Friday, January 31, 2014

+1 Bonus to damage is boring

Let's face it a +1 bonus to damage is boring. Maybe not at first but improving things from +1 to +2 isn't very exciting either.  How about beefing things up?  A simpel little change instead of a +1 sword being +1 to hit and damage it is instead +1d6 to damage. A +2 sword is +2d6 to damage.

 Sure it's just dice rolling but it's more dice, using that magic sword at the table looks different, it even feel different.

With more dice on hand magic swords become more significant and all of a sudden fighters gain a lot of ground compared to magic-users. Sure beating tough monsters becomes more likely.... since when is that a bad thing?

One also gains a mechanical method to add special effects to magic swords. With each 6 rolled on the magical damage dice something special may happen, depending on the weapon of course. On some weapons something bad happens whenever a 1 comes up; possibly an ego battle if you have annoying character stealing intelligent swords or a crackling backfire of magical energy... something that makes swigging the magic sword iffy even when successfully deployed.

Just a notion for now. I'm likely to go with more from here but I felt like sharing.


  1. I've long used max roll on die ('6' on a d6) to trigger special effect. Flails/nets entangle. Target's shield is destroyed. stuff like that. Makes sense to do same for magical effects. "Proc" is what the mmorpgs would call it ;)

    But, no offense intended, extra damage, even d6, and + to hit is still too mundane. I regulate plusses like that to superior materials / craftsmen ship. Magic is unique, special, and mysterious. See also related post of mine

  2. I agree it is dull as dirt and done to death. Maybe bump up the damage dice, so a d6 sword at + 1 does d8 instead? Or maybe add one to its critical range, so it deals double damage on 19-20?

    1. Bumping the dice up a step could work but it's a preety meager boost. a d6 weapon becoming a d8 weapon means only 1 in 4 strikes might be more significant than a normal weapons strikes, which would work nicely in a low hp campaign but in one where MU's can still dish out 8d6 fireballs it still leaves magic swords in the dust.
      Expanding the critical range could do the trick as well but twice a roll of 1 just doesn't feel very special either (a consistent issue with multiplied damage criticals).

  3. I think you'll need to differentiate between a Low Magic World and a High. Sure, players in a LMW would appreciate the higher die, but in a HMW it is laughable as you point out. Random spell like effects seem the best bet, as you suggest in the newer post.

  4. Years ago, I thought-out the same rule for my games. But it was mostly to shorten the amount of time it takes to fight a high-level encounter, as it takes forever to whittle down the big monsters.

    With Mutant Future, I even changed the damage adjustments for Strength ( and Being a Gamma World clone, the character can deal with the extra damage. I made it so that character can do some real damage unarmed -- the bonus damage is what your can do unarmed.

    As for plus-whatever magic item, I tend to find them boring. I like magic items to be rare and unique, and something like a +1 sword feels way too bland to me. I would rather treat magic items as intelligent swords or lesser artifacts, if not just impose a strange curse or infliction on the user. That is, a +3 sword that turns you (on a failed save) into a mindless berserker at the sight of a certain race (much like anyone who sees a Kinder -- with or without a magic sword =P), a +1 ring of invisibility that turns your clothing invisible when not in use (at least to other people), or even the fabulous +4 gay-blade that would make you feel a little... peculiar. ;) I just love complicating magic items with weird or funny side-effects. (and yes, I have thrown that last weapon in may game, and it was funny)