4e Gamma World Weapons and Armor

Philotomy gives the best explanation for d6 weapon damage. Brendan at Untimately has his damage-by-HD system. I think most of us tend toward variable weapon damage. Here is a system I pulled from the latest edition of Gamma World (which is really Gamma World 7 or something):

Armor falls into three categories—Light, Heavy and Shield. Weapons fall into six: Heavy/Light, One-Handed/Two-Handed, Melee/Ranged. Each of the six categories has a standard damage value, but otherwise both weapons and armor can be ‘skinned’ however you like. Thus, a Heavy One-Handed Melee Weapon could be an axe, a piece of rebar or a board with a nail in it, and it would still do the same damage. This approach is a compromise to the age-old quandary about d6 vs. variable weapon damage, and even satisfies (pretty well) the Magic Number Seven test. And it came from a 4e game. I like it because it makes the issue of weapon proficiencies pretty simple without resorting to the (rather ambiguous to me) martial vs. simple weapons separation. Rogue-y characters use Light One-Handed Melee/Ranged Weapons, for instance. Give this system a look and see what it could do for you.

Here are the values:

Light Armor: +3 AC
(I would add) Medium Armor: +5 AC
Heavy Armor: +7 AC
Shield: +1 AC

Light One-Handed Melee: 1d8
Light Two-Handed Melee: 1d12

Heavy One-Handed Melee: 1d10
Heavy Two-Handed Melee: 2d8

Light One-Handed Ranged: 1d8
Light Two-Handed Ranged: 1d12

Heavy One-Handed Ranged: 1d10
Heavy Two-Handed Ranged: 2d8

Here are the weapon values one could use for Swords & Wizardry:

Light One-Handed Melee: 1d4 (Dagger, Club)
Light Two-Handed Melee: 1d8 (Spear, Staff)

Heavy One-Handed Melee: 1d10 (Hammer, Long Sword)
Heavy Two-Handed Melee: 2d8 (Claymore, Halberd)

Light One-Handed Ranged: 1d4 (Hand Crossbow, Darts)
Light Two-Handed Ranged: 1d6 (Short Bow, Long Bow)

Heavy One-Handed Ranged: 1d8 (Spear, Throwing Axe)
Heavy Two-Handed Ranged: 2d6 (Arbalest, Musket)

Weapon prices would be a bit tricky perhaps, but many people have pointed out that making people pay more money for less weapon damage (as some variable systems have you do) is a bit of a pain, despite the role-play applications. The only problem that I have with the system above is when a weapon like a short sword would need to get downgraded to a d4 or upgraded to a d10. I could create a separate category, but that’s too finicky. Also, spears and staves that can be wielded either way could be problematic. But I still like the system a lot, and will continue to mess with it. 

BTW, the latest edition of Gamma World is, I believe, the best product WotC has put out in the 4e era (despite the monstrous cost). An excellent review is here.

1 comment:

  1. Oops. I forgot Akratic Wizardry's excellent treatment of the damage-by-HD, but that can be reached through Untimately, so it's OK.