Is your "sword" powerful enough?

Disaster has struck! For some ungodly reason, my son, with whom I have always had a good relationship, has denigrated the sword that won us our home! It is a Sword +1, +2 versus lycanthropes - but he claims that it merely grants a +2 bonus to hit and to damage when fighting lycanthropes, not a +3!

This is absurd, of course. To prove it to him, I pointed to page 223 of the core rules, which explicitly states that "Other powers beyond having a “+” to their attacks and damage sometimes apply to swords and other weapons. They also may have more than one bonus listed, where the first bonus applies to all attacks and damage, and the second applies only to an exclusive group of creatures." The first bonus applies to all attacks and damage, I said to him, therefore it must apply to attacks made against lycanthropes, in addition to the second bonus that also applies. This proves that attacks against lycanthropes benefit from both bonuses, I said, for a total bonus of +3.

But he defied me! He pointed to the rules for sentient weapons on page 225, where it says "A sword has a percentage chance to be sentient equal to its highest magical bonus x2." and "The highest bonus of a sword +1, +2 versus spellcasters is 2, giving it a (2 x2%) 4% chance to be sentient." If the chance is equal to the highest magical bonus, he said, and the bonuses really do stack, then surely the example should say the chance is six percent rather than four, as +3 is the highest bonus a single attack with that weapon may recieve.

I had no answer to give him, so boldly and proudly did he defy me - and so in my rage, I had him thrown into my dungeons.

My temperament has cooled somewhat in the time that has passed since, and I have begun to wonder if he was, perhaps, right. The wording upon which my judgement depends is a relatively obscure, and I could easily imagine that the meaning I read there was not intended by the author. It is also true that there are no magic items listed for which the bonus against something specific is less than or equal to the bonus against everything, which suggests that there would be no point in having a second bonus were it to be the case.

Have I truly been miscalculating the damage done by my sword all these years? Have I done my son a great injustice? Does a Sword +1, +2 versus lycanthropes grant a total bonus of +3 against lycanthropes, or merely a +2? Help me, Autarchs!

Not an Autarch, but the way I have always run it/seen it run (going back to AD&D 2E when I started) is that it would offer a +1 bonus normally, or +2 when attacking lycanthropes.  I never thought that the bonuses would stack.

If they do stack, then I've been doing it wrong!

Same that's the way I've run since back in the days of B/X and AD&D that the bonuses don't stack +1 against all creatures and +2 vs lycanthropes.

I have always run it as it is +1 vs everything or +2 vs the specific group, not an 'and' thus not +3 vs the specifc group.  As bonuses dont stack making it an either/or case.  Like the others though I started playing with BECMI and have played heaps of AD&D, so it could be a clarification from back then that I still use even now.

I do suspect however that given the roots of ACKs are in B/X that it is meant to be an either/or not a stacking aspect. Though I am not an Autarch either so that is not an official answer.

I fear your son has the right of it. The bonuses are exclusionary, not additive. I offer myself up in abject shame that my wayward language has brought you dishonor.




[quote="Alex"] I fear your son has the right of it. The bonuses are exclusionary, not additive. I offer myself up in abject shame that my wayward language has brought you dishonor. [/quote]

The shame is mine! I only hope my son will forgive me.

More seriously: Thanks for the clarification! Fortunately, my mistake probably won't cause too much trouble for the campaign I'm running, as I've only given out one weapon with multiple magical bonuses so far. Thanks again!