Weapon Proficiencies

Weapon Proficiencies define a character’s expertise when wielding a specific weapon. When wielding a weapon with-which she is non-Proficient, a character will suffer a to-hit penalty. For ease of reference Non-Proficient Attack Penalties are compiled in PHB. When a character is Proficient with a weapon she fights with no penalty. Some Classes place limits on the particular weapons a character is allowed to gain proficiency in. Also depending on her Class, a character proficient in the use of a weapon may opt to become specialized in its use or train further to become a master.

Weapon slots gained through level progression may only be used for learning Weapon, Weapon Style, Unarmed Fighting Styles, and Tactics Proficiencies. Unassigned Weapon slots are never lost. A character can hold floating Weapon slots (gained through leveling) until she has time to train them. For most characters filling Weapon Proficiency slots should be simple. There is no need to train with a teacher to become proficient in a weapon. A character may simply practice and fight with a weapon for an entire level to fill a Weapon slot with Proficiency. A character may always choose instead to find a teacher and train the weapon slot. That process would take much less time but would more than likely have a monitory cost.

Weapon Styles

There are eight general weapon styles. These styles represent specific sets of battle tactics employed by characters wielding weapons of the corresponding types. Every Character Class includes proficiency in a certain weapon style or styles. These included styles incur no cost in weapon slots to a character being created. Each class’s entry includes a list of the weapon styles it gains. If the class you choose does not include the weapon style you want you may purchase it if the class allows. Proficiency in a weapon style costs only one weapon proficiency but certain classes impose limitations on the styles its members may learn. Example: wizard classes may not use shields so wizards also cannot gain proficiency in Weapon and Shield style.

A character can apply weapon style proficiency with any applicable weapon, even if she does not have proficiency with the particular weapon. Each of the eight styles confers advantages and disadvantages when employed. These are listed in each style’s description below. A quick list of the eight common Weapon Styles and a general understanding of what they entail follows:

  • One-Handed Single-Weapon Style: The character wields a weapon in one hand with nothing in the other. The weapon can be as small as a Sap or as large as a Bastard Sword or Long Spear. Abilities conferred by this style are for melee attacks only and do not apply to the throwing of a weapon. If a one-hand weapon can also be thrown the style that applies to that ability is Thrown Weapon/Sling style.
  • Weapon and Shield Style: The character can wield a one-hand weapon in her on-hand and carry a shield in her off-hand or on that arm. Proficiency with this style is given to every character class that can employ it. Example: all Wizard classes are barred from using shields. Abilities conferred by Weapon and Shield style are for melee attacks only and do not apply to the throwing of a weapon. If the weapon wielded can also be thrown the style that applies to that ability is Thrown Weapon/Sling style.
  • Two-Handed Weapon Style: A character wields a single weapon with both hands. In most cases the weapon can be used with one hand but can be used with two hands and this style as well. Typical weapons of this type are: Two-handed Sword, Polearms, quarterstaff, bastard sword and spears. Abilities conferred by Two-Handed Weapon style are for melee attacks only and do not apply to the throwing of a weapon. If a two-hand weapon can also be thrown the style that applies to that ability is Thrown Weapon/Sling style.
  • Two Weapon Style: The character wields one weapon in each hand. This is a rare style in most areas of the world. Few character classes gain this style during creation. Abilities conferred by Two Weapon style are for melee attacks only and do not apply to the throwing of a weapon. If one or both of the weapons wielded can also be thrown the style that applies to that ability is Thrown Weapon/Sling style.
  • Bow Missile Style: This style applies to the use of bows, crossbows and similar weapons. A character with this style gains the ability to move while employing a weapon of this type. Abilities conferred by Bow Missile style apply only to shooting the weapon and not to any melee attacks that might be attempted with them.
  • Mounted Archery Style: The style applies to the use of bows, crossbows and similar weapons employed while mounted. This is a rare style in most areas of the world. Only characters from these certain areas will gain this style, and only if their class allows for the use of bow type weapons. Abilities conferred by this style apply only to shooting the weapon while mounted and not to any melee attacks that might be attempted.
  • Thrown Weapon/Sling Style: This style applies to the use of any non-bow missile weapon, including but not limited to all types of slings. A character with this style gains the ability to move while employing weapons of these types. Abilities conferred by this style apply only to throwing or slinging a weapon and not to any melee attacks that might be attempted with them. If a weapon can also be used as a melee weapon the style that applies to that ability may be utilized instead.

Specializing In the Styles

Any character may specialize in a Weapon Style in which she already has proficiency. She gains this specialization by assigning a Weapon Proficiency slot to specialization in the style. Classes impose their own limitations on style specialization.

Unless the listing for a particular Warrior class says otherwise, all single class warriors can eventually specialize in any and all styles. Priest and Rouge classes may be able to gain more proficient styles than they start with but may only specialize in styles granted during creation. Also these classes can specialize in only two different weapon styles. Wizard classes may specialize in one Fighting Style but this style must be one of those granted during creation because they are prohibited from gaining proficiency in additional styles.

The difference between proficiency in a style and specializing are the benefits acquired through specialization. Specializing in the use of a style is nearly as beneficial as specializing with a weapon. The exact perks of style specialization vary from one style to the next. Note: warriors can specialize in a weapon as well as all or most appropriate styles that can be utilized with it.

Guidelines: Style Specialization can only be applied when using a weapon a character is at least proficient with. Meaning, if a character is not proficient with two-handed battle axe and is forced to fight with one, she cannot apply benefits from specialization with Two-Handed Weapon style. Conversely, if she is specialized with both the two-handed battle axe and Two-Handed Weapon style she is able to apply all benefits from both specializations.

While a character can have specialization in a weapon and applicable style specializations, none of these depend on the other. Example: she could have proficiency and specialization with sabre, and specialization in One-Handed Single-Weapon style and be an incredible fencer when wielding a sabre – or – she might just have proficiency with sabre and specialization with the style – or – specialization with the weapon and proficiency with the weapon – or – only proficiency with both.

Multiple Style Specializations: Several classes will allow a character to be specialized in more than one style. Example: a spear can be used one-handed, two-handed, with a shield, with a weapon in the alternate hand or can be thrown. A character specialized in multiple styles applicable to the weapon wielded, but not specialized with the weapon, can switch styles between fights to gain different advantages. If she is specialized in the weapon and multiple styles, she may switch between styles during the course of combat.

Limitations on Style Specialization: A character may begin play with only one Style Specialization unless she is a single classed warrior. Single classed warriors may start with two. Characters allowed may learn other style specializations up to their allowed maximums by using Weapon Proficiency slots gained at higher levels.

One-handed Single-Weapon Style:

  • This style allows a character to wield a one-hand weapon in one hand and nothing in the other. This is the preferred style of fencers, corsairs and weapon masters.
  • Advantages: The chief advantage of this style is that it allows a character to keep one hand free for grappling, switching weapons, surprise maneuvers or whatever opportunities might arise during a the course of a combat. For instance while locked in combat, a single-weapon fighter might use her free hand to punch her opponent or grab a pot of hot water and throw it at the opponent.
  • Disadvantages: The main disadvantages of this style are that the character does not gain the benefit of a shield’s AC bonus or extra attacks from a secondary weapon.
  • Style Specialization: If a character assigns a weapon slot to specialize in One-Handed Single-Weapon style she can gain a -1 bonus to her Armor Class when fighting with only a one-hand weapon in her on-hand and nothing in the other. Additionally, any character specialized in this style may assign an additional weapon slot to it to gain an additional -1 bonus to AC (for a total of -2) when fighting with it. One additional slot is the limit. A character cannot assign more than 2 slots to specialization in this style.
  • A character can also use her empty hand as a secondary weapon, utilizing it to punch, grab or throw but, any round where she holds anything in her off-hand she cannot gain the AC bonus and attacking with two weapons imparts all usual penalties.

Two-Handed Weapon Style:

  • This weapon style allows a character to use large weapons that need two hands to properly wield. Many weapons, such as a pike, claymore, polearms and Norin battle axes are two hand weapons and others like a spear, trident or bastard sword have the option of being two handed.
  • Advantages: The main advantage of Two-Handed Weapon technique is that it allows a character to wield large weapons which deal substantial amounts of damage. A second advantage is, if you are using a two-handed weapon the Disarm maneuver (see “Melee Maneuvers”) is only of partial use against you, as a single Disarm won’t knock a two-handed weapon out of the wielder’s hands; it will merely knock her weapon askew and make her take some time to recover, so she automatically loses initiative on her next round. However, two Disarm maneuvers made in the same round WILL knock the weapon loose.
  • Disadvantages: As with single-weapon style, a character using two-handed weapon style is unable to use a shield and gain the shield’s AC bonus. A character using a two-handed weapon also does not have a free hand while fighting.
  • Style Specialization: Style Specialization with Two-Handed Weapon Style gives you a very specific benefit: When using a two-handed weapon with this specialization its Speed Factor is reduced by 3.
  • Example: a character with Two-Handed Style Specialization wielding a Bastard Sword can swing her weapon faster with two-handed style than she can with one-handed style. Used in one hand, the Bastard Sword has a Speed Factor of 6. In two hands it has a Speed Factor of 8, but a Two-Hand Style specialist has a Speed Factor of 5 (8–3). This is because when she wields this type of weapon with both hands on the hilt, she has more leverage on the blade and can move it faster. What specialization in this style does for the character is teach her how to use the weapon faster and more aggressively than someone with less specialized training.
  • One-Handed Weapons Used Two-Handed: Some players don’t realize many other one-handed weapons can be used two-handed. Since these weapons don’t do any more damage two-handed there usually isn’t much reason to do it. However, a character specialized in Two-Handed Weapon style, wielding a one-handed weapon with two hands gets a bonus of +1 to damage. One-handed weapons which can be wielded two-handed in this fashion include: Battle axe, Club, Footman’s flail, Footman’s pick, Horseman’s flail, Horseman’s mace, Horseman’s pick, Morning star, Long Sword and Warhammer.

Weapon and Shield Style:

  • This is a classic fighting technique which is most common among fantasy and real life medieval warriors. The warrior wields a one-handed weapon in her on-hand and a shield on her other arm.
  • Advantages: The main advantage of Weapon and Shield Style is that you get an Armor Class bonus of the shield, made even better when the shield is magical (or the character has shield proficiency). Also, there are several shield maneuvers that can be used (see “Shield Maneuvers”).
  • Disadvantages: The disadvantages of this style are: the character’s off-hand is dedicated to the shield and is no use for any other reason, and if you swing your weapon and perform a shield maneuver in the same round you sacrifice the shield’s AC bonus and suffer normal penalties for fighting with two-weapons.
  • Style Specialization: Specialization in Weapon and Shield style gives a character any of the three following abilities (only one per round). 1) An additional -1 bonus to her Armor Class (in addition to the normal AC bonus for a shield). 2) A +1 to-hit in any round where she attacks with a weapon and simply holds the shield (still gains the shield’s normal AC bonus). 3) Ability to make up to two shield maneuvers in a combat round as if the shield is a secondary weapon (normal penalties for attacking with 2 weapons apply). A character specialized in Weapon and Shield may take the option of making shield maneuvers. These characters may make one or two maneuvers at their own option. The Shield Maneuvers are; shield-rush, shield-punch, block or trap. Specialized characters can make one maneuver every round without losing the normal AC benefit for the shield. A character may instead choose to make two maneuvers in a round but she will sacrifice the shields normal AC bonus. The second maneuver can only be a shield-punch or block. Also if making two maneuvers in a round the character suffers the normal penalties for attacking with both hands in a single combat round (–2 to attack rolls with her weapon and a –4 to attack rolls with the shield-punch or block). If you’re ambidextrous (as described above) you suffer only –2 with shield. If you are not ambidextrous but devote a second weapon proficiency slot to Weapon and Shield Style Specialization, that penalty drops to -2 with the weapon and –2 with the shield. If you are both ambidextrous and assigned a second slot to Weapon and Shield the penalty is reduced to 0 with both the weapon and the shield.

Two-Weapon Style:

  • A character can fight with one weapon in each hand. This style is popular among characters with high damage bonuses and/or weapon specialization. Usually the off-hand (secondary) weapon is shorter or lighter than the primary. If a character does not have specialization in Two-Weapon Style the secondary (off-hand) weapon must be shorter and lighter (though daggers and knives may be wielded simultaneously regardless of specialization).
  • Advantages: One great advantage to this style is that you always have another weapon in hand if you drop or lose one, so a single Disarm maneuver cannot leave you disarmed. Also the secondary weapon gives a character an additional attack or parry per combat round.
  • Disadvantages: The principal disadvantage to this style, as with some other styles, is that you don’t gain the AC benefit of a shield. Additionally, the character suffers normal penalties for fighting with two weapons, when attacking with both hands.
  • Style Specialization: A character that assigns a weapon proficiency slot to specialization in Two-Weapon Style negates some of the penalties for fighting with two weapons. Normal attack penalties for fighting with two weapons are -2 with the primary hand (on-hand) and -4 with the secondary hand (off-hand). A Two-Weapon style specialist has no penalty with her primary hand and only -2 with her secondary.
  • When fighting using Two-Weapon style a character can choose to do the same thing with both hands (I.E. two attacks or two parries) or do a different thing with each hand (I.E. one attack, one parry). If the two actions are different, each suffers a -1 to-hit penalty.
  • A specialized character must still fight with a smaller weapon in her off-hand and still suffers a minimum of -2 to-hit with that hand. There are two ways to negate these short comings. 1) If she has acquired the Ambidexterity secondary skill as well as Two-Weapon style specialization she has no off-hand and so negates all the penalties. 2) If she assigns a second weapon proficiency slot to Two-Weapon style specialization she negates the penalties and may fight with evenly weighted weapons but still is considered to have an off-hand. Note: there are no further benefits for having both Ambidexterity and two slots assigned to this weapon style.

Bow Missile Style:

  • This style separates a character from the common archer by allowing her to fire accurately while moving.
  • Advantages: The main advantage of this weapon style is that it allows a character to maintain her Dexterity bonus to Armor Class while preparing to shoot her bow.
  • Disadvantages: The disadvantages of this style are that the character does not have a melee weapon in hand nor does she have a shield.
  • Style Specialization: A character specialized in Bow Missile style can move up to half her normal movement rate and still make all of allowed missile attacks during a round. Or, she can move her full movement rate and make half as many attacks (rounded down). Additionally a specialized character gains a -1 bonus to AC when she is the target of missile fire (but only when she is attacking with her bow in that round).

Mounted Archery Style:

  • While many people may be expert archers, there are few if any archers who are good while shooting from horseback. Horse (or mounted) archers are rare in most cultures and are truly only prominent in Gidi’alah and Tron’de’Log. Characters may not start with proficiency in this style unless they are from those areas. Similarly, she must find someone from one of those areas to even learn this ability.
  • Advantages: The main advantage of this style would be that the rider (or mounted archer) can still fire a bow with relative accuracy. This would give the character a longer than normal, distance missile attack from horseback.
  • Disadvantages: The disadvantages of this style are that the character has neither a melee weapon nor a shield in hand.
  • Style Specialization: A character specialized in the Mounted Archery style can shoot with accuracy even while riding. A proficient archer and rider, who is specialized in this style reduces penalties normally suffered for shooting while riding by 2. Normally, a character suffers a –2 penalty to missile attacks if her mount is moving at up to half its normal speed, and a –4 penalty if the mount is moving at full speed. Horse archers suffer no penalty while firing at half-speed, and only a –2 penalty for firing at full speed. If a character assigns a second slot to this style, she negates all penalties for shooting bows while mounted and moving at those speed levels. She may also attempt to fire while traveling at faster speeds with a reasonable amount of success.

Thrown Weapon/Sling Style:

  • Specialization in this style allows greater accuracy for throwing weapons while moving.
  • Advantages: The main advantage of this weapon style is that it allows a character to throw her missiles while presenting a moving target rather than a flat footed one.
  • Disadvantages: The main disadvantage of the style is: the character often does not have a melee weapon in hand because they have normally thrown their weapons away. Also, the character must be utilizing missile type weapons with a lower potential for damage.
  • Style Specialization: A character specialized in Thrown Weapon/Sling style can move up to half her normal movement rate and still make all of allowed missile attacks during a round. Or, she can move her full movement rate and make half as many attacks. Additionally a specialized character gains a -1 bonus to AC when she is the target of missile fire (but only when she is attacking with her missiles in that round).

Special Weapon Styles

Like Mounted Archery style, there are numerous fighting styles that originate and are perfected in different historical periods and geographical areas. A character of the correct type and background can spend a proficiency slot to specialize in one of those styles, though the GM is the final arbiter of what fighting styles might be allowed to certain characters. Future sourcebooks depicting certain eastern and southern cultures will present special weapon styles. Only characters that are from the culture specific to the special style will be allowed to begin play with it. Players are encouraged to do a little research before they try to build a case for a specific fighting style.

Tactics Proficiencies

Characters can also use weapon proficiencies to acquire any of the following Tactics Proficiencies:

Ambidexterity
Relevant Ability: Dexterity Check: No checks needed

Ambidextrous characters are able to use either hand with equal coordination and skill. They are neither right-handed nor left-handed and so may make attacks with either hand with no off-hand penalties. This ability is conferred to attacks with weapons, bare hands and non-combat attacks and makes either hand their primary hand. Ambidexterity does not grant a character an extra attack per round, but if she loses the use of one hand or drops a weapon in that hand, she will be equally adept with the other.

When fighting with Two-weapons a character who is; Ambidextrous, proficient in 2-Weapon Style and proficient in both weapons, has two primary hands and is allowed an attack with each hand in a round, but suffers a -2 attack penalty with each hand. If she is fighting with matching (evenly weighted) weapons she suffers an additional -2 penalty to the second attack. If an Ambidextrous character is proficient in 2-weapon Style and specialized in a weapon she may negate the -2 penalty for unevenly weighted weapons. Note: under these circumstances even a character specialized with a weapon is still allowed only one attack per hand. Ambidextrous characters specialized in 2-weapon Style and proficient in a weapon suffers a -2 to attack on her second attack but suffers no additional penalty for using matching weapons. Ambidextrous characters specialized in a weapon and 2-weapon Style and fighting with matching specialized weapons suffer no attack penalties but can apply specialist attacks to only one of her hands. Ambidextrous characters specialized in 2-weapon style with at least one Weapon Mastery level may make full specialist number of attacks with both hands in addition to not suffering penalties.

Armor
Relevant Stat: none Chance Modifier: none
Characters can spend time and effort learning how to use their armor more efficiently. Having this proficiency does not provide a bonus to Armor Class but it can help offset the hefty encumbrance penalties of heavy armor.

The Armor Proficiency applies to the certain type of armor (be it Scale Mail or Field Plate) that the character names when taking this proficiency. The special benefit of the Armor Proficiency is; the character treats that type of armor as if it weighed one-half normal weight for the effects of encumbrance and weight allowance. Example: chain mail normally weighs 40 pounds, but a character with a proficiency in chain mail only has to count 20 of this toward her encumbrance level. This represents the character’s training in wearing the armor the correct way and her practice in moving around while wearing 30 or 40 pounds of ironmongery.

A character may purchase this proficiency several times to apply it to other armor types but may not switch what type of armor an assigned slot applies to.

Shield Proficiency
Relevant Stat: none Chance Modifier: none
  • By assigning a weapon proficiency slot to this proficiency a character can become more skilled in the use of a shield. Even though the shield is not popular among role-players it is a very important part of a warrior’s protection. The extra protection conferred by the shield varies by the exact type the character becomes proficient in. The number of attacks is the maximum number of times the listed shield bonus can protect a character in a single round. Even a character proficient in shield cannot apply this bonus against enemies behind or flanking her.
Shield Type Normal AC Bonus Proficient AC bonus Number of Attacks
Buckler +1 +1 1
Small +1 +2 2
Medium +2 +3 3
Body 2/3 vs. missiles 3/4 vs. missiles 4

Weapon Proficiencies

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