The Various Types of Weapons
In the AD&D game, weapons fall into several categories, based on how they are
used. The three basic categories are slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning.
Slashing weapons include swords, axes, and knives. Damage is caused by the combination of
weight, muscle, and a good sharp edge.
Piercing weapons (some swords, spears, pikes, arrows, javelins, etc.) rely on the penetrating
power of a single sharp point and much less on the weight of the weapon.
Bludgeoning weapons (maces, hammers, and flails) depend almost entirely on the impact caused by
weight and muscle.
A few weapons, particularly some of the more exotic pole arms, fall into more
than one of these categories. A halberd can be used as a pole-axe (a slashing
weapon) or as a short pike (a piercing weapon).
The versatility of these weapons provides the user with a combat advantage in
that the mode most favorable to the attacker can be used, depending upon the
Natural weapons can also be classified according to their attack type. Claws are slashing
weapons; a bite pierces; a tail-attack bludgeons. The DM must decide which is most
appropriate to the creature and method of attack.
Armor types, in turn, have different qualities. Field plate is more effective, overall,
than other armors by virtue of the amount and thickness of the metal. But it
still has weaknesses against certain classes of weapons.
Table 36 lists the weapon vs. armor modifiers applied to the attacker's THAC0, if this
optional system is used. To use this table, the actual armor type of the
target must be known. The bonuses of magical armor do not change the type of armor,
only the final Armor Class.
This system is used only when attacking creatures in armor. The modifiers are
not used when attacking creatures with a natural Armor Class.
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