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Runequest Thursday #28 - Weapons, Armor and Encumbrance for Runequest!

Clint Staples

So, because I can't leave things well enough alone, I had to re-work the weapons and armour, and the encumbrance system for my Runequest campaign. I thought I would provide it here, in case anyone wants to have a look or try it out. You will find the link right under the image.

Obviously, and combat system for a game is a simplified abstraction of the real thing, and we can't hope to achieve true realism. Moreover, we probably wouldn't want to. Having said that, Runequest has a deserved reputation for injected a 'more realistic' or 'grittier' or however you want to say it, 'feel' to fantasy role-playing. Heroes don't amass huge Hit Point totals as they progress, there is no level system, and the use of hit locations, combine to have a somewhat humbling effect on combat. After all, ANYBODY can be taken down with a critical from a trollkin if things go badly. In some other games, that is all but impossible.

My weapon and armor system is based on my reading on medieval and ancient warfare, everything from fightmasters like Fiore di Liberi, to Byzantine Military treatises bearing the imprint of emperors or medival writers like Froissart, to secondary and modern commentaries. It is also based on my experience as a martial artist with experience with a number of the weapons and armors in these lists. I am not giving you my bona fides in order to suggest that I know all there is to know, only that I have some experience that I am trying to employ to inform this work. In case it need be said, I don't think this or any system can be is not 100% accurate, and this one probably betrays more about my biases than it does about actual medieval combat.

Take it for what it is worth. Which, ultimately is up to you to decide.

This system works with the Feats of Arms that I have previously posted. So if you like that, you might like this too.

A note that may clear up some confusion: Reach.

Reach describes the length of the weapon, but more importantly, the distance at which it becomes dangerous. A halberd has reach on a shortsword. Since both confer their reach bonus on Initiative, all things being equal, the halberdier will strike first. However, other factors, like speed of the wielder and amount of relative Encumbrance, might mean that a fast lightly encumbered wielder of a short weapon could strike before a slower wielder of a long one - essentially getting through the 'danger zone' before her opponent has time to act. It is also possible to close on a reach weapon, or re-establish a reach bonus with a combat maneuver.

Click the big red link below for the PDF of my work.

Reworked Runequest Encumbrance, Weapons, and Armor

LMK if you like it, Hate it, whatever. Although I would appreciate know why you hate it, or like it. Cheers.