View Full Version : Weapon Standardization[Idea] also Exotics

2007-11-29, 03:07 PM
Warning: This is just an idea, I'm not even sure it's a good one. I'm just presenting it in case it isn't an insane concept.

This idea came to me in the middle of reading "Spiked Chain" thread #god-knows-what. What if there was a weapon standard? Not only to compare and adjust existing weapons but to refer to when making new ones. To have a system that says "This is too Good" "This isn't good enough" "This is about right" with at least some level of objectivity.

I thought it was a rather neat idea and spent some time (probably too much), trying to come up with a system that effectively fits the majority of existing weapons. Obviously a few would fall under the standard, a few would fall above it.

After chewing on it a while, I can up with an example of what this kind of system might look like. So far it only works for non-double non-projectile weapons. With some time, It would probably be possible to include those. However, I think I'll put this idea out there and see if anyone likes the concept before dedicating more time to refining it.


All weapons are rated against a point system. Extra Damage, Special Features and Throwing Range all have set point values. Different families of weapons (Simple, Martial, Exotic) are rated for different total points.

These are the point values by weapon family.
Point Value by Weapon Family
Simple Weapons: 4 Points
Martial Weapons: 6 Points
Exotic Weapons: ? Points

Weapon Damage has different point value, depending on the size of the weapon. The progressions are as follows:

Light Weapon Progression

1d2: -1 Point
1d3: 0 Points
1d4: 2 Points
1d6: 4 Points
1d8: 6 Points
2d4: 8 Points

One-Handed Weapon Progression

1d3: -1 Point
1d4: 0 Points
1d6: 2 Points
1d8: 4 Points
1d10:6 Points
1d12:8 Points

Two-Handed Weapon Progression

1d6: -1 Points
1d8: 0 Points
2d4: 2 Points
1d10:3 Points
2d6: 5 Points
2d8: 7 Points

Special Abilities have static point values, regardless of weapon size.
Ability Values

Odd/Very Minor abilities can have a value of 0.

For example:
A dagger's slight of hand effect is 0.

Weapon finesse with a drawback (rapier) is 0 points.
1-Point Adjustments
Disarm Bonus: 1 Point per +2 Bonus. (Maximum: 4)
Range: Each 10ft Increment of Throwing Range is 1 point.
Anti-Charge: Being able to ready a weapon against a charge is 1 point.
Reach: Standard Reach that prevents attacking adjacent opponents is 1 point.
Mount Support: Being able to wield a weapon with less effort when mounted is 1 point.
Free: A weapon with no listed cost loses 1 point.
Monk Weapon: Being a "Monk Weapon" costs 1 point.

2-Point Adjustments
x3 Critical Modifier /x3 Critical is worth 2 points.
19-20 Threat Range 19-20 Threat ranges are worth 2 points.
Situational Power If it's beneficial (Lance x2 on mounted charge) it costs 2 points. If it's harmful (Whip doesn't harm armored) it gives two points.
Tripping Be able to use a weapon to trip is 2 points
Two Damage Types Dealing two damage types ("Piercing AND Slashing") is worth 2 points.
Weapon Finesse Weapon finesse no drawbacks is 2 points.
Non-Lethal Dealing non lethal damage costs 2 points.
Long Reach Reach of 15 ft rather than 10ft is worth 2 points.

3-Point Adjustments
Disarm Immunity: Immunity to disarm costs 3 points.
Adjacent Reach Hitting adjacent opponents with a reach weapon (normal or long) is worth 3 points.

4-Point Adjustments
18-20 Threat Range Threat Ranges of 18-20 are worth 4 points.
x4 Critical Damage /x4 Critical is worth 4 points.

Examples of Examining a Weapon's Point value.

Longsword: Marital Weapon (6 Points)
Damage 1d8 : 4 Points(1-Handed Weapon)
19-20 Threat: 2 Points
Total: 4 + 2 = 6

Spiked Chain: Exotic Weapon (8 Points)
Damage 2d4: 2 Points (Two-Handed Weapon)
Reach: 1 Point
Adjacent Reach: 3 Points
Tripping Weapon: 1 Point
+2 on Disarm: 1 Point
No-Drawback Weapon Finesse: 2
Total: 2 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 10

Long Spear: Simple Weapon (4 Points)
1d8 Damage: 0 Points (Two-Handed Weapon)
Reach: 1 Point
x3 Critical: 2 Points
Ready Against Charge: 1 Point
Total: 1 + 1 + 2 = 4

Weapons the System Fails to Fit

Morning Star (6/4 Points)
Greatclub: (4/6 Points)
Heavy Flail: (7/6 Points)
Greatsword: (7/6 Points)
Halberd; (7/6 Points)
Dagger : (5/4 Points)
Sickle: (5/4 Points)
Axe, Throwing:(5/6 Points)
Hammer Light: (4/6 Points)

Which is more than I think should fail, for an ideal system. Exotic Weapons are another story. As I said, this whole thing started randomly in the middle reading a "Spiked Chain" story.

Thoughts on exotic weapons:

No matter how hard I tried (and I tried more than is sensible). I couldn't get a system to fit them, and the rest of the weapon universe. This really just screams something everyone already knows exotic weapons are far from equal. The monk weapons all fall in at 6 points. The One-Handed Weapons at 8, the Spiked chain at 10. If exotic weapons were made to fall in-line with each other.

6 Point exotic weapons would be no different than Marital weapons. That would be silly.

An 8-point Kama & and 8-Point spiked chain might look like this.

{table=head]Name|Damage(Small)|Damage(Medium)|Critical|Range Increment|Damage Type(s)|Special
Kama(Light)|1d4|1d6|19-20/x2|-|Slashing|Monk Weapon, Tripping Weapon
Spiked Chain(two-handed)|1d6|1d8|x2|-|Piercing|Reach,Adj-Reach,+2 Disarm, Trip, Weapon Finesse

On the other hand, a 10-point kama and a 10-Point Bastard Sword might look like this:

{table=head]Name|Damage(Small)|Damage(Medium)|Critical|Range Increment|Damage Type(s)|Special
Kama(Light)|1d6|1d8|19-20/x2|-|Slashing|Monk Weapon, Tripping Weapon
Bastard Sword|1d8|1d10|19-20/x2|-|Slashing|*new special*
*random idea*: This weapon receives 1 1/2 times your strength bonus even when being wielded in 1 hand. It still counts as a 1-handed weapon for disarm, power attack and other special abilities or attacks.

Of course, there is a pretty good chance this whole idea is fairly silly. If it a worthwhile Idea, the numbers still need tweaking and ranged/double weapons should be worked in.

2007-11-29, 03:23 PM
I saw something similar to this done for 3.0 (or possible another system, can't remember), but I then used it as a basis to create what I called a "Weapon Creation Guide".

Basically it is what you describe. A point system that takes into account damage dice/threat range/crit mod, etc.

I'll post it up tonight (if I can find the dang thing in the forest that is my hard drive).

2007-11-29, 03:34 PM
Ignore the Monk weapons(meaning the Kama, Siangham, and Nunchaku) when considering exotic weapons, they are mostly there to allow monks to have a way of dealing Slashing or Peircing damage and so they can have weapons with enchantments if they prefer. The plus of the weapon is supposed to balance against the increasing unarmed damage. Arguements could be made about their balance, but I certainly think they should be omitted from consideration as far as any points system goes.

2007-11-29, 03:37 PM
Yea this has been done before. Its quite famous over on the wizards boards.

Your way over valuing critical threat ranges and multipliers, they don't come in to play enough to be so highly valued. I'm sure if fire can't pull it up some one will.

2007-11-29, 03:42 PM
Here: Custom Weapon Builder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31817)

2007-11-29, 03:47 PM
I don't think a system is really needed for this, and any added complexity just adds more opportunities for abuse.

For example, by this, you could make:

1d6 damage
+14 to disarm

-for a grand total of +18 to all your disarm checks with it. While I doubt that this would screw things over in the big picture, as in, your Disarminator isn't going to suddenly come close to being as useful as a spellcaster, it'd still be unbalanced when compared to other weapons.

Yes, it might be possible to create an accurate weapon-creation system immune to abuse, but...no one is abusing weapon-creation in the first place, so why even have a system for it at all?

2007-11-29, 04:24 PM
Plenty of people abuse weapon making. I see it quite a lot. An extreme example would be, "This is my Super Great Sword. It does 4D6 Damage and has +2 to Hit, but it costs 1,000 GP." That's unbalanced, everyone knows that it is, but there are more subtle variations. Knowing what the standard is allows the DM to prevent a Player introducing something like that, if he wants to.

2007-11-29, 04:27 PM
Yea this has been done before. Its quite famous over on the wizards boards.

Your way over valuing critical threat ranges and multipliers, they don't come in to play enough to be so highly valued. I'm sure if fire can't pull it up some one will.

I wasn't trying to place personal values on the crit ranges. I was simply trying to find something that "fit". It was impossible to get the weapons to "Agree" with their damage relative to other abilties unless the crit ranges were valued highly.

As I said, I was a bit wary of the idea in general and even more wary of the execution. I'm certainly not going to defend the figures I used vigorously, I just felt why explaining why they are where they are.

I don't think a system is really needed for this, and any added complexity just adds more opportunities for abuse.

For example, by this, you could make:

1d6 damage


I forget to write it, but things should cap at existing limits. Or at least near them. In other words, +4 to Disarm Checks should be the Maximum MAYBE +6 on an exotic. Weapon Damages cap at the end of their stated ranges. No extending reach beyond 15ft etc.

I'll edit that bit in.

Yes, it might be possible to create an accurate weapon-creation system immune to abuse, but...no one is abusing weapon-creation in the first place, so why even have a system for it at all?

Well, as I say in my introduction it isn't so much meant for weapon creation as standardizing existing weapons. Like I said, it stemmed out of reading a "Spiked Chain" thread. The thought was that weapons that were sub-par could be improved (especially exotics), and that weapons that are slightly too strong could be toned down. Weapon Creation guidelines are simply a secondary benefit.

I don't want to seem like I'm arguing too hard for this, heh. Like I said it was just an idea.


Just as an example, the Light Hammer is pretty below average weapon. Just looking at it at a glance can tell you this. 1d4, short range. No special abilties or Critical modifiers. Though it's not an exotic it's an example of something the system would give guidelines to improving.

2007-11-29, 05:25 PM
Here: Custom Weapon Builder (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31817)

That one seems a little...bare.

Maybe it's just the way he wrote it. I promise, that I will post the guidelines that I came up with (at least, all that I could manage to come up with) when I get home from work.

Where I failed to make any headway, was assigning value to the little extras that weapon can do (like tripping, disarming, etc.). That, and I still haven't found a formula for ranged weapons (specifically missile weapons) at all. It's like they just made the stuff up as they went when it came to bows and such.

2007-11-29, 06:02 PM
Bare it may be, but it works great; he said pretty much the same as you with regard to ranged weapons.

2007-11-29, 07:05 PM
Turns out that I never did get around to finishing the blasted weapon builder I was working on. But I'll post what I've got anyways. Maybe this'll get me back in gear to finish what I was writing.

A Guideline for Making Custom Weapons in 3e D&D
I once saw someone, somewhere, post a formulaic means for replicating balanced weapons for 3e. I have decided to try and do an update this idea, due to the facts that a) the way weapons are defined changed between 3e and 3.5, and b) the build that I saw did not mesh with ranged weapons very well, at all. So I am by no means trying to claim credit for all of this work, especially since the original idea came from someone else. What I have done, is to streamline the process (and reworked some wording and general formatting), as well as update it to 3.5 compatibility.
Naturally, as with all things dealing with the ever evolving body of work that is 3.5, not all weapons fit perfectly into the itemized points that I have listed below (Exotic weapons are especially guilty of this), but for the most part it does work.
So does that mean that my little guide is meant to be the say all-end all? Obviously not. What I did intend it for is as a framework to custom build your own weapons, and know that they are definitely balanced to other comparable weapons, when built using my guide. But as with all things D&D, the ultimate say always lies with the DM (assuming he/she can keep player revolts at bay). So if you want to wield a sword that critically threatens 50% of the time, or throw around a hammer the size of a ’57 Buick, fine. Go for it. I can’t guarantee that they’ll be balanced through. However, if you want to create a unique weapon that balances well against the current crop of 3.5 weapons, my breakdown will do that.

Weapon Builder
The first step in creating a formula for building anything is to create a base template to work from. That way, in the beginning, everything is balanced with everything else, namely because at that earliest stage, they’re all exactly the same. But even launching off from that, with a single common base, it then becomes easier to quantify each step you take away from your base template, and towards your final product. With that said, the base template for creating weapons (at least as I see it) is as follows:

The base weapon is a medium-sized, single-headed melee weapon that deals 1d4 damage, critically threatens on a 20, has a critical damage multiplier of x2, and is a light weapon with no reach or other special abilities.

Note: The ‘head’ of a weapon simply refers to the damage dealing surface of that particular weapon. In the case of a knife, the ‘head’ would be the blade. This is only really important when you start to deal with double-headed weapons, like the dire flail and orc double axe.

Now we have our base template. All modifications henceforth that refer to increasing a stated ability of the weapon assumes the above base as being the starting point. So, the first step in building our weapon up from this base template is to decide what proficiency level the weapon will require. This of course falls into the three well known categories of Simple, Martial, or Exotic. The level of proficiency determines the maximum number of weapon points (known from here on as WPs, for simplicity sake I assure) we have to work with in building our new weapon. A Simple weapon is built using only 1 WP, a Martial weapon is made of 2 WPs, and finally an Exotic weapon is built from 3 WPs. Once we have chosen the proficiency level we want to build to, we can now begin adding to the base template.

The three basic things one will build on a weapon are the damage, the threat range, and the critical multiplier. To increase any one of these three traits by one step, costs 1 WP. The threat range and critical multiplier of a weapon increase in obvious steps. A 20 threat range increased by one step becomes a 19-20 threat range, while a x2 critical multiplier increased by two steps would be a x4 multiplier. The damage die increase steps are not so obvious. The bottom line to the damage die progression is essential 150. The average damage increase from one step to the next is roughly around 150% (except for a hiccup or two that only rise by about 133%, but nothing’s perfect). So for the purposes of weapon building (and WP costs), the progression goes as follows:

1d4 > 1d6 > 1d8 (2d4/1d10) > 1d12(2d6) > 3d6 > 4d6

Yes. I know it’s not pretty. And yes, I know it doesn’t seem to make much sense. But trust me, it will further on. (Well, at least more-so than it does now anyways.) So now we move on to the next part. We now have a method of determining damage dice, critical threat ranges, and critical damage modifiers, so the next to is to determine the effort that it takes to wield the weapon. By this, I mean we need to determine whether the weapon will stay a light weapon, or will become either a one-handed, or a two-handed weapon. This choice actually has beneficial side effect, in that you can get a point cost reduction to your weapon. A one-handed weapon grants a 1 WP reduction to your weapon’s final WP total, whereas a two-handed weapon grants a 2 WP reduction.

So now we have enough to give a good solid example. Let’s say that I want to build a martial weapon, but I don’t care how many hands it takes to use. So I start with the base template: 1d4 / 20 / x2 / light weapon / no reach. Since it will be a martial weapon, I have 2 WPs to build with. I want to be able to deal some good damage whenever I hit, so I’ll increase the damage to 1d12. 1d4 > 1d12 costs 3 WPs. So already, I have spent 1 more WP than I have, so now I need to make a choice. Do I want to have a one-handed martial weapon that deals 1d12 damage, threatens on a 20, and deals x2 damage on a critical hit? Or do I want to make it a two-handed weapon, and get 1 more WP to spend on the weapon? For this case, let’s make it a two-handed weapon, and we’ll spend our last weapon point on improving the critical damage modifier by one. x2 > x3 costs 1 WP. So our final tally of WP costs looks something like this:

Start with - 1d4 / 20 / x2 / light weapon / no reach
o 1d4 > 1d12 = 3 WPs
o x2 > x3 = 1 WP
o light weapon > two-handed weapon = -2 WPs
Total : 3 +1 – 2 = 2 WPs
Finish with - 1d12 / 20 / x3 / two-handed weapon / no reach Yea! We made a great axe!

Now that all that is laid out, now would probably be a good time to lay out the restrictions. Yes, restrictions. Boundaries, limits, cut-offs, and maximums. Everybody seems to have them these days. But you just have to have them in order to make a balanced system of any sort. First we’ll discuss the two easy-to-remember rules, regarding threat ranges and critical modifiers.

{to be completed}

Weapon Point Costs
All builds created on assumption of medium-sized creatures.
- Increasing the damage die, critical threat range, critical modifier, costs 1 point for each step of increase. (ie: 1d4 to 1d6 = 1 point, x2 to x4 = 2 points, etc.)
- Adding an additional ‘head’, costs 2 points, regardless of the weapon’s base damage.
- Increasing the effort to utilize the weapon will reduce point cost by 1. (ie: One handed weapon grants a -1 to point cost of weapon.)
- Granting a weapon static reach costs 1 point.
- Granting a weapon a variable reach (ie: can attack 5ft or 10ft) costs 2 points.
- For a 1 point cost, a weapon can have a +2 bonus to disarm attacks.
- For a 1 point cost, a weapon can be used to make a trip attack.
- Exotic weapons can be made to be used with the Monk’s Flurry of Blows ability, costing 1 point.
- One-handed exotic weapons can be used as Two-handed martial weapons for a cost of 1 point.
- The number of points spent determines what proficiency is required to wield that particular weapon. 1 point is a simple weapon, 2 points is a martial weapon, and 3 points is an exotic weapon.
- RESTRICTIONS: Damage dice have limitations, depending on the weapon type. Light weapons must be single die and cannot exceed 1d8. One handed weapons must be single damage die and cannot exceed 1d12. Two handed weapons have no damage dice limitations, and can substitute a 2d4 for a 1d8. Special – Only two-handed martial weapons, or exotic weapons, can have 1d10 as a damage die. A 1d10 counts as a 1d8 for point cost. Critical threat ranges cannot exceed 18-20. Critical damage multipliers cannot exceed x4.