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Re: (TFT) How often should TFT swords Break

In a message dated 4/1/2004 10:36:49 PM Central Standard Time, pvk@oz.net 

>Well I wasn't saying to remove the increased chance for durable weapons not 
>to break. I was just saying that hardly any weapon is really 
>indestructible, and many unexpected things can happen in combat. Maybe a 
>wonderful sword will often resist being stepped on sideways, but a thousand 
>other things could happen to it (getting caught firm somewhere when a large 
>force gets applied at a bad position, getting hit by a big hammer, or just 
>swinging full force and hitting a stone pillar). Also add "bent into an 
>unusable condition, but probably recoverable after combat" to the list of 
>things that effectively take a weapon out of action.

And again, I expect very high quality weapons to mostly survive such things 
where poor quality weapons would break (except for maybe the stone pillar - but 
IMC fighting near a stone pillar is a noteworthy event in its own right). 
Sure, even a high-quality blade will break if stepped on *just* wrong as a freak 
event - but freak events are freakishly rare. 

>I guess we partly just disagree about the continuum of severity. I tend to 
>see combat as an extremely variable, extreme, and unpredictable 

I guess so. I'm not denying that weird shit can and does happen in combat. 
Rather I'm arguing over the position of the decimal point. Or to put it another 
way, if combat in your campaign is both variable and extreme enough that the 
best weapons still break on an "18 confirmed by two dice rolling sixes" (1 in 
7776) then I'd expect poor-quality weapons in that enviroment (what you call 
the standard weapons) to break on a roll of *14* or better, rather than on an 

> IMO GURPS does a pretty good job of this, although I tend to make 
> up my own critical event tables.

Here we definitely have to agree to disagree. 

> If the system wants to be very simple 
> though and only consider dropped and broken weapons, then I think allowing 
> weapon quality to say, essentially, "you almost never have a major 
> unexpected setback in combat due to the quality of your weapon" isn't 
> really fair. It lacks imagination about the possible range of things that 
> could happen, and tends to stack the deck further in favor of the high 
> extreme.

Whereas I think that saying "you almost never have a major unexpected setback 
in combat due to the quality of your weapon" *is* the fair way to handle 
things, and that anything else unfairly stacks the deck *against* the high-quality 

And as for the lack of imagination, I think that the real exercise of 
imagination lies in keeping rare events appropriately rare, rather than creating 
situtations where "one-in-a-million shots pay off nine times out of ten."

Erol K. Bayburt
Evil Genius for a Better Tomorrow
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