Weapons of Massive Destruction

I talked about weapon-focused builds, but never took my time to talk about actual weapons. Weapons are the most used tools in D&D, using to kill about everything that might stand in the way of the heroes’ quest. In different editions, different takes were used to express the beauty of smashing, slashing and stabbing in numbers.

In 5e it was imo mostly well done, even though I still dislike the idea of 2dx weapons when there is a 1d2x weapon with about the same properties out there. And especially with the Great Weapon Fighting Style option, since it boosts the average damage much more.

The list is about a page, instead of of two pages, some weapons were kicked out, like the whole exotic/superior table. But generally not having exotic/superior weapons is a relief, even though I really think they’ll return. Like in Eberron, where the halflings of the Talenta Plains wield more unique weapons and I think those weapons will be either included as a subrace (which I don’t hope) or a background instead of a tool proficiency/language (which I rather believe). There could be a remotely chance that they’ll

I think the term ‘superior weapon’ nailed it down pretty well: Most of these weapons were simply superior and nobody cared about the others. And since it cost a bit of resource (depending on edition [or Pathfinder] it varied in value), some options weren’t as good after all, considering other ones.

If the developers are smart, they’ll just makes the tangat, sharrash and such based of an existing weapon in the table and maybe just swap the damage type. But here and there that alone won’t be sufficient, since for example the sharrash is the halfing version of a reach weapon. So it’d better have reach and not the heavy keyword.

But back to the basic topic: Even in the 5e list, it seems that there are simply options which aren’t as good as others. Here these two reasons work, first: Realism, if a club were such a great weapon, we’ve never invented the sword. Of course an actual weapon like the light hammer trumps it by the possibility to throw it. The designers went for weapons and armors not only for PC-use alone, but for NPCs in all their variety (caveman, bandit, soldier, etc.), too.

The second reasons (which includes the first one) is the following: “In many cases, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.” (Base Rules p. 47; PHB pg. 147) So the most mundane things (like table legs as clubs, broken bottles as daggers, etc.) had to be be included.

Except some cases, most weapons are more or less defined by their category (simple, martial) and their properties. So if you know how, you can actually simply modify some weapons to fit your needs, especially if you’re missing some like the spiked chain (for whatever reason) and maybe are even able to make up rules for the (not) missed double weapons. And this is how I’ll do it.

First pick a weapon which seems to resemble the one you wants to rebuild. For this example, we make a spiked chain, since I saw some people demanding it. Since the spiked chain was a finesse weapon with reach, we take the only weapon which have these properties, the whip.

Then you add properties. Every property that makes it harder to use, should improve the damage die by one step, every property which makes it easier to use should decrease the damage die by one step. Since the spiked chain have to be wielded in two hands, it gets the two-handed property. Since using both hands makes it harder to use, we simply increase the damage die to d6. You can argue, that a small character would have this problems, but there are various reasons to not add the heavy property and one of them is, that a chain more than 10ft long isn’t as wieldy for medium characters, too.

Finally you can consider changing the damage type, since it’s a spiked chain, swap the bludgeoning with the piercing damage type. And the spiked chain is ready to go.

Some properties shouldn’t mix, like two-handed and light, heavy and finesse and heavy and light. Most of those combinations makes sense, especially when considering numbers and synergy with feats and other features. But to be honest: If a heavy weapon is too bulky for a small character to use it, how could a medium-sized character use it dexterous?

Here would be one properties I’d like to add:

Small: Medium sized characters have disadvantage on all attack rolls with this weapon. A small weapon’s size and handhold is too compact for a medium sized character to use it effectively.

This should cover the sharrash and tangat. 😉

Maybe I’ll make a list of some weapons that seems to be missing in 5e and make a House Rule Page for it. But let’s see, if I’ll find the time to do it. -_-‘

But which would be the best weapon for a PC? Actually I think it’ll b the Longsword. The reason: Because there are plenty of magical swords out there, so the odds to find one is higher. 😀


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