One Little Tweak

Dec 16 2011

"Paxil deprived" by kevindooley on Flickr

"Paxil deprived" by kevindooley on Flickr

I ran a game of Searchers of the Unknown, a simplified and free original D&D rule set, at RyvenCon a while ago. ‘Twas fun, and the system worked well, but we agreed that it could use one little tweak.

This way, madness lies. It’s so tempting to house-rule a system because it’s “not perfect.” Soon, a rules-light system grows into a rules-moderate system.

Well, this is a minor issue, but a significant one. There are four kinds of weapons in Searchers:

  • Ranged weapons, worth 1d6 damage
  • Small melee weapons, like daggers, worth 1d4 damage
  • Medium melee weapons, like swords, worth 1d8 damage
  • Large melee weapons, like polearms and two-handed swords, worth 1d10 damage.

(The actual terms are a little different, but these are more clear for my purposes.)

Those are all of the stats for weapons. Thus, there’s no mechanical reason to wield a dagger instead of a polearm.

There’s a good reason for this: space. Searchers of the Unknown is supposed to fit on one page. Complicated weapon rules would take up space and, well, complicate the system.

However, Ryven came up with an ingenious rock-paper-scissors solution: what if medium weapons give you +1 on your attack roll against enemies carrying small weapons, large weapons give you +1 against enemies carrying medium weapons, and small weapons give you a +1 against enemies carrying large weapons (simulating the ability to duck around the large weapon)?

It’s an elegant solution, and though it does introduce a slightly more complicated attack roll, I think it’s worth the tweak to balance out the game.

Hope this helps!

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