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In my last few Labyrinth Lord / AEC games, we finally did a switch I had ben discussing for a long time. Getting rid of the “optional damage per weapon” tables and replacing them with a set damage based on the wielder instead of the weapon. The upside of this system is anyone can wield anything, and there’s no mechanical advantage / disadvantage to it. So if a warhammer is your style, go with the warhammer without having to deal with how sucky they are in basic D&D. The downside of this system, however, is that it opens up the sword to all the classes. In my games this is fine, since swords aren’t any better than the other weapons in the game. However, in classic old-school D&D, most magic weapons are swords, and swords tend to be significantly better magic items than the other magic weapons (they have a lot more options, and come with higher “plusses”).

So, in effect, this does strip away that last vestige from the fighter and thief who at least didn’t worry that they had to compete with the cleric and magic user for the cool magic swords. In exchange, I’ve included a portion of magic weapons in my game that were class-specific – aimed particularly towards fighters and their kin.

So, how does this system work?

One Handed Weapons are stuff like long swords, one-handed battle axes, scimitars, flails, maces and so on. Missile weapons in here are spears, longbows and light crossbows.

Two Handed Weapons are greatswords, two-handed battle-axes, warhammers and any of the hundred or more varieties of polearms. Missile weapons in here are heavy crossbows.

Light Weapons are weapons you can use in your off-hand for two-weapon fighting – hand axes, daggers, short swords and their ilk. Missile weapons in here are shortbows, slings and javelins.

Fighters & Dwarves

  • One Handed Weapons: d8 damage
  • Two Handed Weapons: d10 damage
  • Light Weapons: d6 damage

Clerics, Elves, Thieves & Halflings

  • One Handed Weapons: d6 damage
  • Two Handed Weapons: d8 damage
  • Light Weapons: d4 damage

Magic Users

  • One Handed Weapons: d4 damage
  • Two Handed Weapons: d6 damage
  • Light Weapons: d3 damage