WEAPONFINDER


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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Okay, instead of spamming every thread on the topic with the same point over and over, I'm just going to create a thread for this discussion:

Weapon feats need to die, and be consumed by weapon traits and proficiency. We already have some of this with traits like finesse and agile, but we should have more robust options to make the weapons stand out and to make the styles more accessible to the different classes without taxing the players' options.

Weapon Proficiency should do more than numerical adjustments to attack rolls. Critical Specializations should come online with proficiency. Weapon Techniques should come online as your proficiency improves. Classes should be able to improve their proficiency in the same vein that signature skills got removed to increase customization.

Let's start with the elephant in the room: melee styles

Currently, there are a large number of weapon traits that apply to the utility of the weapons, but they need to be expanded to include the style and identity of the weapons as well. In PF1 there ended up being around 3-4 melee styles that got used and fleshed out by characters, and in the Unchained RAE they each had different strengths and weaknesses.

Spoiler:
Two-Handed- this was power attack, it traded accuracy for consistent damage. It also cut into your ability to confirm critical hits but was often considered worth it because it functioned consistently.

Finesse- these generally had lower damage dice, but allowed characters to bypass MAD by taxing them a feat. Eventually you got taxed up to 5 feats to completely use DEX in place of STR. Rarely were STR builds used for single weapon usage, the playtest for the swashbuckler in 2013 got us there.

Light weapons- these generally only got used with TWF builds. They cut into your accuracy less than Power Attack, but gave you multiple chances to roll the d20 which improved your odds of landing a hit, and it also improved your chances of threatening crits more often.

Sword/board- by giving up the ability to focus on TWF or Power Attack to its fullest, you gained vastly improved defenses as shields could scale up to be pretty significant factors in AC. Shield Brace+Nodachi broke the game tho, don't bring that back.

Now, looking at the different weapon categories, I think we could reasonably organize them into their sizes and strategies, and the 'feats' which accompany the styles that require them can be unlocked by attaining and further improving your proficiency with said weapons.

EG
Weapon Trait [two-handed]:

  • Trained: you gain access to the weapon's critical specialization effect, you may adjust your grip as a free action
  • Expert: by spending two actions, make a strike with the weapon. Double the damage on a successful hit, but only triple it on a critical hit. This counts as using two attacks for calculating MAP.
  • Master: add a number of damage dice equal to your proficiency modifier.
  • Legendary: gain the Enhancement effect [apply the weapon's critical specialization effect, even if the attack is not a critical success] and the failure effect [the attack does not count towards MAP]

    This incorporates a few of the fighter's feats (power attack, furious focus, brutal finish) into one scaling ability, and it would be accessible to anyone who has proficiency with the weapon signaling the weapon's tactical use.

    EG2
    Weapon Trait [agile]:

  • Trained: you gain access to the weapon's critical specialization effect, reduce MAP by 1
  • Expert: once per turn, a free action triggered by making an attack with a main hand weapon allows one to make an attack at the same MAP using an agile weapon in the off-hand.
  • Master: reduce MAP by 2
  • Legendary: any number of free actions may trigger to make off-hand attacks at the same MAP per turn.

    This increases the number of attacks that can be made with agile weapons, which matters a lot considering the size of the damage dice is so much smaller than on other weapons those numbers need to be there for such weapons to remain mathematically relevant in the game at large. My play test of starknives confirmed this as I had to land a crit with sneak attack to even come close in damage to what a player using a d12 weapon was doing with a regular hit.

    EG3
    Weapon Trait [finesse]:

  • Trained: you gain access to the weapon's critical specialization effect, you may calculate attack rolls with DEX instead of STR
  • Expert: once per turn, spend an action when your off-hand is free to gain a circumstance bonus to AC equal to your proficiency modifier for 1 round.
  • Master: when an opponent within reach fails a strike roll, spend a reaction to make a strike or disarm at 0 MAP.
  • Legendary: as long as one hand is free, the circumstance bonus to AC is constant and doesn't require an action.

    Obviously these are rough drafts, but the idea in principle would allow each and every weapon style to be facilitated by expanding on the weapons themselves instead of the classes. Classes who go up in proficiency would by virtue gain more tricks/techniques to use, and Weapon Proficiency as a feat would matter more because it would unlock these combat tactics that anyone could employ by demonstrating their proficiency with the weapon.

    You also then wouldn't need to reprint all the combat styles and change them around for every single class, because the manner in which weapons are fought would be determined by the weapons, and the classes can focus on more unique, interesting options that aren't based in the combat simulator.

    Thoughts?


  • What do you mean by weapon feats? As far as I can tell those don't exist so much as "certain combats only make sense with certain equipment" (e.g. you can't double slice if you only have one weapon, if both hands are full you can't grab someone, you can shoot 3 times with a bow and arrow but not with a poleaxe, etc.)

    I do think weapon (and armor) proficiency should do more though.


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    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    What do you mean by weapon feats? As far as I can tell those don't exist so much as "certain combats only make sense with certain equipment" (e.g. you can't double slice if you only have one weapon, if both hands are full you can't grab someone, you can shoot 3 times with a bow and arrow but not with a poleaxe, etc.)

    I do think weapon (and armor) proficiency should do more though.

    I mean feats which specify the types of weapons being used in their descriptions. They're all over the fighter feat list where they tell you exactly what configuration of weapons you need in order to use the feat.

    I think each weapon trait could ideally scale this way and allow players more robust options without taxing the characters.

    I would want the same thing for different armors, for things like reducing ACP and speed penalties, as well as doing things like gaining fortification (negating crits) and temp DR.

    I would have a much better time picking feats that don;t affect combat if my combat ability was incorporated into my character's already baked in proficiency and training.


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    Sounds interesting - I have had a number of players talking about making weapons feel more distinctive. For my group, one of the problems is the lacking lethality of polearms, as they would like to see them correspond more to just how deadly those weapons were in reality. I think some of the things you have here for a large number of weapon groups with different styles might speak to quite a number of the things we're currently concerned about.

    A bit amusing, but we actually discussed something a little similar for armor (making heavy armor have a trait/type that makes it more effective (damage blocking or some such), making leather armor less effeicient against, say, piercing damage to better reflect that materials are really different.

    Anyway, interesting idea.


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    EG4
    Weapon Trait [sweep]:

  • Trained: you gain access to the weapon's critical specialization effect, gain a +1 circumstance bonus to your attack roll if you already attempted an attack this turn against a creature other than the target of the previous attack.
  • Expert: Make a melee Strike and compare the attack result to the AC of up to two foes, both of whom must be within your melee reach. Roll damage only once, and apply it to each creature you hit. If you critically hit one target and not the other, roll the extra critical hit damage separately. This counts as two attacks for MAP.
  • Master: when an opponent is knocked unconscious or killed by a melee strike, spend a reaction to strike another foe within reach at the same MAP.
  • Legendary: spend three actions to attack all adversaries who are near. Make a melee Strike against each enemy within your melee reach. Do not increase MAP until you have made all your attacks.


  • It's kind of funny but like two years ago, I started writing down some rules for my own version of "PF2E" that was similar to what you suggest here: having different levels of weapon proficiency essentially automatically unlocked certain combat feats and feat-like benefits of the sort that you've described above.

    I am not sure about replacing class specific combat feats entirely, though. I could see wanting fighters to have access to specific bow abilities that a ranger could not get and vice-versa if only to further differentiate their playstyles.

    On a practical level though, I don't see the designers making this kind of change to the system between now and when the game releases. This is more of a "cool idea for your own game" sort of territory.


    Excaliburproxy wrote:

    It's kind of funny but like two years ago, I started writing down some rules for my own version of "PF2E" that was similar to what you suggest here: having different levels of weapon proficiency essentially automatically unlocked certain combat feats and feat-like benefits of the sort that you've described above.

    I am not sure about replacing class specific combat feats entirely, though. I could see wanting fighters to have access to specific bow abilities that a ranger could not get and vice-versa if only to further differentiate their playstyles.

    On a practical level though, I don't see the designers making this kind of change to the system between now and when the game releases. This is more of a "cool idea for your own game" sort of territory.

    I would hope not, it would be cool if the classes both got upgrades to certain styles (like the rogue getting DEX to damage) but the styles were still accessible.

    It would make loot drops way more functional.

    Where's Mark?

    Liberty's Edge

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    I like the idea of making weapons more distinctive to martial characters. To me, the Simple Weapon Table should be very simple - streamline out most of the special traits, particularly Trip and Shove, and put inexpensive weapons on the Martial table. Does the Simple table need much more than base types? Knife, Club, Spear, Brawling? Should it really have Versatile and Reach? (I don't mean Daggers aren't accessible, but perhaps Simple weapons doesn't teach effective piercing versatility - it's all slash and jab).

    If everybody gets Ag/Finesse, Trip, Shove, and Reach - it takes some of the distinction out of the martial classes (it's not all about +1 to +2 damage - melee control is supposed to be thier thing). Now, the Deity's weapon (that has such traits) may be a stronger option. The Rogue's list has more meat...


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    News recently makes me very sad that PF2 is going the direction of specialized versions of combat styles for each class, making the weapons themselves less relevant.

    I don't see a point in theory of other weapon qualities if the suggestion isn't going to be considered when the devs give their goal out to be more inhibiting and less open.

    It's very disappointing...


    Dotting. And what news are you talking about, Marshmallow? Even if it's not official, I might adopt this idea - I'm loving these.


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    Something about the stream where they say each class would get it's own representation of combat styles. So rogues getting two weapon combat would function different from rangers, etc.

    Very 5e.


    Oh... :\ That's somewhat disappointing, but I'll reserve full judgement until I see it.


    Looks like ideas like this are picking up in other threads as well.


    Again, even if they don't adopt something like this to make weapons stand out - it sounds like something I would 100% adopt in my homebrew games. (I also have a sort of staff that I give out to PCs that's a sort of tattoo, that I totally didn't crib from Suikoden)


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    I would prefer this system to be honest. Tie some of the Feats that add functionality to weapons to proficiency and create a few feats that increase proficiency. This allows distinctive chatacter choices that increase both in game function and the individuality of a character.

    They spent the time to add a proficiency function to the game, they should remove the pseudo BAB they have by adding level to rolls. Utilize the proficiency system itself by combining a proficiency multiplier to level or something similar to create distinctive modifiers that do not overshadow our ability modifiers (which seem to be capped at +6) and other bonuses we have access to. Or even just a flat systems: - 2, 0, +2, +4, +6. This would make proficiency matter more, as well as avoid overshadowing our other modifiers. They already have to rework a considerable amount of the bestiary so I don't think it's out of the question to adjust things like this at this stage.


    I had another solution, instead of nixing proficiency as is, I'd see the martial inclined builds take on abilities which supplement their attack roles using a secondary ability modifier.

    It scales in the exact mathematical way that balances the attack rolls problem. It just needs a sufficient cost to feel balanced, something like an action or a limitation on the target or what have you.


    master_marshmallow wrote:

    I had another solution, instead of nixing proficiency as is, I'd see the martial inclined builds take on abilities which supplement their attack roles using a secondary ability modifier.

    It scales in the exact mathematical way that balances the attack rolls problem. It just needs a sufficient cost to feel balanced, something like an action or a limitation on the target or what have you.

    Hmmm. I vaguely recall it being mentioned before that they were hard against adding two ability scores to the same roll, whether it be an attack, skill or damage roll.


    Syndrous wrote:
    master_marshmallow wrote:

    I had another solution, instead of nixing proficiency as is, I'd see the martial inclined builds take on abilities which supplement their attack roles using a secondary ability modifier.

    It scales in the exact mathematical way that balances the attack rolls problem. It just needs a sufficient cost to feel balanced, something like an action or a limitation on the target or what have you.

    Hmmm. I vaguely recall it being mentioned before that they were hard against adding two ability scores to the same roll, whether it be an attack, skill or damage roll.

    And the game is worse for it.


    master_marshmallow wrote:
    Syndrous wrote:
    master_marshmallow wrote:

    I had another solution, instead of nixing proficiency as is, I'd see the martial inclined builds take on abilities which supplement their attack roles using a secondary ability modifier.

    It scales in the exact mathematical way that balances the attack rolls problem. It just needs a sufficient cost to feel balanced, something like an action or a limitation on the target or what have you.

    Hmmm. I vaguely recall it being mentioned before that they were hard against adding two ability scores to the same roll, whether it be an attack, skill or damage roll.
    And the game is worse for it.

    Not necessarily, I wonder if they would loosen up on that stance in Pf2 because my recollection was that hard no was for first edition..which made tremendous sense due to insane ability scores.

    With the hard limit on ability scores being a +7, without item involvement, I believe there is room for it. The question is how to determine what ability score to add.


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    I just really like the thought of Trained, Expert, Master and Legendary being more than just vague "the DM sets things you can and cannot do" especially with regards to weapons and armor.


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    It would make it feel much better for things like multi class feats to improve your proficiency more, instead of to a flat amount, if this system is adopted.

    It would mean the legendary weapon abilities are unique to the fighter, but taking the multiclass fighter feats would improve proficiency by a single step. Later, taking the feats again would trade off your class abilities and improve your combat utility, as it should.

    I really would also like to see the armor specialization of the fighter come back in some way, reducing speed penalties and inducing DR seem like obvious applications of proficiency.


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    One system that I think did this really well is BECMI D&D - it has five levels of weapon proficiency, not including non-proficiency: Trained, Skilled, Expert, Master and Grand Master. Each level of proficiency does more than just static bonuses - it adds new abilities to the weapon.

    The Normal Sword, for instance, gives a bonus to AC vs an increasing number of attacks (Skilled gives you a bonus to AC vs one attack; Grand Master gives vs three), the ability to make a saving throw to deflect an attack that would otherwise hit a certain number of times per round, and increased damage per hit. The Battle Axe, on the other hand, gives bonuses to AC and increased damage at a different rate than the Normal Sword, but instead of allowing you to deflect attacks, it allows you to daze your opponents unless they succeed on a save.

    Naturally this stuff is probably more powerful than we really want proficiency to be, but it does give some ideas for making different weapons feel genuinely different and for rewarding higher levels of skill.

    It would likewise be nice if something like this could be added to skills - currently, going from Expert to Master just feels like a +1 bonus, which is honestly just boring.


    Given the rumors on Monday's update, it seems this dream is dead.


    I like the thought of proficiency levels giving SOMETHING more than just a +1.

    As for weapon styles, I think those should be tied to the weapon group because each weapon only has one group. Collecting all abilities for a weapon that has 4 traits would be a bit complicated.

    I don't think PF2 will have General Combat Feats in the same line as Skill Feats though I think some basic ones at least for Expert level for each weapon group would be nice. That way not all classes could take them and your character could focus on one weapon type without multiclassing.


    1.3 is out.

    This idea is dead, but it might be worth considerations for house rules, or alternate rules for home games still. Anyone care for me to do more?

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