D&D 5E The best solution for longswords


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DaddyTrash

Villager
It makes 'rapier' a description a player can apply to their weapon, not a class of game mechanics.

I usually condense my weapons table down to the mechanics and then let the player choose to call them whatever they want. Is there a need to have both the 'dagger' and 'dart' on the weapons table? Nope, they are essentially exactly the same. So I just instead list a weapons as a 1d4 Simple piercing weapon (light, finesse) and let the player who selects it define it how they want. What this gets us is more interesting and varied weapons in the character's hands. No one with Simple proficiency ever fights with a sickle because it is only 1d4 slashing and there is an applicable and better 1d6 Simple slashing weapon available. But if someone wants to fight with 'sickles', then they can select the 1d6 Simple slashing weapon (aka 'handaxe') and just call them sickles.

Same with the longsword/rapier situation. There is a single 1d8 Martial weapon (finesse) on my chart that is nominally called the 'longsword'. It is available for the Rogues and Elves (and others with proficiency) who wish to use them. But when they select it, if they want to call it a 'rapier', or 'cutlass', or 'sabre', or 'elven thinblade' or any other name they can come up with... that's up to them. Likewise, you can also select a 1d8 Martial weapon (Versatile 1d10) that is also nominally called a 'longsword' or 'battleaxe', and a player could take it and call it a 'bastard sword', or 'broadsword', or 'hand-and-a-half sword' or 'flail' or 'warhammer' or 'falchion' whatever they want to too. Entirely up to them.
The dart and dagger are very different in terms of game rules. Darts are RANGED thrown weapons. Daggers are MELEE thrown weapons. This means that things like the Archery fighting style applies to darts, but not to daggers, since it requires specifically a ranged weapon, not ranged weapon attack. Also, darts cannot be used in Melee. While I realized thrown weapon fighting as a fighting style was not a thing when you posted this, it does mean that characters who wanted to specialize in thrown weapons could stack more bonuses on a dart's damage than on a dagger, but they'd incur the downside of having to carry a dedicated melee sidearm as a backup.
 

DaddyTrash

Villager
It makes 'rapier' a description a player can apply to their weapon, not a class of game mechanics.

I usually condense my weapons table down to the mechanics and then let the player choose to call them whatever they want. Is there a need to have both the 'dagger' and 'dart' on the weapons table? Nope, they are essentially exactly the same. So I just instead list a weapons as a 1d4 Simple piercing weapon (light, finesse) and let the player who selects it define it how they want. What this gets us is more interesting and varied weapons in the character's hands. No one with Simple proficiency ever fights with a sickle because it is only 1d4 slashing and there is an applicable and better 1d6 Simple slashing weapon available. But if someone wants to fight with 'sickles', then they can select the 1d6 Simple slashing weapon (aka 'handaxe') and just call them sickles.

Same with the longsword/rapier situation. There is a single 1d8 Martial weapon (finesse) on my chart that is nominally called the 'longsword'. It is available for the Rogues and Elves (and others with proficiency) who wish to use them. But when they select it, if they want to call it a 'rapier', or 'cutlass', or 'sabre', or 'elven thinblade' or any other name they can come up with... that's up to them. Likewise, you can also select a 1d8 Martial weapon (Versatile 1d10) that is also nominally called a 'longsword' or 'battleaxe', and a player could take it and call it a 'bastard sword', or 'broadsword', or 'hand-and-a-half sword' or 'flail' or 'warhammer' or 'falchion' whatever they want to too. Entirely up to them.
The dart and dagger are very different in terms of game rules. Darts are RANGED thrown weapons. Daggers are MELEE thrown weapons. This means that things like the Archery fighting style applies to darts, but not to daggers, since it requires specifically a ranged weapon, not ranged weapon attack. Also, darts cannot be used in Melee. While I realized thrown weapon fighting as a fighting style was not a thing when you posted this, it does mean that characters who wanted to specialize in thrown weapons could stack more bonuses on a dart's damage than on a dagger, but they'd incur the downside of having to carry a dedicated melee sidearm as a backup.
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
I usually condense my weapons table down to the mechanics and then let the player choose to call them whatever they want.

Out of curiosity, did you include a finesse weapon with reach other than the whip which gets crappy damage?

Edit:. And that is a simple weapon for non- martial classes?
 



ECMO3

Hero
Accept that what was referred to as a "bastard sword" in previous editions has now been renamed "longsword". There never has been a clear definition of different sword types, there's a continuum of swords that met different needs at different points of history.
Ironically a true bastard sword is never meant to be used 2-handed. It is in between what we would call a short sword and a longsword. Meanwhile most actual longswords were meant to be promarily two handed.
 

ECMO3

Hero
It still leaves me wondering why elves and rogues are training in longswords, seems like a waste of time, especially for rogues.

Maybe elves are just bored with their long lifespans and are looking for a way to add a small extra risk to themselves - hidden elven deathwish
Having an extra proficiency is never a bad thing. There are plenty of elves that use longswords. It is not the go to weapon on a Rogue, but then neither are most of the simple weapons they are proficient in either.

This is as much a problem for staves, handaxes and spears as it is for longswords.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Epic fail, this was supposed to be a poll , but I got timed out. First poll problems... Is this even fixable?

Poll choices:

1) longswords should be finesse weapons.
2) RIP rapiers: go old school and replace longswords with bastardswords and replace rapiers with longswords. Eliminate rapiers from the game.
3) RIP longswords: replace elven and rogue longsword proficiency with rapier
4) RIP finesse: The whole thing is a mess and dexterity already too OP. Remove damage from dexterity
5) Everything is fine: game balance maintained.
6) I've got a better idea ... post below.

5.

If you give out a lot of magic longswords,your characters, including Rogues, will use them. Maybe not against every foe but if they come across foes they need magic to hit (or need magic or silver and have neither).
 

S'mon

Legend
Ironically a true bastard sword is never meant to be used 2-handed. It is in between what we would call a short sword and a longsword. Meanwhile most actual longswords were meant to be promarily two handed.
AFAICT they (HEMA, scholars, et al) call a large arming sword with a longer hilt a bastard sword, and it has a longer hilt for better two handed use, while being ok used one handed. What they call a longsword has a similar hilt but is too large for optimal one handed use, though it can be done.

There isn't anything medieval they call a short sword, and even Classical era swords like the gladius aren't that short. There are big daggers like the cinquedea but they're not swords.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Out of curiosity, did you include a finesse weapon with reach other than the whip which gets crappy damage?

Edit:. And that is a simple weapon for non- martial classes?
Nope, never have had the need. At my tables, 'reach' is required so infrequently that none of my players have ever made a weapon selection based on trying to get that specific property. If they decide to go polearm for whatever reason, having the 'reach' property is a nice ribbon for that rare occasion it comes in handy... but it's rare enough to get a player of a STR-based melee PC wanting a polearm. I've never once had a DEX-based melee PC ever suggest wanting a finesse reach weapon.

Not saying other tables couldn't find a use for a "whip-ish" weapon on the chart (those games that do more dungeon-delving when having a front line and a line behind them with reach weapons comes much more in handy)... but it's never been asked for at my tables at all. But at some point if someone really wanted to go the Indiana Jones whip-master archetype... I'd probably make it work for them and adjust the chart accordingly.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
The dart and dagger are very different in terms of game rules. Darts are RANGED thrown weapons. Daggers are MELEE thrown weapons. This means that things like the Archery fighting style applies to darts, but not to daggers, since it requires specifically a ranged weapon, not ranged weapon attack. Also, darts cannot be used in Melee. While I realized thrown weapon fighting as a fighting style was not a thing when you posted this, it does mean that characters who wanted to specialize in thrown weapons could stack more bonuses on a dart's damage than on a dagger, but they'd incur the downside of having to carry a dedicated melee sidearm as a backup.
That is such a minor rules quibble that I don't care about that personally. I've not once ever seen a player at one of my tables try and stack bonuses to create a legitimately OP daggermaster that I've needed to worry about keeping the rules of darts and the rules of daggers different.

I mean let's be honest... a rogue's max damage potential comes out of their Sneak Attack and not the weapon itself... so I find quibbling over the idiosyncratic bits of the weapons table to be a waste of time.
 

ECMO3

Hero
There isn't anything medieval they call a short sword, and even Classical era swords like the gladius aren't that short. There are big daggers like the cinquedea but they're not swords.
I think the Spathion which was used by the Roman Empire into the 10th century would be what we call a short sword.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
In past editions, longswords were a strong, iconic weapon choice for many races and classes. In 5e longswords have sub-optimal weapon stats but maintain some strange vestigial niches. Elves and rogues are automatically proficient in longswords despite longswords being an especially poor weapon choice for dext-based characters and can't be used for sneak attacks. Longswords remain popular magic items (sword of answering, sunsword, moonsword, pictures of swords in DMG, popularity of longswords in published modules).

What's the best way to fix this?

Best fix is tweak the weapons table. The longsword makes a great longsword.

Blade Length: Sword Group
upto 1 foot (30 cm): Knife (a dagger is a double-edged knife) 1d4 piercing, finesse, light, throw
1 to 2 feet: Shortsword (gladius, seax, wakizashi, machete, etcetera) 1d6 piercing/slashing, finesse, light
2 to 3 feet: Sword (knightly, viking, spatha, katana, etcetera) 1d8 slashing/piercing, finesse
3 to 4 feet: Longsword (longsword, claymore, odachi, etcetera) 1d8 slashing; when versatile gains 1d12 slashing and reach

Renaissance Settings
3 to 4 feet: Rapier (renaissance rapier is a very thin longsword) 1d6 piercing, finesse, reach
over 4 feet: Greatsword (renaissance zweihander) 1d12 slashing, heavy, reach



This is an easy fix, and can be added conveniently to any setting where swords are in use.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I think the Spathion which was used by the Roman Empire into the 10th century would be what we call a short sword.
The spathion is the Byzantine Greek name for the Roman Latin name spatha, making them the same sword category, with a bladelength between 2 and 3 feet.
 

Coroc

Hero
Ironically a true bastard sword is never meant to be used 2-handed.

Not really, a bastard sword would be also called hand and half, so you could use it 1 handed from horseback mainly or eventually with a shield,
but on fooot you would normally use it two handed. The "correct" naming of a one handed sword in longer than a shortsword in this period would be arming sword / backsword / eventually broadsword


It is in between what we would call a short sword and a longsword. Meanwhile most actual longswords were meant to be promarily two handed.

True that, if you go with the (historically ) correct definition of Longsword = Greatsword = two handed use only except for some special manoevers, which i would prefer in game also, because it makes most sense mechanically.

I houserule short sword 1d6p, arming sword 1d8s 1h, bastard sword 1d8s / 1d10s versatile and longsword (greatsowrd) 2d6 2h only.
Thsi way you got a good scaling of damage output and size of swords without confusion.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Not really, a bastard sword would be also called hand and half, so you could use it 1 handed from horseback mainly or eventually with a shield,
but on fooot you would normally use it two handed.
I think this is only true in fantasy. I think historically bastard swords were used two-handed or used from horseback.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think this is only true in fantasy. I think historically bastard swords were used two-handed or used from horseback.
I think historically people probably used swords all sorts of ways. Hand and a half swords were probably mainly used in two hands while on foot, but certainly could be used one handed, which means some folks probably did use it that way sometimes.
 

I think historically people probably used swords all sorts of ways. Hand and a half swords were probably mainly used in two hands while on foot, but certainly could be used one handed, which means some folks probably did use it that way sometimes.

I wonder if some day (once teleporters are invented) people will be having these sorts of debates about cars. "No, station wagons were used to transport people and baggage between train stations and homes; they weren't intended for families. That would be called a 'minivan' and was slightly taller, with sliding doors."
 


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