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Estie May 11, 2020 16:47

Weapon weights - a video

Here a collector weighs some of his historic (or replicated) swords and other weapons on camera.

Results are roughly:

Heaviest 2handed sword: 7 lbs
bigger swords, usable 1 or 2handed ("bastard sword"): 3 lbs
various 1-handed sword types (including rapier): 2-3 lbs
battle axe, warhammer: under 2lbs, lighter than most swords
smallsword (a gentleman's dueling weapon): less than 1 lb
spear: 3 lbs
2-handed axe: 4 lbs

luneya May 12, 2020 02:20

Yes, it's well understood that weapon "weights" in Angband (and D&D, etc.) do not reflect the actual weight of the weapon, but rather how burdensome a weapon is to carry. Even if they all have the same mass, a polearm will be more difficult to carry than a sword, which will be more difficult to carry than a dagger. Moreover, this burden applies across the acts of wielding the weapon, carrying it at the ready on a belt or harness, and merely carrying it in a pack along with other baggage.

I think the current weight system is a reasonably good approximation of how burdensome various types of equipment are to carry. The only change I would suggest is renaming the weight value to "[arbitrary] units of encumbrance" rather than "pounds of weight," so that pedants stop trying to correct us on how much any of this stuff physically weighs.

tangar May 12, 2020 08:03

Real-world and Tolkien's universe are different. So having precise weight for weapons as in real-world isn't crucial imho. We didn't had orcs, magic and dragons at the medieval streets after all..

Sky May 12, 2020 09:56

it's not a matter of historical accuracy. Did a historical dagger do 1d4 damage? A cutlass 1d8?
Because if you were trying to give an accurate, RPG-based answer, then combat damage would depend *exclusively* on the combatan't strength and skill.

Game weapon weight is not based on factual weight, but rather on an imaginary stat which dictates what damage die weapon use. Ignore it. Rename it if it really annoys you. It's purely a game mechanic.

Estie May 12, 2020 09:59

@luneya: The op is not a call for action, which is why I started a new thread and did not append it to "Fix weapon weights".

@tangar: No, I cant imagine orcs brandishing 15 lb swords.

What I took away from that video is this: (one handed) melee weapons made for battle weigh more or less the same regardless of historic period, region, weapon length or combat style used.

DnD started the simulation: Whats the difference between a shortsword and a longsword ? - The longsword does more damage!

The flaw with this became apparent when, in actual tabletop play, the question arose: Why would anyone ever use a shortsword ?

Various attempted answers ("The romans didnt have the technology yet", "its cheaper") in fashion similar to those from luneya's or tangar's remarks didnt satisfy whoever the frogknows dev was at the time, so he came up with his improved simulation:

The shortsword is lighter and can be applied more quickly, both types do the same damage over time!

Years back when I first understood this idea I really liked it and thought it was an increase in accuracy. However, in light of more recent information like the video linked above, I have come to the realization that it is not. I still like the angband combat system, but if I were to make my own game, I would try to find a different approach.

tangar May 12, 2020 10:13

Humans in real-life are not match to orcs (and humans) in Tolkien's universe :p

Donno, I see such stuff as traditional: oldies, but goldies. Game was polished and well-balanced for 30 years. Changing stuff with the reason to make it more realistic to real-life is dull imho. There are plenty of spots in the game to concentrate devs efforts, to enhance existing gameplay mechanics..

But I suppose if someone is really fun of this idea - he could create a variant based at actual V with such weapons and rebalance the game (preparing all the formulas and testing all stuff from 0 to 50 lvls with different chars) - if it will be good, devs could put it in the game, why not.. So if you are really fun of such realistic stuff and wanna see it in V - you could try to work on it in your test-variant and then to propose this changes to V. Cause just changing weights in V gamedata is pretty simple.. but it will break actual gamebalance, and will require loads of rework in game design.

Sky May 12, 2020 16:05

ugh... i really didnt want to do this, but it looks like we have to.

A halaberd does not weight much more than a greatsword, or a flail. A pike probably weights even less. But, they are much slower, due to the size, and the distribution of the weight away from the fulcrum. It just happens that most longer weapons are heavier, but two same-weight weapons of different sizes will handle differently, based on the dynamics of the moving mass.

So you can have a weapon that swings slower, hits harder, due to this change in mass balance, that however weights on the scale as much as a nimbler weapon that had the most mass on the fulcrum.

so a Maul (20lb) doesn't actually weight 20lb, but due to having most of the mass at the end of a long stick, and having to swing said mass in a long arch, it attacks less often and hits harder.

BUT, as we said, the weapon weights are not meant to be factual - they are purely a game mechanic to implement "if stronger, more blows" in the game. It could be ANY value, but of all the imaginary values, weight is the one that makes more sense for "only stronger characters will benefit from using this 40lb huge Mace Of Disruption".

wobbly May 12, 2020 16:38

I'm waiting on the same explanation for swords which are balanced for fighting & sabres which can be handled from horseback as well as dueling. But mostly I think the current system works about as terribly as a game mechanic as it is unrealistic.

Estie May 13, 2020 15:43


Originally Posted by wobbly (Post 145408)
I'm waiting on the same explanation for swords which are balanced for fighting & sabres which can be handled from horseback as well as dueling. But mostly I think the current system works about as terribly as a game mechanic as it is unrealistic.

The outstanding feature of the vanilla combat system is that you want a dagger early and a MoD for lategame. Unlike DnD/nethack, its complex enough to accommodate such a shift.

What exactly makes it terrible in your opinion, and what would a system have to look like for you to like it ?

Hounded May 13, 2020 18:46

I don't mind the weights. As stated it's not meant to relate to the world. We could just as easily say "Quatloos" instead of "Pounds".

What I think might be worth investigating would be to shift to a system based upon Encumbrance. The units don't really matter but with the underlying concept that excessive higher-encumbrance equipment may take up more inventory slots or impede dexterity / to-hit values.

The following are effectively random numbers from the air but...
1 Inventory slot allows 40 enc
- Staff = 20 enc (maximum two stave per inventory spot)
- Rod = 10 enc (maximum 4 rods per inventory spot)
- Wand = 5 enc (maximum 8 wands per inventory spot)
- Potion/Scroll = 1 encumbrance (status quo)

... cause really, I like to get a gatling Rod-of-Firebolt setup going but it can lead to absurdity (especially when you auto-pickup another staff of Magic Mapping when your last one finally had only 2 charges left).

Equipped items could be similarly evaluated so that yes, you can wield the ginormous weapon but at a certain enc threshold perhaps it overflows to your ranged weapon spot (two hands required to wield) or limits your shield (only a buckler or "small" shield allowed). Suddenly you have to make a real choice as to whether you're following a tanky or agile strategy.

Lots of problems with the above I'm certain. Just throwing out some thoughts with no regard whatsoever to the difficulty of implementation.

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