Wednesday, March 21, 2012

But what would a Welsh Longbow REALLY do?

I just spent the last 2 days looking at videos on youtube of people hitting various types of armor with various types of weapons.  Why?  Call it my obsession with the "Weapon Types, General Data, and 'To Hit' adjustments" table from the PHB.  Say what you will about that beast, I think it is much more accurate than "table 52: Weapon type vs. armor modifiers" from the 2e PHB.    So what did all of this video viewing get me?  Some insights, but probably not the sort of things you'd think.

As it relates to D&D, after viewing all of these weapon videos I realized that it really isn't worth the time to simulate all of this.  In fact, simplicity is probably better.  The OD&D idea of everything does a d6 really isn't a bad idea.  As hit points are supposed to represent "immeasurable areas which involve the sixth sense and luck" in higher level characters, a bigger axe really shouldn't do a lot more damage. Instead the skill of the user and magical properties or the weapon would seem to be more important.  However, you do have to account for hit points representing the overall physical toughness of larger monsters and animals.  Rather than handling it the way 1e does , I'd rather use what's available in B/X.  Maybe use a d6 for all weapons vs. human and demi-humans etc, and the variable weapon table against larger monsters?  Could work.  Rather than have variable weapon damage against "human" targets, you might grant to hit bonuses against targets in heavy armor. That would probably need more details to work out, but it's the general impression I got from watching the videos.

So what did I learn? (not directly related to RPG rules)

  • Nobody used "butted" chainmail in combat.  Only reenactors and LARPers do.You have to rivet the links closed in order for the armor to offer decent protection and not fall apart when hit.
  • Good chainmail is really good.  To cut through it or pierce it take a really serious blow.  You're more likely to suffer broken bones and severe bruising that cuts or punctures.
  • 15th century style "full plate" is almost impervious to arrows.  Seems like you would need one of those wind-up style heavy crossbows to get through this stuff.  
  • Fantasy axes are kind of silly.
  • I'm surprised that the Estoc has never been more prominently featured in a game.
  • Some of the videos are very entertaining, and usually more accurate than the History Channel.  Not tough to do honestly.

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