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Hi there -- I wanted to open a discussion on what sorts of statistics should be modelled in weapons, and why. What should the numbers inherent a weapon do? How realistic or simple should this be? Should this be simplified to fit gaming and fantasy tropes? Should it be informed by realism? What are the pros and cons of each? Here are some quotes, sans images, from a guy who knows what he is talking about on different forum on this topic: "Size (thus suitability for different types of fighting, as in indoors / outdoors, in a grapple or not) Reach (largely a function of size) as in, a 'To hit' bonus. Ways to hurt people (piercing, cutting, smashing... and how good they are at each). In DnD terms this is three things, attack type, basic damage, and critical hit threat range. Defensive value (as in, an 'Armor Class' bonus like a shield gets) as I said before, there is really no reason not to model this. Speed (trickier to handle - see below) Armor - Piercing ability (some weapons were made specifically for piercing armor) usually fairly simple though standard DnD rules combine evasion with armor so that makes it harder. Grappling ability (many weapons had hooks or spikes designed to help with grappling from a distance, the classic examples being the halberd or the bill) You can start with the actual features of the weapons, and then try to see what you could fit into a game. The European longsword 1300 - 1600 In real life a longsword is made to cut and stab with equal efficiency, as well as fend off enemy attacks. If you know what you are doing (i.e. a Feat) you can bash with the hilt and choke up (half-sword) to make it better for armor-piercing (stabs only). It's long and has pretty good hand protection making it good for defense, it has pretty good reach, and it's pretty fast partly due to being light (most real ones are about 3 lbs) and partly due to having an iron pommel, which helps a lot with balance. Hard to break. The late Medieval dagger 1200-1500 In real life, a dagger is very fast weapon. Most types (like the roundel depicted here) are made to stab primarily, though some others are for cutting too. It's got limited defensive ability, just a little reach (better than nothing though, since Medieval daggers were often a foot or more long). Unlike in almost all Role Playing Games, Daggers are extremely lethal! US Army stats on bayonett wounds and the FBI statistics on injuries from violent crimes show a knife with blade more than 8" long is one of the most lethal things you can get attacked with, statistically, and most Medieval Daggers were a lot longer than that (and more strongly made, less likely to snap). Daggers, unlike swords, tend to be good at armor-piercing (and / or getting around armor by finding gaps). Very hard to break. The Medieval Battle Axe In real life, an axe is good at cutting, mainly. Almost opposite to the cliche, battle axes tend to be made lighter (with thinner blades) and better balanced than axes made for cutting wood, but they are not as balanced as a sword. For a big (I'm thinking Danish / Viking style) axe, medium reach, fairly low speed (smaller axes would be much faster), some value for defense but limited hand protection makes that a little dicey. Due to their shape axes are also good for hooking shield rims and arms and so on, i.e. grappling from a distance. Some axes are made with special armor-piercing features (a back spike) but these are rare on older ones. The haft can be broken. Medieval Spear Very good reach, not as good speed, very good at thrusting, but the ones with larger blades can cut well too, pretty good for defense if used two-handed. Pretty good at armor-piercing. Not good at close range. Staff Blunt damage only, very good reach, very good defense, not as good at very close range. Mace Heavier (but not as much as you might think) than a sword or an axe, medium reach, medium defensive value (enhanced somewhat by the inertia of the thing) bludgeon damage only, good at destroying armor. Indestructible. So converting these into generic stats: Longsword Reach 4, Defense 3, Speed 3, cut / thrust, damage 1-10, crit threat 19-20, armor piercing and bludgeon damage ability by Feat. Normally too long to use at close (grapple) range except with special Feat. Hardness 6 Dagger Reach 1, Defense 1, Speed 5, thrust, damage 1-8, crit threat 18-20, armor-piercing. Hardness 8 Battle Axe Reach 3, Defense 2, Speed 2, cut, damage 1-12, crit threat 18-20, grapple +1 (from melee distance). Hardness 4. Flanged Mace Reach 2, Defense 3, Speed 1, bludgeon, damage 1-10, crit threat 18-20, armor-piercing +2. Hardness 12. Spear Reach 5, Defense 3, Speed 2, thrust, damage 1-8, crit threat 18-20, armor-piercing. Too long to use at close (grapple) range. Hardness 4 Staff Reach 5, Defense 4, Speed 3, bludgeon, damage 1-6, crit threat 20. Too long to use at close (grapple) range. Hardness 4. Now in DnD you might only be able to model a couple of these features, but it wouldn't necessarily add a lot more complexity to say, most weapons can be used for defense as well as offense, swords can stab as well as cut, short weapons can be used in grapple, and so on. Differentiating the weapons a little bit (in ways other than just damage) makes them a bit more interesting and more useful to flesh out the personality of different characters, monsters and NPC's, IMO." Back to me... now, that is a very realistic way of looking at these things, but it doesn't necessarily feel like fantasy, and being that realistic might make gameplay worse or better -- in a broad theoretical sense, what sorts of things SHOULD weapons be useful in doing, for the benefit of the game? There is also the question of, 'When pairing down what statistics weapons should have, should you start from a fantasy/cultural consciousness as your basic starting point for what attributes to have, or should you start from a realism/historic starting point? Assume that you end up with the same amount of relevant attributes at the end -- 2, 3, 4, 5, whatever. What is the better starting point, and why?'
I understand from one of the recent Kickstart updates that grappling in combat has been ruled outside of the scope of the P:E design and will not be implemented. The reasons identified are very valid and are similar to those identified previously in other (pseudo)turn based rpg games: the cost (time and money) of having separate animations for just one design feature (one for a creature in the grappled condition and one for its regular, ungrappled token), and conceptually handling grappling certain creature types (how did he grapple a ghost/mustard jelly/carrion crawler/etc). These are just two of the reasons that grappling hasn't been implemented previously in rpgs; I'm sure there are others. However, as both a professional software developer (C#/java) and a practitioner of taijutsu (a martial art that places strong emphasis on locks and to a minor extent, grappling) I couldn't help but begin jotting down some notes and thinking about a very rudimentary, high level design for how I would implement grappling as a viable option in P:E. Obviously, I'm posting this in the hopes that grappling will again be reviewed for possible inclusion in the P:E design document. Here goes. Assumption: both PCs and NPCs will have status' or conditions applied to them. Examples would include sleeping, sickened, prone, petrified, frightened, entangled, etc. These conditions will apply different modifiers to the creature's statistics, to include movement rate. Design option: 'Grappled' now becomes an additional condition that can be applied to a creature by another creature, with its own associated modifiers to a creature's statistics. Specifically, I'd expect it would take a creature's movement rate to 0, and depending on the skill level or abilities of the grappler (i.e. a master monk) it could inflict a Damage Over Time effect on the grappled creature. There would have to be a mechanic developed whereby every round/turn a grappled creature and a grappler determine if there is a change in their grappled/grappler status. Similarly, 'Grappler' or 'Grappling' becomes another condition that would be applied to a creature that is succesfully grappling another creature. Assumption: some of the above conditions (sleeping or prone, perhaps?) would entail displaying a separate animation for a creature that has that condition applied to them, a la Baldur's Gate and the Infinity Engine. Many creatures, while not being humanoid in form, will be immune to some of these conditions but others. A centaur, for example, could be put to sleep, but a ooze could not. This will require separate animations for some non humanoid creatures for certain conditions. Design option: Some of these alternate animations could be utilized for a creature in the grappled condition. Perhaps 'entangled' or 'prone', or something similar. This design works for nonhumanoids as well as humanoids. The centaur was going to have a scenario where it was entangled or put to sleep, yes? Use the same solution for the grappled condition. Design option #2: Just don't change the animation. A creature with the grappled condition has no change to its animation other than it doesn't go anywhere (movement rate set to 0). This one is easy peasy and wouldn't be too hard to swallow by the players either. Or put another way, it would be easier for players to swallow a system where they could grapple opponents, even if the grappled creature's animation didn't change, as opposed to no grappling system at all. Assumption: there will be a priority applied to these conditions determining what animation is being displayed for that creature. For example, prone or sleeping has a higher priority than frightened for what animation is displayed, while a truly terrible condition ( petrified or disintegrated, possibly) trumps them all for displayed animation. Design option: using the above design options, 'grappled' (and 'grappler' for that matter) simply becomes another condition with its own priority. A grappled creature has whatever animation is appropriate for that creature, but a grappled creature that is then killed from damage/put to sleep/disintegrated/what-have-you then assumes the animation of the (presumably) higher priority animation. So why go to the additional trouble of including grappling at all? After all, even if the design solution for animations was to not include any separate grappled animations (the creature just stops moving), there is still resource cost in developing the grappling system design, coding it, testing it, etc. Can't we just skip it and live with the traditional monk punching/kicking for unarmed combat? Sure you could..and then you'd be like every other run of the mill RPG that included unarmed combat (the truly bad ones don't even bother to make special allowances for it at all). Including some form of grappling combat in the system mechanics, regardless of the robustness (is that a word?) of how it's handled by the animation system, serves as yet another way that P:E is not only built upon the legacy of great isometric party-based RPGs, but is also raising the bar for them going forward. That last part is sort of a lofty, feel-good, tickle-fights and kitten-whispers benefit. It's hard to qualify and impossible to quantify as far as hard benefit to the overall P:E design document and project plan. In more concrete terms, including grappling as a viable combat option lends itself to satisfying players that have been looking for exactly that (and in this age of televised Mixed Martial Arts fights there are more of them than you might imagine), and it opens up a fascinating new combat strategy (grappling) that has rarely (if ever) been explored before, especially in the context of an isometric party based RPG. #tldr; There doesn't have to be any additional animation cost to include grappling in the P:E design doc, and there are solid benefits to the game as a whole by creating a grappling system and making it available to the PCs as well as the NPCs.