Sunday, December 20, 2015

Expanded and Exotic Weapons [Fourth Draft]

Adding new mechanics further down the line is a bit of a double-edged sword (or, y'know, a sword, two-bladed).

On one hand, it's usually pretty necessary to work out bugs and kinks when it happens. On the other hand, it's new and unpolished, so it always brings a whole lot of clunk to the table as well.

While the 4e encounter-power mechanics the last draft used worked, they didn't always work in service of a weapon and, if the weapon missed, it resulted in the feat feeling wasted. Wanting the weapons to feel worthwhile, I broke the powers down into either new weapon properties or special mechanics on the weapons themselves.

But now we're getting into the crunch of what got changed, and that's the changelog's job.


  • Rebalanced the Katana, Scythe, and Shuriken, keeping them from stepping on the toes of other weapons. The Katana no longer has the light property (there's always the feat to hold two), and the shuriken fell from 1d6 to 1d4 damage, but now has a minor special property. The scythe was reduced to 1d6 slashing, but is now also a finesse weapon (that you cannot sneak attack with).  
  • Folded Exotic Weapon Powers into the weapons themselves. This resulted in the new Ensnaring and Rapid Fire properties, as well as cropping down the feat into just a single proficiency because the powers now come bundled with.
  • Reworked Double Weapons such that there is only one way to hold them, as two one-handed weapons, because it cuts down on complication and cheese. 
  • Added Special Rules for every Exotic without Extra Shot or Ensnaring.
  • Moved Tonfa into the Expanded Weapons list. Being Exotic wasn't working out for it.
  • Added Harpoon to the Exotic Weapons list. Now any orc or goblin can be your character's white whale. 
  • Balance on new content, as always. Specifically on the new weapon properties and special properties for Exotics. 
  • Little, horrible mechanical complexities and cheese this might accidentally cause with builds I didn't consider. Seems to be a reoccuring theme with this project. 
  • Weapons have a lot more moving parts than appear on the surface. You all have helped me stumble upon a new branch of system mechanics I didn't as much consider when I started this project. 
My quest to make an effective, selectable PDF continues. For this version I've generated this selectable PDF, which you can download by clicking here

It looks great in Google Drive, which was my goal, but now it looks awful in Adobe Acrobat. C'est la vie.

A newer version of this option is available. 


  1. you have written that the ability Rapid fire is called extra shot :\

    1. Dangit. If I didn't have clerical errors to fix, I don't know what I'd do with myself.

      It's fixed now, at any rate. Rapid Fire is Rapid Fire.

  2. Does the Tonfa mean with 'counting as a shield for all intents and purposes' mean the +2 AC as well?

    1. No, though it does qualify for fighting styles and other features that require a shield.

      The tonfas already provide a +1 AC when held in both hands. Having an additional +2 on top of that would be imbalanced.

  3. Why can you not sneak attack with the scythe? I have trouble thinking of a time I would ever go for the scythe now. If I use two handed weapons, I would be a martial trained fighter most of the times. And with the scythe, even if it is finesse, there are almost no dex melee builds that I can think of who would use it.

    1. Though it is a weapon that utilizes the momentum and finesse of the attacker, the scythe is large enough that it's significantly hard to not see it coming.

      As for builds, a DEX-based GWF fighter or paladin could do well to have a scythe, and it'd be an incredibly fun weapon for a DEX Bladelock or melee cleric to have. It's a niche weapon for niche builds, but it frees up additional playstyles, which is really the goal with most of these weapons in the first place.

    2. Sure, but then again: we are talking about a game where you can dual wield rapiers, which are HORRIBLE to dual wield in real life, with peak performance. All you need is a feat.

      And sure it's a niche, but When you think about it, the damage is just a d6 for a two-handed weapon. Reach means little if you can't actually kill them before they move into your range. And if you don't want that you would gain sentinel to stop them, but that makes me wonder why your weapon would not be better. As a melee cleric, sure, but as a Bladelock I would just pick a halberd that does more damage overall. It just feels like the niche is restricted to melee classes that can have cooler and better options IMO, and limiting a rogue wielding a scythe for no reason, which would be a cool niche as well.

  4. I don't know if this is getting another draft ever, but in my opinion the Katana is currently directly inferior to the Jian in damage, the only thing it has going for it is that it qualifies for GWF stuff, my suggestion would be to let the two handed katana be 2d4 rather than a d8 and drop the jian to a d8- it's still a finesse slashing weapon at d8, and gives another option for people that would otherwise be stuck with rapiers for their one handed dex builds (with schimitars keeping the two handed niche.) it makes a versatile katana the weapon of choice for GWF dex warrior halflings and Gnomes.

    1. Yeah, that seems fairly reasonable. I just did a crunch of the numbers and 2d4 with GWF does a median damage equal to 1d10 with GWF, but with a lower topend, still keeping the finesse option relatively inferior.

      I'll do a stealth update here in a second.

  5. I'd love to include your weapons in an over-all equipment rebalance for a better currency system I'm working on. Would you be ok with that? If so, how should I credit you?