Racial Weapons

I would like to see the Playtest's Racial Weapon die increase be a roleplaying equalizer and not create optimized points.

The Playtest's Dwarven Cleric warhammer does d10 instead of How To Play table's d8.  This makes a dwarf using a warhammer the optimal damage possible.  No other one handed weapon does d10 damage, most do d8. 

Instead, I would like to see the warhammer do d6 damage in the weapon table and then d8 in the hands of a dwarf.  This eliminates the dwarf warhammer optimization and instead makes all the dwarves who want to carry a warhammer as good as all the longsword and battle axe wielders.  The flail still provides the weapon table d8 for bludgeoning damage.

The Playtest's Dwarven Fighter greataxe does 2d6 instead of How To Play table's d12.  I don't like going above the d12.  I remember when the dice progression was standard DM work, but this is supposed to be easier. 

So if d12 is highest, and the weapon table will have d12 entries then I would simply not make those weapons be racial weapons for any race.  Instead of now making a dwarf with the greataxe the most optimized weapon in the game, you just make it as good as anyone else with a greataxe.  Instead, I would like the maul reduced to a d10 (I don't think it should be a d12 either way) and make it a racial weapon for dwarves.  Now you have the dwarf with the maul as optimized as any greataxe wielder.

The Playtest's Halfling Rogue sling does d8 instead of How To Play table's d6.  This works, imo, because it takes the sling and makes it as good as the best ranged weapons - but not better than all of them.

I would give elves a bump to the Short Sword but not the Long Sword.  So in effect the elf wielding the short sword is as best as every one handed weapon - with the added benefit of a finesse weapon!  And the elf wielding the longsword might have better magical sword choices but isn't the character optimized one handed weapon wielder.

Same for elven bows, give elves a boost to Short Bows and not Long Bows.  Now the slender forest-racing elf can do as much damage with their diminuitive bow as the human with the 6'+ long bow.

The weapon table will look more diverse for it, while certain combinations reveal it's more or less the sameyness.





+1

I don't want to be punished for choosing to be a longsword wielding dwarf.
You seem to misunderstand the Dwarf's weapon-related ability. Either that, or I misunderstand it, which is possible, since the ability isn't actually written anywhere.

My understanding of the ability is that they increase the damage die of any weapon they use. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

I would like to see the Playtest's Racial Weapon die increase be a roleplaying equalizer and not create optimized points.

I'd like them to remove racial weapon die increases altogether and move any such increases to themes or classes. If that doesn't happen your idea would probably be a good compromise point.
Except that it means anyone who is not a dwarf will never want to wield those wepaons because they'd be largely sub-standard.

This is why racial weapon abilities need to be non-automatic options 
I'm a big fan of anything that reduces the potential for optimization.  There should never be a "best" answer.  I don't want this to be the 3.5 Dwarven Waraxe issue all over again.

The metagame is not the game.

I think rather than giving a + bonus of some kind or another to racial weapons, that it would be better to grant a non + ability instead.

Examples:

Elves can fire arrows through underbrush at their foes and not worry about partial cover and concealment.

Dwarves can never be disarmed by orcs, goblins and the like.

 
Again, I ask: Has there been any confirmation that the dwarven weapon die feature is, indeed, only for axes and hammers, and not for any melee weapon?

Also, the difference between die types is, on average, 1 point of damage. It's really not a huge deal. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Again, I ask: Has there been any confirmation that the dwarven weapon die feature is, indeed, only for axes and hammers, and not for any melee weapon?

What we have is that in the L&L on 05/28 Mearls said "One final detail: the current cleric's warhammer deals 1d10 damage. The warhammer in the equipment section uses a d8 for its damage. For the races, we decided to use a mechanic that improves a weapon's die to indicate a racial affinity for a weapon." I would not read a global bonus from that, but I suppose it is not 100% specific.
Again, I ask: Has there been any confirmation that the dwarven weapon die feature is, indeed, only for axes and hammers, and not for any melee weapon?

Here.
"For the races, we decided to use a mechanic that improves a weapon's die to indicate a racial affinity for a weapon."

Edit: Damn, ninja'd. Well... I provided a link.

Anyway, the OP's idea is neat for making racial weapon-related features essentially just flavor, much like racial weapon proficiencies in 4E, which is good for avoiding pigeon-holing, but it still rubs me the wrong way for how it continues to inject what should be mutable cultural fluff right into the basic racial mechanics.

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@Serpine, I think character race should have some crunch.  The racial weapon crunch has varied through the editions, it wasn't until 3rd that every race got something - a low level crunch weapon proficiency.  But don't get me wrong, the elven wizard with a longsword at his side was a great image in my mind. 

I don't think every race need racial weapon increase, there are too many races for that.  And I don't think every racial ability is as useful as every other racial ability.  But if this is the direction 5th is going to go in, I would like to work as fluffy crunch and not CharOp crunch.

@rampant, there have always been sub-standard choices in D&D.  Do you want every Basic Weapon to be d6, every Martial Weapon to be d8 and every Heavy Weapon to be d12?  If there are going to be Racial Weapon die increases, let's make them to the sub-standard weapons.

@draegn, I hope there are plenty of those things.  The fluffy crunch describes the game/world so much better than fluff or crunch alone.

I would much rather see a background that gives out the racial weapon proficiency/bonus. "Want to be a human in the dwarven army? With the dwarven soldier background you too can smack the kneecaps off those marauding giants with your trusty warhammer." Sounds like a recruitment advertisement, but IMO it separates out genetic vs cultural racial features into pieces that make sense.

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NO I want weapons that don't do damage commensurate with their size/handedness/training requirements to have other benefits, like multiple damage types, finessable, or something.

Axes traditionally do not have these abilities, so making the battle axe a 1d6 weapon with no abilities unless wielded by a dwarf is a big nerf on one of my favorite weapons, and will probably extend to my big favorite, the great axe.


Furthermore I think automatic racial features that increase weapon damage/accuracy are a bad idea, weapon proficiencies seem to be less of a non-ability than they were in 4e, but +1 die type with hammers and aes is just not an ability I want to be an assuemd part of playing a dwarf, I'd rather they do more with the dwarves' legendary endurance, underground origins, etc. I want abilities that will be at least marginally useful to any class.

@rampant, there have always been sub-standard choices in D&D.  Do you want every Basic Weapon to be d6, every Martial Weapon to be d8 and every Heavy Weapon to be d12?  If there are going to be Racial Weapon die increases, let's make them to the sub-standard weapons.



Actually, I wouldn't have a problem with this. I would be quite pleased if the game set up weapons like in the new Gamma World, with a chart based on hands-used (2-handed=more damage) and being light or heavy (Heavy uses STR/CON for damage, Light uses DEX/INT, I think there may have been some damage and accuracy differences too), and then you describe the weapon any way you want. I want to finally be able to weild a spear in D&D and not have it be a piece of trash. Same goes with ranged weapons. Possibly the "Gun" category would be thrown out, but it could work for weapons that require more exotic ammo, which could have a place in D&D. For D&D, you might want to say that there are still Simple and Martial weapons, with the Simple ones doing one less damage dice of damage or something, but there really is no need for some weapons to be worse in the same proficiency category.

I'm not saying make an ax just a refluffed sword which is a refluffed spear. Make each weapon have a unique property that only that weapon family has, ie. swords get one thing, axes another, spears another, etc. But make those properties require special training to use, either a feat or a class feature. To throw Fighters a bone and to try to capture the "weapon master" feel, make them have a level 1 class feature allowing them to use all the bonuses!

As well, I agree with many other here that I believe things like "Racial Weapon Mastery" should be themes and feats. You want to be a Dwarf who is specialized in your race's favoured weapon? Take the Dwarven Warrior theme or something. Dwarves aren't just born with the knowledge of how to use hammers good. Making it a theme/feat allows you to have the flavour desired without needing to make huge swatches of weapons "Suboptimal" so that you can give a bonus that in the end is just fluff. Think about that idea for a second. You want to avoid making racial weapons too optimal, a noble goal. To do that, however, you decided the best way is to make it so nobody EXCEPT that race will want to use that weapon. It's a ridiculous level of pidgeon holeing. You use a longsword, except if you're not human. So boring! Let me play what I want, I'm the hero! We should be giving more options, not less. Making a cost to it, like a feat or theme, stops it from being to powerful because it's a tradeoff. It's a much better way to go.
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CCB is the only acceptable "racial weapon".
If the choice is between "no hill dwarf will ever use any weapon other than a dwarven war axe," and "nobody other than a hill dwarf will ever use a dwarven war axe," then I'll choose the second option over the first one; it's much less restrictive, even though the only point of either of them is to reduce options and make the game less fun.

The metagame is not the game.

I'd prefer to see racial weapon bonuses go die in a fire, personally.

I don't like the idea that an Elf will always and forever be a better swordsman than my Human/Dwarf/whatever just because they're an Elf. That just ticks me off something fierce.
I can't remember where I read it, but along with the dwarf having a bonus in hammers/axes, the hafling has a bonus for slings.



Actually, I wouldn't have a problem with this. I would be quite pleased if the game set up weapons like in the new Gamma World, with a chart based on hands-used (2-handed=more damage) and being light or heavy (Heavy uses STR/CON for damage, Light uses DEX/INT, I think there may have been some damage and accuracy differences too), and then you describe the weapon any way you want. I want to finally be able to weild a spear in D&D and not have it be a piece of trash. Same goes with ranged weapons. Possibly the "Gun" category would be thrown out, but it could work for weapons that require more exotic ammo, which could have a place in D&D. For D&D, you might want to say that there are still Simple and Martial weapons, with the Simple ones doing one less damage dice of damage or something, but there really is no need for some weapons to be worse in the same proficiency category.

I'm not saying make an ax just a refluffed sword which is a refluffed spear. Make each weapon have a unique property that only that weapon family has, ie. swords get one thing, axes another, spears another, etc.



I'm on board with this, and sloppily suggested it in another thread.  I think it was a "no useless weapons" thread.
How does gama world deal with weapons with reach or other special features?

Does it just cost an extra X gold per special ability on the weapon?  Can you just attach something like "reach" to your longsword? 
How does gama world deal with weapons with reach or other special features?

It doesn't if I recall. The last GW is stripped down and abstract to a crazy level, but then again they are basically trying to have a single weapon stat line that supports three characters that respectively use a real world gun, an arm mounted insect that spits slugs, and a potato launcher (nails in the potato being optional).

As far as 5e weapons I'd much rather have the sub-optimal damage choices have a weapon class perk that makes up for it. Balance them for all characters, with no impact from race.

How does gama world deal with weapons with reach or other special features?

It doesn't if I recall. The last GW is stripped down and abstract to a crazy level, but then again they are basically trying to have a single weapon stat line that supports three characters that respectively use a real world gun, an arm mounted insect that spits slugs, and a potato launcher (nails in the potato being optional).

I don't think I want to see how the one dude reloads his insect with more slugs...

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I don't think I want to see how the one dude reloads his insect with more slugs...

Yeah. It definitely isn't as slapstick as the guy with the potato launcher grabbing one of the rats that made up the swarm PC somebody else was playing and using *that* as ammo. That last edition was certainly interesting...

I am not saying any of these other race based weapon benefits aren't better choices or that race based weapon benefits are even a good choice...

This is what they gave us in the Playtest and I would like to see it tweaked so as not to create Character Optimization points but rather places where the sub-standard can be elevated to best-as-everyone-else standard.


I am not saying any of these other race based weapon benefits aren't better choices or that race based weapon benefits are even a good choice...

This is what they gave us in the Playtest and I would like to see it tweaked so as not to create Character Optimization points but rather places where the sub-standard can be elevated to best-as-everyone-else standard.


The problem is that if you have a substandard choice to begin with, no one will use it except maybe the race that gets a benefit with it. That's a pointless mechanic.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

I am not saying any of these other race based weapon benefits aren't better choices or that race based weapon benefits are even a good choice...

This is what they gave us in the Playtest and I would like to see it tweaked so as not to create Character Optimization points but rather places where the sub-standard can be elevated to best-as-everyone-else standard.


The problem is that if you have a substandard choice to begin with, no one will use it except maybe the race that gets a benefit with it. That's a pointless mechanic.

What if the point is to just provide some flavor and give a reason for haflings to run around with crummy slings when long bows are available?
I am not saying any of these other race based weapon benefits aren't better choices or that race based weapon benefits are even a good choice...

This is what they gave us in the Playtest and I would like to see it tweaked so as not to create Character Optimization points but rather places where the sub-standard can be elevated to best-as-everyone-else standard.


The problem is that if you have a substandard choice to begin with, no one will use it except maybe the race that gets a benefit with it. That's a pointless mechanic.

What if the point is to just provide some flavor and give a reason for haflings to run around with crummy slings when long bows are available?


Why not just make all weapons equally powerful, and remove the racial weapon affinities altogether? It accomplishes the same thing as making some weapons bad choices for anyone other than [race X]. Except, if the weapons are substandard by default, then no one OTHER than that race will use them. If all weapons are balanced with each other, anyone can use any weapon with reasonable proficiency, but you don't have the racial tendency toward certain weapons. Add in a small, practically inconsequential bonus (such as an increased damage die), and you have a reason for dwarves to use hammers and axes over daggers and swords, while still allowing humans to wield hammers and axes just as well as they can wield swords.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Add in a small, practically inconsequential bonus (such as an increased damage die)...

I was with you up until here. An increased damage die does not sound small or inconsequential to me. Also, doesn't that contradict your earlier statement of simply removing all racial weapon affinities?

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I am not saying any of these other race based weapon benefits aren't better choices or that race based weapon benefits are even a good choice...

This is what they gave us in the Playtest and I would like to see it tweaked so as not to create Character Optimization points but rather places where the sub-standard can be elevated to best-as-everyone-else standard.


The problem is that if you have a substandard choice to begin with, no one will use it except maybe the race that gets a benefit with it. That's a pointless mechanic.

What if the point is to just provide some flavor and give a reason for haflings to run around with crummy slings when long bows are available?


Why not just make all weapons equally powerful, and remove the racial weapon affinities altogether? It accomplishes the same thing as making some weapons bad choices for anyone other than [race X]. Except, if the weapons are substandard by default, then no one OTHER than that race will use them. If all weapons are balanced with each other, anyone can use any weapon with reasonable proficiency, but you don't have the racial tendency toward certain weapons. Add in a small, practically inconsequential bonus (such as an increased damage die), and you have a reason for dwarves to use hammers and axes over daggers and swords, while still allowing humans to wield hammers and axes just as well as they can wield swords.

So whats the incentive for a new player to pick a sling for his hafling, and to then grow up thinking... oh yeah, my halfling used to shoot stones at people.

Consider racial weapons as evocation spells :P 
So whats the incentive for a new player to pick a sling for his hafling, and to then grow up thinking... oh yeah, my halfling used to shoot stones at people.

Consider racial weapons as evocation spells :P 


I suspect you and I may be talking past each other. I'm in favor of racial weapon affinities, which might include halflings getting a benefit while using slings (as dumb as I think that idea is). Giving a mechanical incentive to certain races to use weapons and equipment iconically associated with them will result in those weapon/race combinations being used more often, which is the entire goal of the mechanic.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Add in a small, practically inconsequential bonus (such as an increased damage die)...

I was with you up until here. An increased damage die does not sound small or inconsequential to me. Also, doesn't that contradict your earlier statement of simply removing all racial weapon affinities?


It depends on how many times that die can be added to each hit with the weapon. In 3.5E, weapon damage die was basically meaningless, because high damage was all about the bonuses. In 4E, weapon damage die could be added as many as 7-9 times at the higher levels, making a much bigger difference between a d8 and a d10.

My suggestion was rhetorical, to illustrate that the making some weapons subpar, only to make them usable in the hands of certain races is a pointless design, causing problems without fixing anything.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

It depends on how many times that die can be added to each hit with the weapon.

I don't think that it does. It doesn't matter if an increased weapon die only actually increases damage output by 1%. It still sounds like a big deal and will still result in pigeon-holing if only because people hate so much having benefit on their sheet that they're getting literally zero use out of. And that's even without touching that issue of racial weapon affinities being a cultural feature rather than an innate racial one.

My suggestion was rhetorical, to illustrate that the making some weapons subpar, only to make them usable in the hands of certain races is a pointless design, causing problems without fixing anything.

I see that now, and I agree, but I just take it one step further and say that all racial weapon affinities are a bad idea anyway.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I think rather than giving a + bonus of some kind or another to racial weapons, that it would be better to grant a non + ability instead.

Examples:

Elves can fire arrows through underbrush at their foes and not worry about partial cover and concealment.

Dwarves can never be disarmed by orcs, goblins and the like.



Nice.

Come up with a list for all the races. Your pretty good at this.

It gives vivid flavor. There is a clear sense the culture transmits a distinctive fighting style.
... But it still rubs me the wrong way for how [racial weapon proficiency] continues to inject what should be mutable cultural fluff right into the basic racial mechanics.



Most backgrounds should provide a weapon proficiency, in addition to an assemblage of skills. Wielding a weapon is a skill.

Herders should be able to wield the crosier (hooked staff) and a sling, deer hunters should wield a longbow, and so on.

Each class already provides basic attacks (but in the case of Wizard, the basic attacks are cantrips, not weapons). Therefore, extra weapon proficiencies are moreorless redundant, as far as balance goes, and are mostly desirable because of a change in flavor. Balancewise choosing a weapon from a background skillset is about equal in value to choosing a skill from it.



In this way, each race can associate culturally with a set of backgrounds to choose from. Most of these backgrounds provide a weapon proficiency.

So, in the case of a Dwarf:
• Separate Hill-Dwarf backgrounds grant proficiency with a Hammer (as part of metal-smithing)
• or an axe (as part of lumberjacking forests - still part of the earthy soil flavor).
• A Mountain-Dwarf background grants a Pick (as part of mining and even for mountain-climbing).

In the case of Elf:
• Separate Wood-Elf (Dex-Wis) backgrounds grant a longbow (forest weapons - often with stone arrowheads!).
• or a spear (a wood weapon appropriate for wilderness life, often with stone spearheads).
• Drow-Elf (Cha-Dex) backgrounds grant a “normal sword” (finesse one-handed 1d8)
• or a handbow and poison.
• High-Elf (Int-Cha) backgrounds instead grant a magical implement, an orb (gems and pools of water),
• or a staff (as implement, not as weapon).

And so on.



Most importantly, any race or subrace can choose any background from any other race or subrace. The biography describes growing up in the culture that transmitted these cultural skill sets.



Special combat techniques using the weapon might be a theme.
Backgrounds if you let them, could include every first level ability and feature.  Weapon Proficiencies are Class based.  Race based Weapon Proficiencies were included in 3rd so every race got a racial weapon benefit, along with creating a lot of exotic racial weapons to go with those proficiencies.  Backgrounds in Next will primarily be skill packages.  Your Class will give you your weapon proficiencies.  And your race will (or could) provide racial weapon benefits.  I mean you could have any kind of weapon benefits: background weapon benefits, theme weapon benefits, etc.  But these are racial weapon benefits.

Personally, I am not a fan of every weapon doing the same damage dice.  Especially if the difference in weapons are subsystems that will likely be wildly unbalanced.  Spiked Chain, I am looking at you.

If they go the way the playtest racial weapon benefits work your going to effectively make every weapon but the racial weapon benefit weapon a sub-standard choice.  Aside from being against increasing weapon damage die as a racial weapon benefit, I am not sure what the argument against my (the OP) suggestion is.  Your in favor of pigeon holes?
I don't see how your suggestions stop the pigeonholing.

It seems to me that we'd be back were we started but with lower overall damage.

Which is why the best idea I can come up with is to ditch racial weapon abilities. 
To be honest, if they bring back racial weapons, I want the Kobold's to be the Heavy War Pick, because:

-It's really powerful (d12 Damage) yet usable by small characters, which is really helpful if you're trying to build a weapon using Kobold, liek say a battlemind or ardent

-It fits well with their racial ethos of trapbuilding (Including the fact that their patron god in Greyhawk is one of mining)

- Its improved critical fits with the Kobold's sneaky ethos (Since they'd definitely try to get advantage via sneakiness)
- It fits with their mytho-historical etymology

The metagame is not the game.