Weapon Effort Split?



Heya Shield Wall, so I’m getting back into ICRPG after a long Prodigal Son time of trying other systems out before realizing ICRPG just simply works best.

I got the QS rules and overall I’m enjoying it, streamlined and lots of inspiration. My one thing is how the EFFORT stats have changed, particularly the d8 now simply being “Guns”. Well that’s great for any modern or even Industrial-era settings but what about fantasy games?

So I thought about splitting the weapons effort into two categories: “Light” (d6) and “Heavy” (d8) with Light being anything less than 5 feet long and/or easily wielded with one hand, i.e Daggers, most swords, and shortbow. While as Heavy is anything above 5 feet and/or must be wielded with two hands, ie Zweihänders, Warhammers, Longbows etc.

Am I overthinking this change? What are some suggestions you all might have to better fit my world? Thank you all in advance!


Hey! Welcome back! So, I see four options. The first is, most folks just ignore the gun category in fantasy games. At least, that has been the case in all of my fantasy games using this ruleset, either as a player or DM.

However, the second option is that you might just use it as is. There is a class, the Hunter, that might make use of a projectile weapon. Or imagine a Bard duelist who uses a pistol instead. Or somewhere in your world, on the DM side, there’s a goblin or dwarf with a homemade blunderbuss that needs to do a category of effort higher than a D6, just to distinguish that rare weapon. Or maybe you want to run a pirate game, or a three musketeers game, and in that case, you’re all set.

A third option is to do what you have done: carve out a category of weapons in your mind that deserves a dice category higher than D6. I love the idea of having a Zwiehander or other large weapon potentially doing more damage. In this case, though, we don’t always get hung up on the name or try to re-write the rules with a bunch of formal lists of stuff. We just simplify say, “oh, that massive Zwiehander you found, that does ‘gun’ effort,” or “that does d8 effort instead of d6,” and then we all just move on. I don’t think there is a need to overthink it beyond that, unless you just want to; otherwise, I see a lot of folks spinning their wheels and needlessly overcomplicating it. I also tend to prefer this approach rather than formalizing a list, because you’ll make a player feel super unique and special when you say, “oh, but YOUR weapon does d8 damage instead of d6.” In other words, keep things a bit more loose and a bit more rare.

A fourth option is that you save that d8 category as a milestone for your players during the course of your campaign. At about the mid-way point, the characters start finding d8 level weapons, graduating from d6 weapons, as the threats get tougher. These weapons are all “masterwork weapons,” or some label. And then later, they can graduate to magic weapons and all do d10 damage. And then they can level up to legendary weapons and all do d12 damage at the end of the campaign. In this fashion, you can bake in a bit of a Diablo or Borderlands tiered loot system.

In any event, I still recommend keeping things a bit loose, just to give yourself some wiggle room, whereas I think the moment you start defining lists of weapons that fit different categories, then you have to stick to those lists, and you’re just giving yourself one more thing to keep track of.


When I run fantasy games, I’ve kept to the standard “all weapons do WEAPON”, but with the inclusion of GUN EFFORT, I occasionally just use it as a way to bump up special pieces of loot.

“That bow isn’t just any bow. That is a Nightrider Bow, made from Nightelm wood. You have to dig up a log that’s been buried in the middle of the Dead Lands to even get any. [Nightrider Bow, deals GUN EFFORT with a +2 bonus to GUN EFFORT]”


@KaneDriscol knows what’s up. :smiley:


Gun effort is used in my Fantasy Games for black powder weapons.(some worlds have them, some don’t.) If they dont we ignore it.

I also do what @Alex recommended… increase effort die for masterwork or milestone weapons/abilities. (Magic Weapons do Magic Effort.)

There is nothing wrong with your light/heavy weapons rules either…

Game On!


Use ULTIMATE for the bigger weapons. If you want a weapon to deal more damage, have it deal more damage! For simplicity though you could just say those bigger weapons deal an additional D6 of weapon and keep it all under weapon.

I get it though. Why use a big 2-handed sword when I can do the same damage with a sword and a shield plus gain the benefit of additional armor? That’s you thinking from a design perspective.

A good player will tell their GM – “I swing my massive sword in a wide arc hitting everyone in front of me!” Because they know the difference between a 2-handed sword and a sword and board, is one is meant to make your character go AAARRRRRRGGHHHH!

Same goes with the sword and shield – “I want to bang my sword on my shield to get the monsters looking at me so they don’t attack the others.”

You could also use tags similar to the new core 2e quick start stuff. I love the warhammer write-up.

Also players will put their bonuses where they want them to matter. The bonus is what makes the dice usually shine. Even on a bigger die, a player will roll low damage. A player who wants to be a damage dealer will put their bonuses in that effort type. You don’t want to spread those bonuses around between a ‘light’ weapon and a ‘heavy’ weapon.


I’ve done the exact same thing that you do, I just named the efforts as Tools/Simple (d6) and Weapons/Martial (d8). :3


Great suggestions here but I personally like your idea. I am running Altered State with the Effort as RAW but in the future I plan to run a fantasy game and will do this:

d4 - Bare hands
d6 - Tools/Simple Weapons
d8 - Martial Weapons
d10 - Exotic Weapons
d12 - Ultimate

Spells count as “Weapons” but can also have their own specialized rules. For example how Arcane Bomb is listed as 4d12 damage or whatever. You could find a simple spell (Say, Magic Missile) that does 1d6 damage or a more powerful “Martial” Spell like Lightning Bolt or whatever that does 1d8.

I like that level of granularity, and I think players do as well.


I’ve been on this exact same pilgrimage. There’s some useful experiences out there you can use (pbta games), but there’s no place like home (icrpg).
I usually just go d6 for light weapons and d8 for heavy/2 handed weapons.
Although a post above mine had a good idea as d6 for all weapons and a d8 for special loot. May give that a go myself.


I went a different direction. I opted for the following.

  • d4 Basic, unskilled, unarmed
  • d6 Journey, exploration
  • d6 Social
  • d6 Tool
  • d8 Weapon;
  • d10 Extraordinary or Energy
  • d12 Ultimate.


In my fantasy campaign, we use D6 for melee weapon effort and D8 for ranged weapon effort. Works pretty well and gives ranged combat more deadliness.


This is how I handled this situation before moving on to only a D20 and D6 dice:
Weapon damage is 1d6. Two-handed or dual-wielding is 1d8.


The RPG i am just finishing up designing (using ICRPG as a starting point rather than 5e) has the following:

The amount of damage a weapons does is based on skill of the wielder and whether it is Melee or Ranged. Each character class would have a “weapon skill level” for each of those types.
example -Starting character types- wizard is unskilled with both. Fighter is Skilled with both, Rogue-types are unskilled with all melee except daggers/knives or clubs and Skilled with ranged weapons.
As you get XP you can “dice up” one of the 2 groups.

  • Unskilled-------------------------------deal d4 damage
  • Skilled-----------------------------------deal d6 damage
  • Expert ---------------------------------deal d8 damage
  • Master--------------------------------- deal d10 damage
  • Champion---------------------------- deal d12 damage


Stupid Simple is my main mantra for what I’ve been trying to do. I like the idea of the “Masterwork” type or even something to make it be like a “+1 Longsword” might toss that out to my (currently non-existent) group and see how we want to play it out.


Making a LOOT that takes more effort than just a d100 roll on the table is brilliant, can make an entire side quest to get the Ranger their Nightrider Bow.


Makes sense… Getting a d6 with a +2 bonus does sound like it would be a good alternative… May have to go back to the tags to brainstorm on.