The Cost of Arms and Armor.

I understand the reasoning behind making tough decisions about what’s most important for your character, however it does seem odd that you can purchase all of the arms needed for a knight for five resource points, but have to spend the same amount to purchase a simple staff for a mage, or a “dagger” (as in run of the mill knife) for a thief or assassin. The latter two examples shouldn’t cost the same as the first one.
With Armor, if you only wanted to purchase a single piece, you can do so at a reduced cost.
It would seem the same philosophy should apply to arms as well.
It isn’t “Rules as Written”, but the precedent is there.

Well, the Assassin could get a set of daggers, a boot knife, a chain for strangling, and wrist blades for 5 RPs. The Mage doesn’t need to spend anything at all. Staves are found weapons/Simple weapons. AKA ones you can pick off the ground. One could also argue that this makes sense, as such weapons may be harder for a commoner or freeman to come by.

Additionally, the way resources work is such that one weapon is only slightly easier to get than many. After all, purchasing in bulk is proportionally cheaper, and where there is one blade, there are many.

Except that those weapons are all crafted individually rather than mass produced items (a key factor in the cost of each weapon). And while the assassin could well buy a complete set of short blades and other weapons fit for his idiom, he should have the option to just have a dagger.
As I understand it, if you spend resource points on it, it’s yours at the start of play. If you don’t, you must spend time/resources to make/find/purchase/steel the item(s) in question.
A finished staff is not likely to just be laying on the ground waiting for someone to come along and snatch it up. And if it is, your probably not the only one looking for it.

You could argue that a staff is Personal Effects.

Mostly I think this is a part of the system. Do you want weapons? You pay for weapons. The number of weapons, despite any costs it would have in “real” terms, is largely immaterial; you’re paying RPs to be armed.

Couldn’t the same thing be said about armor then? And yet, we can purchase it piece by piece.

It would seem logical to allow weaponry to be purchased in a similar manner.

How you are armored is a much larger consideration considering the penalties on armor and their much higher costs.

If it bothers you, though, I think it would work just fine to call an inferior quality knife, a staff, or a club a “Personal Effect” and make them all cost 1 RP. They’re all common stuff.

Sure, but then you’re going to have the swordsman whose only real possession of any worth is his family’s ancestral sword. A single superior quality weapon should not cost the same as a full complement of superior quality arms even if that particular weapon (which ideally, would be purchased with the “Family Heirloom” trait) is the crux of many beliefs and instincts.
If 50 rps. is the cost of full plate mail, but you’re allowed to purchase a single piece for 25 rps.
Then when a full set of superior quality weaponry for a knight would cost 20 rps. it stands to reason that a single weapon from such a set could be purchased for 10 rps. (Assuming it fits the character conception rather than just being used to cut corners or min/max the character)

A single piece of armour represents a much more sudden drop in usefulness. In Burning Wheel, going into a Fight!with a (moderately skilled) swordsman with only a breastplate, not the full set, will lead to you developing serious injuries much more quickly.

Going in with the long sword from your standard Squire’s kit (Out of, say, 6 pieces to mimic the 6 armour locations- lance, long sword, arming sword, two dirks and a hatchet) is nowhere near as potentially dangerous.

I reckon that giving player’s an option which could always be argued to fit concept (taking just what you need) and is more useful in most circumstances would not be optimal. The cost for arms represents the hurdle a character must pass in order to have the tools to perform their work (be it dueling, soldiering, guarding); armour is less necessary for a lot of those jobs, and the completeness of a set says a lot about the owner.

I think it is perfectly reasonable if the purchase of a superior breastplate cost would add twice the cost of your entire suit for example, superior gambeson breastplate with run of the mill gambeson armor. Superior gambeson cost 12 rps for a full set, half of that for a single piece is 6 rps add that to the standard cost of run of the mill gambeson and your improved kit cost 9 rps.
Applying the same idea to weaponry, your run of the mill sword and daggers cost you 5rps. but your father’s claymore would add another 10 rps. bringing your total up to 15 rps.for the improved kit.
Sure, you have the advantage of your (possibly) main weapon being superior quality while the rest are not, but a skilled fighter will maneuver you into situations where your superior weapon becomes a disadvantage (such as a first action charge with daggers or shield that changes advantage to their weapon length) just as a skilled fighter will aim past your best armor to strike at the weakest points.
Also, when you carry a complete set of superior arms and/or armor they look like they “fit”, if you are carrying a single piece of superior gear (such as your father’s claymore) it looks out of place and garners unwanted attention (challenges from duelist, criminals, and guards) not to mention becoming an indentifying marker (I don’t know who he was, but he was wearing a really fancy sword).
As I said before, IF it fits the character conception.

Here’s what I don’t think I got across in my first post.

  1. Realistically, a soldier, knight, mercenary, etc. should be better armed for less. This is because they have the support of governments, of local blacksmiths and armorers. However, the average thief will have none of these things; very few people want an armed thief. Or even an armed peasants, unless they are part of the conscript, in which case those weapons aren’t really theirs. Therefore, it costs more to them then it does to the nobles and soldiers for whom it is part of their lifestyles. This is simply part of the setting, and therefore BW itself. But, like I said, it is fixable. Just have the thieves and etc. include more in their arms purchases. There are hundreds of things I could think for them to take.

  2. If I can take a branch off the ground and whittle it 'till its a functional staff with a 6 dollar Chinese manufactured pen knife in about an hour, so can any self respecting medieval dweeb with a Traveling Kit (Knife included). That’s why they can get one for free; certainty they would have time for that. Doesn’t cost them anything extra to obtain, except time. Include it in the traveling kit, with personal swag, or have them grab one and whittle for the first hour of play.

  3. Armor is worth fortunes; single suits of plate armor are worth years of saving in some jobs, even higher ranking ones. Therefore, some people do wear parts of a suit of armor to save money.

  4. I bet (Gentleman’s) that for any character you make, I can come up with enough weapons for them to take so that they are on par with a knight armed with a dirk, a lance, a Mace and a long sword in terms of value/number.

Sure, you can pile on the arms, but if that pile of arms isn’t within the particular character concept it becomes contrived and breaks the players concept of what their character should be. So inventing lists is all well and good if the concept calls for such a thing, but only if it fits the concept, not to justify a rule.

Worth noting: resource points are to a degree abstractions, and when it comes to arms and armor, the game has decided that the weapons you are able to acquire are as befitting your lifepaths. Your lifepaths give you access to particular sets of armaments, and those resource points are a reference to your capability to have access to (and the ability to maintain) arms appropriate to those lifepaths.

Yeah, I too see Resources as really abstract during character creation and relative to the character. Trying to turn them into a shopping list with fixed costs won’t work and it was never intended to be that way. One man’s dagger is another man’s full kit.

Larkin, nobody said they would be out of concept.

Exactly. Poor thieves with little access to weapons shouldn’t be on the same terms as a knight.

Which is handled quite nicely in the way we purchase armor and property. The tool kit abstraction is a little ruff when you compare it to the different obstacles to replenish one it becomes obvious that some should be easier to obtain than others, but at least they’re equally ruff for all characters in as much as a tool kit has the same functional purchase (making a test without double obstacles) the skill we purchase it for determining what we can use it with).
Melee weapons are purchased the same way except tool kits are on a cost per kit basis whereas weapons are take whatever fits the character conception for a single cost (a poor man spends the same amount to get his staff and dagger that a knight spends to get his full complement of weaponry) but in play the knights kit makes him more versatile in combat then the poor man’s kit even though the cost in burning were the same.
Perhaps it would be better if weaponry had an abstract list price similar to the Armor and Property lists, priced by kits and quality of weapons. That would bring Arms more in line with other important resource expenditures.

For now, I suggest that a weapon kit cost 1/2(Pow. + V.A.), adjusted for weapon quality. With a maximum of 5 rps for run of the mill weaponry, 3 rps max for inferior, 20 rps max for superior quality weapon kits (BWG standards).
This would allow more customizable weapon kits without unnecessary resource expenditures for the single weapon types (or should the fair maiden be forced to forego her embroidery kit as she was forced to purchase the equivalent of a knights full kit when she acquired a dagger to defend her honor with?).

I think that’s added complexity to do something that is not desirable in the first place, but it’s your game.

or should the fair maiden be forced to forego her embroidery kit

Yes. Probably. That’s the “hard choices” inherent in character burning. Of course more interesting than buying a dagger in character burning using BtB method or your house rule is for the player to make getting a dagger belief #1 at the start of play. If you start with everything you want, what drives your characters motivation? The game is not for making characters tabula rasa awakened like Eve from the rib of Adam. Maybe that fair maiden did have a dagger at one point, but now it’s gone (stolen? Taken by force? Lost in a lake?) and now she desperately needs a new one before her wedding night with Ramsey Bolton…

It’s not interesting that a knight has a dagger, so it’s thrown in with the rest of his 5rp kit. It is very interesting for a young maiden to have a weapon, so either make sacrifices in character burning, or let the belief she needs a dagger drive play.

It’s about equally interesting for the fair maiden to have a dagger secreted in her bodice or a two-handed mace.

Great point. One of our characters didn’t have enough RP to get a workshop (he’s a boat builder), so you better believe that his pressing belief is about getting the money together to get his own workshop.