Dropping weapons

As I understand the rules, it takes up either move-equivalent or an attack-equivalent action to “sheathe one weapon and draw another” (unless you have the appropriate Fighting Style proficiency, in which case it’s free), but “Simply dropping a weapon and drawing a new one do[sic] not count as an action during a round, however. For example, a combatant can drop a bow, draw a sword, and attack in the same round” (ACKS 104)

So, unless you expect to end up fleeing the field, why would you ever spend an action to sheathe your weapon instead of dropping it? Is there any mechanical drawback to dropping weapons on the ground constantly?

Nothing official but my first thoughts are;

In the real world, if you repeatedly dropped your weapon, depending on to what surfaces, it would eventually dull the edge and might even break/weaken the blade. I’d allow it to be thrown down at no cost, but would ask for a d20 roll each time. After three natural 1 rolls, I’d say the blade was significantly blunted and gives a -1 on to-hit and dmg until re-sharpened (1 hr). On cumulative 4 natural 1 rolls, I’d say the blade breaks the next time it is used and a natural 1 is obtained for the to-hit. On 5 natural 1 rolls, I’d rule that the blade breaks on being thrown down (provided the surface is appropriate).

I believe you’re mostly just shifting the action cost to a later round - in that it’ll be an action to pick it back up off the ground, if it needs to happen in combat.

Though a watchful Judge may occasionally push you away from where you dropped the weapon if there’s advantage in it.

There is no mechanical drawback to dropping a weapon, but there is a tactical one – you simply can’t use that weapon again until you go and pick it up again. If you sheathed it, then obviously you can draw it again at any time.

Beragon is correct with regard to the intent of the rule.

Drawing a sword is very easy but re-sheathing a sword is annoyingly hard. At West Point, re-sheathing the saber was the hardest part of the manual of arms, and the only part that required the cadet to use both hands and divert his eyes to the sheath.

Thus far in my game, I’m not seeing anyone changing from one melee weapon to another in the middle of a fight, it’s (almost?) always bows and crossbows that are being dropped when the enemy closes. I don’t really see a meaningful tactical drawback there, given that, once melee is joined, you’re generally not going to revert to ranged combat, so you won’t want to use the dropped weapon again anyhow.

isn’t that generally what actual bowmen and crossbowmen did when someone closed on them anyway? The problem here is that there aren’t really any classes so specialized in ranged that they’re terrible melee combatents. A fighter probably isn’t going to see more than a spread of 3 between ranged and melee attacks, and at higher levels it will be negligible compared to the attack throw.

If you think it’s a particularly good advantage, try letting your badguys do it: goblins or brigands or whoever can use ranged weapons until someone closes and then drop it.

Along with supporting the ability to fight using exclusively breakable glass bottles strapped to ever surface of one’s body.

That is in fact precisely the situation the rules are intended to adjudicate. In my house campaigns, at least, an archer tends to be dealt with by having a combatant engage him, forcing the archer to drop his bow to fight in melee. The archer often will dispatch the combatant and then wish to return to using missile fire, but he now needs to move back to his bow and pick it up.

Anyway - the rules work as intended but if you feel that characters ought to have to spend an action to draw a weapon or not have to spend an action to sheathe a weapon, feel free to re-tweak and play.

It’s not so much the sheathing is hard, it’s sheathing it somewhere besides your kidneys.

If that’s as intended, then I’m fine with it. It just seemed a little counterintuitive that sheathing your weapon would have a clear cost, but (in many/most situations) no clear benefit to be gained from choosing to pay that cost, which made me suspect I’d missed something.

I am not an Autarch, obviously, and it’s only been mentioned cursorily, but I personally think the threat (and expense) of potentially losing your dropped weapons when the fight goes south and the party must flee is a reasonably significant tactical choice. In other words: bows ain’t cheap… especially at lower levels when you’re going to be doing more running.

Really? In iaido, it takes both hands but not eyesight, but I suppose that may be an odd advantage of a single-edged blade - were you using single- or double-edged sabers?