D&D 5E (House Rules) All weapons do the same damage... Who has made this work?


I'm running a new campaign for brand new players, and last night the Barbarian showed some boredom with using the same weapon over and over again. She started to switch to her rapier, her daggers, etc. And of course, the only effect of this was that she did less damage.

Now to be perfectly honest, she might be happier playing a spellcaster. But the experience got me thinking.

I've read house rules where weapons deal damage based on the character's class. So a wizard would always deal 1d4 damage with a weapon, while a Barbarian would always deal 1d12 (or whatever).

I'm starting to consider this idea, but I wanted to see what folks have come up with first. Some questions I'm considering:

1) What weapon die should I use for each class? How small and how large should I go? And should I differentiate for subclasses (War Wizard, Bladelock, etc)?

2) Should the die be different for simple and martial weapons? Melee and ranged?

3) What should then differentiate weapons, other than damage type? In other words, what narratively happens when the barbarian uses daggers instead of her greataxe?

For #3, I was thinking weapons could have tags that always apply on a hit. For example, some weapons might move an opponent 5 ft, or force them to roll against being tripped or disarmed. Some weapons could damage AC as well as HP. Or maybe some weapons could allow the wielder to Disengage or Dodge as a bonus action.

Anyways, those are just some wild thoughts. Has anyone had experiences with this kind of house rule, or put other thoughts into it?
I wouldn't do it by class but by weapon type, so that you can distinguish between, say, a barbarian using a two handed weapon and one using a shield. But otherwise, I'd be all for it, except that it don't work with the new mastery system.

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I would recommend not coming up with any special new rules, just give the player the standard "optimized" damage numbers and let the player flavor the item to be whatever they want to call it. Examples:

- Player 1 wants to use one made up weapon, no shield. Damage is 2d6 or 1d12 (they pick) and benefits from GWM feat. Or damage is 1d10 with reach and benefits from PAM feat. Player can pretend like the weapon is a dagger, a rapier, a dead fish, whatever they want - mechanically though it acts like a greatsword, greataxe, or glaive.

- Player 2 wants to dual wield two made up weapons. Damage is either 1d6 each or 1d8 each if they take Dualwielder feat. Player can say they're dualwielding greatswords, turkey legs, anvils, whatever they want - mechanically they act like a scimitar/longsword/etc.


A suffusion of yellow
I prefer all weapons doing d6 damage.
to differentiate use weapon groups and give everyone weapon group mastery +1, Martials also get to Critical Special trait to represent their ‘specialisation’
Axe - cleave on a critical, Knives - bleeding, hammers - knockback etc
Martials also get Weapon Feats with which they can modify how they use weapons further
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I prefer weapons deal fixed damage, but not the same.

Then if you beat AC by 5, +50% damage
beat AC by 10, +100% damage
beat AC by 15, +150% damage
beat AC by 20, +200% damage

option for graze for all weapons:
miss AC by 5 or less, only 50% base damage and no on hit effects(smite, sneak attack, maneuver, mastery)

have all weapons in one category

casters deal base damage of weapon
semi-martial +1 damage
martial classes +2 damage.


Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
How does this interact with multiclassing?
Good question.

With old school "all classes advance together" rules I'd say they get whatever their best is. That's the usual rule for most class benefits in those editions.

For 3e and 5e a la carte multiclassing maybe use the HD matching the class the majority of your character levels are in. If there's a tie, I'd let the player use the best. Alternatively, you could just let them use the best available among their classes, like how weapon proficiency works.

For my games (and WIP) went a step further and removed damage dice from the process. The damage is the difference of the attack roll and the targets defense so rolling a 15 vs AC 10 would be 5 damage.

Martial classes get a build in attack bonus and the half and half get a truncated version (they progress at the same rate but half caster cap out much lower)

Critical hits give an extra attack or

Two handed weapons get a small bonus to this value but each category have built in tags as well.

I had to play with some features but overall it makes the attack resolution cycle both quicker and more rewarding.

I made quite a few other quality of play changes with the goal to make the game both more approachable for new players and less shallow for vets. One example is reworking barbarian's reckless attack to treat enemies as if they have an AC of 10 rather than just granting advantage. Works both ways but as they level the AC trade is reduced and eventually is zero as part of the capstone

Simplest: all weapons do the same damage
Next simplest: weapons do the same base damage die as hit die
Thematically, Hit Die is interesting, as it would help define how hard you hit, and how well you can take a hit. But...
  • It doesn't really work with multiclassing. People will dip to get high HD.
  • It doesn't feel right balance-wise. Are all barbarians supposed to be the biggest damage dealers in the game? Aren't they also tough tanks? If you want other classes to rival their damage output, the HD means little, as there would be other mechanics designed to make it mean less.

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