I know you don't care about historicity or verisimilitude much, but polearms, spears, maces, and axes were the weapons of choice against a heavily-armoured man.It's not so much that I don't care about historicity or verisimilitude, but that I don't believe many of the claims about what's "historically accurate" and I don't care about making mechanics that fit those claims. I'm mainly looking for combat mechanics that fit these criteria:
- Weapons seem different,
- Each is good at different times,
- There are hardly any rules specifically implementing 1 and 2, and
- They're easy to remember.
Hence, what I suggested involves swapping two numbers and occasionally adding +/-2.
Disallowing polearms and spears from having a bonus against armour removes one of their main historical benefits from the game system.Tom Hudson said almost the exact opposite on a previous post about this. "poleaxe = good against plate, but spear = not so much". This is because my previous post had a straight bonus equal to weapon length, so a seven-foot spear turned plate armor into leather.
See, that's the thing: Every time someone tells me that historically X is true, there's someone else telling me X is not true. So, unless I've seen an actual experiment comparing penetration effects of various weapons vs. armor, I go with my own gut instinct. And my gut instinct is: a spear is a knife on a stick. Stabbing/slashing weapons don't have increased force if attached to a longer shaft; they just have a longer reach. It's the hacking/bashing weapons that have increased force.
On the +2 vs. shields modifier for Axe, Flail and Chain weapons:
So if I'm fighting someone, and they have an axe, I'm better off dropping my shield than using it? That can't be right.This modifier is based on the mathematical analysis that Simon Bull (waysoftheearth on the ODD74 boards) did on the Weapon vs. AC table. Ax and Flail are basically +2 vs. shields on those tables. This is also loosely based on the idea that axes were popular because they chopped through wooden shields easier than a sword did. Also, you'd certainly be better off focusing on dodging an ax than trying to block it with a shield that's going to be hacked to bits. That's a minor in-game justification, but since the goal is something minimalist that's in between the traditional Weapon vs. AC system and "all weapons are the same", it seems reasonable.
You do have other options, though. What about a shield bash? What about striking to disarm?
On the shortest weapon going first if Dex scores are tied:
This kinda assumes that the combatants are too stupid to keep at their weapons preferred reach - unless you're grappling or in an enclosed space, it's always going to be better to have a spear than a dagger.But on the other hand, are we assuming that combatants are too stupid to try to get inside an opponent's reach? Too stupid to knock the spear aside with their shield? It balances out. We're talking one minute rounds with multiple attacks and feints represented by a single die roll. Smaller weapons are faster, so they go first if Dex is tied. Longer weapons are slower, but give the option to try to maneuver outside the opponent's reach.