Monday, April 8, 2013

Fixing the Weapons Table, Part 1: Heavy Mace, Kama, and Starknife

I have a bone or two to pick with the selection of weapons available in Pathfinder (and previous editions).  As such, I've been re-working the table of weapons a bit (okay, a lot) in order to make it more balanced, more interesting, more fun, and above all more realistic.

I'll start off today with a few minor problems.

Morningstar vs. Heavy Mace
As it is written, there is absolutely no reason anyone would have a heavy mace instead of a morningstar.  They do the same amount of damage (1d8 for a medium creature) and have the same critical (x2), but heavy mace only does bludgeoning damage whereas the morningstar is one of the few weapons -in fact the only one in the Core Rulebook - that does both bludgeoning and piercing damage simultaneously.  That versatility alone gives it an advantage over the heavy mace.  Plus, a morningstar weighs two pounds less and costs 4 gp less than a heavy mace.  At this point, the only reason an adventurer would own a heavy mace is because the weapons merchants threw a box of them out in the alley so he wouldn't keep tripping over them.

How to fix it: it's not much, but I've given heavy maces a +2 bonus to sundering attempts.   Also, I made heavy maces a pound lighter than morningstars when I fixed all the weapons' weights (that'll be a later blog post, but I'll give you a hint at what's to come: "Greataxes don't weigh 12 pounds! Holy hell, do you guys even know what weight is?").

Sickle vs. Kama
Do you know what a kama is? It's a Japanese sickle.  I mean, a sickle has a moon-shaped curve to it an a kama is straighter, but they're the same basic weapon.  Here, I have a kama; it's a pretty handy garden tool.
Here it is with the awesome cedar handle I carved for it, because I am a manly man.  
So why are they different weapons?  They both do 1d6 slashing damage, have a x2 critical, weigh 2 lbs., and allow you to make trip attacks.  But whereas one of them is a simple weapon usable by almost anyone, the kama is an exotic weapon.  Exotic weapon as in everybody-who-isn't-a-monk-has-to-waste-a-whole-feat-to-wield-me exotic weapon.

How to fix it: it's simple: no more kama.  Just make the sickle a monk weapon.  Problem solved!

Starknife vs. Shuriken
Shuriken, also known as throwing stars, are a classic Eastern weapon.  You may know them from everything with ninja in it.  Starknives are, as far as I can tell, made-up bullshit weapons designed by people who buy unwieldable jagged knives with jewel-eyed dragon heads from that one store in the mall.  You may know them from Pathfinder and nothing else.
Maybe Krull? Has anyone seen that? I know I haven't.
What's the problem? A starknife does more damage than a shuriken, can be thrown farther than a shuriken, and has a better crit than a shuriken.  And shuriken are exotic weapons whereas starknives, despite being completely unwieldable, are just martial weapons.  Plus shuriken are treated as ammunition, which means 50% of them, when thrown, are broken or unretrievable.  Sure starknives cost 24 gp to the shuriken's 1/5 gp and weigh 3 lbs. to the shuriken's 1/2 lb., but what adventurer do you imagine that stopping? In short, starknives are far superior to shuriken despite looking like something you'd draw on a trapper-keeper in junior high.

How to fix it: no starknives.  Problem solved.

Well, that's all for now.  I've got plenty more nits to pick with the weapons table, so expect to see more of that here in the future.

-your nit-picky d20 despot

No comments:

Post a Comment