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Staff Weapons

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Staff Weapons are difficult to model. They rarely hit, but when they do they usually do pretty epic damage. It might make sense for them to have a short effective range and penalties to hit - it is an inherently difficult weapon to actually aim. This could be compensated for with decent melee weapon stats. They could also have a knockback effect to handle the way people are usually knocked over when they take a hit.

Any thoughts on this?

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Posted (edited)

Based on what I know from D&D 5e, I think staff weapons should have a relatively short-medium effective range, with penalties beyond that (don't know if disadvantage is enough though, but maybe it is). A hit should definitely cause a knockdown, damage depends on how weapons overall do damage and how it can be mitigated with armor and dodging. As a melee weapon it has also proven to be effective, so in close range/within reach it should be usable as such. In either case, it's obviously a two-handed weapon. I think there's a good balance between being inaccurate and causing a lot of damage, and the ability to dodge at medium to long range.

Edited by NickEast

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Yeah, for the staff armour (standard Kevlar is actually worse in the show than just taking a hit naked iirc) it should retain the knockdown (perhaps allow a Dex save?) But the damage should be reduced or negated. Perhaps the armour can take a certain number of hits before it fails?

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Perhaps a Strength save rather than Dex, because the sheer force of the impact would knock someone down, so having a stronger footing (like a Jaffa) would allow them to remain standing. Standard kevlar is not worse than no armor, but it doesn't help much either. And later on, it is assumed that standard kevlar was replaced with a new type of material that does protect against a staff weapon's damage (but as demonstrated by Sgt. Siler, the blast still knocks you across the room).

Armor degrading does happen IRL, but I believe it could add more complexity to tracking armor and health if not handled well. Perhaps a kind of "resistance" against damage (e.g. amount reduced from total damage) that decreases with certain hits, until 0 or a base AC bonus or something. But that's beyond the scope of the topic on staff weapons. I think weapons and armor should be balanced between screen accuracy and game balance. I agree that both staffs and zats are rather difficult to balance for a game, due to how different they can work between scenes/episodes, and how OP they can be.

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On 10/2/2019 at 6:46 AM, NickEast said:

Based on what I know from D&D 5e, I think staff weapons should have a relatively short-medium effective range, with penalties beyond that (don't know if disadvantage is enough though, but maybe it is). A hit should definitely cause a knockdown, damage depends on how weapons overall do damage and how it can be mitigated with armor and dodging. As a melee weapon it has also proven to be effective, so in close range/within reach it should be usable as such. In either case, it's obviously a two-handed weapon. I think there's a good balance between being inaccurate and causing a lot of damage, and the ability to dodge at medium to long range.

You're pretty much spot-on to the GenCon playtest. However they were definitely tweaking the rules.

In the playtest - all attacks with staff weapons were with disadvantage. All attacks knocked all players within range prone unless you saved vs Dex saving throw.

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