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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    In a different thread, I conceived of a system for predicting weapon damage based on its features. This post expands on that system, and I hope potential homebrewers and houserulers can find some value in the system. I checked to be sure that most of the weapon table conforms. Unfortunately, there are some outliers to the system. There's not much I can do about that since the weapons table is not perfect.

    The system is only concerned with game balance. It does not consider what a given weapon is actually capable of in the real world.

    The Assumptions:
    • For the sake of balance and consistency, weapon damage should use a formula. Applying the weapon damage you think the weapon should have based on logic is a poor practice from a gamist perspective
    • Combinations of features do not increase the value of the feature. A weapon with both finesse and reach is not more powerful than the combination of those features
    • The people who designed the weapons table made some mistakes with weapons whose damage should be higher or which, in one case, should be considered martial

    The System:
    Start with 1d10, adjust up or down by 1d2 for each boon or drawback.

    This system assumes that all boons and drawbacks are equal, except for ammunition and the lance effect which are worth double. Any given boon may help one build but not another, so I see this as relatively balanced.

    The following are boons:
    • Simple - usable by non-martial characters
    • Light - Can dual wield without feat, one hand only
    • Finesse - Use DEX or STR for attack and damage
    • Thrown - Has a thrown range
    • Reach - Attack from 10 feet
    • Ammunition (special, double boon) - particularly powerful as it adds exceptionally long range

    And the following are drawbacks:
    • Loading - can only do one attack per turn with this weapon unless feated, ammunition weapons only
    • Two handed - have to use both hands to attack, no casting (without feat) or holding shields with the other hand
    • The lance effect - two handed while not mounted and disadvantage on attacks made within 5' (special, double drawback, does not stack with two handed) - particularly debilitating since it requires a mount and imposes disadvantage on many attacks

    And the following are neither:
    • Versatile: not really a benefit since duelist and dual wield will both increase damage a lot more. This is more flavor than anything.
    • Heavy: not a benefit for the weapon so much as a penalty for being small. Small characters don't weigh as much, can fit in smaller places, and are adorable, so they can't use large weapons. This is a holdover from 3.5 and is not particularly balanced this edition, but whatever. It's easy to fix by homebrewing weapons with finesse instead of heavy and 1d2 less damage die.

    Finally, some special rules:
    1. One handed weapons cannot exceed 1d8, or 1d6 for simple, unless they have the double drawback
    2. Two handed weapons that are 1d12 may be 2d6 instead (optional), but cannot exceed 2d6. 2d6 is better except in certain cases (halforc)


    Some examples:
    • Longsword/battleaxe/warhammer: 1d10, rule#1 lowers to 1d8 (1d10 versatile).
    • Flail/War pick/morningstar: as above but no versatile
    • Rapier: 1d10 - finesse = 1d8
    • Quarterstaff: 1d10 - simple = 1d8, rule#1 lowers to 1d6 (1d8)
    • Scimitar: 1d10 - light - finesse = 1d6
    • Halberd: 1d10 - reach + two handed = 1d10
    • Lance: 1d10 - reach + the lance effect = 1d12
    • Shortbow: 1d10 - simple - ammunition + two handed = 1d6
    • Heavy Crossbow: 1d10 - ammunition + two handed + loading = 1d10

    The system is not perfect. Below I've listed the outliers I spotted on the weapons table:
    • Dagger: 1d10 - light - simple - finesse - thrown = 1d2 1d4, it's basically a martial weapon that anyone can use, thieves love it for a reason
    • Greatclub: 1d10 - simple + two handed = 1d10 1d8
    • Whip: 1d10 - finesse - reach = 1d6 1d4
    • Sickle: 1d10 - simple - light = 1d6 1d4
    • Trident: 1d10 - thrown = 1d8 1d6
    • Blowgun: 1d10 - ammunition + loading = 1d8 1. Seriously, wtf? I think you used to be able to apply poison as part of the attack but I don't see that in the PHB, correct me if I'm missing it

    From this list, we can see that the outliers (besides dagger) really ought to have higher damage based on their features. A trident is identical to a spear, even though spears are simple. The whip ought to have the light feature, higher damage, or something special for whips. The sickle sucks unless a monk is using it. The greatclub is inferior to the quarterstaff in every way (identical damage, higher price and weight, no one handed option). The blowgun blows. If you want to houserule any of the weak outliers to be better or have additional features, you are completely justified.

    Using this system, it's easy to create homebrew weapons. Want to make a lance for the little guys? Add finesse and lower the damage to 1d10. Want to make a more powerful scimitar? Just take away light and raise its damage to 1d8. Want to make a dart-chucker used by a gnome militia which they hold in one hand while riding dogs? 1d10 - ammunition + the lance effect = 1d10. The cutest little polearm: 1d8 reach finesse.

    I'd love to hear feedback on the system. I hope it helps homebrewers and houserulers make decisions.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Longsword/battleaxe/warhammer: 1d10, rule#1 lowers to 1d8 (1d10 versatile).
    Logically no one should ever use this weapon when they could instead use a 1d8, versatile, reach weapon.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    Logically no one should ever use this weapon when they could instead use a 1d8, versatile, reach weapon.
    Or a 1d8 finesse weapon. Either longswords aren't as good as they should be or finesse ought to be a free weapon property. Really, though, without polearm master, attacking from reach doesn't add all that much benefit to the character. It makes it a little easier to avoid opportunity attacks, except from enemies with reach (which is a lot of them), but that's about it. It makes it easier to get your own opportunity attacks in some cases, and harder in others due to the larger "safe" area around you. It's not as great as many think.
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    I'd say it's longswords/battleaxes/warhammers not being as good as they should be.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Sartharina View Post
    I'd say it's longswords/battleaxes/warhammers not being as good as they should be.
    I agree. They should have been 2d4 or had some extra benefit, IMO.
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    I was thinking d10, like the broadsword/battleaxe/warhammer were in 4e.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Sartharina View Post
    I was thinking d10, like the broadsword/battleaxe/warhammer were in 4e.
    That pushes their average damage with duelist over a greasword (7.5 vs. 7). Duelist with 2d4 has an average damage of 7, and doesn't benefit from great weapon fighting style, so it's a bit more balanced. As is, anyone using sword n board is pretty much required to use a rapier if they want to optimize, since DEX > STR.
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Shouldn't the clever thing for whips be indiana jones shenanigans? You don't really need special rules for that.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeadlyShoe View Post
    Shouldn't the clever thing for whips be indiana jones shenanigans? You don't really need special rules for that.
    I'd think you'd specifically need special rules for that.

    Regardless: I'm a little confused on the goal here. I feel like we already decided the weapon table is bad and they put little work into it - are you trying to establish a baseline or start over again?

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    All you need to do is tell your DM what you want to do and they rule it plausible or not, or what the DC should be.

    IMO there's so many ways to use the whip that explicit rules would reduce their useability, not improve it.

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    Shadow's Avatar

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    And the following are neither:
    Versatile: not really a benefit since duelist and dual wield will both increase damage a lot more. This is more flavor than anything.
    Versatile is absolutely a benefit. It raises the damage type when used two handed and allows rerolls of 1s and 2s with great weapon style. Or it allows the use of shield/casting/TWFing. It's called "versatile" because that's exactly what it is, and that's certainly a benefit.
    Last edited by Shadow; 2014-10-21 at 03:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Versatile is absolutely a benefit. It raises the damage type when used two handed and allows rerolls of 1s and 2s with great weapon style. Or it allows the use of shield/casting/TWFing. It's called "versatile" because that's exactly what it is, and that's certainly a benefit.
    I don't think it's a benefit that would justify dropping the damage dice though.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hytheter View Post
    I don't think it's a benefit that would justify dropping the damage dice though.
    Every single versatile weapon suffers from "rule #1" though, so apparently the designers thought that it should (had they used this formula).

    Anyway, I disagree.
    Being able to use a single weapon for literally any situation or fighting style imaginable could easily justfy a lowered damage die, especially when you take into account that using it a certain way gives that higher die right back to you.

    When you use it two handed it doesn't drop that damage die. When you use it one handed it does. So its base damage absolutely should drop that die, otherwise you end up with its versatile damage doing more damage than the table suggests, and it becomes one of the outliers.
    Following this line of thought, the trident is right where it should be, and the other versatile weapons are as well, even without the need for "rule #1."
    Last edited by Shadow; 2014-10-21 at 03:31 AM.

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Nice ideas, OP.

    Two comments:
    Tridents are a niche weapon mostly used for underwater stuff, and rarely seen anywhere else. Underwater, though, you can tell why it is lowered by a d2.
    I'm not sure finesse should be used as a boon. It only means you can use some other stat, but since a single weapon is wielded by a single character, you still need some stat. In other words, I would count for example Rapier as pure Rule #1.

    Eh, I'm not sure about that, though. Anyway, even if you consider some minor changes in your system like the ones I suggest (which I think might be bad), you still get a flawed table. Also, I think that's what they were aiming for, just like with the Armor table.
    Don't wield a bad weapon, if you know what you're doing, just like you wouldn't wield a chair and expect to be effective. If you take out specific strange weapons from your system: the purposefully all-mighty dagger, and the weird trident, blowgun, whip and sickle, you get a pretty much evened thing. And I don't think anyone expects a sickle to be a warrior's choice.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    I'm not sure finesse should be used as a boon. It only means you can use some other stat, but since a single weapon is wielded by a single character, you still need some stat. In other words, I would count for example Rapier as pure Rule #1.
    Being able to, almost completely, eliminate a stat isn't a boon? I say almost because you still need to carry stuff, although you still have a carrying capacity of 120lbs with 8 STR. Functionally, Finesse is the strongest ability a weapon could have.

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Suichimo View Post
    Being able to, almost completely, eliminate a stat isn't a boon? I say almost because you still need to carry stuff, although you still have a carrying capacity of 120lbs with 8 STR. Functionally, Finesse is the strongest ability a weapon could have.
    Not eliminate, replace. You still need Dexterity.
    But still, I said it might be a bad idea. What bothers me more is that the outliers are actual outliers "in real life" (take this with a grain of salt) and are meant to be different than the usual.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    Not eliminate, replace. You still need Dexterity.
    But still, I said it might be a bad idea. What bothers me more is that the outliers are actual outliers "in real life" (take this with a grain of salt) and are meant to be different than the usual.
    Unless you're a heavy armour user, though, you need Dexterity anyway. You don't need Strength at all if you've got a finesse weapon.
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post

    Anyway, I disagree.
    Being able to use a single weapon for literally any situation or fighting style imaginable could easily justfy a lowered damage die, especially when you take into account that using it a certain way gives that higher die right back to you.
    But how many characters are going to be using both styles? Most will be using either a two handed weapon, in which case a Greatsword is better, OR sword and board/dual wielding, in which case you're no better off than with any other weapon.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Dhavaer View Post
    Unless you're a heavy armour user, though, you need Dexterity anyway. You don't need Strength at all if you've got a finesse weapon.
    But what if I am, like most Fighters and Paladins are? Even if I am a Ranger or Barbarian or Rogue, even then, my Dexterity bonus is maxed at +3, unless I invest more into it, taking some feats and so on. Anyway, it's just one stat or another: Strength and carrying armor or Dexterity and being dodgy. You still need one stat.

    Nevertheless, I agree it might be a boon. The sole issue is that in my opinion the table is ok, because some weapons are meant to be used in a specific, unique way (trident, whip), and some are simply not good weapons (sickle). It is not a trap option it is a bad option, so don't opt for it, if you have a choice. The same way some armors are bad, and the same way you yourself would probably take a sword from the armory instead of a sickle if you had to pick one weapon to fight.
    Last edited by Mandrake; 2014-10-21 at 04:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Hytheter View Post
    But how many characters are going to be using both styles? Most will be using either a two handed weapon, in which case a Greatsword is better, OR sword and board/dual wielding, in which case you're no better off than with any other weapon.
    Who's going to use both styles? Oh, I dunno.... everybody?
    Try to swing a greatsword while you're climbing or holding something. You can't do it. But you can still swing your longsword/spear/qstaff/[insert-versatile-weapon-here], and when you're not holding something else you're free to swing away with a higher damage die.
    There are plenty of situations where the versatile property can be amazingly useful, where you normally swing it two handed but in certain situations it literally makes the difference between you getting an attack or not.
    And you don't have to carry an arsenal to make it happen.

    Just because it isn't the optimal choice doesn't make it useless. It offers choices because its.... versatile. And versatility is valuable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    The sole issue is that in my opinion the table is ok, because some weapons are meant to be used in a specific, unique way (trident, whip), and some are simply not good weapons (sickle). It is not a trap option it is a bad option, so don't opt for it, if you have a choice. The same way some armors are bad, and the same way you yourself would probably take a sword from the armory instead of a sickle if you had to pick one weapon to fight.
    Those weapons and armors are almost invariably either thematic or not intended for PC use.
    Take the sickle, or padded armor, for example. The sickle is thematic for a monk or a druid.
    Padded and sickels are what farmers would have easy access to, and so they need stats. Not for PCs, but for NPCs, genarally speaking.
    Last edited by Shadow; 2014-10-21 at 04:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    some weapons are meant to be used in a specific, unique way (trident, whip)
    What "unique, specific" way is the trident meant to be used in, exactly?

    The whip will always have "only one handed reach weapon" in its favour, with finesse to boot, but Trident is still "literally a spear except fewer classes are proficient with it"

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    Not eliminate, replace. You still need Dexterity.
    But still, I said it might be a bad idea. What bothers me more is that the outliers are actual outliers "in real life" (take this with a grain of salt) and are meant to be different than the usual.
    Almost completely. Assuming you meant Strength when you said Dexterity, you need Strength for very little with a Finesse weapon. You need it for carrying capacity, Strength saves, and Athletics. Carrying capacity is extremely generous at 15lbs per point of Strength, Strength saves aren't all that common, and Athletics can be replaced with common sense and/or magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandrake View Post
    But what if I am, like most Fighters and Paladins are? Even if I am a Ranger or Barbarian or Rogue, even then, my Dexterity bonus is maxed at +3, unless I invest more into it, taking some feats and so on. Anyway, it's just one stat or another: Strength and carrying armor or Dexterity and being dodgy. You still need one stat.
    If you do wear heavy armor you still need Dexterity for initiative, Dexterity saves, Dexterity skills, and Ranged attacks. Everyone wants initiative, Dexterity saves are extremely common(the most common if history holds true), the skills aren't that important and you're heavily penalized on one anyway, and bows/crossbows are the only decent ranged weapons.

    Admittedly, Paladins can largely ignore Dexterity saves, but the rest are real problems. Especially having to use thrown weapons, which may as well be called melee at a distance, for range as they are worthless after a MAX of 30' and do LESS damage than the Dex based bows.

    Finesse moves a character towards SAD, and that is a very, very powerful ability.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Why don't homebrewers ever take into account the good rollers vs the bad, as well as the plethora of other variables that can change how good something is?

    I love the idea of homebrewing original content. But I truly dislike and am baffled by the "fixing" of what is perceived as broken and imbalanced. I don't understand the logic behind this post ("every weapon you choose should be equal!"). Why? Because a player shouldn't be punished (meager though it may be) for using an inferior weapon? Because theoretically a weapon is inferior because it involves rolling a smaller dice?

    Somebody explain this to me.

    (And yes, this is the reason I stay away from the homebrew section.)

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallicus View Post
    Why don't homebrewers ever take into account the good rollers vs the bad, as well as the plethora of other variables that can change how good something is?

    I love the idea of homebrewing original content. But I truly dislike and am baffled by the "fixing" of what is perceived as broken and imbalanced. I don't understand the logic behind this post ("every weapon you choose should be equal!"). Why? Because a player shouldn't be punished (meager though it may be) for using an inferior weapon? Because theoretically a weapon is inferior because it involves rolling a smaller dice?

    Somebody explain this to me.

    (And yes, this is the reason I stay away from the homebrew section.)
    Every time I hear someone claim to be either a "bad roller" or "good roller" I want to follow them around with a clipboard and record every dice roll they make for a year. If they really are affecting the probability of dice rolls by their very presence I can take him or her to the James Randi foundation and we can split a cool million dollars, because this person has a certifiable paranormal ability.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Rallicus View Post
    Why don't homebrewers ever take into account the good rollers vs the bad, as well as the plethora of other variables that can change how good something is?

    I love the idea of homebrewing original content. But I truly dislike and am baffled by the "fixing" of what is perceived as broken and imbalanced. I don't understand the logic behind this post ("every weapon you choose should be equal!"). Why? Because a player shouldn't be punished (meager though it may be) for using an inferior weapon? Because theoretically a weapon is inferior because it involves rolling a smaller dice?

    Somebody explain this to me.
    (And yes, this is the reason I stay away from the homebrew section.)
    Because not everyone is a min-maxer. People fix things so that there are more viable options. How is "don't fix the sickle because its a crap weapon" any different than "don't fix the 3e Fighter, because bad players should be penalized for picking it."

    As for point one? How do you take into account the 'good rollers' or the 'variables' when, well, you can't? You can't take into account a 'good roller' (which is, btw, somewhat of a contradiction in terms) when you're calculating statistical differences.

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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    I don't know what thread you're talking about OP, but your analysis of the weapon chart (and those who apparently agree that it's haphazard) is wrong.

    The chart is based on two separate bases; simple and melee weapons.

    Simple weapons are base 1d6, melee are base 1d8 - the only exception is that weapons requiring ammunition are base 1d6 regardless.

    There are six modifiers to weapon damage and 2 that set the damage amount (ammunition, already discussed and versatile 1d6(1d8) for simple, 1d8(1d10) for melee).

    Heavy, Increased cost, Loading and Two-handed (melee only) are all +1 die
    Decreased cost and Light are all -1 die.
    Used on Horseback is a +2 die (only applicable to Lance, currently).

    Finesse, Reach and Thrown do not modify the damage die in any way.

    The weapon chart is actually quite elegant, if lacking is some basic damage type combinations (and the OP two-handed finesse weapon).
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Would just like to mention that neither the spear nor trident suffer penalties for underwater combat (PHB198). Tridents otherwise weigh more, cost more, and are martial, while spears are simple and are one of the cheapest weapons. So the niche of tridents is limited only to wanting one or finding a magical one.
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    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Who's going to use both styles? Oh, I dunno.... everybody?
    Try to swing a greatsword while you're climbing or holding something. You can't do it. But you can still swing your longsword/spear/qstaff/[insert-versatile-weapon-here], and when you're not holding something else you're free to swing away with a higher damage die.
    There are plenty of situations where the versatile property can be amazingly useful, where you normally swing it two handed but in certain situations it literally makes the difference between you getting an attack or not.
    And you don't have to carry an arsenal to make it happen.

    Just because it isn't the optimal choice doesn't make it useless. It offers choices because its.... versatile. And versatility is valuable.
    If you have the Dueling Fighting Style, you actually LOSE damage from using a Versatile weapon two-handed.

    How in the world could it be the difference between getting an attack or not? Your hit chance should be the same either way.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    If you have the Dueling Fighting Style, you actually LOSE damage from using a Versatile weapon two-handed.

    How in the world could it be the difference between getting an attack or not? Your hit chance should be the same either way.
    Right, duelest pushes 1D8 damage up to equivalent average damage as a 1D12. That's probably the eentire reason why we don't see any one handed weapons with higher than 1D8, save lances.
    Breaking BM: Revised - an updated look at the beast-mounted halfling ranger based on the Revised Ranger: Beast Conclave.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Thessaloniki, Greece
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Weapon Damage Logic: How to Homebrew and Why Some Weapons are Trap Options

    How would you homebrew a Double Weapon, double sword for instance? 1d8 on both sides, any special properties? In 3.5e it would crit on a 19-20, while in 4e it would add +1 to your AC.

    P.S. is there any chance of official "exotic" weapons any time soon?
    #YOLO DnD style

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