Rebalancing melee weapons for 5.5E

rules.mechanic

Craft homebrewer
They should crib from PF and have properties that trigger if you hit by 10+. Disarm with flails, knockdown with hammers, ongoing bleeds, etc. Siloing any degree of complexity to spells and spells alone is poor design.

As it stands, a 1 or 2 point difference in damage by weapon type is dull. I'd rather see mechanics matter in an interesting tactical way rather than a minor math bump.
I would love to see this as part of a +/-5, +/-10 Degree of Success system with d20 tests. If you want to go old school, Cindi Rice's swashbuckling rules from Dragon magazine #232 in 1996 looks brutally complex nowadays but was the first time I saw this done and sold me on degree of success in combat.
 

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Pauln6

Adventurer
I love the idea of those with martial weapon proficiency having special abilities linked to weapons as standard but the proliferation of saving throws would really drag down the game. I would say the easiest thing to do is bring back minions - as in a label that a DM can attach to standard monsters against whom such moves automatically succeed. For non minions, the weapon properties manifest on a crit with a save as normal plus battlemasters could spend superiority dice to achieve either additional results or to use weapon properties against non-minions without a crit.

Hell, the martial proficiency feat becomes more desirable if you get some cheese on top.

More generally, I think only applying strength to damage works. It worked in 1e. You could have static bonuses to crossbows (+1 to +3) which would make up for the loading requirement and bring back mighty bows that allow wielders to add strength to shortbows (capped at +2) and longbows. You could have an additional requirement that mighty bows cannot be used if your strength is not high enough or while subject to the weakened condition.
 
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ehren37

Legend
I love the idea of those with martial weapon proficiency having special abilities linked to weapons as standard but the proliferation of saving throws would really drag down the game.
Simple, don't allow saving throws vs crit effects. The save was the target's AC, which the character critically overcame. You shouldn't get a save when the master swordsman beat your AC by 10, you just automatically bleed for their stat+proficiency bonus until you stop it.

Martial crits outside of specific situations (rogue/paladin smite) are pretty lame in 5E, so I see no real downside to throwing these on top of the paltry d8 your longsword fighter would normally add. If we really need to keep martials so simple a potato can play them, allow an extra d6 damage instead of the effect.

PF2E's crit effects are below for reference
Axe: Deal weapon damage to adjacent target if you would also hit their AC with your result
Bow: Pin target to adjacent surface. Target must spend bonus action and DC 10 athletics to move.
Club: Knock the target up to 10 feet back
Flail/Hammer: Target knocked prone
Knife: d6 persistent bleed damage
Polearm: Move target 5' in your choice
Shield: Knock target back 5'
Sling: Target loses one action next turn
Spear: Target is clumsy 1 until next turn (-1 AC and Dex based checks)
Sword: Target is flat footed until start of next turn

The nice thing about keeping critical success at 10+ AC is you avoid the situation where you can only be crit or missed, and it makes every "+1" count, as they increase the likelihood of critting/avoiding the crit.
 
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