludgeoning weapons to avoid spilling blood. Do you consider the DnD Flachion an ok standard weapon? What about the Scythe? Note: I'm not talking about in your game, but do you think these should be in core DnD at all?

Okay, let me answer these in order:

1) Skeletons are magically animated corpses; I'm not sure what you mean by there not necessarily being magical, they surely transcend the normal laws of physics. Their DR I have always found a bit dodgy (inherited as it is from previous editions), but I usually put any apparent discongruity down to their magical nature (War Hammer Fantasy Battle suggested an alternate view, as I recall, which may be the root cause of my discomfort).

2) The restriction against Clerics spilling blood is a particular bugbear of mine and I have always opposed it as silly (well, for as long as I have fully understood the meaning, anyway). In 1e they were even able to use Lucern Hammers! That said, I recognse it as a supposed 'balancing' aspect of those previous editions, intended to restrict access to the 'better' or 'magical' weapons (most were swords on the tables). In my opinion, the 2e Optional Supplements that allowed Clerics to use various other weaponry tended to increase their power.

3) The D&D Falchion follows the usual pattern of poor naming conventions and exaggerated depiction. Much like the D&D depiction of the War Hammer, I think that the picture is silly. However, as a single edged two handed sword, and in the absence of other options (until, that is, the Sandstorm Great Scimitar) I have no problem thinking of it as a Kriegsmesser (http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/nextgen/sword-kriegsmesser-knecht.htm).

http://www.albion-swords.com/images/swords/albion/nextGen/knecht/smKnecht.jpg

4) The Scythe is an interesting one. I'm not particularly in favour of including it in the default D&D weapon list and have never had to put up with somebody using it. That said, Edmund put up an interesting link in the Real World Weapons and Armour Thread to a demonstration that cites a Medieval German Fighting Manual for techniques used with Scythes, so the jury is out on that.


What does the Spiked Chain add to the game.
1) It gives a 2H weapon for Dex based fighters.

I take it we're talking default core here, rather than simply default. Yes, mechanically speaking, the Spiked Chain is pretty good for Fighters concentrating on Dexterity, perhaps a little too good, even if not particularly game breaking. I would have preferred to see another method of reaching this end, rather than concentrating it in the form of one weapon. As far as it goes, it does fulfil a role no other default core weapon does or can emulate; I don't necessarily think that this is a good thing.


2) It gives an exotic weapon worth using (yes, there are people who like the idea of using semi-fantastical weapons in a fantasy world, and they don't want to suck while doing it).

From a default core perspective, yes, it does. Of course, that rather speaks to larger problems in the game. It is a hell of a lot better than just about any other Exotic Weapon, which suggests that it is out of place amongst them. As for people wanting to use semi fantastical weapons, sure, I can appreciate that, though I think it would have been better left for a 'book of semi fantastical weapons' as an Optional Supplement.


3) It gives the game a reach weapon that isn't crap (well there is armour spikes or spiked gauntlets as well, but they upset almost as many people as spiked chains).

Heh, heh. Yes, Armour Spikes are ridiculous and another thing I could have done without. The ability to use a Reach Weapon at 5' and 10' is a great benefit. It's bizzare that Short Haft doesn't confer this benefit and suggests again that the Spiked Chain is out of balance with the other options, since [Feat + Spiked Chain] is still better than [Feat + Other Reach Weapon]. Mechanically speaking, there should be a Feat that allows a Character to use a single Reach Weapon at 5' and 10', I suspect that the Spiked Chain actually prevented the implementation of such a Feat, for fears of rendering it redundent.


4) It gives the fighter a weapon that he can use better than your average Cleric. I'd go further and say it gives the fighter a weapon that is primarily designed for him to use.

I take it you mean because it takes so many Feats to use well? Yes, perhaps, but does this not suggest a different design ethic for the Spiked Chain in general? Is it desirable for there to be one weapon in a list of dozens that is designed for a Fighter? I don't think so, but opinions no doubt differ.


5) It gives the Melee type a battlefield control weapon. For those who want to do more than be weak meatshields for the Wizard (remember it's pre-ToB).

I don't think the Spiked Chain does much with regard to that, but it's possible that I simply don't play enough 3e at sufficiently high levels to perceive the significance.


These are ample reason IMO for the Spiked Chain to be a core DnD weapon. The reasons you've given are excellent reasons for SOME DMs to Rule Zero it out.

Fair enough. As I say, opinions differ wildly as to what should and should not be included in default core Dungeons & Dragons (as can be seen in the Wizards 4e discussion Forums). My only contention is that it is neither hypocritical nor a failure of the imagination to hold the opinion that the Spiked Chain should not be included in the default core rules 'for reasons of versimilitude, physics or logic and yet retain other elements that also contravene those expectations of normality' [to quote myself].

Certainly there is no one true way to play Dungeons & Dragons and I wouldn't condemn anyone for including it on account of its mechanical benefits or because they simply want to. To be clear, I don't think people who include the Spiked Chain are silly, I just think the Spiked Chain is silly and superfluous.

WhiteHarness
2007-11-29, 09:00 AM
Yeah, I'd be much happier if the spiked chain did bludgeoning damage.


An unarmed attack does not seek to damage through armor, rather to attack the joints to bend them in odd ways. Armor won't prevent the damage form someone stomping your knee backwards, or elbow.


This is the only thing I'm going to take issue with here. It depends on what type of armour we're talking about. In the case of articulated plate--yeah, it does prevent your joints from being bent backwards. Unless the attacker can snap rivets, the armour simply won't bend in that direction.