Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

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seandon4
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Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:41 am

Hello: I'm new to "B/X" D&D. I noticed that in BFRPG and Labyrinth Lord, the Polearm does the same damage as a Two-Handed Sword, but for less cost. The weight difference is negligible. Is there a reason for that? Does the two-handed sword have an advantage over the polearm? Was this the same in the original B/X? Thank you in advance. ~ Sean
Urieal
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:01 am

Two-handed swords make your character more awesome than that namby-pamby militiaman who uses a pike. It's about the rule-of-cool. How can you intimidate a group of goblins charging you in a 10' hall? By twirling your sword in a fancy maneuver, yawning at them, then cutting them down in a frenzy. Try twirling that 13' glaive-guisarm? Oops...

Mechanically, though, no difference.
seandon4
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:45 am

Thank you for your reply. You and I understand the value of role playing over "game balance"; still this one seems like a tough sell to players who are astute readers of the rules and used to more balance, when making a character on their own with starting wealth. Especially since the polearm seems to have other advantages as well: charging and setting.

I noticed that OSRIC gives the more expensive two-handed sword a 3d6 instead of 1d10, for the money. Swords and Wizardry also seems to try to balance the polearm and two-handed sword. (OSRIC being more lengthy and s&w on the other end of the spectrum, more sparse).

I guess making the 2h sword a 3d6 could always be a house rule, but wanted to see if I was missing something in BFRPG (and LL too) regarding the weapons.
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:53 am

I am not going to say that in older versions of D&D people didn't min/max because people are people and I we all try to get the upper hand in these games. But what I will say is that for the most part people try to make their PCs use the tools of the trade that a class their playing would normally use. Its more about playing an adventure than gaming the game. And money for weapons only matter the first time you roll up a PC, after your first delve into a pit, dungeon, etc you will have enough money to buy any weapon on the list so one costing more than the other won't matter.

Now if your players still want to min max, then monsters can play the same game. Or tunnels can shrink to 5' x 5'. You know what I mean. But thats not a game I would want to be in, when the players and the DM are playing against each other.
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:34 am

Hywaywolf wrote:I am not going to say that in older versions of D&D people didn't min/max because people are people and I we all try to get the upper hand in these games. But what I will say is that for the most part people try to make their PCs use the tools of the trade that a class their playing would normally use. Its more about playing an adventure than gaming the game. And money for weapons only matter the first time you roll up a PC, after your first delve into a pit, dungeon, etc you will have enough money to buy any weapon on the list so one costing more than the other won't matter.

Now if your players still want to min max, then monsters can play the same game. Or tunnels can shrink to 5' x 5'. You know what I mean. But thats not a game I would want to be in, when the players and the DM are playing against each other.
I am in congruence with Hywaywolf here. Role-Play Trumps Roll-Play in my games, and 'basic' type games deal with this better, thus BFRPG works better for me.

The issue you really have going on, is that you need to help modify your player's perception of the game (their paradigm) towards not really worrying about 'winning' against you and more towards collectively having a good time by the journey of adventuring. If they want to play a board game, then Play A Board Game... but if having fun through collaborative play is the objective, then BFRPG is ideal for it.
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seandon4
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:48 am

Thank you for the replies. I agree with what you are saying, that the weapon should suit the character/class. I really like BFRPG and would like to join a PBP game in the near future. Thanks again.
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:45 pm

Also note that comparing to OSRIC is a bit unfair, statistically, as the "spread" of damage (and hit point) values is wider in that game.

The pole arm has the advantage of length, which can matter when determining initiative in combat; it's also a disadvantage, if you're trying to move through narrow tunnels with one.
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Joe the Rat
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:23 pm

It's also far easier to rationalize a "sunder" against a polearm than against a sword (what with the wooden haft and whatnot).

One of the nice things about B/X style weapons is that the differences in "weight class" are negligible. A proper "Large" two-handed weapon of any style does 1d10: Polearm, Zweihander, Great Axe, Maul. Pick the one that fits your image. (And for the record, you can still look pretty badass with a polearm.)
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:42 pm

Joe the Rat wrote:It's also far easier to rationalize a "sunder" against a polearm than against a sword (what with the wooden haft and whatnot).

One of the nice things about B/X style weapons is that the differences in "weight class" are negligible. A proper "Large" two-handed weapon of any style does 1d10: Polearm, Zweihander, Great Axe, Maul. Pick the one that fits your image. (And for the record, you can still look pretty badass with a polearm.)
Or like a dumbass when you get it wedged against two walls trying to get around a tight corner and then can't get it back out. :)
Urieal
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Re: Polearm vs Two-Handed Sword

Post Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:35 am

I think the overall point is that the 2H Sword should cost more because it is indicative (in the fantasy world) of wealth, training, and success. It's a roleplay choice, certainly, and probably should be rare among 1st level players.

Polearms are cheap weapons for the masses, each providing unique benefits (thus the plethora of different varieties)...but BFRPG doesn't get into that sort of granularity and isn't designed to do so. Leave that to OSRIC, 2E, 3.5, Pathfinder, or even more complex systems.

If you simply MUST have a mechanical difference, make a 2H Sword do 1d10+1 or 1d12 damage.

Of course, you can go the other direction too :)
Take it back to Holmes or OD&D style and make it where ALL weapons do 1d6 damage.
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