Weapon Speed and Initiative (Optional Rule)

Each time a character swings a weapon, he places himself out of position to make his next attack. Swinging a hammer is not as simple as tapping in a nail. A warhammer is heavy. Swing it in one direction and it pulls in that direction. It has to be brought under control and repositioned before it can be swung again.

The user must regain his balance and plant his feet firmly. Only after doing all this is he ready for his next attack. Compare how quickly someone can throw a punch to the amount of time required to swing a chair to get a good idea of what weapon speed factors are about.

Weapon speed factors slow the speed of a character's attack. The higher the weapon speed factor, the heavier, clumsier, or more limited the weapon is. For the most part, weapon speed factors apply to all creatures using manufactured weapons. The speed factor of a weapon is added to the initiative roll of the character to get his modified initiative roll.

Thus, if the DM decides to use weapon speed factors for player characters, they also should be used for giants, orcs, centaurs, and the like. Otherwise the DM isn't being fair to the players. However, creatures with natural weapons are not affected by weapon speed. Their attacks are natural extensions of their bodies, giving them much faster recovery and reaction times.

Magical Weapon Speeds

Magical weapons are easier to wield in combat than ordinary ones. Maybe the weapon is lighter or better balanced than normal; maybe it just pulls the character into the proper position of its own volition. Whatever the cause, each bonus point conferred by a magical weapon reduces the speed factor of that weapon by 1. (A sword +3 reduces the weapon speed factor by 3, for example.) When a weapon has two bonuses, the lesser one is used. No weapon can have a speed factor of less than 0.

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