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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    This is a solution in search of a problem.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Personally, I just eliminate rapiers altogether. This edition has so few weapons that you already have so many different kinds of weapons that you can only get by refluffing. There is really no reason for the rapier to exist. Just refluff a short sword if you want one. Mechanically, there is no reason for a finesse weapon that does more than 1d6 to exist. Dex is generally better than Strength, so imo, finesse weapons should be weaker than corresponding strength weapons.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Leon View Post
    They are the absolute clones since they are exactly the same in all but name, they should just have a entry listed as Polearm
    Can't afford a Polearm? Try our cheap and heavy variant -- 1/4 the price, 3x the weight, hits exactly the same!

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by jas61292 View Post
    Personally, I just eliminate rapiers altogether. This edition has so few weapons that you already have so many different kinds of weapons that you can only get by refluffing. There is really no reason for the rapier to exist. Just refluff a short sword if you want one. Mechanically, there is no reason for a finesse weapon that does more than 1d6 to exist. Dex is generally better than Strength, so imo, finesse weapons should be weaker than corresponding strength weapons.
    I always find this a weird position. DEX is tied to AC, initiative, acrobatics, sleight of hand, stealth and is a more useful save. STR is tied to heavy armor, 2h weapons, athletics, grappling, carrying capacity, jumping, and is a less useful save. You may value some of those over others for a given character, but they are fairly balanced.

    I also think comparing the rapier (which is the highest damage achievable with a melee finesse weapon) to 1h STR weapons is a bit disingenuous when building STR specifically allows you to continue on up to d10, d12, or 2d6. If you look at the spectrum of finesse weapons vs non-finesse weapons, finesse weapons offer fewer options and lower damage across the board.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    A greatsword deals just under double the average damage of a rapier, for reference. And damage dice actually matters in 5e, since it's pretty much all that goes into your critical hits, and static damage is very low across the board. 4d6 on a crit is a lot more impressive than 2d8.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    A greatsword deals just under double the average damage of a rapier, for reference.
    Only if you ignore modifiers, let alone all the other stuff that adds to damage. With your attack stat maxed, it's 9.5 vs 12 damage. Fighting styles favour the rapier (+1.3 vs +2) and anything else that adds to both will make the gap increasingly slight.

    Even ignoring modifiers, 'just under double' is hyperbolic. 2d6 (7) alone only does 1.56x the damage of d8 (4.5). Is 3 double 2? Because that's the ratio we're talking about here.

    And damage dice actually matters in 5e, since it's pretty much all that goes into your critical hits, and static damage is very low across the board. 4d6 on a crit is a lot more impressive than 2d8.
    Critical hits are not that impactful for most builds. +2d6 seems like a lot until you remember it's only once every twenty attacks so it's really only a bonus 0.35 damage per attack.
    Last edited by Hytheter; 2021-09-20 at 11:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    A greatsword deals just under double the average damage of a rapier, for reference. And damage dice actually matters in 5e, since it's pretty much all that goes into your critical hits, and static damage is very low across the board. 4d6 on a crit is a lot more impressive than 2d8.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hytheter View Post
    Only if you ignore modifiers, let alone all the other stuff that adds to damage. With your attack stat maxed, it's 9.5 vs 12 damage. Fighting styles favour the rapier (+1.3 vs +2) and anything else that adds to both will make the gap increasingly slight.

    Critical hits are not that impactful for most builds. +2d6 seems like a lot until you remember it's only once every twenty attacks so it's really only a bonus 0.35 damage per attack.
    That's also not counting the +2 AC from the rapier wielder using a shield in their off-hand.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    That's also not counting the +2 AC from the rapier wielder using a shield in their off-hand.
    Or the STR build could use a shield and have higher AC than, and equivalent damage to, a DEX build (with the added benefit of more options for damage type). These slight variations in build emphasis are not good arguments for nerfing or removing the rapier.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    I introduced a houserule that made weapon dmg dependant on the attribute used:
    - Dex: allways 1d8
    - Str: 1d10
    - Str + 2-handed: 1d12 + half dmg modifier extra

    Basically to incentify Str builds a little.and diversivy weapons used.

    But I agree the effect is really small.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    I actually fence with rapier and longsword. And I know this has absolutely nothing to do with D&D game design, which isn't even within spitting distance of reality.

    But you most certainly need strength to use a rapier. More than you do with a longsword by a fair margin. You're holding it out ahead of you for a long time. That thing gets heavy and tiring really darn fast.

    Anyway, I'd go with everyone else and just have your players refluff their weapons. It's not like weapon damage mean all that much in this edition anyway. If they come up with a different weapon type that uses slashing or even bludgeoning, whatever. It doesn't really matter.
    It's not the rapier itself that causing that; it's the way your holding your arm for an extended length of time. Ten rounds of combat would only be 1 minute. Would 1 minute really be that strenuous? It may take more strength than I realize to learn, but the game doesn't really offer a mechanic for that.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylar0990 View Post
    It's not the rapier itself that causing that; it's the way your holding your arm for an extended length of time. Ten rounds of combat would only be 1 minute. Would 1 minute really be that strenuous? It may take more strength than I realize to learn, but the game doesn't really offer a mechanic for that.
    1 minute of combat (or any anaerobic exercise) is a small eternity. Ever watched a boxing match?

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylar0990 View Post
    It's not the rapier itself that causing that; it's the way your holding your arm for an extended length of time. Ten rounds of combat would only be 1 minute. Would 1 minute really be that strenuous? It may take more strength than I realize to learn, but the game doesn't really offer a mechanic for that.
    It's a strange argument for me to parse, that it's not the rapier it's just the way that you use the rapier. While yes... that's how you use the rapier. If you're not using the rapier then what is your character doing?

    Though yeah, I agree that this is dealing with stuff 5e has purposely not gone into. Partially because people are so completely ignorant to how weapons work that if I told them: Yeah, to effectively use these weapons the ones that require the highest Strength are bows, rapiers, and your large polearms. It's useful but not really all that necessary for your axes and greatswords really.

    People would look at me like I'm insane.
    Last edited by Dienekes; 2021-09-21 at 07:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    It's a strange argument for me to parse, that it's not the rapier it's just the way that you use the rapier. While yes... that's how you use the rapier. If you're not using the rapier then what is your character doing?

    Though yeah, I agree that this is dealing with stuff 5e has purposely not gone into. Partially because people are so completely ignorant to how weapons work that if I told them: Yeah, to effectively use these weapons the ones that require the highest Strength are bows, rapiers, and your large polearms. It's useful but not really all that necessary for your axes and greatswords really.

    People would look at me like I'm insane.
    I think they are (very broadly) attempting to abstract a differentiation between using force generated from the shoulder and using precision generated from the wrist. Of course you can use precision cuts with a longsword, but (as you mention) the system doesn't offer that level of realism. Those kinds of reality based arguments break down quick for me, because the stat array itself is so heavily abstracted.
    Last edited by Christew; 2021-09-21 at 08:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Christew View Post
    I always find this a weird position. DEX is tied to AC, initiative, acrobatics, sleight of hand, stealth and is a more useful save. STR is tied to heavy armor, 2h weapons, athletics, grappling, carrying capacity, jumping, and is a less useful save. You may value some of those over others for a given character, but they are fairly balanced.

    I also think comparing the rapier (which is the highest damage achievable with a melee finesse weapon) to 1h STR weapons is a bit disingenuous when building STR specifically allows you to continue on up to d10, d12, or 2d6. If you look at the spectrum of finesse weapons vs non-finesse weapons, finesse weapons offer fewer options and lower damage across the board.
    I don't think it's a massive difference, but I do think it's a difference. And more importantly the rapier is just a weird outlier. There are a ton of d8 strength weapons. Dex only gets the one.

    To use the "not a big difference" argument, a Dex character is not underpowered if they have to use a d6 weapon. Almost every Dex weapon is a d6 or less. Why not remove the outlier and make the game more consistent? It's not going to be a big deal, but cements Strength as being the "power" ability, which is good, in my opinion.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by jas61292 View Post
    I don't think it's a massive difference, but I do think it's a difference. And more importantly the rapier is just a weird outlier. There are a ton of d8 strength weapons. Dex only gets the one.

    To use the "not a big difference" argument, a Dex character is not underpowered if they have to use a d6 weapon. Almost every Dex weapon is a d6 or less. Why not remove the outlier and make the game more consistent? It's not going to be a big deal, but cements Strength as being the "power" ability, which is good, in my opinion.
    On the other hand, melee fighting is considered by many to be inferior to ranged fighting, especially on Dex builds. So nerfing the best Dex melee weapon is not exactly the best approach IMO (unless you're in a playstyle or homebrew that already nerf ranged Dex fighting, e.g. if darknesses and covers are omnipresent in your games).

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Discounting whether it's needed or not, you'd be setting up a situation where you needed more strength to use a rapier than a longsword or battle axe. That seems off in its own right.
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Christew View Post
    I think they are (very broadly) attempting to abstract a differentiation between using force generated from the shoulder and using precision generated from the wrist. Of course you can use precision cuts with a longsword, but (as you mention) the system doesn't offer that level of realism. Those kinds of reality based arguments break down quick for me, because the stat array itself is so heavily abstracted.
    Oh yeah, we're in agreement. And as I've said. D&D does not even try to model reality. I'm merely pointing out how actual reality and what people think models reality are often far apart. Though, because I'm a pedantic know-it-all of a person, I will say if you're swinging with the force from your shoulder while using a sword you're doing it wrong. Or you're in a movie and are trying to look cool.

    And I would point out the one thing that really does rely on shoulder strength to do pretty much anything is again bows. The premier dex weapon of the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Though yeah, I agree that this is dealing with stuff 5e has purposely not gone into. Partially because people are so completely ignorant to how weapons work that if I told them: Yeah, to effectively use these weapons the ones that require the highest Strength are bows, rapiers, and your large polearms. It's useful but not really all that necessary for your axes and greatswords really.

    People would look at me like I'm insane.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    Discounting whether it's needed or not, you'd be setting up a situation where you needed more strength to use a rapier than a longsword or battle axe. That seems off in its own right.
    This couldn't have been more perfect.
    Last edited by Dienekes; 2021-09-21 at 09:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    That D&D doesn't model reality is normal and expected; few RPGs do. The problems start when people take the assumptions from D&D or other games and start talking about them as if they were reality.
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Though, because I'm a pedantic know-it-all of a person, I will say if you're swinging with the force from your shoulder while using a sword you're doing it wrong. Or you're in a movie and are trying to look cool.
    As a fellow pedant, I am moved to point out that there are ample mentions of shoulder cuts in the historical manuals. Fabris, for example, differentiates between shoulder (fixed arm/full arm), elbow, and wrist cuts. To what degree that aligns with force generation (versus say core) I think gets into the tension between the complexity of body mechanics and the limitations of language.

    As you say, I believe we are in agreement, mea culpa if I was oversimplifying to the point of being misleading.
    Last edited by Christew; 2021-09-21 at 09:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    Discounting whether it's needed or not, you'd be setting up a situation where you needed more strength to use a rapier than a longsword or battle axe. That seems off in its own right.
    While I disagree with the houserule, I wouldn't agree with this counterargument. Apart from weird interactions with Hexblade and other similar classes, it wouldn't change much thing to put "Str 13" as a restriction for all Str-based weapons too.

    A better counterargument would be IMO with bows. It the one Dex-based weapons which IRL relies the most on Strength. (In fact, it usually relies much more on Strength that any two-handed melee weapon, but that's another can of worms).

  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    While I disagree with the houserule, I wouldn't agree with this counterargument. Apart from weird interactions with Hexblade and other similar classes, it wouldn't change much thing to put "Str 13" as a restriction for all Str-based weapons too.

    A better counterargument would be IMO with bows. It the one Dex-based weapons which IRL relies the most on Strength. (In fact, it usually relies much more on Strength that any two-handed melee weapon, but that's another can of worms).
    That would make most weapons unusable by ordinary people. And honestly, I doubt most modern western men are D&D str. 10. I doubt many of us would be able to handle a full day of farming or whatever with hand tools. Some to be sure, but most of us don't really have to use our strength regularly every day.

    Maybe make the rapier require str 10. At least str couldn't be a total dump stat.
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Christew View Post
    As a fellow pedant, I am moved to point out that there are ample mentions of shoulder cuts in the historical manuals. Fabris, for example, differentiates between shoulder (fixed arm/full arm), elbow, and wrist cuts. To what degree that aligns with force generation (versus say core) I think gets into the tension between the complexity of body mechanics and the limitations of language.

    As you say, I believe we are in agreement, mea culpa if I was oversimplifying to the point of being misleading.
    Ahh yeah. You are being perfectly fine in your descriptions. It is my fault for jumping on something I thought you were discussing.

    Fabris’ use of the shoulder for a strike is perfectly useful.

    In my mind I went straight to the wild over the shoulder chop usually seen with a longsword, that ignores all power from the body to do it. That was the one I was pointing out is simply wrong, and in so doing ignored the actual uses of the shoulder propelled strikes. This one’s on me.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Ahh yeah. You are being perfectly fine in your descriptions. It is my fault for jumping on something I thought you were discussing.

    Fabris’ use of the shoulder for a strike is perfectly useful.

    In my mind I went straight to the wild over the shoulder chop usually seen with a longsword, that ignores all power from the body to do it. That was the one I was pointing out is simply wrong, and in so doing ignored the actual uses of the shoulder propelled strikes. This one’s on me.
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    I personally feel like it would make sense for all weapons to have a strength requirement. My general thought is that they should have a base 13 pre-req. -2 for light, -2 for finesse, +2 for heavy. There might be some magic weapons that lower that but unless those were widely available no one that planned on using any weapon could fully dump strength. I also believe that dex should be used for attack rolls (with very few exceptions, i.e. clubs) with this rewrite.
    Of course, then we have to find a way to balance the new MADness of martials against casters so this would really only work with total rewrite of the martial classes.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Saelethil View Post
    I personally feel like it would make sense for all weapons to have a strength requirement. My general thought is that they should have a base 13 pre-req. -2 for light, -2 for finesse, +2 for heavy. There might be some magic weapons that lower that but unless those were widely available no one that planned on using any weapon could fully dump strength. I also believe that dex should be used for attack rolls (with very few exceptions, i.e. clubs) with this rewrite.
    Of course, then we have to find a way to balance the new MADness of martials against casters so this would really only work with total rewrite of the martial classes.
    I actually don't hate that idea. I sincerely hope that 6e adopts a more modular approach to weapons in lieu of the restrictive/arbitrary by turns list.

    You are right that it would require a pretty fundamental rework of large swathes of the system though.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Saelethil View Post
    I personally feel like it would make sense for all weapons to have a strength requirement. My general thought is that they should have a base 13 pre-req. -2 for light, -2 for finesse, +2 for heavy. There might be some magic weapons that lower that but unless those were widely available no one that planned on using any weapon could fully dump strength. I also believe that dex should be used for attack rolls (with very few exceptions, i.e. clubs) with this rewrite.
    Of course, then we have to find a way to balance the new MADness of martials against casters so this would really only work with total rewrite of the martial classes.
    Seconded! (Or thirded, technically.)

    Always thought the Heavy thing vs. Small characters was odd. D&D picks the strangest times to say "No cartoon physics here, we're trying to model REALISM." So now I can't play a halfling with a greatsword, even though the imagery of the halfling fighting like a spinning top with an enormous weapon is awesome.

    Would definitely require a weapon system overhaul, but maybe that isn't so terrible. Doesn't have to be Pathfinder levels, but at least more than what we have now.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    I'm not a fan of this houserule, because mostly I don't see the issue.

    But I'm going to get a bit philosophical here about the larger conversation about stat minimums for weapons:

    I don't personally believe that the ability scores are intended to model actual physical parameters except secondarily. It's not that STR can be directly measured by things like bench presses, squats, etc. or that Dexterity is a measure of reaction times, etc. Instead, these are thematic and archetypal stats that correlate (because the archetypes are largely circular) with physical parameters.

    STR represents the kind of archetype that one might label the "Strong Guy" archetype. Those who focus on STR emphasize approaches to physical problems/combat that revolve around brute force. Tanking the blow on armor, using weapons that cut through defenses, etc. Lifting/breaking things, holding people in place by sheer strength.

    DEX represents the kind of archetype that one might label the "Quick Guy" archetype. Those who focus on STR emphasize approaches to physical problems/combat that revolve around precision and subtle movements, avoiding defenses/attacks rather than powering through them. Dodging blows, flexibility, hitting weak points (ranged or melee), fancy "fencing-style" swordplay (quotes there to represent movie fencing, not real medieval swordplay), etc.

    A Quick Guy might also be strong (physically), but he doesn't necessarily have the same capabilities with brute force approaches. His strength will be wiry and lean, rather than bulky and swole. And on the flip side, the Strong Guy might also be nimble on his feet and capable of wielding those ungainly weapons carefully, but his approaches to physical problems are more straight-forward and heads-on.

    Similar archetypal descriptions can be applied to the other ability scores--INT is not an IQ score, but the warthog kneels.
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe the Rat View Post
    Indeed. A 1d8 finesse slasher is the simplest solution to the overabundance of rapiers. They could have had 1d6 saber and 1d8 scimitar, but here we are. having slashing clones up and down the run would add a little color. Knife, scimitar, ...er, tulwar? cutlass?
    Saber, cutlass, or tulwar: 1d8 finesse, not versatile, slashing. Problem solved.
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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    On the other hand, melee fighting is considered by many to be inferior to ranged fighting, especially on Dex builds. So nerfing the best Dex melee weapon is not exactly the best approach IMO (unless you're in a playstyle or homebrew that already nerf ranged Dex fighting, e.g. if darknesses and covers are omnipresent in your games).
    While ranged combat is indeed strong, I don't think it is necessarily that much stronger. It may certainly vary game to game, I don't think I have ever had a game where the downsides of range were not at least somewhat significant. At least, that is, if you either do not play with feats or specifically disallow Sharpshooter. That feat is horrific and destroys all melee/ranged balance. But just with the base rules I think the downsides of ranged combat are significant enough that they are relatively balanced overall.

    I don't mind pushing Dex based characters towards ranged combat. I generally like D&D to have strong archetypes, and having Dex characters tend towards either bows or dual wielding small weapons is, in my opinion, not a bug but a feature. Removing the rapier would improve the game in that sense.

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    Default Re: Rapier dominance for Dex characters, and a houserule

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    I heavily encourage my players to refluff their weapons. So long as it keeps the same stats, it can look like whatever they want.
    yeah, just come up with an in-world name for a cool kind of sword! the customizability is part of the point, right?
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