Eldon held the door open to the training room at the academy. His son, Orren, followed behind, slightly slower, as he stared in awe at the ceiling, floors, walls, and everything that made up the building that he was entering for the first time. While Eldon had brought his son quite frequently to the academy to see the lecture halls and libraries where he worked, or the performance halls and practice rooms where his wife, Nissa, instructed students in lute performance, Orren had never been to the martial training building. Eldon wished he could keep Orren from it longer and get him to devote himself to other pursuits, but Orren had been wrestling with his friends or swinging anything he could find that would imitate a sword at them since he was able to walk. While there may still be hope of convincing his daughter, Orla, not to persue the martial arts, Eldon was instead able to talk Orren into at least studying swordplay at the academy before rushing headlong into a melee with the first monster he could find.
The training room was bustling with activity as all the entering fighters, barbarians and rangers working their way to the racks where weapons and armor were arranged so that they may pick out the weapons they would begin training with. While they would receive training with all of them, if they knew which ones they wanted to focus on, it would help to get one in hand before the training officially began. The new students picked up and threw down equipment while the apprentices followed them about trying to keep the room orderly in hopes of avoiding the ire of the master trainers. The master trainers were nowhere to be seen, though, Eldon assumed they were still in their own offices waiting until the last minute to grace the students with their presence. He would do the same thing later that day when he had to give his first lectures of the year.
Despite seeing similar sights year after year, Eldon was as enthusiastic as his first year to see the excitement in the new student’s eyes. Because of this, he hadn’t noticed that Orren had already made his way over to the equipment racks to choose his own desired gear. Had he not known which rack Orren was headed to, he may not have been able to find him in all the commotion. However, Eldon had spent a significant amount of time working with his son to determine the fighting style and weapon type that Orren would specialize. As Eldon couldn’t talk Orren into pursuing the arcane studies, he had instead tried to convince his son to choose a bow or crossbow so that he be able to position himself in such a way that he wouldn’t always be within range of his foes. Again, however, Orren ignored his father’s advice as he was committed to joining a melee whenever he could. He gets that from his grandfather, Eldon thought. While Orren was committed to melee, he had been unsure whether he should wield a large two-handed weapon, a sword and shield or dual wield swords. Eldon had told him to look at the benefits of each in order to analytically determine which would be best.
During this time of decision Eldon and Orren discussed what objective Orren had when fighting. Eldon had suggested his goal should be to live through the encounter, but Orren stated that living wasn’t enough, he also wanted to defeat foe, whether that be killing monsters or winning a dual. Since the living objective would have been best satisfied by not running into a fight, Eldon went along with this as their objective when trying to determine what to choose. Eldon suggested to his son that, while there are many monsters, humanoid opponents he may face that would result in a different answer, you should strive to be your best, thus when comparing weapon types, choose the type that if were fighting yourself with the other types would win. Since there are three options, there may not be a clear winner, but at least this would provide a fair analysis. Orren liked this idea and began, with his father, to model what a fight would like with him on both sides.
They came up with the following,
To begin with, they tried to decide what armor that Orren should use. Since Orren wasn’t particularly dexterous, there was little point in using light or even medium armor. He was quick enough to take advantage of the nimbleness these would provide. Therefore, he would definitely use heavy armor. Ring mail, chain mail, splint and plate armor were offered, the plate offering the most protection. The plate was significantly more expensive than the other types of armor and Orren was slow to go with this since he would have to buy his own armor upon leaving the academy. While a professor of wizardry may not be as a rich as a lord, Eldon told Orren that it was worth it to him to buy his son his first set of plate in the hopes he would be better protected. However, Eldon had never been able to wear plate, since he wasn’t strong enough to walk with it on. Before making their decision, they went to an armorer to try it on. While Orren wasn’t the strongest gnome, he still had a 16 strength and was able to wear the plate. Hence, Orren decided that he would focus his training on using plate. With his 10 dexterity giving him no bonus or penalty to armor class, this means that Orren could plan on a starting armor class of 18.
Now, if Orren uses a longsword and shield, he will have a +5 to attack (2 from proficiency and 3 from strength bonus), a damage roll of 1d8+3, and an armor class of 20. With a great sword, Orren would have +5 to attack with an attack reroll if the roll was a 1 or 2, a damage roll of 2d6+4 and an armor class of 18. If Orren dual wields short swords, he will have a +5 to attack rolls, (1d6+3)*2 damage and an armor class of 18. Therefore, if Orren was facing himself using a shield, he would hit with a roll of 15, whereas he would hit with a roll of 13 if he was using either of the other two fighting techniques. Therefore, finding the expected outcomes, if Orren is attacking the version of him with the shield, he would do 4.365 damage per attack with the greatsword and 4.6 damage with the two shortswords. If he was not using a shield, then he would do 5.465 damage to himself with a greatsword, 5.55 damage to himself with two shortswords and 3.225 damage to himself if using the longsword and shield. Therefore, using two shortswords would provide the best expected outcome against himself.
As Orren picked up the two shortswords and stared at the gleaming metal, Eldon just stared as his son taken in the final moments before letting him go off to learn how master his chosen profession. Eldon walked away from the clang and clatter of steal to head back to showing his students how amazing studying texts could be.