Hello all. I have looked around this forum a bit and did not find anyone addressing the differences and inequalities of the 5 melee weapon skills (Swords, Axes, Maces, Staves, and Unarmed Combat, for the sake of completion), so I shall attempt to do so here and also demonstrate my opinion that the Axes Skill and Maces Skill are actually lacking something in comparison, and they should be buffed in some way as to make them worth considering. I have not played Dungeons of Dredmor enough to actually know how good all the weapons and skills are by experience, so please correct me on any mistakes. I am relying on data and skill descriptions from dredmorwiki.com. For ease of comparison, here is a table detailing the stats bonus you would get from maxing the skill tree (i.e. getting all 6 skills) of each melee weapon skill. The entries of the stats with the highest numeric values among the 5 skills are highlighted in yellow. http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/4401/5meleecomparisonchart.jpg Swords - maxing the skill tree gives these passive stats bonus: +8 counter chance +7 enemy dodge reduction +2 piercing damage +1 slashing damage * total damage of 3 +1 critical chance - the high counter chance bonus makes Swords ideal to combine with Dual Wielding, as you would get +16 counter chance from two swords combined, in addition to the counter chance bonus from the Dual Wielding skill itself. - Thibault's Trompement (lv4 skill) hits AoE in 3 cells in a line. This skill is more often used as a ranged poke than an AoE, from my experience. Axes - maxing the skill tree gives these passive stats bonus: +8 enemy dodge reduction +4 slashing damage * total damage of 4 +2 critical chance - Norwegian Axenado (lv4 skill) hits AoE all around yourself. This is robably the worst melee AoE, since you'd have to be surrounded to use it effectively. Maces - maxing the skill tree gives these passive stats bonus: +7 enemy dodge reduction +4 critical chance +3 crushing damage +2 piercing damage * total damage of 5 - Dwarven Handshake (lv2 skill) can knock back 2 cells, but this is a passive skill at 20% proc rate, so it is an unreliable bonus. - Ragnar's Meteor (lv4 skill) hits AoE in a 3x2 area and knocks back 1 cell. This is probably the best melee AoE in terms of area coverage. However, in my experience, this skill seemed to do less damage than normal and did not knock back. Staves - maxing the skill tree gives these passive stats bonus: +1 counter chance +7 enemy dodge reduction +3 crushing damage * total damage of 3 +1 critical chance +6 haywire chance * only this melee skill has it +8 block chance +2 magic power * only this melee skill has it - This is the only weapon skill to give haywire chance and magic power bonus, thus ideal for wizard/hybrid types. - Staff-type weapons sometimes come with wizard-ish stats bonus already on them. - The high block chance bonus is also nice. - Spirit Conduit (lv2 skill) can paralyze for 2 turns, but this is a passive skill at 20% proc rate, so it is an unreliable bonus. - Ki Cascade Strike (lv4 skill) can paralyze in an area around you for 3 turns. The paralyze effect makes this skill much better than Norwegian Axenado (Axes lv4 skill) in the dire situation of getting surrounded. Unarmed Combat * It seems the concensus here is that Unarmed Combat is too good. But I'll present it here anyway, for the sake of completion. - maxing the skill tree gives these passive stats bonus: +11 block chance * highest +7 dodge chance * highest, and only this melee skill has it +13 counter chance * highest +6 critical chance +6 enemy dodge reduction +3 crushing damage +1 piercing damage +4 aethereal damage * highest, total damage of 8 - You can even dual wield 2 shields, for even more defensive or wizard-ish stats. - Throwing Buffalo Technique (lv2 skill) knocks back 1 cell. - Gray Heron Takes Flight (lv4 skill) knocks back 1 cell in AoE around yourself. But, if you were already surrounded and then you used this skill, wouldn't monsters just surround you right away on the same turn? In conclusion, Swords are great for dual wielding; Staves can paralyze and are great for wizards; Unarmed Combat kicks ass in just about all the stats bonus, not to mention more shields. But, what are the defining strengths of Axes and Maces? I think they should get something good too, if only to make them enough to rival the other melee weapon skills. Or, if there's already something great about Axes and Maces that I overlooked, please let me know.