Thanks for the kind comments, let me address a couple of the posts...
I like it too, especially the dagger one (great!) and the initiative malus linked to encumbrance only (i like the -1 per 10%)
Believe me, I know what you mean regarding the -1 init per 10%. It's simple, easy, and make sense, so it's good to new players. That was how I originally conceptualized the system. However, there's also something to be said for having bigger steps as well, and that, in a word, is: satisfaction. The problem with -1 init is that it just doesn't do enough to make you consider an alternative. If you had a design that went over a threshold, and got penalized -1 init, would you really change it? I don't think I would. I then considered a -2 init every 20% solution, but that has it's own problems, mainly that it makes certain traits and items interchangeable (IE: horse vs wrag, strength vs fast). Often times, you won't really care which one you have because they essentially do the same thing, give or take away 2 init. That's why I finally went with 3 init steps. If you went over a threshold and lost 3 init, suddenly you might want to reconsider some items or traits... and it also makes horses and strength better in some cases (if you have high weight and need to beat a threshold), while also making wrag and fast better in others (say if you can keep your weight very low, or when horses/strength doesn't do enough). The whole concept was to force you to make decisions with your units, and I wanted to have those decisions give more impact to reward good design rather than just a tiny little boost or penalty. I hope that makes sense.
the only thing maybe is the difference in the difficult with a sword and an axe... in reality is a lot easier to wield an axe than a sword.
and was the axe in middle age that destroyed armor and the mace more for ignore it. (with a mace I can broke you an arm, even if your enemy wore a plate mail, and with an axe you can cut a chain mail with ease and destroy it in the process)
As for the difficulty to wield, I realize all too well the moment I suggested it, that there would be people who say such and such weapon shouldn't be hard to wield, that's why I said that it depended on the style of combat. Let's face it, there are dozen (if not hundred) of sword styles, some simple and others very not so... and there's no way we can properly replicated that in a game, nor would we want to. Rather, what I'm trying to say, is that the sword style in question (in the game), of blocking and swinging your sword in retaliation takes less effort than swinging a giant axe, stopping it if it misses (probably the most straining part), and doing a backswing. Or, you could just say that the axe is really heavy. It doesn't really matter all that much in the end, it was just an attempt to toss some sense into balancing issues.
Which is the primary matter at hand. The axe in my suggestion is the only weapon with "high" damage, and it also has a backswing to give it a second chance to hit, thus, it is required to have a downside... which in this case, is weight. It's fine that it is meant to do damage, but I don't want armies of fast moving axeman equipped with the best armor demolishing everyone. If you want axeman in armor, that's okay, but they won't be fast. If you want fast axeman, that's okay too, but they won't have heavy armor. The swordsmen is the reverse, they are constantly taking hits in order to counter and do their best damage. So they need less weight so that they can equip shields and armor to take those hit.
As for your point regarding mace/axes and armor breaking, I can't really comment on that, as, frankly, I'm no expert. The reason I had mace breaking armor instead of axes is rather simple, Axes already had the backswing mechanic, and I wanted maces to have their own thing. Furthermore, breaking armor and doing high damage doesn't make good balance (if you're already doing a lot of damage, you don't really need to be breaking armors). Also, I went with armor breaking because I felt like there was a missing endurance or swarmer type of weapon. A weapon where it might not be very dangerous at first glance, if used by many or in prolonged fights, becomes powerful/dangerous. This essentially becomes the perfect weapon for militia units (or perhaps even darklings/wildlings/mites) and those already starts with clubs. They might not seem particularly dangerous, but they'll weaken you enough that the real troops will cut you down.
I'm not exactly sold on your identities for weapons, but the encumbrance being the only thing that impacts initiative outside of particular spells or weapons looks fantastic.
I also think your assessment of the weapon's current weaknesses is pretty honest and straightforward.
In terms of weapon identities I think something more to the tune of:
Maces: Improved minimum damage (great idea!), knockdown on crit. Legitimate 1H and 2H varieties with 2H varieties carrying Init penalties while doing 1.5x damage.
Axes: Highest damage output overall, 50% damage on backswing hit. Legitimate 1H and 2H varieties with 2H varieties carrying Init penalties and doing full damage on backswing.
Swords: Counter Attack, lightweight, fair damage, with the average sword clocking in at ~75% of a mace at the same level.
Daggers: Counter Attack, Maul-like effect (its fast, but doesn't make you "faster"), comes in at about 40% Mace damage.
Spears: About good as is.
Staves: Counter Attack, Evade bonus, Backswing (two ends, right?). Comes in at about 75% of a spear of the same level.
Rods (Magical Staves): Evade bonus, elemental damage at range.
Bows: About good as is, with better bows ignoring armor (assuming init modifier being traded out for encumbrance)
Otherwise, I like the weapon-specific traits, and all encumbrance ideas.
I'm not exactly deadset on these terms for the weapons, as long as they make the weapons unique, so discussion on how to improve/change them is welcomed. Having said that, I honestly don't believe having maces knockdown on crit and having daggers maul is a good idea. Let me try to explain...
The prone effect (knockdown) is very powerful early game (can practically completely disables a unit), but becomes virtually worthless mid to late game due to mounts (immune to knockdown). Plus, you'd have to give maces fairly high crit percentages to make the effect even noticeable... and to be frank, I just don't like the idea of giving high crit to medium damage weapons because it becomes essentially instant death attacks (and I don't see maces being low damage weapons?). Even if you don't give maces very high crit values, it would only make the player feel like they got RNGed by the game and reload if it ever happened to them. Quick saving and reloading just isn't very fun, if you don't believe me, look up Battle for Wesnoth, or as I like to call it, RNG for Wesnoth.
Crit on daggers, which has low damage is okay precisely because there, the crit isn't an instant win. It's simply a spike damage that balances out the weak normal hits. But to give maul AND crit... that's definitely a no go. I'm not sure if you've every played an assassin sovereign/hero and gotten a berserk sword, but let me assure you, it is a completely OP combination. I could solo everything without a problem, dragons, wildland bosses, you name it. In one particular instance, I ran up to Vetrar, and critted him 3 times out of 5 hit... instant KO before he could even move. Maul is particularly bothersome because there are many ways to raise accuracy (training yard, discipline, precision, champion helm), yet not many high dodge enemies (which is why I suggested to have staff the way they were), so it's rather easy to get 5-6 hits in... maybe way more, but things are usually dead by then. I want daggers to be useful, but not that overpowering, so I went with double attack instead, and what better way to explain double attack than say you're wielding two daggers (it would also make way for more modding options regarding dual wielding). Also, I had some rather specific daggers in mind when I suggested it, aside from the basic poison dagger, I was thinking of special magical daggers that inflict status or ailments based on spell mastery/resists... like withering daggers (reduce opponent's attack unless they resist) or ones that slows, stuns etc. This essentially makes spell mastery somewhat important for units (a first) using those daggers while also making spell resistance somewhat more valuable as a whole.
I didn't really go into a lot of details because the post had gotten really long, and I feared people would have doze off trying to read the thing... but ideally, I foresee each faction getting an elemental affinity (affects their innate resistance and rod of choice), and a weapon affinity. A little along the line of this:
Altar: Specializes in fire and swords. Their fire rods are stronger than the other elemental rods and their swords are better, with better fire sword alternative to Boreal Blades.
Gilden: Specializes in ice and maces. Their ice rods are stronger, and their maces are better, with better ice hammers to replace lightning hammer.
Tarth: Specializes in poison and bows. Their poison rods are stronger, and their bows are better, with poison bows to replace Ignis Bow.
Pariden: Specializes in lightning and rods. They have strong fire, ice, and poison rods (the equivalence of the other faction's preferred rod), but their lightning rods are by far the best in game.
Yithril: Specializes in ice and axes. They have stronger ice rods, and their axes are better, with better ice axe alternative to fire ones.
Krax: Specializes in lightning and spears. They have stronger lightning rods, and one handed spears, being able to use lighting focii with lightning spear is their magical weapon affinity (other factions can't because their spears are two-handed).
Resoln: Specializes in poison and daggers. They have stronger poison rods, and stronger, special daggers (poisoning, withering, draining). Their blood should increase spell mastery, which helps their dagger units inflict ailments more often. This will also strengthen Ceresa without needing to give her over-the-top powerful spells.
Magnar: Specializes in fire and staffs. They have stronger fire rods and special staffs that lets them use various fire abilities (like burning hands). I basically see them as a faction of occult lizardman priests who uses slaves to do menial labor.
Basically 8 factions, eight weapons. Then 4 elements, so each empire faction gets a different element and each kingdom faction gets a different element. That way each faction plays different and needs to be countered differently. If you're in a war with Altar, you might want to field fire resistant spearmans to counter their best troops, but would then have to switch to different weapon/resist to face another faction... even if it's just Magnar (fire resistance still works, but your spears are now being countered, and they dodge so your armor piercing isn't so great). I hope that make some more sense.
Edit: I just noticed that this is in the wrong section (because I always read the primary forum to see everything). My apologies. Could a kind mod please move this to the beta section? Many thanks.