Level Up (A5E) Hard Walled by Queen Bee Berserker Build Idea

(TLDR: Without homebrewing anything, is it in any way possible, in A5e, in any of the currently published books, to get a non-magical weapon that has the Finesse property and either the 2-Handed or Versatile property, but not the Heavy property?)


Starting up a new campaign soon, decided to play a Berserker. The GM is new to A5e, so I am explicitly avoiding homebrew, but anything in current, published A5e material goes. Level 3. I'm looking through the Zeitgeist campaign book and notice something really interesting about the Queen Bee Berserker, the Feel My Sting feature:
"At 3rd level, while you are wielding a light or finesse weapon in melee and not using a shield, you treat that weapon’s damage die as 1d12, and you may have the weapon gain the heavy property while you’re wielding it."

"Surely this doesn't allow you to make a DEX-based Berserker with Strength as your dump stat," I tell myself. But curious, I continue researching. After all—the 5e barbarian has several class features that force you to use Strength when making attacks to get their benefit. If that was retained in A5e's berserker, then the quest for the DEX-based berserker dies there. But try as I might, I can't find anything in the berserker class that forces me to use Strength—everything is based off of Constitution, it seems. The closest that I get to finding something that forces me to use Strength is the following in Furious Critical:
"The attack must use a melee weapon that has the heavy, two-handed, or versatile property."

This got me thinking even further. Combined with Queen Bee, I could—theoretically—make a berserker that dumps Strength, pumps Dexterity and Constitution to the moon, and uses a finesse weapon, but still gets the full benefit of the berserker class, Furious Critical included. I want to take this a step further by playing a halfling, because... well, it amused me. But this created a barrier for me: in order to benefit from Furious Critical, the weapon I wield must have the heavy, two-handed, or versatile property. For a Medium character this isn't an issue because Queen Bee's Feel My Sting gives a light or finesse weapon the heavy property... but for a Small character this is a huge problem, because it would mean that I have disadvantage on every attack. Not good!

Thus began my fruitless quest. I can only make this build idea work (berserker class, queen bee archetype, dump Strength, pump Dexterity, play a halfling or other Small character) if I find a weapon that as the Finesse property and the 2-Handed property or the Versatile property (and not the Heavy property).

And I don't think such a weapon exists.

So now that you have heard the sad tale of Big Richard the halfling queen bee berserker who almost was, I have one question for you, the great thinktank that you are...

Without homebrewing anything, is it in any way possible, in A5e, in any of the currently published books, to get a non-magical weapon that has the Finesse property and either the 2-Handed or Versatile property, but not the Heavy property?

Please. A conceptual life is on the line.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

OK, I would be willing to hear about possible magical solutions to this conundrum, but I would prefer a non-magical solution if possible. (Nice magical weapons are expensive and hard to come by at level 3, at least at the tables I play at.)
 


Kinematics

Adventurer
Given the rules for customizing armaments (p321), I'd create a heavy scimitar (heavy relative to the base scimitar, not the "heavy" property). Take the scimitar base, but increase its size. Because of that, it loses its dual-wielding property, but instead gains a versatile property. That gives you a weapon with three properties: Defensive (light), versatile (1d8), finesse.

The defensive property doesn't do you any good if you always use the two-handed mode, but it's still a practical option due to it being versatile. You could always tweak it more, but this design seemed like the quickest and least divergent approach.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
So... here's what I'd say:

The heavy property should not make the Rapier more difficult for your halfling to wield. Instead, the Feel My Sting feature should read as follows.

"At 3rd level, while you are wielding a light or finesse weapon in melee and not using a shield, you treat that weapon’s damage die as 1d12, and you may treat the weapon as if it has the heavy property for the purposes of your class abilities and maneuvers while you’re wielding it."

Gonna actually suggest that as Zeitgeist errata...
 

The Queen Bee's mechanics were written before the A5E classes were finalized, and when I went through to try to make sure all the book's archetypes meshed with both O5E and A5E classes, I think my brain just focused on, "Make sure you change the name from barbarian to berserker. Okay, you did that? Cool, next."

I like Steampunkette's proposal, though as you can imagine my familiarity with all the A5E mechanics is not deep enough for me to be sure that won't end up being overpowered somewhere.

(Another issue: Queen Bee's shared rage mentions rage damage, but A5E berserkers get rage HP instead. The ability probably needs a clause explicitly stating that if you instead get rage HP for your rage, you grant that bonus instead of rage damage.)
 

tabletopjess

Explorer
Staff member
(TLDR: Without homebrewing anything, is it in any way possible, in A5e, in any of the currently published books, to get a non-magical weapon that has the Finesse property and either the 2-Handed or Versatile property, but not the Heavy property?)


Starting up a new campaign soon, decided to play a Berserker. The GM is new to A5e, so I am explicitly avoiding homebrew, but anything in current, published A5e material goes. Level 3. I'm looking through the Zeitgeist campaign book and notice something really interesting about the Queen Bee Berserker, the Feel My Sting feature:
"At 3rd level, while you are wielding a light or finesse weapon in melee and not using a shield, you treat that weapon’s damage die as 1d12, and you may have the weapon gain the heavy property while you’re wielding it."

"Surely this doesn't allow you to make a DEX-based Berserker with Strength as your dump stat," I tell myself. But curious, I continue researching. After all—the 5e barbarian has several class features that force you to use Strength when making attacks to get their benefit. If that was retained in A5e's berserker, then the quest for the DEX-based berserker dies there. But try as I might, I can't find anything in the berserker class that forces me to use Strength—everything is based off of Constitution, it seems. The closest that I get to finding something that forces me to use Strength is the following in Furious Critical:
"The attack must use a melee weapon that has the heavy, two-handed, or versatile property."

This got me thinking even further. Combined with Queen Bee, I could—theoretically—make a berserker that dumps Strength, pumps Dexterity and Constitution to the moon, and uses a finesse weapon, but still gets the full benefit of the berserker class, Furious Critical included. I want to take this a step further by playing a halfling, because... well, it amused me. But this created a barrier for me: in order to benefit from Furious Critical, the weapon I wield must have the heavy, two-handed, or versatile property. For a Medium character this isn't an issue because Queen Bee's Feel My Sting gives a light or finesse weapon the heavy property... but for a Small character this is a huge problem, because it would mean that I have disadvantage on every attack. Not good!

Thus began my fruitless quest. I can only make this build idea work (berserker class, queen bee archetype, dump Strength, pump Dexterity, play a halfling or other Small character) if I find a weapon that as the Finesse property and the 2-Handed property or the Versatile property (and not the Heavy property).

And I don't think such a weapon exists.

So now that you have heard the sad tale of Big Richard the halfling queen bee berserker who almost was, I have one question for you, the great thinktank that you are...

Without homebrewing anything, is it in any way possible, in A5e, in any of the currently published books, to get a non-magical weapon that has the Finesse property and either the 2-Handed or Versatile property, but not the Heavy property?

Please. A conceptual life is on the line.
(TLDR: Without homebrewing anything, is it in any way possible, in A5e, in any of the currently published books, to get a non-magical weapon that has the Finesse property and either the 2-Handed or Versatile property, but not the Heavy property?)


Starting up a new campaign soon, decided to play a Berserker. The GM is new to A5e, so I am explicitly avoiding homebrew, but anything in current, published A5e material goes. Level 3. I'm looking through the Zeitgeist campaign book and notice something really interesting about the Queen Bee Berserker, the Feel My Sting feature:
"At 3rd level, while you are wielding a light or finesse weapon in melee and not using a shield, you treat that weapon’s damage die as 1d12, and you may have the weapon gain the heavy property while you’re wielding it."

"Surely this doesn't allow you to make a DEX-based Berserker with Strength as your dump stat," I tell myself. But curious, I continue researching. After all—the 5e barbarian has several class features that force you to use Strength when making attacks to get their benefit. If that was retained in A5e's berserker, then the quest for the DEX-based berserker dies there. But try as I might, I can't find anything in the berserker class that forces me to use Strength—everything is based off of Constitution, it seems. The closest that I get to finding something that forces me to use Strength is the following in Furious Critical:
"The attack must use a melee weapon that has the heavy, two-handed, or versatile property."

This got me thinking even further. Combined with Queen Bee, I could—theoretically—make a berserker that dumps Strength, pumps Dexterity and Constitution to the moon, and uses a finesse weapon, but still gets the full benefit of the berserker class, Furious Critical included. I want to take this a step further by playing a halfling, because... well, it amused me. But this created a barrier for me: in order to benefit from Furious Critical, the weapon I wield must have the heavy, two-handed, or versatile property. For a Medium character this isn't an issue because Queen Bee's Feel My Sting gives a light or finesse weapon the heavy property... but for a Small character this is a huge problem, because it would mean that I have disadvantage on every attack. Not good!

Thus began my fruitless quest. I can only make this build idea work (berserker class, queen bee archetype, dump Strength, pump Dexterity, play a halfling or other Small character) if I find a weapon that as the Finesse property and the 2-Handed property or the Versatile property (and not the Heavy property).

And I don't think such a weapon exists.

So now that you have heard the sad tale of Big Richard the halfling queen bee berserker who almost was, I have one question for you, the great thinktank that you are...

Without homebrewing anything, is it in any way possible, in A5e, in any of the currently published books, to get a non-magical weapon that has the Finesse property and either the 2-Handed or Versatile property, but not the Heavy property?

Please. A conceptual life is on the line.
The Level Up writers discord channel is loving this question by the way!

The team have said the intent was to use 'finesse weapon' to drive flavor, not to necessarily enable a 'dump strength' berserker, because it was built off the O5E chassis, which explicitly gives bonus damage to 'strength-based' melee attacks.

There is now chatter amongst the creative team about this though... watch this space I guess!

A quote from the writers chat "The creativity of the player base is humbling to us all."
 

Given the rules for customizing armaments (p321), I'd create a heavy scimitar (heavy relative to the base scimitar, not the "heavy" property). Take the scimitar base, but increase its size. Because of that, it loses its dual-wielding property, but instead gains a versatile property. That gives you a weapon with three properties: Defensive (light), versatile (1d8), finesse.

The defensive property doesn't do you any good if you always use the two-handed mode, but it's still a practical option due to it being versatile. You could always tweak it more, but this design seemed like the quickest and least divergent approach.
I think this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
 

The Level Up writers discord channel is loving this question by the way!

The team have said the intent was to use 'finesse weapon' to drive flavor, not to necessarily enable a 'dump strength' berserker, because it was built off the O5E chassis, which explicitly gives bonus damage to 'strength-based' melee attacks.

There is now chatter amongst the creative team about this though... watch this space I guess!

A quote from the writers chat "The creativity of the player base is humbling to us all."
I'm not on that Discord! I bet it would be fun to peruse through. Is it open to players in general?
 

This was fun :) Thank you for the assistance and the discussion, anyway! I may be able to share the story of Big Richard the Halfling Berserker before too long :)
 


I'd love to hear about it :) And glad to hear that I can be part of a spark that initiated discussion! That's always a cool feeling :)

As far as game design is concerned, I don't mind when certain classes—like the berserker—appear designed to be used in a specific way. For example, you're never going to be using Furious Critical with ranged weapons, and that's ok. It's part of the defining flavor of the class, and flavor is really important... and the base flavor of the class also makes it way more interesting when specific archetypes or unexpected class combinations allows you to do something that goes entirely against the grain. I love hunting for those niche cases—so I'm so pumped it appears this idea will work out!

I love hunting for weird and unexpected combinations. Few things are as exciting as making the table go "Wait, that's possible?!?! And it's actually viable?!?!?!" in an excited way.
 

tabletopjess

Explorer
Staff member
I'd love to hear about it :) And glad to hear that I can be part of a spark that initiated discussion! That's always a cool feeling :)

As far as game design is concerned, I don't mind when certain classes—like the berserker—appear designed to be used in a specific way. For example, you're never going to be using Furious Critical with ranged weapons, and that's ok. It's part of the defining flavor of the class, and flavor is really important... and the base flavor of the class also makes it way more interesting when specific archetypes or unexpected class combinations allows you to do something that goes entirely against the grain. I love hunting for those niche cases—so I'm so pumped it appears this idea will work out!

I love hunting for weird and unexpected combinations. Few things are as exciting as making the table go "Wait, that's possible?!?! And it's actually viable?!?!?!" in an excited way.
I love weird character builds too. I'm currently playing a rogue in my campaign which is the party healer.

It's about as effective as it sounds 😂
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
This is the EN Publishing work one - so not open to players unfortunately. But I'm willing to be a spy and report back in the forums on any gossip for you!
So be it

GlossyPeriodicFiddlercrab-size_restricted.gif
 

Jacob Vardy

Explorer
Given the rules for customizing armaments (p321), I'd create a heavy scimitar (heavy relative to the base scimitar, not the "heavy" property). Take the scimitar base, but increase its size. Because of that, it loses its dual-wielding property, but instead gains a versatile property. That gives you a weapon with three properties: Defensive (light), versatile (1d8), finesse.

The defensive property doesn't do you any good if you always use the two-handed mode, but it's still a practical option due to it being versatile. You could always tweak it more, but this design seemed like the quickest and least divergent approach.
Something like that existed IRL. The zhanmadao or "horse chopping saber". It's a light-ish sabre that can be used with two hands. I found them a little while ago when looking for something for an NPC. Zhanmadao - Wikipedia
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
For further inspiration, I would also suggest the spiked chain and/or estoc (two-handed rapier).
 




Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top