Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Streamlining the 'Vicious' weapon tag

No tag has caused me more grief than the 'Vicious' tag: used for spikes, barbs, serrated edges, forks and other weapon 'enhancements'. Increases to critical damage at the cost of weapon 'hardness', re-rolling of 1's at the cost of die size, etc, etc. Each has become too complicated in mass battles and oft ignored. And if its ignored, why bother having it?

So it's been simplified to -1 to hit, +1 to damage. Now this may seem not much different than 'Devastating' (-2 to hit, +1 die size) except better. After all, going from a d6 to d8 is the same as +1 damage for an average, with only half the penalty. This is where the modifier limit rule in piecemeal makes the difference.

The bonus to any small die (ie, not a d20 or 3d6) cannot exceed the roll of the die. You can have a +4 bonus, but if you roll a 1 you only get +1. This means a serrated knife will be more effective than a hatchet if you have no strength bonus, but once you start taking more and more bonus modifiers the hatchet becomes the better weapon.

This strikes me as a nice compromise between 'fiddly bits' and 'streamlined' game elements. What are your thoughts?

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