Weapon of choice: Greatsword vs Halberd vs Greataxe


Advice

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2d6 19-20 x2
1d10 20 x 3 with trip and brace
1d12 x 3

Halberd more optional with slashing or piercing vs the other two slash only but nonetheless, least base damaging.

Is it a theme flavor only or do the mechanic data favor one over the other? Seems for AP drops, greatsword seems the most available loot wise.

Your thoughts?

Also, character is anti-paladin


None of the above? :p

Nodachi, Falchion, ECB :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yup, Nodachi, and Falchion.


Of those 3? I'd pick the greatsword myself. More crits is better. Nodachi as shifty and BBT says is superior to the whole lot. I'm not a big fan of reach mechanics myself however, so I may be biased.


No-dachi all the way. 18-20 crit like the falchion, slightly better damage, brace, and not having to roll d4.

I kinda like the halberd. Greatsword beats greataxe every day.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Halberd. 'Cause it's cool.


Between those three, depending on your into and choice of feats Halberd>greatsword>great axe. If you dont take feats to improve your trip attacks and vicious stomp then go for greatsword. Remember that your static damage is much more important then your die damage and the great sword has better critical chance ergo better odds of doubling your static damage. Optimally weapoms with 18-20 will do a lot more damage over the long haul because they do a lot more criticals, especially with keen or improved critical. That dosnt mean you have to take those weapons if you want to have a different flavor.


I have a thing for the greataxe, myself. Though I will admit that the greatsword will consistently do more damage.


So greataxe bites the dust. Not a fan of the Nodachi. Just looks too flimsy.

Halberd 1d10 x 3
Greatswrd 1d12 19-20 x2
Naginata 1d8 x4???

We are playing Way of the Wicked and per AP set up, no Eastern gear will drop. Of course that doesnt mean it cant be crafted (although PCs are not allowed craft feats other than scroll or potions). I guess it may be possible the GM would show mercy and swap something out but I would think the cool designed weapons would be more traditional.


Lucerne Hammer - 1d12 Blunt or Pointed, has reach and a bonus to sunder medium or heavy armour. Ideally this depends on your party, but its awesome if you can back another pc who gets right in the enemies face with one of these. Critical is the only drawback.


Oh and I forgot Brace too.


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Anything but a greatsword. Its gets real old DMing when everyone and there mom has a greatsword.

Sovereign Court

I really love the halberd for its versatility. If you want straight mechanical benefits, then yes, the falchion is best.


Greataxes are racial weapons. They are nice for coups with weak half-orc casters following slumber hex or color spray or their likes.


you don't need proficiency to wield something for a coup de grace. You just swing and auto hit. Just carry a scythe around for a +1 to awesomeness.


Taason the Black wrote:

2d6 19-20 x2

1d10 20 x 3 with trip and brace
1d12 x 3

Halberd more optional with slashing or piercing vs the other two slash only but nonetheless, least base damaging.

Is it a theme flavor only or do the mechanic data favor one over the other? Seems for AP drops, greatsword seems the most available loot wise.

Your thoughts?

Also, character is anti-paladin

Mechanically speaking, base damage dice outweigh crit dice by quite a bit for direct damage. If you have a build in mind that uses a particular combat manoeuvre or wants reach then you want the best dice weapon that works for that, otherwise you just want the best dice, and 2d6 is better than 1d12, which is better than a d10, and so on.

Falcatas and Nodachis are handy if you've got something extra happening on a crit, and preferably a bonus to confirm crits, but the reduced dice are going to hurt more than the increased crits help.

Barring any extra help on crits, the greatsword or earth breaker are the most damage per swing. If you want to do something other than greatsword for variety's sake, use an earthbreaker (it's actually slightly better when you can only hit on a 20)

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Nebelwerfer41 wrote:
If you want straight mechanical benefits, then yes, the falchion is best.

I guess I need some education. I thought the greatsword had higher average damage, which was what the OP asked about? Are my thoughts here incorrect?

I think the 2d6 of the greatsword does more average damage, despite it's lower critical range/multiplier. I can calculate it later, but that's my math-intuition for now.


Khazrandir wrote:
Nebelwerfer41 wrote:
If you want straight mechanical benefits, then yes, the falchion is best.

I guess I need some education. I thought the greatsword had higher average damage, which was what the OP asked about? Are my thoughts here incorrect?

I think the 2d6 of the greatsword does more average damage, despite it's lower critical range/multiplier. I can calculate it later, but that's my math-intuition for now.

Your math intuition is right Khazrandir. A falchion doesn't compete with a greatsword unless either critting is made more likely or something extra is happening on crits.

2d6 19-20x2
7 average damage on hit
7 average extra damage on crit
10% chance to threaten
Needs a x to hit gets y dpr:
20:0.3675
19:0.77
18:1.155
17:1.54
16:1.925
15:2.31
14:2.695
13:3.08
12:3.465
11:3.85
10:4.235
9:4.62
8:5.005
7:5.39
6:5.775
5:6.16
4:6.545
3:6.93
2:7.315

2d4 18-20x2
5 average damage on a hit
5 average extra damage on crit
15% threat chance
20:0.2625
19:0.55
18:0.8625
17:1.15
16:1.4375
15:1.725
14:2.0125
13:2.3
12:2.5875
11:2.875
10:3.1625
9:3.45
8:3.7375
7:4.025
6:4.3125
5:4.6
4:4.8875
3:5.175
2:5.4625

Need to be getting an extra boost on criticals to make up for that lower damage; just increasing the frequency of criticals with an increased critical confirmation roll won't help much.


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Keen/Improved Critical isn't uncommon on a 18-20 weapon and you have a growing amount of extra damage over the game however. Its not unbelievable to have a +6 to damage from the start of the game with a two handed weapon.


That formula is good until imp crit or keen factors in, then the falchion edges out. If you are considering falchion though, nodachi is flat out better than both!


Byrdology wrote:
That formula is good until imp crit or keen factors in, then the falchion edges out. If you are considering falchion though, nodachi is flat out better than both!

If the falchion is keen, then so is the greatsword. The bigger dice still win.

Nodachi
d10 19-20x2
5.5 Average damage per hit
5.5 Average extra damage on crit
15% chance to threaten
20:0.28875
19:0.605
18:0.94875
17:1.265
16:1.58125
15:1.8975
14:2.21375
13:2.53
12:2.84625
11:3.1625
10:3.47875
9:3.795
8:4.11125
7:4.4275
6:4.74375
5:5.06
4:5.37625
3:5.6925
2:6.00875

I'm tired of typing all this into comments, so here's a comparison of Greatsword vs. Nodachi vs. Fachion, regular and keen: google doc Given equal enchantments / feats, bigger damage dice wins. Heck, the math shows that a non-keen greatsword is still doing better than a keen nodachi (although not by much).

Here's where I'm pulling the numbers from. I spreadsheeted various damage dice at various crit ranges a while ago.

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Thanks, ZanThrax! This confirms what I was thinking. However, I think that your spreadsheet is slightly unfair to the weapons with high crit ranges, because it does not include extra damage from a character's STR modifier. I whipped this up which shows some of the same results you show, but with the option to include a STR modifier included.

The conclusion is still the same: Greatsword does the most damage on average. Including STR mod just makes the race closer, I believe.

Interesting note: If you pump the STR mod waaaay up (try 20), the high crit range weapons start to "win" the race.

The linked spreadsheet is just a copy so feel free to mess around with it, add weapons you are curious about, and/or fix any errors you find.

Edit: Sharing settings updated. Thanks for heads-up. :)


Khazrandir wrote:

Thanks, ZanThrax! This confirms what I was thinking. However, I think that your spreadsheet is slightly unfair to the weapons with high crit ranges, because it does not include extra damage from a character's STR modifier. I whipped this up which shows some of the same results you show, but with the option to include a STR modifier included.

The conclusion is still the same: Greatsword does the most damage on average. Including STR mod just makes the race closer, I believe.

Interesting note: If you pump the STR mod waaaay up (try 20), the high crit range weapons start to "win" the race.

The linked spreadsheet is just a copy so feel free to mess around with it, add weapons you are curious about, and/or fix any errors you find.

I hadn't considered the effects of Str bonus or any other increase that's multiplied on the crit because it seemed it should increase both. But I think you're right; if the static bonuses begin to overshadow the actual dice, a higher multiplier does become more attractive than the weapon's raw damage.

BTW, you need to adjust your sheet's sharing settings to either anyone with link or public.

Shadow Lodge

Khazrandir wrote:
Interesting note: If you pump the STR mod waaaay up (try 20), the high crit range weapons start to "win" the race.

By waaaay up, you mean the general minimum martial strength by level 8 (which is generally when you can afford said keen weapon)?

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Serum wrote:
By waaaay up, you mean the general minimum martial strength by level 8 (which is generally when you can afford said keen weapon)?

I was discussing STR mod, which I would consider waaaay up if it ever reached 20.


Serum wrote:
Khazrandir wrote:
Interesting note: If you pump the STR mod waaaay up (try 20), the high crit range weapons start to "win" the race.
By waaaay up, you mean the general minimum martial strength by level 8 (which is generally when you can afford said keen weapon)?

Khaz is talking about cranking the Str mod up to get bonus damage. The math says that you need to add 28 damage to the dice to get the nodachi's lower dice and higher crit to outpace the greatsword. You can get there with insane strength (+19 Str mod is 48 Strength I believe) or with any other damage bonus that multiplies on a crit.

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ZanThrax wrote:
The math says that you need to add 28 damage to the dice to get the nodachi's lower dice and higher crit to outpace the greatsword.

That is the best way to say it, I think. The extra damage can be from 1.5*STRmod (rounded down), from feats, from Favored Enemy bonuses, etc. but the total extra damage would have to reach 28 for the Nodachi to overcome the greatsword's high damage dice.


I would definitely use a Nodachi, or flachion if I can't use Nodachi. Use keen or take improved critical and some of the critical feats that are rather awesome and you get an effect thats much better than just average damage. You can crit on 30% of your attack rolls, which is quite nice. Where the bonus really comes, and what you don't see on the above calculations is what happens with that increased crit chance and the bonus damage you will get from it on a power attack and high strength score. I built a 17th level barbarian that could deal up to ~160 points of damage from one attack if he managed to critically hit.

Charge pounce full attack with multiple critical hits in one round usually meant one splatted enemy. We don't play with death from massive damage rules because otherwise most things would die in one hit.


Claxon wrote:

I would definitely use a Nodachi, or flachion if I can't use Nodachi. Use keen or take improved critical and some of the critical feats that are rather awesome and you get an effect thats much better than just average damage. You can crit on 30% of your attack rolls, which is quite nice. Where the bonus really comes, and what you don't see on the above calculations is what happens with that increased crit chance and the bonus damage you will get from it on a power attack and high strength score. I built a 17th level barbarian that could deal up to ~160 points of damage from one attack if he managed to critically hit.

Charge pounce full attack with multiple critical hits in one round usually meant one splatted enemy. We don't play with death from massive damage rules because otherwise most things would die in one hit.

Well, a power attacking 17th level Barbarian should be adding 28 - or more - extra damage to his attacks, so the argument for the nodachi makes mathematical sense in his case. And I said earlier that if you're getting some extra kicker on your crits than crit fishing is worth losing some average damage per attack anyhow.

If a character doesn't have any kind of crit kicker ability, and hasn't reached a point where their bonus damage is high enough to overcome the lower dice, then weapon selection should prioritize any specials they want (reach, disarm, monk, etc.), then base damage, then crit range / multiplier.

Anyone who wants to figure out exactly what amount of extra damage will result in a lower-die, better-crit weapon being better than the opposite can use the chart I linked earlier. Make a copy & and add the same amount of damage to the entries in the Average Damage column.

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Claxon wrote:
what you don't see on the above calculations is what happens with that increased crit chance and the bonus damage you will get from it on a power attack and high strength score.

Power attacking with a high Strength is in fact included in the above calculations, and makes zero difference. Power Attack effectively gives bonus damage, at the cost of a reduced chance to hit. As before, a character would need 28 extra damage (Power Attack, Favored Enemy, Enhancement Bonus, feats, etc.) to make the Nodachi do more average damage than the Greatsword.

Claxon wrote:
Charge pounce full attack with multiple critical hits in one round usually meant one splatted enemy. We don't play with death from massive damage rules because otherwise most things would die in one hit.

This is an interesting point. When people calculate damage, they often simply look at the average damage. However, the variance can have a very meaningful effect. As mentioned, death from massive damage may make crit range/multipliers more effective than they otherwise would be.

However, it's nice to stick with averages to compare. When you try to account for everything else, you start to open a host of situational possibilities. Example: Monster with impossibly high AC favors high crit-range so you can farm for crits more easily. Another situation has many enemies of low/mid range hp, so the greatsword can take one down at a time on a hit, but the Nodachi needs a crit to drop a foe. Very particular and debatable situations, so for sanity's sake, I'll stick with averages.

Claxon wrote:
I built a 17th level barbarian that could deal up to ~160 points of damage from one attack if he managed to critically hit.

And if you had used a greatsword, a crit would have dealt even more damage (just less often).

Shadow Lodge

Whoops, sorry about that.

Khazrandir, what you've forgotten to modify as you change the strength, is the +5 and AC values. As the character's level increases, so too does the likelyhood that a 15 on the die roll will threaten a critical, and the easier it is to confirm the threat. As attack bonus increases vs. AC, so too does the benefit of high threat range.

In the end, in the absolute best case scenario between the Greatsword and Nodachi, the Greatsword will do a grand total of 1.5 damage more on average. Once attack bonuses start beating out AC, and improved critical / keen comes into the picture, the 1.5 average damage just starts losing out.

Shadow Lodge

Khazrandir wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I built a 17th level barbarian that could deal up to ~160 points of damage from one attack if he managed to critically hit.

And if you had used a greatsword, a crit would have dealt even more damage (just less often).

"even more" is really ... 3 on average, or 4 in the best case, on that single attack.


Khazrandir wrote:
Claxon wrote:
what you don't see on the above calculations is what happens with that increased crit chance and the bonus damage you will get from it on a power attack and high strength score.

Power attacking with a high Strength is in fact included in the above calculations, and makes zero difference. Power Attack effectively gives bonus damage, at the cost of a reduced chance to hit. As before, a character would need 28 extra damage (Power Attack, Favored Enemy, Enhancement Bonus, feats, etc.) to make the Nodachi do more average damage than the Greatsword.

Claxon wrote:
Charge pounce full attack with multiple critical hits in one round usually meant one splatted enemy. We don't play with death from massive damage rules because otherwise most things would die in one hit.

This is an interesting point. When people calculate damage, they often simply look at the average damage. However, the variance can have a very meaningful effect. As mentioned, death from massive damage may make crit range/multipliers more effective than they otherwise would be.

However, it's nice to stick with averages to compare. When you try to account for everything else, you start to open a host of situational possibilities. Example: Monster with impossibly high AC favors high crit-range so you can farm for crits more easily. Another situation has many enemies of low/mid range hp, so the greatsword can take one down at a time on a hit, but the Nodachi needs a crit to drop a foe. Very particular and debatable situations, so for sanity's sake, I'll stick with averages.

Claxon wrote:
I built a 17th level barbarian that could deal up to ~160 points of damage from one attack if he managed to critically hit.

And if you had used a greatsword, a crit would have dealt even more damage (just less often).

I just thought of this in a slightly different way. A greatsword deals 2d6 damage, a nodachi deal 1d10. Thats 7 pts of damage on average for the greatsword and 5.5 pts for the nodachi. On a critical, just from the weapon you will have 14pts of damage and 11 pts of damage. If a character uses the same tactics to increase damage with either weapon they should stay at that same disparity in possible damage output. With greatsword always having a 1.5pt average damage over the nodachi. However, once you get to a point of being able to deal 30+ pts of damage on a non critical hit (which isn't difficult to do with static additions) then the additional 10% crit chance would mean on average if you do 30 pts of damage on a non-critical that over time you will equal the average damage of a greatsword (becasue it will only be 3 higher on a critical).....

Edit: I was going into a big analysis in my head, but I reread what you said. Now I realize I was barking up a bush you've already been in. Once you get to +28 static damage (+5 ehancement, +15 power attack, +8 strength modifier, very easy if high level method) then the nodachi equals the average damage of the greatsword? Once you go above +28 static then the nodachi has higher average damage right?


Serum wrote:

Whoops, sorry about that.

Khazrandir, what you've forgotten to modify as you change the strength, is the +5 and AC values. As the character's level increases, so too does the likelyhood that a 15 on the die roll will threaten a critical, and the easier it is to confirm the threat. As attack bonus increases vs. AC, so too does the benefit of high threat range.

In the end, in the absolute best case scenario between the Greatsword and Nodachi, the Greatsword will do a grand total of 1.5 damage more on average. Once attack bonuses start beating out AC, and improved critical / keen comes into the picture, the 1.5 average damage just starts losing out.

Serum, have a look at the spreadsheet I linked earlier, or just at the tables I posted. I've already taken into account the variations on "needed to hit the enemy"; The greatsword does ~27% more average damage per attack than a nodachi if the character needs a 19 or better to hit, and a little under 22% more damage if she hits on a 2 or better. The difference gets smaller as you add more bonus damage to the weapon dice until the nodachi pulls ever so slightly ahead when you add 28 damage. Switching to keen weapons gets it down to only a 17% difference on the 2 or better end, and makes no difference at all at the 19 or better. It also fuzzies up how much extra damage is required to make the nodachi outperform the greatsword; a keen greatsword is still better than the keen nodachi at +28 damage if the character needs a 16 or higher to hit.

You are right about the difference being quite small in absolute terms; it's actually less than 1.5 points difference at any given chance to hit and any given bonus to damage. At high levels, it's insignificant. But at low levels, when a PC is first choosing what weapon to build around, 1.5 points per hit is still a big deal. Which to me, is a stronger argument for choosing to focus on the weapon that will give twenty odd percent more damage per attack at low levels rather than choosing to focus on one that might give five percent more damage per attack at high levels.

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Serum wrote:
Khazrandir, what you've forgotten to modify as you change the strength, is the +5 and AC values.

What matters is the die roll one needs to hit the enemy. This is very nicely displayed on the spreadsheet that ZanThrax linked. I didn't "forget" to change the enemy AC and attack modifier, but simply realized that they only matter relative to each other.

Serum wrote:
As the character's level increases, so too does the likelyhood that a 15 on the die roll will threaten a critical

Actually that's false... unless what you are saying is "as characters level up, they are more likely to have keen weapons with threat range 15-20".

Serum wrote:
As attack bonus increases vs. AC, so too does the benefit of high threat range.

Actually, the benefit of a high crit range is best when AC is very high compared to one's attack bonus. Think about it as making "farming for crits" easier when an enemy has very high AC.

Serum wrote:
Once attack bonuses start beating out AC, and improved critical / keen comes into the picture, the 1.5 average damage just starts losing out.

ZanThrax compared the weapons with Keen, and without, for all possibilities of different die rolls needed to hit the enemy. What he has concluded (and shown mathematical evidence for) is that on average, the greatsword does more damage, until one's damage bonuses reach 28 or above. Then the Nodachi does more damage on average. You are right that Keen should probably benefit a weapon with higher original crit range more strongly. I'm looking into this.

Serum wrote:
"even more" is really ... 3 on average, or 4 in the best case, on that single attack.

My point was that quoting the maximum damage a weapon does with a crit is a poor measure of its effectiveness. I could have said "if you used a heavy pick it would be higher" also. It's simply irrelevant. (But it is pretty cool, and it would be fun to be in a party with Claxon's Barbarian)


Claxon wrote:
Edit: I was going into a big analysis in my head, but I reread what you said. Now I realize I was barking up a bush you've already been in. Once you get to +28 static damage (+5 ehancement, +15 power attack, +8 strength modifier, very easy if high level method) then the nodachi equals the average damage of the greatsword? Once you go above +28 static then the nodachi has higher average damage right?

That's exactly right Claxon. At +28 damage, the nodachi has (very slightly) higher average damage per attack than the greatsword. Adding more bonus damage will push the nodachi further beyond the greatsword.

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Claxon wrote:
Once you get to +28 static damage (+5 ehancement, +15 power attack, +8 strength modifier, very easy if high level method) then the nodachi equals the average damage of the greatsword? Once you go above +28 static then the nodachi has higher average damage right?

Bingo!

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Update: After agreeing on the effects of damage bonuses (28 or more favors the Nodachi) on average damage, I've looked at how Keen or Improved Critical strengthens the weapons' average damage.

I think that Improved Critical requires level 8, so I guess this doesn't apply to characters below that threshold (which is most characters ever), but here it is:

Keen/Imp. Crit strongly favors the Nodachi. If you apply Keen to both the Greatsword and the Nodachi, the Greatsword's chance to threaten increases by 10%, while the Nodachi's threaten chance increases by 15% (obviously). While before, the greater crit range wasn't enough to make the Nodachi more damaging on average than the Greatsword (unless you had 28+ damage bonuses), Keen gives it enough of an advantage to make it a good choice at more reasonable damage bonus levels. My math says that the Keen Nodachi does more average damage than the Keen Greatsword when one's damage bonus is greater than 13. At level 8, perhaps you have +2 Enhancement, +6 STR mod (or more!), +2 Weapon Specialization, and the feat Improved Critical. Then your bonus to damage could be (1.5*6)+2+2=13, and the Nodachi would do more damage (on average) than the greatsword, even if not using Power Attack.

My spreadsheet shows both Keen weapons and their average damage. It is not a perfect spreadsheet, and one must take care not to increase the AC too high above the attack bonus, or even too low below it. I could add little if statements to fix this, but instead I'll take the lazy way out and say to use it reasonably.

Any feedback or error-spotting would be appreciated here. It's quite possible I missed something. Heck, if economics professors can make a spreadsheet error in the most cited economics paper arguing for austerity (and have all their conclusions come toppling down), my little Google spreadsheet could have errors too. Thanks for your help/feedback. Eventually we'll find every mechanical advantage for every weapon so the OP can make an informed decision.


Your math looks good to me Khaz; with the caveat that you must be able to hit on a 15 for this to remain true, the nodachi outpaces the greatsword starting at +13 damage.

Against harder to hit enemies, the keen greatsword stays ahead of the keen nodachi even longer; at a 16 to hit, the nodachi pulls ahead at +31 damage; For anything that needs a 17 or better (which is within the crit range of both weapons), the nodachi cannot catch up. (This is also the case for non-keen weapons if a 19 is required to hit.)


Yes but what we are leaving out is cosmetic flair! Has anyone really seen how crappy and flimsy a Nodachi looks? No self respecting and intimidating warrior would be caught dead with such a crappy looking weapon!

Plus, good luck finding one to drop in an AP.


Have you ever played Monster Hunter? Most of the long swords in that game look like nodachi and the are über. As far as dramatic flair goes, nodachi are a much more agile weapon, which lends itself to some pretty great cinematic effect. Nodachi are elegant "horse chopper" anti cavalry weapons which is awesome in its own dramatic flare kind of way. The improved crit range gives you the feel of literally slicing through you enemies.

Don't get me wrong, a brute warrior smashing through the battlefield with a great sword (William Wallace comes to mind) is pretty intense... But samurai and any number of anime flicks are ALL about style and dramatic flair. What you said is a very narrow minded commentary on what is one of the most gracefull fighting traditions in history.


I have imposed a penalty in my game that all greatswords are pink with bunnies on them. - 1 to intimidate checks. So people stop using them.


Gallyck wrote:
I have imposed a penalty in my game that all greatswords are pink with bunnies on them. - 1 to intimidate checks. So people stop using them.

Now I want to play a girly girl with anger control issues in your game.


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ZanThrax wrote:
Gallyck wrote:
I have imposed a penalty in my game that all greatswords are pink with bunnies on them. - 1 to intimidate checks. So people stop using them.
Now I want to play a girly girl with anger control issues in your game.

Pathfinder Iconic Amiri reskineed with pink fur clothes, her sword now has a pink grip, the pommel is in the shape of a bunny, and the blade is always covered in blood? For that sense of childish wonderment that will absolutely kill you?

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ZanThrax wrote:

Your math looks good to me Khaz; with the caveat that you must be able to hit on a 15 for this to remain true, the nodachi outpaces the greatsword starting at +13 damage.

Against harder to hit enemies, the keen greatsword stays ahead of the keen nodachi even longer; at a 16 to hit, the nodachi pulls ahead at +31 damage; For anything that needs a 17 or better (which is within the crit range of both weapons), the nodachi cannot catch up. (This is also the case for non-keen weapons if a 19 is required to hit.)

Yes, that's important to point out. If your weapon's crit range is 15-20, but you need to roll higher than a 16 to hit the enemy, then rolling 15 or 16 won't actually threaten, and the crit range is useless. This is important especially starting at level 6, where full BAB classes get another attack with a -5 penalty. For those rolls where the enemy is very hard to hit, the greatsword will outperform the Nodachi, on average.

Thanks ZanThrax for that excellent observation.

So, perhaps we can agree to a summary for the OP?
1) non-Keen Greatsword does more average damage than a non-Keen Nodachi, until high levels (+28 damage)
2) Keen Nodachi starts to outdamage the Keen Greatsword (on average) when you reach +13 damage, specifically when your needed die roll to hit is less than or equal to 15
3) When an enemy is very difficult to hit (requiring a roll of 16 or higher) the greatsword has more average damage, unless you have a ton of extra +damage

Given that summary based on math, my advice (based on my opinions) would be that the greatsword has a mechanical advantage and you should strongly consider it. It does more average damage at low levels, which is a dangerous time for PCs. The greatsword also has the advantage for iterative attacks on a full attack action, when your -5 (and -10 later) attack bonuses are difficult to land. It also has the advantage against difficult enemies with super-high AC. So, in my opinion, the greatsword is best when you need it the most.


Khazrandir wrote:
ZanThrax wrote:

Your math looks good to me Khaz; with the caveat that you must be able to hit on a 15 for this to remain true, the nodachi outpaces the greatsword starting at +13 damage.

Against harder to hit enemies, the keen greatsword stays ahead of the keen nodachi even longer; at a 16 to hit, the nodachi pulls ahead at +31 damage; For anything that needs a 17 or better (which is within the crit range of both weapons), the nodachi cannot catch up. (This is also the case for non-keen weapons if a 19 is required to hit.)

Yes, that's important to point out. If your weapon's crit range is 15-20, but you need to roll higher than a 16 to hit the enemy, then rolling 15 or 16 won't actually threaten, and the crit range is useless. This is important especially starting at level 6, where full BAB classes get another attack with a -5 penalty. For those rolls where the enemy is very hard to hit, the greatsword will outperform the Nodachi, on average.

Thanks ZanThrax for that excellent observation.

So, perhaps we can agree to a summary for the OP?
1) non-Keen Greatsword does more average damage than a non-Keen Nodachi, until high levels (+28 damage)
2) Keen Nodachi starts to outdamage the Keen Greatsword (on average) when you reach +13 damage, specifically when your needed die roll to hit is less than or equal to 15
3) When an enemy is very difficult to hit (requiring a roll of 16 or higher) the greatsword has more average damage, unless you have a ton of extra +damage

Given that summary based on math, my advice (based on my opinions) would be that the greatsword has a mechanical advantage and you should strongly consider it. It does more average damage at low levels, which is a dangerous time for PCs. The greatsword also has the advantage for iterative attacks on a full attack action, when your -5 (and -10 later) attack bonuses are difficult to land. It also has the advantage against difficult enemies with super-high AC. So, in my opinion, the greatsword is best when you need it the most.

I agree with that mostly, except some consideration should be given to the critical feats that can do exceptional and awesome things.

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Of course, the Greatsword never outpaces the Nodachi by more than 1.5 points of damage on average over all levels...so, really, do what you want!

Personally, I think I'd rather crit slightly more often for big damage, than crit slightly less often, but do 1.5 more damage on average on creatures that have 50+ hitpoints.


do keep in mind here, that weapons with x3 crits actually lose more than spreadsheets say they do. When the crits are overkill the extra damage is wasted far more often than is done on a x2 with a larger critical range

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Serum wrote:
Personally, I think I'd rather crit slightly more often for big damage, than crit slightly less often, but do 1.5 more damage on average on creatures that have 50+ hitpoints.

What you are saying is that you would prefer to take more time to kill a creature with 50+ hp... If a character with a greatsword and one with a nodachi attacks many times, the one with the greatsword will usually do more damage. "crit for big damage" is already included in the average!


When it comes to crits ang greatsword vs nodachi, it's quantity over 1.5 dmg quality.

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