Advanced Weapons and Armor Rules

A while ago I set about revamping the current rules for armor and weapons, after finding myself wanting more granularity (especially with armor).

For all of the following balancing, I used the stats for armor and weapons found in The Flower Of Battle supplement for The Riddle of Steel by Jake Norwood. (In case you didn’t know, Jake Norwood was also Luke’s advisor for the weapon functionality in this game, BWR/BWG!) Inarguably, The Riddle of Steel has some of the most realistic melee combat rules in roleplaying. More arguably, it may have the most realistic ones, period.

The weapons below were centered around the Burning Wheel’s “Run-of-the-mill” quality of weapons, so as not to become super powerful weapons on the level of their Superior counterparts. Grandsword is my parlance for Zweihander/Dopplehanders and Great Axe is parlance for Sparth axes. Some weapons now have a “Attack +Ob” or “Defense +Ob”. In a Fight, when making an Attack or Defense action, you suffer the Ob penalty listed on each such action. I also did some re-naming of the Stats in my game to Might (aka Power)/Grit (aka Forte)/Finesse/Speed/Will/Acuity (aka Perception). So “Might” is parlance for BWG’s Power. “gps” is parlance for BWG’s “rps”, standing for Generation Points. Different names, same exact function. Weapon Lengths also have different names here. Shortest is analogous to Short, Short::Medium, Long::Long, Longer::Very Long, Longest::Extremely Long.

Hit Locations & Armor
To make use of my more granular armor, you need to be able to differentiate between more specific parts of the body. Thus, hit locations are added, more specific parts of their overall hit zone. In play, this adds about 10 seconds to 1 minute of processing time to Strikes, Great Strikes and Block & Strikes. Your tastes will vary as to whether this is acceptable for the amount of additional realism it introduces. I find it surprisingly simple and intuitive. The BWG RAW is in black, while the new rules modifications are in red. You needn’t use the armor rules with the weapons; they’re completely independent of each other. That being said, I’m proud of the rules.

Resources Price List
Additionally, I wanted to solidify a Resources price list around these rules. It’s written within my setting, so not all of it will make sense, just pay attention to the weapons and armor and use the other listings as context.

PLEASE NOTE: I made these rules for a Dark Sun/Skyrealms of Jorune/Numenera-like setting. People use bone and stone arms, and iron itself is extremely rare (it’s gray-shade), so the people use bronze. In my setting, bronze works roughly the same as steel in our own reality. You can easily replace the word “bronze” with “steel” in all the entries above and have no problems, but here bronze weapons and armor are still a bit more expensive than steel ones are in BWG RAW. Thus, if you want them closer to RAW pricing, you’ll need to drop the price. You could get away with dropping the armors from the 5th+ Ob levels by one, and you’d be golden. You may also want to drop the gps pricing as well at the higher levels. This will screw up the nice progression in the Resources Price List, but you may be able to figure something out. All leather and quilted items are about what they are in RAW BWG and don’t need to be changed. Hardened Leather is the equivalent of Light chainmail in RAW.

Here is the download link for the full, higher resolution .pdfs:!A90mlDBD!KcFp5STfyf1yW22TQMefgCg8b_3NQ1V2rBs4GinUMfA

Hit “Download through your browser” and it will be saved to your Desktop.

What is the result you’re going for with this? What’s the point?

Aside from some extra rules for weapons, the main difference is that sextupling the number of hit locations, and then randomizing them, means that armor takes forever to bash your way through. It vastly increases the need for VA.

Concussive helps too, which means you’ve added Flails and made them monstrously effective. Wrapping, Concussive, and Crushing are all very potent. A War Flail has amazing stats. Dangerous is definitely bad, but it becomes exponentially less bad as the number of dice increases to the point where experts don’t care at all.

This is a lot of extra stuff but I’m not seeing what it adds besides more complexity for complexity’s sake.

First off, don’t take my responses as being combative or pissy :stuck_out_tongue: It’s a big thing with many parts and I figured I’d have people dismissing it out of hand.

That’s just flat-out wrong. If anything, it’s the opposite, and often you’re more exposed to Strikes. The majority of these armor pieces have flaws. Note that the Torso hit zone includes the Groin, but many of the chest pieces don’t, like the leather jack or mail shirt. Thus, with a Strike to the Torso, you have a one-in-six chance of completely avoiding their armor there (without spending successes to move the blow), if they’re not wearing leggings. In BWG it’s a 100% chance that you’re gonna hit their armor if they’re wearing a cuirass. Look at the caps and helms: The face is always exposed. That’s a 1/3rd chance of not having to roll against any armor dice on your Strike. And their neck will always be exposed unless it’s a hood. Compare that to the RAW BWG rules for helms: if they have a helm and you Strike at their head, they’re rolling their armor dice to deflect it, end of story. Your hands are gonna be exposed unless you buy gloves or gauntlets. Your feet are gonna be exposed unless you get sabatons. Open targets with no armor. Those cost money. It’s grist for fun gaming decisions. Will you risk that off-chance of being SOL because you didn’t buy that plate gorget or will you shell out more to be safe? It’s a bit more expensive to cover every portion of your body than in RAW. You can typically get only a chestpiece and leggings under this system for the RAW equivalent prices on page 202.

Half-leggings and unsleeved chestpieces are even more dangerous for the user now: In RAW BWG the wearer still rolls 1-3D always for legs or arms (depending on the piece) because the armor value is halved. Here, you have a half chance of avoiding the armor completely. No need for VA if you’re lucky.

Most of the time you won’t be trading successes to move the hit location. You won’t have enough because you’re not skilled enough. You won’t be able to make it, so there’s no processing there. But when you do have the successes to do it, you can move the blow to negate all the armor dice if there’s an exposed section on that hit zone. There’s no analog for that in BWG, and it disincentivizes VA, actually. Unless they’re well-covered there. In that case you need the VA to punch through and nothing is changed. It’s not like this armor has more armor dice so it doesn’t take longer to get a hit in.

So in a way, you could say the extra processing power on Strikes here is mitigated by the fact that Strikes will be landing flesh more often and ending Fights in a smaller number of actions.

Also, I’m not sure you get the hit zone/hit location schtick since you said the whole thing was randomized. Nothing changed for moving the hit location between Head/Arms/Legs/Torso. Same as RAW, not random. Defender declares his vulnerable hit zone and you pay to move it. Only the subsections of those overall hit zones are random. It’s controlled randomness, since you’ll know which parts are covered by armor and which aren’t.

War Flails are very potent, and they were in real life as well. In terms of destructive power, they were almost without peer (though there’s few records of their use). But of course that’s not a good rationale for balancing something, heh! So +1 hesitation on a failed Steel test. That’s decent. It doesn’t count or hinder them if they don’t fail, only on a fail. Negates all shield dice? Damn, that’s pretty good, but situational. Doesn’t do shit if they see you have a flail and ditch the shield. Shattering is awesome. Not disagreeing there. But let’s look at what you get: For one thing there’s the Footman’s Axe in BWG which is Power 4, Add 2, Speed 1, VA 1, which is a run-of-the-mill weapon and the baseline I used. The War Flail is +1 VA over that, but it’s also +1 Ob to both Attack and Defense actions. Looking at the success probabilities, even with 6D, 7D, or 8D of skill in Flail, you have a ~5%, 3.5% or 1.5% chance to roll 0 successes, trigger the Dangerous quality, and land you in hot water.

In the end, I agree with you. The Defense Ob should be increased to +2 instead of +1, which is quite accurate anyway. They’re shit defensive weapons. That means all your Defense actions will be Ob 3 to start with. Even at 9D and 10D the Dangerous quality will be scary. The Dangerous quality should also be changed to 1-2: Messy, 3-4: Light, 5-6: Superficial. And they should both lose 1 VA and be restricted to Great Strikes only. Winding up and then striking or bringing it about in a big overhead plunge. This effectively cuts their Weapon Speed in half since now they have to Set the Great Strike. The War Flail and Grandsword are the two I was iffy on. Still iffy on the Grandsword. Not iffy on any others, really.

Realism, of course! That oft-derided thang. Being able to stab your enemy in his unprotected groin, and not have that falling under of GM fiat and finding chinks in armor with Acuity. I think it has interesting elements that make for good strategic grist as well, inside and outside of Fight.

You’re right, I didn’t understand that you’ve completely reworked armor to have to cover (or not) all the locations, not just the zones. Still, it means that the chance of bashing on the same hit location is very small, so you’re really going to be needing to hit the uncovered spots. This changes combat significantly, and I’d have to crunch numbers and see how it feels in play to get a good sense for it. Still, my hunch is not very good. Against armor that isn’t all-encompassing it still means chance makes it highly unlikely that you will wear through a particular location, so you’re depending on luck or enough successes to move your hit to an unarmored spot. When that happens the armored character is going to feel cheated of the value of armor. The alternative is to completely cover yourself—which just goes back to my original problem. Full harnesses are still much stronger, and BW armor is already very, very strong.

Okay, you’re going for very powerful flails. I don’t think the historical evidence backs that up—as you say, the record is sparse, and effective weapons were much more popular than that. You’re also crunching numbers wrong. at 6D there’s a 1.6% chance of rolling no successes. 7D is 0.7%. That’s low enough that when it happens it’ll feel unfair and anticlimactic, I think.

Two other problems. First, there’s no such term as “messy” but from context I think you mean Midi. The second is that this is the only occurrence in the rules of a wound of a specific kind rather than a specific number (based on IMS, for example). It leads to the odd situation where someone with a massive PTGS—a gray or white Mortal Wound tolerance, say—is in far more danger from his own flail than from enemies. That’s very odd.

In the end, I don’t want realism from games. I want verisimilitude and fun and playable rules. BW already covers stabbing someone in the groin—that’s what happens when the armor dice don’t protect you! It weights more towards the value of equipment in armor dice and VA than the randomness of the right hit location, and it keeps things simpler.

I don’t see your version providing anything that I want in my game, but if it’s what you want, go for it.

You seem to be saying that you won’t be Striking the same armor piece often, but you don’t track armor dice for each particular hit location, just for the overall piece. Perhaps I should’ve stated that explicitly so it was more apparent. Any Strike that hits a hit location protected by the overall piece can reduce the piece’s overall protection. So on a hardened leather jack you could hit the Left Arm (Shoulder), the Torso (Chest) and the Left Arm (Forearm) and all those hits could have a chance of reducing the overall armor value of 3D. The exception to this is the plate pieces, which are all reticulated and separate.

You’re right, I did calculate that part wrong. “Messy” is indeed what I replaced Midi with because Midi isn’t a word (though I assume it’s short for Medium?) and it just stuck out to me. Forgot to mention it.

It’s not unheard of in the rules. You can have your intent to be to give your opponent a certain type of wound in Bloody Versus or Versus roll. It is unheard of in Fight though, so you’re right that doing something with IMS is better.

Slow down, I need to be wined and dined first! :eek: Indeed, different strokes.

How does this new armor system interact with acquiring armor while burning a new character? Instead of the previous simple suits of nD armor everywhere, +1 on the chest, what do you get and for how many RP?

Starting to think I should’ve switched all of my game group’s re-theming of the system back to their BWG terms before posting this! That’s on the Armor page on the left column, but it’s “gps”, standing for Generation Points (since I thought it’d be confusing to new players to have a Resources attribute and then have to deal with Resource Points which behave much differently). The Weapons are like that too but are priced differently for different weapons now.

Once again, nothing’s changed, just a different word. For the BWG equivalent of points in chargen, you get approximately a sleeved chest armor and a leg armor. Helms and bits and bobs cost a bit extra over what was standard.

The exception to this is bronze armor, which is overpriced a bit in my setting, like it mentions at the end of the post.

Edit: Oh, and you still get +1D on the Torso for all chest pieces (except for mail if you wanna get technical since it has no reinforcing properties). That +1D doesn’t count if the blow lands on your groin, which is covered by leggings, so +1D isn’t granted on the entire Torso, just on what you have your chest piece covering. So, wearing a gambeson you’d get 2D on your Chest and Abdomen hit locations.

I think part of the problem is that you didn’t post your armor page. If it’s in the link to the PDFs, I didn’t look at those. You neglected to mention the decryption key.

It looks like you’ve pretty substantially changed the interaction of armor and locations. Locations are the same “size” or equidistant, and they’re not the same costs, and I have no idea what the clumsy weight penalties are now (presumably in the armor rules). Again, it’s a lot of changes, and a little bit more complexity, and I can’t predict exactly how it will work out in play but just the fact that it increases the already pretty heavy cognitive load of Fight makes me disinclined to try it out.

The armor page is up there! Middle of the post. The posting system put an ellipsis in my link though, killing it. Good catch, gonna fix the OP. Here’s the link:!A90mlDBD!KcFp5STfyf1yW22TQMefgCg8b_3NQ1V2rBs4GinUMfA

The clumsy armor penalties are listed with each of the armor pieces.