Friday, July 16, 2010

riffing on "Strength is for Fighting-Men"

James M. over at Grognardia posts so much that it's easy to forget that this post was only a week ago. But so it was.

One of the things that has never, ever sat well with me, in any edition of Dungeons & Dragons (except for 3-book OD&D and Holmes basic), is that Strength gives bonuses to hit and to damage. It's far too important of a stat, especially in AD&D where "Exceptional Strength" charts remain one of my least favorite things about the game. Even the "milder" B/X variant irks me. Strength is just a big thing in most editions.

But I've been mulling over what to do with Fighting-Men. And I think giving them +1 to damage in the style of OD&D that I like (with my matrix that simplifies the Greyhawk weapons vs. armor table instead of giving weapons variable damage) for Fighting-Men with a Strength of 14 or more fits in the category of where I want stats to be in the overall scheme of things. It doesn't go too far with emphasizing Strength but it does give Fighting-Men a bit of variability.

All of which leaves me torn between what else to do with Fighting-Men, because I do find them to be a bit less impressive than the other classes in OD&D by the book. Aside from multiple attacks, which are a given and I just have to figure out their form, I was also considering a mulligan rule to prevent Fighting-Men from whiffing on damage rolls. Nothing extreme, just saying that Fighters and only Fighters get one re-roll when their damage die shows a 1. Statistically that pushes every other result up to 7 in 36 and pulls 1 down to 1 in 36. Dunno how this would work combined with the extra damage, though.

Just wanted to put that down. Sometime soon I'll be working on level design (I have an idea for an entrance to the mega-dungeon, a "ruined temple" access point, that I've been kicking around in my head) and will get to posting about that.


  1. My solution is to have the +2/+3 damage bonuses only apply if wielding a two-handed weapon. Seems kind of silly for the bodybuilder to turn a paring knife into a chainsaw.

  2. Yeah, but my chart already privileges 2-handed weapons. I don't want to throw them totally out of whack. Besides, I like the idea of the right character being able to take someone out with a dagger - although I could see disallowing the +1 for Class I weapons (daggers, clubs and improvised weapons).

  3. The less-chance-to-whiff-rule is not bad. I also like the one (from Philotomy, methinks?) where if a FM kills a foe, he immediately gets to roll another attack OR any remaining damage carries over to a nearby foe.

  4. Let 'em roll two dice when rolling damage and use the better die roll for the actual result. This gives fighting-men the advantage without "giving the farm away".


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