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How do different types of weapons compare? For example, is sword better than a mace, or are they different somehow?

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3 Answers

Warhammers and Axes beat the pants offa Maces and Swords in their respective damage categories (i.e., edged vs. piercing)

Spears are off in their own little group.

Generally speaking, Axes do deadly deadly things to unarmored critters, Warhammers quickly cause crippling wounds (leaving enemies free to be maimed by the aforementioned axedwarves) and spears are useful against larger enemies such as megabeasts, forgotten beasts, and titans.

This thread might have the more detailed information you're interested in:

http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=53571.0

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There are two important things when comparing weapons, the material it is made from, and the attack type used. (I will be ignoring training weapons here, as they're pretty inefectve in combat.)

There are two different types of attack, namely blunt and edged (sharp); In addition, each different weapon and material has different stats for Yield, Fracture and Elasticity, which are used to simulate proper Stress & Strain.

As this makes it impossible to give specifics, the general consensus is:


  • Blunt weapons generally have poor penetration but are good for bruising and breaking internal bones and tissues. Blunt weapons tend to be more effective when they have greater weight. They are not designed to kill, but to incapitate, and they do that very well. (examples are: hammers, maces, and melee attacks with crossbows.)
  • Edged weapons generally have smaller contact surfaces than blunt weapons, which gives them more penetration power. If you want to sever limbs, an edged weapon is probably your best bet. (examples are: swords, axes, daggers, and picks.)

  • The materials for weapons doing Edged Damage
    • Best: Adamantine (except for missiles)
    • Better: Steel
    • Good: Iron
    • Fair: Bronze, Bismuth Bronze
    • Poor: Copper
    • Terrible: Adamantine (for missiles), Silver

Notes: Copper is better at piercing Iron armor than Bronze is, but Bronze pierces Copper and Bronze armor and better than Copper does


  • The materials for weapons doing Blunt Damage
    • Best: Steel, Silver
    • Better: Copper, Bismuth Bronze, Bronze, Iron
    • Terrible: Adamantine

Notes: All six non-adamantine metals perform nearly identically. Steel has a slightly higher rate of critical wounds, while silver is slightly more likely to penetrate armor.

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This is exactly what I was looking for. I saw this same information on the wiki once, any idea what page? –  Tiggerizzy May 30 '11 at 2:33
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This came up in another question, but there is a long chart here:

When Toady redesigned the combat system in DF2010 (the successor to 40d), he changed it from a heuristic system (with values he decided on) to a system based on the properties of Yield, Fracture and Elasticity. He did this in an attempt to simulate proper Stress/Strain equations. However, because Iron has poorer properties in comparison to Bronze, the result was the Iron Weapons/Armor are inferior to Bronze Weapons/Armor in DF2010. However if you actually look over that chart you still notice that in some cases, Iron heavily out preforms Bronze. I'd say there is no rule of thumb for when one is better than the other.

I'd summarize it, but it boils down to: there aren't really any hard and fast rules on the issue.

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I think the OP is asking about the types of weapons, not their component materials. And there is one hard fast rule for material anyway :P -- Adamantine über alles (unless you're making hammers or maces). –  Raven Dreamer Sep 30 '10 at 21:49
    
@Raven so there is a hard and fast rule, except for the times where it doesn't apply? –  tzenes Sep 30 '10 at 23:12
    
@Tzenes -- there's a hard and fast rule with a single exception: blunt weapons. –  Raven Dreamer Sep 30 '10 at 23:48
    
@Raven that's 40% of possible weapon types... maybe I just have a different definition of hard rule. –  tzenes Sep 30 '10 at 23:49
    
@Tzenes, perhaps call it the union of two hard rules? "Use adamantine for edged weapons and armor." and "use anything but adamantine for blunt weapons." –  Raven Dreamer Oct 1 '10 at 1:19
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