Nights In Lankhmar
House Rules - Combat
Weapon Length (Misura): Melee weapons are either Short, Medium or Long (S/M/L). When combat starts the advantage usually goes to the longer weapon: if you’ve got a spear and your opponent attacks you with a dagger, you can usually keep them at spear’s length. However, once the person with the dagger gets in close it’s harder to hit them. We give a +1 defensive advantage per difference in length to the person with the longer weapon, although when a person makes a successful hit, even if it does no damage, the advantage flips and the person who last hit gets the defensive bonus. This advantage is called the misura.
EXAMPLE: Slurp and Clabber come to blows in an alleyway. Slurp is using a quarterstaff while Clabber is using a dagger. A quarterstaff is a long weapon while a dagger is a short one, two steps away from Long: S → M → L. Clabber is a few paces away when the fight begins, so Slurp has a +2 to defense (active or passive). (If Clabber was using a one-handed mace (Medium length) Slurp would only have a +1 to defense.) Clabber hits and so the misura switches; Slurp has to overcome Clabber’s defense +2 until Slurp makes a hit and then the misura switches back.
Note the advantage also applies to multiple attackers, so usually the misura is either the player’s or the GM’s, and you can use a card or a token to show which side has the misura. (Note that the advantage is still based on individual weapon length, however.)
EXAMPLE: Instead of Clabber, Slurp is beset by a trio of rakin, one with a hand-axe (Short), one with a backsword (Medium) and one with a two-handed club (Long). Given that that Slurp’s quarterstaff is a Long weapon it beats the Short and Medium length weapons and thus Slurp starts with the misura, although Slurp has +2 defense vs. the hand-axes, +1 vs. the backsword and no bonus vs. the two-handed club. If Slurp is struck, however, the misura switches to the Ratkin and his opponents have a +2, +1 and no bonus to defense, respectively.
This rule gives an advantage to longer weapons, but keep in mind that longer weapons are much trickier to manage in a narrow space and very rarely useable with shields. (This is a reason why spear-and-shield is a popular combo.)