B/X vs. Labyrinth Lord: Weapons
More and more I discover little oddities in Labyrinth Lord that differ from B/X D&D in a troubling way. I’m getting down to minor details now, but they still rub me the wrong way enough that I’m contemplating switching to just straight B/X with a list of house rules rather than continue trying to support LL. My latest qualm: the weapon list. Here’s a quick comparison I wrote with the changes highlighted:
|Labyrinth Lord||Damage||BX||BX Damage (if different)|
|Axe, battle*||d8||Battle Axe*|
|Axe, hand||d6||Hand Axe|
|Dagger, silver||d4||Silver dagger|
|Hammer, war*||d6||War Hammer|
|Pole Arm*||d10||Pole Arm*|
|Sword, long||d8||Sword (normal)|
|Sword, short||d6||Short Sword|
|Sword, two-handed||d10||Two-handed Sword*|
* = Two Handed
Most of the weapons that Labyrinth Lord adds I could do without. Really, when is the last time you saw a player character running around with a trident or a heavy pick? Why on earth differentiate between heavy and light pick at all? And since when is a war hammer two handed? I don’t mind the addition of flail and morningstar, but I also don’t mind just saying that they’re the same as a mace and leave it at that. I suppose the heavy flail does add a two-handed cleric option that deals d8 damage. I also kind of like the simplicity of three kind of swords: normal, short, and two-handed. Do I really need a bastard sword and a scimitar?
I understand the addition of the dart and quarterstaff (though granted the Expert rules add Staff, at least they have the sense to drop it to a d4 damage) — to give some more options to magic-users. Not that the text ever says as much, we’re left to interpret that from the statement that they can “only use light weapons such as a dagger”. I kind of prefer the heavier restriction of daggers only. I imagine magic-users get no training with weapons at all, thus grab for the most simple and primal weapon – a knife. I don’t mind the image of the old greybeard wizard leaning on his magic staff, nor even using the staff to call for magical powers, but when he starts whirling it about like a ninja to crack skulls is where you start to lose me.
Anyway, this is all minor quibbles to be sure, but it’s yet another area in the text that I want to revert to pure B/X, as I already did for armor, XP progression, and spells. I’m really starting to wonder: is it worth retaining the LL link at all?