Talk:Zanbatō (5e Equipment)

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In what way is something "overpowered" or "underpowered" for a given category? Nobody is restricted from using any weapon they want in any case! All it changes is who gets a proficiency bonus with it. It is, however, clearly overpowered in general. My idea is to make it a "once every other turn" sort of thing, to emphasize its awkwardness and unwieldiness. However, my wording is clumsy. My other idea would be to put a flat +3 STR modifier requisite on it, preventing weak characters from even equipping it.--Kydo (talk) 03:17, 17 December 2014 (MST)

But the zweihander wasn't awkward or unwieldy. It was a balanced weapon, certainly no slower than other heavy weapons.
I don't think it's fair to claim I'm wrong about the balance after you made a change. A Two-handed, heavy, reach weapon that deals 2d8 damage is better than any other weapon in that class. Marasmusine (talk) 01:17, 20 December 2014 (MST)
"Frisian hero Pier Gerlofs Donia is reputed to have wielded a Zweihänder with such skill, strength and efficiency that he managed to behead several people with it in a single blow." The honest truth is, the real "zweihaander" literally IS the "Greatsword" in the PHB- Just, in German! ...And a little heavier than their estimates. However, there never really was a practical sword as tall as a man in European swordcraft. And I wanted to make a weapon that is roughly equivalent to swinging a sharpened humanoid, referencing media such as Berzerker and FFVII, and its function inspired by the anti-cavalry swords of the far-east, such as the Odachi, but built in the Western tradition. It is fantastical more than historical, much like their treatment of weapons in general. Yes, it was overpowered, but that isn't what I disagree with. I disagree that weapon categories have any sort of "power range" by which one could gauge whether something is "overpowered" or "underpowered" for a given category. The reason is that the categories are not tiered in any way, aside from their page layout. They're completely open. All it is, is a means of categorizing weapons into convenient groups for proficiency application purposes. They basically divide weapons into "Trained weapon users" and "everybody else". It isn't about which weapons are stronger or weaker, but who is likely to be using it.. And, yes, it was in the wrong category, clearly. I really don't know why I put it in simple weapons. Perhaps it was just a freudian slip? My notes on my phone have it as a martial weapon, so I'm not sure how that happened. I'm not disagreeing with its placement, I'm disagreeing with your reasoning. You said you are unsure how the game will handle "superior or exotic weapons". My answer is: It doesn't. Therefore, you are wrong about categories having power restrictions. The only divisions the DMG added were more about genre division than anything else.--Kydo (talk) 20:27, 20 December 2014 (MST)
I dunno, I guess, let's have a light one-handed weapon that does 2d12 damage then.
Oh, I say it was a balanced weapon because the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts conclude "two-handed greatsword was not a crude excessively heavy bludgeoning weapon but a fairly agile and balanced weapon designed for close-combat in war and occasional duel."[1]. Marasmusine (talk) 02:48, 21 December 2014 (MST)
I repeat, and this time I won't tl;dr you, this isn't that weapon. The weapon I have designed, and borrowed the name Zweihaander for, never actually existed. The wikipedia article notes that zweihaanders, even as a modern category, were only aboug 4ft long. The weapon on this page is 6-7ft in length, which is absurd. (On your sarcastic comment though, why not 2d12? Just make it super expensive or give it a nasty drawback.)--Kydo (talk) 11:35, 21 December 2014 (MST)
In the link above, the swords are clearly about 6 ft. long. Wikipedia says that they were "at least 4 ft 7 ⅛ in long", not "about 4ft long". Marasmusine (talk) 01:20, 23 December 2014 (MST)
Seven and a half inches doesn't make an extra 2-3ft. In any case, would you prefer I change the name to "Buster Sword" (yuck) and leave it at that? I'm getting tired of this disagreement about such a minor issue. At the end of the day, I chose the name Zweihaander because buster sword sounds SO effing lame. Zweohaander was essentially the same as the greatsword or claymore, just from a different region. Speaking of, I should probably warn you, I'm also planning to borrow the word "claymore" to make a one-handed equivalent of the great sword, I just haven't figured out how to balance the damage.--Kydo (talk) 07:17, 23 December 2014 (MST)

I had an idea today. The zweihander (actually a modern term) swords are renaissance-era weapons. We could make a category of renaissance melee weapons, much like there is a category of renaissance firearms in the DMG. That would give us a bit more leeway with the stats, and it's easier for a DM to control what goes in his/her campaign. Marasmusine (talk) 11:18, 20 December 2014 (MST)

But the idea behind renaissance, modern and futuristic in the DMG is to seperate dramatic gulphs in firearm technology. And we register non-explosive weapons by that way already, "stone age, bronze age, iron age, etc" If we made specific category for "renaissance" weapons, then that would need to be expanded for all the weapons, and there are a lot more potential categories for melee weapons then there are for firearms. It seems like a lot of hassle compared to making the weapon 1d12 or 2d6 instead.
Although I do think a "futuristic" melee weapon category wouldn't be amiss. Lemiel14n3 (talk) 11:44, 20 December 2014 (MST)
I'm not sure I follow, what other categories would we need beyond renaissance/modern/futuristic melee? Marasmusine (talk) 13:46, 20 December 2014 (MST)
Well, just off the top of my head, stone age, bronze age, iron age, roman age, medieval age, renaissance, pre-industrial, modern, futuristic. But the other point still stands, that's a lot of effort compared to changing a single weapon to 2d6 or 1d12. Lemiel14n3 (talk) 18:58, 20 December 2014 (MST)
It's actually even more complex than that, because different geographic regions developed different technologies at different times. Gunpowder came from China where it had already been successfully used in warfare prior to the renaissance, for instance. The weapons and military tactics in medieval Europe were very different from contemporary arms in the middle east... Or North America, for that matter. Not only that, but western technological progression is not so linear. After the Roman empire dissolved, a lot of history and technology was lost, especially in the Northern regions, and weapon smithing actually regressed for a time! That kind of thing happened at different times in different places. The Greeks experienced a similar "dark ages" prior to their rise, and china had little pocket-dark-ages in various regions due to all of their infighting and warfare. It was through military conflicts with other regions with unique technology, that progress was made, as craftsmen copied and incorporated the best parts of their enemies technology into their own designs. On the other hand.... A futuristic melee weapons list could allow lightsabers, forcefield weapons, all kinds of fancy goodies! Sounds fun to me! I like division by genre, because in an RPG, that's probably the biggest factor that would change the available items list. So, we'd have the typical European D&D-style fantasy, swashbuckling (Age of sail/Age of Discovery/Renaissance/Baroque/Rococo), Modern (Today-style-stuff, but may include materials that could be used to make WWII, Wild West, or Mafia settings and the like) Futuristic (Which, I guess, can be mixed with "Modern" to make cyberpunk and the like, or taken to its extreme to create high-flying space-opera). All we'd really need to add, genre-wise, is something for ancient/prehistory, and possibly a category for horror, like stuff from the Cthulhu Mythos and Saw.--Kydo (talk) 20:27, 20 December 2014 (MST)
Why would we have to add stone, bronze and roman ages? The game assumes medieval fantasy, so by default that would already make available everything prior to the medieval era. I'm suggesting a section for 18th century weapons that evolved from medieval weapons. This would include the dopplehänder/bidenhänder (or simply "two-handed sword", zweihänder is a modern term), spontoon (from the pike), small sword (from the rapier), basket-hilted sword / broadsword, and so on. We could allow these to be a little better than other weapons.
Lemiel, I do agree though, I would prefer to see this weapon balanced compared to existing weapons. But at some point, people are going to want to start adding the equivalent of exotic/superior weapons and there's currently no framework for that (maybe you'd have to take a feat that would also unlock some special technique with that weapon.). Marasmusine (talk) 01:51, 21 December 2014 (MST)
I disagree with you both. Weapon groups are about genre and character style, not power stratification.
  • The handaxe is a simple weapon, and the best weapon on the list.
  • The two categories have a range of equipment, much of which is either a stylistic copy of another weapon, or jusg not a practical combat choice, given the other options.
  • Nothing stops a character from using any weapon they please, and there is no penalty for using a weapon you are not proficient with. You just don't get a PRO bonus.
  • Weapon availability is not altered by its category.
  • The two groups are clearly divided by the amount of training or technical expertise they are related to, not any sort of hidden "power-range".
  • No such power range or restriction is given for the categories in either the PHB or DMG.
  • Weapon price scales with weapon power, and weapons designed for killing are bound to be more powerful than weapons designed for protection. This accounts for the coincidental power difference between the categories.
Also, making a section which depends on players using an optional rule seems a little excessive to me. And, since nobody gets a proficiency outside the official lists, doesn't that mean nobody gets a bonus for a weapon not on one of those categories? Doesn't that mean a character with a proficiency in a standard weapon eventually become more powerful than one with an overpowered, no-proficiency weapon? Not even the DMG provided an option to train weapon proficiencies! (Which is a shame, I was really looking forward to comparing how they resolved the idea)--Kydo (talk) 11:35, 21 December 2014 (MST)

Didn't the DMG provide an informal system though? Paying for training and taking a few in-game months to learn enough about a weapon to become proficient with its use. And for developing weapons outside of the handbooks, the closest thing to a system was taking existing weapons and changing their name to the closest parallel (the example they had was developing a campaign in an Asian setting) So there isn't really any need to that much categorical division, I used it to illustrate how absurd it would be, especially considering that metallurgy for developing melee weapons and the strengths and weaknesses of our muscle's ability to use them hasn't changed substantially period between the generic-medieval period D&D uses and today, they're still sharpened slabs of steel that we're supposed to swing as hard as we can. Lemiel14n3 (talk) 18:01, 21 December 2014 (MST)

Where did you find that? I've been looking through the book over and over for something about it. The PHB has a "training" DT Activity, (P.137) for languages and tool proficiencies, but nothing else. It does vaguely comment that a DM can offer "other training options" but neglects to mention what it means by that. Is that, like, other ways of training? Other types of proficiencies? Or is it more just an invitation for DMs to houserule, so they don't have to come up with an answer themselves? (If it's that last option, shame on you WotC! That is Bethesda level laziness!) Skill Advancement (5e Variant Rule) was directly based off of this restricted and murky rule.--Kydo (talk) 20:18, 21 December 2014 (MST)
OK, DMG P.267, under the proficiencies section of Firearms. "It's up to you if a character has a proficiency with a [weapon not on a standard table]. Characters in most D&D worlds wouldn't have such a proficiency. During their downtime, characters can use the training rules in the [PHB] to acquire proficiency, [...]" Interpreted broadly, I'd take it that the developers aren't comfortable with the idea of the players being able to stray too far from their race/class/background templates, but they also aren't comfortable with flatly denying a character the ability to go beyond those limits either, resulting in this sort of "DM to the rescue" sort of ruling.--Kydo (talk) 09:01, 22 December 2014 (MST)

I'd like to overhaul this page, as it is clear that my borrowing of the name "zweihander" has lead to conflict based on other, more historically accurate representations of weapons. To clarify: this is not a zweihander, it's a buster sword flavored by combining the Odachi and Zweihander weapons and their mythology as though they were a single weapon built in the Western tradition of swordcraft. I do not want it to be called a buster sword though. The main reason is that I don't want the weapon to be pidgeon holed as "Cloud's sword from FFVII". Rather, I'd like it to be a weapon that could be cloud's sword, but could also be a wide variety of other, similar, substantially oversized swords from history and fiction. My second reason is that "buster sword" sounds like crap. So, any suggestions for a better name? I'd greatly appreciate the input.--Kydo (talk) 00:47, 8 January 2015 (MST)

Slab of metal with a handle? The thumper? Smasher sword? Or go with TV tropes and just call it a BFS, big friggin' sword. Lemiel14n3 (talk) 23:26, 11 January 2015 (MST)

"Siege Blade", "War Blade", "Guillotine", or to keep a Germanic theme "Grosseklinge" or "Reisigenschwert" or something. Marasmusine (talk) 01:07, 12 January 2015 (MST)
lol, Gee thanks guys, that really helps with that "crappy name" issue. XD I'm kind of thinking of renaming it as an Executioner's Sword, as that's basically the only function these sorts of oversized german-make swords had before being relegated to parades and museums.--Kydo (talk) 10:51, 12 January 2015 (MST)
I'm still not seeing any reason not to have fun with it: Great Big Honking Sword or The Compensator
Let's call it the zanbatō. I HATE Bleach, but it's the best fit. It literally means horse killing sword, and that's what this weapon is for. Kydo (talk) 12:01, 1 May 2015 (MDT)
I'm two years late, but I have special interest in this area, so I'll contribute: these weapons have existed in the past under a variety of names and no, they're not the same as a greatsword or zweihander (a zweihander literally just means 'two-hander', and they were barely longswords/bastard swords). Zanbatō in Japanese and Zhanmadao in Chinese history are both the same type of weapon, and while they are subject to much dispute and controversy historically-speaking, they are concepts that had models produced for them, and some accounts show that versions of the weapon were indeed fielded in combat. These weapons were typically 6 feet or longer in total length, and were, as mentioned above, meant to kill both horse and rider in one swing. The length of the grip and accompanying manuals and artwork indicate that the weapon was used in a manner more like a glaive or naginata than a sword. (hands far apart on the grip to maintain balance, wide swings as opposed to hands closer together and tighter swings) By all means, this is more a pole-arm than a sword, in practical use, but it is constructed as a sword.
Now, that's all well and good, but this is a fantasy game, so the real-world physical properties of the weapon or its semi-mythical status are irrelevant; We can have huge clunky spearheads and polearms if we want to and have them be as light as a feather, presuming they're balanced against the source material and are fun to play with. A good point of reference for the weapon in existing D&D literature is the Fullblade in 3rd Edition. The weapon is described as a bladed weapon much larger and thicker than a greatsword, which is so heavy it requires a minimum strength score of ~18 and still imparts a -2 penalty on any medium sized creature attempting to use it. Mechanically, the weapon deals damage between that of a medium greatsword and its large-sized counterpart: The medium greatsword deals 2d6, and the large greatsword deals 3d6, so the fullblade deals 2d8. --Jwguy (talk) 09:52, 31 January 2017 (MST)

Dismounting[edit]

What is special about this greatsword that gives it the anti-mount ability? Marasmusine (talk) 13:36, 7 June 2018 (MDT)

The Zanbato is a real weapon that was used to counter cavalry, even literally being called the "horse-slaying sword." It was designed to chop through a horse's legs, but in adapting the weapon to D&D I extended that to being effective against all mounts. — Geodude Chatmod.png (talk | contribs | email)‎‎ . . 13:50, 7 June 2018 (MDT)
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