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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Anatomy of Weapons (AAIE)

No AAIE New updates, Editing continues The goal is still to be done by Gen-Con.
Some of the new players from the games that happen on saturdays  have been leveling up their characters. So far the level up system  has not received any complaints. I think advancement one of the  stronger or at least more concise sections of the  game so I'm glad it's going smoothly.

Weapons in AAIE are separated into four basic categories.

  1. Peasant weapons are the weapons a character gets stuck with if that character charter was unlucky enough not to gain a legit weapon skill during initial character generation. Peasant weapons are admittedly pretty silly. A chunk of wood, a dead chicken, a frying pan, are all possibilities. They are distinctive in that most peasant weapons have a secondary mundane use. A pitch fork can be jabbed into a foe or used to pitch hay; a rolling pin is still a rolling pin even if a character chooses to  hit  slug goblins with it. Also distinctive is that peasant weapons have the advantage of ease. In Other words a character with no weapon skills can still roll a peasant weapon the use it proficiently. It's the difference between  picking up a skillet then clubbing a guy with it, versus picking up a sword while knowing how to use it. Eight of the 20  default peasant weapons have positive perks. One the "log" has a negative trait "only able to attack every other turn" while also having the stun Perk.
  2. Light weapons: Light weapons are the smallest of what might be considered martial weapons. This is the  first class of weapons in which a character needs to have a skill in order to use the  weapon effectively. The small weapons as a class have some advantages. Some of them are easy to conceal, such as daggers or even hand axes. Some of them have perks such as "second attack" that can extend the weapons damage potential if the player rolls well enough.The attribute Athleticism is used to determine a character's attack bonuses with  more of the light weapons than any other class of weapon. In fact twelve of the  twenty  light weapons have athleticism as their attached attribute. A rapier for example is a light weapon with it's attack modifiers based of athleticism. With  a few lucky the rolls to trigger the  "second attack" perk rapier can be every bit as effective as a heavier long sword. 
  3. Medium Weapons: Medium weapons are where most of the  "sensible" choices reside. A sturdy long sword a nice battle ax that sort of thing.  character needs to have a skill to wield these sorts of things effectively (without suffering disadvantage) Medium weapons tend to  have the  best balance between  damage along with perks. In other words more medium weapons have perks like "do an extra 1dX damage," or "gain a second attack."  These perks expand the damage dealing  range of the weapon while allowing the base damage to be nicely average. Workhorse weapons is a good way to describe the medium weapon  class.
  4. Heavy Weapons: These are the  big boys of melee weapons. Great swords, Great axe, morning star, those kind of  death dealing devices. A character needs to have a skill to use a heavy weapon effectively. Those careers which grant heavy weapon skills during character generation are few. Heavy weapons  do more damage, that's the first big benefit they  grant a character. The second benefit is heavy weapon are where the  major combat perks start to crop up. Perks like knock down, crush (weakens armor), push back, even stun crop up on the  heavy weapon chart. The drawback is the  majority of the heavy weapons are linked to a character's brawn  attribute. If a character rolled up lucky enough to have a heavy weapon but unlucky enough to have a low brawn, chances are the character will miss quite a bit with that big slab of steel. A whopping seventeen of the twenty  heavy weapons have perks attached , while a few have limitations like "too large for confined spaces.
  5. The final basic  type of weapons are ranged weapons. The  obvious advantage of ranged weapons is ... range.  Not to  run too far afield let me take a quick aside to  look at range in AAIE. Range is broken into abstract categories. From nearest to farthest they  go like this: Melee, close, medium, lastly Long. It takes one action to move from long range coming to medium or from medium to close range. Close range  can be come melee range if an attack is declared. Melee range denotes two entities actually locked in a fight, not just being near to each other. Being able to stand at long range plunking enemies twice before they get into close range is a nice ability to have. Again the  character creation system is a barrier here. There're not that many career paths that give the ranged weapon skills out for free.  Just like other martial weapons in order to use ranged weapons effectively  the character needs to have had some training.
    These weapons are mostly focused on athleticism, though heavy crossbows give a nod toward our more brawny friends.
There are two other "sub" classes of weapons which are found only in the  town section of the  game. 

  1. Extra heavy weapons: Which are a silly bunch of  extremely large weapons for extremely large combatants. The extra heavy weapons section is  typical AAIE silliness wherein I take the normal weapon concept then push it out a bit further into the stupid zone. These come with the limitations such as minimum brawn scores needed to wield or "always attacks last" The primary upside is they do big damage. The secondary bonus is now a character can swing an anvil on a stick if they're so inclined. 
  2. There are orcish weapons. Orcish weapon's details are generated randomly. Basically The  orc crafter takes a few pointy things, ropes them together to form something  extra pointy. The interest here is that orcish weapons might be statistically better than other things of their same  size class or price. Alternately they might be much worse when min maxed based on price vs effectiveness. Again this is all a bit silly, but if the  players want to throw spiked Gnome skulls at their enemies, the orc crafts person is the quickest way to possibly make that happen.
That pretty much sums up how weapons are classified. 

Weapons are the characters gateway to extra perks. If you were one of the two people who read the "anatomy of a perk" post I wrote a few weeks back you may remember that perks are "extras" that are triggered by good die rolls. As a system perks are very combat focused, weapon perks are understandably  almost exclusively combat focused.
A character using a skill to make an attack while wielding a weapon which  has two perks attached will have five perks to choose from on  a highly effective roll. Assuming that none of the  five perks are duplicates, having a weapon with it's own perks greatly expands the player's combat options. 

Another facet of the weapon perk concept is it will provide a mechanical bonus not predicated on improving the percentage chance of success. A perk isn't a plus one. Adding a new perk to a magical weapon is a perfectly viable option. I feel it's more interesting than the flat  plus one sword model. First of all the player has to roll well enough to trigger a perk  which means the bonus is not automatic with every swing. This might be counter intuitive. If a magic item is magic all the time why the hell would we predicate it's use on a good roll? I get that point. I even agree to a point. My only answer for that point is "This isn't that game."  This is a game based on the idea of things not going right all the time. While it is mechanically one hundred percent possible to provide a magic sword to a character that does extra damage with every successful hit, I would have to ask why some other more experienced  adventurer doesn't have that awesome sword already? Weapon perks allow for cool effects that don't always happen which fits the tone of the game. Besides there are rules for creating random magical items in the game as well, which we will cover in another "anatomy" post. 

On Skill Rarity:
As I stated above characters get skills via the character generation process which doesn't guarantee a decent weapon skill. This is in line with the core concept of the game. Most of the characters are not qualified to be adventurers. Running around with a frying pan trying to conk  various baddies over the head is the aesthetic I was going for. While this might seem frustrating at first making good use of the town to hire skill trainers can make getting a better weapon skill attainable (Expensive but attainable.)

That is a basic primmer on  AAIE weapons from light to heavy. Plus a nod to the stranger varieties found in the  "The Town." 
The  general take away  is character weapons are most limited at the beginning before the town is built out. At the early stages of the game the players have to rely on raw luck concerning what weapons their characters can use effectively. Once the  town has resources like trainers the weapon skill options open up for all future charters. Combine that with other town add-ons like  weapon-smiths the available options expand even more.

Thank you for reading, have a great weekend.