Monday, December 19, 2011

[Greyhawk] Weapons & Armor

So from my last post, I wrote about looking for a way to address Weapons and Armor in a High Fantasy “old school gameworld” implementation of Fate.

It’s currently looking like this cut of Spirit of Greyhawk will leverage Strange Fate’s tiering, so I felt there was a need to leave the basic 4dF dice mechanic alone.

The other reason I want to leave 4dF intact was because I wanted to have the possibility of a -4 dice roll still be a real danger. Additionally, I wanted weapon damage to have a degree of randomness also.

So given that Spirit of Greyhawk is meant to be “old school” (in case the name didn’t make it clear), this seemed an interesting opportunity to make use of the old school dice (d4, d6, d8, d12, d20).

This means that for weapons that do more damage, use dice with higher maximums. You can also use the d6 and get a 1d2 or 1d3.

So I currently am working with the following progression:
(No bonus), d2, d3, d4, d6, d8, d12, and so on…

Next, you’d need to determine how much granularity you want in weapon damage. For example, DFRPG has 4 levels of weapon damage to cover everything from a pen-knife to dynamite. The Weapons Table in the PHB reflects 9 different combinations of damage dice, so 9 levels of weapon damage before you even got into things like explosives, dragon breath and ballista. I sided more closely with the Fate-y portion of the spectrum an currently have mundane melee and missile weapons using 5 levels of damage bonuses, from a Sling Bullet (no weapon bonus) up to the Halberd and Two-Handed Sword (1d6).

Example: A Fighter with Melee +2, wielding a Two-Handed Sword (1d6), would have the following range:

4dF (dice) + 1d6 (weapon) + 2 (skill) = range of -1 (minimum) to +12 (maximum), with an average of 6.

By setting the damage modifier as it’s own die which is visually separate from the Fudge dice, I think it becomes easier to distinguish between the hit and the damage, if you decide you want to do that.

Since most old-school d6’s use numbers on the die face instead of pips, you can separate Strange Fate tiering d6s from a SoG damage d6 by having the tiering use pips and damage armor use numbers.


Armor works in a consistent fashion to weapons, with the armor die increasing the defender’s shifts specific to receiving damage. The source material has 9 ranks of mundane armor, from Unarmored at AC 10, down to Plate Mail + Shield at AC 2.

Working from a subjective assumption that the best armor could conceivably negate the most damaging weapon (more from a game balance perspective than any basis in reality), that puts the highest mundane armor die as a d6. So then that means you’d have 4 ranks of armor bonus dice (d2, d3, d4, d6) to divide among 8 ranks of armor classes that are actual armor (AC 9 to AC 2). Rather than just have a die increase every two ranks, I prefer to reserve the best armor of AC 2 as being the only one at the d6. Your mileage may vary.

Example: Given the same fighter above, but with Plate Mail (no shield, due to the two handed sword), places her at AC 3. This means that in SoG she would roll an additional d4 for her defense rolls.

Statted out with the same assumptions in the original example, you would have the following range:

4dF (dice) + 1d4 (armor) + 2 (skill) = -1 (minimum) to +10 (maximum), with an average of 5.

Enchanted Weapons & Armor

SoG’s source material references basic magic improvements as a +1, +2, and so on. Rather than add just straight shift increases (+1 stress box for a +1 enchantment is too much bonus for this gameworld), I chose to just modify the die being used for the mundane (base) Weapon / Armor enhancement.

If you consider the weapon/armor damage-die progression as a ladder (something all Fate types should be familiar with), then the bonus would represent the number of shifts up the damage ladder.

This would mean that a weapon/armor ladder could look like this:

  • (...progressing on upwards...)
  • d12
  • d8
  • d6
  • d4
  • d3
  • d2
  • (No bonus die)

Example: A dagger has a base (mundane) damage of 1d2. A dagger +1 would instead roll 1d3 (one shift up the ladder from a 1d2) for the weapon bonus. A dagger +2 would instead roll two shifts up from a 1d2, and be a 1d4.

The other reason I don’t want to get into a lot of +1 / -1 manipulations, is that I don’t want to dilute the idea that the most valuable currency in the resolution process is a character’s skill, more than the magical bonuses. Skills are what allows for straight shifts (no die roll) in the min/max range range, and I believe that’s an important distinction that should be retained.

Also, by shifting the damage dice up and down, you also leave open the possibility for more powerful enchanted weapons to grant tiering-type bonuses in addition to shifts up the weapons ladder.

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