If you prefer more of a miniatures based combat, issues of weapon length don't really matter that much. I myself find miniatures based combat to be often too constricting, removing the chaotic nature of movement in combat (much of which is involuntary). In such a system, the benefits of a longer weapon reach become quite arbitrary, which I dislike.
The obvious rule is that some weapons are too large to work in certain environments. This gives different places a different maximum weapon length. In an open field your two handed sword is quite deadly, inside of a cramped apartment... you probably can't even unsheathe it without knocking over a table and stumbling around.
This however makes the longer weapon (which is slow to swing) in too many ways, inferior to the shorter weapon. Making the increased range give an initiative bonus seems wrong to me..the small knife truly is faster to swing than a two handed axe.
But what benefit does a spear really give with its range? It keeps people at bay, they have to rush past a spear point to get close enough to slash at you. Thus I came up with the following handy mechanic.
If your weapon reach is smaller than anyone attacking you, you suffer -2 to hit for each range smaller. Someone with a short sword (range S) trying to close on someone with a spear(range L) would suffer -4 to hit, as it is very hard to dart in for a clear shot while the spear man has the ability to poke at you, and time to step back and maneuver as you advance.
A few henchmen with pikes would thus be useful to poke at a monster and help keep it at bay, while you attack it with a sword. Because henchmen have a longer reach than the monster, the monster gets -2 to hit anyone, even you, as they work to restrict its movement under pain of pointy stick. As you attempt to move in with a sword you may ALSO gain a penalty to hit if the monsters reach exceeds your own. The pike men would receive no such penalty.
Why is this good?
It improves the amount of choices available in terms of tactics and armament without "nerfing" any options, nor making any options "the best". This has created some interesting combinations. A character who wields a rapier, and dual wields a whip. The whip has a size of small, but a range of L, so it becomes useful to keep opposing warriors at bay. Thus Zorro was born in the game.
Why is this bad?
This can create an extra layer of complexity you just may not care about.
Part of the balancer for this is the Grapple and Pin rules (which are thankfully quite simple). They also work to limit the benefit of long weapons (providing you can pull it off)
Warrior of the Steppes
5 hours ago