Weapon Proficiency as a skill


Homebrew and House Rules


I don't know why I always come up with these things at 3 in the morning but here goes:

We all know that for most exotic weapons spending a feat just isn't worthwhile as it often only means an increase of 1 point of damage per hit on average and only under the circumstance that you use that particular, usually rather rare weapon, so I thought, how about tying Weapon Proficiencies skills rather than feats?

My idea would be to add a new skill (based on either wisdom or intelligence, I'm not sure about that one yet), I wouldn't want to call it "weapon proficiency" as i think it could be used for more than just proficiencies, but let's roll with that name for the purposes of my explanation:

Weapon Proficiency (Int/Wis(?) - Trained only)
You are versed in the use and lore of manufactured weapons of all different types, you might even know about legendary weapons from history. You know how to adapt to unusual types of weapons that you have no practice with.
Check: When wielding a weapon you are not proficient with you can attempt to use the weapon proficiency skill to temporarily circumvent the penalty associated with wielding a weapon without proficiency.
Whenever you are making any attack action using at least one weapon you are not proficient with, roll a Weapon Proficiency check against DC 10 plus the following modifiers:
-Weapon is an exotic weapon and you are not proficient with a martial or exotic weapon of the same weapon group: DC +15
-Weapon is an exotic weapon and you are proficient with a martial or exotic weapon of the same weapon group: DC +10
-Weapon is a martial weapon and you are not proficient with any other weapon of the same weapon group: DC +10
-Weapon is a martial weapon and you are proficient with any other weapon of the same weapon group: DC +5
-Weapon is a simple weapon: DC +0
If the check succeeds the attack is carried out as though you are proficient with the weapon, if it fails you take the normal -4 penalty to attack rolls.
You can only use this skill on one type of weapon during each attack action. If you use it successfully with more than one weapon of the same type, all of these weapons are affected. (for example a Fighter uses two bastard swords with two-weapon fighting while not being proficient with them, if he succeeds on a DC 20 Weapon proficiency check -- he is proficient with several martial type heavy blades -- he can wield both of them without taking the normal -4 penalty for using a weapon without proficiency during that attack action)
Weapon proficiency can also be used to detect wether or not a weapon has any magical properties. You can do this with any weapon you are proficient with, simply roll a Weapon Proficiency check against the DC of the spellcraft check needed to identify the magical properties of a weapon. If the check succeeds you can immediately tell if the weapon has magical properties but you do cannot discern the effect of these magical properties. If the check exceeds the DC by 5 or more you can even discern the weapon's specific magical properties as if succeeding on a spellcraft check.
Gaining proficiency: For every even numbered rank in Weapon Proficiency you can choose a single type of weapon (for example longsword, dwarven waraxe, nunchucks etc) to gain proficiency in. To gain proficiency in an exotic weapon, proficiency in at least one martial weapon of the same weapon group (see fighter weapon groups) is required. (this is to ensure that characters not proficient with martial weapons do not get a larger benefit out of two skill points invested in the skill, than characters already proficient with all martial weapons)
Action: Circumventing the penalty for using a weapon without proficiency is a free action. Attempting to ascertain the magical properties of a weapon takes 3 rounds and you must be able to thoroughly examine and try out the weapon (such as giving it test-swings or -shots).
Retry: You cannot retry identifying magical properties of a weapon, as your weapon lore fails you. You can retry using a weapon without proficiency every time you make an attack action with it.
Special: If you are proficient with all martial weapons you gain proficiency with all exotic weapons at rank 20.

Weapon Proficiency is a class skill for all classes that have proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, bards, rogues and ninjas.

One thing i came up with while typing this down, would be calling it something like "Martial lore" and adding armors and shields to the list of items that can be identified. But not letting them circumvent armor penalties caused by leck of proficiency.

Your thoughts, praise and criticism are welcome and most appreciated.


Not a bad idea. Proficiency is really not worth it where it is, and needs a decent way to be fixed. There are a few problems, though.

The ones most wanting to use this skill typically don't ride hard on Intelligence or Wisdom, but that's fine. Conceptually it works, mechanics are getting in the way.

Honestly, rolling a skill check with all attack rolls is kind of an irritating idea. It would be just as easy to let it act like Spellcraft, but only for weaponry, and use the "one rank = one proficiency" under the same principle of Linguistics "one rank = one language." It still has a rollable use, but its main function doesn't have to be rolled for.

Pain in the butt item, concept-wise: people will still zero in on one weapon they want, and vary only in emergencies. Weapon Focus, Specialization, etc. see to that. This means that a lot of people will only take enough ranks to get their favorite weapon and immediately stop. The fact that martial classes are ordinarily the most skill-starved of all exacerbates this (unless you add in more house rules).


You don't do it with every attack roll, but with every attack action, so unless you have an effect on you that allows you to act out more than one standard or full-round action you will roll once per turn at maximum. During for example a full attack action the skill check result applies to every attack roll made.

I did not intent for the skill to be a major player in the first place, I gave it some extra effects such as identifying magical weapons to be useful if you want it to be, but the main focus is to get weapon proficiencies cheaper than with feats. So I fully expect someone who only wants to have proficiency in a certain martial weapon to spend 2 points on the skill and then never touch it again.

I thought one rank per proficiency would be a little too cheap again.


Threeshades wrote:

You don't do it with every attack roll, but with every attack action, so unless you have an effect on you that allows you to act out more than one standard or full-round action you will roll once per turn at maximum. During for example a full attack action the skill check result applies to every attack roll made.

I wasn't very clear, but it's still an extra roll virtually every turn for the people who would use it most (until they qualify for the weaponry they want). The variability in d20 rolls also means that success and failure would be a bit wild over the course of usage, which would be irritating (or it could be a feature for some people).

You've already got the idea that people will only drop a few ranks into it, then that's great. They probably don't need anything more than the Spellcraft ID function on it and the ranked proficiencies then.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Not that I'd ever do this in practice but, off the top of my head as a hypothetical-like situation, I'd do something like this:

1. Drop BAB altogether.

2. Introduce Weapon Training (ranged,) Weapon Training (melee) skills.
2a. These skills would be based on DEX or STR respectively and class skills for warrior, monk and rogue-type characters. Weapon-like spells would count as weapons and fall under the appropriate skills (Touch = melee, Ray = ranged, etc.) Creatures with Natural attacks recieve proficiency with their natural attacks as a trait bonus.
2b. Accumulated bonus in the skill would signify how many weapons the character knows how to use and what his attack bonus is when taking attack actions. At 6, 11 and 16 ranks, the character gets an additional attack (just like the way iterative attacks already work.)
2c. Using weapons you are not trained to use incurs the usual penalties.
2d. Change some feats. Weapon Finesse would allow a character to use DEX mod for Melee weapons, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (requiring at least one rank in appropriate skill) would allow the character to spend a rank on an Exotic Weapon. There are probably more. Those are just the first to come to mind.

3. Drastic streamlining of Weapon categories. Basically, under these rules, all simple and martial weapons are equal and finessable weapons are eliminated (a light weapon is still a light weapon but taking the Weapon Finesse feat would allow DEX to be used for all melee weapons and not just light weapons and things like rapiers.) Also, some weapons would fall under both ranged and melee skills (i.e A character might be great with a dagger in a stand-up fight, but terrible at throwing the thing because he never put ranks into ranged weapons training.)

I suspect this would change the way characters are built in a huge way. Somebody could easily wind up with a level 20 Fighter without ever putting a single point in the Weapon Training skills, and Wizards might wind up dumping 20 ranks into the weapons skills so they can wield warhammers with a +20 to hit while shooting rays nearly as well as the archer shoots his bow. You might also have a level 20 cleric who never learned how to use a simple club because he spent all his skill points on Diplomacy and Heal.

I'm not saying this is a better system than what exists and, like I said, I'd never bother to use it even as a house rule. It's just an idea.


Yeah, the skill points per level thing would need to be changed to go with this.

Dark Archive

I recommend instead letting proficiency feats apply to weapon categories (axes, chains, etc., per the fighter lists) instead of single weapons.


If you do this, let Fighters add their level to the skill.


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
If you do this, let Fighters add their level to the skill.

I like your suggestion, but maybe add 1/2 level, Saga edition style? giving a fighter a +20 on top of what he wants to spend in the skill might be a bit crazy.


Alex Head wrote:
Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
If you do this, let Fighters add their level to the skill.
I like your suggestion, but maybe add 1/2 level, Saga edition style? giving a fighter a +20 on top of what he wants to spend in the skill might be a bit crazy.

That's what I meant. That way it is parallel to the other classes that give half their level as a bonus to their specific skills.


Velcro Zipper wrote:

Not that I'd ever do this in practice but, off the top of my head as a hypothetical-like situation, I'd do something like this:

i REALLY like this idea, as long as say fighters get a free extra skill point that must go into one of the weapon skills. like example in the current system a fighter would get 3 skill points a level, at leats one must be used in a weapon style of his choice.

possibly even adding different weapon skills, ranged (dex), light melee weapons (dex), one handed melee weapons (str), two handed melee weapons (str), thrown weapons (str).

that is an awesome idea for a system


Ragnarok Aeon wrote:
If you do this, let Fighters add their level to the skill.

You mean with my idea or Velcro's model?

If you mean mine, yeah that seems fair.


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Arms (Int) and Linguistics (Int)

each rank in the Arms skill offsets a -1 of the total non-proficiency penalty of -4, offsetting it completely at 4 ranks.

5 ranks in a single weapon grants a free Weapon Focus for it.

so, each time you invest a rank in the Arms skill, you essentially gain a +1 to strike with one weapon or one weapon group.

single weapon or group?
for any class without proficiency with all Martial weapons, this applies to a single weapon. for those classes with Martial WP, this applies to a weapon group.

proficiency from a class feature or a feat grants 4 ranks in that weapon. this can be upgraded to Weapon Focus by investing a 5th rank.

...
i am intending to use a 5-point language system to represents varying degrees of fluency using the Linguistics skill, so why not a 5-point weapon proficiency system for the Arms skill?

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