Certain weapons seem like obvious choices?



I like a lot about the system so I don’t like to complain, but a couple of weapon choices in the basic loot drive players towards one particular melee weapon and one particular ranged weapon.

Outside of great sword – which has the offset of taking up 3 inventory slots – I don’t see why anyone would choose a sword or an ax over a warhammer or a knight’s weapon kit.

I know this is Runehammer, but the warhammer erodes defense and has stunning potential with no penalties while the sword and the ax just do the same basic damage without these features. I know it might be like “well, my guy is a sword guy,” but outside of that flavor, or that approach, it seems like a melee character should ALWAYS take a warhammer over a sword or an ax.

Similarly, a crossbow crits on a 19 or 20, and allows for specialty tips, with no penalty that I can see, while a bow and arrow has no advantage over the crossbow without these benefits.

Why wouldn’t I just always use a warhammer and crossbow as my melee and ranged weapons? Unless maybe I wanted to go for the knights kit to guarantee I was eroding defense with each hit.

I feel like I might get flamed for being a min-maxer but I’m not :slight_smile: I’m actually primarily a GM and I’m just seeing the clear differences amongst these weapons. And I’m concerned that when I start up I’ll have a table full of players all using warhammers and crossbows because, objectively, those are the superior weapons.


Because elves don’t use crossbows, for example.


For me, the entire game is a suggestion. See a particular weapon that has a neat mechanic, steal it, re-wrap in something you do find cool, and go with it. Few things in this game are sacred. The more you dig around, you’ll find people have screwed with nearly every mechanic or idea to make it their own, and to me, that’s the most sacred thing. This game encourages you to be creative. It gives you barely enough of a map to get going, but when you realize that it also hands you a pen to fill in everything else, you’re on your way.


Every weapon in the book can be nerfed or adjusted. There are also weapon choices and add-on enhancements available through the types.

My suggestion would be to flip to page 5 of the ME book and check out the first two paragraphs, good stuff!


It’s not explicit in the text, but I think warhammers are supposed to be two-handed, but I also felt that the starting gear left something to be desired, so I did this: Alternative Alfheim Starting Gear


I understand what you guys are saying. But anything can be HB’d in any RPG. And generally is :slight_smile:

I guess I don’t view that as much of an answer. I was looking for something rules-light. I HB all of my adventures and worlds but I’m finding I’m not as much into a game where I HAVE to HB/modify items, for example, to prevent something like “everyone uses a crossbow and a warhammer because they are the best.”

That’s the only issue I have with the rules I’ve been looking at so far. But it is a downer for me. I guess I’m looking for that “perfect answer.”


In fairness, it is a little min-maxy to say, “I’ll ALWAYS take this weapon” and not see your way clear to other choices or character concepts.


If you offer players 2 weapon options and one is clearly superior in every instance, I think it’s a little crazy to EXPECT that they won’t take the superior option.

I mostly GM and I’m talking about what I think my players will do.

There is no offset here. If you choose a warrior, with the default rules and loot, why would you ever choose a sword or an ax over a warhammer? Only for flavor. But by doing so, you would be hurting yourself in combat.

I love the warhammer rules. They are cool. But with no offset there is no reason to ever use a sword or an ax. And that’s unfortunate.


In fairness, the warhammer is not the best weapon, because it is two-handed, and does less damage than the greatsword, doesn’t damage structures like the battle axe, and lower defense on a hit, which monsters don’t have, so… the argument that it’s clearly the best is overstated. Also, if all your players pick crossbows and warhammers, what’s the problem, exactly?


You know your players better than anyone but not all players will make the same choices or have the same preferences as your players.

I ran a character with a warhammer and seldom used it (It think he ended up giving it away to be honest). The last warrior I ran had a great sword because a sawed-off dwarf with a gigantic sword is funny. A warhammer to me is thematically not what I have been interested in. Plus, the specific roll requirements are fickle unless you max your WEAPON effort.

Another thing to consider here is that basic loot items are just a starting point. Loot items will be found that will add mechanical options and/or simply outclass the weapons that characters start with.


I’m new to this game. I have not read all the rules thoroughly but have read a fair amount of them.

Could you please point out where it says that the warhammer is two-handed? Or maybe there is something in the shield rules about them only going along with axes and swords.


The great sword has an offset in that it takes up 3 inventory slots, which I mentioned in my post. I’m specifically comparing the warhammer to swords and axes.


It’s not explicit; it is implied. “Hefty, blocky weapon” and compare to the knight’s weapon kit - these things don’t make sense together, unless the knight’s weapon kit is one handed. It took me a while to get this, since in reality, warhammers are neither blocky, nor two-handed. The implication is the same with the battle axe and harness. All that said, ICRPG has some strange artifacts in the rules when read without interpretation, which are leftovers from previous editions, or require reading and ruling between the lines. For many this is a feature, but for others, it looks sloppy. All I can say is don’t get hung up on it, as it’ll keep you from an otherwise elegant game.


The offset was not even considered, nor was the ULTIMATE damage it does, I was sold at a tremendous blade of 5’ welded by a 3 1/2’ dwarf. The point here being the choice was clearly not made from the perspective of finding the “perfect” weapon.

Easy fix: Warhammer is two-handed and takes 3 inventory slots.

To go along with what @The_Merlitron just said: Don’t sweat the details and it will all work out fine. After a couple games you will see that ultimately worrying about mechanics between a few weapons doesn’t matter too terribly much.


There is a whole universe of character creation choices that don’t revolve around choosing the best weapon mechanically. eg, “I want to make a swashbuckler with a rapier,” or “I want to make a vampire hunter with a wooden stake.”

Thieves don’t backstab with great swords.



Although I don’t disagree with the above comments (ie: thieves can’t backstab with a greatsword, dwarves are more likely to use warhammers because of genre-emulation, etc.), I do see your point. Some of the weapons simply are mechanically superior, and since there are no hard rules to prevent certain choices (ie: the thief actually CAN backstab with a greatsword, since the rules don’t actually say they can’t – it’s a permissive environment with regards to the game itself), things are inherently unbalanced.

And if we’re all being honest, folks will use the best weapons and armor they can at all times - they’d be dumb not to. And I don’t mean players, I mean characters in the setting. Thieves use smaller, easily concealed weapons when they’re on shadowy mission because they’re better for those situations. A thief would NOT USE DAGGERS if they were in a skirmish and the jig was up! Or they shouldn’t anyway…

TLDR: The weapons are not balanced mechanically, they rely on human-input to balance them (GM says no greatsword backstabbing, even though the rules don’t really prevent that). That might be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on taste. I side with Merl on this one, and think the fighting mechanics (and necessarily weapons and armor) need more structure. :slight_smile:



The weapons you listed are “the best” for a very narrow definition of “best”. On paper, without any other context, they may do more damage or appear to have less drawbacks.

A warhammer can’t cut something. It can only smash or smush it. In a big combat scene, maybe that warhammer is the best weapon. In a different scene, the warhammer doesn’t help you slash through vines, or pierce a giant bubble or something.

It’s been my experience that players end up using their weapons and loot for all sorts of things one could never anticipate, and the damage values or mechanical benefits are rarely significant differentiators.

The warhammer lowers the target defense by 1 point if it deals 5-10 damage. You can still roll a 1-4 on your damage die and not get that effect to trigger. Reducing the defense of one enemy might not turn the tide if you’re fighting a swarm of mooks with 5 HP each.

A lot of this stuff is all contextual.


I feel much the same way. One thing about 2e ICRPG that I think is missing if you jump in at Master Edition, is the idea that every weapon deals 1d6 of damage. It took me a while to accept that, because it seems boring. Why does a great axe deal the same damage as a dagger?

Well, one reason is context. A character using a dagger will use that weapon in an optimal way, getting close, restricting an opponents movement, etc. The other reason is because any character concept becomes viable. In a gonzo “anything goes” type game, your character could wield a baguette as their “weapon” and still be playable.

Once you accept that every weapon deals WEAPON EFFORT, it’s on the player to describe how they use their specific weapon to give themselves a narrative advantage. The player can describe smashing a shield with their warhammer, or slashing through vines with their sword, but all the advantages and disadvantages are narrative, or based on simple Tags.

To my mind, the specific weapon list in Master Edition makes it feel like “these are the options.” There’s no thieves tools, there’s two advantages to a crossbow, and a disadvantage to a longbow…

My thought is, take the Basic Loot list as a starting point for what’s possible, and then encourage players to make up their own stuff. You want to deal ULTIMATE damage? Then take a GREAT WEAPON of your choice. Takes 3 slots, too big to use one handed, and deals ULT. You want a bow with incendiary tips that crits on a 19-20? Call it a warbow with trick arrows. Nerf the powerful weapons with common sense rules (Hey, maybe you can’t chain Quick Draw attacks on a crossbow?), or boost the lackluster weapons.

ICRPG is a DIY system at it’s core. The book is there to show you what you can do, not what you can’t. If you’re looking for a specific and refined menu of choices, you might be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a flexible set of principles that allow you to make quick and easy rulings on ANYTHING at the table, then ICRPG is perfect.


Certainly well said!


@TopMaster To this point in D&D it makes the most sense for Bards to use a rapier but, as I tend to play characters close to myself, I really don’t like them as a weapon so I opt for a short sword instead since that’s what I like the best. It is min/maxy to always go for the best weapon due to it’s specs. The fact that I could have a character that wasn’t fenced in by weapon choices is one of the biggest reasons I got hooked into ICRPG. That is my personal opinion though, to me it was very freeing to know I could pick a short sword, rapier, etc and it all be a d6- I could play the character I wanted, not what was best, and still not have any big options/results taken away. I know you argued against it as an answer, but TAGS are your best friend to make the choice of always going to the warhammer go away with very little effort. If they all pick warhammer, offer some tags on other weapons that make them more enticing- lower crit ratio, use dex instead of str, farther reach, +2 because its a favored weapon and they are used to it- all quick and easy to add.