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Cost of Mithral

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Anonymous
August 13, 2005 5:26:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

The DMG says (pg 284) that items other than armour/shields cost 500gp a
pound when made out of mithral.

Is this per pound of the original item, or a pound of the item when
made out of mithral?

More about : cost mithral

Anonymous
August 14, 2005 3:22:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 13 Aug 2005 13:26:53 -0700, snikers000@hotmail.com scribed into the
ether:

>The DMG says (pg 284) that items other than armour/shields cost 500gp a
>pound when made out of mithral.
>
>Is this per pound of the original item, or a pound of the item when
>made out of mithral?

Original item. The rule is drawing a line of comparison about how much
mithral you'll need to replace the amount of metal in the normal item.
Anonymous
August 14, 2005 2:29:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Matt Frisch wrote:
> Original item. The rule is drawing a line of comparison about how much
> mithral you'll need to replace the amount of metal in the normal item.

Miracle wrote:
> Geez! You pay for *mithral*, not for some other item's hypothetical weight.

You can see why I'm having trouble with this.
Related resources
Anonymous
August 14, 2005 4:37:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<snikers000@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1124040541.548004.57470@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> Matt Frisch wrote:
> > Original item. The rule is drawing a line of comparison about how much
> > mithral you'll need to replace the amount of metal in the normal item.
>
> Miracle wrote:
> > Geez! You pay for *mithral*, not for some other item's hypothetical
weight.
>
> You can see why I'm having trouble with this.

500 gp a pound, based on the original items weight, which includes time and
labor, plus the costs associated with locating the stuff. Supposedly mithral
is as easy to work as copper but harder than even titanium.
Anonymous
August 14, 2005 6:46:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Matt Frisch wrote:

> What is the item in question?

Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
for my halfling Master Thrower. Being small sized and STR 8 means I
have to ration my gear's weight. Bags of holding are all fine and good,
but to full attack I'll need to carry my daggers on my real person.

I realize I could buy something that jacks up my strength, but being
weak is all part of the charm.

So what I need to know is; will the mithral put me back 250 gp because
the mithral daggers are half a pound, or 500 gp because default daggers
are a full pound?
Anonymous
August 14, 2005 8:19:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

snikers000@hotmail.com wrote:
> Matt Frisch wrote:
>
>
>>What is the item in question?
>
>
> Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
> for my halfling Master Thrower. Being small sized and STR 8 means I
> have to ration my gear's weight. Bags of holding are all fine and good,
> but to full attack I'll need to carry my daggers on my real person.
>
> I realize I could buy something that jacks up my strength, but being
> weak is all part of the charm.
>
> So what I need to know is; will the mithral put me back 250 gp because
> the mithral daggers are half a pound, or 500 gp because default daggers
> are a full pound?
>

Not having exahustively reviewed the rules, my gut feeling is that you use
the unmodified values, then adjust for material (which is option B in your
last paragraph). This would be much like making armor out of mithral; when
you make a suit of mithral full plate, you use the "Heavy Armor" cost even
though the finished product is treated as Medium armor because normal
full plate is Heavy armor. I'd just use the same rationale and say a
mithral
dagger would cost 500gp and weigh half a pound.

However, if someone's got more specific examples, I'm open to being
corrected.
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 12:41:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 14 Aug 2005 10:29:01 -0700, snikers000@hotmail.com scribed into the
ether:

>Matt Frisch wrote:
>> Original item. The rule is drawing a line of comparison about how much
>> mithral you'll need to replace the amount of metal in the normal item.
>
>Miracle wrote:
>> Geez! You pay for *mithral*, not for some other item's hypothetical weight.
>
>You can see why I'm having trouble with this.

Well, given that there are samples for standard mithral-ized items, and
they do not conform to the 500 gp/lb guideline, I guess it can be a bit
confusing.

Large Mithral Shield, 1020 gp, 5 lbs (that's mithral weight, which should
make it 2500), Large Steel Shield, 20 gp, 15 lbs.

Mithral Shirt, 1100 gp, 10 lbs (mithral weight), Chain Shirt, 100 gp, 25
lbs.

So, not even the reduction in weight is terribly consistant. The rules say
that a non armor/shield item made from mithral is half the weight of the
normal item, but armor and shields get an even larger reduction than that.

I guess that with mithral being rare, it would be unusual for it to be made
into other things. I could see it being used for jewelry, but then the
weight becomes less of a factor for cost, and you can pretty well assign
any value you like to the thing based on workmanship etc.

What is the item in question?
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 4:26:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Some Guy wrote:
> snikers000@hotmail.com wrote:
>> Matt Frisch wrote:
>>
>>
>>> What is the item in question?
>>
>>
>> Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
>> for my halfling Master Thrower. Being small sized and STR 8 means I
>> have to ration my gear's weight. Bags of holding are all fine and
>> good, but to full attack I'll need to carry my daggers on my real
>> person.
>>
>> I realize I could buy something that jacks up my strength, but being
>> weak is all part of the charm.
>>
>> So what I need to know is; will the mithral put me back 250 gp
>> because the mithral daggers are half a pound, or 500 gp because
>> default daggers are a full pound?
>>
>
> Not having exahustively reviewed the rules, my gut feeling is that
> you use the unmodified values, then adjust for material (which is
> option B in your last paragraph). This would be much like making
> armor out of mithral; when you make a suit of mithral full plate, you
> use the "Heavy Armor" cost even though the finished product is
> treated as Medium armor because normal
> full plate is Heavy armor. I'd just use the same rationale and say a
> mithral
> dagger would cost 500gp and weigh half a pound.
>
> However, if someone's got more specific examples, I'm open to being
> corrected.

The trouble with this is that it's very inconsistent, because not all items
that can be made out of mithral will have a fixed 'base' weight. If you want
to make a set of fancy mithral crockery, do you base the price of a mithral
jug on the weight of a ceramic jug, a metal jug or a glass jug? For 'other
items', the only way to get a consistent result is to go by the item's
actual weight.

--
Mark.
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 1:46:17 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 14 Aug 2005 14:46:41 -0700, snikers000@hotmail.com scribed into the
ether:

>
>Matt Frisch wrote:
>
>> What is the item in question?
>
>Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
>for my halfling Master Thrower. Being small sized and STR 8 means I
>have to ration my gear's weight. Bags of holding are all fine and good,
>but to full attack I'll need to carry my daggers on my real person.
>
>I realize I could buy something that jacks up my strength, but being
>weak is all part of the charm.
>
>So what I need to know is; will the mithral put me back 250 gp because
>the mithral daggers are half a pound, or 500 gp because default daggers
>are a full pound?

Well, in this case, we can extrapolate a bit. Adamantine is usually the
rare metal of choice for weaponcrafting, I guess default mithral is
unsuitable for some odd reason. Nothing worth getting concerned over.

According to my (3.0) DMG, armor made from adamantium is 1000 gp more
expensive than the same suit upgraded with mithral. a 1d4 or 1d6 weapon
(dagger) is a +3000 upgrade. Following the same pattern, a mithral dagger
would be +2000.

Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh less,
but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields do, since weapons
don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check penalty to be reduced. If you
want to not distinguish much between adamantine and mithral, you could say
that the weapon gets +1 damage in addition to the +1 to hit from being
masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't be much reason to go with
adamantine at all (except for DR penetration), and you would probably want
to equalize the cost. Alternately, with the weight being half as much, you
could consider the weapon to be a size category smaller...ie: a halfling
could use a shortsword offhand as a small weapon and get full dual wield
benefit from it.

That opens up some pretty wide doors for abuse, however, with huge weapons
being used 2-handed without the need for the Monkey Grip feat. Either make
it a special rule for weapons that are already pretty small, or don't allow
that at all.
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 4:02:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> wrote:
> > On 14 Aug 2005 14:46:41 -0700, snikers000@hotmail.com scribed into the
> > ether:
> >
> >>Matt Frisch wrote:
> >>
> >>> What is the item in question?
> >>
> >>Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
> >>for my halfling Master Thrower. Being small sized and STR 8 means I
> >>have to ration my gear's weight. Bags of holding are all fine and good,
> >>but to full attack I'll need to carry my daggers on my real person.
> >>
> >>I realize I could buy something that jacks up my strength, but being
> >>weak is all part of the charm.
> >>
> >>So what I need to know is; will the mithral put me back 250 gp because
> >>the mithral daggers are half a pound, or 500 gp because default daggers
> >>are a full pound?
> >
> > Well, in this case, we can extrapolate a bit. Adamantine is usually the
> > rare metal of choice for weaponcrafting, I guess default mithral is
> > unsuitable for some odd reason. Nothing worth getting concerned over.
>
> Treat mithril as tough but not hard. It's suitable for armor because
> it's light and *durable*, hard to penetrate. It doesn't take an edge
> worth mentioning.
>
> Thus, it's not suitable for edged or pointed weapons, and not very good
> for blunt weapons (you're making it *lighter*! and blunt weapons get a
> lot of their effect from mass).
>
> If you want an explanation for why you see mithril armor and not
> weapons.
>
> Or, if you want to allow mithril weapons, you can say that it's got many
> of the same characteristics steel does (hardness, etc.) but is just
> lighter and stronger. In this case you can make weapons that are mostly
> metal (i.e. not spears) half the weight.
>
> > Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh
> > less, but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields do, since
> > weapons don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check penalty to be
> > reduced. If you want to not distinguish much between adamantine and
> > mithral, you could say that the weapon gets +1 damage in addition to
> > the +1 to hit from being masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't
> > be much reason to go with adamantine at all (except for DR
> > penetration), and you would probably want to equalize the cost.
>
> I wouldn't give a damage bonus.

Maybe a negative. The weight of a weapon is much of its ability to
damage, even for a dagger.


> > Alternately, with the weight being half as much, you could consider
> > the weapon to be a size category smaller...ie: a halfling could use a
> > shortsword offhand as a small weapon and get full dual wield benefit
> > from it.
>
> Or make the weapon finesseable. Spiked chains are two-handed weapons
> and finesseable; a longsword or even greatsword at half the weight (and
> great expense) allowing use with Weapon Finesse doesn't bother me.

Finessable one size up for light weight? Two seems extreme. A club is
lightweight material, but is not finesseable. The moment arm makes a
big difference. OTOH, lightweight impact weapons like a mithral hammer
or axe really don't make sense; so as long as common sense disallows
them, there is no issue.


> > That opens up some pretty wide doors for abuse, however, with huge
> > weapons being used 2-handed without the need for the Monkey Grip feat.
> > Either make it a special rule for weapons that are already pretty
> > small, or don't allow that at all.
>
> If you let the weapon be used with finesse -- yes, even greatswords --
> then you can gain a benefit from the lighter weapon. True, it doesn't
> make a significant difference to the Power Attack crowd (they're likely
> to have higher Str than Dex after all) but Power Attack is based on
> hitting *hard*.
>
> It *does* allow a nimble type to make better use of the big weapons,
> though. 'Power Attack' in this case is probably more a matter of
> hitting a better point than hitting harder, but since we're happily
> abstract we don't need to care.
>
> However, it also means that you're not going to see dual-wielded
> greatswords any time soon. You still need two hands, but you can focus
> on agility rather than power.
>
> Keith

Sorry, man, but this is just ugly. Even ignoring the mass of the sword,
the thing can be too freaking big to wield. Look how stupid it looks in
Anime. When the little guy whacks with his ultralight claymore of
infinitesimal damage, he has a large force trying to sweep him off his
feet, assuming he retains his grip.

MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 8:55:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> wrote:
> On 14 Aug 2005 14:46:41 -0700, snikers000@hotmail.com scribed into the
> ether:
>
>>Matt Frisch wrote:
>>
>>> What is the item in question?
>>
>>Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
>>for my halfling Master Thrower. Being small sized and STR 8 means I
>>have to ration my gear's weight. Bags of holding are all fine and good,
>>but to full attack I'll need to carry my daggers on my real person.
>>
>>I realize I could buy something that jacks up my strength, but being
>>weak is all part of the charm.
>>
>>So what I need to know is; will the mithral put me back 250 gp because
>>the mithral daggers are half a pound, or 500 gp because default daggers
>>are a full pound?
>
> Well, in this case, we can extrapolate a bit. Adamantine is usually the
> rare metal of choice for weaponcrafting, I guess default mithral is
> unsuitable for some odd reason. Nothing worth getting concerned over.

Treat mithril as tough but not hard. It's suitable for armor because
it's light and *durable*, hard to penetrate. It doesn't take an edge
worth mentioning.

Thus, it's not suitable for edged or pointed weapons, and not very good
for blunt weapons (you're making it *lighter*! and blunt weapons get a
lot of their effect from mass).

If you want an explanation for why you see mithril armor and not
weapons.

Or, if you want to allow mithril weapons, you can say that it's got many
of the same characteristics steel does (hardness, etc.) but is just
lighter and stronger. In this case you can make weapons that are mostly
metal (i.e. not spears) half the weight.

> Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh
> less, but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields do, since
> weapons don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check penalty to be
> reduced. If you want to not distinguish much between adamantine and
> mithral, you could say that the weapon gets +1 damage in addition to
> the +1 to hit from being masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't
> be much reason to go with adamantine at all (except for DR
> penetration), and you would probably want to equalize the cost.

I wouldn't give a damage bonus.

> Alternately, with the weight being half as much, you could consider
> the weapon to be a size category smaller...ie: a halfling could use a
> shortsword offhand as a small weapon and get full dual wield benefit
> from it.

Or make the weapon finesseable. Spiked chains are two-handed weapons
and finesseable; a longsword or even greatsword at half the weight (and
great expense) allowing use with Weapon Finesse doesn't bother me.

> That opens up some pretty wide doors for abuse, however, with huge
> weapons being used 2-handed without the need for the Monkey Grip feat.
> Either make it a special rule for weapons that are already pretty
> small, or don't allow that at all.

If you let the weapon be used with finesse -- yes, even greatswords --
then you can gain a benefit from the lighter weapon. True, it doesn't
make a significant difference to the Power Attack crowd (they're likely
to have higher Str than Dex after all) but Power Attack is based on
hitting *hard*.

It *does* allow a nimble type to make better use of the big weapons,
though. 'Power Attack' in this case is probably more a matter of
hitting a better point than hitting harder, but since we're happily
abstract we don't need to care.

However, it also means that you're not going to see dual-wielded
greatswords any time soon. You still need two hands, but you can focus
on agility rather than power.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
August 15, 2005 10:12:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alien mind control rays made snikers000@hotmail.com write:
> Well, this is going to sound odd, but weapons. Daggers, specifically,
> for my halfling Master Thrower.

if you're playing v3.5 rules, don't forget that weapons for small-size
creatures (such as halflings) weigh half as much as those for
medium-size creatures, besides doing less damage, etc. daggers for you
already weigh just half a pound. one made of mithral would cost 552 gp
(2 gp dagger + 250 gp mithral + 300 gp masterwork) and weigh 1/4 pound.

--
\^\ // drow@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/&gt;
\ // - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
// \ X-Windows: The cutting edge of obsolescence.
// \_\ -- Dude from DPAK
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 11:59:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>If you let the weapon be used with finesse -- yes, even greatswords --
>then you can gain a benefit from the lighter weapon. True, it doesn't
>make a significant difference to the Power Attack crowd (they're likely
>to have higher Str than Dex after all) but Power Attack is based on
>hitting *hard*.

How do you figure? I mean, based on the name, and the flavor text,
sure. But based on the mechanic? You sacrifice gross accuracy for
damage. Sure, there's a Strength prereq, but that's fairly low,
and the reasoning could just as easily be "you need the higher
strength to reposition the weapon quickly enough to deliver pinpoint
blows".

If Power Attack's mechanic were "apply double your STR bonus to
weapon damage (two and a half times for a non-light weapon wielded
two-handed)", then, sure Power Attack would be based on hitting
*hard*...

Donald
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 5:17:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Keith Davies wrote:
>> Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh
>> > less, but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields do, since
>> > weapons don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check penalty to be
>> > reduced. If you want to not distinguish much between adamantine and
>> > mithral, you could say that the weapon gets +1 damage in addition to
>> > the +1 to hit from being masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't
>> > be much reason to go with adamantine at all (except for DR
>> > penetration), and you would probably want to equalize the cost.
>>
>> I wouldn't give a damage bonus.
>
> Maybe a negative. The weight of a weapon is much of its ability to
> damage, even for a dagger.

Daggers not so much, really. I'm willing to handwave and trade off the
reduced weight for greater mobility and toughness and call it about the
same. If part of the reduced weight is that the metal is less dense and
partly strong enough to hold up with less material, it may be able to
afford a finer edge.

A penalty for blunt weapons, almost certainly. Beating someone to death
with a whiffle bat will take a long time.[1] Using a lighter-sharper-
but-just-as-strong knife should work at least as well.

[1] I know a mithril blade lacks 'whiffle' qualities. It's hyperbole.

>> > Alternately, with the weight being half as much, you could consider
>> > the weapon to be a size category smaller...ie: a halfling could use
>> > a shortsword offhand as a small weapon and get full dual wield
>> > benefit from it.
>>
>> Or make the weapon finesseable. Spiked chains are two-handed weapons
>> and finesseable; a longsword or even greatsword at half the weight
>> (and great expense) allowing use with Weapon Finesse doesn't bother
>> me.
>
> Finessable one size up for light weight? Two seems extreme. A club is
> lightweight material, but is not finesseable. The moment arm makes a
> big difference. OTOH, lightweight impact weapons like a mithral hammer
> or axe really don't make sense; so as long as common sense disallows
> them, there is no issue.

Clubs aren't balanced nearly as nicely as most metal weapons, let alone
swords and the like. I've seen a feat (BAB +3) that allows any weapon
to be finesseable. Netbook of Feats, and IIRC it was deemed reasonably
balanced (though it was before RSRD and applied to only a single
weapon).

Bear in mind that while a club is made of less dense material than a
sword, they weigh pretty comparable amounts (IRL). As you say, balance
is a huge factor in their speed and effectiveness. If you can reduce
the weight you make the weapon more responsive and easier to use. A
greatsword is pretty big for a muscle-powered weapon, but it's also used
two-handed and greatsword use is disturbingly *fast* -- way faster than
most people expect.

Having all-metal weapons made of mithril instead of steel allow finesse
does not offend my sense of verisimilitude. A lighter greatsword *is*
faster and easier to use. If it's got a better edge, that helps make up
for the reduction in weight.

As a game balance consideration it worries me even less. You're paying
some decent coin (and a feat, assuming you didn't have it for other
reasons) for the ability to replace your Str bonus to hit with your Dex
bonus. Unless your Dex is way higher than your Strength, there's a
decent chance that just buying up the enchantment can be cheaper.


However, making blunt weapons *lighter* runs directly against the source
of their effect. A lighter-but-stronger sword can have a better edge to
explain away the lack-of-loss-of-benefit, but a mithril mace does not
have this advantage. For these ones I'd consider either giving a flat
penalty to damage or counting it as a little smaller than normal (a
'mithril heavy mace' would be treated much as a light mace -- same
damage, finesseable, etc.... and a mithril light mace would do d3 points
of damage and 'stay finesseable' -- IOW, gain nothing but weight
reduction and lower damage).

(In both cases, since maces tend to still have wooden hafts -- as do
most axes -- the weight reduction would be less. Knock maybe a quarter
off, rounded down. Do the same with axes.)

>> > That opens up some pretty wide doors for abuse, however, with huge
>> > weapons being used 2-handed without the need for the Monkey Grip feat.
>> > Either make it a special rule for weapons that are already pretty
>> > small, or don't allow that at all.
>>
>> If you let the weapon be used with finesse -- yes, even greatswords --
>> then you can gain a benefit from the lighter weapon. True, it doesn't
>> make a significant difference to the Power Attack crowd (they're likely
>> to have higher Str than Dex after all) but Power Attack is based on
>> hitting *hard*.
>>
>> It *does* allow a nimble type to make better use of the big weapons,
>> though. 'Power Attack' in this case is probably more a matter of
>> hitting a better point than hitting harder, but since we're happily
>> abstract we don't need to care.
>>
>> However, it also means that you're not going to see dual-wielded
>> greatswords any time soon. You still need two hands, but you can focus
>> on agility rather than power.
>
> Sorry, man, but this is just ugly. Even ignoring the mass of the sword,
> the thing can be too freaking big to wield. Look how stupid it looks in
> Anime. When the little guy whacks with his ultralight claymore of
> infinitesimal damage, he has a large force trying to sweep him off his
> feet, assuming he retains his grip.

The swords you are talking about in anime are *stupid big*. It should
not be possible to *lift them with one hand* (which you can do fairly
easily with a greatsword, if not wield it). In fact, some of them look
like they should be hard to lift using both hands.

Greatswords IRL are *not that heavy*. RSRD has them at 8 pounds (which
sounds a little heavy to me, but still in the right range[2]). Chop
that in half, you get four pounds.

RSRD shows the rapier at 2 pounds. Being able to use a weapon that's
twice the weight, with two hands, in an agile fashion (i.e. finesse)
does not shock my sense of reality.

In short, I've got no problem with making it finesseable. It makes more
sense to me than reducing it one size category. Making an already-
finesseable weapon out of mithril has no effect other than reducing its
weight.


[2] I just looked up in one of my books of arms (from Palladium, so MMV
on accuracy) and it showed the claymore at 2.9kg (~6.5 pounds) and
the flamberge at 3.4kg (~7-7.5 pounds) and the no-dachi at 4kg (8.8
pounds).


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 5:21:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Donald Tsang <tsang@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>>If you let the weapon be used with finesse -- yes, even greatswords --
>>then you can gain a benefit from the lighter weapon. True, it doesn't
>>make a significant difference to the Power Attack crowd (they're likely
>>to have higher Str than Dex after all) but Power Attack is based on
>>hitting *hard*.
>
> How do you figure? I mean, based on the name, and the flavor text,
> sure. But based on the mechanic? You sacrifice gross accuracy for
> damage. Sure, there's a Strength prereq, but that's fairly low,
> and the reasoning could just as easily be "you need the higher
> strength to reposition the weapon quickly enough to deliver pinpoint
> blows".

Name and flavor text, and the propensity for Power Attack to mostly be
taken by characters with high strength. Especially since Power Attack
tends to work best with two-handed weapons (which gain the most benefit
from it -- and are usually the best weapons for high Strength characters
to pick).

I'm quite happy it abstract it the other way and say it's precision,
with Strength required to 'better place the blow'.

However, since Power Attack is so much more common with the high
Strength crowd, and not with the high Dex crowd, you shouldn't expect to
see *too* much interaction between them here. If your Strength exceeds
your Dex, you have no need of Finesse, and if your Dex is higher, odds
are good you don't take Power Attack.

Not saying it's *impossible*, just that you don't see it very often.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 4:25:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > Keith Davies wrote:
> >> Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> > Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh
> >> > less, but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields do, since
> >> > weapons don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check penalty to be
> >> > reduced. If you want to not distinguish much between adamantine and
> >> > mithral, you could say that the weapon gets +1 damage in addition to
> >> > the +1 to hit from being masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't
> >> > be much reason to go with adamantine at all (except for DR
> >> > penetration), and you would probably want to equalize the cost.
> >>
> >> I wouldn't give a damage bonus.
> >
> > Maybe a negative. The weight of a weapon is much of its ability to
> > damage, even for a dagger.
>
> Daggers not so much, really.

Not as much as a leverage weapon, but still significant. Think about
the difference between hitting someone with a bare fist and hitting
someone with a fist holding a roll of quarters. Same striking surface,
same method of propulsion; the only difference is the mass of the
striking object.


> I'm willing to handwave and trade off the reduced weight for greater
> mobility and toughness and call it about the same. If part of the reduced
> weight is that the metal is less dense and partly strong enough to hold
> up with less material, it may be able to afford a finer edge.

The handle could be weighted. That would keep the mass but reduce the
moment of inertia, so the weapon would be "quicker". Since the dagger
is a thrusting weapon, you would not loose damage potential.


> A penalty for blunt weapons, almost certainly. Beating someone to death
> with a whiffle bat will take a long time.[1]

That is a selling point in some venues.


> >> Or make the weapon finesseable. Spiked chains are two-handed weapons
> >> and finesseable; a longsword or even greatsword at half the weight
> >> (and great expense) allowing use with Weapon Finesse doesn't bother
> >> me.
> >
> > Finessable one size up for light weight? Two seems extreme. A club is
> > lightweight material, but is not finesseable. The moment arm makes a
> > big difference. OTOH, lightweight impact weapons like a mithral hammer
> > or axe really don't make sense; so as long as common sense disallows
> > them, there is no issue.
>
> Clubs aren't balanced nearly as nicely as most metal weapons, let alone
> swords and the like. Bear in mind that while a club is made of less dense
> material than a sword, they weigh pretty comparable amounts (IRL).
> As you say, balance is a huge factor in their speed and effectiveness.

> If you can reduce the weight you make the weapon more responsive and easier
> to use.

Easier to move, yes, but more effective, probably not. I have a real
life experience that relates. I have used a 16 oz. hammer for most of
my life for construction projects. I worked for a buddy doing odd
construction jobs for a couple of months a while back when I was
between regular jobs. His crew used 20 oz. hammers. I tried one, and it
took getting used to; it was a lot harder to swing; I was used to
controlling a 16 oz. swing and this took more concentration. Once I got
used to it, it was much more effective at driving nails. Contrawise, I
have had occasion to use an underweight hammer, it was the only thing
handy, and it was a bitch to use because it had no driving power.


> I've seen a feat (BAB +3) that allows any weapon
> to be finesseable. Netbook of Feats, and IIRC it was deemed reasonably
> balanced (though it was before RSRD and applied to only a single
> weapon).

That does not seem like a reasonable feat to me. A feat that allowed a
character with both high dexterity and high strength to finesse heavier
weapons would make sense. Something like +2 strength bonus (four
strength ranks) per weapon size category to finesse the size category.
With 14 strength and 16 dexterity you could finesse a longsword, but
you would have to have a phenominal dexterity to achieve any benefit
from finessing a greatsword, since you'd already have an 18 strength,
minimum.


<dropped the anime thing, it muddied the water>

> > When you whack with your ultralight claymore, you have a large force
> > trying to sweep you off you feet, assuming you retain your grip.

> Greatswords IRL are *not that heavy*. RSRD has them at 8 pounds (which
> sounds a little heavy to me, but still in the right range[2]). Chop
> that in half, you get four pounds.

If you swing the sword, when you hit the opponent, the sword wants to
keep turning; insistence depends highly on the length of the blade,
though mass matters. Length alone will make it unwieldly. Quarterstaff
gets away with it because the grip is more spread out (better
countertorque).


> RSRD shows the rapier at 2 pounds. Being able to use a weapon that's
> twice the weight, with two hands, in an agile fashion (i.e. finesse)
> does not shock my sense of reality.

Bad comparison. The balance is different. The greatsword is a cutting
weapon with a lot of the weight in the blade. The rapier is designed as
a fencing weapon; the handle has a lot of the weapon's weigh, a higher
proportion than the greatsword. It is "quicker" by design.

Keep in mind that a quarter of a pound on a hammer (+/- 25%) makes a
lot of difference.


MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 7:27:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

No 33 Secretary wrote:
>
> "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote in
> news:1124220307.783468.257670@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:
>
> > Keith Davies wrote:
> >> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> > Maybe a negative. The weight of a weapon is much of its ability to
> >> > damage, even for a dagger.
> >>
> >> Daggers not so much, really.
> >
> > Not as much as a leverage weapon, but still significant. Think about
> > the difference between hitting someone with a bare fist and hitting
> > someone with a fist holding a roll of quarters. Same striking surface,
> > same method of propulsion; the only difference is the mass of the
> > striking object.
>
> It depends on whether it is a slashing weapon or a piercing weapon.

True. NO ONE HAS SAID OTHERWISE.


> Weight is a *lot* less important for a piercing weapon.

You're sure about this?


> A stronger material will be less likely to bend or break, and might well
> hold a sharper point.

Duh.


> Those are much bigger advantages than weight.

OK. So?


> How about a mithral rapier?

Sounds cool.


> > The handle could be weighted. That would keep the mass but reduce the
> > moment of inertia, so the weapon would be "quicker". Since the dagger
> > is a thrusting weapon, you would not loose damage potential.
>
> You know nothing about balance in a weapon, do you?

It is possible that I do not, but you certainly have not demonstrated
how.


> (That's a rhetorical question. It's obvious you know nothing about it.)

I suppose you're telepathic.


> Terry Austin

MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 11:31:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1124220307.783468.257670@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

> Keith Davies wrote:
>> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > Keith Davies wrote:
>> >> Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> wrote:
>> >>
>> >> > Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would
>> >> > weigh less, but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields
>> >> > do, since weapons don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check
>> >> > penalty to be reduced. If you want to not distinguish much
>> >> > between adamantine and mithral, you could say that the weapon
>> >> > gets +1 damage in addition to the +1 to hit from being
>> >> > masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't be much reason to
>> >> > go with adamantine at all (except for DR penetration), and you
>> >> > would probably want to equalize the cost.
>> >>
>> >> I wouldn't give a damage bonus.
>> >
>> > Maybe a negative. The weight of a weapon is much of its ability to
>> > damage, even for a dagger.
>>
>> Daggers not so much, really.
>
> Not as much as a leverage weapon, but still significant. Think about
> the difference between hitting someone with a bare fist and hitting
> someone with a fist holding a roll of quarters. Same striking surface,
> same method of propulsion; the only difference is the mass of the
> striking object.

It depends on whether it is a slashing weapon or a piercing weapon. Weight
is a *lot* less important for a piercing weapon. A stronger material will
be less likely to bend or break, and might well hold a sharper point. Those
are much bigger advantages than weight.

How about a mithral rapier?
>
>
>> I'm willing to handwave and trade off the reduced weight for greater
>> mobility and toughness and call it about the same. If part of the
>> reduced weight is that the metal is less dense and partly strong
>> enough to hold up with less material, it may be able to afford a
>> finer edge.
>
> The handle could be weighted. That would keep the mass but reduce the
> moment of inertia, so the weapon would be "quicker". Since the dagger
> is a thrusting weapon, you would not loose damage potential.

You know nothing about balance in a weapon, do you? (That's a rhetorical
question. It's obvious you know nothing about it.)

--
Terry Austin
www.hyperbooks.com
Campaign Cartographer now available
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 12:40:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > Keith Davies wrote:
>> >> Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> wrote:
>> >>
>> >> > Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh
>> >> > less, but they benefit quite a bit less than armor/shields do, since
>> >> > weapons don't apply a max dex bonus or spell check penalty to be
>> >> > reduced. If you want to not distinguish much between adamantine and
>> >> > mithral, you could say that the weapon gets +1 damage in addition to
>> >> > the +1 to hit from being masterwork...but in that case, there wouldn't
>> >> > be much reason to go with adamantine at all (except for DR
>> >> > penetration), and you would probably want to equalize the cost.
>> >>
>> >> I wouldn't give a damage bonus.
>> >
>> > Maybe a negative. The weight of a weapon is much of its ability to
>> > damage, even for a dagger.
>>
>> Daggers not so much, really.
>
> Not as much as a leverage weapon, but still significant. Think about
> the difference between hitting someone with a bare fist and hitting
> someone with a fist holding a roll of quarters. Same striking surface,
> same method of propulsion; the only difference is the mass of the
> striking object.

Blunt weapon, which by its nature requires mass.

A dagger, OTOH, can poke or slice. If you're stabbing someone with a
knife, the mass of the weapon makes only a small difference -- assuming
it's strong enough to survive making the blow. That is, if you had a
very thin-bladed dagger made of material strong enough to endure the
rigors of combat, it should work about as well as a heavier one for most
purposes. That same dagger made of tinfoil, OTOH, is useless. Not
because of the lack of weight, but because of its lack of strength.

That's why you see the big, heavy knives and daggers -- so they can take
the abuse of absorbing blows from heavier weapons, being punched through
armor (hopefully), being used to twist and pry into things, and so on.

>> I'm willing to handwave and trade off the reduced weight for greater
>> mobility and toughness and call it about the same. If part of the reduced
>> weight is that the metal is less dense and partly strong enough to hold
>> up with less material, it may be able to afford a finer edge.
>
> The handle could be weighted. That would keep the mass but reduce the
> moment of inertia, so the weapon would be "quicker". Since the dagger
> is a thrusting weapon, you would not loose damage potential.

Actually, that'd screw the balance. Pommel-heavy weapons are awkard.
You certainly wouldn't be able to throw it worth a damn.

>> A penalty for blunt weapons, almost certainly. Beating someone to death
>> with a whiffle bat will take a long time.[1]
>
> That is a selling point in some venues.

Certainly, but it doesn't make for a good weapon when the target is
fighting back credibly.

>> Clubs aren't balanced nearly as nicely as most metal weapons, let
>> alone swords and the like. Bear in mind that while a club is made of
>> less dense material than a sword, they weigh pretty comparable
>> amounts (IRL). As you say, balance is a huge factor in their speed
>> and effectiveness.
>
>> If you can reduce the weight you make the weapon more responsive and
>> easier to use.
>
> Easier to move, yes, but more effective, probably not. I have a real
> life experience that relates. I have used a 16 oz. hammer for most of
> my life for construction projects. I worked for a buddy doing odd
> construction jobs for a couple of months a while back when I was
> between regular jobs. His crew used 20 oz. hammers. I tried one, and it
> took getting used to; it was a lot harder to swing; I was used to
> controlling a 16 oz. swing and this took more concentration. Once I got
> used to it, it was much more effective at driving nails. Contrawise, I
> have had occasion to use an underweight hammer, it was the only thing
> handy, and it was a bitch to use because it had no driving power.

Pounding nails is nowhere close to the same as trying to kill someone.

Yes, a heavier hammer -- look, *another* blunt weapon, which would rely
on mass! -- can hit harder. I have *never* said otherwise, and in fact
suggested that if you make a blunt weapon out of a lighter material it
should do less damage.

However, a cutting (slicing) or thrusting weapon works differently.
Mass can be *some* help, but speed can help *more*... and you can
accelerate a lighter weapon faster.

IOW, you're comparing things that shouldn't really be compared.

(For that matter, your thesis suggests that a 6 pound sledge would work
better than any hammer for pounding nails... which I think is clearly
not the case.)

>> I've seen a feat (BAB +3) that allows any weapon
>> to be finesseable. Netbook of Feats, and IIRC it was deemed reasonably
>> balanced (though it was before RSRD and applied to only a single
>> weapon).
>
> That does not seem like a reasonable feat to me. A feat that allowed a
> character with both high dexterity and high strength to finesse heavier
> weapons would make sense. Something like +2 strength bonus (four
> strength ranks) per weapon size category to finesse the size category.
> With 14 strength and 16 dexterity you could finesse a longsword, but
> you would have to have a phenominal dexterity to achieve any benefit
> from finessing a greatsword, since you'd already have an 18 strength,
> minimum.

It doesn't offend me. The greatsword fighting I've seen *does* depend a
great deal on manual dexterity and agility. If a skilled combatant
(minimum BAB +3 in the feat) chooses to invest in a feat to let him use
a greatsword as a finesse weapon, it doesn't seem terribly out of line.
Greatswords *are* much faster and agile than most people think.

From a balance perspective, it's a suboptimal build anyway --
greatswords work much better for high strength characters than high Dex.
So, rather than having high strength and getting bonus to hit *and*
damage, he can choose to take Greater Finesse (or whatever it was
called) to use his Dex instead and not do the extra damage that would be
available had he bought up Strength instead.

It does lead to such a character having a better touch AC (higher Dex
than likely before, and probably lighter armor to preserve the Dex bonus
to AC) but he can't tank up. Well, he could, but if he's got higher Dex
than Strength odds are decent he

1. doesn't have the Strength to carry heavy armor
2. doesn't *want* to wear heavy armor because it limits his Dex bonus to
AC and slows him down.


>> > When you whack with your ultralight claymore, you have a large force
>> > trying to sweep you off you feet, assuming you retain your grip.
>
>> Greatswords IRL are *not that heavy*. RSRD has them at 8 pounds (which
>> sounds a little heavy to me, but still in the right range[2]). Chop
>> that in half, you get four pounds.
>
> If you swing the sword, when you hit the opponent, the sword wants to
> keep turning; insistence depends highly on the length of the blade,
> though mass matters. Length alone will make it unwieldly. Quarterstaff
> gets away with it because the grip is more spread out (better
> countertorque).

Greatswords, from what I can see, are used quite a bit like staves or
spears. You *can* choke up on them and swing them like a baseball bat,
but it's often not a very good idea.

IOW, the case you're describing as being the reason greatswords can't be
finessed is also one that is not, in my experience, commonly used.

>> RSRD shows the rapier at 2 pounds. Being able to use a weapon that's
>> twice the weight, with two hands, in an agile fashion (i.e. finesse)
>> does not shock my sense of reality.
>
> Bad comparison. The balance is different. The greatsword is a cutting
> weapon with a lot of the weight in the blade. The rapier is designed as
> a fencing weapon; the handle has a lot of the weapon's weigh, a higher
> proportion than the greatsword. It is "quicker" by design.

Greatsword use includes an *astonishing* amount of pointwork, at least
from what I've seen. Consider: you can swing and get some decent
momentum and hit the target (hopefully denting the hell out of armor),
or you can arrange to thrust with it (much as you would with a staff or
spear) and hopefully *penetrate* the armor.

FWIW, in the SCA fighting with rattan weapons, we were allowed it hit as
hard as we wanted *swinging* the rattans, but were banned from thrusting
with 'non-pogied' rattans because it hit too hard -- too much pressure
per square inch on impact. Yes, rattans have a greater cross-section
than swords (i.e. the blow *is* spread out a bit with a swing), but they
are blunt (flat or rounded) -- no point to speak of -- and have *many*
more times the area of impact of a pointed weapon.

('non-pogied' -- if you put a pogy, a collapsable point, on the end of
the weapon you were allowed to thrust with it. A tennis ball well taped
on was an acceptable pogy, they would deform adequately on impact.)

Rapiers are balanced differently, but they're also used *in one hand*.
A greatsword is used in two, and that gives you some great leverage.

And if you can reduce the weight by half, you *are* down to the weight
of one-handed weapons in D&D. I agree with your point above that the
length makes it more awkward; that's why I wouldn't allow it to be used
in one hand -- you may be strong enough for a shorter weapon of the same
weight, but the extra length moves the forces out farther, and would be
really rough on the wrist. If you've got two hands on it, though, you
can easily counter the changes wrought by the length -- you can use a
normal-weight greatsword two handed, after all.

IOW, it's still not usable in one hand because it's too long... but *is*
finesseable because it's lighter and faster.


Again, from a game perspective this bothers me not in the least. You
need a moderately suboptimal build to make any use of this ability and
you have to spend a bunch of money on it. In fact, if you allow
one-handed use instead, you open a bigger can of worms. Which is worse:
a greatsword using Finesse, or dual greatswords using TWF?

Me, I'll keep the finesse version.


> Keep in mind that a quarter of a pound on a hammer (+/- 25%) makes a
> lot of difference.

A hammer is not a sword. I've said before that mithril blunt weapons
probably should have their damage ability reduced. Also, carpentry
hammers are *tools*, not weapons, and quite light ones at that.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 12:51:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>
>> Treat mithril as tough but not hard. It's suitable for armor because
>> it's light and *durable*, hard to penetrate. It doesn't take an edge
>> worth mentioning.
>>
>> Thus, it's not suitable for edged or pointed weapons, and not very
>> good for blunt weapons (you're making it *lighter*! and blunt weapons
>> get a lot of their effect from mass).
>
> Armour gets a lot of it's effect from mass too, IRL, as do
> slashing and piercing weapons. Mithral is just so damn good that it
> offers full damage and protection with half the weight, and I don't
> think that needs to make sense.

It gets *some* of its effect from mass. Most armor was useful because
it put a hard shell around the target. Most of the impact absorption
actually came from the padding *under* the armor.

Platemail was generally more effective than chain mail not because of
the greater mass, but because a plate of steel doesn't deform as easily.
That's also why plate was gradually made heavier -- not because the mass
made it more resistant to impact, but because it was harder to deform
and thus penetrate.

If *mass* were the major consideration, they'd have gone with lead.
Easy to get, *cheap*, *really* easy to cast, can be easily 'adjusted'
(bent to fit) because it's soft... but wait. 'Bent to fit' suggests
that it's easily deformable. That's not good.

That's leaving aside the consideration that more mass means *heavier*,
and harder to get around in.

If you can get the same hardness and durability, lighter, that's almost
*always* a win with armor. It's different if you're trying to stand up
to high-impact strikes, but human-size muscle-powered weapons don't
really qualify. Catapult stones and shotgun slugs maybe (high mass and
high velocity respectively), but even then you're looking at armor
deformation killing you before being knocked on your ass does... unless
your armor is *strong enough* to withstand the deformation. In which
case, you get knocked down, but not killed.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 2:03:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > Not as much as a leverage weapon, but still significant. Think about
> > the difference between hitting someone with a bare fist and hitting
> > someone with a fist holding a roll of quarters. Same striking surface,
> > same method of propulsion; the only difference is the mass of the
> > striking object.
>
> Blunt weapon, which by its nature requires mass.

True, blunt trauma being the only damage produced.


> A dagger, OTOH, can poke or slice. If you're stabbing someone with a
> knife, the mass of the weapon makes only a small difference -- assuming
> it's strong enough to survive making the blow.

Yeah, I'd agree; heft makes a small difference; if you are poking a
hole, you can poke a bit deeper.


> That is, if you had a very thin-bladed dagger made of material strong enough
> to endure the rigors of combat, it should work about as well as a heavier one
> for most purposes.

Strength is not so simple. Modern car bodies are made of much stronger
steel than older cars. This has been applied to make the car bodies
lighter by making the metal thinner. As a result, modern car bodies are
not nearly as stiff as older car bodies. Result - if you've ever seen a
collision between a 50s/60s car and a 90s/2000s car, the dinosaur is
dented and the modern car is totaled. There are other factors; frame vs
unibody, modern cars are designed to deform as a safety feature, but
the point is still true, stronger is not always stronger, there are
different metrics of strength, and there are trade-offs.

In particular, your thin, ultrastrong dagger will have a low bending
modulus. If you beat on it with a cheap sword, the cheap sword would
have nicks all over the edge from your hard blade, and your blade would
be bent or sundered.

You want something mithril-like? You can buy some fairly nifty exotic
blades, all lighter than steel.

Titanium:
http://swordforum.com/metallurgy/titanium.html
(interesting negative point of view)
http://www.swordsdirect.com/mission_knives.html
http://www.alibaba.com/manufacturer/12400281/Sell_Titan...
http://www.bestknives.com/boktiankitkn.html

Ceramic:
<two lines are one url, combine>
http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_store.html?ttl=...
http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_keywords.html
http://www.centralrestaurant.com/Ceramic-Blade-Knives-c...
http://www.chefsresource.com/metal-knives-ceramic-knive...

Aluminum:
(Aluminum is soft. Some aluminum alloys are quite hard and strong.
There is a boatload of listings on Google under "aluminum blade sword".
The intended purpose of these blades are practice and theatre, they
would not hold up to heavy use, but I don't doubt that you could kill
someone with one.)
http://www.angelic.org/highlander/swords/aluminum.html
(see comment about high-strength aluminum)

You can also find wooden swords with characteristics similar to
aluminum.


> That's why you see the big, heavy knives and daggers -- so they can take
> the abuse of absorbing blows from heavier weapons, being punched through
> armor (hopefully), being used to twist and pry into things, and so on.

Check out modern combat knives. They are big and heavy for a knife. No
armor involved, don't generally parry swords and maces; point is to
ensure a kill with one blow - does enough damage that you don't have to
second guess, and the opponent drops quickly, eliminating the threat.


> >> I'm willing to handwave and trade off the reduced weight for greater
> >> mobility and toughness and call it about the same. If part of the reduced
> >> weight is that the metal is less dense and partly strong enough to hold
> >> up with less material, it may be able to afford a finer edge.
> >
> > The handle could be weighted. That would keep the mass but reduce the
> > moment of inertia, so the weapon would be "quicker". Since the dagger
> > is a thrusting weapon, you would not loose damage potential.
>
> Actually, that'd screw the balance. Pommel-heavy weapons are awkard.

Maybe. You could certainly overdo it. I can probably find samples of
both light grip and heavy grip daggers at the next local ren faire and
see how they feel.


> You certainly wouldn't be able to throw it worth a damn.

True, the blade would be a tail. I guess you could hit someone with the
pommel, like on one of the Crocodile Dundee movies.


> >> A penalty for blunt weapons, almost certainly. Beating someone to death
> >> with a whiffle bat will take a long time.[1]
> >
> > That is a selling point in some venues.
>
> Certainly, but it doesn't make for a good weapon when the target is
> fighting back credibly.

Oh, hell, no. Wrong venue.


> Pounding nails is nowhere close to the same as trying to kill someone.

<grins>


> IOW, you're comparing things that shouldn't really be compared.

I won't belabor the point to convince you. I meant it as an
illustration, so if it isn't helping, I'll drop it.


> (For that matter, your thesis suggests that a 6 pound sledge would work
> better than any hammer for pounding nails... which I think is clearly
> not the case.)

It's off the map. There are ways in which it would drive a nail much
better, but it is impractical for several reasons. So, you're comparing
things that really shouldn't be compared.


> It doesn't offend me. The greatsword fighting I've seen *does* depend a
> great deal on manual dexterity and agility.

In what context have you seen greatsword fighting? Armored/unarmored?
Realistically weighted weapons? I'd like to hear more.


> If a skilled combatant
> (minimum BAB +3 in the feat) chooses to invest in a feat to let him use
> a greatsword as a finesse weapon, it doesn't seem terribly out of line.
> Greatswords *are* much faster and agile than most people think.

And rapiers and daggers aren't much more so? It sounds like you are
questioning what "finnesse" means; that the rules are to restrictive.

I figure that if strength is not overabundant for the task, it is not
primarily a dexterity task.


MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 4:05:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:

<stuff about vehicles>

.... all true, I acknowledged that: "There are other factors; frame vs
unibody, modern cars are designed to deform as a safety feature"


> > In particular, your thin, ultrastrong dagger will have a low bending
> > modulus. If you beat on it with a cheap sword, the cheap sword would
> > have nicks all over the edge from your hard blade, and your blade would
> > be bent or sundered.
>
> Why? If I take similar thicknesses of, say, tin foil and steel, the
> tinfoil bends *way* easier than the steel.

Because the thicknesses are not similar. Your own words were "a thin
dagger". Am I misunderstanding your intent?


> Simple example: Take a decent steel knife. Take a 'sword-shaped' piece
> of lead two or three times and thick. Pound them together.
>
> Which one deforms?

Lead, it has to be alloyed to support itself. You don't even need to
hit it. Maybe wave it a little.


> > You want something mithril-like? You can buy some fairly nifty exotic
> > blades, all lighter than steel.
> >
> > Titanium:
>
> Titanium, IIRC, is both quite expensive and relatively fragile compared
> to steel. Harder and lighter IIRC (I've got a watch largely made of
> titanium; it feels about as heavy as plastic), but not as durable to
> combat stresses.

Titanium was in the ballpark of expensive as gold not that many years
ago. It is reasonable now. It's about half as dense as steel. It is
strong for the weight. It has a high melting point and is relatively
unaffected by corrosives. I've never heard titanium refered to as
fragile, but there are many failure modes, and it may have a
characteristic weakness. Many metals have surprising ones. (Tin will
spontaneously decompose.) Titanium, like steel has an elastic limit,
which means (one POV) that it will not begin metal fatigue if never
stressed above that (fairly high) limit; in contrast, aluminum has no
elastic limit and will gradually fatigue even from small stresses. Re:
fragile, titanium eyeglass frames are incredibly tough.


> > Ceramic:
>
> Again, tends to be brittle AFAIK. It may make decent non-combat blades
> (knives and other tools) or even blunt weapons, but hard to keep in good
> condition in combat.

I think so, too. These are high tech ceramics with some flex. The one
warantee that I read excluded chipping from dropping.


> > Aluminum:
>
> Light and decent tensile strength, but soft.

Also cheap (today) and easy to cast.


> >> That's why you see the big, heavy knives and daggers -- so they can
> >> take the abuse of absorbing blows from heavier weapons, being punched
> >> through armor (hopefully), being used to twist and pry into things,
> >> and so on.
> >
> > Check out modern combat knives. They are big and heavy for a knife. No
> > armor involved, don't generally parry swords and maces; point is to
> > ensure a kill with one blow - does enough damage that you don't have
> > to second guess, and the opponent drops quickly, eliminating the
> > threat.
>
> They increase the trauma, sure. Those are caused by the increased cross
> section and volume of the blade (the depth of the blow), *not* by the
> mass of the weapon.

Absolutely. The mass has no *direct* damage effect.

> Mass, given the same uniform material, and volume are proportional --
> double the volume, it has twice the mass. It's bigger, it *must* have
> more mass, given the same construction material.

> IOW, it's not because they want a *heavy* knife, it's because they want
> a *big* knife. The mass has little to no effect on the wound itself,
> it's the size of the weapon.

I'm of a mind that the mass of the knife aids depth of penetration,
especially if a swinging stab is used, less with a direct thrust. I
think we've beat this to death though, so with your concurance, let's
drop it.


> >> You certainly wouldn't be able to throw it worth a damn.
> >
> > True, the blade would be a tail. I guess you could hit someone with the
> > pommel, like on one of the Crocodile Dundee movies.
>
> Me, I'd rather have a decently balanced weapon and be able to choose.
> Or a blade-heavy weapon so it's more likely to do some damage. If I
> just want to stun the guy, I'll throw a rock.

True.


> > I figure that if strength is not overabundant for the task, it is not
> > primarily a dexterity task.
>
> ? this doesn't make sense -- doesn't quite parse.

Your finesse stance seems to say if dexterity is involved at all then
it is a dexterity issue. I lean toward if you are struggling at all to
control the item, strength dominates.

For instance, I think making bow a dex weapon is an error. It doesn't
make the game not fun, but it is not realistic. A bow suited to you
will tax your ability to stretch and hold the cord taut while you aim.
If you can hold it steady, aiming is not that difficult, and you could
build a case that intelligence, knowing where to aim, is the next
important factor.

A crossbow should be a dex weapon, because once you cock it, strength
is not involved or is a minor player, depending on how you are
supporting the stock. A sling does not require great strength for basic
swinging, but does require dex for the timing of the release; dex
should dominate, and it is indeed a dex weapon.

MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 4:12:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 15:34:43 +1200, tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz>
carved upon a tablet of ether:

> Armour gets a lot of it's effect from mass too, IRL, as do slashing
> and piercing weapons. Mithral is just so damn good that it offers full
> damage and protection with half the weight, and I don't think that needs
> to make sense.

I don't think it does - armour weighed less than is often thought, and
yet gave good protection. It relies on resisting penetration, and
abosrbing impact (which is why metal armours had padded backing). Mass
has little to do with it.


--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 8:28:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 00:26:25 +0100, "Mark Blunden"
<m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:

>The trouble with this is that it's very inconsistent, because not all items
>that can be made out of mithral will have a fixed 'base' weight. If you want
>to make a set of fancy mithral crockery, do you base the price of a mithral
>jug on the weight of a ceramic jug, a metal jug or a glass jug? For 'other
>items', the only way to get a consistent result is to go by the item's
>actual weight.

What do you base the actual weight of a mithral jug on?
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 9:56:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > Not as much as a leverage weapon, but still significant. Think about
>> > the difference between hitting someone with a bare fist and hitting
>> > someone with a fist holding a roll of quarters. Same striking surface,
>> > same method of propulsion; the only difference is the mass of the
>> > striking object.
>>
>> Blunt weapon, which by its nature requires mass.
>
> True, blunt trauma being the only damage produced.
>
>
>> A dagger, OTOH, can poke or slice. If you're stabbing someone with a
>> knife, the mass of the weapon makes only a small difference -- assuming
>> it's strong enough to survive making the blow.
>
> Yeah, I'd agree; heft makes a small difference; if you are poking a
> hole, you can poke a bit deeper.
>
>> That is, if you had a very thin-bladed dagger made of material strong
>> enough to endure the rigors of combat, it should work about as well
>> as a heavier one for most purposes.
>
> Strength is not so simple. Modern car bodies are made of much stronger
> steel than older cars. This has been applied to make the car bodies
> lighter by making the metal thinner. As a result, modern car bodies are
> not nearly as stiff as older car bodies. Result - if you've ever seen a
> collision between a 50s/60s car and a 90s/2000s car, the dinosaur is
> dented and the modern car is totaled. There are other factors; frame vs
> unibody, modern cars are designed to deform as a safety feature, but
> the point is still true, stronger is not always stronger, there are
> different metrics of strength, and there are trade-offs.

There are still significant differences, though. While the frame of a
modern car crumples easier, it's also *designed to do so*. Modern cars
have crumple zones not (entirely) as a material-saving feature but also
because that crumpling absorbs energy of the impact. It decreases the
acceleration of the impact -- if the car *doesn't* deform, it has to
stop in '0 distance'; if it can crumple, it might 'stop' over the
distance of a foot or two. This greatly reduces the acceleration, and
thus the trauma caused to the occupants of the vehicle.

I.e. different designs cause different behavior on a crash... on
purpose. It's entirely not that the lighter, stronger materials crumple
more easily, but that they are made to do so.

It is known that a controlled crash is way less hazardous to those
involved and those around them.

Hit a large-and-strong-and-heavy-thing -- a bridge support, say. This
impact involves a lot of energy, and it has to go *somewhere*. If the
support doesn't break or move, and your car doesn't deform, there are
two major effects

1. the occupants of the car get to experience *massive* acceleration.
In a number of directions in turn, in fact...
2. because the car is going to *bounce* and go *somewhere*. Where?
Nobody knows, but it's sure to be an unpleasant surprise to whoever's
there.

OTOH, if your car does deform there is a decent chance that

1. the occupants suffer much less acceleration, possibly escaping injury
altogether
2. there's a decent chance the vehicle will stay right there --
deforming steel takes a significant amount of energy and it may be
enough that the vehicle *doesn't* bounce back into the traffic behind
it. Or into the oncoming lane. Or flip up into the traffic going
*over* the bridge.


Similar things happen with accidents between vehicles. Two vehicles
that don't deform *will* bounce off each other. Two vehicles that will
deform might not bounce. Even with a mismatch, the occupants of both
vehicles will still be better off than if neither vehicle would deform.


> In particular, your thin, ultrastrong dagger will have a low bending
> modulus. If you beat on it with a cheap sword, the cheap sword would
> have nicks all over the edge from your hard blade, and your blade would
> be bent or sundered.

Why? If I take similar thicknesses of, say, tin foil and steel, the
tinfoil bends *way* easier than the steel.

Simple example: Take a decent steel knife. Take a 'sword-shaped' piece
of lead two or three times and thick. Pound them together.

Which one deforms?

> You want something mithril-like? You can buy some fairly nifty exotic
> blades, all lighter than steel.
>
> Titanium:

Titanium, IIRC, is both quite expensive and relatively fragile compared
to steel. Harder and lighter IIRC (I've got a watch largely made of
titanium; it feels about as heavy as plastic), but not as durable to
combat stresses.

> Ceramic:

Again, tends to be brittle AFAIK. It may make decent non-combat blades
(knives and other tools) or even blunt weapons, but hard to keep in good
condition in combat.

> Aluminum:

Light and decent tensile strength, but soft.

>> That's why you see the big, heavy knives and daggers -- so they can
>> take the abuse of absorbing blows from heavier weapons, being punched
>> through armor (hopefully), being used to twist and pry into things,
>> and so on.
>
> Check out modern combat knives. They are big and heavy for a knife. No
> armor involved, don't generally parry swords and maces; point is to
> ensure a kill with one blow - does enough damage that you don't have
> to second guess, and the opponent drops quickly, eliminating the
> threat.

They increase the trauma, sure. Those are caused by the increased cross
section and volume of the blade (the depth of the blow), *not* by the
mass of the weapon.

Mass, given the same uniform material, and volume are proportional --
double the volume, it has twice the mass. It's bigger, it *must* have
more mass, given the same construction material.

IOW, it's not because they want a *heavy* knife, it's because they want
a *big* knife. The mass has little to no effect on the wound itself,
it's the size of the weapon.

>> You certainly wouldn't be able to throw it worth a damn.
>
> True, the blade would be a tail. I guess you could hit someone with the
> pommel, like on one of the Crocodile Dundee movies.

Me, I'd rather have a decently balanced weapon and be able to choose.
Or a blade-heavy weapon so it's more likely to do some damage. If I
just want to stun the guy, I'll throw a rock.

>> (For that matter, your thesis suggests that a 6 pound sledge would work
>> better than any hammer for pounding nails... which I think is clearly
>> not the case.)
>
> It's off the map. There are ways in which it would drive a nail much
> better, but it is impractical for several reasons. So, you're comparing
> things that really shouldn't be compared.

Indeed, and on purpose.

Actually, having actually tried to pound nails with a (small) sledge,
because that was what was handy, I found the greater weight difficult.
Not because it tired me faster, but because hitting the nail too hard
bent it, knocked it out of position, etc. It works *great* if you've
got lots of room for error, though.

>> It doesn't offend me. The greatsword fighting I've seen *does* depend a
>> great deal on manual dexterity and agility.
>
> In what context have you seen greatsword fighting? Armored/unarmored?
> Realistically weighted weapons? I'd like to hear more.

I used to be a SCAdian and saw some demonstrations with rattans. Not
true blades, but reasonably close to true weight (less dense material,
but much bigger cross section). I've also seen video from some of the
other 'more realistic' fighting societies, but buggered if I can
remember which, or which videos.

In all cases they were wearing armor, because they *were* trying to hit
each other. If more than one person was involved, of course -- in some
cases I remember they were doing exercises (basically like kata).

>> If a skilled combatant (minimum BAB +3 in the feat) chooses to invest
>> in a feat to let him use a greatsword as a finesse weapon, it doesn't
>> seem terribly out of line. Greatswords *are* much faster and agile
>> than most people think.
>
> And rapiers and daggers aren't much more so? It sounds like you are
> questioning what "finnesse" means; that the rules are to restrictive.

Certainly they are. That's why they're relatively easy to use with
finesse.

Hrm. I don't seem to see the feat I remember. The copy of the Net Book
of Feats I'm looking at has 'Power Finesse'. Wording is awkward:

Power Finesse
Prereqs: Proficient with weapon, BAB +1
Benefit: You can now learn the Weapon Finesse feat applied to any
melee weapon, regardless of its size. POwer Finesse has no other
effect in and of itself.

It's not highly ranked, but it's poorly written. The benefit reads as
if you take this feat once and then Weapon Finesse as many times as you
like, but prereqs suggest you have to take it for each weapon. Even in
3.5 you could treat it either way.

I *do* remember seeing a finesse feat at +3 BAB, but I may have
misremembered the source.


In any case, it's easier to apply finesse to rapier and dagger than
another weapon. I don't mind someone either paying more (an additional
feat, an expensive material) or buying a higher-level feat to be allowed
to use a larger weapon with finesse, especially if it's one that can be
used in a fashion that depends on dexterity/agility/precision.

> I figure that if strength is not overabundant for the task, it is not
> primarily a dexterity task.

? this doesn't make sense -- doesn't quite parse.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 10:44:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"No 33 Secretary" <taustin+usenet@hyperbooks.com> wrote in message
news:Xns96B4A20C9C9FBtaustinhyperbookscom@216.168.3.50...
> Swords are most definitely *not* thrusting weapons.

<raises hand> The Romans and the French and the Italians and the Germans
and the Japanese ... would all disagree profoundly with this assessment.

It's unusual for you to humiliate yourself so badly during an otherwise
legitimate rant.

-Michael
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 12:32:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Keith Davies wrote:
>
><stuff about vehicles>
>
> ... all true, I acknowledged that: "There are other factors; frame vs
> unibody, modern cars are designed to deform as a safety feature"

Ah, didn't notice that. I think that those are more telling than the
lighter materials used -- or perhaps that the lighter materials were
chosen for this behavior.

>> > In particular, your thin, ultrastrong dagger will have a low bending
>> > modulus. If you beat on it with a cheap sword, the cheap sword would
>> > have nicks all over the edge from your hard blade, and your blade would
>> > be bent or sundered.
>>
>> Why? If I take similar thicknesses of, say, tin foil and steel, the
>> tinfoil bends *way* easier than the steel.
>
> Because the thicknesses are not similar. Your own words were "a thin
> dagger". Am I misunderstanding your intent?

No, but I may have screwed up what I meant to say.

Okay, let's try again. Let's say... an aluminum sword and a thin steel
knife (and pretend that their qualities roughly equate to normal cheap
steel and supermetal). Pound them together. Why would the steel knife
break first?

In the case of an aluminum basebat versus a steel sword I can easily see
how, but that's getting into greater differences in scale (inches vs. a
small fraction of an inch).

Of course, I'm also working from definitions -- that mithril is strong
enough to serve in such a fashion, it must certainly be able to stand up
to the stress of being so used.

>> Simple example: Take a decent steel knife. Take a 'sword-shaped' piece
>> of lead two or three times and thick. Pound them together.
>>
>> Which one deforms?
>
> Lead, it has to be alloyed to support itself. You don't even need to
> hit it. Maybe wave it a little.

Heh. Overdone example/analogy, then. I wasn't aware lead was *that*
weak, I've mostly seen it as fishing weights -- large chunks.

>> > You want something mithril-like? You can buy some fairly nifty exotic
>> > blades, all lighter than steel.
>> >
>> > Titanium:
>>
>> Titanium, IIRC, is both quite expensive and relatively fragile compared
>> to steel. Harder and lighter IIRC (I've got a watch largely made of
>> titanium; it feels about as heavy as plastic), but not as durable to
>> combat stresses.
>
> Titanium was in the ballpark of expensive as gold not that many years
> ago. It is reasonable now. It's about half as dense as steel. It is
> strong for the weight. It has a high melting point and is relatively
> unaffected by corrosives. I've never heard titanium refered to as
> fragile, but there are many failure modes, and it may have a
> characteristic weakness. Many metals have surprising ones. (Tin will
> spontaneously decompose.) Titanium, like steel has an elastic limit,
> which means (one POV) that it will not begin metal fatigue if never
> stressed above that (fairly high) limit; in contrast, aluminum has no
> elastic limit and will gradually fatigue even from small stresses. Re:
> fragile, titanium eyeglass frames are incredibly tough.

ISTR that it's relatively brittle compared to steel. It's been a while
since I've read up on it; it may have been just a particular alloy that
was being discussed, or under certain conditions -- bad tempering or the
like, say.

>> > Ceramic:
>>
>> Again, tends to be brittle AFAIK. It may make decent non-combat blades
>> (knives and other tools) or even blunt weapons, but hard to keep in good
>> condition in combat.
>
> I think so, too. These are high tech ceramics with some flex. The one
> warantee that I read excluded chipping from dropping.

So, usable as a tool, but not very practical as a weapon. It might be
interesting to have a ceramic knife; I bet they keep a great edge.


>> Mass, given the same uniform material, and volume are proportional --
>> double the volume, it has twice the mass. It's bigger, it *must* have
>> more mass, given the same construction material.
>
>> IOW, it's not because they want a *heavy* knife, it's because they want
>> a *big* knife. The mass has little to no effect on the wound itself,
>> it's the size of the weapon.
>
> I'm of a mind that the mass of the knife aids depth of penetration,
> especially if a swinging stab is used, less with a direct thrust. I
> think we've beat this to death though, so with your concurance, let's
> drop it.

Heh, I'm willing to submit that the greater mass can be *some* help, but
considering the forces involved -- the muscle power especially -- it
doens't make a *big* one.

>> > I figure that if strength is not overabundant for the task, it is not
>> > primarily a dexterity task.
>>
>> ? this doesn't make sense -- doesn't quite parse.
>
> Your finesse stance seems to say if dexterity is involved at all then
> it is a dexterity issue. I lean toward if you are struggling at all to
> control the item, strength dominates.

Ah, okay. Since I think that it should be possible to use almost any
weapon with finesse, and any weapon use *requires* Dexterity, I can see
how you came to that conclusion. I'm coming at it from a different
direction, though.


I know from experience that once you gain proficiency with a weapon --
learn to use it properly, which IMO includes developing the necessary
strength to use it -- there is no particular strain. Of course, this
comes from my inclusion of developing the muscle in 'learning how'.
More on this below, wrt bows.

I remember there was a guy who fought heavy in the society. He came to
fencing practice one time... we were using foils[1], he was using live
steel (why not? We were just practicing forms), of a weapon longer and
heavier than we were using. He was as precise and *faster* than most of
us were with the foils because he was stronger and better trained. In
D&D terms this is modeled as higher BAB and thus (if high enough)
iterative attacks.

[1] 'foil' in the 'practice sword' sense of not-sharp, not those silly
little wires they use in competition fencing. They varied in
weight, but were comparable to real weapons.

In any case, where we were using 'rapiers', he was using what would be
classed as a 'longsword'. From what I could see, he'd developed the
strength and skill that he could use it as a 'finesse' weapon if he
chose.


Anyway, back to trying to explain my actual position...

I think finesse may be an option where, through a combination of
training and whatnot, you can be expected to land quick, accurate blows.
With light weapons and the like -- those that are finesseable in D&D --
it's relatively easy and requires only a single feat[2]. With heavier
weapons, it requires more training to reach the point of being able to
do so. This can be modeled with requiring a second feat, or with a
higher BAB. Whether it's +3 (which is higher than most people will
*ever* see in their lives, remember) or +6 (when you gain iterative
attacks) doesn't really matter; conceptually I'm fine with it either
way.

[2] in 3.0 it took one feat per weapon, in Conan *everyone* is treated
as having Weapon Finesse

Now, back to the case that started the whole thing: the mithril
greatsword. It's quite long, yes. That's why I wouldn't allow it to be
used one-handed -- while you may be able to use a shorter weapon of the
same weight one-handed, the angular momentum is too great with this
longer weapon. *However*, it is much lighter than normal, with as good
an edge, etc. I'd allow it to be used with Finesse because it *is*
faster and easier to control (once you got used to the change in weight,
anyway).

I suppose you could go with a flat bonus to hit. That seems... boring,
frankly, and it doesn't represent the difference in how it's used. I
mean, the bonus may be *explained* as being because it's lighter and
easier to use and therefore more accurate... but having it allow Finesse
instead makes better for someone who fights that way.

> For instance, I think making bow a dex weapon is an error. It doesn't
> make the game not fun, but it is not realistic. A bow suited to you
> will tax your ability to stretch and hold the cord taut while you aim.
> If you can hold it steady, aiming is not that difficult, and you could
> build a case that intelligence, knowing where to aim, is the next
> important factor.

Dexterity is used for a couple of reasons. From a play perspective, it
means that the same guy who does really well in melee doesn't do as well
with ranged attacks by default. From a RL perspective, it's pretending
that the coordination and whatnot to accurately hit your target is based
on Dexterity, but your ability to hit in melee isn't as much affected.

Yeah, it's a bit bullshit. I can see an argument for using *Wisdom* as
your hit bonus with ranged weapons -- ability to discern the target,
intuitively integrate surrounding conditions such as winds and judging
distance.

Still, I'm willing to accept it as an abstraction and from a play
perspective. I do know that someone clumsy is going to have a *rotten*
time hitting anything with a bow.


Now, WRT the strength issue... I consider developing the necessary
musculature as part of gaining proficiency. You may not have developed
your general strength higher, but the particular strength needed to use
the bow, you have.

For composite bows, that have a strength bonus to damage, this is
treated in more detail. If you don't have strength equal to or higher
than the bow, you suffer a penalty to hit.

You could apply strength minimums to weapons, but I really don't like
that. It strikes me as annoying to apply, and leads to the question "if
my strength is higher, can I do more damage?" This is strictly a
personal preference, though.

Now, with bows I *have* considered a rule I've heard elsewhere: making
longbows exotic weapons. IMC, that would mean buying the weapon group
'bows' (which contains basically the shortbow), then the exotic weapon
group (bows), for two feats total -- three, if you count the simple
weapons group you have to buy before buying a martial weapon group. In
core, it'd just mean buying longbow proficiency on its own.

I treat composite bows as just an improved version of the base bow.
It's not strictly true, but it doesn't bother me. You take a penalty if
you're not strong enough for the bow, so it suits me well enough. The
penalties stack, of course.

> A crossbow should be a dex weapon, because once you cock it, strength
> is not involved or is a minor player, depending on how you are
> supporting the stock.

Arguably not a dex weapon, since IIRC they weren't terribly accurate,
William Tell notwithstanding.

> A sling does not require great strength for basic swinging, but does
> require dex for the timing of the release; dex should dominate, and it
> is indeed a dex weapon.

I can see where you're coming from, but for simplicity I'd keep it down
to categories -- melee uses Strength-or-maybe-Dex, ranged use Dex.

I've been trying to teach myself not to run against abstractions. If I
don't like how something works, examine the abstraction and see if I can
improve it (as with class construction in my framework) but try not to
mess too much with the application of the abstraction. I find that too
much detail ruins things faster than not enough.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 3:34:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > Keith Davies wrote:
> >
> ><stuff about vehicles>
> >
> > ... all true, I acknowledged that: "There are other factors; frame vs
> > unibody, modern cars are designed to deform as a safety feature"
>
> Ah, didn't notice that. I think that those are more telling than the
> lighter materials used -- or perhaps that the lighter materials were
> chosen for this behavior.

The main motivation, IIRC, is to comply with US vehicle emmission
standards, to produce cars within a low weight class.


> Okay, let's try again. Let's say... an aluminum sword and a thin steel
> knife (and pretend that their qualities roughly equate to normal cheap
> steel and supermetal). Pound them together. Why would the steel knife
> break first?

If I understand right, you are postulating a mithril sword, not an
aluminum sword. It is as strong or stronger than the knife, and bigger.
It should bend or sunder the knife easily (probably bend), or knock it
out of the wielder's hand.

If you are saying an aluminum sword, but a high strength aluminum
alloy, it is about half as strong as the knife's steel and softer, and
a third as dense. How big a sword? If the aluminum is only twice as
thick, I'd put money on the steel. Either getting hit on the flat would
make a big difference.


> Of course, I'm also working from definitions -- that mithril is strong
> enough to serve in such a fashion, it must certainly be able to stand up
> to the stress of being so used.

Mithril is whatever you want it to be, within the guidelines.

> ISTR that it's relatively brittle compared to steel. It's been a while
> since I've read up on it; it may have been just a particular alloy that
> was being discussed, or under certain conditions -- bad tempering or the
> like, say.

In a general sense, it is not too brittle. I do not know specifics. The
elastic limit is very high, like steel.

> >> > Ceramic:
> >>
> >> Again, tends to be brittle AFAIK. It may make decent non-combat blades
> >> (knives and other tools) or even blunt weapons, but hard to keep in good
> >> condition in combat.
> >
> > I think so, too. These are high tech ceramics with some flex. The one
> > warantee that I read excluded chipping from dropping.
>
> So, usable as a tool, but not very practical as a weapon. It might be
> interesting to have a ceramic knife; I bet they keep a great edge.

I was put off by the exclusion. I'm likely to drop it occasionally.
Especially the kitchen knives.


> >> > I figure that if strength is not overabundant for the task, it is not
> >> > primarily a dexterity task.
> >>
> >> ? this doesn't make sense -- doesn't quite parse.
> >
> > Your finesse stance seems to say if dexterity is involved at all then
> > it is a dexterity issue. I lean toward if you are struggling at all to
> > control the item, strength dominates.
>
> Ah, okay. Since I think that it should be possible to use almost any
> weapon with finesse, and any weapon use *requires* Dexterity, I can see
> how you came to that conclusion. I'm coming at it from a different
> direction, though.
>
> I know from experience that once you gain proficiency with a weapon --
> learn to use it properly, which IMO includes developing the necessary
> strength to use it -- there is no particular strain. Of course, this
> comes from my inclusion of developing the muscle in 'learning how'.
> More on this below, wrt bows.
>
> I remember there was a guy who fought heavy in the society. He came to
> fencing practice one time... we were using foils[1], he was using live
> steel (why not? We were just practicing forms), of a weapon longer and
> heavier than we were using. He was as precise and *faster* than most of
> us were with the foils because he was stronger and better trained. In
> D&D terms this is modeled as higher BAB and thus (if high enough)
> iterative attacks.
>
> [1] 'foil' in the 'practice sword' sense of not-sharp, not those silly
> little wires they use in competition fencing. They varied in
> weight, but were comparable to real weapons.
>
> In any case, where we were using 'rapiers', he was using what would be
> classed as a 'longsword'. From what I could see, he'd developed the
> strength and skill that he could use it as a 'finesse' weapon if he
> chose.

I could see that; but note that your example implies min strength to
finesse.

> Anyway, back to trying to explain my actual position...
>
> I think finesse may be an option where, through a combination of
> training and whatnot, you can be expected to land quick, accurate blows.
> With light weapons and the like -- those that are finesseable in D&D --
> it's relatively easy and requires only a single feat[2]. With heavier
> weapons, it requires more training to reach the point of being able to
> do so. This can be modeled with requiring a second feat, or with a
> higher BAB. Whether it's +3 (which is higher than most people will
> *ever* see in their lives, remember) or +6 (when you gain iterative
> attacks) doesn't really matter; conceptually I'm fine with it either
> way.
>
> [2] in 3.0 it took one feat per weapon, in Conan *everyone* is treated
> as having Weapon Finesse
>
> Now, back to the case that started the whole thing: the mithril
> greatsword. It's quite long, yes. That's why I wouldn't allow it to be
> used one-handed -- while you may be able to use a shorter weapon of the
> same weight one-handed, the angular momentum is too great with this
> longer weapon. *However*, it is much lighter than normal, with as good
> an edge, etc. I'd allow it to be used with Finesse because it *is*
> faster and easier to control (once you got used to the change in weight,
> anyway).
>
> I suppose you could go with a flat bonus to hit. That seems... boring,
> frankly, and it doesn't represent the difference in how it's used. I
> mean, the bonus may be *explained* as being because it's lighter and
> easier to use and therefore more accurate... but having it allow Finesse
> instead makes better for someone who fights that way.

I'd agree that it fits your paradigm. It is not an unreasonable
approach.

> > For instance, I think making bow a dex weapon is an error. It doesn't
> > make the game not fun, but it is not realistic. A bow suited to you
> > will tax your ability to stretch and hold the cord taut while you aim.
> > If you can hold it steady, aiming is not that difficult, and you could
> > build a case that intelligence, knowing where to aim, is the next
> > important factor.

> Dexterity is used for a couple of reasons. From a play perspective, it
> means that the same guy who does really well in melee doesn't do as well
> with ranged attacks by default.

True, and that's important. Dex has limited benefit beyond armor bump,
shooting, and finesse, if you take it. It's a dump stat for a fighter,
unless you want to shoot.

> From a RL perspective, it's pretending
> that the coordination and whatnot to accurately hit your target is based
> on Dexterity, but your ability to hit in melee isn't as much affected.

> Yeah, it's a bit bullshit. I can see an argument for using *Wisdom* as
> your hit bonus with ranged weapons -- ability to discern the target,
> intuitively integrate surrounding conditions such as winds and judging
> distance.

Zen archery is already available as a feat. But, yeah, good call.

> Still, I'm willing to accept it as an abstraction and from a play
> perspective. I do know that someone clumsy is going to have a *rotten*
> time hitting anything with a bow.

> Now, WRT the strength issue... I consider developing the necessary
> musculature as part of gaining proficiency. You may not have developed
> your general strength higher, but the particular strength needed to use
> the bow, you have.

Yeah, that works.

> For composite bows, that have a strength bonus to damage, this is
> treated in more detail. If you don't have strength equal to or higher
> than the bow, you suffer a penalty to hit.
>
> You could apply strength minimums to weapons, but I really don't like
> that. It strikes me as annoying to apply, and leads to the question "if
> my strength is higher, can I do more damage?" This is strictly a
> personal preference, though.

I think it was removed for the very reasons you cite. (... and then
stat mins were used for feats.)

> Now, with bows I *have* considered a rule I've heard elsewhere: making
> longbows exotic weapons. IMC, that would mean buying the weapon group
> 'bows' (which contains basically the shortbow), then the exotic weapon
> group (bows), for two feats total -- three, if you count the simple
> weapons group you have to buy before buying a martial weapon group. In
> core, it'd just mean buying longbow proficiency on its own.

That's a whole can of worms, but I agree. Weapons should be cultural,
unless they're dirt common, like a club. A "bow" is a ubiquitous
concept. Specific instances of bows are not.

> I treat composite bows as just an improved version of the base bow.
> It's not strictly true, but it doesn't bother me. You take a penalty if
> you're not strong enough for the bow, so it suits me well enough. The
> penalties stack, of course.

That's how they're treated in the core rules, no? Am I missing a
nuance?

> > A crossbow should be a dex weapon, because once you cock it, strength
> > is not involved or is a minor player, depending on how you are
> > supporting the stock.
>
> Arguably not a dex weapon, since IIRC they weren't terribly accurate,
> William Tell notwithstanding.

I imagine quality varies, just like it does for a gun. You can, without
too much difficulty or searching, buy a brand new crossbow. Well, you
could a few years ago; I haven't been interested for a while, but I
doubt if anything has changed. What characteristic would you use for
"hit with crossbow"? Int or Wis?

> > A sling does not require great strength for basic swinging, but does
> > require dex for the timing of the release; dex should dominate, and it
> > is indeed a dex weapon.
>
> I can see where you're coming from, but for simplicity I'd keep it down
> to categories -- melee uses Strength-or-maybe-Dex, ranged use Dex.
>
> I've been trying to teach myself not to run against abstractions. If I
> don't like how something works, examine the abstraction and see if I can
> improve it (as with class construction in my framework) but try not to
> mess too much with the application of the abstraction. I find that too
> much detail ruins things faster than not enough.

Yeah, I hear you. The abstract system works. There are plenty of other
games to play if you want detail. I find I get wrapped up about a nit,
think about it for a day, and figure out that it is adequately
addressed.


MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 6:06:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

No 33 Secretary wrote:

> I know you are, but what am I?

Boring, actually.
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 6:26:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

> I know you are, but what am I?

<Snore>
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 6:49:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
> > Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:

> > > A crossbow should be a dex weapon, because once you cock it, strength
> > > is not involved or is a minor player, depending on how you are
> > > supporting the stock.

> > Arguably not a dex weapon, since IIRC they weren't terribly accurate,
> > William Tell notwithstanding.

> I imagine quality varies, just like it does for a gun. You can, without
> too much difficulty or searching, buy a brand new crossbow. Well, you
> could a few years ago; I haven't been interested for a while, but I
> doubt if anything has changed. What characteristic would you use for
> "hit with crossbow"? Int or Wis?

.... so I got curious and checked google, "crossbow sport" and came up
with three current manufacturers on the first page, Barnett, Excalibur,
and Horton. There is quite a bit of sport activity, and some hunting;
some states (USA) allow, some don't; debates over whether it is "too
easy" (relative to bow) and should therefore be disallowed (based on
some lame PBS broadcast nearly 20 years ago) [Excuse me? Do you hunt?
So, why is it your concern how easy or hard it is? Give me a freaking
break!] So, yeah, you can still buy a brand spanking new crossbow.

MadKaugh
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 8:02:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Michael Scott Brown" <mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote in
news:J1BMe.7562$WD.2909@newsread1.news.pas.earthlink.net:

> "No 33 Secretary" <taustin+usenet@hyperbooks.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns96B4A20C9C9FBtaustinhyperbookscom@216.168.3.50...
>> Swords are most definitely *not* thrusting weapons.
>
> <raises hand> The Romans and the French and the Italians and the
> Germans
> and the Japanese ... would all disagree profoundly with this
> assessment.

There are swords, historically, that have been used as thrusting weapons.
But they're primarily hacking weapons. I simplified, so the 'tard could
understand. He's not up to the concept of multi-use tools. If he were, his
keyboard would be so sticky he wouldn't be able to type.
>
> It's unusual for you to humiliate yourself so badly during an
> otherwise
> legitimate rant.
>
Look who's talking.

--
Terry Austin
www.hyperbooks.com
Campaign Cartographer now available
August 17, 2005 8:10:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alien mind control rays made Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> write:
> Well, in this case, we can extrapolate a bit.

why? why are you doing this?

> Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh less,

period. you want a period, not a comma.

--
\^\ // drow@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/&gt;
\ // - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
// \ X-Windows: Simplicity made complex.
// \_\ -- Dude from DPAK
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 9:42:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Rupert Boleyn wrote:
> On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 15:34:43 +1200, tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz>
> carved upon a tablet of ether:
>
>> Armour gets a lot of it's effect from mass too, IRL, as do slashing
>> and piercing weapons. Mithral is just so damn good that it offers full
>> damage and protection with half the weight, and I don't think that needs
>> to make sense.
>
> I don't think it does - armour weighed less than is often thought, and
> yet gave good protection. It relies on resisting penetration, and
> abosrbing impact (which is why metal armours had padded backing). Mass
> has little to do with it.

It's a collision, of course mass has a lot to do with it. The task
is to change the nature of the impact so it can't overcome the elastic
properties of the human body, so slow you it and spread it.

The weapon hits the armour, they both accelerate; heavier armour
puts more of that acceleration into the weapon, which is good for the
integrity of armour *and* the guy wearing it.
Heavier armour even deflects better because of that.

--
tussock

Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 10:12:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies wrote:
> tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz> wrote:
>
>>Keith Davies wrote:
>>
>>>Treat mithril as tough but not hard. It's suitable for armor because
>>>it's light and *durable*, hard to penetrate. It doesn't take an edge
>>>worth mentioning.
>>>
>>>Thus, it's not suitable for edged or pointed weapons, and not very
>>>good for blunt weapons (you're making it *lighter*! and blunt weapons
>>>get a lot of their effect from mass).
>>
>> Armour gets a lot of it's effect from mass too, IRL, as do
>>slashing and piercing weapons. Mithral is just so damn good that it
>>offers full damage and protection with half the weight, and I don't
>>think that needs to make sense.
>
> It gets *some* of its effect from mass. Most armor was useful because
> it put a hard shell around the target. Most of the impact absorption
> actually came from the padding *under* the armor.

Heavier armour makes for a harder shell, all other things being
equal. Think about it.

BTW, the padding is /part/ of the armour, not a seperate thing.
Mithral somehow allows for lighter, more flexable padding too.

> Platemail was generally more effective than chain mail not because of
> the greater mass, but because a plate of steel doesn't deform as easily.

Duh, really. Different armour works differently. Who'd 'a thunk it.
BTW, the main reason it was heavier was that you can support more weight
of plates before over-straining the wearer.

> That's also why plate was gradually made heavier -- not because the mass
> made it more resistant to impact, but because it was harder to deform
> and thus penetrate.

You might want to consider what you just wrote there, becuase it
looks to me like you've said the armour worked better because it was
heavier; which is what I was saying.

> If *mass* were the major consideration, they'd have gone with lead.
<snip>
Or, we could try a rational conversation.

> That's leaving aside the consideration that more mass means *heavier*,
> and harder to get around in.

Quite right. The reason that armour wasn't heavier had /nothing/ to
do with the efficacy of heavier armour.

> If you can get the same hardness and durability, lighter, that's almost
> *always* a win with armor.

Right, but only because you can then make it heavier again and get
*better* hardness and durability.

> It's different if you're trying to stand up to high-impact strikes, but
> human-size muscle-powered weapons don't really qualify.

Of course they do, you don't cut people in half with a wet sponge.

--
tussock

Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 10:12:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"tussock" <scrub@clear.net.nz> wrote in message
news:4302d4d7@clear.net.nz...
> Keith Davies wrote:
> BTW, the padding is /part/ of the armour, not a seperate thing.
> Mithral somehow allows for lighter, more flexable padding too.

Mithral does *what*?
Please explain to the audience exactly how Mithral has such magical
impact absorbing properties that it obviates the need for the padding of a
steel armor.

> > That's also why plate was gradually made heavier -- not because the mass
> > made it more resistant to impact, but because it was harder to deform
> > and thus penetrate.
>
> You might want to consider what you just wrote there, becuase it
> looks to me like you've said the armour worked better because it was
> heavier; which is what I was saying.

Idiot.

Tussock, we seem to have discovered that there is *no* military topic,
present or past, on which you can contribute intelligently.

-Michael
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 10:12:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>> tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz> wrote:
>>
>>>Keith Davies wrote:
>>>
>>>>Treat mithril as tough but not hard. It's suitable for armor because
>>>>it's light and *durable*, hard to penetrate. It doesn't take an edge
>>>>worth mentioning.
>>>>
>>>>Thus, it's not suitable for edged or pointed weapons, and not very
>>>>good for blunt weapons (you're making it *lighter*! and blunt weapons
>>>>get a lot of their effect from mass).
>>>
>>> Armour gets a lot of it's effect from mass too, IRL, as do
>>>slashing and piercing weapons. Mithral is just so damn good that it
>>>offers full damage and protection with half the weight, and I don't
>>>think that needs to make sense.
>>
>> It gets *some* of its effect from mass. Most armor was useful because
>> it put a hard shell around the target. Most of the impact absorption
>> actually came from the padding *under* the armor.
>
> Heavier armour makes for a harder shell, all other things being
> equal. Think about it.

No. It makes a *stronger* shell. Given the same materials, the
hardness is the same. The resistance to deformation increases, but
that's not the same thing.

D&D has this point more or less right -- iron has a hardness of 10,
regardless of how thick it his. The hit points (how difficult it is to
penetrate/break) vary with thickness.

The reason you can push a pencil through a (very) thin sheet of steel
isn't because the steel is any less *hard*, but because it's *weak* and
you can apply good point pressure through the point of the pencil.

> BTW, the padding is /part/ of the armour, not a seperate thing.
> Mithral somehow allows for lighter, more flexable padding too.

*sigh* you wear most armor with padding. While you would not want to
wear, say, plate *without* the padding -- and you certainly wouldn't
want to wear chain without it -- it is a separate garment.

That mithril 'lightens' the padding is an oddity I'm willing to wave
away because the padding, except for the lightest of metal armors, is
relatively insignificant in weight.

>> Platemail was generally more effective than chain mail not because of
>> the greater mass, but because a plate of steel doesn't deform as easily.
>
> Duh, really. Different armour works differently. Who'd 'a thunk it.

Evidently not you, since you insist it's the mass of the armor that
provides the benefit.

You can double the weight of chainmail pretty simply -- put on two sets.
While it will give *more* protection, plate armor of the same mass will
still provide better protection because it doesn't deform as easily.

> BTW, the main reason it was heavier was that you can support more weight
> of plates before over-straining the wearer.

No, the better weight distribution *allowed* heavier armor, piling on
more material.

>> That's also why plate was gradually made heavier -- not because the mass
>> made it more resistant to impact, but because it was harder to deform
>> and thus penetrate.
>
> You might want to consider what you just wrote there, becuase it
> looks to me like you've said the armour worked better because it was
> heavier; which is what I was saying.

No. It worked better because it was *stronger*. The weight is a side
effect of the construction. It was not that the mass made it better
(your contention), but that the stronger armor worked better, and had
the unfortunate side effect of adding weight.

Had they been able to achieve the same strength without adding weight,
they would have.

>> If *mass* were the major consideration, they'd have gone with lead.
><snip>
> Or, we could try a rational conversation.

I was trying to illustrate how *mass* is not the primary focus in heavy
armor.

>> That's leaving aside the consideration that more mass means *heavier*,
>> and harder to get around in.
>
> Quite right. The reason that armour wasn't heavier had /nothing/ to
> do with the efficacy of heavier armour.

WTF?

>> If you can get the same hardness and durability, lighter, that's almost
>> *always* a win with armor.
>
> Right, but only because you can then make it heavier again and get
> *better* hardness and durability.

*no*. You can gain greater durability and strength, but *not* hardness.
By increasing the thickness of plates, you make it harder to deform.
This has the *side effect* of making it heavier. Simply making it
heavier does not help. Wash it in lead, that adds mass without adding
*anything* significant to its ability to protect the wearer.

>> It's different if you're trying to stand up to high-impact strikes, but
>> human-size muscle-powered weapons don't really qualify.
>
> Of course they do, you don't cut people in half with a wet sponge.

If you hit me with a sledge, I'm going down. I'm not armored, and it
*hurts* to get broken ribs. You might even trip me or the like if you
hit my legs[1]. However, you are *not* going to move me significantly.

If I've got a strong shell that'll prevent you from actually hitting me,
with adequate padding under it to absorb the concussion, I'm not going
*anywhere*. It doesn't matter whether the shell is hard, strong and
light, it still distributes the force of the blow over a larger area.
If it's hard, strong, and heavy, it still distributes the blow over the
same area.

[1] Which I know from experience is *exceedingly* difficult to do if I'm
braced. I've had 200+-pound men try to do it using their full
strength and moving at full speed. They could hit with *way* more
momentum than you're ever going to get out of a sledge using muscle
power alone. It, uh, didn't work. I can be tipped if I'm *lifted*,
or if I'm hit high enough, but just hitting me below my center of
balance is not going to do it. If I'm braced. If I'm running,
tackling me isn't *that* difficult. Hazardous, maybe, if you don't
know how.

Even if the reaction were entirely elastic and ignoring friction, and
assuming you were using a 4kg hammer (about 9 pounds), and could get it
moving 25 m/s (90 km/hr -- call it 55 mph), and that *all* the momentum
is used to accelerate me, you could get me moving at about 1.25m/s.

That's about 4.5 km/hour. Less than three miles per hour. You might
make me take a step back, or if I'm off-balance, knock me down. If I'm
not armored, there's a good chance you've broken some ribs and done me a
painful injury -- perhaps even killed me. I go down... where I'm
standing. Or fall in whatever direction you hit me. I don't
particularly *move*, though.

Now, if I've got a shell, say full plate (50# according to PH), that
increases my total mass by about 20%. It reduces the acceleration you
impart by a similar amount. We're down to 1m/s. I may not have been
hurt -- good chance, really. Again, you... make me take a step back, or
knock me down if I'm off balance.

Let's double the mass. This brings us down to 0.75 m/s. Still not
significant enough to knock me down if I'm balanced.

Now, if we halve the mass we land somewhere between the first two. Call
it 1.125 m/s. If the material is lighter but just as strong -- i.e.
doesn't deform, if the 'normal' full plate doesn't -- I'm still not
going anywhere. If it's the same material as the normal full plate,
it's weaker -- perhaps enough that it does deform and I get hurt and go
down. I *still* don't go anywhere.


Human muscle-powered weapons simply do not have enough momentum to blow
someone over if he's braced and they can't hurt him. If the target
*isn't* balanced, you can knock him down, but if he can set his weight
against that of the blow, and doesn't get hurt, he's staying up.
Heavier, or rather, more massive armor does not help him here. It *may*
give him a better chance of not being hurt because it's stronger than
lighter armor made of the same material, but armor made of lighter
material that is just as strong and resistant to deformation will
protect him just as well.

Now, if you get into other situations -- falling logs, large calibre
firearms and the like -- then mass *can* make a difference. But not
against human muscle-powered weapons.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 11:27:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Joseph wrote:
> I wish D&D had something like the long sword designed to pierce plate
> armor: the _estoc_ sword, called in German _Dreiecker_, and in English
> the _tuck_ sword. Their rigid blades were *terrors* to plate armor as
> well chain mail wearing warriors. One good two-handed thrust could
> easily break the rings of chain mail, and stab into in the joints and
> crevices of plate armor.

This word "terror" does not mean what you think it does. A spear has
exactly the same mechanics. It's very hard to target plate armor's
weak points effectively. Other weapons defeat chainmail just as
handily.

If only you could speak on *something* from a position of knowledge
rather than wiki-gurgitation.

-Michael
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 12:41:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 17 Aug 2005 16:10:41 GMT, drow <drow@bin.sh> scribed into the ether:

>Alien mind control rays made Matt Frisch <matuse73@yahoo.spam.me.not.com> write:
>> Well, in this case, we can extrapolate a bit.
>
>why? why are you doing this?

Because the rules for determining the weight (and thus the cost) of a
mithral weapon is not clear. Perhaps you should review the beginning of the
thread.

>> Mithral weapons would automatically be masterwork, and would weigh less,
>
>period. you want a period, not a comma.

No.
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:00:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Keith Davies" <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote in message
news:slrndg2fse.97d.keith.davies@kjdavies.org...
> Donald Tsang <tsang@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>> Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>>>If you let the weapon be used with finesse -- yes, even greatswords --
>>>then you can gain a benefit from the lighter weapon. True, it doesn't
>>>make a significant difference to the Power Attack crowd (they're likely
>>>to have higher Str than Dex after all) but Power Attack is based on
>>>hitting *hard*.
>>
>> How do you figure? I mean, based on the name, and the flavor text,
>> sure. But based on the mechanic? You sacrifice gross accuracy for
>> damage. Sure, there's a Strength prereq, but that's fairly low,
>> and the reasoning could just as easily be "you need the higher
>> strength to reposition the weapon quickly enough to deliver pinpoint
>> blows".
>
> Name and flavor text, and the propensity for Power Attack to mostly be
> taken by characters with high strength. Especially since Power Attack
> tends to work best with two-handed weapons (which gain the most benefit
> from it -- and are usually the best weapons for high Strength characters
> to pick).
>
> I'm quite happy it abstract it the other way and say it's precision,
> with Strength required to 'better place the blow'.

....except for the fact that the "immune to precision damage" crowd are not
immune to Power Attack damage.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:03:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Rupert Boleyn" <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz> wrote in message
news:bvl3g1dt5avnegt23mqf978021c0vnfjg7@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 15:34:43 +1200, tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz>
> carved upon a tablet of ether:
>
>> Armour gets a lot of it's effect from mass too, IRL, as do slashing
>> and piercing weapons. Mithral is just so damn good that it offers full
>> damage and protection with half the weight, and I don't think that needs
>> to make sense.
>
> I don't think it does - armour weighed less than is often thought, and
> yet gave good protection. It relies on resisting penetration, and
> abosrbing impact (which is why metal armours had padded backing). Mass
> has little to do with it.

On helms it sure as Hell does. There is a reason why titanium helms are
almost always illegal in medieval recreationist combat, and the reason is
the lack of mass.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:22:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1124312790.611264.239550@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

>
> No 33 Secretary wrote:
>
>> I know you are, but what am I?
>
> Boring, actually.
>
I know you are, but what am I?

--
Terry Austin
www.hyperbooks.com
Campaign Cartographer now available
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:34:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote in
news:1124314004.965227.322680@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

>
>> I know you are, but what am I?
>
> <Snore>
>
I know you are, but what am I?

--
Terry Austin
www.hyperbooks.com
Campaign Cartographer now available
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:48:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 17:42:43 +1200, tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz>
carved upon a tablet of ether:

> It's a collision, of course mass has a lot to do with it. The task
> is to change the nature of the impact so it can't overcome the elastic
> properties of the human body, so slow you it and spread it.

This logic is only useful when considering blunt impacts, and it's
suspect even then, considering that some of the best protection vs
blunt impact is also quite light (padded cloth), and other good
protection is rigid, making mass irrelevant (plate).

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:51:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 18:12:45 +1200, tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz>
carved upon a tablet of ether:

> >
> > It gets *some* of its effect from mass. Most armor was useful because
> > it put a hard shell around the target. Most of the impact absorption
> > actually came from the padding *under* the armor.
>
> Heavier armour makes for a harder shell, all other things being
> equal. Think about it.

Well in a consideration of mithral vs steel all else is not equal.
Even were it so, the 'harder shell' is from the thickness, with the
increased weight being an undesirable side effect.

> > Platemail was generally more effective than chain mail not because of
> > the greater mass, but because a plate of steel doesn't deform as easily.
>
> Duh, really. Different armour works differently. Who'd 'a thunk it.
> BTW, the main reason it was heavier was that you can support more weight
> of plates before over-straining the wearer.

Plate wasn't a heck of a lot heavier than mail.

> > That's also why plate was gradually made heavier -- not because the mass
> > made it more resistant to impact, but because it was harder to deform
> > and thus penetrate.
>
> You might want to consider what you just wrote there, becuase it
> looks to me like you've said the armour worked better because it was
> heavier; which is what I was saying.

No, because it was thicker.

> > If you can get the same hardness and durability, lighter, that's almost
> > *always* a win with armor.
>
> Right, but only because you can then make it heavier again and get
> *better* hardness and durability.

Nope. Past a certain point that's a waste.

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 1:56:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 07:46:25 GMT, Keith Davies
<keith.davies@kjdavies.org> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> Now, if you get into other situations -- falling logs, large calibre
> firearms and the like -- then mass *can* make a difference. But not
> against human muscle-powered weapons.

If it's a big enough gun that your mass starts affecting the effect,
just about any armour you can carry will not be enough to make where
you land of any interest.

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 2:54:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > Keith Davies wrote:
>> >
>> ><stuff about vehicles>
>> >
>> > ... all true, I acknowledged that: "There are other factors; frame vs
>> > unibody, modern cars are designed to deform as a safety feature"
>>
>> Ah, didn't notice that. I think that those are more telling than the
>> lighter materials used -- or perhaps that the lighter materials were
>> chosen for this behavior.
>
> The main motivation, IIRC, is to comply with US vehicle emmission
> standards, to produce cars within a low weight class.

That could be. I understood the deformation behavior was desired --
they may have had a win because reduced vehicle mass and thus emissions
(since it reduces less fuel to move).

>> Okay, let's try again. Let's say... an aluminum sword and a thin steel
>> knife (and pretend that their qualities roughly equate to normal cheap
>> steel and supermetal). Pound them together. Why would the steel knife
>> break first?
>
> If I understand right, you are postulating a mithril sword, not an
> aluminum sword. It is as strong or stronger than the knife, and bigger.
> It should bend or sunder the knife easily (probably bend), or knock it
> out of the wielder's hand.

Nope. A 'less strong' material (or at least less hard and resilient) in
the big weapon, and a stronger material for the knife.

You posited that a narrow-bladed dagger made of mithril vs. a sword made
of cheap steel would notch the steel blade and be bent because it's
thinner. Lacking mithril, I shifted the frame of reference by
pretending that 'steel is mithril' and 'aluminum is steel'.

Since we don't have any qualitative description of mithril, I figured
that by shifting the frame of reference you could explain to me why the
behavior you described would happen.

> If you are saying an aluminum sword, but a high strength aluminum
> alloy, it is about half as strong as the knife's steel and softer, and
> a third as dense. How big a sword? If the aluminum is only twice as
> thick, I'd put money on the steel. Either getting hit on the flat would
> make a big difference.

Hrm... evidently aluminum may not have been a good choice. If mithril
has a density similar to steel, but is stronger (that allows the
thinner blade with the same strength) it *doesn't* show behavior as
similar as I was hoping for for the analogy.

>> ISTR that it's relatively brittle compared to steel. It's been a while
>> since I've read up on it; it may have been just a particular alloy that
>> was being discussed, or under certain conditions -- bad tempering or the
>> like, say.
>
> In a general sense, it is not too brittle. I do not know specifics. The
> elastic limit is very high, like steel.

Hmm. I thought there was a technical reason -- beyond price, that is --
why titanium wouldn't be used for weapon blades.

>> >> > Ceramic:
>> >>
>> >> Again, tends to be brittle AFAIK. It may make decent non-combat blades
>> >> (knives and other tools) or even blunt weapons, but hard to keep in good
>> >> condition in combat.
>> >
>> > I think so, too. These are high tech ceramics with some flex. The one
>> > warantee that I read excluded chipping from dropping.
>>
>> So, usable as a tool, but not very practical as a weapon. It might be
>> interesting to have a ceramic knife; I bet they keep a great edge.
>
> I was put off by the exclusion. I'm likely to drop it occasionally.
> Especially the kitchen knives.

We've got a wooden floor in the kitchen, and I don't make a practice of
dropping knives. I don't wear shoes in the house, y'see.

> I could see that; but note that your example implies min strength to
> finesse.

Indeed, as long as it's interpreted as "sufficient general or specific
muscular development". That is, either you're generally strong enough
(high enough strength score) or have developed the necessary muscles
through training (proficient with the weapon).

I know a guy who could use heavier weapons than I could, who was nowhere
near as generally strong as I was. I could bench more, squat *way* more
(I've got, uh, good legs), carry more, and so on... but his wrists were
stone.

As such, I have little concern about allowing finesse with heavier
weapons, at a higher price or higher prereq. I wouldn't bother with a
straight Str prereq, largely because it's a pain to keep track of. BAB
or additional feat suit me fine.

>> > For instance, I think making bow a dex weapon is an error. It doesn't
>> > make the game not fun, but it is not realistic. A bow suited to you
>> > will tax your ability to stretch and hold the cord taut while you aim.
>> > If you can hold it steady, aiming is not that difficult, and you could
>> > build a case that intelligence, knowing where to aim, is the next
>> > important factor.
>
>> Dexterity is used for a couple of reasons. From a play perspective, it
>> means that the same guy who does really well in melee doesn't do as well
>> with ranged attacks by default.
>
> True, and that's important. Dex has limited benefit beyond armor bump,
> shooting, and finesse, if you take it. It's a dump stat for a fighter,
> unless you want to shoot.

Largely, yes. For tanks, anyway, and tanking is one of the easiest and
cheapest ways to be effective. You have *alternatives*, but they
require more thought.

"Big weapon, big armor, let's go" is *easy*.

>> From a RL perspective, it's pretending
>> that the coordination and whatnot to accurately hit your target is based
>> on Dexterity, but your ability to hit in melee isn't as much affected.
>
>> Yeah, it's a bit bullshit. I can see an argument for using *Wisdom* as
>> your hit bonus with ranged weapons -- ability to discern the target,
>> intuitively integrate surrounding conditions such as winds and judging
>> distance.
>
> Zen archery is already available as a feat. But, yeah, good call.

I'd allow it as a feat, yes, not as a general bonus.

>> For composite bows, that have a strength bonus to damage, this is
>> treated in more detail. If you don't have strength equal to or higher
>> than the bow, you suffer a penalty to hit.
>>
>> You could apply strength minimums to weapons, but I really don't like
>> that. It strikes me as annoying to apply, and leads to the question "if
>> my strength is higher, can I do more damage?" This is strictly a
>> personal preference, though.
>
> I think it was removed for the very reasons you cite. (... and then
> stat mins were used for feats.)

That seems likely. I've played in games where weapons had strength
minima. I never noticed that it really added anything to the game.
This led me to the conclusion that proficiency covers 'how to use it as
best you can'-type strength development, and the general strength
bonuses and penalties reflect 'superior or inadequate' strength.

Remember that for typical personal weapons the weight range *really*
isn't very large, and that a two-handed weapon being twice as heavy is
actually *not* linear. That is, you can move a weapon twice as heavy
with two hands better than you can move the lighter weapon with one
hand. Assuming similar mechanics, of course; comparing a 4 pound sword
to an eight pound hammer isn't quite fair.

Still, I think that putting the stat mins on the feats was the better
way to go. It means that someone can be generally capable with just
normal stats, but those with higher stats have the option of being
*really* good and in particular directions.

>> Now, with bows I *have* considered a rule I've heard elsewhere: making
>> longbows exotic weapons. IMC, that would mean buying the weapon group
>> 'bows' (which contains basically the shortbow), then the exotic weapon
>> group (bows), for two feats total -- three, if you count the simple
>> weapons group you have to buy before buying a martial weapon group. In
>> core, it'd just mean buying longbow proficiency on its own.
>
> That's a whole can of worms, but I agree. Weapons should be cultural,
> unless they're dirt common, like a club. A "bow" is a ubiquitous
> concept. Specific instances of bows are not.
>
>> I treat composite bows as just an improved version of the base bow.
>> It's not strictly true, but it doesn't bother me. You take a penalty if
>> you're not strong enough for the bow, so it suits me well enough. The
>> penalties stack, of course.
>
> That's how they're treated in the core rules, no? Am I missing a
> nuance?

Only in how the feats interact, really. In core rules all bows are
martial weapons; fighter-types get proficiency with all, everyone else
pays a feat each.

I have 'martial weapon group (bows)' which basically contains the
shortbow, and the longbow is an exotic weapon based on the greater
training required (... to further develop the particular musculature and
muscle memory, etc. -- and the greater effect it has). The composite
bows use exactly the same proficiencies as the base weapons but are made
stronger and heavier for greater effect. They *explicitly* have a
strength minimum because they allow application of strength where it
wasn't allowed before.

That the proficiency and low-strength penalties stack is how the rules
work currently; I just change where the proficiency is.

>> > A crossbow should be a dex weapon, because once you cock it, strength
>> > is not involved or is a minor player, depending on how you are
>> > supporting the stock.
>>
>> Arguably not a dex weapon, since IIRC they weren't terribly accurate,
>> William Tell notwithstanding.
>
> I imagine quality varies, just like it does for a gun. You can, without
> too much difficulty or searching, buy a brand new crossbow. Well, you
> could a few years ago; I haven't been interested for a while, but I
> doubt if anything has changed. What characteristic would you use for
> "hit with crossbow"? Int or Wis?

Probably the same as bow, but that's because I'm satisfied with the
abstraction.

I've seen in one of the books I have here (Iron Heroes? Something else
entirely? I forget) where crossbows had a strength minimum -- at a
particular strength you could hand-draw (which is fast), lever draw
(goat's foot, slower) or needed a winch ('crannequin', IIRC, and slow).

Of course, the author may have just liked the image of Detritus the
troll loading his siege crossbow by pulling back on the cable with one
finger, but it was written with rules for minimum Strength.

> Yeah, I hear you. The abstract system works. There are plenty of other
> games to play if you want detail. I find I get wrapped up about a nit,
> think about it for a day, and figure out that it is adequately
> addressed.

I'm about the same. Some things I *am* changing (for large values of
'some'), but that's because I want different behavior. While the
abstractions of D&D generally don't offend my sense of realism, they
don't suit the feel I want for my setting.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
Anonymous
August 18, 2005 2:56:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> ... so I got curious and checked google, "crossbow sport" and came up
> with three current manufacturers on the first page, Barnett, Excalibur,
> and Horton. There is quite a bit of sport activity, and some hunting;
> some states (USA) allow, some don't; debates over whether it is "too
> easy" (relative to bow) and should therefore be disallowed (based on
> some lame PBS broadcast nearly 20 years ago) [Excuse me? Do you hunt?
> So, why is it your concern how easy or hard it is? Give me a freaking
> break!]

"Too easy compared to a bow"... uh, guys? You allow hunting with high-
powered rifles, yes? Crossbow hunting has still got to be harder than
that.

> So, yeah, you can still buy a brand spanking new crossbow.

I've considered buying a bow and getting back into archery. I've got a
big enough yard for it. I can find a more or less straight and flat
area about 100 feet long, with a steep embankment behind it -- even if I
miss the target, I'm not going to kill the neighbor's dog.

Aimed the other way I might hit one of the other neighbor's sheep or
horses, but I wouldn't be shooting that way.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
August 18, 2005 3:56:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 22:56:46 GMT, Keith Davies
<keith.davies@kjdavies.org> dared speak in front of ME:

>Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>> ... so I got curious and checked google, "crossbow sport" and came up
>> with three current manufacturers on the first page, Barnett, Excalibur,
>> and Horton. There is quite a bit of sport activity, and some hunting;
>> some states (USA) allow, some don't; debates over whether it is "too
>> easy" (relative to bow) and should therefore be disallowed (based on
>> some lame PBS broadcast nearly 20 years ago) [Excuse me? Do you hunt?
>> So, why is it your concern how easy or hard it is? Give me a freaking
>> break!]
>
>"Too easy compared to a bow"... uh, guys? You allow hunting with high-
>powered rifles, yes? Crossbow hunting has still got to be harder than
>that.

The Official Line is that the bow has non-negligible movement, and the
rifle has non-negligible sound, but the crossbow has negligible
variants of the two.

--
Address no longer works.
try removing all numbers from
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August 18, 2005 4:48:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote in
news:slrndg4jpe.97d.keith.davies@kjdavies.org:

>> Madkaugh <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:

>>> Greatswords IRL are *not that heavy*. RSRD has them at 8 pounds
>>> (which sounds a little heavy to me, but still in the right
>>> range[2]). Chop that in half, you get four pounds.
>>
>> If you swing the sword, when you hit the opponent, the sword wants to
>> keep turning; insistence depends highly on the length of the blade,
>> though mass matters. Length alone will make it unwieldly.
>> Quarterstaff gets away with it because the grip is more spread out
>> (better countertorque).
>
> Greatswords, from what I can see, are used quite a bit like staves or
> spears. You *can* choke up on them and swing them like a baseball
> bat, but it's often not a very good idea.
>
> IOW, the case you're describing as being the reason greatswords can't
> be finessed is also one that is not, in my experience, commonly used.
>
>>> RSRD shows the rapier at 2 pounds. Being able to use a weapon
>>> that's twice the weight, with two hands, in an agile fashion (i.e.
>>> finesse) does not shock my sense of reality.
>>
>> Bad comparison. The balance is different. The greatsword is a cutting
>> weapon with a lot of the weight in the blade. The rapier is designed
>> as a fencing weapon; the handle has a lot of the weapon's weigh, a
>> higher proportion than the greatsword. It is "quicker" by design.
>
> Greatsword use includes an *astonishing* amount of pointwork, at least
> from what I've seen. Consider: you can swing and get some decent
> momentum and hit the target (hopefully denting the hell out of armor),
> or you can arrange to thrust with it (much as you would with a staff
> or spear) and hopefully *penetrate* the armor.

I wish D&D had something like the long sword designed to pierce plate
armor: the _estoc_ sword, called in German _Dreiecker_, and in English
the _tuck_ sword. Their rigid blades were *terrors* to plate armor as
well chain mail wearing warriors. One good two-handed thrust could
easily break the rings of chain mail, and stab into in the joints and
crevices of plate armor.
!