Now I wrote before that, up through Holmes Basic (i.e. prior to 1st edition AD&D) the weapons available to a D&D player character were the exact ones found in the Man-to-Man combat section of Chainmail. That wasn't entirely accurate, however, as Supplement I (Greyhawk) added a couple additions to the "standard starting thirteen," specifically the military pick and dwarves hammer which, considering my thoughts on hammers, makes perfect sense. The military pick and war hammer are pretty much the same weapon and as I describe them, fall into the same basic section as the mace. Gygax echoes this sentiment by keeping the same 12 step order (as from Chainmail) and lumping both these weapons in the same slot as the Mace (before Sword, after Hand Axe); he likewise gives them the same damage range.
I had not bothered to review Greyhawk prior to my first couple posts in this series, and so I was happily surprised to find Gygax had considered some of the same things I had and was not quite the blithering idiot he's been made out to be be. Here we find some ideas about what "space required" (from the PHB) actually means: for a flail, halberd, or two-handed sword the weapon require "not less than 6' of space on each side of the wielder" to use the weapon effectively (meaning such a weapon cannot be effectively used in a 10' wide corridor). Morning stars (the one-handed flail) require 5' on either side and battle axes require 4'. And check this kicker...pole arms and pikes?
"These weapons are not usable in dungeons as a general rule due to length."Ha! Makes you wonder why gnolls (who are "subterranean 85% of the time," per the Monster Manual) have 35% of their soldiers carrying pole arms.
[okay, maybe Gary was a little idiotic at times]
The Moldvay version of Basic cleans up the weapons list, reducing it to "dungeon-worthy" gear and re-organizing it not by length (as such doesn't matter to the basic rules) but by weapon type. Specifically by five weapon types: axes, bows, daggers, swords, and "other." The bows section (which I realize I haven't to this point discussed in the series) is cut down to the short, long, and cross- varieties, leaving out the heavy crossbow and composite bow found in earlier editions. Axes and daggers remain the same weapons found earlier (though with the addition of the "silver dagger," its first mention in any version of D&D). "Other" lumps in the mace, hammer, pole arm, and spear, as well as two new weapons: the club and the sling. The cleric never had it so good.
[actually, the sling was introduced with the 1E PHB. However, I'd contend that part of Moldvay's objective here was to provide a number of options for all class types...hence the silver dagger (for magic-users with too much gold in the bank) and a plethora of blunt (cleric) options]
Flails and morning stars were dropped from the list; likewise halberds and pikes (unless they were subsumed into "pole arms" and "spears"). It's in the sword category however that we find what may be my one (main) gripe about the Moldvay's list:
|"This is a really big sword."|
But this post is getting pretty long, so I'm going to have to break it up into two parts...sorry, folks.
[to be continued]