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5E Versatile Fighting Style

i_dont_meta

Explorer
On your turn use a Bonus Action to grant yourself either a +1 to melee weapon attacks or a +1 AC until the start of your next turn.

If this has already been threaded and necroed please ignore.

If not I'd love some feedback.
 

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Are you referring to a generally versatile style, or something for versatile weapons? For versatile weapons, it's been tossed around a lot of different ways, but AFAIK no one has hit the right spot. For just a general style, I think the bonus action isn't necessary, just a choice at the start of your turn. I think most people would prefer +1 attack than +1 AC, because most people prefer to be aggressive than defensive, but in general I think most people will not switch between the two very often.
 

The issues with Versatile weapons is that using them two-handed generally cannot compete either with using them 1-handed with better AC and damage from shield and duellist style, or using a proper Heavy and/or Reach two-handed weapon with the feats that can take advantage of them.
 

6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
As a Fighting Style there should be no bonus action cost since others don't use it.

Otherwise, this is superior to Defense, which requires armor and grants the +1 AC bump. With this you would not need armor and could get +1 to attack rolls when you needed that instead.

Maybe a style where you can give versatile weapons when wielding with two hands either the finesse or heavy property?

This would benefit the wielder by allowing them:
1. to use DEX instead of STR with weapons like a longsword or battleaxe, and
2. to benefit from GWM (which requires "heavy" weapons for part of it) with a longsword or battleaxe.

I would write it up as:

Versatile Fighting
When you are wielding a versatile weapon with two hands and take the Attack action, you can choose either of the following benefits:
1. You gain a +1 attack bonus and the weapon gains the finesse property.
2. You gain a +1 damage bonus and the weapon gains the heavy property.
3. (OPTIONAL?) You gain a +1 bonus to your armor class on the next melee attack made against you before the start of your next turn.

The +1 attack bonus is inferior to Archery's +2, and the +1 damage bonus is inferior to Dueling's +2 but you have the choice from round to round. It also allows weapons such as the battleaxe and longsword to gain properties that can be useful in other ways.

I think that would be a good balance personally. I added option #3 if you still want an AC boosting option (you could probably even bump it to a +2 bonus to AC...), which is reasonable and in line with your OP.
 

jmartkdr2

Adventurer
The issues with Versatile weapons is that using them two-handed generally cannot compete either with using them 1-handed with better AC and damage from shield and duellist style, or using a proper Heavy and/or Reach two-handed weapon with the feats that can take advantage of them.
The best idea I came up with for this would be to re-word the dueling style to require one-handed weapons but not one-handed use of said weapons, so it would apply to versatile weapons used two-handed. It also leaves the versatility of the weapon in place. (in that you can still use it either one- or two-handed and get the bonus)

1d10+2 = 7.5, (before str) ain't massive but is better than a greatsword sans style. (Greataxe is 6.5 or 7.33 with style, greatsword is 7 or 8.33) It would also allow you to stack this style and greatweapon fighting for a net 8.30 + str - you wouldn't notice the difference between that and greatsword with style.

Pro: it's good without making it better than using an actual two-handed weapon and still makes a shield a solid option.

Con: it's begging for a second Fighting Style, which could feel like a tax.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
How about:

Versatile Style
  • You may treat versatile weapon as heavy when wielded two-handed
  • When you attack with a versatile weapon and deal max damage on a weapon damage die, you deal an extra 5 points of damage.
  • When using a versatile weapon one-handed with no shield and a hand free, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
 


i_dont_meta

Explorer
Thanks y'all for some very creative feedback. Felt like attaching a Bonus Action was unnecessary (and unprecedented) but I like to start off underpowered and build from there. Im leaning towards @dnd4vr and their recommendations but eliminating the +1's, so it would look like this

Versatile Weapon Style

When wielding a weapon with the versatile property using two hands you may also add either the finesse or heavy property to the weapon description. Additionally, when wielded two handed you may use your reaction to increase your AC by 1 until the start of your next turn.

Think we're getting there, what do we think gang??

Thanks in advance!
 


Jediking

Explorer
I have found that the use of Versatile weapons really depends on how RAW many DMs rule certain things.

Personally I track having a free hand - you can't grapple with both a shield and weapon, object interaction cannot be done, holding a torch or item requires sheathing your weapon, casting some spells. By enforcing these rules it causes the Versatile trait (and the stowing of weapons/shields) to have a cost and benefit to them.

I have found it changes how players approach equipment and their character build. It hasn't caused any issues for my own games, but it could slow down others - similar to rulings on (dark)vision and lighting I would imagine, which I also enforce.
 

6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Thanks y'all for some very creative feedback. Felt like attaching a Bonus Action was unnecessary (and unprecedented) but I like to start off underpowered and build from there. Im leaning towards @dnd4vr and their recommendations but eliminating the +1's, so it would look like this

Versatile Weapon Style

When wielding a weapon with the versatile property using two hands you may also add either the finesse or heavy property to the weapon description. Additionally, when wielded two handed you may use your reaction to increase your AC by 1 until the start of your next turn.

Think we're getting there, what do we think gang??

Thanks in advance!
I think it works well, as long as having those properties is meaningful in your games. I added the +1's simply because not many tables make weapon properties really important. But, if it works for you I think it is great! :)
 

i_dont_meta

Explorer
My only concern (so far) is the implications on Sneak Attack. Now the Rogue w/ 1-level dip in Fighter Sneak Attacks @ 1d10. Is this a game-changer?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Thanks y'all for some very creative feedback. Felt like attaching a Bonus Action was unnecessary (and unprecedented) but I like to start off underpowered and build from there. Im leaning towards @dnd4vr and their recommendations but eliminating the +1's, so it would look like this

Versatile Weapon Style

When wielding a weapon with the versatile property using two hands you may also add either the finesse or heavy property to the weapon description. Additionally, when wielded two handed you may use your reaction to increase your AC by 1 until the start of your next turn.

Think we're getting there, what do we think gang??
Reactions should, in general, be in reaction to something. And the effect of spending them should be worth the table time.

Small fiddly bonuses should not involve saying something to the DM each round. That is a waste of table time and attention.
 

i_dont_meta

Explorer
Reactions should, in general, be in reaction to something. And the effect of spending them should be worth the table time.

Small fiddly bonuses should not involve saying something to the DM each round. That is a waste of table time and attention.
Appreciate the feedback, I ALSO was wondering if there needed to be a specific trigger for the reaction, but thought that purposefully leaving it ambiguous felt more in line with established design criteria. But I AM curious what you mean by "worth the table time"...
Also, are you referring to the bonus to AC as a "small fiddly bonus"?
 

Appreciate the feedback, I ALSO was wondering if there needed to be a specific trigger for the reaction, but thought that purposefully leaving it ambiguous felt more in line with established design criteria. But I AM curious what you mean by "worth the table time"...
Also, are you referring to the bonus to AC as a "small fiddly bonus"?
Better not to leave things ambiguous: "When a creature hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reactions to add +1 to your AC against this attack, potentially causing the attack to miss you."

"Worth the table time" refers to the time a player spends every round asking "I raise my AC by 1, does it still hit?"
 
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6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
My only concern (so far) is the implications on Sneak Attack. Now the Rogue w/ 1-level dip in Fighter Sneak Attacks @ 1d10. Is this a game-changer?
No, not IMO. You are already able to do 1d8 for rapiers, so it is only 1 point of damage more.

A rogue would benefit more from Dueling with a flat +2 damage if that was the concern.

Now, I will caution again about the +1 AC bonus. It might not seem like much, but it makes this a "defensive" style if you allow it to apply to all attacks, even at the cost of a reaction, it is a bit much. You get an offensive boon (choice of finesse or heavy property) and a defensive boon (+1 AC). Seems a bit contradictive.

This is why I suggested the three options and who had to choose which to gain. Also, the cost of a reaction is only really a big deal to rogues IME, who often use it for Uncanny Dodge. Certainly it will stop OA's for the fighters who use it, which IMO means it won't be used often because the possible option for an extra attack (the OA) outweighs the benefit of a +1 to AC depending on the situation...
 

When I look at fighting styles, I always assume the character to either use a shield or a two handed weapon.

Shield is +2 AC but restricts your damage to 1d8
Two handed weapons roughly increase your damage by +2 (some deal 1d10 but have special abilities like reach)

Therefore...
Dueling: +2 damage, +2 AC
Great-weapon fighting: +4 damage (ish)
Defense: +3 AC ~OR~ +1 AC, +2 damage
Two-weapon fighting: +3~+6 damage, but at the cost of a bonus action. Its return also diminishes with multiple attacks.
Protection: +2 AC, impose disadvantage to protect an ally at the cost of reaction.

Versatile (I_dont_meta version): +1 AC (limited to 1 melee attack), +1 damage (d10), finesse or heavy.

For a STR user, you are still better off with a two-handed weapon and defense style. Your Versatile at any case does not bring anything new other than the ability to fight one-handed (without benefits) if need be. I'm not convinced it's worth a -1 to damage and your +1 AC available to all attacks, melee and ranged.

[edit] however, it does allow monks to use the great weapon master feat with spears (which they can already use with DEX). That's the only clear net advantage I can see so far, if feats and multiclassing are allowed.[/edit]

For a DEX user, you are opening up the possibility of a 2-handed with DEX, but 1d10 is still inferior to 1d8+2 that dueling would give you. You do have a 1/turn +1AC, but you sacrificed a shield that would give you a flat +2 AC.

Versatile as a fighting style is a tough nut to crack.
So far, the best proposition I've heard is "when you are wielding a weapon with the versatile quality, you can select a fighting style at the beginning of your turn. You gain this fighting style until your next turn."
 
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Now, I will caution again about the +1 AC bonus. It might not seem like much, but it makes this a "defensive" style if you allow it to apply to all attacks, even at the cost of a reaction, it is a bit much. You get an offensive boon (choice of finesse or heavy property) and a defensive boon (+1 AC). Seems a bit contradictive.
Unlike the defense fighting style, if you want the +1 AC, you need to sacrifice the possibility of wearing a shield. So you are at a net -1 AC...

You are on par with 2-handed weapon+defense, but you need to sacrifice reach or slightly better damage (and the flat application of defense's +1 AC). It's a bit better in the hand of a rogue, monk, or quarterstaff wizard, but they don't have fighting styles. And even then, other styles are arguably better should they multiclass.

+1 AC with 2-hand versatile is not broken. It's actually weaker, but it does allow you to use your weapon 1-handed in a pinch...
 
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6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
+1 AC with 2-hand versatile is not broken. It's actually weaker, but it does allow you to use your weapon 1-handed in a pinch...
True, but that wasn't the point. You get the +1 AC (same as defensive style) but also any potential benefits of the finesse/heavy properties (depends on the game of course). For instance in our game, we have house-rules for heavy that makes this style strong. Hence, my words of caution--which is all they were. ;)
 

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