As in our previous article on combat, you learned that ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG doesn’t use hit points or wounds, instead using an abstract Damage Threshold, tracking conditions with a focus on Injury (a hallmark of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay). This approach sped up our own internal testing for combat, placing the focus back on tactics and role-play during combat, instead of worrying about raw numbers. It also gave us a slew of new options for creation of Professional Traits and Talents within the Warrior and Knave archetypes.
By default, any weapon a character uses references Combat Bonus (CB) + 1D6 Fury Die (which “explodes on a face “6”) to determine Damage. Whether its a misericorde, sabre, longbow or arquebus, its Damage output isn’t distinguished weapon by weapon (as you’d see with other role-playing games). Why, you may ask?
Simply put, ZWEIHÄNDER doesn’t distinguish the actual damage math differences between dirks, hunting bows, knuckledusters, mortuary swords, pistols, arbalest crossbows or any other weapon. Instead, the distinctions are made by the Qualities a weapon possesses. Qualities distinguish weapons from one another, and when certain Qualities are combined, they begin to tell much more about what a weapon does (other than deal Damage). This may mean that certain weapons – such as the rapier and court sword – allow a character to reference their Agility Bonus (AB) for Damage, instead of Combat Bonus (CB). It may mean that weapons like the knuckleduster, hand-to-hand or other ‘brawling’ weapoins uses Brawn Bonus (BB) instead of (CB). It may mean that simple weapons such as splitting maul cannot deal more than a Moderate Injury due to its Weak Quality, in comparison to its martial counterpart the war hammmer (which can do Moderate, Serious or Grievous Injuries). Some weapons, such as the flanged mace, has enough power behind its swing with its Powerful Quality that it can shove someone out of an Engagement. Blunderbus, pistols and muskets have the Gunpowder Quality, meaning that they have a chance to explode on a Critical Failure, however their Damage is harder to Dodge. Zweihander swords, of which this game is named from, has the Punishing Quality, allowing a player to roll an additional 1D6 Fury Die to add to Damage if they spend an extra Action Point.
We believe that placing the emphasis on the Qualities a weapon possesses creates an entirely different way to approach combat, focusing once again on the tactics and not the raw output.