One point of frustration that comes through in the posts is the clunkiness of systems that try to balance out weapons with a host of non-damage characteristics like speed factor, bonuses vs. specific AC, room needed to swing ... Why instead can't each weapon have a special trait or two, and maybe a special drawback, without every single weapon having to be rated on that trait?
A rough brainstorm, aided by borrowings and scrapings from old-school posts too numerous to recall, gives me this:
|Weapon||Average Damage||Good Things||Bad Things|
|Dagger||-2||Quick Draw, Throwable, Close, Narrow||Short|
|Shortsword||-1||Quick Draw, Narrow||Short, Expensive|
|Two-handed sword||+1||+1 to hit Armor||Wide, Expensive, Two-Handed|
|Mace/War Hammer||+0||+2 to hit Armor||Wide, Unwieldy|
|Battle Axe||+0||+1 to hit Armor||Wide|
|Two-Handed Mace/Hammer/Axe||+1||+2 to hit Armor||Wide, Unwieldy, Two-Handed|
|Hand Axe/Hammer||-1||Throwable, Narrow||Short|
|Staff||-1||Improves AC by 1 against facing opponent||Two-Handed, Unwieldy|
|Short Spear||-1||Throwable, Narrow||Unwieldy|
|Long Spear||-1||Long, Narrow||Unwieldy, Two-Handed|
|Pole Arm||+0||Long||Unwieldy, Two-Handed|
Armor Bonuses: Apply only to chain armor or better, or the monster AC equivalent, assuming this comes from armor/hide and not dexterity or magic bonuses
Close: Weapon has no penalty when used in grappling range; other weapons have -2 to hit and strike last
Expensive: Reflected in equipment tables
Long: Weapon strikes first against non-Long weapons (and unarmed monsters) unless in grappling range
Narrow: Weapon has no penalty in very tight quarters (3' passages or characters fighting 3 to a 10' passage); other weapons have -2 to hit and strike last
Quick Draw: Weapon can be readied and used in the same round, striking last; other weapons require a full round to ready.
Short: Weapon cannot attack a facing opponent wielding a Long weapon unless in grappling range
Throwable, Two-Handed: Self-explanatory
Unwieldy: Weapon cannot be used in grappling range
Wide: Weapon has -2 to hit and strikes last with even 5' frontage (needs 7' free to swing properly) and cannot be used with only 3'
Average Damage: For example, with a d8 monster hit die basis, minuses refer to d6 and d4, and plus damage requires a d10.
(Closing to grappling range against an aware, facing opponent requires a full round without attacking, and without being hit by that opponent. Striking first and last overrides initiative determination, but opponents that strike at the same time by those rules still use initiative.)
These traits are easy to remember (for example, Unwieldy weapons are all blunt and pole weapons). They can even be implemented by the referee without the players knowing they exist, on a common-sense basis.
Another way to distinguish weapons is to note their different effectiveness against different materials and monsters. Blades are good for cutting ropes, cloth, and sheet-like monsters. Hammers and maces are good for smashing breakable things like jars and skeletons. Axes are all-around adventuring tools, good for hacking wood as well as limbs. Spears will puncture puffballs but harm little else.