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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?'

Edited by Gavinfoxx
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Size might not make much sense in a game of this scale. Reach is a question mark. The others will depend on the type of combat system they implement. :)

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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OK, I'm going to admit here that I haven't read all of that, as it was quite a considerable post you did there, but fro mthe skim read I did do, I think you are missing the mark a little in game design terms.  More complex doesn't necessarily = better, and there is a point at which new stats make things less fun rather than more.

 

Reallistically, I'd get rid of speed as that tends to be a rather convoluted fiddly sort of statistic which makes it harder to work out which is a better weapon.  If you did want to have a speed statistic, I'd perhaps go with a different approach, a sort of "strength required to wield at normal speed" score.  Basically, every weapon has this score, and if we use a D&D analogue a dagger might be 8 while a greatsword might be 18.  Anyone can wield a greatsword, but obviously someone with greater strength can wield it more efficiently - if the "normal speed" is 10 hits every 30 seconds, someone with 1 lower strength than normal would have 9, 2 levels would have 8 etc.  

 

Whether you then have the "normal" speed of a weapon as a cap, or indeed, do have a cap at all is antoher question.  If the normal speed was a speed cap ( or there was one several strength points above normal) then it becomes less of an issue, if there isn't one then you are theoretically letting someone with a pair of knives get up to insane speeds, so for balance purposes I'd suggest that in addition to the greater damage potential, have greater crit potential with bigger weapons.

 

You could theoretically link this in to size/weight as well, eliminating the need for two separate stats.

 

Similarly I'd ignore the "piercing potential" stat and have that defined by damage type as seems to be the case from the stuff that has been posted here eg. slashing does the most damage against lower armoured characters but loses its effectiveness against more so, while piercing and crushing retain their effectiveness to a greater degree.

 

I'd also demote armour bonus and grappling to special attributes rather than integral parts of the weapon, having states for them for all weapons is unecessary.

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What's unfortunate is that, if you had read it, you most likely would've seen this part:
 
 

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?

 

Rendering your "I think you are missing the mark a little in game design terms" point a bit unnecessary. 8P

 

The rest of your response, though, is a lovely assessment of the question posed. So kudos, ^_^


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The thing is, speed, if you are trying to be realistic, shouldn't be that big a deal. Reach is a wayyyy bigger deal in getting an effective attack...

There's your problem.

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It doesn't matter much to me, mostly because combat mechanics are not exactly something I can offer much insight in, but I would appreciate it if with crafting there were lots of different modifier bonuses I could add. +x elemental/magic damage, vampiric, +x% chance of critical hit, overwhelming critical, +X% chance to stun, +X% to slow, poison damage, +x damage vs type, +x damage vs armour type, on hit x% chance of daze (easily interrupted), on hit X% interrupt spellcasting, armour piercing. I'm not a fan of attribute damage but I'd be OK if they added that too.

Because moddable weapons are awesome.

 

So as a Rogue I'd craft my dual daggers for doing lots of damage for lightly/un-armoured opponents, and I'd have a named Pistol called "Aehlona(my default charname)'s Last Resort" With +x chance to stun, slow, overwhelming critical, and armour piercing. So an encounter with a tougher opponent I'd switch weapons and either with overwhelming damage still manage to defeat my opponent, or otherwise at least have a fair chance of stunning/slowing him so I can flee. (so definitely a slow, one-shot weapon.)

 

In other words, mods which allow you to build weapons based on your playstyle.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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The thing is, lots of the existing advice is how things have been modeled in games... Chance to stun and speed and stuff. But that is really legacy of no one in the culture of modern society really understanding the factors of how variables in melee combat with a wide variety of weapons works. But there are people that know this stuff now, in the last few years. So why not make use of at least some of that knowledge?

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On modeling reailsm: I am not sure I can find an opportunity cost not to do so!  For example, 'realistic' does not necessarily mean complex... I'm going to quote another passage from that guy I quoted earlier, it's so relevant:

 

"For sake of arguments, lets say you can model a reality with say 100 relevant elements, and you can then in turn strip down those elements to either 50, 20, or 5 elements depending on what kind of game you want (detailed, simple, or very simple).

The problem I would suggest that you see in many Role Playing Games, especially DnD, is that they are modeling the wrong elements and modeling elements inaccurately. Then they try to balance everything based on these false assumptions and make more problems.. in the end you have a system which is trying to be simple, but is in fact complex, and has fairly boring combat until you start to introduce the element of magic. Weapons are all basically the same, only damage really differentiates them, and people fighting have relatively few options. Certain very unrealistic fighting options (dual wield = more attacks, spiked chain is uber weapon) become dominant in the system.

Conversely, imagine you model the correct actual historical / physics friendly elements of combat, then you can still pair down to 20 or 5
elements (because I agree the more magic you have the less detail you want in your fighting) but you can still have more options for the players, a more interesting interplay between fighting choices and weapons and so forth, and a system which is intuitively recognizable for the players, rather than something only 'neckbeards' can understand.

My example would be in the war-game world, Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader. Squad Leader was simple, modeling few elements, (I think 3 or 4 for a squad, something like that) but still realistic. It modeled the real elements of combat, just simplified. Advanced Squad Leader was a much more detailed version of basically the same thing (probably 10 elements for a squad), still fun, but it took a lot longer to play. Both were realistic games, but the original simpler game was arguably closer to the sweet spot (and it was a lot more popular). The latter went on to become the underlying engine for a lot of successful computer games...

But in both cases the fact that the fundamental system did correlate with reality pretty well in it's 'shape' if you will, meant that regardless of the level of detail, the game made sense and the various elements fit together pretty easily. I think you can do the same in RPG combat systems."

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The opportunity cost is that realism doesn't equal fun. Games are only modeling the "wrong" elements insofar as those elements are not realistic, but if modeling realistic elements makes the game less entertaining then what's the point? There are already a hundred things in even the most anally hardcore "realistic" games that aren't realistic; so what's a few more in a fantasy game that is decidedly not realistic.

 

Also the argument that by making something more realistic one guarantees that it will intuitively make more sense to people isn't really accurate.

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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?'

 

So, I take it you don't read the updates or watch the update videos.

 

The basic combat concepts have already been fleshed out and implemented and are in place in the game's current state. Slashing, piercing and crushing are the three types of phsyical damage, armor is Damage Threshold like New Vegas, slashing weapons work best on unarmored enemies, piercing works best on lightly/moderately armored enemies, crushing works best on heavily armored enemies, etc., melee range is going to be directly adjacent to the target unless using a spear, and other details.

 

Most of what you've been thinking up is confirmed for "not in the game, not going to be." The game is not a simulation. They're not looking to create a computer model (D&D weapons aren't mathematical models of real weapons, either,) of real-world weapons and their performance.

Edited by AGX-17

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The thing is, speed, if you are trying to be realistic, shouldn't be that big a deal. Reach is a wayyyy bigger deal in getting an effective attack...

 

 

Speed and balance of a weapon aren't a big deal?

This is a frist...

 

 

Looks like some people are too afraid of changes or any complexity.

The usual defense is that realism does not equal fun.

Well, that statement is just as accurate as "lack of realism does not equal fun".

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The game is not a simulation. They're not looking to create a computer model (D&D weapons aren't mathematical models of real weapons, either,) of real-world weapons and their performance.

I think what he was getting at is that all of the math we currently use in RPG equipment and combat is based upon representing real-world aspects of equipment and combat.

 

Damage vs. HP is just a mathematical representation of weapon effectiveness vs. survivability (in a lot of games, armor pieces actually increase your "health"). Weapon "speed" basically accounts for how many times you could practically attack with that weapon within a given duration. Attack roll represents all the factors involved in a human effectively striking a target with a weapon exactly where and how they want to (with critical hits being that rare, perfect hit). Etc.

 

While we don't typically try to simulate everything on a 1:1 scale, all of our math and systems are pretty much based upon elements pulled straight from reality.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The big problem, as I see it, with a lot of realistic modeling is that the weapons used at the time were military weapons with specific intended military functions.

 

This doesn't translate very well to the small unit tactics-ish environment of most RPG combat, if you're talking completely realistically. For example, most ranged weapons of the era were intended to be used in mass volleys rather than in some sort of individual context. Using a longbow in a close-range fight in a dungeon makes no sense. Yet it's such an established trope that people demand you have ranged weapons in a 10-on-five fight at a range of 20 feet.

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This doesn't translate very well to the small unit tactics-ish environment of most RPG combat, if you're talking completely realistically. For example, most ranged weapons of the era were intended to be used in mass volleys rather than in some sort of individual context. Using a longbow in a close-range fight in a dungeon makes no sense. Yet it's such an established trope that people demand you have ranged weapons in a 10-on-five fight at a range of 20 feet.

Well, you'd think "Let's actually make the bow's minimum range serious business" would be less of a leap than "And that's why we shouldn't care about the realism of bows." *shrug*

 

You don't go around accomodating Wizard's AoE's by making sure enemies are ALWAYS clustered together, so why is it necessary to make sure bows are always super effective?

 

There's also the discrepancy in "realism." It could be how things actually work in reality (i.e. physics and the laws of science and all that jazz), or it could be what happens to exist and be utilized in reality. Who's to say that, in a fantasy world, people don't specifically design their bows for shorter-ranged combat, and maybe they're much less effective at longer ranges? Military folk often used bows to fire through murder holes in stairwells and corridors, did they not? They obviously functioned okay.

 

Just because bows were engineered a certain way in reality doesn't negate all the possible manners in which bows could "realistically" be engineered.

 

Take P:E firearms for example. It is known that they can pierce Wizard's protective barriers/veils, so you're probably going to see less attention to accuracy in a lot of them and more attention merely to power. You could easily look at a pistol and say "That's silly... no one in history ever used THAT inaccurate of a pistol. You'd have to get within about 5 feet of them!" But, no one in history had to deal with the factor that is Wizard barriers.

 

Just something to consider.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Well, you'd think "Let's actually make the bow's minimum range serious business" would be less of a leap than "And that's why we shouldn't care about the realism of bows." *shrug*

 

The point is, appeals to realism ring hollow once you begin toying with reality that way. What exactly is realistic about your design when you create bows that have absolutely no relation to any bow used in that period? At that point, you might as well throw any claim to realism out the window and just make what you want.

 

 

You don't go around accomodating Wizard's AoE's by making sure enemies are ALWAYS clustered together, so why is it necessary to make sure bows are always super effective?

 

Let me make it more clear, then. I haven't played a single game in which bows are used at a range even remotely close to what would make sense for them, especially the longbows and crossbows which characters are usually shown as using. You'd either have to revamp the whole game so that engagements take place at 100 feet or more, or else sacrifice realism. And even if you're at that distance, a single bow doesn't make much sense - or at least I'm unaware of any units of lone bowmen operating effectively on European battlefields.

 

 

There's also the discrepancy in "realism." It could be how things actually work in reality (i.e. physics and the laws of science and all that jazz), or it could be what happens to exist and be utilized in reality. Who's to say that, in a fantasy world, people don't specifically design their bows for shorter-ranged combat, and maybe they're much less effective at longer ranges?

 

Note that realism is not verisimilitude. Realism is how close something is to the real world, while verisimilitude is how close it feels like the real world. And the two can even be mutually contradicting most of the time - after all, ask any member of the public and you'll learn that there were no guns in the Medieval ages and plate armor was invented in the Dark Ages. ;)

 

It doesn't make much sense to use a bow at short range, due to the nature of the weapon. If you do, you will be chopped to pieces by your opponents as they'll have time to reach you. One of the theories about the displacement of bows for firearms is that archers needed to loose at shorter and shorter ranges to penetrate increasingly common plate armor.

 

 

Military folk often used bows to fire through murder holes in stairwells and corridors, did they not? They obviously functioned okay.

 

Did they? Sieges are unique tactical situations, though, that don't equate to most adventurer combat scenarios. But yes, if there are enemies stuck at the bottom of a canyon, feel free to shoot at them. ;)

 

 

Just because bows were engineered a certain way in reality doesn't negate all the possible manners in which bows could "realistically" be engineered.

 

Sure, but understanding the use of the weapon makes that more clear. The main advantage of the weapons we're talking about (longbow, crossbow) was their ability to kill at range. Shooting at melee range negates this advantage. This is pretty much inherent in the nature of the weapon - it's a ranged weapon. It's meant to be used at range.

 

 

Take P:E firearms for example. It is known that they can pierce Wizard's protective barriers/veils, so you're probably going to see less attention to accuracy in a lot of them and more attention merely to power. You could easily look at a pistol and say "That's silly... no one in history ever used THAT inaccurate of a pistol. You'd have to get within about 5 feet of them!" But, no one in history had to deal with the factor that is Wizard barriers.

 

Obviously, once you inject magic into the equation you can do whatever you want. But most of these games don't - bows just function in an unrealistic way. And even if you do, you've abandoned realism by adding supernatural elements that have nothing to do with the weapons the era. It seems pointless to exactingly model the strengths and weaknesses of specific weapons from specific era, and then inject a bunch of hand-waving to have them do something entirely unrelated to their real function. At that point, what is the purpose of all the realistic modeling?

Edited by Diagoras
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I appreciate the well-formed response on all that. I should've used "verisimilitude," as you said. And you have many a good point.

 

I guess I'm just trying to say that there are understandable abstractions in RPGs. You can't show everything on the screen very well (without hitting Starcraft unit sizes and such) when you incorporate 1:1 representations of 150ft combat. So, it can be assumed that the length of your character model's forearm, across the battlefield, is not exactly 1 foot, but instead represents more distance than that (just as an example.) So now I believe it, because I understand why it's like that. If everyone had 50" monitors, maybe we could just have 100% realistic combat ranges without a hitch.

 

And yes, I think that bows shouldn't work very well at all even within 10 or 15 exaggerated feet. I don't disagree with that at all. But, that's something I'd say could be a design goal in P:E, rather than a reason not to try an improvement simply because other games failed to.

 

*shrug*. I understand the desire to incorporate ranged weaponry, and bows are familiar. Maybe they could tweak the bow designs a bit more (maybe the people in fictional P:E world used different materials, and different designs, for tension-based ranged weaponry) rather than straight-up copying bows for the sake of realism, then using them in non-realistic scenarios and granting them unrealistic characteristics.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The big problem, as I see it, with a lot of realistic modeling is that the weapons used at the time were military weapons with specific intended military functions.

 

This doesn't translate very well to the small unit tactics-ish environment of most RPG combat, if you're talking completely realistically. For example, most ranged weapons of the era were intended to be used in mass volleys rather than in some sort of individual context. Using a longbow in a close-range fight in a dungeon makes no sense. Yet it's such an established trope that people demand you have ranged weapons in a 10-on-five fight at a range of 20 feet.

 

There is no reason why every calss and wepon combo must be effective everywhere or why EVERY playstyle must be accomodated. Rangers can use swords ya know. Personally I never used bows in CC, I always switched to another weapon.

 

Your reasoning is basicly - "game X did this, that is not realistic, therefore realism sucks".

 

Well, it doens't matter what game X did. Eternity has a chance to re-do it, and do it BETTER.

Modeling wepon functions more accurately? Why not? Does it mean that always using your perfered weapon will not be a wise option? Yes.

So what?

 

 

Also, comparing the use of a bow in a military formation and use of bow in a small group (or an individual) is insane.

In army battles, bows were used en masse to fire a barrage of arrows at maximum range. Numbers were necessary because you couldn't hit the braod side of a barn at that range, so high arrow density + target-rich enviroment = kills.

A individual using a bow WOULD use it at shorter ranges (but still at range) where he can actually aim and expect to hit. And he would mostly use it on unaware or otherwise distracted enemies.

Edited by TrashMan

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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I guess I'm just trying to say that there are understandable abstractions in RPGs.

 

Absolutely - the whole point of the RPG is systematization of skills into necessarily abstract mechanics. But that's disconnected from realism. And it's really tough to argue realism for the use of weapons from different centuries in the same culture/group of cultures, or the use of weapons in ways that make zero sense. I understand if you want to add weapons because they're cool - and that's fine. But if you are really trying to inject realism, it's likely to fail just due to the default assumption of the genre - small unit tactics - not existing for at least another 200 years vs. the setting. The vast majority of Medieval weapons are made to be used in formation and in specific circumstances. There are general use weapons - but not very many of them.

 

 

And yes, I think that bows shouldn't work very well at all even within 10 or 15 exaggerated feet. I don't disagree with that at all. But, that's something I'd say could be a design goal in P:E, rather than a reason not to try an improvement simply because other games failed to.

 

Bows weren't really individual weapons in the era we're talking about, that being the other big problem. There are small unit skirmishers/irregulars if you push towards the 17th century - but the vast majority of them use firearms, which doesn't sound like super-exciting RPG combat. I'm not an expert on the era, though, so I'd be happy for anyone to correct me.

 

Your staple weapons (dagger, sword, even pistol) are applicable to general combat. It's just when you get to most dedicated military weapons (warhammer, pike, crossbow, longsword) that their specific use for a group of 4-6 wanderers becomes unclear.

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Your reasoning is basicly - "game X did this, that is not realistic, therefore realism sucks".

 

Erm...not quite. My reasoning is, "All these games involve combat scenarios completely disconnected from actual warfare in the period they're mimicking. This means that you either sacrifice gameplay by not including staple weapons and how they actually work, or you sacrifice realism by having a guy with a short sword be able to penetrate plate."

 

Thus, I prefer verisimilitude to realism. It's related to reality, but not totally dependent on it.

 

 

Well, it doens't matter what game X did. Eternity has a chance to re-do it, and do it BETTER.

Modeling wepon functions more accurately? Why not? Does it mean that always using your perfered weapon will not be a wise option? Yes.

So what?

 

You realize that if you model weapons and armor accurately, the vast majority of options are likely useless to the player? That's the problem - the mechanics of the game don't intersect with the "mechanics" of the real world, due to the totally different scale of conflict.

 

 

Also, comparing the use of a bow in a military formation and use of bow in a small group (or an individual) is insane.

In army battles, bows were used en masse to fire a barrage of arrows at maximum range. Numbers were necessary because you couldn't hit the braod side of a barn at that range, so high arrow density + target-rich enviroment = kills.

A individual using a bow WOULD use it at shorter ranges (but still at range) where he can actually aim and expect to hit. And he would mostly use it on unaware or otherwise distracted enemies.

 

Do we have any historical accounts of people using single bows that way? The only equivalent I can think of are Medieval and Early Modern sharpshooters, but they used firearms at tremendous range in a very specific battlefield context (ie. usually sieges). When you're fighting in the kind of ranges and conditions that exist in most RPG battles, you'd think that everyone would basically be the equivalent of heavy infantry, armed and armored with heavy two-handed weapons and the best plate they can afford. I guess also guns, as the sides are so tiny that taking out an opponent with one shot would confer a huge advantage.

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Erm...not quite. My reasoning is, "All these games involve combat scenarios completely disconnected from actual warfare in the period

they're mimicking. This means that you either sacrifice gameplay by not including staple weapons and how they actually work, or you sacrifice

realism by having a guy with a short sword be able to penetrate plate."

Thus, I prefer verisimilitude to realism. It's related to reality, but not totally dependent on it.

 

 

Warfare implies entire armies. A musket was used in formation. Does it mean it wasn't a viable weapon for use by a single man?

 

Of course not.

While there's no question that some weapons are more formidable when used in formations, they are still far from useless outside it.

 

There is no need for extreemes. No one is advocating total and complete realism. But is it too much to ask more than what old IE games had?

Versimilitude is a good goal if realism can't be reached.

 

 

 

 

You realize that if you model weapons and armor accurately, the vast majority of options are likely useless to the player? That's the problem

- the mechanics of the game don't intersect with the "mechanics" of the real world, due to the totally different scale of conflict.

 

They aren't. How many opponents do you think will strut around in full plate? That is a rare piece of armor.

And you have a party of 6 plus backup weapons.

 

 

 

 

Do we have any historical accounts of people using single bows that way?

The only equivalent I can think of are Medieval and Early Modern sharpshooters, but they used firearms at tremendous range in a very

specific battlefield context (ie. usually sieges). When you're fighting in the kind of ranges and conditions that exist in most RPG battles,

you'd think that everyone would basically be the equivalent of heavy infantry, armed and armored with heavy two-handed weapons and the best

plate they can afford. I guess also guns, as the sides are so tiny that taking out an opponent with one shot would confer a huge advantage.

 

The bow has been used since the beginign of time. Both in large scale battles and by individuals. It was the staple weapon of both the american indians and the mongol hordes. Hunters used it for centuries.

 

And while small unit battles were rare and not well documented, that doesn't mean they didn't exist.

Having range is always a good thing. And bows at close range had a lot of power.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Warfare implies entire armies. A musket was used in formation. Does it mean it wasn't a viable weapon for use by a single man?

 

In almost all contexts, yes. The closest thing we have to single men using firearms in the era are sharpshooters on both the defensive and offensive sides during a siege. They may also have played some role in skirmishing during actual field battles, but that is less clear. Regardless, they served a very specific purpose in a very specific context - and would be almost completely useless in a standard RPG encounter.

 

Other than that, we don't see any real individual use of firearms. Maybe their use by heavy cavalry, whether mounted or dismounted, might be close - but we're still talking about large groups of cavalry here.

 

I noted that in the RPG context, carrying a pistol on you might be helpful, as you can shoot at point blank range and hopefully kill an enemy. With 5 on 5, that might actually make a difference. But otherwise, firearms suffers from the same problem as all other ranged weapons: that they are specialized military tools meant for a specialized function.

 

 

They aren't. How many opponents do you think will strut around in full plate? That is a rare piece of armor.

And you have a party of 6 plus backup weapons.

 

Not really. Plate is far easier to mass produce, as it's capital intensive rather than labor intensive. By the era P:E is set in, "munitions plate" is common and standard gear for professional and semi-professional soldiers includes, at the very least, a breastplate. The idea that plate armor was more expensive than chain may have held true during the transitional and early plate periods, but a quick examination of the armor of a pikemen from the 1450s onwards should show that it was far more common. P:E seems to be set in an era roughly equivalent to the 1520s - near or just after the peak of metal armor production and use.

 

But that's besides the point: most weapons that are shown in these games are just not workable in the units you fight in. A good (but obviously flawed) example might be to look at what personal weapons people owned in these days, for use in self-defense rather than war. From what I've read, this basically boils down to dagger, sword, and pistol (crossbows and arquebus were also owned, but usually due to militia requirements). Though that was from the 1590s, I doubt the tools of personal defense for single and group combat situations changed much.

 

If you were going to hunt down a dangerous madman hiding in your house, you would not bring along a warhammer, longbow, crossbow, poleaxe, pike, or even a longsword into those cramped quarters. Adventurers seem to spend most of their time in narrow caves and catacombs - what's with all the giant two handed weapons? On the other hand, the more open field situations bring their own concerns in - like why everyone just doesn't wear the best plate they can buy, as I noted. Even just a steel breastplate is a huge advantage, as you're practically invulnerable to most slashing weapons that hit your chest.

 

And this is just tactical realism! Most games have weapons from all across time and space in the same region, complete disconnects between the armor available and the weapons used, a common tendency to inaccurately depict just how amazing plate armor was, and random exceptions to existing weapons (guns, as I've noted, are always mysteriously erased from history in these games). And that's just military realism! Once you add social attitudes (and not in the way you might think), economics, and the fact that every nation-state seems to be from the 1600s rather than 1400s in terms of bureaucracy and power distribution, it becomes even more clear.

 

You can make a realistic game - but it's hard, and I feel almost inherently incompatible with the genre. I'd much rather strive for a sense of verisimilitude that echoes but doesn't mimic times and places in our world to make it feel more real. You can take 1520s Europe as a starting model, but then tweak it in interesting ways to get results that are plausibly different. But IME, the more something sells itself as a realistic depiction of the past, the more wildly unrealistic much of it turns out to be.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

So, to bring it back to the OP's question: I'd pick an era and location from history, and try to model my overall military theme on it. But I'd also feel free to twist weapon and armor statistics, technology, and magic to produce outcomes that satisfy the needs of the game in a way that feels realistic but probably isn't. History can inform the game, but it shouldn't command it.

 

I think what Obsidian is doing with firearms is a brilliant example of this: they want to have the firearms from the early half of the 16th century because they're awesome. But that's also the period when the gun began to supplant bows in a big way. So, they came up with a magical justification (flying enemies, fast enemies, monstrous enemies) that they thought made sense and they could weave into the world to sort of mix the period from 1420-1520 together. This is a complete abandonment of realism (in the real world, there were no flying soldiers on the battlefield during the Late Medieval period) but helps the setting feel real despite this, because there are consistent reasons why things are different.

 

So where does that leave us? If rich people tromping around the undergrowth murdering goblins is a thing, then it could make sense that arms and armor development might be dictated towards their needs somewhat. Hell, considering their skills and wealth, they could very well have personal weapons constructed for their own needs to their own specifications. Breech-loading firearms, various combi-weapons, and even plate armor were all discarded due to their lack of military utility - but they all had reasonable individual utility still. I would look over the crazy discarded designs of history with an eye towards individual usefulness, as well as examining cultures and societies that maintained a tradition of individual military combat (ie. samurai).

 

Or, alternatively, they could just make a game using whatever weapons. There's a good chance I'm overthinking this. ;)

Edited by Diagoras
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I guess I'm just trying to say that there are understandable abstractions in RPGs.

 

Absolutely - the whole point of the RPG is systematization of skills into necessarily abstract mechanics. But that's disconnected from realism. And it's really tough to argue realism for the use of weapons from different centuries in the same culture/group of cultures, or the use of weapons in ways that make zero sense. I understand if you want to add weapons because they're cool - and that's fine. But if you are really trying to inject realism, it's likely to fail just due to the default assumption of the genre - small unit tactics - not existing for at least another 200 years vs. the setting. The vast majority of Medieval weapons are made to be used in formation and in specific circumstances. There are general use weapons - but not very many of them.

 

Well, here is essentially the problem.

 

People are saying they love Apple Jacks, and you're saying "... But they don't taste like apple!" :)

 

Humor aside, what I mean is this: Most people are simply incorrectly using the word "realism" to mean "verisimilitude." I know it's incorrect, and oodles of folks do it, but that doesn't change what they mean by it. I (and I believe many others) enjoy the abstractly represented bows and weaponry in RPG combat having a strong BASIS in realistic weapons from actual reality. So, yeah, in the game, they aren't realistic any longer. But I'd rather start with a bow (something I can see and feel operating in reality, with absolutely no fictitious natural laws or abstractions acting upon it whatsoever) and then abstract it only as much as is necessary to fit it into the game, than completely make up different weapons all together.

 

The basis in physics is the same in both worlds. The bow functions in exactly the same manner in the fantasy world, only I don't need to know the exact effects of air resistance and dropoff and veolicty and armor-piercing at various ranges, because it's all abstracted, and I don't know those exact things in reality anyway. As long as the bow doesn't work like you're Hawkeye from the recent Avengers film, I'm not going to say "WAAAAAIT a minute... my ability to believe this world is cracking, here...".

 

That being said, what I've said before still stands. IF we can draw some value from realistic weapon functions (value towards the goal/boundaries of the game mechanics and fantasy world, even if only a tweakable foundation), then I say go for it. Things like "Your archer should lose about 50% BAMFness within a 30-ft range, however that range is represented on-screen." It's the same reason I like friendly fire with things like fireballs and frost novas. I like things that CAN be good, and simultaneously CAN be bad. Makes me think about how and when to use them.

 

And yes, maybe, if they're basing designs and aesthetics on realistic things, they need to not copy exact military weaponry from a certain era SIMPLY because it's cool, then make it act like completely different weapon designs. Maybe just actually make it a different weapon design. (I'm just curious, here, but, would a hunting bow differ from a military bow? Because I would think they'd be designed differently. I just don't know the specifics. So, could they, for example, go with hunting-type constructions of bows as a more sensical starting point?)

 

Another thing to consider is this: You keep talking about how things actually happened in history, and what things didn't actually happen (like weapons being designed mainly for large-scale battle, rather than individuals/small groups), which is totally fine. I mean, it's useful info, as far as any attempt at any degree of historical accuracy goes. But here's another thing fantasy does... It sort of... rewrites history.

 

Imagine if you went back in time and effected things so that small-scale combat and individual/party-based mercenary specialist groups were FAR more common. Would the weaponry not have ended up being designed differently, to accommodate what is essentially the demand of invention at the time? I mean, even without all the magic and fiction. Just completely real-world stuff that HAPPENED to have developed a certain way. You go back and replace a certain ruler, and dictate some certain decree, and designs and various other decisions are going to follow that politically-powered decision. Right?

 

Just an interesting notion, I thought. Of course, you sort of touched on that with your example of flying things on the battlefield and pistol use.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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