Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Possible ways to implement Weapon vs. AC Type modifiers in AD&D

It's tempting to use Weapon vs. AC Type for our next AD&D foray (into A2, part 2), but how?

Not counting "don't use it at all," I see four options:

Only versus specified armor type.

Basically, use it as written, ignore weapon vs. armor type when it doesn't apply.

Pros: We get to try it out. Some weapons will really benefit in some circumstances.

Cons: Adds a lot of complexity, but only sometimes. Penalizes everyone who doesn't know their weapon vs. armor type well enough to choose targets, or weapons, well. (This applies as a con to all of the below options, as well.

Versus all armor, with an assigned type.

Use it as written against specified armor types, but then assign a "type" to non-specified armors. Enemies with natural DR will get a "type" assigned.

Pros: More widely useful.

Cons: Have to assign an armor "type" to everything.

Versus all armor, by AC.

Ignore armor type, use it versus armor class, and just use it - with everything below AC 2 treated as 2.

Pros: Easiest version. No work, just lookups.

Cons: Penalizes some weapons types pretty much universally. Makes no sense.

Versus worn armor, by AC.

Pretty much like the option before - worn armor only, but use AC.

Pros: Second easiest version. No work, just lookips.

Cons: Penalizes some weapons types pretty much universally. Makes no sense. Requires complexity sometimes.

You'll notice I regard occasional complexity as an issue. Each time a rule sometimes applies, but not always applies, it means we spend a moment checking each case to see if it applies. That takes time even in cases where it doesn't matter.

Overall? I'm still not sure. I'd like to try just to be able to say I did, and to give an actual play assessment of what it brings to the table . . . but it feels like choosing the least-bad option. As a result, I'm still not sure.


  1. I vaguely recall an AD&D rule that classified damage as blunt, piercing or slashing, and sorted armors into...something. Then just had adjustments for the smaller table, rather than working out what a bill-de-corbin did against studded leather and shield. But as vague as I am being, I suspect that is not helpful.

    1. I'm pretty sure that was 2nd edition AD&D. I only play/run first edition, so I can't comment on how that was in play.

  2. I don't know if this will help but you may want to check out what I did in this equipment list I posted a while ago.

    I incorporated any special rules into the weapon description and tried not to get overly detailed. For example Maces gets +1 to hit chainmail and gelatinous creatures.


    1. It won't help, since I'm not looking for a different system, just a logical and effective way to try the existing system in AD&D.

      That said, I do like what you did, and I think it's the best approach to take for a D&D-based rules system that's still relatively simple. I'm highly amused by giving bludgeoning weapons a +1 to hit black puddings. If they're anything like AD&D black puddings, it's like giving swords a +1 to hit rust monsters. Or bare handed attacks a +1 to hit wights, ghouls, and spectres.

  3. Back in the old days my friends and I generated a chart which showed each weapons chance to hit a particular AC. This made using the weapon modifiers quick and easy. However, it would only work well if you assume all AC are equivalent and not try to distinguish between plate mail and dragon hide. Judges Guild had some cards like this well. However, I found a printed table less fiddley than cards.

    1. If we do use it, I'm going to see about getting everyone a Combat Computer to use!


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