5E Longswords

Satyrn

Villager
Oh, you could also restore the medieval feel by replacing the Rapier with the more period-appropriate, if obscure to modern readers, Estoc or Tuck.
Thank you. My new gnome swashbuckler is gonna dual wield estocs (shortswords). They look perfect.
 

RCanine

Villager
This post talks a lot about "wasted" stats and "viable" armors. What's important to remember is that stats are never wasted, since stats apply to more than just attack and AC. AC, in fact, isn't something you really need to optimize, and the game is almost better if you don't.


The rubric for maximizing your AC is pretty simple:

Str 15+ heavy
Dex 18+ light
Otherwise medium

Remember, too, that Dex impacts an important saving throw, initiative and several skills. Strength too provides an important skill, and don't underestimate the difference between a 14 and 15-foot long jump.

It's really easy to focus on optimizing for your weapon attacks and AC, and to forget most monsters are pretty easy to hit. I think 5E more than any other edition really rewards being well-rounded.
 

Satyrn

Villager
The rapier is over budget for a one-handed martial melee weapon; the best fix is simply to remove it, or rename short sword to "light blade" and have it encompass both short swords and rapiers.

This has the ancillary benefit of enabling rapier-and-dagger fighting, which historically was an actual thing.
Huh. Instead of dual wielding estocs, Maybe I'll just rename the right shortsword a rapier and call the other one a main-gauche. Because this is what I actually want.
 

Prism

Villager
I'll tell you: If I have, say, 16 Dex I still want as high a Con as I can so points spent on Con are worth it, but I have no use for Str at all so any points spent there are wasted. If you have Str 16 then any points on Dex are wasted.
That's not remotely how I build a character but just to go along with it. Now you have two max stats, lets say str and con. Then what? You still have 9 points to spend on stats purely for skill/save use. You saying dex is bottom of the list? Stealth, initiative, dex saves, acrobatics, rope use are all useless? Personally I think you are over rating Con. My Con 12 fighter is doing just fine.

If you are a fighter, monk, paladin or ranger, then you either choose Str and heavy armour because you can dump Dex completely instead of wasting 7 points raising Dex to 14, or you choose Dex and dump Str completely. If you choose Dex then 20 Dex (which is a priority for Dex based warriors) and studded leather gives AC 17, or AC 18 if you can get mage armour or Draconic Resilience. Meanwhile, medium armour only allows +2 from Dex, so AC is 16, or 17 if you don't mind disadvantage on stealth.

The only time medium armour is viable is if you don't intend to raise your Dex above 14; perfectly viable for casters who will increase their casting stat instead of Dex, but not viable for either Dex based warriors who certainly will increase their Dex (and so end up with a better AC with light armour) OR Str based warriors (who have heavy armour so don't waste 7 build points on a useless stat).
How about a ranger who uses twin axes? Or a rapier and bow using elven fighter who wants to wear heavy armour? A great weapon using paladin that wants to be stealthy. Are these characters all not viable? I am playing two of these and can say that I believe they are, since I am having fun and that they are still alive.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
It's the rules people don't use that are supposed to counter-balance Dexterity.

Encumberance is directly tied to your Strength score, and 8 Strength can't carry much. Arrows, armor, gold, everything weighs something and it all adds up.

And then there's the fact players are only supposed to be able to recover have their lost ammo, and that's only if they take the time to do so.
I don't think the encumbrance rules are there to serve dex vs str balance needs, I think they are there simply because people expect the game to have encumbrance rules.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I've played every edition of D&D from 1E in the late '70s (including Pathfinder) to 5E now. In every single edition I tried to make my favourite type of character: an unarmoured, rapier-wielding, Dex-based warrior who could compete with Str-based concepts. I failed.

Until 5E.

In 1E and 2E, your Str needed to be 16 or higher in order for it to matter for attack and damage. An average Str high Dex fighter would make little impact on the enemy, and such a PC would have to wait for Bracers of Defence before it would be safe to leave the house unarmoured.

In 3E, you could have an 18 Str and you would be +4 to hit and +4 or +6 to damage (1H or 2H), no feat expenditure required.

You could have 18 Dex instead, and if you took the Weapon Finesse feat you would be +4 to hit but +0 to damage. You had one less feat and were still 6 damage behind!

Pathfinder recently tried to address this with an actual Swashbucker base class. Opinions vary, but in my opinion it failed! It failed because even though the design aim was a high Dex high Cha warrior wielding a rapier, the way the class abilities were worded then the optimal Swashbuckler was a high Dex low Cha dwarf wielding a light pick!

But 5E! When I first played 5E I could finally, straight out of the box at 1st level and without spending a feat, finally have a Dex based swashbuckler-type, lightly armoured (actually unarmoured; my 1st level vuman feat was Magic Initiate taking mage armour) that wasn't automatically inferior to a Str based build.

That, and the fact that all my attacks except one didn't automatically disappear if I moved 10 feet instead of 5 feet, meant that I never looked back.

So no, I would never contemplate changing 5E so that finesse weapons wouldn't use Dex for damage. I've been wanting it for nearly forty years!
And this is exactly why I think 5E is made the way it is.

The problem is, the regular Strength-based longsword guy got lost in the translation.

They could have created a competitive Dex build that still remained an exception. They didn't. That's the mistake.

Even though it might seem so when I suggest turning back the clock, I'm not really trying trying to deny you your enjoyment. It's only if its a problem you need to do something about it after all, and for you it's clearly not a problem, or at least not a significant one, that Regular Joe went missing.

If you firmly want and need a Dex fighter that's on par with Strength builds (despite advantages elsewhere), the way to do that is to compartmentalize, so you at least could rationalize your Dex fighter as an exception to the rule.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I like 5E a great deal, but one of the things I don't like is that your attack stat is either Str OR Dex. When in reality it's better to have high ratings in both, in 5E you only benefit from one (as your attack stat). So, unless you are a barbarian, only one of these two stats counts. Since a poor Dex doesn't negatively impact your AC if you wear heavy armour, a warrior either chooses Str and heavy armour or Dex and light armour.

What makes this even worse is the prevalence of point-buy; if you have 16 Dex (or Str), it is a complete waste of points to assign any points at all to Str (or Dex)! With point-buy, as a (non-barbarian) warrior you have either Str 16/Dex 8 OR Str 8 Dex 16, and any other choice is a waste of points. It also renders medium armour unused by non-barbarian warriors.

DM: I see you have Dex 16 and Str 8 (again!); would you like a free extra four points of Str, no strings attached?
Player: Are we using variant encumberance?
DM: No.
Player: Errm....no, not really. There's no point.

That's the problem: an unrealistic realisation that if you are a melee warrior and attack with one stat then it's actually better to have a low score in the other, because then you have more points to spend on other stats. This is absurd! Every warrior should want, and benefit from, high scores in both stats!

I remember Chaosium games from the '80s, where the attack modifier was made up of modifiers from four stats: Str, Int, Pow, Dex. Parry modifiers were from Str, Pow, Dex and the inverse of Size (being smaller made it easier to parry, being larger made it harder). Damage was from Str and Size (being bigger meant you hit harder). This meant that you wanted to be good at every stat, except Size which was a double-edged sword, as it were. This had the benefit of making sense!

So maybe the solution is to remove the concept of finesse weapons, and make the attack modifier be an average of Str AND Dex for every weapon.
Well, not really. I'd say your problem is not treating point buy as the meta concept it is.

You can't say its "better to have a low score in the other" because point buy isn't manifested in the game world.

If that's bothering you, you really should consider rolling your stats. Instead of changing a load of game rules, I mean.

Don't fix problems on the meta level with solutions on the game level.

If you really need a solution to this particular problem (instead of simply accepting that point buy is an abstraction of the rolling process designed to save time when you discard unattractive rolled stat array after unattractive rolled stat array), realize it's a meta problem that needs a meta solution:

"If you put a 16 in Str/Dex, roll your Dex/Str randomly as 7+D8. The cost remains zero"
 

Horwath

Explorer
I don't think the encumbrance rules are there to serve dex vs str balance needs, I think they are there simply because people expect the game to have encumbrance rules.
no, they are there so adventurers no not look like Crazy Ivan;

crazy-ivan.jpg
 

Arial Black

Explorer
That's not remotely how I build a character but just to go along with it. Now you have two max stats, lets say str and con. Then what? You still have 9 points to spend on stats purely for skill/save use. You saying dex is bottom of the list? Stealth, initiative, dex saves, acrobatics, rope use are all useless? Personally I think you are over rating Con. My Con 12 fighter is doing just fine.
My first 5E PC was a single class vuman fighter, Str 8 Dex 16 Con 12 Int 8 Wis 13 Cha 16. I'm quite happy to do without max Con for a warrior, but putting points in Str would be a waste while points in Con, Int, Wis and Cha all have their uses. I'd like higher stats in all of those four, but y'know, point-buy.

I knew I wanted the best possible attack stat, and since my concept was a dextrous, charismatic swashbuckler I wanted a high Cha, and valued that more than high Con. He wasn't min/maxed because Cha doesn't make him a better melee combatant; I just wanted a PC who could do stuff outside of combat as well as in combat. I was very pleased that I could still have a high Cha without gimping my warrior. I could've focused on Int instead, but point-buy means something has to give. Putting points in Str would have so little benefit; skills? Only Athletics, and I had Acrobatics. Saving Throws? Str is an uncommon save, and I'm proficient anyway. Compare that to the skills available for the mental stats. You'll note the odd Wis score; my plan was to take Resilient-Wis later on.

Point-buy affects how you make your PC. If you have rolled six scores, you can arrange them how you like, and I would've arranged those rolls in order, Dex first, Cha second, then Con/Wis (saving an odd score for Wis if possible) and then Int and lastly Str. However, if I had rolled, say, 11 as my lowest score and assigned it to Str, then that is that! I couldn't make myself weaker in order to be more charismatic than my roll of (say) 15. But point-buy lets you do that! And the scarcity of points combined with no need for two attack stats leads to an evolutionary pressure in point-buy to have 16/8 or 8/16 in Str/Dex (for a non-barbarian warrior), and any other use of your points is foolish.

How about a ranger who uses twin axes?
I'd either start with a level of fighter for heavy armour proficiency, Con saves to aid my concentration checks, and a second fighting style....or I would choose shortswords so I wouldn't have to waste points.

If I attack with Str but can't wear heavy armour, then I start with Str 16 and Dex 14, leaving me with both stat bonuses used and 13 points left; the best starting medium armour gives me AC 13 + 2 from Dex = 15.

If I used shortswords then my Str is 8 and my Dex is 16, leaving me with one vuman bonus point and 18 build points. My starting AC is 12 (studded leather) + 3 Dex = 15. Same AC, same +3 to attack/damage, less weight, more starting money left, more points left for better Con and mental stats.

Or a rapier and bow using elven fighter who wants to wear heavy armour?
AC = 16 (splint); one more than studded leather plus Dex at the cost of 5 build points wasted on Str instead of spent wisely on the other stats, more money, more weight, disadvantage on Stealth. Or I might have Str 8 and take the encumberance penalties.

The point of heavy armour isn't just for the pleasure of saying you wear heavy armour! The point of armour is to have a better AC wearing it than you would have not wearing it, without gimping you too much in other ways.

A great weapon using paladin that wants to be stealthy.
My second PC was a Pal 2/War 3 (fiendish chainlock) in mithral full plate and, despite his Dex of 8, proficient in Stealth. Problem with heavy armour: poor stealth. Solution: mithral armour removes disadvantage, Stealth proficiency results in Stealth +2 at 5th level. Not the best, but certainly good enough for a guy in full plate!

Are these characters all not viable? I am playing two of these and can say that I believe they are, since I am having fun and that they are still alive.
I enjoy making PCs that seem as though they have gimped themselves but who have solved their own problems. The Pal/War mentioned above, my Bar/War who cannot cast (or concentrate on) spells while raging, but who uses her two slots to cast armour of agathys and one pre arse-kicking fireball before going postal, knowing AofA will last twice as long because she takes half damage while raging.

In the end, I think we both agree that the most important thing is that we think our own PC is cool! We just have to make it work; play to our strengths and minimise our weaknesses. It's just that I cannot justify spending build points on both attack stats when making a non-barbarian warrior. It gimps me for no benefit in return.
 

Arial Black

Explorer
Well, not really. I'd say your problem is not treating point buy as the meta concept it is.

You can't say its "better to have a low score in the other" because point buy isn't manifested in the game world.

If that's bothering you, you really should consider rolling your stats. Instead of changing a load of game rules, I mean.

Don't fix problems on the meta level with solutions on the game level.

If you really need a solution to this particular problem (instead of simply accepting that point buy is an abstraction of the rolling process designed to save time when you discard unattractive rolled stat array after unattractive rolled stat array), realize it's a meta problem that needs a meta solution:

"If you put a 16 in Str/Dex, roll your Dex/Str randomly as 7+D8. The cost remains zero"
Given a free choice I choose rolling every time. However, my main chance to play is in AL, where point-buy is mandatory.

Whatever my opinion about the stat generation method I must use, I will use whatever method that is in the best way I can. "You can only play the team in front of you".

When having to use point-buy, it's like I'm being given a task and that task is to make the best use of these 27 points that I can. Given that, I'm not going to waste any.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
When having to use point-buy, it's like I'm being given a task and that task is to make the best use of these 27 points that I can. Given that, I'm not going to waste any.
Sure, and I don't question that.

I'm just saying that a good solution to a point-buy problem is one that fixes... point-buy. Cheers!
 

Satyrn

Villager
Estoc is not a short sword. It's a middle way between longsword(medieval 2handed weapon and rapier)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estoc
Aye.

I guess I didn't really explain myself in that earlier post. I need a light finesse sword for the swashbuckler. Calling that weapon a shortsword or scimitar doesn't make it feel like a fencing sword to me, so I'm just gonna use the statistics of a shortsword and call it an estoc. Not that anybody at my table will know what an estoc is (neither did I), but I can just google up an image of it for them and voila!
 

Arial Black

Explorer
Aye.

I guess I didn't really explain myself in that earlier post. I need a light finesse sword for the swashbuckler. Calling that weapon a shortsword or scimitar doesn't make it feel like a fencing sword to me, so I'm just gonna use the statistics of a shortsword and call it an estoc. Not that anybody at my table will know what an estoc is (neither did I), but I can just google up an image of it for them and voila!
I know what you mean.

My solution was to re-fluff the 5E scimitar as a sabre; mainly single-edged, slight curve maybe, lighter and more agile than a longsword.

Sabres have more credibility as fencing weapons than scimitars have.

Problem solved. :D
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
Aye.

I guess I didn't really explain myself in that earlier post. I need a light finesse sword for the swashbuckler. Calling that weapon a shortsword or scimitar doesn't make it feel like a fencing sword to me, so I'm just gonna use the statistics of a shortsword and call it an estoc. Not that anybody at my table will know what an estoc is (neither did I), but I can just google up an image of it for them and voila!
Smallsword or Courtsword would work. It's a later period weapon, but has the advantage of being a very light, finesse weapon.

If you want something a little earlier--sidesword might work too.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
It's the rules people don't use that are supposed to counter-balance Dexterity.

Encumberance is directly tied to your Strength score, and 8 Strength can't carry much. Arrows, armor, gold, everything weighs something and it all adds up.

And then there's the fact players are only supposed to be able to recover have their lost ammo, and that's only if they take the time to do so.
Dex is *the* uber stat. The encumberance rules are sorely needed.

Also, watch this to increase happiness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn36Pb8z3yI
 

Yunru

Villager
"I hate having to track encumbrance, yet I want Dex to be reined in. What do I do, oh greatest one?"

Just saying this isn't as clear cut as it might seem... :)
Electronic character sheets (automated ones at least) make it quite easy.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Electronic character sheets (automated ones at least) make it quite easy.
You're missing the point I'm afraid. The point is that a subsystem should not rely on an unrelated subsystem for balance.

If you feel encumbrance is unrelated to Dexterity balance, and many players do, it is tantamount to pointing to a flawed system to be told you need encumbrance to balance Dexterity. B-)

Besides, and unrelated to this, many players dislike bringing electronics to their roleplaying session. Being told you need automated character sheets or the game won't be both easy and balanced, would be tantamount to another flaw in the system. :p

Luckily I don't believe either flaw exists at all, since I remain firmly convinced a) no designer took Dexterity balance into account when the encumbrance section was written and b) any percieved flaw in Dexterity balance can and should be fixed without involving encumbrance :)
 

Satyrn

Villager
Smallsword or Courtsword would work. It's a later period weapon, but has the advantage of being a very light, finesse weapon.

If you want something a little earlier--sidesword might work too.
Thank you for those suggestions.


. . . I shouldn't admit this, but it took me several seconds to realize the first one didn't say shortsword:blush:
 

Advertisement

Top