Weapon Specialization

Being proficient in a weapon is very different than being a weapon Specialist. Anyone can swing a sword but it takes a special breed of hero to become an artist with its use. An Olympic fencer is more than just an athlete; she can do things with her weapon that astounds most fencers.

The abilities that set characters apart from normal people are the bonuses they gain toward their abilities. As a character adventures and gains experience she gains knowledge and becomes a more adept warrior. Her trials have taught her what to expect from opponents and when the openings to use her skills arise. But these are advancements that all characters gain. Weapon Specialization is a bonus common only to the select few warrior classes. Any class that may specialize in weapons can specialize in any weapon with-which they already have proficiency. A character that may specialize can with any weapon their class allows proficiency with. While specialization is normally gained when a character is created, there is no rule that excludes her from waiting for a higher level to do so. In the case of the Gladiator for example; the character is proficient with all weapons and may specialize with any number of weapons. Under these circumstances the character will need to gain specialization after being created, because every weapon proficiency slot she gains is another potential specialization. A character who becomes or begins play as Multi-class may not gain bonuses of any kind from specialization regardless of if one of its classes allows it or if she was previously specialized before becoming Multi-classed.

Cost of Specialization: Specialization in a weapon is obtained by devoting an extra weapon proficiency slot to a chosen weapon the character already has proficiency with. This means that the total slot cost of specialization is two (one for proficiency and another for specialization). Having a proficiency in a weapon group does not meet the requirement for weapon specialization.

Unfortunately, if a character specializes in a weapon after creation, she must find a mentor to teach her. Those specialized in the use of a weapon normally demand payment.

Effects of Specialization: Characters who specialize in the use of a melee weapon gain bonuses to attack and damage (these stack with any other bonuses, such as those from Strength, magic or race). The to-hit bonus conferred by specialization does not allow a character to effect creatures that may only be hit by magical means.

A character that assigns specialization to a bow or crossbow weapon gains the to-hit bonus (not the damage bonus) and a specialized range category. This new category “Point Blank Range” is from 6 to 30 feet for bows and 6 to 60 feet for crossbows (depending on the ranges of the actual bow or crossbow). At point blank range all of a character’s shots gain a to-hit bonus equal to her level -1 (minimum of 1). In addition a character using a bow (not a crossbow) may add her Strength Damage Bonus to the damage of a successful hit. Also, if the character has an arrow knocked and drawn, or a bolt loaded and cocked, and has a target in sight, she can fire before the lowest initiative in any round.

Additionally, a character specialized in a weapon gains the ability to make multiple attacks in one combat round. The rate of the additional attacks rises as the specialized character gains experience levels at a faster pace than those who don’t specialize. Table 5-17 compiles the to-hit modifiers and rate of attack for specialized characters at all levels. Characters who specialize in the use of crossbows never gain a greater rate of fire with a single crossbow. Greater understanding of the use of this table is explained in Chapter IV: Combat.

Weapon Specialization

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