I mean, I get it, you've got this dang old sepulchral SKELETON. He ain't got no flesh, so you give the sucker half damage from edged and piercing weapons. Can't stab someone in the lungs when they don't HAVE lungs! The only way to kill a bone daddy is to smash it to bits with a blunt weapon, right? Verisimilitude achieved!
|This dumbass is going to be doing half damage with that halberd. If that's not a halberd, don't bother correcting me you terrible nerd.|
OH GOD NO. This is terrible. I mean, first of all, if you hit a dude with a sword you're going to snap just as many crumbly, dusty bones as if you use a hammer. That's just straight dumb. And who ever heard about a mighty hero putting away his gleaming magical sword to pull a hammer out of his backpack just because a skeleton lumbered out of the darkness? WHATEVER, I'm not here to argue the narrative value of damage reduction. or whether AD&D characters qualify as "mighty heroes." No, I just want to talk about the mechanics. Allow me to explain the error of your damage reducing way.
HYPOTHESIS: IT SUCKS TO GET PENALIZED, AND IT OWNS BONES TO GET BONUSES
Using a skeleton's damage reduction, let's set up an example scenario.
A skeleton has 8 hit points. Goofus hits it with his sword, and rolls an 8. Since its piercing damage, he only ends up deal 4 points. Goofus has been penalized for not using the right weapon. Gallant hits the skeleton with his mace, and rolls an 8. Since its bashing damage, the skeleton is reduced to zero hit points. Gallant is neither penalized nor rewarded.
Dang that SUCKS. It SUCKS to fight a skeleton when you don't have a bludgeon weapon. Your GM just looks at you with disdain for being such a MORON, and tells you to half the number you rolled. What if we made it so things DIDN'T suck? Can we do that, PLEASE?
Let's try something. Let's DOUBLE the skeleton's hit points. Yeah, skeletons are 1HD monster with the hit points of a 2HD monster now. We're getting CRAY CRAY up in here. However, this time instead of half damage from piercing/slashing weapons, lets have bludgeon weapons deal double damage. Let's check in with Goofus and Gallant again.
A skeleton has 16 hit points. Goofus hits it with his sword, and rolls an 8. Goofus is neither penalized nor rewarded. Gallant hits the skeleton with his mace, and rolls an 8. Since its bludgeon damage, he deals 16 damage, and the skeleton is reduced to zero hit points. Gallant has been given a bonus for using the right weapon.
See how much more fun that is? Suddenly instead of penalizing players for doing the wrong thing, you're rewarding players for doing the right thing. Now it doesn't suck when you fight a skeleton with a sword, it's just a normal fight against an (effectively) 2HD monster, but suddenly it rules when you fight one with a mace! The actual underlying mathematics remains the same, since it still takes twice as long to kill a skeleton with a sword than a hammer, but it feels different to the players. It's awesome to swing your mace and get double digit damage, which is usually not even possible with your crummy d8s, and you get to feel like a badass just staving in skulls and rib cages left and right. It doesn't even screw up saving throws, attack progression, XP rewards, or the cleric's ability to turn undead, since they're still 1HD monsters that happen to have double hit points.
What about long reaching ramifications of doubling a skeleton's hit points? WELL SHIT, smart guy, you've got me there, and we need to take a closer look at that.
How about damage that isn't one of the three physical types? Magic missile for instance. Before, a missile that dealt 8 damage would kill a skeleton, since it isn't reduce by our cartaligious friend's damage reduction, while now that 8 damage is effectively "worth" half the amount. Well dang, man, I've made it WORSE by changing things! These skeletons just runnin' rampant now!
Next, we need to deal with the extra hit points throwing things off. Still super simple. Lets review our skeletons entire resistance and weakness description from the AD&D Monster Manual.
Skeletons suffer only one-half damage from sharp and/or edge weapons (such as spears, daggers, swords). Blunt weapons such as clubs, maces, flails, etc., score normal damage. Fire scores normal damage...cold-based spells do no damage.
Okay, easy. We'll just delete that bit, and use this instead:
Skeletons suffer double damage from bludgeon weapons, magical spells and elemental attacks, except cold, to which they are immune.
Boom, two sentences and balance is restored. And hey, you can do with with other monsters too. Just double the hit points, and give double damage bonuses to everything but the attack it used to resistant to. I wouldn't suggest doing this for every monster, just the ones which are resistant to one of D&D's three basic damage types: piercing, slashing and bashing. You can probably leave, like, a salamander's fire resistance alone, since they take normal damage from weapons, and besides, a fire monster ignoring fire doesn't make anyone feel bad because fire isn't a basic damage type.