Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lucern Hammer Beats Banded Mail

The weapon-vs-armor table from the Players Handbook was equal parts fascination and frustration. I shared some thoughts on the D&D technology gap over at Kobold Quarterly.

Science fiction and science fantasy RPGs tend to focus a lot of energy on defining societies by the level of technology that they’ve achieved. They have the word “science” in the name of their genre, and science = technology, right?

We don’t see much similar discussion of technology in fantasy games. Leaving aside the question of magic for now, the role of technology—chiefly military tech—in FRPGs such as D&D and Pathfinder might deserve a second look. To warriors, technology was every bit as important 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 years ago as it is now. (more ...)


  1. GURPS Low Tech is an excellent and exhaustive book on pre-industrial era technology.

  2. The problem with this stuff is always the same, which is that one person's historical fact is another's historical anachronism or popular myth. Even in that short article there is a bunch of stuff I disagree with! :D

    You might enjoy this analysis and discussion of the weapon versus armour table, if you have not seen it before Steve: Weapon Type versus Armour Class.

    1. That was the must comprehensive analysis I've seen on WpnVsAC. Thanks for the link, Matthew.

  3. I appreciate the technological distinctions in a broad cultural sense -- iron armored army beats bronze, musket beats hurled rock. Its just not something I want to deal with on a granular level at the table unless the representation is very simple.

    Abstract combat can be a drag for some people ("but how could the centipede bite me? I'm in plate mail!"), but it has survived this long because it keeps things moving and (some would argue) fun.