With this optional system, characters of any class can use any weapon. However, because of different levels of training, the amount of damage a character can do with a given weapon varies depending on his/her class. Moreover, magic-users suffer a -1 penalty to hit when using large weapons.
Weapon Damage Chart*
Small Weapons/ Medium Weapons/ Large Weapons
Fighters 1d6 / 1d8 / 1d10
Clerics 1d4 / 1d6 / 1d8
Magic-users 1d4 / 1d4**/ 1d6***
Small Weapons: clubs, daggers, darts, light maces, short swords, slings
Medium Weapons: bows, broadswords, crossbows, flails, hand axes, javelins, heavy maces, spears, war hammers, quarterstaffs (two-handed), long swords
Large Weapons: battleaxes (two-handed), great swords (two-handed), halberds (two-handed), lances (mounted only)
* This weapon damage chart is meant to replace the weapon damage chart included in the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules.
Note on Magical Weapons
One implication of this optional system is that non-fighters will now be able to wield magical weapons (swords, bows, and so forth) previously restricted to fighters. This optional system therefore takes away one of the main advantages of fighters vis-à-vis non-fighters. There are at least three ways for Game Masters do deal with this potential problem. First, Game Masters may simply restrict certain magical weapons to fighters (such a restriction would presumably be part of the enchantment). Second, the Game Master may weaken the benefits conferred by magical weapons on non-fighters. For instance, the Game Master may decree that non-fighters wielding certain weapons (namely, those previously restricted to fighters) receive only half the normal attack and damage bonuses (rounded up) from such weapons. So, for example, a cleric or magic-user wielding a +3 broadsword would receive a bonus of only +2. Finally, if the Game Master is also using the optional system of ‘fighting styles’ for fighters included in this issue of Knockspell, then he or she may decide that fighters have an adequate number of new advantages – namely, the advantages gained by the fighting styles as well as the greater damage inflicted by fighter characters with all weapons, magical or not – that the ability of non-fighters to use any magical weapon is not a serious concern.
(First published in Knockspell #1)
a. Obviously, in addition to S&W, this system could also be used with any pre-3e version of D&D (OD&D, Basic D&D, 1e AD&D, 2e AD&D, and RC D&D), and their respective retro-clones (Labyrinth Lord, BFRP, OSRIC).
b. If using the 'standard' thief (i.e., the version of the class found in OD&D, Basic D&D, 1e AD&D, etc.), thieves should use the 'cleric' chart.
c. If using the version of the thief that I presented in Knockspell #2 (which treats the thief as a 'sub-class' of the fighter), thief characters should use the 'fighter' chart, except that they only do 1d8 damage with 'large' weapons.