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Promoting the use of simple weapons...


I was talking to one of my players this afternoon, who's currently gearing up for a ranger, and he mentioned that he'd like to focus on a quarterstaff, thematically. It fits his vision. Thing is, it's a simple weapon, which means that, mechanically, it's flat out not as good as martial weapons.

Now, I've been looking over the weapon lists, and, reasonably enough, many "common" weapons are in the simple category. Daggers, maces & clubs, spears, staves... things that should probably be seeing a lot of uses. Now, I'll grant, the majority of a world doesn't have proficiency with martial weapons, so they do see use. But I'm looking at this from the standpoint of PCs, who oftentimes do. Especially characters for whom their weapon choice might be an intrinsic part of the character.

As such, I'm looking for ways to improve simple weapons for characters who have access to "better." My initial line of thinking is that, since they're simpler (and the character has "greater training," as it were,) there may be a bonus to attack rolls. How crazy a concept is that?

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Penguin Herder
Quarterstaff is a great weapon, and don't let anyone tell you different.

1/ It's a double weapon. He's a Ranger. 'Nuff said.

2/ It's a two-handed weapon. He can use it for two-handed Power Attack when he charges, then switch to Two-Weapon Fighting later.

3/ It's dirt cheap. My weapon was sundered? Gosh, I'll take a whole afternoon off and make myself another one.

4/ Magic Staves... this is better for Clerics, Eldrich Knights and full-on Druids than Rangers, but the spell selection is still pretty darn good.

5/ Special Monk Weapon. Dunno how Lawful your Ranger is, but it's a valid option, and even viable with the Ascetic Hunter feat (in Comp.Adv).

-- N


Nifft said:
Quarterstaff is a great weapon, and don't let anyone tell you different.
You know, I almost left out that example, because I'm just as convinced it's a great weapon. 'specially since it's the only non-exotic double weapon. (For what it's worth, my group is composed of a number of people who all hate dual-wielding with a passion. And a few who are indifferent to it. In any event, this player's in the former category, so I doubt he'd take advantage of it as a double-weapon.)


Terraism said:
You know, I almost left out that example, because I'm just as convinced it's a great weapon. 'specially since it's the only non-exotic double weapon. (For what it's worth, my group is composed of a number of people who all hate dual-wielding with a passion. And a few who are indifferent to it. In any event, this player's in the former category, so I doubt he'd take advantage of it as a double-weapon.)

He's playing a ranger, and wants to focus on a quarterstaff, but doesn't want to play a dual-wielder? He's nuts, not worth helping out :)

More seriously, we had a long discussion on this kind of topic a while back, that I don't have a link handy to at the moment. The gist was, if you're playing a warrior class, proficient in all martial weapons, there's no reason a shortspear should be a sub-optimal choice compared to a longsword or a battleaxe. It's a style difference at that point, and the player shouldn't be penalized for it, so consider just letting him use it as a 1d8 x3 weapon since he could just as easily be using a longsword or battleaxe.

A quarterstaff doesn't need that kind of upgrade, though, mechanically it's pretty good already.


Penguin Herder
Other great simple weapons:

Daggers: Light, great crit range, ranged

Spears: Two-handed, great crit multiplier, excellent "set vs. charge" feature, ranged

Along side Quarterstaves, that's three great options for Simple-weapon PCs.

They need no improvement. But, if you wanted to improve them... :)

Spear Style [General]
Prereq: Weapon Focus (Spear)
Benefit: You may treat a spear as either one-handed or Finessable (one or the other, chosen on your initiative).
Why: Many people throughout history have used spears in dances, where they look all fluid and finesse-y, and many others have fought with spears & shields.

Quarterstaff Block [General]
Prereq: Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff), Dodge
Benefit: When fighting with a Quarterstaff, you gain a +1 Shield bonus to AC.
Special: You may take this Feat up to three times, and its effects stack.

Quarterstaff Finesse [General]
Prereq: Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff)
Benefit: You may treat the Quarterstaff as a Finesse weapon.

There are several dagger-centric PrCs in WotC books, so I won't try to improve them.

-- N


First Post
Just to add more great things to the already awesome Quarterstaff:

It's a Large weapon, and thus gets a bonus against ALL Medium and Small weapons when attempting Disarm or Sunder manoeuvres. And a nice, sensible DM might allow a Trip manoeuvre to be used with this weapon as well, which is flavour taken from so many martial arts movies.

Really, nothing can go wrong in the world if you have a large shaft of wood... :uhoh:

Braar haar haar.


I was thinking of the idea of making masterwork and magic items prices proportal to the original price. Instead of +300 gp for MW, it would be x30, with a minium of 50gp. And MI x100, with a minium of 250gp. Making simple weapons cheaper, and exotic more expensive.


I was always a fan of Maces. MW Clubs also get my attention, sure it's a club ... but I like to think of MW ones as ornate and cool looking weapons (like the club used by the natives in The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis)


The man with the probe
The Mourningstar is actualy a fairly nice 1 handed weapon, because it is piercing AND bludgeoning, so you can bypass 2 types of DR, and use effects that need one or the other (Sunder for example). Sure, you drop a x on a crit, but is that realy that big of a deal?

For a weak character, a crossbow is fantastic. No strength penalty to damage like a bow, and with 1 feat, you're loading it as a free action. the Light crossbow is mechanicaly similar to a longbow at that point, though you can dual wield a crossbow (Not reload, but fire).


Most of the clubs are basic. If you want to promote thier use then the easiest way is to use more creatures like skeletons that have DR only overcome by bludgeoning weapons. Might not be the best but you dont have to make any new stats or feats and you will start seeing more simple weapons among your PC's pretty quick.


First Post
if simple staves/clubs were as good as martial swords/axes,
no one would have bothered to invent swords

all weapons have their ups and downs, hence, different weapons
ie. i imagine staves are welcome in places swords arent
he wouldnt be the first to put character-concept above min/maxing

- Felnar


First Post
Perhaps a feat to improve simple weapons would be a good idea? Something requiring martial weapon proficiency that increases the damage of simple weapons by one catagory.


The man with the probe
apesamongus said:
Why should he need to?
Because not every person is min/maxed either. It adds character to a game.

Min/Maxing to a point is good. It shows interest, and it makes a character playable. Too much removes the character and it becomes simply a collection of numbers.


Problem with allowing a step up on damage with simple weapons are just to great in my opinion. A dagger that does a d6 and has a range increment?
A light crossbow that does a d10
Obviously there's restrictions that can be put in place but you eliminate practicly everything if you do.
And then I would question why small characters can't take a feat that allows them one damage level up.


First Post
What it were just one simple weapon? I'm just thinking, the requirements would be about the same as an exotic weapon feat, which are generally two "steps" better than simple weapons. Even with improved damage, a simple weapon would be only about as effective as a martial weapon. The one other advanatge to it would be the weapon is cheaper and easier to come by. Seems about balanced

Or if it's a matter of a damage increase not making sense, how about a bonus to hit?

General Barron

First Post
Like Felnar said... if a dagger was just as good of a weapon as a longsword in a standard battle, then why would the longsword ever have been invented?

The combat rules in DnD are obviously a drastic simplification of what real-life combat would be like. So there are many differences between weapons that just aren't taken into account by the few statistics used. But the answer to making all weapons usable isn't to just make them all have similar statistics. You just need to emphasize the differences between the weapons that can't be reflected in those statistics (damage, critical, weapon size/type). This would depend on which weapon you are talking about:

Staff: A pretty respectable weapon in the hands of a trained warrior. And the mechanics reflect this, as already stated. Two-weapon fighting for the only realistic double-weapon in the game. Tripping with a stave is another great idea. Perhaps even pinning or a choke attack could be used if the character fought in an Eastern fighting style.
Also, staves are completely innoculous (sp?) weapons. It doesn't have to seem like a weapon at all, just an innocent walking stick. In countries or locations where weapons are prohibited, or where it would be unwise to be seen with them, this is perfect. Mechanically, you could give an initiative bonus to the staff wielder when his opponent doesn't suspect it to be used in that way.

Dagger: I wouldn't use a dagger in toe-to-toe combat vs someone with a longsword, but there are many other times when I would. Daggers are small and concealable, for one thing. They also can be used when there isn't room for swinging a sword around, like in a narrow passage.

Club: Okay, this weapon should suck. Why would you use a wooden stick, when you could use one with a metal head instead? (A mace that is) The only reason someone would really want to use one in combat is if they are from a place where metal is rare; or if they are poor or don't usually use weapons (but still want to join the mob to go lynch somebody).


First Post
I like Odysseus' idea of changing the MW price for the various classes of weapons. Not sure how the numbers work out, but it's a good thought. Of course, after a few levels, when cash isnt much of a problem, it probably doesn't matter anymore.

The simple weapons primary function for the PC classes is for those semi-martial classes like the Cleric, or the Sorcerer. Someone who needs to be able to defend himself, but isnt generally going to rely on it. Because of that, it isnt neccissary that they cary a weapon capeable of dealing 2d6 damage or a d12 with a x3 crit. These characters will often instead carry a crossbow, which as has been mentioned by several, is already on par with the average martial weapon. A class like Ranger or Fighter, while they can easily use the simple weapons, will often opt for a better weapon, something that not only deals damage, but is a mark of his character, and is just a little more menacing than the average simple weapon.

In terms of mechanics, there is of course the standard list of Weapon Focus and the like, but also look at the Style feats from Complete Warrior. They all depend on a specific weapon, or set of weapons to be used, some with the lowly simple weapon. You could even create your own similar feats, but do notice that each Style feat has a reasonable amount of prerequsites before it can be taken.

Any choice made comes with consequenses good and bad. The player knows this, he can weigh the benifits against the penalties.


If he really wants to be quarterstaff-focussed let him swap out proficiency in Martial Melee Weapons for Weapon Focus (Quarterstaff).

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