Why doesn't Strength apply to thrown weapon damage in ACKS?

It strikes me as unrealistic that when the weakest possible human (Str 3) hurls a rock or hand-axe at you, it hits just as hard as when the strongest person ever (Str 18) does it.

Raw physical power certainly applies to how hard one can hurl an object (that is, how much force you can add to it to increase impact). After all, a baseball thrown by Tiny Tim would surely deal less damage than one thrown by Superman. The former might hurt or even injure you, but the latter would more likely tear through your body and leave you as a bloody mess.

Another example: If I propel a fist-sized lead ball at a person, it would inflict much less damage than when a cannon does the same. The difference isn’t in accuracy or dexterity (if anything, the cannon is less likely to hit a moving target), but in the force (“Raw physical power”) applied to the shot.

So considering the reality, why was this choice made in ACKS? Is this an oversight? A concession to tradition? Does someone seriously believe that Tiny Tim will inflict the same damage as Superman with a thrown object?

sounds like a good candidate for a house rule, but be prepared for spears (and to a lesser extent javelins) to become extremely popular, as they have all the power of a melee weapon with an added ranged option. In particular, since a spear can be wielded 1-handed with a shield there would be very little reason to use a short sword, or even a long sword 1-handed (even before the house rule this is kind of the case).

My suspicion is that this is one of those case where the rules just weren’t interested in getting that nitty-gritty into the simulation. You’ll notice ACKs has much less differentiation between types of weapons. If you include strength for throw weapons, next there might be a desire to simulate the strength required to pull a bow taught, and then you’ll have strength thresholds like a 3.x composite longbow. There’s nothing wrong with these rules, but eventually you run out of pages to write things on, and it risks becoming more complex than useful for too large a percentage of groups.

For example, in my campaign I house rule that, when a large number of longbowmen are firing, they get +1 to hit. Otherwise there is almost no reason to hire longbowmen over crossbowmen. This is because the cleave rules are the only thing that models the superiority of the longbow, and that doesn’t kick in until higher levels.

CR p. 16 “Likewise, record your weapon damages based on the type of weapons you
choose, modified by your Strength bonus or penalty.”

an p.17: Apply the ability bonus or penalty for Strength to all attack throws and damage rolls in melee (hand-to-hand)

ugh, better to read more carefully next time…you asked for thrown weapons…sry

You can certainly apply the STR bonus to thrown weapons, if you’d like.

I didn’t do so because of niche protection. Right now, ranged attacks benefit from high DEX, but not high STR. It’s nice to be able to say “I rolled a high DEX, so I’ll be a ranged character” and not have to say “but I won’t be as good as Bob’s STR 18 fighter even at range”.

Jard, for crossbows, a rule I wrote for D@W is that troops cannot move and fire when using crossbows. This represents the fact you have to be stationary to reload a crossbow. You could implement that in man-to-man ACKS if you’d like.

hmmmmm, that sounds like a better compromise, perhaps with the restriction being lifted when you have a spare cleave but can’t use it due to the crossbow’s limit, representing someone of such amazing skill that they can reload on the run.

Also, adding strength modifiers to ranged damage makes the average noodle-armed mage’s darts even more useless (something that wasn’t a problem in D&D 3.x, because wizards/sorcerers could use crossbows for their low-level fighting).

It is strange that mages can’t use crossbows, a weapon famed for its ease of use. Heck, it could be argued that it is easier to learn how to use a crossbow effectively than use a military dart or dagger in combat. I understand the balance concerns and the strangeness of crossbow wielding mages since they are strictly better than bows for the most part to a class with no cleaves, but come-on. Maybe give mages proficiency with the light crossbow (not the arbalest) but make them take a move-equivalent action to load (maybe even make a blanket rule that anyone with at least one cleave doesn’t need a move-equivalent action to load any crossbow, but those without any cleaves do)?

In antiquity the javelin was one of the most common missile weapons around, especially in the hands of troops who were otherwise melee combatants.


I'll be allowing Str to be added to thrown damage in my historical game, and I've extended the range of javelins (a light throwing spear should have a much longer range than a fighting spear), though they are even easier to sunder than regular spears.