Fixing the weapon proficencies


Homebrew and House Rules

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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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As discussed in an assortment of threads about crossbows and monk weapons, weapon proficiencies don't really work right.

Ross Byers wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Maybe we should make a separate thread for a discussion of revamping the simple/martial/exotic system.

That whole system is a holdover from when a fighter might actually be expected to stop using a +1 longsword when he found a +2 battleaxe.

These days, with Weapon Specialization for fighters, and Weapon Focus baked in to the combat math for everyone else (not to mention things like not being able to Dazzling Display with non-focused weapons), the actual use out of blanket proficiency is minimal, and they lead to weird questions like "Is the fighter proficient with all these weapons because they're user-friendly enough that a skilled combatant can just pick it up and go, or because he went to a 'fighter college' and had to take a semester in 'Flails for non-majors' before taking 'Advanced Swording'?"

The first explanation means a kama or a nunchuck shouldn't be exotic, while the second raises all kinds of secondary problems. And neither jives well with real life, where archery is a specialty all its own. I'm much more willing to accept that a guy can transfer skills between swording and axing than between bows and crossbows.

Exotic weapons are a mix of

1) weapons that are mechanically superior to the 'martial' options, thus mechanically justifying a need for a feat. E.g. bastard sword, spiked chain, double weapons
2) 'Maneuver' style weapons that have a very different mode of use than 'put pointy end in that guy' (Whips, nets)
3) Weapons that aren't actually any better than the simple or martial list but are 'exotic' due to an assumed European baseline (monk weapons)

Martial weapons largely make sense, except the fact that so many classes have access to the whole list, which makes for some odd situations (see above quote).

Simple weapons mostly make sense: they're bludgeons, spears, and knives. A child knows how to use them just from looking at them. It you gave one to a chimpanzee, he'd probably be able to make good use of it.

Ranged weapons make no sense. Throwing a knife is way harder than just stabbing someone. Blowguns are not weapons any yahoo knows how to use. Slings take a good amount of practice to actually be good at. Crossbows might be relatively easy to teach, but they're certainly more complicated than a club. (The chimpanzee in the above paragraph would not know how to use a crossbow.) History tells us that becoming a good longbow archer was the work of a lifetime (even with modern compound bows, it takes a lot of practice to shoot effectively.) I'm less clear on where short bows fall in the difficulty spectrum.

Some of these can be rationalized, but the rationalizations don't make sense against the backdrop of the game as a whole: the rules most often apply to adventurers, so we can assume that if you're from a frontier town or you've decided to risk your life for a living, you taught yourself the sling as a child to hunt rabbits and pigeons, or you got the local sheriff to teach you how to shoot a crossbow.
But why then would you practice your aim with a crossbow, but not also learn the basics of using a sword or an axe?
Maybe your local culture uses blowguns instead of slings to hunt small game. But then why are you proficient with both?
(And frankly both of those sound like things that would be cool to cover with traits.)
As for dagger-wielding wizards knowing how to throw them effectively, we might just have to accept that as a side effect of weapon proficiencies applying to a whole weapon, and not just uses of it. (This particular problem I am not going to propose a solution to, because I believe it is excessively granular. It might make the game more realistic, but it does not make the game more fun.)

Plus, the basic equivalency of Martial Weapon Proficiency and Exotic Weapon Proficiency, feat-wise means that you can get weird cases like a character learning how to use an exotic sword like a sawtooth sabre or a kopesh, but still be fumbling around with a normal sword.

Answer?
I still like the idea of three basic 'tiers' of weapons: weapons basically anyone can use (simple), slightly better weapons that people who actually know how to fight will use (martial), and mechanically superior weapons that require specific training (exotic). I'm not going to try to change do that. But I think some housecleaning is in order.

1) Reshuffle misplaced weapons. Monk weapons go to martial/simple as appropriate. Most projectile weapons go up a level.

2) Just delete some redundant weapons. What was the last character you saw that used a shortbow? And darts are a relic of when Small characters couldn't use javelins properly. And the game doesn't really need a state where Rapid Reload and Special Weapon Proficency (Repeating crossbow) give the same effective benefit.

3) Relabel 'Exotic' weapons as 'Specialist' weapons, to get rid of the 'faraway land' connotation and to imply they're a cut above the more general weapons.

4) No more blanket proficiency. Martial weapons should be attached to Weapon Groups: the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat gets a whole group. Classes that currently get all martial weapons get a handful of weapon groups. Barbarians, cavaliers, paladins, etc. get three. Rangers get two, plus a special one determined by their combat style. For instance, for archers, they would get Special Weapon Proficiency (Longbow), see below. Fighters get four, because they're the weapon-masters. Perhaps they have some ability to trade one or two of these for a Special weapon, maybe they just reply on their supply of bonus feats.
Characters that get access to a deity's favored weapon get its weapon group if it is Martial and that weapon specifically if it is Special.

5) Special Weapon Proficiency generally still gets only a single weapon: since it represents specialized training to learn the intricacies of that particular weapon. Some exceptions may exist, like Double Weapons can probably be a single feat. When appropriate, you must have martial proficiency with the relevant weapon group before getting a special version. No leapfrogging to tripping people with a khopesh without learning how longswords and short swords work. (Obviously, an exception is made when no martial weapons exist in a group, like bows.)

6) Weapon-specialized feats and class features apply to proficiency groups. That is, you take Weapon Focus (Swords) instead of Weapon Focus (Longsword)

Expected result
The result of this is a world where the crossbow is the go-to ranged weapon, even for combatants. The elite ranged weapon, longbows, become the weapons of elves and specialized fighters and rangers.

Martial characters have skill with a wide breadth of weaponry, but allowing for regional or personal variation, and without requiring that every fighter have learned to fight with chains as well as swords.

For characters with only simple weapons (or with an even narrower list, like wizards) Martial Weapon Proficiency is more desirable than going directly to exotic, and is often a prerequisite.

Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Dazzling Display, and others are no longer so focused that a Longsword-using character has essentially no use for a magic short sword. This makes placing treasure that is both useful and organic-looking easier. (But also avoids the slightly unrealistic situation of an expert swordsman suddenly switching to using a hammer, unless the hammer is either very magic or the current foe's weakness.)


1) Yes, agreed. But I don't think ranged weapons should generally go up a level, I think it depends a lot. Slings and blowguns should be martial, but I don't think crossbows should. Firearms should be simple as well, I think. Longbows should be exotic, but I think shortbows should be martial with a clause that allows them to be used as simple. Basically, I think that if you can teach someone to use a weapon in a day, it shouldn't be more than a simple weapon.
This is my ranged revamp, which isn't playtested yet, but shows around where I think the ranged weapons should be.

2) I think consolidating or removing some weapons are reasonable (see my consolidation of throwing axes/hunga munga/chakram), but I think further differentiation can also be useful. Shortbows should honestly be the default bow for most non-specialized users, IMHO. By making longbows exotic, shortbows become a far more relevant choice.

3) No argument there really, though with a different exotic weapon list that doesn't include a lot of eastern weapons, it might not be needed.

4) That's a good idea in theory. My worry though, is that it will make the niche and unusual weapons even more useless. If you can choose between martial weapon proficiency (blowguns) and martial weapon proficiency (bows), you'll never ever touch a blowgun. If this can be solved in a good way, through intelligently crafted weapon groups (maybe weapon groups based in a certain culture or fighting style rather than weapon type, for example?)

5) One way I think, is to have something similar to weapon groups but less; different variants of the same weapon, much like how shortbow/composite short bow are different but the same; proficiency in one is proficiency in the other, the same with weapon focus etc. I used that some in my revamp, making all crossbows the same, all bows the same, darts and shuriken the same, and javelins and pilum the same. I think that might be a middle way if one doesn't want to go the whole way with weapon groups.

6) Well basically the same as above.


3.5 Unearthed Arcana did something Quite similar with weapon group proficiencies. Take a look:weapon groups from UA.

I suggest the Longbow as an exotic weapon, the shortbow might stay martial.

What about guns and crossbows? Armor penetration rules for both?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I'm aware of the weapon groups: they're the basis of the fighter weapon groups in Pathfinder.

I like the suggestion of leaving the shortbow martial. It's still a better weapon than a crossbow if you have 12 str, but it isn't as much of a blowout. Maybe reduce its crit modifier to just x2?

I'm not worried about 'niche and unusual' weapons like the blowgun that are just kinda bad. They're like Banded Mail on the armor table. You use them once in awhile for NPCs, or for a little exoticism, but they aren't really meant for PCs to use all the time. After all, no one touches blowguns and darts NOW.

Armor penetration is a weird mechanic in a game that implements armor as a chance to avoid all damage, as opposed to something that reduces the damage you take. I prefer to avoid it.

Guns remain exotic/specialized for purely mechanical reasons. Despite being no more difficult to use than a crossbow from a simulationist perspective, they're more powerful and need controlling from a gamist perspective.


Ross Byers wrote:
As for dagger-wielding wizards knowing how to throw them effectively, we might just have to accept that as a side effect of weapon proficiencies applying to a whole weapon, and not just uses of it. (This particular problem I am not going to propose a solution to, because I believe it is excessively granular. It might make the game more realistic, but it does not make the game more fun.)

I don't know if this idea is any good, but here's something off the top of my head...

What if Ranged was its own "weapon group" for purposes of proficiency? So, a dagger might be a Simple weapon that anyone can use in melee, but throwing that dagger would incur the -4 unless the character had Martial Weapon Proficiency (Ranged).

Basically, a blanket weapon group covering ranged attacks with weapons? I'm not sure what this means for crossbows, but I thought I'd throw that out there.

-Matt


Well, perhaps you can use darts and blowgun without penalty wile squeezing or they might even be only ranged weapons usable on Squeeze.


If you want to give darts a purpose you should probably give them the shuriken treatment: allow them to be drawn as a free action without Quickdraw.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Let me jump in on this, this is one of my favourite places explore houserules/tweaking.

One thing I really like about some Exotic Weapon Proficiencies (EWP) is that they are essentially "Martial Weapon Proficiency" plus more!

The Bastard Sword is the prime example. It is a MWP to use as a two-handed weapon but with EWP you can use it with one.

There is some kind of boarding axe weapon that is a battle axe with MWP but with the EWP, it gets the trip special quality.

So, you could set up a system like that. I dunno if EVERY Exotic Weapon could be set up that way but..maybe?

In a similar vein, the Weapon Group proficiencies worked the same way. Taking MWP: Heavy Blades got you the bastard sword, but then you could take EWP: Heavy Blades to get it one-handed. I think that is how UA did it but I'm only going of memory here.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

kyrt-ryder wrote:
If you want to give darts a purpose you should probably give them the shuriken treatment: allow them to be drawn as a free action without Quickdraw.

I don't think darts have a purpose. The damage you might do during a game of lawn darts gone wrong isn't really going to come up much. I'm certain the only reason darts are in the game at all was because pre 3.5, halflings and gnomes couldn't just get small-sized javelins. They should rather just cease to exist.

Bunnyboy wrote:
Well, perhaps you can use darts and blowgun without penalty wile squeezing or they might even be only ranged weapons usable on Squeeze.

In contrast, the blowgun can still be an evocative fantasy weapon, used to deliver poison instead of damage (and with non-lethal poisons, becoming a decent 'knockout' weapon, with less risk of accidentally killing the target), but I don't think it needs to become anything like a PC staple. Maybe its a better stealth weapon (unlike bows and crossbows, which while certainly quiet compared to guns make a good amount of noise when released.)

The guy who actually bothers to invest in its weapon group is taking it for a specific reason. Most won't, and I'm okay with that.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Blowguns could fall under an "exotic: ranged" group. One that includes a few of the other strange/rare exotic ranged weapons that exist.

You could also go with a weapon groups based on geography or culture and include it that way.
That way you can keep racial familiarities.. Weapon Group: Elf would include the standard bows, longsword, and rapier.. for example.


Ross Byers wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
If you want to give darts a purpose you should probably give them the shuriken treatment: allow them to be drawn as a free action without Quickdraw.
I don't think darts have a purpose. The damage you might do during a game of lawn darts gone wrong isn't really going to come up much. I'm certain the only reason darts are in the game at all was because pre 3.5, halflings and gnomes couldn't just get small-sized javelins. They should rather just cease to exist.

I suspect darts are in PF because they were in 1e: magic-users were proficient with them and they had better range and ROF than daggers.

Besides, darts are a genuine medieval weapon: essentially they were just arrows with a bit of added weight. Pretty useless against armour but quite handy against peasants.

IMHO, PF darts are quite OK; compared to javelins you lose a bit of range and 1 point of damage, but they're a quarter of the weight and half the price, so you can afford to throw lots of them. Giving them free Quick Draw is a sane thing to do if you want to make them better, though arguably this is more of a martial level ability rather than one for the untrained and unwashed.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Mudfoot, I know they're real, I'm just not sure they need a 'special place' in the game.

The occasional thrower can take javelins. The focused thrower willing to trade damage for ammo capacity is probably going to stick to knives/daggers.

Giving them the full 'shuriken treatment' where they are drawn like ammo means they also have to be destroyed like ammo, which has its own problems. And if you do that, all of a sudden shuriken has no special place, because the dart does the same thing for more damage.


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Shuriken are one of those 'exotic because it doesn't fit into the primary expected region' things, where in traditional D&D that region was Euro-centric, while in PF that region adds mediteranean to said eurocentricity but still pushes the Asian stuff to another continent.

I can't imagine anyone ever buying exotic weapon proficiency with Shuriken for mechanical reasons.

As a final note, making them drawn like ammo doesn't actually necessitate making them destroyed like ammo. Sure that's how its been done in the past, but its not necessary. (What is necessary, is that they not be made into magic weapons 'as ammo' unless they are going to be destroyed in the same way.)


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My favorite "fix" is making weapons have scaling proficiency that give new abilities.

As an example, simple proficiency lets you use a quarterstaff as a bludgeon and nothing else, martial adds reach and trip, while exotic adds the double weapon ability. A dagger might start as a slashing weapon, then gain the throwing at martial proficiency.


Damnit, phone ate my post. Short version:
Darts fill a thematic niche - the war dart and plumbatae. Not lawn dart.
Historically, their benefits toa javelin was:
-longer range
-could be fastened to a shield alllwing easy drawing
-lighter

They could be rolled into javelins, or made functionig ranged weapons (as in my remake). Justremoving them right off seems wrong though.


Also, im no expert, but i dont think theyd be wothless against armored troops in general. Granted, plate werent around in ancient rome, but heavy leather was. Since they were noted for injuring cavalry (both horses and riders), and those who had horses likely also had armor of some kind, I assume they worked decently against that at least.


I'll respond in more depth later, but a few thoughts for now.

If someone feels any weapons are "too powerful", then I would suggest they aren't looking at the game as a whole. Weapon users a low tier classes. When a wizard can force reality to bend over and grab its ankles, the fact that longbows can be fired quickly and all martial users proficient with them is pretty low concern. I understand the verisimilitude reason for having weapon groups and such, but from a purely gamist perspective it is pretty meaningless.

In short, let's not change martial characters to not having good things, especially when their good things are pretty weak power wise.

In my own version, I folded shuriken and darts into a single simple weapon (1d2, x2, 20 ft, draw and use as ammunition). Their use is as a poison delivery system (think the end of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The only basic monk weapon I kept exotic is the sai. Kamas just fold into sickles, sianghams got dropped entirely and monks use punching daggers instead, and nunchaku just become light martial flails.

Shortbows are the rogue ranged weapon of choice (assuming they have a 10 Str).

Weapon groups for feats is a good idea, since martial weapons need "nice things".

Rapid reload + light crossbow > repeating light crossbow.
Rapid reload + heavy crossbow < repeating heavy crossbow.

FYI: spiked chain is actually an inferior weapon related to its martial counterpart (heavy flail) in PF. In 3.5 it was superior, but PF developers nerfed it due to a general dislike of it being effective.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

pres man wrote:
FYI: spiked chain is actually an inferior weapon related to its martial counterpart (heavy flail) in PF. In 3.5 it was superior, but PF developers nerfed it due to a general dislike of it being effective.

Isn't it still a double weapon? Oh. Nevermind. It's neither Reach nor Double. It is still finessable, I guess.

Re: Darts
I'm not sure I'd combine darts and shuriken: That's a good model for the kind of darts you throw in a bar, but the medieval/historical weapon is heftier and closer to a lawn dart than game darts.

I guess what I'm getting at is I think the dart stat line is accurate, which is why they rarely see play. It doesn't really offer much that a javelin doesn't do better. Allowing them to be drawn like ammo is a recent idea, but I guess people not using them doesn't bother me that much. Even historically, their role was cannibalized by javelins and short bows.

Re: "Martials can't have nice things"
I'm of the opinion that ranged combat should be more of a specialty.
Operating and aiming a ranged weapon is always going to be more complex that swinging a sword.
Right now, the rules favor archers because of the relative ease of getting full attacks, which more than makes up for a handful of lost damage from bigger weapon dice and 1.5X Str multipliers.

I'm not worried about making martials less powerful, because their mainstay, melee, wouldn't be affected. I don't think having a melee or switch-hitter downgraded from a longbow to a short bow or crossbow will make much of a difference, while the actual ranged specialist just has to take one feat: Rapid Reload or Special Weapon Proficiency (Longbow).

Edit: Perhaps the feat tree could be restructured to get rid of Point-Blank Shot as the omni-ranged-attack pre-req, so that the Archer Specialist doesn't actually lose any feats overall.


Spiked Chain:
A common mistake was that the spiked chain was ever a double weapon in 3.x. It never was. Its power was that it threatened at reach and adjacent.

Finessability definitely doesn't balance the EWP feat (look at the rapier vs. scimitar), especially considering you have to burn an additional feat to even access the ability.

Comparing the spiked chain(SC) vs. heavy flail(HF) to the elven curved blade(ECB) vs. greatsword(GS) (the closest comparison) we see:

  • ECB-GS, the GS does more damage on average at first, but once you are doing 27.5 additional points of damage (not counting additional dice), the ECB catches up and after that does more damage. I'd make that as basically balanced.
  • SC-HF: The SC never catches up in damage with HF on average, due to lower damage dice + worse crit.
  • Both the ECB and SC are finessable.
  • The ECB gives and additional bonus that the GS doesn't for resisting sunder.
  • Other than finessability, the SC gives no additional benefits over the HF.

    I would argue that the elven curved blade is actually balanced as a martial weapon. In my own games, falchion actually uses the stats without the sunder bonus, and elven curved blades do 1d12 damage.

  • Honestly, I couldn't care less what the real world darts are. As you said, I don't see people using them. I also never see people using monk weapons except for ... monk characters. So anyway I might make darts more interesting and allow characters to use a weapon a monk enemy had without themselves being a monk is bonus, otherwise they just sell it which is lame in my mind.


    Operating a ranged weapon is simple. It may be difficult as is the case with the sling, but it's entirely proactive. You stand in place and perform the same load and fire sequence until you either win or drop your ranged weapon because you're in danger of being overrun.

    Melee is reactive. You need to drill parries and ripostes from multiple guards and to various locations. Many weapons have multiple types of attacks. Functional proficiency in most melee weapons should require more training than anything but an English War bow (which requires unusual muscle development) or a sling (which requires precise timing).

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Atarlost, I think you're setting the par for 'Proficiency' higher than I do. Most people, even most combatants, aren't dueling or sparring, they're just trying to stab the other guy before they get stabbed.

    A Human-sized training dummy has an AC of 3.

    This means an average human (dex 10, str 10, BAB 0) with proficiency can hit that target (with a solid blow, if not necessarily overcoming hardness) 90% of the time. If that human is a Warrior instead of any other NPC class, he only misses on a 1 (because he gets +1 BAB).

    If he isn't proficient, he only hits 70% of the time, which is probably pretty generous for someone picking up a bow or a crossbow for the first time, at more than point-blank range, but doesn't seem unreasonable for a sword.


    Ross Byers wrote:
    pres man wrote:
    FYI: spiked chain is actually an inferior weapon related to its martial counterpart (heavy flail) in PF. In 3.5 it was superior, but PF developers nerfed it due to a general dislike of it being effective.

    Isn't it still a double weapon? Oh. Nevermind. It's neither Reach nor Double. It is still finessable, I guess.

    The meteor hammer is now either a reach weapon or a double weapon.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Ross Byers wrote:

    A Human-sized training dummy has an AC of 3.

    This means an average human (dex 10, str 10, BAB 0) with proficiency can hit that target (with a solid blow, if not necessarily overcoming hardness) 90% of the time. If that human is a Warrior instead of any other NPC class, he only misses on a 1 (because he gets +1 BAB).

    If he isn't proficient, he only hits 70% of the time, which is probably pretty generous for someone picking up a bow or a crossbow for the first time, at more than point-blank range, but doesn't seem unreasonable for a sword.

    I think I sort of rambled off here without making my point. Proficiency doesn't mean you're an 'expert' with the weapon who knows all your stances and parries (we have BAB, class features, and feats for that). Proficiency means you can reliably hit a target with the weapon. And I think there is a higher bar for shooting a dummy at 20 yards that for hacking one with a sword.


    Another thing that should be fixed is the damage done by certain weapons, especially the heavy crossbow. In real life, it can take a full minute (less if well-trained I believe) to reload a heavy crossbow, not a full round (6 seconds), and the heavy crossbow was one of the deadliest weapons of its time, able to punch through plate and kill the soldier within. Same problem with slings, which are exceptionally deadly if you aim well. And Longbows do the same as the heavy crossbow, but they can fire farther. I honestly think the ranged weapon system should be revamped fully. Perhaps there could be an 'Aim' action that increases the attack bonus of the archer and the damage of the shot drastically, as a full-round action or longer, to justify the difference between real-life projectile weaponry and Pathfinder (where all the archers seem to go for rapid-fire but weak shots).

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Lord Puppy, that could work if you're going for hyper-realism, but it is still a game, so crossbows have load actions that can actually be accomplished in combat.

    Likewise, slow aimed sniper shots make perfect sense in the real world, against an unaware target or over a good distance, but the game is built around fast skirmishes at close range: Where you should have to take shots as they present themselves, since the target may kill your buddy, or dodge behind a corner before you get your perfect shot lined up, which is all more difficult because he's running around fighting people.


    Dotting for later comment.


    Ross Byers wrote:

    Atarlost, I think you're setting the par for 'Proficiency' higher than I do. Most people, even most combatants, aren't dueling or sparring, they're just trying to stab the other guy before they get stabbed.

    And I think you're setting the bar for proficiency unreasonably low for melee weapons.

    You need those basic stances and katas to be proficient. If you don't have them you're no different from Joe Commoner who picks up a sword and only knows to hold it by the part that isn't sharp. If the standard for proficiency is that low then everyone would be proficient with all non-chain melee weapons because when you get right down to it you can swing any of them around without knowing what you're doing.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Atarlost wrote:
    You need those basic stances and katas to be proficient.

    I disagree: otherwise simple weapons also require stances, katas, and parries to be proficient, while the whole reason they're 'simple' is that they are supposed to require minimal training.

    Grand Lodge

    Ross Byers wrote:

    Answer?

    I still like the idea of three basic 'tiers' of weapons: weapons basically anyone can use (simple), slightly better weapons that people who actually know how to fight will use (martial), and mechanically superior weapons that require specific training (exotic). I'm not going to try to change do that. But I think some housecleaning is in order.

    1) Reshuffle misplaced weapons. Monk weapons go to martial/simple as appropriate. Most projectile weapons go up a level.

    2) Just delete some redundant weapons. What was the last character you saw that used a shortbow? And darts are a relic of when Small characters couldn't use javelins properly. And the game doesn't really need a state where Rapid Reload and Special Weapon Proficency (Repeating crossbow) give the same effective benefit.

    3) Relabel 'Exotic' weapons as 'Specialist' weapons, to get rid of the 'faraway land' connotation and to imply they're a cut above the more general weapons.

    4) No more blanket proficiency. Martial weapons should be attached to Weapon Groups: the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat gets a whole group. Classes that currently get all martial weapons get a handful of weapon groups. Barbarians, cavaliers, paladins, etc. get three. Rangers get two, plus a special one determined by their combat style. For instance, for archers, they would get Special Weapon Proficiency (Longbow), see below. Fighters get four, because they're the weapon-masters. Perhaps they have some ability to trade one or two of these for a Special weapon, maybe they just reply on their supply of bonus feats.
    Characters that get access to a deity's favored weapon get its weapon group if it is Martial and that weapon specifically if it is Special.

    5) Special Weapon Proficiency generally still gets only a single weapon: since it represents specialized training to learn the intricacies of that particular weapon. Some exceptions may exist, like Double Weapons can probably be a single feat. When appropriate, you must have martial proficiency with the relevant weapon group before getting a special version. No leapfrogging to tripping people with a khopesh without learning how longswords and short swords work. (Obviously, an exception is made when no martial weapons exist in a group, like bows.)

    6) Weapon-specialized feats and class features apply to proficiency groups. That is, you take Weapon Focus (Swords) instead of Weapon Focus (Longsword)

    I've actually playtested some of this in my home games. We switched around weapon proficiencies a while back and it's worked swimmingly.

    Only instead of renaming "Exotic" weapons as "Specialist" we renamed them as "Advanced". Specialist was one of the options floated, but we felt it may be a little confusing with the existence of a Weapon Specialization feat. So you have simple weapons, which are intuitive and require little training. Martial weapons, which require a reasonable level of training. And Advanced weapons which require substantial training.

    We reshuffled the monk weapons and used weapon groups. Actually a lot of our ideas came from the 2nd Edition Fighters Handbook.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

    Doth this thread cos is very interesting


    Ross Byers wrote:

    Lord Puppy, that could work if you're going for hyper-realism, but it is still a game, so crossbows have load actions that can actually be accomplished in combat.

    Likewise, slow aimed sniper shots make perfect sense in the real world, against an unaware target or over a good distance, but the game is built around fast skirmishes at close range: Where you should have to take shots as they present themselves, since the target may kill your buddy, or dodge behind a corner before you get your perfect shot lined up, which is all more difficult because he's running around fighting people.

    You got me, I enjoy realistic combat systems in a game simulating a world with real-world physics that also happens to have magic and interdimensional travel. However, that's not the point.

    Don't use a heavy crossbow to fight in a skirmish, considering that they're designed for long fights. It baffles me that this game makes powerful and slow weapons like the crossbow into clunky things half-designed around six-second increment combat. I say the light crossbow be bumped up to where the heavy crossbow is now, and the heavy crossbow made into a more powerful weapon. Of course, it would be very easy for the party fighter to just keep a crossbow loaded for their next skirmish, but I think there should be a limitation on keeping crossbows loaded and bows strung for a long time.

    I agree with your points on the longbow, so I'm not going to argue with it.

    what say you about the Slings? I think they should be a higher-damage Specialist weapon.

    Just wanted to mention, I love ideas like this that make the game closer to the reality it tries to be.

    Ross Byers wrote:
    Atarlost wrote:
    You need those basic stances and katas to be proficient.
    I disagree: otherwise simple weapons also require stances, katas, and parries to be proficient, while the whole reason they're 'simple' is that they are supposed to require minimal training.

    And that's why Commoners only have proficiency with one simple weapon - they have learned those basic stances with only that weapon.

    hmmm... Since commoners often hunt for their village, should the Shortbow be a simple weapon so that commoners qualify for it?

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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    I think slings are under-appreciated, seeing as they're the only projectile weapon that lets you add your strength bonus by default.


    And then there's the fact that the sling was a very typical commoner weapon in certain regions.


    Ross Byers wrote:
    I think slings are under-appreciated, seeing as they're the only projectile weapon that lets you add your strength bonus by default.

    I didn't realize this! It makes me want to create a Druid character with high strength, who shapeshifts into a gorilla and starts slinging rocks at everything.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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    Lord Puppy wrote:


    Ross Byers wrote:
    Atarlost wrote:
    You need those basic stances and katas to be proficient.
    I disagree: otherwise simple weapons also require stances, katas, and parries to be proficient, while the whole reason they're 'simple' is that they are supposed to require minimal training.

    And that's why Commoners only have proficiency with one simple weapon - they have learned those basic stances with only that weapon.

    hmmm... Since commoners often hunt for their village, should the Shortbow be a simple weapon so that commoners qualify for it?

    I hate that mechanic for commoners. It's purpose seems to be to ensure commoners are in fact worse than a magic-less wizard, while also making sure that if you actually need a stat-block for one it is proficient with the weapon in the block. It's really weird to think you can make a commoner that uses a Heavy Mace, but cannot also use a Morningstar (which is basically the same weapon), a Light Mace (ditto), or a club (which even wizards and monkeys can use.)

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    kyrt-ryder wrote:
    And then there's the fact that the sling was a very typical commoner weapon in certain regions.

    Yeah, slings are really tricky to use, but its one of the few weapons where I'm willing to accept that pretty much everyone learned to use one as a child.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
    Ross Byers wrote:
    kyrt-ryder wrote:
    If you want to give darts a purpose you should probably give them the shuriken treatment: allow them to be drawn as a free action without Quickdraw.
    I don't think darts have a purpose. The damage you might do during a game of lawn darts gone wrong isn't really going to come up much. I'm certain the only reason darts are in the game at all was because pre 3.5, halflings and gnomes couldn't just get small-sized javelins. They should rather just cease to exist

    I never vizualized darts as " lawn darts" but as olympic darts. Maybe they could gain a greater range increment than the Javelin. Range over damage.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Darts has never been an Olympic event, as far as I can determine. But if you mean the kind of darts you throw at a cork board in a bar, there is no way those are 1d4 damage. They'd be more akin to shuriken, since throwing spikes are also folded into shuriken.


    While I agree that the current groupings don't entirely make sense, they work and other than exotic weapons, are pretty well balanced. I actually like them.

    With regards to exotic weapons I just get rid of them all. Most of them already have a simple/martial equivalent and the others aren't worth spending a whole feat on. The whip I just make a martial weapon since it won't break the game to do so.

    As for shuffling weapons around? I don't see the point or the benefit.

    Weapon groups for classes? Its not like most players use more than a weapon or two anyway so this won't have much, if any impact, on actual play so I say no. Why bother? In fact, I go the opposite direction: I allow proficiency with all martial weapons with one feat (instead of one feat per weapon). Being proficient with all martial weapons is hardly game changing so I don't see why we should increase the book keeping by making players spend a feat on each weapon or dip a level in a class that has them all.

    Weapon groups for feat purposes I like. It makes them much more useful. Also, I would change weapon specialization, since I think it sucks as is. I would either role it into Weapon Focus and make it a fighter only feat or make weapon specialization +1 attack, +2 damage that stacks with weapon focus. I still don't think anyone would take it in my games (since +2 to damage with one weapon at 4th level is pretty meaningless) but at least it would be better.

    Now, all of that said, I'm more and more inclined to just get rid of weapon proficiencies and weapon groupings and just set weapon damage based off of your class. That way anyone can pick up a sword and fight with it, but the fighter is just going to do more damage with it. Your wizard wants to wield a halberd and an axe? Sure, go ahead. You just won't do as much damage with them as the fighter who is more skilled with them.


    Personally, I REALLY liked that Pathfinder gave new characters whole GROUPS of weapons that are 'similar-ish' at first level. MUCH nicer then 2E's proficiency system...

    Not as realistic.... but still nice.

    What I'm not a fan of is a 'feat tax' for 'flavor.' How exotic or unusual a weapon is should have no basis on how much it costs to use it. Different characters hail from different parts of the globe, and all weapons are 'common' somewhere...

    If there isn't a MECHANICAL bonus to using the weapon... then there shouldn't be an 'exotic cost'..

    As for damage??

    Ehhhh... I'm torn on this. I am VERY much in favor of 2-3 guards holding a crossbow at the PCs actually being a THREAT.

    However... considering how easily ALLLLLLLL of these weapons could kill a full grown man, debating between a D4 or a D6 is REMARKABLY petty...

    As much as I REALLY enjoy a detailed well stocked armory... I really think the game would have been better off with just the classification of 'light weapon' 'medium weapon' 'Heavy weapon'... then gave damage stats to each of them. Longsword, broadsword, katana, Scimitar, whatever... It's all a sharpened piece of steel of similar length, similar weight, and require similar training to be good with... ;)


    Atarlost wrote:
    Ross Byers wrote:

    Atarlost, I think you're setting the par for 'Proficiency' higher than I do. Most people, even most combatants, aren't dueling or sparring, they're just trying to stab the other guy before they get stabbed.

    And I think you're setting the bar for proficiency unreasonably low for melee weapons.

    You need those basic stances and katas to be proficient. If you don't have them you're no different from Joe Commoner who picks up a sword and only knows to hold it by the part that isn't sharp. If the standard for proficiency is that low then everyone would be proficient with all non-chain melee weapons because when you get right down to it you can swing any of them around without knowing what you're doing.

    Difference of opinion I suppose... with all the Feat Bloat surrounding weapons... Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialist, Weapon Mastery etc. etc...

    Heck, if you want to use a whip... You'll need Weapon focus whip, Whipm Master, improved whip mastery, and Greater whip mastery...

    And possibly 'whip proficency'...

    Considering how GOOD you CAN get with a weapon... I am in the camp that 'Proficency' really IS the 'stab without hurting yourself' or 'Can I reload this...'

    Especially when you're at level one with MAYBE a +1 bab... You're just out of 'threat to self and others' category...


    Well no. You have to remember that this game (despite certain... assertions by even developers at one time or another) leaves reality behind even at low levels, quickly going into "action-movie-logic" and later clear into "screw this, jedi don't have enough special effects, can we make them like, breathe fire or something too?"

    +1 BAB is a fully proficient, properly trained soldier. Probably has a +1 from stats as well. It looks pathetic and incompetent because soon you'll be fighting people right out of bad wire-fu movies and the kinds of giant monsters usually shown shrugging off missiles with ease, but fact is, +2~3 total to-hit is actually a proper professional combatant. Before we factor in the mess that is the armor mechanics, anyways.

    That's actually one of the reasons why proficiencies need to be more specific. As things are now, that 18 year old level 1 fighter SOMEHOW has spent, in addition to the years of specific practice required to learn the sling and longbow (and the extra years on the longbow required to be using it for something other than massed volley fire) has learned, to a professional level of skill, how to use about eighty other weapons. Sure, he's inexplicably incapable of figuring out how a repeating crossbow works, but the intricacies of ten different polearms and twenty kinds of sword? No problem!

    It's no wonder he doesn't have the skill-points to learn to tie his shoelaces.


    I agree with Jamie Charlan,

    Another advantage to reexamining the Weapon Proficiency system is that by shifting toward weapon groups such as "light blades" or "Pole arms" is that greater thematic variety can be built into the various martial classes. I wish rather than "Fighter" We could have "Swordsman" or "Archer" and have those mechanics mean something concrete.

    Let me clarify. Isn't it likely that a warrior who chose to train only with swords would be better with them than a more general soldier who is pretty good with virtually any weapon?

    I realize that you can force fighters into this mold but it is a step down rather than a step up. It never helps you to not be good with every weapon, you just specialize too. Well I think we might reconsider level restrictions on Specialization for "Fighters" if martial classes could be divided by weapon group and permitted to excel in a particular way.

    Why cant my Fighter just be a "Swordsman" and give up fifty other weapons in exchange for being a true expert at one of them. A peerless fencer who isn't interested in maces or Bec de Corbins. A matter for 2E maybe.


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    For your persusal.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    For your persusal.

    Wait a minute. Let me get this straight: you decided that the scythe needed to be a weaker weapon and the falchion needed to be a better weapon? Is it to make the pickaxe better or something? Super weird.

    I like the general idea of the document but color me very suspicious of the particulars.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    phantom1592 wrote:

    As much as I REALLY enjoy a detailed well stocked armory... I really think the game would have been better off with just the classification of 'light weapon' 'medium weapon' 'Heavy weapon'... then gave damage stats to each of them. Longsword, broadsword, katana, Scimitar, whatever... It's all a sharpened piece of steel of similar length, similar weight, and require similar training to be good with... ;)

    That's basically how it works, now, though. 'Oh, you're a ranger? You can use any of this huge armory of weapons with more or less equal skill'.

    And that's fine, from a gamist point of view. But then it all goes to crap with Weapon Focus, Weapon Spec, and the feats that trigger off of either of them.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    Aaron Whitley wrote:
    Being proficient with all martial weapons is hardly game changing so I don't see why we should increase the book keeping by making players spend a feat on each weapon or dip a level in a class that has them all.

    That's certainly an option.


    I simply separate them by culture.
    Western and Eastern weapons. And let the player choose, by selecting a trait, which of them he wants. The default culture is western on my games, so he can pick a trait to swap that.

    Simple weapons are simple for everybody equally.
    The western martial weapons become exotic with the trait, and the eastern martial weapons become regular martial weapons.


    Excaliburproxy wrote:
    Wait a minute. Let me get this straight: you decided that the scythe needed to be a weaker weapon and the falchion needed to be a better weapon?

    The scythe is a weaker weapon when used with Simple proficiency. The falchion is a better weapon when used with Exotic proficiency. Because every weapon ranges from not good to standard to better, based on your level of proficiency with said weapon, not solely based on the weapon itself.

    Shadow Lodge

    Excaliburproxy wrote:
    Wait a minute. Let me get this straight: you decided that the scythe needed to be a weaker weapon and the falchion needed to be a better weapon?

    Don't knock those scythe crits. I've seen characters go from full to dying in a blink.

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