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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 261 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Weapons, what are they good for?  (Read 5885 times)
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2009, 07:22:20 PM »

I like the weapon bonus idea. It goes beyond your usual damage + or - scenario and might help players get into the characters more.

Posts: 35

« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2009, 10:46:27 PM »

Hey thanks,

Judd, I don't know about Journey to the West/Monkey but I'm sure those weapons would serve some symbolic meaning - there's obviously some correlation with Pigsy (a pig) and the plough (digging the earth).

That's buddhist. I'm more familiar with Hinduism. I know in the Mahabharata these weapons, especially celestial weapons, were bestowed on the characters by great personalities by fulfilling a quest for them. It's probably your original plot idea of "Powerful benefactor wants you to go on a quest and in return will reward you with magical item" type scenario.

But there's also a strong theme of righteousness over martial skill winning a battle. There is a quote, which I can't remember exactly now, by a great general (I think it was Bhisma), that basically goes; "Not by training in the martial arts does one win a war but by virtue." In the battle of Kuruksetra, for example, there were a lot of 'lesser' warriors in martial skill who succeeded beating their opponents because they "had clean hearts".

So, I guess this is your "spiritual attributes" or "aspects" that a lot of modern RPG's have.

My game is a lot more pulp fantasy than that. I don't want to get too deep into this stuff and have deliberately avoided deeper character concepts. My game idea is more cliche and stereotype, but in that there is a definate role weapons play in depicitng a character.


Posts: 20

« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2009, 04:33:25 AM »

Absolutely nothing, hurr!

One way to represent weapons is the "appropriate tools" method. They are required for a style of fighting, and when you don't have one you have to switch your skills, maybe form another martial art. This puts weapons in perhaps a more appropriate place; in the combat section!

On the subject of upgrading weapons, one strange game I came across had magic items turn into portals to a subplane, and and defeating things in that subplane empowered the weapon! Naturally in tabletop games you can imagine people using that to hide inside their swords, chop people in half using a closing portal, or any number of strange innovations, but I thought it was a pretty amusing unification of game mechanics.


Andre Canivet

Posts: 45

Intergalactic Bounty Hunter

« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2009, 07:20:34 PM »

JP, although it may not help for a pulp style game, this thread got me thinking about the significance of a weapon's maker.  This could be something generic, like "elves and dwarves make weapons of high quality," or it could be something really deep; like the story of the Masamune and the Muramasa. 

Both were legendary craftsmen of Samurai swords, and someone wanted to test the quality of their blades.  First they stuck a Muramasa sword into a running stream.  Every leaf that touched the blade was cleanly sliced in two.  Then they put the Masamune blade in the water... but instead of cutting the leaves, the leaves avoided the blade.

I've always been fascinated by that story, because it suggests not only that the Masamune was somehow alive and resonated with the living process of nature, it also suggests that the best weapon is the one you don't have to use.  So there's definitely a moral as well as magical aspect to the sword.

I don't know if that helps at all, but, well, there it is.


Andre Canivet

Reality is the original Rorschach.
--The Principia Discordia

Posts: 7

« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2009, 10:53:47 AM »

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies, there are some interesting ideas in there. So, one thing I'm thinking of doing is keeping it pretty simple as far as 'weapons stats' go, they get 1 bonus to something. This method will also help players choose the type of character they play. To give you an example:

Cutlass: You get a bonus when on ships or in tight spaces.
Bow: You get a bonus when shooting at targets at long distance.
Spear: You get a bonus when hunting.
Polearm: You get a bonus when fighting mounted units
Sword: You get a bonus in any formally arranged combat for honour or show (e.g. Gladatorial contest or a challenge to a duel).

etc. etc.

So I think this brings out the weapons purpose as well as the nature of the character.
Just read this, and honestly my knee jerk reaction was to cringe.  it feels a bit arbitrary.
a cutlass is a cutlass is a cutlass.  it works no better on a ship than off a ship.  unless we are saying that cutlasses in this world have a magic nature to them that does make them work better when around salty air or something.  the bow is actually a preferred hunting weapon over a spear for a reason..and the spear is a polearm.  so why does it get a bonus to hunt with?  if i can shoot an animal from far away isn't that better than having to run up on it?  and similarly the sword doesn't really become mystically better because it is being used in a duel. 

what this is suggesting is that if Gary The Not So Good picks up a sword and enters a duel he is all of a sudden Gary The Better.  But once that duel is over he goes back to being not so good.  Or Sid The Pirate who uses his cutlass to cut through rope on the ship all of a sudden can't cut a rope as well because it is in an open field. 

also with the bow...the bow shoots, that is what it does, it is only built for distance, so according to this its bonus seems kind of crappy...assuming all ranged weapons get a bonus at a distance.  then its only advantage is right back to what it's only advantage is.  that is to say, no matter what a sword damages plus gets a weird bonus when being used in a duel.  the bow just seems to be functioning as it always would, without any real advantage other than what it already has over other weapons in that it is ranged.

sorry, maybe i've missed something in the thread?...
Larry L.

Posts: 616

aka Miskatonic

« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2009, 04:36:42 PM »

Hi JP,

Are weapons necessarily "equipment" in this game? That is to say, are they some kind of loot you upgrade or switch out?

One thing that's pronounced in character designs for, say, anime and video games is that each character wields a unique weapon which is an intrinsic part of their personality. These weapons aren't interchangeable. You don't save up your loot to buy a better weapon. You don't grab another guy's weapon and get the advantages of his weapon. The weapons were conceived as part of the character concept, right from the beginning. The weapon is effectively just part of the character's "superpower".

It seems to me if you want to incorporate this sort of "weapon as personality," you should make weapon design part of the character creation process. Encourage players to conceive of the weapon first, then provide a generalized system of weapon design so they can reasonable make any kind of weapon they can imagine. Maybe have a shopping list of powers/attributes a weapon can have.

Does this make sense? Does this fit with what you're trying to do?


Posts: 26

Software developer, husband, roleplayer and geek

« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2009, 09:54:30 PM »

I've been thinking of weapons for my YARPG also. I was thinking along the lines of weapons coming in different quality brackets, e.g.:
  Poor quality / Common. -1 to use.
  Good quality / uncommon: use based on raw ability
  Exceptional quality: +1 to use

Beyond that, each weapon is not different to other kinds of weapon in its class. A shortsword is much the same as a cutlass, for the purposes of combat resolution. However, player abilities can be more specific. A character will have the ability to use both a class of weapons (sword) and a preferred specialisation (rapier). They can use any sword at -1, but are better trained with their chosen type of weapon. If someone wants a character which uses an exotic weapon (e.g. katana), then the bonuses don't come from some weird inherent betterness of the weapon, but from the characters high level of skill with the blade.

However, magical weapons will also be allowed, and I also think it's a nice idea to allow weapons to 'level up' and stay as a part of the character, at least as an option for the players who want that. I think it's quite reasonable to have characters which have a 'permanent' or 'signature' weapon which doesn't get abandoned. Maybe the characters own magic just rubs off on the weapon, or whatever.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic had something like that, where eventually you got your own personalised lightsaber which took on attributes that you could choose yourself. The question is whether the weapon does (or should?) become a swiss army knife itself! Should it just have level-dependent effects, or should it be upgradeable, or should signature-class weapons have their own 'skill tree'?

(I'm designing a game. www.mythology-rpg.blogspot.com)
Hereward The Wake

Posts: 173

« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2009, 04:35:10 PM »

Obviously a better made weapon would function better, but even a superior weapon in the hands of a knuckle head will not function as well. A well made sword badly used can still break, a poory made sword in the hands of a master swords man, will still be more effective than a superior wapon in the hands of an incompetent?

I was thinking that perhaps much of the power and mystic attached to a specific weapon, a sword foe exampke is in the mind of the weilder, and those that face it? The sword gains a reputation, rather like a person might, in itself it might be just above avaerage quality, but becaus eits been through many fights and killed some trolls it develops a rep, also partly due to the rep of the person/s that have used it?
How onw reflects this in games mechanics, rather then just +/- is something else!

Above all, Honour
Jonathan Waller
Secretary EHCG
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