Custom Weapon Design (5e Variant Rule)

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Custom Weapon Design[edit]

Don’t let the weapon list get in the way of awesome! According to the Player's Handbook, the mace costs 5 gp and does 1d6 damage. That's it. The spear costs 1 gp and does 1d6 damage, can be thrown, and can be two-handed for 1d8 damage. This variant rule is meant to fix that, allowing you to create your own weapons, flavored how you want to while taking advantage of the benefits only select weapons usually grant.

This system was crafted around the weapons list, so nearly every weapon can be recreated accurately, and more. Because of this, custom weapons made with this system should be about as balanced as those found on the weapons list.

With this variant rule, all characters have proficiency with all simple weapons. If you have proficiency with at least one martial melee weapons, you are considered to have proficiency with all martial melee weapons. If you have proficiency with at least one martial ranged weapon, you are considered to have proficiency with all martial ranged weapons.

Suggested Pricing[edit]

Weapon Price
Simple melee 1 gp
Simple ranged 25 gp
Martial melee 25 gp
Martial ranged 50 gp

Weapon Creation[edit]

1. Choose a melee or ranged weapon:

Melee weapon. 1d4 damage.
Ranged weapon. 1d4 damage. Ammunition (range 30/120). Loading. Two-handed.

2. Choose whether the weapon is a simple or martial weapon.

3. Choose bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage.

4. Select three properties from the list below.

Weapon Properties[edit]

Each property may only be selected once unless it says otherwise. Some properties have an "Optional Limitation", an optional rule that restricts the use of the properties to match how they are used in weapons list. Your DM decides whether or not you must use the Optional Limitation rules when selecting properties.

Brutal. Increase the damage die from d4 to d6. You can select this property again to increase the damage die of a ranged weapon or a martial weapon to a d8.

Finesse. (Melee only.) You use your choice of your Strength or Dexterity modifier for the attack and damage rolls. You must use the same modifier for both rolls. Optional Limitations: This property cannot be combined with the Heavy or Versatile properties. This property cannot be combined with the brutal property when applied to a simple weapon.

Heavy. (Martial only.) Increase the damage die from a d4 to a d8, a d6 to a d10 or a d8 to d12. This weapon gains the Two-handed property if it didn't have it already. Small creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls with this weapon. Optional Limitation: This property cannot increase a ranged weapon's damage dice to a d12.

Light. (Melee only.) This weapon is ideal for two-weapon fighting. This cannot be combined with the heavy property. Optional Limitation: This property can only be applied to weapons with a damage die of d4 or d6. This property can't be combined with the versatile property.

One-handed. (Ranged only.) Remove the Two-handed property. Optional Limitation: This counts as two properties for a simple ranged weapon.

Rapid-fire. (Ranged only.) Remove the Loading property.

Reach. (Martial melee only.) Your reach increase by 5 feet when using the weapon. Optional Limitation: This counts as two properties unless the weapon has the Heavy property.

Sniping. (Ranged only.) Increase the range of a simple ranged weapon to 80/320. Increase the range of a martial ranged weapon to 150/600.

Thrown. (Melee only.) You can throw this weapon to make a ranged attack with a range of 20/60. You use the same ability modifier for that attack roll and damage roll that you would use for a melee attack with the weapon. You can select this property again to increase the range to 30/120. Optional Limitation: This can only be applied to weapons with a damage die of d4 or d6.

Versatile. (Melee only.) This weapon can be used with one or two hands. Increase the damage die for melee attacks when wielded with two hands from a d4 to a d6, from a d6 to a d8, or from a d8 to a d10. This cannot be combined with the Heavy property.

Property Reference[edit]

These describe other properties that are referenced. You do not select these properties.

Ammunition. You can use a weapon that has the ammunition property to make a ranged attack only if you have ammunition to fire from the weapon. Each time you attack with the weapon, you expend one piece of ammunition. Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack. At the end of the battle, you can recover half your expended ammunition by taking a minute to search the battlefield. If you use this weapon to make a melee attack, you treat the weapon as an improvised weapon.

Loading. You can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

Two-handed. This weapon requires two hands to use.

Example Weapons[edit]

Recreations[edit]

These are examples of weapons recreated exactly using this system, simply to help show the balance of it.

  • Dagger. 1d4 piercing damage. Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60).
(Simple melee weapon: Finesse, Light, Thrown)
  • Spear. 1d6 piercing damage. Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (d8).
(Simple melee weapon: Brutal, Thrown, Versatile)
  • Longsword. 1d8 slashing damage. Versatile (d10).
(Martial melee weapon: Brutal, Brutal, Versatile)
  • Crossbow, light. 1d8 piercing damage. Ammunition (range 80/320), loading, two-handed.
(Simple ranged weapon: Brutal, Brutal, Sniping)
  • Longbow. 1d8 piercing damage. Ammunition (range 150/600), heavy, two-handed.
(Martial ranged weapon: Heavy, Rapid-fire, Sniping)

Reimagined[edit]

These are examples of weapons recreated using this system, without using the Balance Variant property rules. They are slightly more powerful than their original versions, but it makes character builds that usually perform poorly a more viable option.

  • Sling. 1d6 bludgeoning damage. Ammunition (range 30/120).
(Simple ranged weapon: Brutal, Rapid-fire, One-handed)
  • Whip. 1d6 slashing damage. Finesse, reach.
(Martial melee weapon: Brutal, finesse, reach)
  • Longsword. 1d8 slashing damage. Light.
(Martial melee weapon: Brutal, brutal, light)
  • Flail. 1d8 bludgeoning damage. Reach.
(Martial melee weapon: Brutal, brutal, reach)
  • Quarterstaff. 1d6 bludgeoning damage. Finesse. Versatile (d8).
(Simple melee weapon: Brutal, Finesse, Versatile)
  • Battleaxe. 1d8 slashing damage. Thrown (20/60).
(Martial melee weapon: Brutal, Brutal, Thrown.

New Weapons[edit]

These are examples of new weapons, made with new combinations of weapon properties that allow for unique options.

  • Scythe. 1d10 slashing damage. Heavy, finesse, two-handed.
(Martial melee weapon: Brutal, Heavy, Finesse)
  • Longspear. 1d8 piercing damage. Heavy, reach, thrown (20/60), two-handed.
(Martial melee weapon: Heavy, reach, thrown)
  • Crossbow, great. 1d12 piercing damage. Ammunition (range 30/120), loading, two-handed.
(Martial ranged weapon: Brutal, Brutal, Heavy)
  • Shuriken. 1d4 piercing damage. Finesse. Thrown (30/120)
(Simple melee weapon: Finesse, Thrown, Thrown)
  • Atlatl/Spear-thrower. 1d6 piercing damage. Ammunition (range 80/320), loading.
(Simple ranged weapon: Brutal, One-handed, Sniping)

This variant rule was inspired by the Simplified Weapon Design variant rule.

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