Expanded/Modified PHB Weapons

This post is a WIP. Contents are NOT official, and are subject to future change and balance. The purpose of this post is to encourage brainstorming over weapon choices and to expand player options and combat choices beyond simply dealing damage. Many options herein are taken directly from the Player’s Handbook, but with a Special property added to them in order to make the choices more attractive for non-conventional combat techniques.

Orcish Greataxe
40gp, 30 lbs.
2d8 slashing damage
Heavy, Two-handed
Special: Requires 16 STR score to use without disadvantage.

Soldier’s Halberd
25gp, 8 lbs.
1d10 slashing damage
Heavy, Reach, Two-handed
Special: If you attack a target 10 ft. away from you and miss, you can expend your bonus action to attempt to pull the target 5 ft. toward you (Athletics skill contest).

Dwarven Urgosh
40gp, 16 lbs.
1d8 slashing/piercing/bludgeoning damage
Heavy, Two-handed, Exotic
Exotic: Requires Exotic Weapon Proficiency to be wielded without disadvantage.

Trident
5gp, 4lbs.
1d6 piercing damage
Thrown (20/60), Versatile (1d8), Special
Special: When attacked by a hostile unit’s wielded weapon, but before being hit, you can spend your reaction to attempt to negate the attack and disarm your opponent (Athletics skill contest).

Great Maul
15gp, 18 lbs.
2d6 bludgeoning damage
Heavy, two-handed, Special
Special: Requires 14 STR to wield without disadvantage. On a confirmed hit against target wearing medium or heavy armor, reduce armor’s AC value by 1 (max 1 time) until it is repaired.

War Pick
5gp, 4lbs.
1d8 piercing/bludgeoning damage
Special
Special: Ignores damage threshold of siege weapons and land vehicles.

Whip
2gp, 3lbs.
1d4 slashing damage
Finesse, Reach, Special
Special: If you attack with advantage, or against a target that is denied bonuses to their movement, you can make a Trip attempt for free on a confirmed hit against the target to make them prone.

Pike
5gp, 18 lbs.
1d10 piercing damage
Heavy, Reach, Two-handed, Special
Special: Deals double damage against creatures of size Large or greater.

Morningstar
15gp, 4 lbs.
1d8 piercing damage
Special
Special: On confirmed hit against target wielding a shield, spend bonus action to forego dealing damage and instead deny the target the AC bonus of their shield until the start of their next turn.

Greatclub
2sp, 10 lbs.
1d8 bludgeoning damage
Two-handed, Special
Special: On a confirmed hit against target wearing light or no armor, spend bonus action to impose the Dazed condition on the target (CON saving throw, DC 8+your attack modifier).

More to come!

Chakram (bladed throwing ring)
10cp, 1/4lbs
1d4 slashing
Special: 1d6 against unarmored targets that are not constructs, inanimate objects.

Sleeve Arrow
10 GP, 1lb
1 piercing
Special: Fired as a free action. If target is not aware of Sleeve Arrow, and not already in combat with the user, target is considered flat footed. Can be poisoned.

atlatl (Spear thrower)
3 GP, 1lb
DMG n/a
Special: adds 60 to the max range of javelin and 30 to the max range of spear that are thrown with it. If the target is within the original range of the weapon use 1d8 for damage instead of 1d6. If you attempt to use the atlatl itself as a weapon it is considered an improvised club.

Pages 2 - 4 of the PDF referenced in this link have additional equipment options.

Martial Options

We should also look into some of the equipment from other D&D 3.5 supplements that could be brought over, specifically the Arms & Equipment Guide.


@mesoterra, are you looking to have those items updated from 3.x to 5e?

That seems a little strong. Perhaps it should be 2d8?

The link provided is of this post, not to a particular pdf.

Yeah, I thought I had put 2d8 initially

Updated the link to the correct post.

I really like what that .pdf has to offer!

Are you looking to add a new weapon quality/tier?

Yeah, I think we ought to bring back the Exotic Weapon tier.

It seems that in 5e, most classes proficient in all martial weapons just end up being proficient in all simple weapons. Martial tier proficiency becomes the end-all be-all.

I think it would be good for there to be a weapon tier that is not immediately accessible to classes with martial weapon proficiency. Adding in Exotic can then help classes with only simple weapon proficiency, since we could give them exotic weapon proficiency too.

Bringing back exotic weapon proficiency is kind of my way of saying “martial weapon proficiency should not mean, by proxy, proficient with ALL weapons”.

I like that Idea, I did like the 3.5 exotic weapons.

It would add an extra something to go after, kind of like a new spell level, especially with the weapon properties. I’d like to standardize weapon properties, such as the halberd option of pulling in could be called hook or something. The orcish greataxe option could be called mighty, high str requirement for higher damage dice.

Idk if I’d want to let those with only simple obtain exotic while bypassing martial… It would be a sort of longsword vs bastard sword scenario in D&D 3.5. Perhaps we could make martial weapon proficiency a requirement for exotic? What would be the situation for obtaining exotic weapon proficiency? Or what about proficiency in the weapon also nets its exotic qualities on top of allowing proficiency and ignoring disadvantage, or somesuch?

I’m for exotic as long as it isn’t a way to completely wipe out the need for martial weapons. Part of why I liked them not being around was that it simplified the proficiency issue with weapons. The main issue I see is that the orcish greataxe, for instance, completely outclasses the greatsword, maul, and greataxe. Because of that, a new weapon tier would be necessary to balance it, but what the requirement to acquire that should be I don’t know.

Boy I’m missing a lot of things I intended to include.

I meant for the Orcish Greataxe to have an attack limiter as well. “Only one attack with this weapon per Attack action”

This would still allow for shoves, grapples, unarmed strikes, etc. for the other attacks on the Attack action, only restricting the weapon swings with the Orcish Greataxe.

Perhaps we could name such a quality “Oversized” or “Unwieldy”

With both of those you could say that you have to have martial weapon proficiency to wield the weapon. Then the exotic proficiency is played as your character has focused their combat training on this specific weapon and as such are far more capable with it than others who have not focused on it. This focus on that weapon gives you access to the special features of the weapon. This would make you burn attribute increases for a feat which would help balance out the weapons some.

If a weapon is too powerful you could give it, or the special it has, drawbacks.

I don’t know if the Orcish Greataxe is too powerful, due to only being able to swing it once per turn and the STR requirement. But if it is, you could say that if you are not proficient with the exotic weapon feat for it then you must make a STR check with each attack and if you fail you automatically miss and are flatfooted.

For simplicity sake, if you want to have aspects that you can just assign to any weapon you could say it is Oversized and just apply the rules to the aspect instead of the weapon.

For the Hook aspect you could say that if you are not proficient you must make a Dex check or fail and become flat footed.

Dwarven Urgosh
Heavy: add 2 to the die, so instead of 1d6 you have 1d8, must be proficient in order to wield without disadvantage.

Trident
Skilled Parry: If you are proficient with the weapon you can make a Dex/Athletics skill check to try to negate and/or disarm your opponent before they hit you.

Great Maul
Oversized

War Pick
Greater Piercing: Ignores damage threshold of siege weapons and land vehicles. If not proficient with the weapon it is treated as the weapon without special.

Whip
(personally I think that you shouldn’t be able to wield a whip in combat without exotic weapon proficiency)
Tripping: I think what lordnewb said would be pretty well balanced if you needed a feat plus the martial proficiency in order to have access to it.

Pike
Giant Slayer: what lordnewb said, however if you do not have the exotic weapon proficiency then you lose the advantage and have to make a Dex check, if you fail then you miss automatically and become flatfooted.

Morningstar
Shield Strip: in order to make use of it’s special ability you must be proficient. If you are not proficient you must make a Dex save to avoid becoming flatfooted.

GreatClub
Oversized Shock: daze the target like lordnewb said but with the drawbacks that I described with the Oversized aspect.

You could even have subtypes of aspects to allow for some diversity with different weapons and behavior, like Oversized Shock or something else to allow for adjustments to the different affects.

A feat is way too costly unless you net benefits like those suggested in the Unearted Arcana on weapon feats. I might argue for a roleplaying restriction, which is far more loose or demanding depending on the dungeon master.

The one attack per attack action would certainly be a good balance at which point 2d10 might make more sense. This is of course using one of the options as an example.

I don’t think proficiency should be a requirement to use a feature of all weapons, as the blow for to-hit is already a big disadvantage. You could argue that a non-proficienct whip user can’t trip with it, being unsure of the technique, but I’m torn on that decision.

In this post so far, I’ve seen the following and might define them this way.

  • Unwieldy. This weapon is considered to be one size category larger for determining its damage die (1d8 to 2d8, 1d12 to 2d12, 2d6 to 4d6), but you can only make a single attack with it per turn. This attack is made at disadvantage unless your Strength is 16 or higher.
  • Hook. On a failed weapon attack, you can initiate an Atheltics competition opposed by your opponent’s Athletics or Acrobatics check. If you succeed, you can pull the target 5 feet closer.
  • Trip. If you make a weapon attack with advantage, or against a target that is denied bonuses to their movement, you can make a Trip attempt for free on a confirmed hit against the target. If your opponent fails a DC 8 + attack bonus Athletics or Acrobatics check, they are now prone.
  • Crush. On a successful weapon attack, your opponent’s armor class bonus provided by medium or heavy armor is reduced by 1 until repaired. This effect does not stack. This weapon requires Strength 14 or higher to wield without disadvantage.
  • Shock. On a successful weapon attack against a foe wearing light armor or no armor, your target makes a DC 8 + your attack bonus Constitution save or suffers from the Dazed condition.
  • Giant Slayer. This weapon deals double damage against a large or larger creature.
  • Penetrating. Your attacks ignore the damage threshold of objects not made of metal (stone, wood, etc.).
  • Strip. Your successful attacks negate a target’s shield bonus if they are carrying a shield.
  • Skilled Parry. As a reaction, you can initiate an Athletics competition against your foe’s Athletics or Acrobatics skill when attacked by a melee weapon. If you succeed, your foe’s attack misses. Additionally, your foe is disarmed and the weapon lands 10 feet in a random direction.
  • Surprise. You can attack with this weapon as a bonus action if your opponent is surprised.
  • Lethal. The die size of this weapon increases by one if attacking an unarmored target that isn’t a construct or inanimate object.
  • Exotic. This weapon requires special training to use. Consult your Dungeon Master to determine if your character has proficiency.

In the case of the atlatl, I would probably make it an exotic weapon requiring special training determined by the DM.

Additionally, there are other properties recorded here:


I might argue that tripping and hook should require a reaction or a bonus action to initiate. The only other thing is that the Shove action allows to shove a target prone (effectively trip). The Trip feature I had utilized before was:

How much do we want these features to mesh with other house rules?

Here’s a thought, @lordnewb, we could look at redoing every weapon, or we could do classifications of weapons (swords vs axes vs spears vs something, or some other combination). It might make the groupings a little easier, though there would definitely not be as wide of a variety. Maybe certain weapons grant benefits to certain combat checks (swords grant bonuses to a parry or defense check, for instance).

Some other thoughts could be things like adding in the option to hit with the shaft/pommel/crossbar of a weapon. Perhaps certain weapons are good at fighting armor while others are good against lightly armored (sort of suggested above).

We could investigate targeted combat (“I strike this part of the body” as in Blade of the Iron Throne, Riddle of Steel, Song of Swords) and certain weapons are better at damaging certain parts.

We could investigate other statuses as well, such as shock, blood loss, pain (these three come from Blade of the Iron Throne, Riddle of Steel, Song of Swords), which are afflicted through certain weapons, certain strikes, certain damage types (bludgeoning vs slashing vs piercing).

We could also investigate different combat striking techniques (thinking again on the Blade of the Iron Throne, Riddle of Steel, Song of Swords systems).

Some of these may unnecessarily complicate the ease of 5e.

I definitely see value in creating a set of tags to be assigned to weapons, probably based on their damage type and what weapon classification. Details/attributes that are currently used in the 5e Handbook (reach, heavy, two-handed, etc.) already do a good job of this, but we can expand with tags of the like listed above (unwieldy, hook, etc.).

As far as hits with the shaft/pommel/crossbar, this does make sense in terms of how swords were actually used in feudal/medieval eras. Oftentimes, the only sharpened portion of the sword was the last 1/3 of the length nearest the tip, and below that (toward the crossbar) was unsharpened. Fighters would wield their sword “upside down” on this unsharpened portion to then batter their opponent’s armor, in the interest of reducing their opponent’s mobility, so that they can more accurately strike with the sharpened portion of their sword. This combat style could be explored, just how much it would complicate sword-based combat is the real issue.

I have always been interested in adding effects for certain damage types. Specifically:

  • Slashing damage could ignore a portion of the AC provided by light armor, since most light armors are leather based and can be cut through during the weapon swing. Maybe the AC ignored = proficiency bonus? We could limit this to slashing damage from martial weapons only.
  • Piercing damage could ignore a portion of the AC provided by medium and heavy armor, since arrows are designed to pierce through chain links, and pikes could pierce through plate armor. Maybe the AC ignored = proficiency bonus? We could limit this to piercing damage from martial weapons only.
  • Bludgeoning damage could reduce the AC of heavy armor until it is repaired, and also ignore the damage threshold on buildings, siege weapons, and land vehicles? Perhaps bludgeoning damage automatically criticals against constructs? We can limit this to bludgeoning damage from martial weapons only.

For targeted combat, a common homebrew rule for this is called “Called Shot”, which places disadvantage on the attack. It’s a simple, but not a very elegant or appealing option. I think just losing your proficiency bonus on the attack roll would be more reasonable.

I like the idea of Shock, Blood Loss, and Pain, but only in the sense that they are inflicted statuses, and not resource pools or thresholds. For instance, we could work Shock, Blood Loss, and Pain, as an escalating system like Exhaustion, and characters escalate through these stages as they lose HP. As an example…

  • Pain - when Current HP is 51%-75% of Total HP
  • Shock - when Current HP is 26%-50% of Total HP
  • Blood Loss - when Current HP is 0%-25% of total HP
  • Each of these tiers should impose some kind of penalty.
  • We can then expand on Medicine checks, by having escalating Medicine DCs to de-escalate these levels of affliction. For example…
  • DC10 Medicine check to relieve the effects of Pain
  • DC12 Medicine check to relieve the effects of Shock, and de-escalate to Pain
  • DC14 Medicine check to relieve the effects of Blood Loss, and de-escalate to Shock
  • Not sure if a Healer’s Kit should give advantage on these checks, or if the kit should simply be required in order to de-escalate these tiers without resting.

I think combat striking techniques can be implemented via different types of Attacks (such as how the Attack action can be used to make a weapon attack, a Grapple, or a Shove).