5E Fighting Style for Melee Knife/Dagger Use

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Due to the nature of rules a dagger is the weakest weapon around, something that's only used as a last resort weapon by most classes, and only effective (in it's versatility as something that can be thrown) by Rogues and Monks of a high enough level. But a dagger in the hands of someone who knows how to use one effectively can be a very deadly. I don't want to bother for now in a Fighter subclass that specializes in dagger fighting. So my ideas so far are.

Knife Fighting
When attacking with a dagger in melee it does 1d6 damage, while grappling an opponent the dagger does 1d8 damage instead.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
I also felt like the d4 weapons needed some love, but I went in a different direction with my fighting style.

Swift Strike
You can make one additional attack when you take the attack action. You only gain this benefit while you are wielding only the following weapons: Club, Dagger, Dart, Light Hammer, Sickle, Sling, or Whip.

Sorry. Half my post got cut out. I think your fighting style does address the issue with a dagger's underwhelming damage, and it has a nice rider for when grappling. But you are only increasing the average damage by +1, +2 when grappling. You can achieve the same effect (arguably better because it is more consistent damage) by taling the Dueling Style to get a +2 damage bonus. Of course, yours would allow a damage boost for those who choose to dual wield daggers, but then they wouldn't be able to grapple since both hands would be occupied.

Personally, I think it is more interesting to try and design a fighting style that is different from the others. Since other styles grant bonuses to damage or attack, I would try and find something fitting for daggers that avoids straight bonuses to damage or attack.
 
Last edited:

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Due to the nature of rules a dagger is the weakest weapon around, something that's only used as a last resort weapon by most classes, and only effective (in it's versatility as something that can be thrown) by Rogues and Monks of a high enough level. But a dagger in the hands of someone who knows how to use one effectively can be a very deadly.
I've got to disagree here... the dagger is by far the best of all the 1d4 damage weapons (except maybe the sling, just because of range). Is your concern with the dagger or a dislike of 1d4 weapons in general? Because all of them are pretty much just intended as backup weapons.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
I've got to disagree here... the dagger is by far the best of all the 1d4 damage weapons (except maybe the sling, just because of range). Is your concern with the dagger or a dislike of 1d4 weapons in general? Because all of them are pretty much just intended as backup weapons.
I can see where @Kobold Avenger is coming from. There are cool concepts involving knife fighters or warriors specializing in things like whips or hammers. As an example in media, my mind goes to Taryn from Nightmare on Elm Street 3. But those concepts can be hard to replicate. As you said, daggers and such are typically backup weapons, and to use them as primary weapons is a suboptimal choice. Some people are ok with suboptimal characters, but I definitely understand wanting mechanics to allow for a concept to be on par with the power of other more mainstream builds.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
For a while I was fiddling around with the house rule that if you knew all martial weapons, the damage of all simple weapons increased by a die size. It made them generally usable so that players could have a lot more variety in play.

Another rule I've seen is giving certain weapons (like daggers) an Offhand keyword. They work for two weapon fighting even if the main weapon is not light. So you can do rapier and main gauche (dagger) and the like.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I can see where @Kobold Avenger is coming from. There are cool concepts involving knife fighters or warriors specializing in things like whips or hammers. As an example in media, my mind goes to Taryn from Nightmare on Elm Street 3. But those concepts can be hard to replicate. As you said, daggers and such are typically backup weapons, and to use them as primary weapons is a suboptimal choice. Some people are ok with suboptimal characters, but I definitely understand wanting mechanics to allow for a concept to be on par with the power of other more mainstream builds.
Also, in fiction they aren’t necessarily suboptimal, and many of us care approximately 100% more about that than we do about realism.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I have had several thieves use just a dagger and skip the shortsword and even the rapier. Most are halflings for thematic reasons though. They also tend to get a magical dagger that returns when thrown at some point.

I can see something with the small light weapons where you can an extra attack. Instead of the old speed factor penalizing the large weapons, you just reward the small ones. Does the two-weapon fighting already this though?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Hey, if a naked monk can be just as hard to hurt with weapons as a fully armored knight, there’s no reason that a dagger can’t be a primary melee weapon!

I like the idea of A fighting style that increases it to a d6, but I think pumping it to a d8 in a grapple might be a bit too much?

Since grappling requires a hand, and you cant normally do two weapon fighting while grappling, maybe allow all the fighting style to make a dagger attack as a bonus action even while grappling?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I based on the fighting style on concepts of martial arts with knife fighting, which is why there's the idea of doing even more with grappling.
One thing I think people often miss about grappling is that its almost always done in combination with an attack. And your idea caries that relatively elegantly.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
Since they're surprise weapon, make them better when you draw them as part of an attack.

Also, if you want to boost damage while grappling, I would suggest you up the damage to 2D4 instead, so on a crit you roll more dice.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Here are 2 fighting styles from the recent UA

Thrown Weapon Fighting

You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +1 bonus to the damage roll.

Unarmed Fighting

Your unarmed strikes can deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier. If
you strike with two free hands, the d6 becomes a d8. When you successfully start a grapple, you can deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to the grappled creature. Until the grapple ends, you can also deal this damage to the creature whenever you hit it with a melee attack.
The unarmed fighting is just like your feat only with higher damage.

One benefit of using daggers would be throwing them but your feat penalizes that.

You might want to look into combining and then tweaking the Thrown Weapon and Unarmed Fighting feats.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Since they're surprise weapon, make them better when you draw them as part of an attack.
That is cool in general for small things like darts/shuriken too. But then isnt it really the fast draw technique that is doing the boost to damage. Not a normal draw?
 

Undrave

Adventurer
That is cool in general for small things like darts/shuriken too. But then isnt it really the fast draw technique that is doing the boost to damage. Not a normal draw?
I was more thinking of my own Cobra Fang Style where you get advantage on attacks made with light weapons when you draw them as part of the attack.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
In 4e, melee rogues got +1 to hit with daggers, which was enough on its own to make them a competitive choice next to rapiers and short swords. I think a Fighting Style or Feat that emulated this would work very well in 5e. Make their advantage accuracy instead of damage.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In 4e, melee rogues got +1 to hit with daggers, which was enough on its own to make them a competitive choice next to rapiers and short swords. I think a Fighting Style or Feat that emulated this would work very well in 5e. Make their advantage accuracy instead of damage.
I’d make it +2, just like Archery.

Archery didn’t need that big a boost, but daggers could use something that hefty.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
I have had several thieves use just a dagger and skip the shortsword and even the rapier. Most are halflings for thematic reasons though. They also tend to get a magical dagger that returns when thrown at some point.

I can see something with the small light weapons where you can an extra attack. Instead of the old speed factor penalizing the large weapons, you just reward the small ones. Does the two-weapon fighting already this though?
like your first paragraph, but not the extra attack thing. You can do sneak attack damage with a dagger also, so that combined with two weapon fighting is sufficient.

I rather see something else: Some feat which gives you advantage for attacks with daggers if you are grappled or if you grapple someone e.g.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
As a DM, I don't let players 'suffer' for making a decision to use a weapon (or other option) that is less efficient, but character appropriate. If a rogue uses a dagger because it fits his character better than a rapier, I'll make sure that the difference between the dagger and rapier (in terms of damage) is closed or overcome.

For example, I might let them find a magic ring that does not require attunement that allows them to roll a d8 for damage with any piercing weapon, or they might find a poisonous sheath that allows them to deal an additional d6 poison whenever they hit on an attack made before the end of their next turn after drawing a dagger from the sheath.
 

Advertisement

Top