Andreas Davour of the Omnipotent Eye made a comment on my last post detailing a simple weapons and armor list for T&T that I thought was worth responding to in a new post. Andrea commented that the number of hits taken by the different suits of armor seemed high. Here are the protective values of my five armor types:
Plate and mail......15
In particular Andreas mentioned the suit of full plate that takes 18 hits. I'll admit that some of these numbers appear pretty high, but actually they are not when you take the damage potential of the weapons into consideration. Where did I get these protective values? They are almost directly from the 7.5 edition rules. The only exception is 'Plate and mail' which I gave a number of hits exactly between 'Mail' and 'Full Plate.'
But to the point at hand. Armor is supposed to provide passive protection from blunt objects, sharp points, and blades wielded by those that intend to do you bodily harm. In T&T the damage potential of weapons is measured in the number of six-sided dice rolled plus (or minus) some fixed number.
So what kind of damage can the various weapons dish out? I put together the minimum, average, and maximum damage potential of various weapons from my simplified list. Let's look at the progression for the different bladed weapons:
Short sword (3).............3...9....18
2-handed sword (6+1)......7...19...37
From this progression, we can see that even a dagger can penetrate a suit of mail (12 hits of protection) if the blow solid enough. The same is true of a short sword against a suit of plate and mail (15 hits). Of course these are near the maximum values for these weapons, but they can penetrate leather and scale with near average hits. As the swords get larger and heavier, their ability to cut through heavier (naturally) goes up. A two-handed sword has the potential to break through full plate with an average hit. With greater than average hits, the sword should also fatally wound the person wearing the armor (37 hits!). This is, in fact, why larger and larger weapons were produced. As time progressed, armor became heavier so larger weapons were needed to penetrate it; this either meant making bigger blades wielded by two hands or making a big chopping or smashing head like the 'hafted' weapons.
If we look at hafted weapons, we see a similar increase in damage potential as the weapons get bigger:
Hand axe (3+2)..........5...11...20
Battle axe (6+3).........9...21...39
Even on an average hit, a battle axe can break through full plate armor and injure the wearer while the smaller bashing and cutting weapons are more effective against lighter armor; although it should be noted that each of these weapons can defeat the protection of full plate at their maximum values. These types of weapons were ideal for inflicting pain on those in heavy armor.
Now for 'pole weapons':
Polearms were designed to take down heavily armored warriors. As you can see here they can do that in game terms even when facing a warrior type with doubled armor protection; the 41 hits that can be generated by a polearm are tough to withstand. The spear and staff are less effective against armored foes. If your wielding a staff, you'll be hard pressed to do much against an opponent dressed in anything heavier than scale. The spear can penetrate plate and mail, but once again this is only when maximum damage is dealt.
All of this discussion does not take Personal Adds into account. Personal adds are a measure of the strength, skill, speed, and luck of an individual warrior making him/her more or less capable at inflicting harm upon others. With trained warriors, the minimum, average, and maximum values would go up considerably. With highly trained warriors possessing 50+ Personal Adds, the number of hits generated by the weapons can even become insignificant.
Of course all of these hits will not be delivered with every blow. There is the opponents attack and active defense to overcome as well if the opponent is aware of the attack. This is was blunts most attacks and leads battles between well-armored warriors into long-term slug-fests. This is where spite damage comes into play. In most situations this means the fighter throwing the most dice is going to be the winner since he/she has a better chance of rolling more 6s. This assumes the two fighters are evenly matched and have roughly equal personal adds. Again, personal adds are often the deciding factor and can outweigh the input of weapons. A warrior with 50 personal adds could care less about your fancy armor. What does it take in 7th edition to have that many personal adds? Only a 2nd level warrior with an average ST, DEX, LK, and SPD of 24.
But for a final check we'll look at the damage potential of the different missile weapons. Remember that the damage they inflict is only reduced by the defense rating of the targets armor and is not affected by the hits generated by the opposing side.
Short bow (3+1)......4...10...19
Long bow (4+3)......7...15...27
Now we see that even a person wearing full plate is likely going to be feeling some pain when hit by a crossbow bolt or arrow from a long bow. Even a sling shot is potentially deadly to someone in leather armor.
But what is really important is that someone wearing full plate should take little or no damage from someone with a sling or short bow (unless they are really good shots). But even these weapons can generate between 12 and 19 hits. A 2 die weapon, while seemingly small and ineffective, is still capable of killing the average person in leather armor (5 hits protection, 7 CON) and injuring someone in scale. A 3 die weapon can kill someone in mail. Once again it's important to remember that these are hits dealt by the weapon only, without considering the Personal Adds of the archer. A good archer on the battlefield is someone to be feared. You'd better get a shield to go with that plate.
Gary Con - Gygax House
33 minutes ago