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Main / WeaponProficiencies

Chapter 1 - Chapter 3

Weapon Proficiencies

There are a few details to Weapon Proficiencies for Warriors in particular to take into account.

Skill level is taken into account for all characters. For most characters the limited number of weapon slots available to them will restrict them from choosing the Tight Weapon Group options. Only Warriors can acquire the Broad Weapon Group proficiency.

Most characters will use at least one weapon slot of their proficiencies on a weapon to defend or attack with. This makes the character proficient with that weapon. Beyond that level only a warrior can spend more slots to increase their ability with a particular weapon.

Only Weapon Slots can be used for:

  • Proficiency - 1 slot each weapon
  • Tight Weapon Groups - 2 slots each group
  • Broad Weapon Groups - 3 slots each group - Warriors only
  • Weapon of Choice - 1 additional slot - Warriors only
  • Weapon Expertise - 1 additional slot - Warriors only
  • Weapon Specialization - 1 additional slot - Single classed Fighters only
  • Weapon Mastery - 1 additional slot at 5th Level or higher - Single classed Fighters only
  • High Weapon Mastery - 1 additional slot 3 levels after Mastery - Single classed Fighters only
  • Grand Weapon Mastery - 1 additional slot 3 levels after High Mastery - Single classed Fighters only

Weapon Slots or Knowledge Slots can be used for:

Skill Level

The full list of Skill Levels are:

  • Non-Proficient
A character can only guess at the proper way to hold the weapon or attack his opponent. Anything fancier than a simple hack, slash, or bash is beyond his abilities—the character cannot attempt any attack options such as disarming, blocking, or sapping. In addition to his inability to make special attacks, the character also suffers an attack roll penalty based on his character class. Warriors tend to figure out weapons of any kind relatively quickly and have a small penalty for attacking with weapons they're not familiar with. Other characters don't have the warrior's affinity for weapons and are more severely penalized.

The non-proficient penalty varies for each class.

ClassStarting
Weapon
Slots
Rate of
Increase
Non-Proficient
Penalty
Familiarity
Penalty
Warrior41/3 lvls-2-1
Berserker21/4 lvls-2-1
Priest21/4 lvls-3-2
Runecaster21/4 lvls-3-1
Rogue21/4 lvls-3-2
Mage11/6 lvls-5-3
  • Familiarity
All Warriors are automatically familiar with any weapon that is related to a weapon they are proficient in. Weapons are considered to be related if they are part of the same tight group. For example, a character who is proficient in the use of the light crossbow is automatically familiar with all other types of crossbow because they're part of the same tight weapon group. Familiarity is not as good as proficiency, but it beats not knowing anything about a weapon at all. Characters only suffer one-half the normal non-proficiency penalty when attacking with weapons they are familiar with. They may attempt any normal attack maneuvers possible (the familiarity penalty still applies, of course), and suffer no initiative or rate of fire penalties. Familiarity does not allow the user to make use of any special weapon attack modes that require proficiency in the weapon.
  • Proficiency
This is the basic level of competence most characters achieve with their weapons training. Proficiency allows the character to use a weapon with no penalties and employ all attack options and special weapon properties to their fullest extent. This is the highest level any non-warrior or berserker class can achieve.
  • Weapon of Choice
An option some Warriors may elect to take is to have a weapon of choice. They must already be proficient with that weapon already not merely from a Tight Weapon Group or Broad Weapon Group. Any Warrior can pick a weapon to be a Weapon of Choice but single-classed fighters cannot use this option if they are Specialized in a weapon. When using a Weapon of Choice the character receives a +1 bonus on all attack rolls when using his weapon of choice.
  • Expertise
Weapon expertise is a form of specialization that is available to nonfighters. Regular weapon specialization is only available to single-classed fighters, but weapon expertise can be learned by paladins, rangers, and multi-classed fighters. There's no reason a single-classed fighter couldn't learn expertise instead of specialization, but expertise is just as expensive as specialization and isn't as good. Weapon expertise allows a character to gain extra attacks as if he or she were a weapon specialist. At 1st level, an expert with the long sword gets to attack three times per two rounds. Weapon expertise also allows the use of any unusual weapon properties reserved for specialist use. Weapon expertise does not grant the character extra attack or damage bonuses, as weapon specialization does.
  • Weapon Specialization
By spending an extra proficiency slot on a weapon, a single-class fighter character can become a specialist. A fighter may only specialize in one weapon at a time. If she wishes to change her specialization to a different weapon, she must spend two extra proficiency slots to become a specialist in the new weapon, and loses all benefits of specializing in the previous one (although she is still proficient with it and always will be). Any more changes cost three slots each, so it's a good idea to pick one weapon and stick with it.
The exact benefits of weapon specialization vary with the particular weapon involved. Generally, the types of benefits fall into one of five categories: melee weapons, missile weapons, bows, crossbows.
Melee Weapons
Specializing in a melee weapon provides a character with two main benefits: first of all, he gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls and a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon; secondly, he gains an extra attack once per two rounds. A 1st level fighter normally attacks once per round, but a 1st level long sword specialist attacks three times per two rounds. The full progression of attacks is listed with the Warriors information.
Missile Weapons
This category includes slings and thrown weapons. Generally, specialists gain an increased rate of fire with these weapons and a +1 bonus to attack rolls. If a character specializes in a weapon that can be used either for melee or as a missile weapon (spears, daggers, hand axes, etc.), he gains the melee benefit described above when using the weapon for hand-to-hand combat and the increased rate of fire for using the weapon for ranged attacks. The full progression of attacks is listed with the Warriors information.
Bows
Characters who specialize in the bow gain a +1 bonus to hit at any range (normal range penalties still apply, of course), an increased rate of fire, and a new range category: point-blank. Point-blank is any shot of 30 feet or less. In addition, bow specialists can automatically fire first as a very fast action if they have their target covered {arrow knocked and aimed at the target prior to the start of the round}. The full progression of attacks is listed with the Warriors information.
Crossbows
Specialists with crossbows gain a +1 bonus to hit at any range, an increased rate of fire, and a point-blank range category, just like archers. For crossbows, point-blank range extends out to 60 feet. In addition, they share the archer's quick-shot benefit when covering an enemy. The full progression of attacks is listed with the Warriors information.
  • Mastery
A warrior who devotes his life to the study of martial combat and the characteristics of a single type of weapon can become a weapon Master — a fighter whose precision, quickness, and skill are virtually unequaled anywhere. Weapon masters are rare characters. Only single-classed fighters can ever achieve weapon mastery, and even then they do so with time, study, and sacrifice. To achieve mastery in a weapon, a character must first specialize in the use of that weapon. Then, at any time after he reaches 5th level, he can spend another proficiency slot to become a weapon master. He can continue to devote proficiency slots to the study of his chosen weapon, but can't progress faster than the rate at which he gains new weapon proficiency slots - every third level. Generally, only weapons that require some skill to handle or that have a history of cultural identification are chosen by weapon masters. Swords of any kind are the most common weapons mastered, followed by bows and then axes or spears
When a fighter achieves Mastery of a melee weapon his attack and damage bonuses increase to +3 and +3, respectively. For bows and crossbows, his point-blank bonuses increase to +3/+3 as with melee weapons, and he gains an additional +1 to hit at all other range categories, for a total of +2. (Remember, this bonus doesn't take range modifiers into account, so the archer has a total of +2 at short, +0 at medium, and –3 at long range, if the penalties are factored in.)

Only after game play
The two highest levels of Weapon Mastery are not available to newly created characters. Obviously Mastery is only available to characters created at 5th level or higher.

  • High Mastery
By spending a second slot on Mastery, a character can become a High Master. By this time, the character has spent four slots on a single weapon and is at least 8th level. High masters increase the speed factor of their chosen weapon by one category; for example, a slow weapon in the hands of a high master is automatically considered to be of average speed.
High masters who specialize in bows, crossbows or slings gain a new range category: extreme range. For all weapons, extreme range is 1/3 farther than long range. For example, if a weapon has a normal maximum range of 120, in the hands of a master it can shoot 160. Extreme range shots have a –10 penalty to hit before adjustments are made for the effects of mastery.
  • Grand Mastery
High Masters who spend one more slot on learning their weapon of choice can become Grand Masters. Grand Masters are capable of feats of swordplay that border on the fantastic. Grand masters gain one additional attack per round above and beyond a specialist's rate of attacks for their level, so a 12th-level melee weapon grand master would attack 3 times per round with his weapon of choice.
Grand masters also increase the amount of damage and the chance of a knockdown when they employ their chosen weapon. The weapon's base damage die and knockdown die are increased to the next greater die size against all opponents. A long sword thus inflicts 1d10/1d20 points of damage in the hands of a grand master, and its knockdown die is increased to a d10. If the weapon causes multiple dice of damage, all of them are increased. Thus, a two-handed sword in the hands of a grand master inflicts 3d8 points of damage on large targets. Needless to say, grand masters are extremely dangerous opponents.