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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    I am going to be running a city based campaign. Thematically I am looking at the Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar from the Fafhrd & Gray Mouser series, and George R.R. Martin's Sanctuary from the Theive's World series.

    I have gotten agreement from my players to run the campaign using 3.5 and the E6 alternate rules.

    I would like to encourage my players to not automatically go for the great sword and full plate. As a group we have tended to go toward what is mechanically best even if it breaks vermisilitude. The paladin that summons his mount inside the dungeon, the dwarf who never takes off his full plate, even in when eating in the inn. So I am looking for mechanical advantages for other weapons, that I can point out to the players when they are making their characters.

    The advantages and disadvantages of Heavy armor, with its penalties to skill checks is easy to point out, but weapons I find harder. Besides concealment and use in a grapple are there any other mechanical advantages to using smaller weapons?

    What about using a great sword in a 5 foot wide hallway? Mechanically in 3.5 there are no penalties, so it can be used as easily as a dagger correct? Even using the squeezing through rules on page 29 of the DMG both the great sword and the dagger take the same penalties for being used in a small space.
    Last edited by Leadfeathermcc; 2007-11-21 at 11:40 AM.

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    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Leadfeathermcc View Post
    What about using a great sword in a 5 foot wide hallway? Mechanically in 3.5 there are no penalties, so it can be used as easily as a dagger correct? Even using the squeezing through rules on page 29 of the DMG both the great sword and the dagger take the same penalties for being used in a small space.
    2nd Ed had weapon speeds. Basically, it was a number added to your initiative that represented the unwieldliness of larger weapons. That was back when a high init was bad.

    You could do something similar. All 2handed weapons give a -4 penalty to initiative roll. 1handed weapons give a +0, and light weapons gives a +4 bonus to initiative rolls. Adjust the numbers to your taste.
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    You can wield a light weapon in your off-hand, and you can hide light weapons on your person with a Slight of Hand check.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Oh, and you can stab enemies with a light weapon while in a grapple.
    So a dagger is usable in close quarters while a greatsword would be useless
    Last edited by Dode; 2007-11-21 at 12:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    The restricted space idea is a good one, I think. Although you *can* use a halberd or a greatsword in a small corridor, it does restrict the maneuvers you can use making the weapon clumsier.

    Another idea is a social disadvantage. Walking around in full armor with lots of visible weapons in a city is a big no-no usually.

    For one, most people only put that kind of stuff on if they're looking for trouble. And everyone else doesn't want to be involved in that trouble. So, when your full-plate, greatsword weilding fighter-type walks down a street, he's going to see people running away, all the windows and doors slam shut and be bolted, etc. All those people are expecting some other violent person or creature to show up right then and there for a fight to start. Otherwise, why is the fighter-type armored up? These are people used to wandering mercenaries and adventurers, and they're not stupid. They *know* what's going to happen next.

    City watch people get really weirded out by people wearing more weaponry than they do. If it's not illegal, then they are definately going to be watching the adventurers very closely. They may even have someone assigned to follow them everywhere when they've geared up. Which means every time there's an adventure opportunity, a competent City Watch will be immediately there to make sure it doesn't happan. That's what the City Watch are *for*.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by lussmanj View Post
    2nd Ed had weapon speeds. Basically, it was a number added to your initiative that represented the unwieldliness of larger weapons. That was back when a high init was bad.

    You could do something similar. All 2handed weapons give a -4 penalty to initiative roll. 1handed weapons give a +0, and light weapons gives a +4 bonus to initiative rolls. Adjust the numbers to your taste.
    I like this idea quite a bit. I would probably modify it to be light weapons give a +4, one-handed weapons give a +2 to init. It is easier to sell positives to my group than negatives ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    The restricted space idea is a good one, I think. Although you *can* use a halberd or a greatsword in a small corridor, it does restrict the maneuvers you can use making the weapon clumsier.
    Perhaps a circumstance penalty, a -2 or -4. I wonder if this is too much when combined with the initiative modifier. My goal is to add just enough rules to encourage the feel I want without bogging down the game. No more than a page of alternate rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    Another idea is a social disadvantage.
    Yes I am very comfortable with this idea and had intended to impliment it as the game progresses. Just like in real life, you do not wear blue jeans to a black tie affair, or you do not wear a suit and tie to a country and western bar without attracting attention and changes to the way people react to you.
    Last edited by Leadfeathermcc; 2007-11-21 at 12:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    To do things in a simple way, you can mod the reason that makes 2HF attractive:


    Power Attack. It's the reason to play a 2HF. If I were you, I'd make 1 hander give you 1.5 points of damage per BAB point lost, lights give you 1 point per BAB point to balance out, and 2 handers gives you their common 2:1 damage/BAB ratio. This SHOULD make the lighter weapons more attractive. Heck, it could even make Two weapon fighting with 2 1 handers attractive again, if you make the second one hander have a 1:1 ratio, since by then you're beating the greatsword in power at the cost of a big hit in AB.
    Last edited by Azerian Kelimon; 2007-11-21 at 12:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    I would shy away from the idea that your weapon somehow influences your init, for the simple reason that you may or may not choose to use your weapon that round, or in one or any of the rounds thereafter.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by daggaz View Post
    I would shy away from the idea that your weapon somehow influences your init, for the simple reason that you may or may not choose to use your weapon that round, or in one or any of the rounds thereafter.
    I had not thought of that, perhaps the power attack as suggested by Azerian is the way to go.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Azerian Kelimon is right, it's Power Attack that screws everything up. I would recommend switching back to the 3.0 version of Two Weapon Fighting and Power Attack, but with the slight alteration that Two Handed Strength Damage Bonus also applies to the Attack Bonus. That way you take the onus off the Damage and make it 'more regularly hitting'.

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    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-11-21 at 01:16 PM.
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    It should also be mentioned that, out of the four best weapons in the game, only two of them are two-handed. One of them, the gnome quckblade, is only on that list because it breaks iaijutsu wide open... but the morningstar is well-deserving of its title simply because (and especially at E6 levels) it deals both of the two most common types of typed damage reduction.

    Skeletons, for example, have DR 5/Bludgeoning, and zombies have DR 5/Slashing and Piercing. Morningstars can hit them both.

    Personally, I think you're going overboard; if anything, I'd go with the PA fix. Between that and wearing a shield, 1H and L weapons have plenty of advantages.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by daggaz View Post
    I would shy away from the idea that your weapon somehow influences your init, for the simple reason that you may or may not choose to use your weapon that round, or in one or any of the rounds thereafter.
    The initiative bonus/penalty only counted when you were using that weapon. If you used a different one, the bonus/penalty changed.

    It should also be noted that you rolled a new initiative every round, in 2E, so it was less of a big deal. You could still do it within 3.5, just adding a different modifier to your initiative (If you roll an 18, then switching from your greataxe to your dagger bumps your initiative from a 14 to a 22 the next round).

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    In a campaign I'm in, I'm an Eldritch Disciple (Warlock Cleric, though I just pretend to be a cleric of 2 levels lower than the rest of the party) walking around with Mithral Fullplate in Calimport, which is the desert. Not only does this make my character more tired, but I stand out like a sore thumb.

    Do the same thing for weapons. Consider anyone who carries a Greatsword or Axe "barbaric". Have a few NPC's crack jokes about how they're "compensating for something." You could also increase the bonus provided by shields, change them to deflection bonuses (since I'd argue that something hitting your shield shouldn't count as a touch attack). Also, point out that one-handed weapons can be wielded as two-handed weapons. So a long sword can be used as a d8 greatsword. You're really only changing d12 to d8. If they choose to wield the longsword in two hands, they can still power attack for 2:1.

    You could also limit the availability of greatswords and greataxes. Have them lose their weapons, so they have to get new ones. Have them get sundered, etc. Or provide weapons with inherent bonuses for them to get. For example, there was a katana in my current campaign, masterwork-nonmagical, but made from an amazing metal that gave an inherent +2 bonus.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Or you can make simple change such as giving -1 to attack with 1-handed and -2 with 2-handed weapons. Since you are playing E6 and players will have weaker equipment that may just balance things out.
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    A perhaps over the top suggestion is the one that one of our DMs uses. Shields, as arguably one of the best ways to prevent getting hurt in "real" melee combat, get double their normal AC bonus.

    Yes, a Tower Shield give +8 to AC.

    It makes for some insane high ACs, but it does really make people think long and hard about whether or not to forgoe the shield.

    But, that slightly over the top suggestion aside, the social stigma, as has been suggested, is probably your best bet. Especially if your group takes RP seriously. You mentioned that mechanics tend to trump, but if its actually made a pretty big issue...
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig1f View Post
    Do the same thing for weapons. Consider anyone who carries a Greatsword or Axe "barbaric". Have a few NPC's crack jokes about how they're "compensating for something."
    Not a bad fix, but you should definitely point it out beforehand. Don't let your group focus on building a character around a huge weapon, then make it hard or embarrassing to use it in-game. Make sure the players know the kind of "cultural bias" they're gonna be seeing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig1f View Post
    You could also increase the bonus provided by shields, change them to deflection bonuses (since I'd argue that something hitting your shield shouldn't count as a touch attack).
    Slightly off topic, but I totally agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig1f View Post
    You could also limit the availability of greatswords and greataxes. Have them lose their weapons, so they have to get new ones. Have them get sundered, etc.
    This, I'm not so keen on. Giving them in-game reasons to do something is one thing. But takin' away options until they do what you want is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    For Lankhmar(-esque), I don't see what the problem is with players using two-handed weapons. Fafhrd used one all the time! He had a greatsword and Grey Mouser used the two-weapon fighting. They're the template upon which D&D fighting styles are based.

    Plate Armor will be a disadvantage if you play up the acrobatics and physical challenges. Fafhrd and Grey Mouser were always having to run, jump, tumble, and climb. Make sure your adventures call for such (and tell players they will) and you'll have a lot less of folks tanking up.

    Also, you may want to say that plate armor is simply unavailable. Perhaps armorsmithing hasn't reached the technical sophistication necessary to produce it. If Banded Mail is the best armor available at any price, it will look less appealing.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    As well as addressing Power Attack (I'm for the 3.0 version) I'd suggest to ban the animated shield enchantment. This way if you want a shield (and all the good enchantments on it) you need a 1HW.
    Last edited by Rad; 2007-11-21 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Typo
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    I gotta support the "just buff shields" argument (though I wouldn't double the Tower Shield, that's too far).

    Initiative is too complicated - and besides, it should be a bonus rather than a penalty for 2handed weapons if you were going to do that... the extra few inches of reach and the second hand help.

    But in general, I tend to find people use a variety of different weapons. What weapons do you wish players were using in your campaigns that they just don't?

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    The restricted space idea is a good one, I think. Although you *can* use a halberd or a greatsword in a small corridor, it does restrict the maneuvers you can use making the weapon clumsier.

    Another idea is a social disadvantage. Walking around in full armor with lots of visible weapons in a city is a big no-no usually.

    For one, most people only put that kind of stuff on if they're looking for trouble. And everyone else doesn't want to be involved in that trouble. So, when your full-plate, greatsword weilding fighter-type walks down a street, he's going to see people running away, all the windows and doors slam shut and be bolted, etc. All those people are expecting some other violent person or creature to show up right then and there for a fight to start. Otherwise, why is the fighter-type armored up? These are people used to wandering mercenaries and adventurers, and they're not stupid. They *know* what's going to happen next.

    City watch people get really weirded out by people wearing more weaponry than they do. If it's not illegal, then they are definately going to be watching the adventurers very closely. They may even have someone assigned to follow them everywhere when they've geared up. Which means every time there's an adventure opportunity, a competent City Watch will be immediately there to make sure it doesn't happan. That's what the City Watch are *for*.
    I'm with Fhaolan on this - restricted space is not unusual - I've walked allyways in my home town which are barely 3 feet wide. Not an unusual gap as most passage way builders don't think "Hey - I'm gonna need to wield a greatsword in here" when they're building a cut-through. Also try using a pole arm in a dog-legging narrow alley. Its not like the adventuruers can't use those weapons, just that their foes will try to extract every advantage...

    Also on the watch issue - it wasn't unusual in medieval times for towns to bar passage or shelter to heavily armed groups (even their fellow countrymen) for fear of what might occur if they got within the walls - play
    this angle to the maximum if they insist on clanking around in full plate.
    Last edited by Subotei; 2007-11-21 at 05:41 PM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfwood2 View Post
    For Lankhmar(-esque), I don't see what the problem is with players using two-handed weapons. Fafhrd used one all the time! He had a greatsword and Grey Mouser used the two-weapon fighting. They're the template upon which D&D fighting styles are based.
    I don't have a problem with using two-handed weapons when appropriate. The issues come when a player does not adapt their two-handed schtick to the rp circumstance because it is mechanically better to ignore circumstance. So what I am looking for are some mechanical ideas to encorage the players to put down the huge sword and pick up an easily hidden weapon.

    And there have been some good suggestions in this thread.

    I like the initiative idea but will probably not do it because it is another thing to remember during combat.

    I like the power attack idea but my players strangely never use PA so I do not think it will encourage diversity.

    I do like the idea of making shield a deflective bonus and possibly increasing the AC they grant. This coupled with a removal of platemail, might encourage the feel I want without being heavy-handed.

    Thanks again for the ideas everyone.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Leadfeathermcc View Post
    [re: assigning large weapons Init penalties]I like this idea quite a bit. I would probably modify it to be light weapons give a +4, one-handed weapons give a +2 to init. It is easier to sell positives to my group than negatives ;)
    I'd stick with the penalty. Or the Mage with the dagger is going to essentially have the Improved Initiative Feat even though it's not at all the finger wigglers whose behavior you are looking to provide an incentive to modify.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    To simulate the initiative penalties for big weapons, you could rule that drawing a light weapon is always a free action, even if you don't have Quickdraw. If you do have QD, you can draw it as an immediate action, so long as you aren't flatfooted.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Leadfeathermcc View Post
    Yes I am very comfortable with this idea and had intended to impliment it as the game progresses. Just like in real life, you do not wear blue jeans to a black tie affair, or you do not wear a suit and tie to a country and western bar without attracting attention and changes to the way people react to you.
    It's a bit more than that. Walking down the streets of a medieval city in full plate, toting a greatsword, is like walking down the streets of a modern city in riot gear, toting an assault rifle and extra ammo. It screams, "I AM A DANGEROUS PERSON LOOKING FOR TROUBLE." City constables take a real dim view of that kind of thing.

    After your players get hauled off to the dungeons, have all their gear confiscated (best to do this at low level so they don't actually lose all that much), and take fifty lashes apiece, they'll start to consider being a little more circumspect. Even if they're tough enough to escape the watchmen, they'll get tired of having to run every time they catch a glimpse of the local law.

    You could also say that members of the upper class, or their retinues, are allowed to carry, say, rapiers or shortswords. The watch are less worried about those weapons, because they're much less effective at breaching armor than a greatsword or a battle-axe, and it's traditional for gentlemen of breeding to go armed... although best not to be too casual about it, since being armed means you can be challenged to a duel. If you really want to keep a low profile, stick to daggers.

    Explain all this to your players before the game starts, though, so they can build accordingly. If somebody's built a tank whose effectiveness relies on his plate armor and his gargantuan sword, that person is not going to be a happy camper if he has to leave his gear at the inn all the time. Strongly encourage people to play swashbucklers, swordsages, rogues, rangers, and so forth rather than the classic "heavy tank" fighter.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Very period and location dependent that sort of thing. Social position and the local political climate would also contribute. Certainly, there are places and periods where that would apply, but generally speaking, the more lawless the locale, the more heavily armed the visitors and local population.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-11-21 at 10:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    I was not aware George RR Martin was associated with Sanctuary or thieves world. I know Robert Asprin did the Editing for the books which are admitedly great source material.

    as far as the weapons and armour go if you emphasize the social ramefecations of the heavier armor and put in athletic challenges where the speed reduction or skill penalties are an issue the armour shouldn't be a problem.

    Really unless every pc you have always has a 12 dex and 18 strength theres nor eason for everyone of them to go with these weapons and armour.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Kasrkin View Post
    I'm not too sure about the authenticity of that statement. As I understand, professional fighting men of the medieval period were quite skilled at unarmed combat and grappling, and carried long knives or daggers. The idea being that you could pin an opponent, find a joint, and slip the dagger in. Given this knowledge, I don't think any professional guardsman would not be worried about a short sword.
    Less worried. You can get through armor with a dagger, but only if you can get in real close. The fellow with a greatsword can do it at somewhat greater range, since his blade is longer even if he has to half-sword it; and a battle-axe or morning star is of course made for armor-cracking. Presumably the armored fellow is not just standing still while you run up to him, so the further away you can launch your attack from, the better chance you have of nailing him before he nails you.

    Although, to be honest, I suspect the armor would worry people a lot more than the sword. An unarmored warrior with a greatsword can still be stuck with a spear or filled full of arrows, without too much difficulty; but a warrior in full plate is a whole different ball game. (There is debate over whether a longbow could penetrate full plate; even if it's possible, though, it certainly is not easy, and if the arrow does get through it's a lot less likely to score a kill. And the city watch is unlikely to have a contingent of English longbowmen handy.)
    Last edited by Dausuul; 2007-11-21 at 11:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo_Rat View Post
    I was not aware George RR Martin was associated with Sanctuary or thieves world. I know Robert Asprin did the Editing for the books which are admitedly great source material.
    Yeah, for some reason I was thinking about "A Game of Thrones" when I posted that, and after making sure I spelled Lankhmar correctly I failed to fact check the second part of the sentence. Apologies to Robert Asprin.

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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    Alleys: How about Full Attacks with two-handed slashing (and maybe bludgeoning) weapons being impossible in cramped conditions, DM's discretion after a guideline known to the players?
    Conditions could include alleys 5ft. wide or less, narrow staircases, rooms with low ceilings, throngs of people you don't want to hit ect.
    Wouldn't be important in the lower levels, but maybe enough to make them think twice before making a meat-grinder build.

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    Last edited by Total_Viking_Power; 2007-11-22 at 01:37 AM.


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    Default Re: Mechanical advantages to using light and medium weapons

    There's a debate on whether or not a longbow can pierce full plate? It's historical. The longbow made knights out of date because they were so effective at piercing their armor, and all they were were a bunch of quickly trained commoners.

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