Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

The unique One Ring rules set invites tinkering and secondary creation. Whilst The One Ring works brilliantly as written, we provide this forum for those who want to make their own home-brewed versions of the rules. Note that none of these should be taken as 'official'.
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Glorelendil
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Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Glorelendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:27 am

A perennial topic here is the creation of new weapons. I think it's worth taking a look at the formula that applies to balancing the various stats.

If you think of weapons design as a point-buy system, each point of Injury, Encumbrance, and Damage has the same unit cost. Let's call it 1 point. Each point of Edge has twice that cost. (Costs are positive or negative, depending on the stat. Encumbrance and Edge go one way, Damage and Injury the other.)

Two-handed close-combat weapons have a cost of negative four. That is, you get 4 free points to spend. In the case of Great Spear and Great Axe, 2 points are spent on Injury and 4 points on damage, and then there's a 2 point refund for the increased Encumbrance. Net 0.

In addition, weapons sized appropriately for Hobbits have a 1-point cost. In the case of both Short Sword and Bow 2 points are "bought" by lowering Injury by 2, and then 1 point is spent on reduced Encumbrance. Net 0. (Note that this sucks for Mirkwood Elves archers: your weapon budget includes a benefit that doesn't apply to you.)

Long Sword and Long-hafted Axes follow a simple rule: compute stats for both 1H and 2H versions, average the Encumbrance, and use the average Damage when using it two-handed.

There are two exceptions to this formula:
1) The Great Bow ends up with a 1-point Deficit. To "balance" the Great Bow it apparently should either have 4 Encumbrance, 6 damage, or 15 Edge.
2) Daggers just suck, with a surplus of 5 points. (And that's with the 1 point cost for being usable by Hobbits.)

Despite the two exceptions, I would suggest that any new weapons should probably fit into this formula.

If you want to play around with weapon states, I built a stupidly simple little calculator. Pick a weapon as a starting point, then start changing the stats. A positive Budget means you have points to spend, a negative Budget means you need to tone it down.

I will propose a new variable in this formula: weapons whose use falls under the "Dagger" category could have an additional cost of 3. Let's call it the "Dagger Group". Mechanically it's to balance the benefit of getting the skill for free, and thematically it's meant to represent that these are simpler, less lethal weapons.

(Note: I realize some of you won't be able to resist writing essays about how much damage an iron-shod quarterstaff can do in the hands of an expert, or how it's not a simple weapon to master. That's great, and I look forward to reading your masterpieces, but that's not what I'm modeling here. A master knife fighter would probably say the same thing about Daggers, and look at its stats.)

Here are some examples of how the numbers could work out:

Staff
Damage: 7, Edge: G, Injury 14, Encumbrance 2, Two-handed, Dagger Group. (Net 0)

Short-staff
Damage: 6, Edge: G, Injury 14, Encumbrance 1, Two-handed, Hobbit-sized, Dagger Group. (Net 0)

Sling
Damage: 3, Edge: G, Injury 14, Encumbrance 0, Hobbit-sized, Dagger Group. (Net 0)

Of course, if you want those weapons to be full-powered weapons with their own skill required to use them, then you've got 3 points to spend in each case.
Last edited by Glorelendil on Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Otaku-sempai » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:14 am

When you state 'Hobbit-sized' do you mean weapons that happen to be small enough for Hobbits to use? or weapons that have been 'scaled-down' for Hobbits?

And many larger weapons are also too big or bulky for Dwarves to use effectively as well. Shouldn't that figure in your calculations? And what about factors such as spikes, studs, reinforced heads, bladed vs. blunt, etc.? Shouldn't they have point values?
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Falenthal » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:22 am

Great job, Glorelendil!

I must admit that, in principle, I don't like the idea that all weapons have to be balanced. It does seem unrealistic. But I also have to admit that no weapon in TOR seems "unrealistic" to me in its stats.

As for the new weapons (sling, quarterstaff), I might not like the stats that do come out (too powerful for my taste), but have to admit they're correct game-wise.
Otaku-sempai wrote:And what about factors such as spikes, studs, reinforced heads, bladed vs. blunt, etc.? Shouldn't they have point values?
I don't know about dwarf-sized weapons, although I think they already have enought powerful weapons so that limiting some others (longswords, great spears) is not an issue for the culture, as it is for Hobbits.
But regarding spikes, studs,... my opinion is that this all is flavour for the stats, not reasons to increase or decrease a stat beyond this formula. Would you change the stats of a sword if a player told you he wants it to have a blade like a saw? Probably not. But you could tell him "Ok, make it Grievous and tell us its blade been sawed".
Glorelendil wrote: In addition, weapons sized appropriately for Hobbits have a 1-point cost. (Note that this sucks for Mirkwood Elves archers: your weapon budget includes a benefit that doesn't apply to you.)
That's when Deadly Archery Virtue comes around... :D

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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Glorelendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:39 am

Otaku-sempai wrote:When you state 'Hobbit-sized' do you mean weapons that happen to be small enough for Hobbits to use? or weapons that have been 'scaled-down' for Hobbits?
The former.

And many larger weapons are also too big or bulky for Dwarves to use effectively as well. Shouldn't that figure in your calculations? And what about factors such as spikes, studs, reinforced heads, bladed vs. blunt, etc.? Shouldn't they have point values?[/quote]

This isn't a formula I invented; it's the formula implicit in the rules. As far as I can tell none of those factors affected weapon balance in RAW.

If you want a spiked something-or-another then go ahead and increase the damage. But then to keep it balanced you will have to compensate by making it "worse" in one of the other stats.

The goal isn't to realistically model weapons; its to avoid making one weapon numerically better or worse than the others, which creates a choice-trap for players.
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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Falenthal » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:52 am

Glorelendil wrote: There are two exceptions to this formula:
2) Daggers just suck, with a surplus of 5 points. (And that's with the 1 point cost for being usable by Hobbits.)
Could it be that adding a Called Shot to Daggers (Pierce, most likely) could compensate this a bit?

From the formula it also seems that the type of Called Shot has nothing to do with the "rating" of a weapon. In other words, the developers value all Called Shots equally powerful.

Glorelendil
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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Glorelendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:59 am

Falenthal wrote:
Glorelendil wrote: There are two exceptions to this formula:
2) Daggers just suck, with a surplus of 5 points. (And that's with the 1 point cost for being usable by Hobbits.)
Could it be that adding a Called Shot to Daggers (Pierce, most likely) could compensate this a bit?

From the formula it also seems that the type of Called Shot has nothing to do with the "rating" of a weapon. In other words, the developers value all Called Shots equally powerful.
Yes, I believe so. The only balance in Called Shots is to limit Pierce to weapon categories with relatively low Injury.
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Glorelendil
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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Glorelendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:38 pm

I updated the calculator to include two new fields:
"Dagger Group", which has a cost of 3 points.
"No Called Shot", which gives you 2 points to spend.

That makes Dagger come out at net zero.
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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Otaku-sempai » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:49 pm

Well, I used your calculator to build a hypothetical Great sword:

Great sword
Damage: 9
Edge: 10
Injury: 18
Encumbrance: 4
Group: Swords
Notes: Two-handed weapon. A called shot results in Disarm. Cannot be used by Hobbits or Dwarves.

I wasn't expecting it to balance, but it did. On the other hand, I doubt that any of the Free Peoples would have created a Great sword with the exception of the Númenóreans, unless it was an exploration by an individual sword-smith of just how far he could take his craft.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Falenthal » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:57 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:unless it was an exploration by an individual sword-smith of just how far he could take his craft.
Or if that sword-smith had a boss named Peter Jackson:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAO4t8672hc

:lol:

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Re: Toward a Theory of Weapon Stats

Post by Glorelendil » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:37 pm

Should it be 3 points for Dagger Group and 2 points for having a Called Shot, or 4 and 1? I currently have it set at the former.

I mean, who wouldn't trade Smash Shield for a lower Edge rating?
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