Weapon Group Feats (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Weapon Group Feats[edit]

Weapons are divided into three categories in the basic d20 system rules: simple, martial, and exotic. While this system works very well for establishing the complexity of each weapon and balancing the classes' abilities against one another, grouping weapons by similar type offers an exciting variant to determine what weapons a character knows how to use.

At its simplest, the weapon group feat variant establishes a small list of feats called Weapon Group proficiency feats. Each feat allows a character to use a small number of similar weapons without penalty. Although most characters using this system are proficient with fewer weapons than the standard character classes, the weapons they know how to use will be grouped along a similar theme, providing a little more flavor to each character's weapon choice at the expense of a small amount of versatility.

This variant includes references to some weapons featured in the Arms and Equipment Guide (marked A) and Complete Warrior (marked W). See those books for full information on weapons so marked.

Using Weapon Groups In Place Of Class Weapon Proficiencies[edit]

While the Weapon Group proficiency feats work well in conjunction with the standard classes' starting armor and weapon proficiencies, you might want to substitute a number of these feats for each class's starting weapon proficiencies. Doing this can lend more flavor to specific characters or organizations. It allows you (either as player or as game master) to design a sect of clerics whose members always choose the same weapon group proficiencies, or even establish racial preferences. All dwarf fighters, rangers, and paladins might be required, for example, to choose Weapon Group (picks and hammers) as one of their starting weapon group proficiencies.

For classes not listed here, assign starting weapon group proficiencies using the class's granted weapon proficiencies and these classes as a guide.

Class Weapon Group Proficiencies at 1st Level
Barbarian Basic weapons, plus any other three
Bard Basic weapons, plus any other two
Cleric Basic weapons, plus any other two
Druid Basic weapons, plus either druid weapons or spears
Fighter1 Basic weapons, plus any other four
Monk Basic weapons, plus any other one
Paladin Basic weapons, plus any other three
Ranger Basic weapons, plus any other three
Rogue Basic weapons, plus any other two
Sorcerer Basic weapons, plus either spears or crossbows
Wizard Basic weapons or crossbows

Add Weapon Group (any) to the fighter's list of bonus feats.

Using Weapon Groups With Racial Favored Weapons[edit]

Some races gain free weapon proficiencies or are innately familiar with specific exotic weapons. Use the following rules to incorporate this concept with the Weapon Group proficiency variant.

Dwarf

Any dwarf who has Weapon Group (axes) is also proficient with the dwarven waraxe and the dwarven urgrosh.

Elf

All elves automatically have Weapon Group (bows) and either Weapon Group (heavy blades) or Weapon Group (light blades).

Gnome

Any gnome who has Weapon Group Proficiency (picks and hammers) is also proficient with the gnome hooked hammer.

Weapon-Specific Feats[edit]

A game master who uses this variant can rule that any feat that requires a character to choose a specific weapon to apply the feat's benefit to (such as Improved Critical, Weapon Focus, or Weapon Specialization) can instead be applied to a weapon group. The character must still meet the prerequisites for the feat.

Though this variant seems to grant a large benefit to the character, it really doesn't significantly improve the character's power level. Since a typical character only wields one weapon at a time (or two, with a different weapon in each hand), the character doesn't really become any more powerful in a typical fight.

It does mean that a character is more likely to benefit when new magic weapons are found, since he's more likely to be skilled in their use. That can actually be beneficial to a campaign, in that it allows the game master to include a wider range of interesting treasures that the characters actually use (rather than simply sell or trade).

Creating New Weapon Groups[edit]

As you design a campaign or character, you might want to create new weapon groups based on different themes. Possible themes include cultural, racial, or other campaign-world specific ideas. For example, you might create a new weapon group proficiency feat called Weapon Group (hill dwarves) that is available only to dwarves from a specific geographical area of the campaign. Because these dwarves are known for their use of two light weapons at once, this feat grants proficiency in the handaxe, short sword, light hammer, and club, making it easier for these dwarves to learn their race's preferred fighting techniques.

When creating a new weapon group, you should limit each group to three or fewer simple weapons and one to three martial weapons. The Weapon Group proficiency feats described below provide examples of how much versatility each weapon group should provide a character.

Weapon Group Feats[edit]

Following are the Weapon Group proficiency feats available to characters. They are presented in the normal format for feats.

Weapon Group (Axes)[edit]

You understand how to use axes and axelike weapons.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: handaxe, battleaxe, greataxe, and dwarven waraxe (two-handed use).

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Basic Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use a few basic weapons.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: club, dagger, and quarterstaff.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Bows)[edit]

You understand how to use bows.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: shortbow, longbow, composite shortbow, and composite longbow.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Claw Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use weapons strapped to the hands.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: punching dagger, spiked gauntlet.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Crossbows)[edit]

You understand how to use crossbows.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: heavy crossbow, light crossbow, repeating heavy crossbow, and repeating light crossbow.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Druid Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use weapons favored by druids.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Exotic Double Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use the exotic double weapons associated with the weapon groups that you have mastered.

Prerequisite:
Base attack bonus +1.

Benefit:
Whenever you take a Weapon Group proficiency feat, you also gain proficiency in the exotic double weapons associated with that group. When you take this feat, you gain proficiency in the exotic double weapons associated with the weapon groups that you already know how to use.

Some exotic double weapons require you to be proficient with two weapon groups to gain proficiency in their use from this feat.

Axes:
Orc double axe, dwarven urgrosh (must also have Weapon Group [spears and lances]).

Flails and Chains:
Dire flail, gyrspikeA (must also have Weapon Group [heavy blades]).

Heavy Blades:
Double scimitarA, gyrspikeA (must also have Weapon Group [flails and chains]), two-bladed sword.

Maces and Clubs:
Double maceA

Picks and Hammers:
Double hammerW, gnome hooked hammer.

Spears and Lances:
Dwarven urgrosh (must also have Weapon Group [axes]).

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Special:
If you include exotic double weapons from sources other than the basic d20 system rules, the game master should assign those weapons to a weapon group as appropriate for the campaign. The lists above includes weapons featured in the Arms and Equipment Guide (marked A) and Complete Warrior (marked W).

Weapon Group (Exotic Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use the exotic weapons associated with the weapon groups that you have mastered.

Prerequisite:
Base attack bonus +1.

Benefit:
When you take this feat, you gain proficiency in the exotic weapons associated with the weapon groups that you already know how to use. Whenever you take a Weapon Group proficiency feat, you also gain proficiency in the exotic weapons (but not the exotic double weapons) associated with that group.

Axes:
Dwarven waraxe (one-handed use).

Bows:
Elven double bowA, greatbowW, composite greatbowW.

Claw weapons:
Bladed gauntletA, claw bracerA, panther clawA, stump knifeA, tiger clawsA, ward cestusA.

Clubs and Maces:
WarmaceW (one-handed use), tonfaA.

Crossbows:
Great crossbowA, hand crossbow.

Druid Weapons:
GreatspearW.

Flails and chains:
Chain-and-daggerA, scourge, spiked chain, three-section staffA, whip, whipdaggerA.

Heavy Blades:
Bastard sword (one-handed use), khopeshA, mercurial longswordA, mercurial greatswordA.

Light Blades:
Kukri, saparaA, triple daggerA, war fanA.

Monk Weapons:
Butterfly swordA, tonfaA.

Picks and Hammers:
Dire pickW, gnome battlepickA, maulW (one handed use).

Polearms:
Heavy poleaxeW.

Slings and Thrown Weapons:
Bolas, chakramA, gnome calculusA, halfling skiprockA, orc shotputA, shuriken, throwing ironA.

Spears and Lances:
DuomA, greatspearW, harpoonA, mantiA, spinning javelinA.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Special:
If you include exotic weapons from sources other than the basic d20 system rules, the game master should feel free to assign those weapons to a weapon group as appropriate for the campaign. The list above includes weapons featured in the Arms and Equipment Guide (marked A) and Complete Warrior marked W).

Weapon Group (Flails and Chains)[edit]

You understand how to use flails and chain weapons.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: light flail and heavy flail.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Heavy Blades)[edit]

You understand how to use large bladed weapons.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: longsword, greatsword, falchion, scimitar, and bastard sword (two-handed use).

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Light Blades)[edit]

You understand how to use light bladed weapons.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: dagger, punching dagger, rapier, and short sword.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Maces and Clubs)[edit]

You understand how to use maces and clubs.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: club, light mace, heavy mace, greatclub, quarterstaff, sap, and warmaceW (two-handed use).

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Special:
If you use the Arms and Equipment Guide, this weapon group also includes the maul.

Weapon Group (Monk Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use weapons normally favored by monks.

Prerequisite:
Improved Unarmed Strike.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Picks and Hammers)[edit]

You understand how to use picks and hammers.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: light pick, heavy pick, light hammer, warhammer, scythe, and maulW (two handed use).

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Special:
If you use the Arms and Equipment Guide, this weapon group also includes the lucerne hammer.

Weapon Group (Polearms)[edit]

You understand how to use polearms.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: glaive, guisarme, halberd, and ranseur.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Slings and Thrown Weapons)[edit]

You understand how to use slings and handheld thrown weapons.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: dart and sling.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.

Weapon Group (Spears and Lances)[edit]

You understand how to use spears and javelins.

Benefit:
You make attack rolls with the following weapons normally: javelin, lance, longspear, shortspear, and trident.

Normal:
When using a weapon with which you are not proficient, you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls.



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