Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chronica Feudalis: Weapons!

Continuing our Chronica Feudalis Armory Update, we take a look at everyone's favorite toys.

Weapon Expansions
A strong part of me wanted to get into real detail with this - splitting up the attribute of individual weapons to make some of them better for offense, better for defense, and so on. After some thinking though, I decided to leave that much alone. However, some things needed to be adjusted a bit and I expanded the list. As weapons do not have separate ranks for Parry (Fend, if you've updated) and Strike, all of them are listed in a single table.
d4   | a dagger, knife, gauntlet
d6   | club, hand axe, short spear, short sword, staff
d8   | arming sword, battle ax, buckler, mace, spear, war hammer
d10 | longsword/greatsword, long axe, round shield/heater shield
d12 | halberd, kite shield, lance (mounted), pole axe, zweihander
Arming Sword - This is the standard one-handed knightly sword, but also covers all of the similar weapons from a norse broadsword to polish saber.

Staff - Mysteriously absent from the original listing (unless they meant "club" and "staff" to be interchangeable), the staff gets a tough rap in most games. Contrary to popular belief though, the quarter staff is one of the most versatile weapons one can learn, capable in both offense and defense. Staves count as d8 weapons when used for defense.

Longsword/Greatsword - While other games use the phrase "longsword" to refer to the single-handed knightly arming sword, here I will use it in the traditional sense. In reality, the line between weapons referred to as "longswords," "greatswords," and even "bastard swords" has been pretty murky. All of these war swords are between 3 and 5lbs, between 4.5 and 5 feet long, and meant to be best wielded with two hands, with the major differences being in handle-to-blade length ratio and a balance bias towards either the cut or thrust. None of these differences are big enough to register in the CF system, and I'm happy enough with that. A lot of games want to penalize these weapons as being big or unwieldy, but the combat systems that developed with them were truly incredible.

Long Axe - Also called the Dane axe, Huscarl Axe, and similar terms, this weapon was the king of the viking age. While there really is nothing that could be compared to a D&D "great axe" in history, the long axe had a 4-5ft haft that was capable of all of the lightning quick defenses and maneuvers of a staff, with a steel head capable of hooking, thrusting, and fearsome chops. In later periods, this could also represent weapons of a similar orientation, such as the bardiche, kern axe, or lochaber axe

Round Shield/Heater Shield - Here, I've only clarified. In addition to various kinds of round shield, from the Scottish targe to the Norse round shield, this category also includes the knightly or heater shields. See below for more shield rules.

Halberd, Pole-Axe - These long-hafted weapons were complete weapon systems for the medieval infantryman, and enjoyed popularity with high and low-born alike. They were equally adept at armored and unarmored opponents, frequently with crushing, chopping and spiked-stabbing surfaces for whatever the situation required and edges to hook, catch and trip an opponent.

Lance - This is the king of the medieval battlefield. A lance charged from horseback was devastating to anything in front of it. The d12 represents a mounted charge. A lance on foot, or used from a stationary position is just an awkward spear (d8 as above).

Zweihander - the true two-hander, six foot of steel nearly as much pole-arm as sword. These were made famous by the Landsknecht mercenaries. Too modern for all but the latest settings, I thought I would include it anyway for the sake of completion.

Shields Are Weapons
A lot of games either how shields were used, or never knew in the first place, but they were frequently as offensive as they were defensive. Assume that bucklers, round shields and heater shields can be used to bash and cut as weapons, using the Strike skill the same as any other weapon. Kite shields have been intentionally left out, however. The trade off for that much protective coverage is a shield too unwieldy to make a useful weapon.

If you worry that this makes shields "too good" by comparison, consider house-ruling that offensive shield attacks are made at one die lower (d6 attack from a buckler, for instance). Alternatively, you could declare that shields can only be used for maneuvers rather than attacks. This is also valid, though a saxon shield could crack a rib pretty easily if one knew what they were doing.

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