October 17, 2011

My beloved battleaxe

It's been a couple of weeks since our group has been able to get together to play HackMaster due to Carolyn's work and traveling.  We were planning on getting together to start a new campaign using the Beta Player's Handbook and some of the play-testing material.  I rolled up a Pixie Fairy.  The material for that race is very much still Alpha material, so I filled in the gaps with HackMaster 4th Edition material.

Carolyn, our GM, got her hands on a new adventure written by DSK. It is a Halloween themed adventure for level 5 PCs and she wanted to run that.  No problem.  I pulled out Bolburd, who just made 6th level.  We have another 5th level Dwarf fighter, an almost 4th level Human Rogue, and a 3rd level Human Caregiver Cleric.  Although we just started, it is obvious that I'm going to have to pull most of the weight fighting wise.

That's OK.....it is what I do.  I don't want to get into spoilers, but we'll bee needing a heavy hitter.  We are trying to use the new rules as they come out and one of those rules "nerfed" my PC's weapon.  The Battleaxe went from doing 4d4p damage to 4d3p damage*.  A couple folks on the KenzerCo forums got a little pissy with this change and I'll admit to being a bit torqued myself.  I spent a LOT of build points (BP) into my battleaxe specialization.  The weapon is pretty damned slow and if you wanted to do a lot more math than I'm comfortable with you can find other weapons that do more damage over time.  Yes, some people did a damage per second (DPS) calculation.  Thing is, this isn't World of Warcraft and there are other considerations to deal with.  First of all, damage doesn't mean squat if you don't connect.  Second, as you level your PC and start fighting tougher monsters, they are going to have higher damage resistance (DR).  The dagger may end up having the highest DPS calculation (not sure what does.....I don't care), but as the baddies scale up you'll have a helluva time actually dealing damage, much less knocking them back.

In preparation for the game last night I went ahead and looked up the new stats for the battleaxe.  I didn't want to go off of forum chatter.  Yep, it is now 4d3p damage.  Glad I bought those D3's.  Wait a second, what's this?  A battleaxe does 3d3p damage versus shields.  Before they did half damage, expressed as 2d4p.  This means I do a little more damage versus shields than I did before.  There is a little asterix by the damage notation in the PHB.  The battleaxe is more effective against heavier armorer foes.  If my enemy is wearing heavy armor or has a DR of 5 or more, the battleaxe lowers their DR by 2.  Hells yeah!  The battleaxe is far from nerfed.  Game on!

*If you don't know already, the "p" means that the dice penetrate.  If I roll a 4 on a d4p, then I get to roll the die again and add it along with a -1 to the previous roll.  If I roll a 4 again, I get to roll again, still adding a -1 each time I roll the die.  Some people get confused and think the second penetration is an "additional" -1, as in the next die gets a -2, a lucky third penetration gets a -3, and that would be it.  Doesn't work that way, each time you roll a penetrating die, it is just a -1.  Basically the die range is simply reduced by 1, so a 1d4 that had penetrated has a range of 0-3 instead of 1-4.  Statistically this increases the average die roll by .5, or so I'm told.  A d4 would roll an average of 2 and a d4p would roll an average of 2.5, which would be expressed as 3.  This change from a 4d4p to a 4d3p basically took the average roll from 10 to 8.  My stat math might be off, but you get that generally speaking the total die roll is reduced by about 2.