Say I have these weapons, both with a +1 bonus to hit (the number doesn't matter, just that they are exactly the same in all other respects but damage):
5 damage on hit 1d10 damage on hit
IMHO all numbers in an RPG need to translate into a characteristic or feature of something in the game world. But I'm having trouble trying to figure out exactly what randomization in a weapon's potential damage represent. The weapons are off equal power and will average essentially the same amount of damage (If the 5 vs. 5.5 difference bothers you, just assume we're using the statistical equivalent of a d9), but what's really the difference we'd see if we were a weapons-master critically observing them in the game world?
Would a club perhaps have a large potential range of damage to indicate its dependence on whether it hits a critical area or was swung well? This seems to be the easier situation to understand, as it simulates the potential range between an axe hit barely scraping someone's ankle vs. slicing deep into their neck or another critical area.
How does that compare to a weapon without randomization in its damage calculation, or just with less randomness? Perhaps a dagger might have a fixed amount of damage to indicate that it can't really make a critical hit, but can't really make a weak hit? This just doesn't seem to line up to anything in the game world as its highly unlikely that a weapon would always do the exact same damage on a hit.
The issue doesn't just turn up in weapons either; it's also present in monster attacks. If a goblin does 4 damage on a hit, does it mean that it's incapable of making an inept hit that doesn't hurt the target much but also incapable of making a masterful hit that does more damage than normal?
I'm probably just looking too deeply into this. I suppose static damage values can be used to simplify the damage process, and they really do make things easier than having to roll dice all the time. But I still thought I'd ask to see if there's a deeper meaning behind constant weapon damage. :D