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Savage Armoury: Weapon creation system
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Savage Armoury: Weapon creation system Reply with quote

Last year I stumbled across a thread about simplifying weapons, and after reading about Ultimoose's combat simulator I created my own. I ran (literally) millions of simulated fights to test the effectiveness of different weapons, and eventually came up with a set of weapon creation rules, which I later refined and incorporated into my Supernaturalis cap-system, which sadly attracted very little interest.

However I believe the weapon creation rules may be of wider interest, so I've decided to break them off into a much simpler 10-page document. It also includes some armour creation rules I proposed in the past, and 3 new edges.

You can download it from here: Savage Armoury

It's modelled on the race creation system from FC/SWD, so it should be fairly easy to pick up.

The idea is to provide a system for balancing different weapons, to encourage players to choose weapons that are conceptually cool rather than just mechanically cool. The system can also be used to reverse-engineer existing weapons and determine how effective they are - for example the maul in the official rules comes out as a -4 (nearly -5) weapon, while the katana comes out as a +4 weapon. With Savage Armoury, all weapons balance at +2 (unless you take the Magical Heirloom edge).

It also allows you to create spears that can be used with shields, whips that entangle, magical weapons, missile weapons, and so on - and it should be fairly easy to extend it with new abilities. You can even create modern weapons and armour with it, although only basic ones; it's primarily geared towards fantasy settings. There's nothing in there for sci-fi, although it would give you good starting point.

Feedback welcome: Savage Armoury
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canology
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks really interesting on first looking through it!

I had an issue with a couple of the pre-made weapons, however. I don't think that cudgels, staffs and (especially) saps should have an AP 2 vs rigid armor. The reason that maces work well against rigid armor is that the energy of the blow is concentrated on a small area. That isn't the case with the weapons I mentioned. And a sap is a leather sack of lead pellets (like shot), if anything, armor should be increased against it.

Other than that quibble, I like what you've done.
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if anything, they should have AP vs flexible armor.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback!

canology wrote:
I had an issue with a couple of the pre-made weapons, however. I don't think that cudgels, staffs and (especially) saps should have an AP 2 vs rigid armor. The reason that maces work well against rigid armor is that the energy of the blow is concentrated on a small area. That isn't the case with the weapons I mentioned. And a sap is a leather sack of lead pellets (like shot), if anything, armor should be increased against it.

Some fair points, but really they're just some quick examples of what you can put together with the weapon abilities. There are always going to be arguments over the effectiveness of various weapons (with the katana being a common example), but with Savage Armoury the name and description of the weapon is really little more than a trapping for the mechanics.

Here's my staff:

* Strong Defence (+3): +1 Parry while held.
* Two-Handed (+1): Requires both hands. Has a reach of 1".
* Bludgeoning (+1): 2 AP vs. rigid armour.
* Tough (+1): Toughness 12.
* Low Damage (-2): Inflicts d4 damage.
* Carried (-2): Can't be sheathed.

You might instead create a staff like this:

* Strong Defence (+3): +1 Parry while held.
* Crude (+2): Only costs $10.
* Two-Handed (+1): Requires both hands. Has a reach of 1".
* Low Damage (-2): Inflicts d4 damage.
* Carried (-2): Can't be sheathed.

Both are perfectly valid. Yours would be more like the staff in the core rules, but perhaps mine is ironshod with metal studs.

Think of the way you apply trappings to spells - Bolt might be a lightning bolt, a firebolt, a swarm of bees, etc. But while the mechanics might vary slightly depending on trappings, all Bolt spells are supposed to be roughly on-par with each other. That's the same concept I'm trying to apply to weapons.
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

so, carried is a hindrance?

I'd make that a 0 point feature. Sure, you can't sheath it to climb or etc. but you also don't have to draw/ready it at the start of a fight.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can choose to keep any weapon drawn at all times if you really want to, the problem is when you need to use the hand for something else, or travel somewhere where carrying a weapon is inappropriate - if you can't sheathe the weapon, then you're going to have to pack it away or leave it behind, and it won't be available if you get in a fight.
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ogbendog
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think most GMs wouldn't allow you to walk around all day with your sword out, your bow with an arrow nocked, etc.

Nor would the town watch.

but a staff, spear, or other polearm, you CAN'T put it away. so it's always in your hands, ready.

(unless of course you rule that carried isn't necessarily readied; your spear might be leaning back on your shoulder, etc.)
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ogbendog wrote:
I think most GMs wouldn't allow you to walk around all day with your sword out, your bow with an arrow nocked, etc.

Nor would the town watch.

but a staff, spear, or other polearm, you CAN'T put it away. so it's always in your hands, ready.

If it was an obvious weapon, I doubt the town watch would like you walking around with it in your hand, even if it couldn't be sheathed. I could certainly envision shopkeepers and tavern owners asking you to leave your halberd at the door, too.

ogbendog wrote:
(unless of course you rule that carried isn't necessarily readied; your spear might be leaning back on your shoulder, etc.)

I think that's already how it works in SW with polearms and such.
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If anything, they should have AP vs flexible armor.
I concur.

Neat idea....

When are we going to see the firearms equivalent? Twisted Evil
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

warrenss2 wrote:
When are we going to see the firearms equivalent? Twisted Evil

It can already do firearms, eg:

Pistol:
* Ammo (+4): The pistol is a missile weapon that inflicts 2d6 damage.
* Extreme Range (+4): The range is 12/24/48 (doubled from Ammo).
* Non-Melee (-4): Treated as improvised weapon in melee.
* Gun (-1): It's noisy.
* Fragile (-1): Toughness 8.

Rifle:
* Ammo (+4): The rifle is a missile weapon that inflicts 2d6 damage.
* Extreme Range (+4): The range is 12/24/48 (doubled from Ammo).
* Two-Handed (+1): Requires both hands. Range increased to 18/36/72.
* Non-Melee (-4): Treated as improvised weapon in melee.
* Gun (-1): It's noisy.
* Fragile (-1): Toughness 8.
* Unwieldy (-1): -2 to conceal, requires an Agility roll to draw.

The problem is when you get to the more powerful weapons, it's difficult to find enough points to give them all their abilities, eg:

Shotgun:
* Ammo (+4): The shotgun is a missile weapon that inflicts 1-3d6 damage.
* Extreme Range (+4): The range is 12/24/48 (doubled from Ammo).
* Multishot (+4): +2 to Shooting rolls.
* Two-Handed (+1): Requires both hands. 1-3d6 damage, hits innocent bystanders on 1-2.
* Non-Melee (-4): Treated as improvised weapon in melee.
* Slow Reload (-3): Requires an action to reload after each attack
* Gun (-1): It's noisy.
* Very Fragile (-2): Toughness 5.
* Unwieldy (-1): -2 to conceal, requires an Agility roll to draw.

I don't like giving the shotgun Very Fragile, and it'd be nice to remove that Slow Reload as well, but there just aren't enough points. I guess you could increase the price, but I think in a firearms-focused setting you'd really need to give the bigger firearms more points.
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SteelDraco
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it! Seems like a good way to build balanced weapons.

I think you're right about high-powered guns just needing to cost more. I suppose you could have an "Expensive" option that reduces points and increases the item's cost if you want to keep everything at the same point level. For shotguns specifically, though, don't they have an additional drawback that they're more inclined to friendly fire? I seem to remember that from their description in SWEE. That should certainly be worth points in this system.
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The Dread Polack
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it a lot. Even if you're not tracking the points carefully, it's still a good system for deciding what sort of abilities a weapon has. Our setting has a diverse selection of weapons, and I plan to use this to convert them over. Thanks!
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Birbin
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like a better weapon/armor system, too, and made one for myself.
However I like better when the stats reflect rather the historical traits of the weapons.

Could you give a link to Ultimoose's combat simulator? I didn't find it.
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JackMann
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it. Let me see if I understand things completely.

In Unwaking, I'm working out a weapon called a Devils Toothpick, pretty much a fancy bowie knife made out of Dream Iron.

I want something that's fancy (and slightly magic), but still basically a nice, nasty knife. So I go with the following abilities:

Strong Offense (+3)
Concealable (+1)
Light (+1)
Low Damage (-2)
Expensive (-1)

This brings it to +2. The stats are as follows:

Devils Toothpick
Damage d4
Toughness 10
Light Item (Weight 2 lbs, we'll say)
Price $500
Notes: +2 Agility to draw, opponents get-2 Notice to spot the weapon, +1 to Fighting

That sound about right?
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Virgobrown72
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This may be a good fit for a conversion of Borderlands, with their diverse selection of firearms!!!
Surprised OMG!!!

It's PERFECT for Borderlands!!!
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SteelDraco wrote:
I suppose you could have an "Expensive" option that reduces points and increases the item's cost if you want to keep everything at the same point level. For shotguns specifically, though, don't they have an additional drawback that they're more inclined to friendly fire? I seem to remember that from their description in SWEE. That should certainly be worth points in this system.

There's already an Expensive option (-1), along with Masterwork (-2), Cheap (+1) and Crude (+2).

The Spread ability includes the increased chance of friendly fire along with changing the damage from 2dX to 1-3dX based on range - and it requires Multishot, which gives +2 to Shooting rolls when combined with Spread. I felt that all three options should be tied together, as they're all based on the spread of shot.

Birbin wrote:
Could you give a link to Ultimoose's combat simulator? I didn't find it.

As far as I'm aware he never made it publically available, but you're welcome to download mine from here if you don't mind compiling and running C++ programs.

JackMann wrote:
I like it. Let me see if I understand things completely.

In Unwaking, I'm working out a weapon called a Devils Toothpick, pretty much a fancy bowie knife made out of Dream Iron.

I want something that's fancy (and slightly magic), but still basically a nice, nasty knife. So I go with the following abilities:

Strong Offense (+3)
Concealable (+1)
Light (+1)
Low Damage (-2)
Expensive (-1)

This brings it to +2. The stats are as follows:

Devils Toothpick
Damage d4
Toughness 10
Light Item (Weight 2 lbs, we'll say)
Price $500
Notes: +2 Agility to draw, opponents get-2 Notice to spot the weapon, +1 to Fighting

That sound about right?


Yes, that's right. Strong Offence was really intended more for flails and other weapons that are difficult to defend against, but there's no reason why it couldn't be used to represent a magical bonus - that's one thing I like about Savage Armoury, it separates and quantifies the mechanics so that you can add whatever abilies you like, as long as you justify them through trappings.

Let's take two warriors, each with d8 Strength and Fighting, and d6 in everything else. One is armed with a longsword, the other is using your Devil's Toothpick. If you'd just used regular dagger stats, then they'd be at a decided disadvantage:

Dagger won 41683 fights, Longsword won 58317. Average number of rounds per fight: 7.

However using your stats, the Strong Offence kicks in:

Devil's Toothpick won 55425 fights, Longsword won 44575. Average number of rounds per fight: 6.

In a one-on-one fight though, both warriors could use Wild Attack, and then the longsword would have a slight advantage again:

Devil's Toothpick won 49512 fights, Longsword won 50488. Average number of rounds per fight: 2.

But it's still much closer than just using a regular dagger. It's also worth noting that the longsword has High Damage which is a +2 ability, while the Devil's Toothpick has Low Damage (-2) and Strong Offence (+3) which is a total of only +1 of raw combat ability, so in terms of brute force it shouldn't be quite as effective. It has other advantages instead - smaller, lighter, easier to hide and faster to draw.



Anyway I've updated the PDF with a few minor changes - I've updated the staff, sap and cudgel based on canology's feedback, and tweaked some of the other premade weapons. I've also added an Accuracy ability so that the range on the rifle can match SWD.

I've also included options for adding Edges and Hindrances to magic weapons, so that you can have things like a cursed sword that gives you the Berserk edge and the Bloodthirsty hindrance, or a holy blade that include Vow, or even a magic wand that gives Power Points, etc. With GM discretion you could also use them for non-magical weapons I guess, such as a highly illegal weapon that gives you the Wanted hindrance.
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Birbin
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zadmar wrote:

As far as I'm aware he never made it publically available, but you're welcome to download mine from here if you don't mind compiling and running C++ programs.

Thanks. I'm not familiar with programming but I will try it.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've updated Savage Armoury to include rules for area-effect weapons, as follows:

Quote:
Area-Effect weapons

Ranged weapons may be designated as area-effect weapons, inflicting 2d6 damage within a Small Burst Template. Always modify the damage dice for these weapons as if they were missile weapons. If the weapon inflicts at least 2d6 damage, you may upgrade to a Medium Burst Template, although this reduces both damage dice by one step (e.g. 2d6 becomes 2d4).

If the weapon has Accuracy and Multishot, RoF 1, and doesn't have Spread, you may choose to use a Cone Template. This weapon can no longer Double Tap or Three Round Burst, but gives +2 to Shooting rolls and can be evaded in the same way as a flamethrower.

Area-effect weapons cause no extra damage on a raise, and cannot take Low Raise Die.

If you really want area-effect weapons to have a raise damage die, then you could make area-effect a +4 weapon ability instead of a freebie, but personally I prefer removing the raise die.

Here are a couple of example area-effect weapons:

Grenade
* Very High Powered (+4): Increases damage dice by +1 step.
* Long Range (+3): Can be thrown with a range of 5/10/20.
* Light (+1): Doesn’t count as a significant item for encumbrance.
* Non-Melee (-4): Treated as improvised weapon in melee.
* Very Fragile (-2): Toughness 5.

The grenade can use either a 2d8 SBT or a 2d6 MBT. You could also take Two-Handed to increase the damage to 2d10/2d8, representing grenades or explosives that require both hands to activate.


Flamethrower (Cone Template)
* Ammo (+4): Missile weapon.
* Very High Powered (+4): Increases damage dice by +1 step.
* Accuracy (+4): Triple the base range.
* Multishot (+4): +2 to Shooting rolls.
* Two-Handed (+1): Requires both hands. Increases damage to 2d10.
* Short Range (+1): The base range is 3/6/12.
* Elemental (+1): Flaming, roll for flammable objects to see if they catch fire.
* Non-Melee (-4): Treated as improvised weapon in melee.
* Slow Reload (-3): Requires an action to reload after each attack.
* Snapfire (-3): This weapon has the snapfire penalty
* Unstable (-2): Explodes if you roll 1 on the Shooting die, damaging wielder.
* Carried (-2): Must always be carried.
* Gun (-1): It's noisy.
* Heavy (-1): Counts as two significant item for encumbrance.
* Expensive (-1): Double the cost to buy and repair.

Works pretty much like the old SWEX flamethrower, except that it explodes on a 1, and you suffer a -2 Shooting penalty if you move while firing. I guess that's kind of harsh, but it is a powerful weapon, and this system is designed to provide some degree of balance.
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The Dread Polack
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've messed around with this a little when I was converting over weapons from my Anima campaign. So far, I converted the weapons over without regard to balance, using the source setting's money system. In talking to the players, they are open to re-pricings, as some of the weapons seem a little too good for their price.

When I undertake that task, I'll let you know how it goes. So far, I tried building a hand-axe and a battle axe, and the hand-axe, which was throwable, was more expensive than the battle-axe, which didn't make sense to me. I think, maybe it deserves some other tweaks that I didn't include, so I'll see what come up with.
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Zadmar
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dread Polack wrote:
I've messed around with this a little when I was converting over weapons from my Anima campaign. So far, I converted the weapons over without regard to balance, using the source setting's money system.

To be honest, Savage Armoury is really designed from the opposite perspective - balance without regard to cost. It does include modifiers for cheap or expensive items, but those were tacked on later, and (like weight) they're handled in a fairly abstract manner. I don't actually use them in my own campaign, as I don't bother tracking money outside of major expenses.

The Dread Polack wrote:
So far, I tried building a hand-axe and a battle axe, and the hand-axe, which was throwable, was more expensive than the battle-axe, which didn't make sense to me.

I'm not quite sure I follow. The only way the handaxe could be more expensive would be if you gave it the "Expensive" weapon ability (or made the battleaxe "Cheap"). That could make sense for specific cases, for example if the handaxe is of particularly high quality - but if you don't want it to be more expensive, then you just don't give it the "Expensive" ability.

In the core rules a battleaxe inflicts d8 damage, while a throwing axe inflicts d6 damage and has a range of 3/6/12. In Savage Armoury I'd probably define them as:

Battleaxe:
* High Damage (+2): Inflicts d8 damage instead of d6.

Throwing axe:
* Short Range (+1): Can be thrown with a range of 3/6/12.
* Light (+1): No longer counts as a significant item for encumbrance.

If you wanted the throwing axe to be cheaper as well, you could perhaps do it like this:

Throwing axe:
* Short Range (+1): Can be thrown with a range of 3/6/12.
* Light (+1): No longer counts as a significant item for encumbrance.
* Cheap (+1): Weapon costs $100 to buy, and the repair cost is halved.
* Fragile (-1): Weapon has Toughness 8 (instead of 10).
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