Saturday, September 21, 2013

Microlite 2d10 Fantasy: Preview 2- Weapons and Armor

    Here's another part of the system I'm working on to create a "rules medium" layer between the d20 SRD/Pathfinder and Microlite20.  Here I'm going to put my current version of Natural and Melee weapons, plus Armor and Shields.  The Ranged weapons have been bothering me, I made a simple system but when I looked at it again I didn't like it.  Again, this is very much Beta-level and most likely changed by the time I posted it...

    Almost every living creature carries some type of natural weapon, and almost anything can be used as a weapon.  We are going to cover the three categories of Natural, Melee and Ranged.  Alchemy and Magic Weapons are covered in the Magic Items chapter.

A) Natural Weapons
    These are weapons that are a part of the character, they come in a few types:

Impact - you hit, kick, slam, or otherwise do blunt force trauma.  These attacks do Non-Lethal damage by default.

Pointed - by claw or fang or horn you create gaping wounds in your opponent.  These do standard lethal damage.

Transmission - you put something into the opponent, poison or disease or such.  By default this does one-time damage, like any other weapon, but you can buy special abilities listed below to change that.  Note that by default you still roll to hit, any extra effects then roll/determine themselves on a successful hit.

Natural weapons have a few possible abilities-
⦁    Rending- Pointed only- if you use both hands to attack a single opponent you can double your Str mod to damage.  Usually from claws.
⦁    Gore- Pointed only- if you take a Full-action (or as part of a Charge) you can double your Str mod to damage.  Usually from horns or spikes.
⦁    Constricting- Impact only- on a successful hit, make a free Grapple check.
⦁    Sustained Damage- Pointed or Transmission only- on a successful hit, at the end of a number of turns equal to this ability, roll damage again (ignoring armor DR).
⦁    Inflict Status Condition- Transmission only- instead of doing damage, this attack inflicts a status condition.
⦁    Disease- Transmission only- instead of damage, on a successful hit the attack inflicts a disease.
⦁    Poison- Transmission only- instead of damage, on a successful hit the attack inflicts a disease.
⦁    Spray- the attack shoots out projectiles, or something, that can hit all others in the same range band as the character.
⦁    Cloud- Transmission only- this ability forms a cloud around the character, any who come within Near range are attacked at the end of each round they are that close to the character.
⦁    Reactive- the attack is not used aggressively, but rather in reaction to being attacked.  The porcupine, covered in quills, has a Reactive Pointed attack.  This is typically only in reaction to being attacked with a Natural Weapon or Grappled (ie, when the opponent is putting hands/body directly on you, being attacked from a safe distance via Melee or Ranged weapons does not trigger this ability).  However, some creatures may have more exotic triggering conditions.  Reactive attacks automatically hit when triggered.  Attempting to use a Reactive weapon offensively is usually a contested Saving Throw.

    Natural weapons cannot be purchased, either you have them or you don't.  They are just listed here for completeness.
    By default Humanoids only have an Impact Natural Weapon, in the form of punching, kicking, etc.  Biting is for eating, not attack, and so counts as an Improvised Pointed Natural Weapon (see the Improvised Weapon rules below).

B) Melee Weapons
    Melee weapons are those designed to be held when used against an opponent.  They are defensive, since you can put the weapon between your tender hide and your opponent.  They are also offensive, since they can add mass or an edge to damage your opponent better.  However, they are separate from yourself, thus they have a Fumble Range.  A Fumble is when the die roll totals within the range, and a negative effect happens.  Different types of weapons will have different effects and ranges, but the default is 2/ Drop Weapon (move act (AOO) to retrieve).  Which means if your attack roll totals a 2 (ie, both dice are 1's) then you drop your weapon, it will take a move-action that provokes an Attack Of Opportunity to pick it up.  For more details on AOOs and action types see the Combat Section.  All melee weapons fall under one of three types:

Light (LT)- takes one hand to use, +1 AC bonus (since you can block/parry with it instead of your own skin), also you can use Dex instead of Str to attack, only gain 1/2 (round down, min 0) Str to damage.  Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).

One-handed (1H)-  +2 AC bonus (larger size and extra weight makes block/parry easier), gain Str to damage.  Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).

Two-handed (2H)-  +1 AC bonus (not as nimble for block/parry), gain 1.5 Str (round up) to damage.  Fumble Range: 2/ Off-balance (take AOO penalty to AC until your next action).

    The base cost for a weapon depends on its type: Light 10 sp, One-handed 20 sp, Two-handed 30 sp.  This cost may be modified by the abilities below.

    A weapon may have one or more abilities, and some are restricted to certain types:
⦁    Reach- if you are Disengaged then your opponents in the same range band are still Engaged (so only you get the AC bonus). However, if your opponents close the distance and you become Engaged then you take a -2 attack penalty since they are within the reach of your weapon and it is more awkward to fight them (If you are not using the Engaged rules, then give this weapon a flat +2 AC bonus).  Cost: +10% of base cost.
⦁    Defensive- the weapon was designed to parry or protect, +1 AC bonus..  Cost: +10% of base cost.
⦁    Piercing- the weapon concentrates force into a small area, allowing it to ignore a part of DR, 1 pt/rank of this ability (max 3).  If your weapons has Piercing 2 or 3, in addition to the normal Fumble your weapon gains Fumble Range: 20/ Stuck In Opponent (std-act (AOO) to retrieve) - though this also counts as a critical hit if appropriate.  Cost: +20% of base cost / point.
⦁    Entangle - instead of doing damage, the weapon inflicts the Partial Entangle status condition.  Cost: +10% of base cost.
⦁    Double - 2H only - this weapon has two ends that can be used with the Two-Weapon fighting rules  Any weapon abilities must be purchased for each end seperatly.  Cost: +20% of base cost.
⦁    Brace - if you take a move-act to ready yourself before being Charged, you gain +2 hit and damage against the Charging opponent.  Cost: +10% of base cost.
⦁    Disarming - this weapon has catches or is otherwise designed to make it easier to disarm, +2 bonus.  Cost: +20% of base cost.
⦁    Non-Lethal - the weapon does non-lethal damage.  Cost: +10% of base cost.
⦁    Trip - it is easier to Trip with this weapon, +2 bonus.  Cost: +20% of base cost.
⦁    Weapon-breaker - this weapon was designed to break other weapons, +2 on Sunder actions vs weapons.  Cost: +20% of base cost.
⦁    Articulated- by using some type of hinge or chain or rope, this weapon can reach greater speeds and therefore force and therefore damage.  Gain +1 damage for LT, +2 for 1H, +3 for 2H.  However, this weapon is also more dangerous to use, therefore increase the Fumble range to 2-5/ Hit Self (roll damage against self).  Cost: +20% of base cost.
⦁    Short - LT or 1H only - you can use this weapon while grappling (though not when pinned).  Cost: +10% of base cost.
⦁    Throwable - LT only - the weapon is designed to be thrown, using the Ranged BAB and doing full damage (throwing 1H or 2H takes a hit and damage penalty of -3 / -6 respectively).  Cost: +10% base cost.
⦁    Mounted - 2H only - the weapon is long and designed to take advantage of the extra momentum of the mount.  You can use it 1H while mounted, however it takes a -2 to hit penalty when not mounted.  Change the Fumble to 2-3/ Weapon Breaks (weapon loses HP to Broken condition).  Cost: +20% base cost.
⦁    Long Hilt - 1H only - you can choose to use two hands with this weapon, reducing the AC bonus but increasing the Str bonus as if it were a 2H weapon.  Cost: +10% base cost.
⦁    Fragile - the weapon is very thin, or possibly not well made.  Change the Fumble to 2-3/ Weapon Breaks (weapon loses HP equal to Broken condition).  Cost: -20% base cost.
⦁    Precise - LT only- the weapon has a thin, easily directed profile.  You gain a +1 to your attack roll to determine if it is a critical hit (ie, you roll a 14, if that hits the target's AC you count it as a 15 to determine if the attack is a critical hit).  Cost: +20% base cost.

    Since this system is designed to be generic, here are some sample weapons (more in the section on Kits):

possible Light weapons-
Rapier        LT (+2 AC, + 1/2 Str dmg, +1 crit confirmation): Defensive, Precise, Fragile.
                   Fumble 2-3/ Weapon Breaks (weapon loses HP equal to Broken condition).

Dagger    LT (+1 AC, +1/2 Str dmg): Short, Throwable.
                Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).

Club        LT (+1 AC, +1/2 Str dmg (non-lethal)): Non-lethal
                Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).

possible One-Handed weapons-
Sai            1H (+3 AC, +Str dmg (non-lethal), +2 Sunder weapon or Disarm): Defensive,  
                           Disarming, Non-Lethal, Weapon-breaker.
                  Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).

Flanged Mace    1H (+2 AC, +Str dmg, bypass 1 DR): Piercing-1.
                           Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).

War-pick        1H (+2 AC, +Str dmg, bypass 3 DR): Piercing-3.
                       Fumble Range: 2/ Drop Weapon (move-act (AOO) to retrieve).
                       Fumble Range: 20/ Stuck In Opponent (std-act (AOO) to retrieve).

possible Two-handed Weapons-
Quarterstaff        2H (+2 AC, +1.5 Str (non-lethal) dmg, can Engage opponent while remaining
                               Disengaged, -2 hit if weilder becomes engaged, counts as two weapons
                                for 2 Wpn Fighting): Reach, Defensive, Double, Non-Lethal
                            Fumble Range: 2/ Off-balance (take AOO penalty to AC until your next action).

Spiked Chain        2H (+1 AC, +1.5 Str dmg, can Engage opponent while remaining Disengaged,
                                -2 hit if weilder becomes engaged): Reach, Articulated
                              Fumble Range: 2-5/ Hit Self (roll damage against self).

Greataxe        2H (+1 AC, +1.5 Str dmg, bypass 1 DR): Piercing-1.
                       Fumble Range: 2/ Off-balance (take AOO penalty to AC until your next action).

C) Improvised Weapons
    Using something that was not meant to be a weapon as a weapon is certinly possible, but it carries a penalty of -2 to hit and damage (min 1 dmg).  GM's decision of what, if any, weapon abilities may apply to an improvised weapon.

    Armor protects you from being hurt.  However, the weight and restriction of movement also give you a penalty to your skills, including attack rolls.  Being trained in how to wear armor reduces those penalties by half.

    If you are Unarmored-
DR 0,  Crit Range: 16-20/ max damage + wound, Skill Penalty 0

    If you are wearing armor, there are two things you need to know.  First, what type is the armor, and second how much of your body does it cover.  Armor type gives the Damage Reduction (DR) that is subtracted from the damage rolled when you are hit, and falls into three categories:

Cloth - leather, linen, wool, furs/hides, you have wraped yourself in something.  DR 2, Skill Penalty -1
Mail - is metal-based, like riveted links, or metal-backed/enhanced cloth.  DR 4, Skill Penalty -2
Plate - is a solid piece of metal, possibly something exotic, usually worn over both cloth (to prevent chafing) and mail (for extra protection); considered a separate, distinct type.  DR 6, Skill Penalty -3

    The next consideration is how much of your body is covered.  More coverage means less chance of a vital organ being hit, but also more restrictive and higher skill penalty:

Shirt - only covers the torso.  Crit Range: 17-20/max damage + wound, Skill Penalty: -0
Half - covers the torso and arms.  Crit Range: 18-20/max damage + wound, Skill Penalty: -1
Full - covers torso, arms and legs.  Crit Range: 19-20/max damage + wound, Skill Penalty: -2

    And lastly, along with coverage, are you wearing a helmet?

with Helmet - covers the head.  Lower Crit Range +1,  Skill Penalty: -1

    Total all skill penalties, halve this total (round down) if you are proficient with the armor being worn.  Take that penalty (if any) to all skill and attack rolls.  Take your crit range, and increase the lower number in the range by 1 if you are wearing a helmet (since it's covering some vital parts).  So a Cloth Shirt is DR 2, Crit Range: 17-20/max damage + wound, Skill Penalty -1 (-0 if proficient) while Full-Plate with Helmet is DR 6, Crit Range: 20/max damage + wound, Skill Penalty -6 (-3 if proficient).
    Why does armor penalize all skills?  Athletics seems like a no-brainer, but why Knowledge or Communication?  Well, because armor is hot and tiring to wear.  It is a distraction, less so if you're used to it but still not comfortable.  Most people don't like to talk to someone wearing armor, looking ready for a fight means 'willing to fight' to the lay-person.  For some things armor should be a penalty no matter what, like swimming, for some things the penalty may not apply.  These specific cases will be left to the GM and Players to work out.
    Your armor's cost is based on it's type and coverage: Cloth 20 sp, Mail 40 sp, Plate 60 sp.  Modify that by -50% for shirt, 0% for half,       +50% for full.  If you have a helmet add 10% of the base type cost.  This is the overall cost, which may be modified by the armor abilities below.

Armor Modifiers/Abilities-
    Like weapons, armor suits have several possible modifiers:
⦁    Tailored (1-3)- reduce the total skill penalties by the value of this modifier, 1, 2 or 3 points.  Wearing armor that has been Tailored to someone else gives twice the point value as a skill and attack penalty that is not reduced by proficiency.  Re-tailoring armor costs half the total armor cost.  Cost: +10% of the armor's overall cost per point of ability.
⦁    Fearsome- ignore armor skill penalty to Communication skill for the purpose of intimidating.  Cost: +20% of armor's overall cost.
⦁    Embellished- ignore armor skill penalty to Communication skill for the purpose of charm/impress.  Cost: +20% of armor's overall cost.
⦁    Spiked- while wearing the armor your Natural attacks do lethal damage.  Cost: +20% of armor's overall cost.
⦁    Primitive/Ornamental- the armor was not well-made for usage.  Increase total skill penalty by 2 (before proficiency), and the suit cannot have the Tailored ability.  Cost: -20% overall cost.
⦁    Fragile- the armor is made of sub-standard material.  Reduce DR by half.  Cost: -20% overall cost.

Sleeping In Armor-
    If you have to sleep in your armor, double the total skill penalty (before proficiency) until you have a chance to take it off and rest.  Keep doubling every extra day it's worn continuously.

Size and Shape of Armor
    All armor is designed for a specific Body-form and Size, it cannot be worn by someone different.  For example, armor for a Horse (called Barding) is designed for a Equestrian (Large) wearer and cannot be worn by a Humanoid (Medium).  Likewise armor for a Gnome, Humanoid (Small) cannot be worn by an Elf, Humanoid (Medium).  You may notice we do not change the price of armor based on the size of the wearer.  This is for simplicity and also because smaller suits require more skill to make (mail that tiny is tricky) and larger suits tend to not cover the entire body of the wearer (barding only covers the vital parts of the horse).  If you want more accuracy, add/subtract 50% of the base cost for each size scale higher/lower.

    Shields are typically circular plates of wood or metal worn on the arm.  They are used to prevent a hit, unlike armor which mostly absorbs the force/damage of a hit.  Thus, shields add a bonus to your Armor Class.  However, they can limit your visibility and get in the way when attacking, so they have an attack penalty which is off-set by being proficient with them.  It's possible exotic protections, like limited armor worn on the arms to block, could also count as shields instead of armor, that is up to the GM.  Shields are rated by roughly how large they are:

Buckler - small, covering only a bit more than the arm. AC Bonus +1, Attack Penalty -1 (0 if proficient)
Heater - medium, covering up to about half the body. AC Bonus +2, Attack Penalty -2 (-1 if proficient)
Tower - large, covering most of the body. AC Bonus +4, Attack Penalty -4 (-2 if proficient)

    Remember to add any penalty from wearing armor to the shield's attack penalty when rolling attacks.  Shields have a Base Cost of- Buckler 10 sp, Heater 20 sp, Tower 30 sp.

Shield Modifiers/Abilities-
⦁    Spiked - a shield bash does lethal damage.  Cost: +20% of Base Cost.

The "Shield Bash"
    Instead of protecting yourself with your shield, you can strike an opponenet in melee with it.  You do not get the armor class bonus for that turn, and it counts as a Natural Weapon.  It only does Non-Lethal damage.  If you also attack with another weapon, then you must split your Combat Bonus as normal for when making multiple attacks (see Combat section for details).

Final Thoughts-
    I really wanted a mix-and-match system to design weapons rather than the endless pages of weapon types.  With a simple and flexible system you can model whatever type of weapon you want, and you can choose how you want weapons to work (since everyone has their own opinions about what kinds of weapons do what :)  I'm happy overall, at first glance it seems to work the way I wanted it to.  Again though, I have not yet playtested any of this, so no telling what it'll look like when the dice hit the table.  Feel free to comment below.

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