Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Simplifying Weapon Proficiencies for D&D 5e

When creating several fifth edition characters this last weekend, it came to my attention that certain race and class combinations cause the proficiencies section of the sheet to get completely bloated with all the different kinds of specific weapons that can be used.

For example, the list of proficiencies of an elven wizard is as follows: Longswords, shortswords, longbows, shortbows, daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs and light crossbows.

While this may look like a flavorful list, it also is a complete mess. Combine this list with the default character sheet that labels sections at the bottom and players could be forgiven for thinking this is an inventory list, not skills.

Not all classes are as complicated with weapon proficiencies, but the elf wizard has me wanting a better way.  Seems to me that the most obvious solution is that which most of the classes come close to using, which is to use the basic weapon categories. Most of the combat-focused classes can use both simple and martial weapons, while all other classes can use simple weapons or a specific list.

This awesome character sheet by John Grumph suggests that weapon proficiencies should be restricted to Simple and/or Martial weapons. I like that. It's simple and no longer relies on old ideas of that a wizard or cleric can or cannot use. I would go one step further to include a Finesse weapons proficiency for classes like rogues and bards.

Below are my recommended simplified weapon proficiencies for 5e PHB classes:

Barbarian: All weapon types.
Bard: Simple weapons, finesse weapons, martial ranged weapons.
Cleric: All weapon types.
Druid: Simple weapons.
Fighter: All weapon types.
Monk: Simple weapons.
Paladin: All weapon types.
Ranger: All weapon types.
Rogue: Simple weapons, finesse weapons, martial ranged weapons.
Sorcerer: Simple weapons.
Warlock: Simple weapons.
Wizard: Simple weapons.

I see no problems with allowing elves and dwarves to keep their racial weapon proficiencies. I'm even considering to allow Dragonborn to be proficient in all weapon types in my home game.

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