Mechanics vs. Fluff, calling a spoon a knife


Homebrew and House Rules


This all started as I was looking at the Magus.

It occured to me as its probably occured to many others that a shield/open hand Magus is one of the better options for them to weild, as they're never going to dish alot alot of melee damage as a hyrbid, esp as a 1 handed melee hybrid.

However a Magus weilding a shield and no weapon isn't very thematic, functional yes spike shield bash works just fine as a 1h melee attack. But dosen't quite look the part.

So I ask what if you call a shield a sword ? it uses to rules of the shield for feats, damage, crit etc. you enchant like a shield with the armor enchament and the weapon spike bonuses.

but as far as how you describe your character in game its a sword/open hand defensive style of fighting.

By the same token a two weapon fighter using shield/sword combo could desbribe his chracter as using two swords while taking the mechanical benefits of the shield.

Then I started thinking what if you could enchant a double weapon with armor bonuses at one end instead of 2 lots of weapon bonuses

Then got me thinking further if its possible to turn a shield into a decent weapon that keeps its shield bonus with the right feats, instead of just calling it somthing else could you not just create a new weapon enchament called shielding.

flat cost "x gold"
light/1h/(1 end of double weapon) can be given a sperate shield enchament and is treated as a shield for all rules.
reduce die damage by 1 step, reduce crit range by 1 to minimum 20, reduce crit mult by 1 minimum 2x.

But then do you really need rules for it ? I mean even the double weapon example if you use a shield/sword rules for it there no reason you can't describe that as a doublebladed sword.

But how far can you take calling a spoon a knife ? would you as a player call a BBEG looted mace you found a sword ? if you got weapon focus sword its still mechanically a mace even though your calling it a sword. But does that just rub you the wrong way even if its being called a sword when the BBEG was hitting you with a mace ?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Okay. Now I can't stop thinking about when the Simpsons went to Australia.


Phasics wrote:

This all started as I was looking at the Magus.

It occured to me as its probably occured to many others that a shield/open hand Magus is one of the better options for them to weild, as they're never going to dish alot alot of melee damage as a hyrbid, esp as a 1 handed melee hybrid.

However a Magus weilding a shield and no weapon isn't very thematic, functional yes spike shield bash works just fine as a 1h melee attack. But dosen't quite look the part.

So I ask what if you call a shield a sword ? it uses to rules of the shield for feats, damage, crit etc. you enchant like a shield with the armor enchament and the weapon spike bonuses.

but as far as how you describe your character in game its a sword/open hand defensive style of fighting.

By the same token a two weapon fighter using shield/sword combo could desbribe his chracter as using two swords while taking the mechanical benefits of the shield.

Then I started thinking what if you could enchant a double weapon with armor bonuses at one end instead of 2 lots of weapon bonuses

Then got me thinking further if its possible to turn a shield into a decent weapon that keeps its shield bonus with the right feats, instead of just calling it somthing else could you not just create a new weapon enchament called shielding.

flat cost "x gold"
light/1h/(1 end of double weapon) can be given a sperate shield enchament and is treated as a shield for all rules.
reduce die damage by 1 step, reduce crit range by 1 to minimum 20, reduce crit mult by 1 minimum 2x.

But then do you really need rules for it ? I mean even the double weapon example if you use a shield/sword rules for it there no reason you can't describe that as a doublebladed sword.

But how far can you take calling a spoon a knife ? would you as a player call a BBEG looted mace you found a sword ? if you got weapon focus sword its still mechanically a mace even though your calling it a sword. But does that just rub you the wrong way even if its being called a sword when the BBEG was...

yes?


wraithstrike wrote:
Yes?

heheh perhaps I should frame a question in there ;)

would you prefer to have rules for getting a shield bonus on non shield weapons or just hand waive the use of shield only applying them mechanically and letting player fluff describe whatever he wants.


I think that while it would be easier to let the player fluff, I would rather have rules for getting a shield bonus on non shield weapons.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Why yes, fluff is entirely mutable in my eyes.


Sure, fluff it up. Whatever works to make your concept fly.

Of course, you -could- just use a Klar...


Phasics wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Yes?

heheh perhaps I should frame a question in there ;)

would you prefer to have rules for getting a shield bonus on non shield weapons or just hand waive the use of shield only applying them mechanically and letting player fluff describe whatever he wants.

In other words the offhand is mechanically shield that shield bashes, but the player describes it as another weapon type?


Yeah, I do this all the time. It never hurts anything.

You can also mention in there that sometimes cursed items, "just aren't being used right." Get a semi-intelligent double sword with one end enchanted at a shield and try to fight with it like a regular double weapon and you are bound to piss it off.


Your thread title actually illustrates the argument against a fluff change like this rather well, if you think about it deeply enough.

Yeah, sure, you could use either a knife or a spoon to eat a really thick, gloppy porridge that sticks to things. And that would be great if all you're ever going to eat is porridge. But you wouldn't eat soup with a knife, and you sure as hell wouldn't want to try to cut a tough, poorly cooked steak with a spoon. You also wouldn't cut rope, skin a deer, or whittle a long stick into a makeshift spear with a spoon. So the knife is a much more useful tool than a spoon once you've finished your porridge.

What I'm saying here, is that within the narrow confines of the example, yes the fluff change seems fine. In many cases though, a sword potentially has much more utility than a shield. As an example, using your sword/shield = sword/sword pairing, if an sword using ally drops his sword off a cliff because he did something stupid you wouldn't just toss him your shield and say "Here, I was just using this to defend anyway." So when you add in the other characters and potential non-combat situation that might arise, those simple fluff changes lose a bit of their simplicity and you kind of start seeing everyone fighting with Swiss Army Knives.


Why not just use a klar?

Grand Lodge

well, in many styles of two weapon fighting the shorter sword of the two is not actually used as much as a weapon, but for controlling the opponent's weapon. Sort of a more active shield if you will. The advantage it had of course was exploiting openings, and being deadly in its own right meant the opponent was forced to watch two weapons rather than one.

I can see developing a specific style of fighting for a Magus that uses this concept.

I doubt I would just hand wave a fluff change from shield to sword, but would work out some acceptable mechanics for me and my group. Perhaps, only magical weapons are particularly useful for this combat style, and only the enhancement bonus is used for the AC bonus. But when used as a weapon of opportunity no AC bonus is provided. So the Magus must weigh options. (just a QUICK thought on the matter... need time to ponder other, better ideas).

I do not think I would allow the Shield feat that allows the AC bonus of a shield to be kept while using the shield to make a shield bash. Sword and shield are too different. I'd make a simple custom mechanic and deal with unforeseen results later.

Grand Lodge

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Why not just use a klar?

I must say I DO like the "visuals" of a Klar wielding Magus :)

Question on the Klar, when used as a shield can it be used to make bashes? With the right Feat tree you can keep the AC bonus and still bash. Just curious.


There were, in Italy, bucklers with the edge sharpened to match the rapier. It was, of course, very unchivalrous to use one, if you were caught.

Many warriors that fought sword and shield used their shield much more offensively than we give credit for today.

Grand Lodge

as I understand it (and can be totally wrong) the Roman shield was not actually strapped over the arm like later shields, but had a handle inside that you held in your fist. This made the shield a into a kind of punching weapon. They were trained to angle the shield to attack feet and legs, to smash it into an opponent's face and jaw, and to just punch with it. It was an active weapon as much so as their sword.


Fluff should be used however much the GM wants to include it for out of combat, however, once you start trying to do new mechanical stuff in combat it should be supported with mechanics.

You could call your knife a spoon, your GM could let you use it to cut up people or eat porridge, mechanically for in combat it don't make a difference.

But say, maybe you want to improve its ability to deal nonlethal damage so you could potentially safely bludgeon children with it, at that point you would likely want to find alternative mechanics!

Personally, I really would like to see more shield/weapon options, and I mean better options than just spikes on it that provide a bash. Like blade bucklers, wide weaponry, etc.

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