D&D (2024) The Great Nerf to High Level Martials: The New Grapple Rules


I get that, I'm trying to express my design preference here.

But your example of the bar mace confuses me - why not just use a warhammer and call it a bar mace, since it's just a flavour thing and not a mechanical thing in both instances, since there isn't an item called a "bar mace" in the game?

In other words, what does diminishing the distinctiveness of weapons actually get you that you couldn't have had earlier?

Yes, right now I can just reskin the weapon. Because it is obviously not a balance thing. But now when I say I'm using a mace (sap) and I want to use a warhammer's stat's (push) is that going to be seen as a balance concern? When all three weapons were not really distinguished, there was no concern about swapping between them, because there was no mechanical distinction. Now, Warhammer's push. Maces sap. Can I just reflavor one as the other now? Will my request be seen as "opening the door" to trying to get a different mastery property?

And if all you really want are different named weapons... then reskinning was perfectly fine.

Sorry, which do you mean by "those weapons don't exist"? - because I would disagree as to the warhammer, flail, etc.

Sure, Warhammer is still an option, it always was an option. But is Flail a serious option? 1-handed, 1d8 vs 1-handed, versatile 1d8(1d0) with the same mastery property (looking at Longsword), the only difference being the damage type which as we discussed wasn't a major distinction.

Weapon mastery has not made the flail more likely to be chosen, because a better option exists. Especially if you account for the elephant in the room that is magic items.

But if we're talking about the greatclub, mace, and quarterstaff, A. I don't think those are particularly relevant to martial weapon proficient characters, since they're all simple and you can get better martial weapons, and B. for non-martial proficient characters Weapon Mastery has indeed improved diversity in that the Greatclub gives you Push, the Mace gives you Sap, and the Quarterstaff gives you Topple. Now they're not "both weapons in one," and there's distinct reasons to use each one.

See, there is a weird thing here. Have you checked the class abilities recently? Below is a list of all the classes which currently do not have 1st level access to Martial weapons.

Bard, Monk*, Rogue*, Sorcerer, Wizard

Now, from that list, there is only ONE class that also has Weapon Mastery. The Rogue, who, per the asterisk, has access to Finesse Martial weapons, and uses finesse to activate sneak attack. So... who is the character who will be using the Weapon Masteries of Simple Weapons if you do not believe anyone who has access to Martial Weapons would ever bother using Simple Weapons? And even if you decide to play a Cleric or a Druid who has no access to martial weapons... they ALSO don't have access to Weapon Masteries.

So, you've kind of logically forced yourself into a corner. No one with Weapon Masteries will use Simple Weapons, so the Simple Weapons can't be distinguished by their Weapon Masteries. You have... really accomplished nothing.

I think the versatility has to be relevant to make it a superior choice.

When you make the selection at level 1, you have the choice between an option that has only one use, or an option that has potentially two uses. Sure, it is possible that second use will never come up, but you cannot know that for certain. So, you are making the claim that an option that has the potential to give you more versatility isn't superior, because you could maybe not use that versatility. But if you don't use it and the options are the same... why would you ever cut off that potential to do something else if you lose nothing to gain it?

With all the best will in the world, those people are choosing to play suboptimally and don't really have grounds to complain any more than a Wizard who chooses to cast Fireball on a single target.

You're given two masteries not just so that you can do something at range, but also so that you can gain a benefit from swapping between melee weapons like the system intends.

So, why are you certain that being able to swap to a different melee weapon is going to offer optimal play beyond what having a ranged option does? I've seen plenty of melee characters who are forced to use thrown or ranged weapons, but you seem to discount that this is possible.

If you can apply a Mastery to any weapon you're holding, then people have no incentive to use different weapons; they just stick with the weapon they've got and never look at another weapon, because they gain no benefit from swapping weapons. That's exactly what the devs are trying to avoid by attaching the Mastery to the weapon; it encourages people to experiment, try out new combinations, explore archetypes other than Guy With Magic Sword.

But it isn't achieving that.

Heck, the vast majority of characters only get two attacks. What if you miss your first attack? Are you going to swap to a different weapon to use a different mastery after missing with your first? Also, you aren't trying new combinations, you are "Guy with Magic Sword who immediately sheathes it and pulls out their Magic Hammer" You are still using the sword first, defining yourself by the sword. Because you won't switch if you miss, you won't switch if you are attacking multiple people, and if you aren't switching... then you aren't exploring different archetypes or experimenting. You are just sticking with your primary weapon, like you always did, It just has a new trick.

Daggers are still good for all classes because they also have Thrown. They just happen to be even better for Monks, and that's not a problem, that's a bonus.

That isn't what you said the first time. And throwing your dagger is worse than most other options you have for the majority of classes. Unless you think a thrown dagger beats Toll of The Dead or Firebolt.

Weapon Mastery absolutely has something to do with the meaningful difference between the Shortsword and the Rapier, because Shortsword has an in-built incentive to dual-wield with Scimitars, Daggers, etc.

Why would you dual-wield with a shortsword and a dagger? It is worse than using the Scimitar, yes, even if you throw the dagger since you can draw the dagger as part of throwing it.

And, okay, you can now dual-wield a Shortsword and a Scimitar. You could do that before. Before that netted you two attacks of 1d6+mod. Now it is... two attacks of 1d6+mod... And the "incentive" is actually that dual-wielding Scimitars is useless (you can't double Nick) and so what you are really getting is... two shortswords, one each with a different mastery. Which is exactly what I am proposing.

And, since Rogues (the main people who will be dual-wielding these weapons) are also usually fighting at range, and only have two masteries.... what happens when they decide to have a Light Crossbow with Slow and only have the Scimitar and Nick for that free bonus action? Now you... don't have them really playing any different than they did before.

I've seen all the discussions about Weapon Masteries, and all the builds people propose... and they are largely the exact same builds, with one or two changes like "Shortsword + Scimitar". The goal of seeing wide-spread weapon changes and people playing with a lot of different weapons just... isn't going to happen from the system as it stands. And frankly, the best impact it HAS had has been on "making martials feel more dynamic in combat" and THAT is a great goal, and better achieved by altering the system. Because it will not be long until a large number of people are saying "I just want my character to use a hammer, can't I just have the flail sap mastery and the push mastery on my hammer instead of having to sheath my hammer, draw my flail, and make my attacks that way? It just seems silly to be constantly sheathing and drawing my weapons, and it won't change anything mechanically, because there is no action cost and no real mechanical difference between the two."

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