Katana - Pointless?

I presume(/hope) that they will add in ways to add in weapon proficiencies later, but right now the katana kind of seems pointless to me.

The class it would most fit with I think would be a rogue, as, given the current rules/systems we have in place, making a ninja archetype for a rogue would be super easy(and please don't start with the IRL ninja's didnt use katanas talk. This is a fantasy setting, more grounded in common fantasy archetypes/tropes then in real life historical accuracy). It would also allow for a rather interesting and different rogue, who would try to emerge from the shadows and deal large 2handed sneak attack strikes, before fading away into the darkness again.

The biggest issue for me is looking at the class that CAN use one. We have a 2handed finesse weapon that encourages a Dex based character. It can be used by:

Barbarians: Str based, get advantage on str attacks in their rage
Warbringer clerics: Str/Wis based, class is designed to be in heavy armor, and probably use a 1h/shield combination. Also, thematically, a cleric with a katana is just strange
Fighter: Could pull off the samurai OK, but melee fighters will be better based around STR than they will being based around Dex.  
Paladin: No major disadvantage to building a dex/cha paladin, in light armor, other than it just being a really strange character idea. Also, no real advantage to it over going for a str/cha build in heavy armor, getting D12 2handers instead
Ranger: Ranger can effectively wield it in a light armored dex build and do well. Would allow for a hybrid ranged/melee build that still pushes out strong damage without having to go into TWF. Thematically, again, it seems a little off though. I can't think of anything off the top of my head in eastern/asian fantasy/lore type settings that would be similar to a ranger using weapons like that.

So ultimately, I think making the Katana a 2H finesse weapon is cool in theory, but the class that both can utilize it the best, and makes the most sense thematically, cannot use it. A fighter also makes sense using it, but would be better off if it were a STR weapon, and a ranger can use it somewhat effectively, but it doesnt make the most sense.
I think that a Dexterity-based fighter wielding a katana is pretty boss. I have one in my home campaign, and he's a complete badass.

Danny

Yeah, it works on the fighter, but the fighter would be pretty much better off just going str over dex and using a D12 2h...
Yeah, it works on the fighter, but the fighter would be pretty much better off just going str over dex and using a D12 2h...



Not necessarily. If you make a dex based fighter you lose out a little on your melee damage, but you gain a strong ranged attack in addition to your melee attack. Now this would not be the best idea for a heavily armored tank, but for a ranged fighter I would say that the kantana would be a solid weapon choice.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Dex fighter gets good saves too.

But also: halflings.
There is no reason a Fighter, Cleric or Paladin could not be built around Dex. Only the barbarian is at a mechanical disadvantage. I think the katana is great the way it is.
Well, thematically, clerics/paladins focused on dex/light armor/2handed light blades are...unconventional, at best(i know theres nothing wrong with unconventional, but its still worth noting). As with the fighter, its good if they want to be able to switch between ranged and melee, although i think mathematically 2 shortswords would end up working out a lot better in that situation. As for the paladin and cleric, again they both have D12 strength options available, as well as heavy armor, and, with the cleric especially, you're not really gaining advantage from using a bow, since you have your spells for range. A paladin would be giving up the advantages of strength based weapons for lower damage in order to allow for some versatility in a few niche cases(Also, all of your channel divinity options, outside of lay hands, and turn/rebuke undead, trigger off melee strikes).

Dex allows versatility between melee and ranged, which is not bad for the fighter, and is a relatively small benefit to cleric/paladin.

My main argument is that the class that can best benefit the most from the weapon being finesse(almost completely dex based, being able to add sneak attack damage to a 1D10 2hander) is excluded from using it, and the classes that can use it gain minimal benefit from the finesse clause, outside of small niche cases. Because of this, the weapon seems to be lacking a real purpose. 

Also, adding things like specific weapon proficiencies seems really easy to do with the idea of rogue schemes. Could even make a "ninja" scheme around it. 
Isn't there a feat that could give you proficiency with all weapons? If not there should be.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
No, I didnt see any feats that give weapon proficiency. That would be one way to solve it, although I like the idea of rolling it into a scheme.

Didn't one of the schemes in an earlier packet give weapon proficiencies? 
No, I didnt see any feats that give weapon proficiency. That would be one way to solve it, although I like the idea of rolling it into a scheme.

Didn't one of the schemes in an earlier packet give weapon proficiencies? 



Not sure, but if it isn't a feat when the game comes out I'm going to houserule it.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Yeah, I'd like to see a flexible way to be able to add weapon/armor proficiencies to all the classes. Although rogues are really the only melee class thats at all hamstrung by them(actually, rogues are the only class, other than druids(who get bear form), and wizards(who are finger wigglers), that don't have access to all simple and martial weapons. That seems odd to me...

*edit* and monks, obviously. But they have fists of FURY. 
While Katanas are neat, I've seen the suggestion that it be renamed the Sabre to fit in with other western-style weapons like the Rapier. Then one could reflavor as needed for an oriental setting, while keeping the core setting European-inspired.
But sabres are pretty universally one handed. The estoc might be your best bet. But people do like katanas.
I think that the main reason to use a Dex-based warrior is to allow you to make Strength a dump stat, so that you can get some high mental stats. This is already somewhat interesting for the Ranger and the Rogue, the Ranger for spellcasting and fighting, and the Rogue for skills. I also don't see why it wouldn't be good for a Cleric, or even a Paladin for that matter.

I think that it would be especially cool for an Arcane Warrior of some kind that casts Wizard spells at a similar progression to the Ranger or Paladin, with Ranger/Paladin level melee combat abilities.

For example you could use a Nature Paladin with a Katana and high DEX, WIS, and CHA. I think that would be very cool, and actually have some game-based merit. 
I presume(/hope) that they will add in ways to add in weapon proficiencies later, but right now the katana kind of seems pointless to me.

The class it would most fit with I think would be a rogue, as, given the current rules/systems we have in place, making a ninja archetype for a rogue would be super easy(and please don't start with the IRL ninja's didnt use katanas talk. This is a fantasy setting, more grounded in common fantasy archetypes/tropes then in real life historical accuracy). It would also allow for a rather interesting and different rogue, who would try to emerge from the shadows and deal large 2handed sneak attack strikes, before fading away into the darkness again.

The biggest issue for me is looking at the class that CAN use one. We have a 2handed finesse weapon that encourages a Dex based character. It can be used by:

Barbarians: Str based, get advantage on str attacks in their rage
Warbringer clerics: Str/Wis based, class is designed to be in heavy armor, and probably use a 1h/shield combination. Also, thematically, a cleric with a katana is just strange
Fighter: Could pull off the samurai OK, but melee fighters will be better based around STR than they will being based around Dex.  
Paladin: No major disadvantage to building a dex/cha paladin, in light armor, other than it just being a really strange character idea. Also, no real advantage to it over going for a str/cha build in heavy armor, getting D12 2handers instead
Ranger: Ranger can effectively wield it in a light armored dex build and do well. Would allow for a hybrid ranged/melee build that still pushes out strong damage without having to go into TWF. Thematically, again, it seems a little off though. I can't think of anything off the top of my head in eastern/asian fantasy/lore type settings that would be similar to a ranger using weapons like that.

So ultimately, I think making the Katana a 2H finesse weapon is cool in theory, but the class that both can utilize it the best, and makes the most sense thematically, cannot use it. A fighter also makes sense using it, but would be better off if it were a STR weapon, and a ranger can use it somewhat effectively, but it doesnt make the most sense.



What's wrong with strange character ideas? They are the most interesting!

If Katana's don't suit your theme, I think there's nothing wrong with calling it a well-crafted well-balanced Two Handed Sword. 
I'm not saying theres anything wrong with strange characters, just that the class that it would make most sense for to be able to use it is literally the only one who cannot. Fighters, paladins, and clerics would all be better off in heavy armor and swinging D12s then in light armor and swinging D10s(and a dex based fighter would simply be better off with DW short swords, or a rapier/shortsword combo). Barbarians lose out on advantage to attack rolls while in rage if using dex.

"I think that the main reason to use a Dex-based warrior is to allow you to make Strength a dump stat, so that you can get some high mental stats."

The classes who can use it can also just make dex their dump stat, and go with str and heavy armor. And they would have D12's instead of D10s. 

"For example you could use a Nature Paladin with a Katana and high DEX, WIS, and CHA. I think that would be very cool, and actually have some game-based merit. "

Paladins get absolutely zero benefit from wisdom. 

Again, theres nothing wrong with obscure/strange character ideas. Lord knows I've played a ton of them over the years, and they're lots of fun to create and play. I'm not saying to take the katana away from all of these, just to give it to the class that makes the most sense for it to use. Rogue is the only class that can get use out of the katana and not have it be sub-optimal to most of their other playstyles.
 
Honestly, I think they could just gives rogues proficiency in the katana and it would be fine.
If theres something they're worried about, they can bake it into one of the schemes.

Also, surely it would be possible to give rogues proficiency in "all finesse weapons"? I mean, that would make sense, wouldn't be obtuse for players to figure out,  doesn't really go against the whole idea of weapon proficiencies in general...
You could worry about the whip and spiked chain. Reach can be pretty good for a rogue. Might be worth a feat.
Paladins get Wisdom checks from Wisdom
Yes, wisdom works for skills for paladins, thats about it. They can make cha saves for any wis saves they need to. So again, you give up either 1d8+1d6 from longsword/spiked shield, or 1d6+1d6 from shortsword/spiked shielf if you dont want to burn a feat, and 1D12 damage from a str based 2hander if you want to go a 2handed route, for getting a few small bonuses in skills.
When talking about balance, I always assume that Spiked Shield is not in the game. There is no reason to do anything besides use a spiked shield. Period.
I'm sure that all the unique character designs will be something available in the full game (or a module thereof).  After all as anyone can now two weapon fight (with light weapons) shows us the designer's openess to this concept.  With more feats there will be more options and more customization.  It will happen, but it's just limited in this packet.

Katana's (or whatever you call it to make it a 'European' weapon) are cool Dex based weapons and I'm glad that it is there.  Maybe rogues could have access to it, and other finesse weapons in some way (scheme, feat).
"When talking about balance, I always assume that Spiked Shield is not in the game. There is no reason to do anything besides use a spiked shield. Period."

 Ok, so now you're talking a tradeoff between 1D8 damage + 2ac from normal shield, and 1D10 damage and -2 AC. Tradeoffs are good, and ask players to make choices, I like that. But only when the choice is meaninful. Giving up 2 AC for D2 is pretty big, but i could see cases where you could take it. However, if you're willing to give up +2 AC (which is huge given bounded accuracy) for D2 damage, than surely you'd also be willing to give up a few points in the dex based skills for another D2 damage, by going str?

 All these classes that can use the katana are asked to give up something to use it(except ranger), while the one class that would really shine with it can't. 

Again, I'm not trying to take the katana away from anyone, just saying right now it is a weapon that does not have a really strong optimal home. All the cases where its used are "well, if i want to make this pretty specific corner case character, and give up a few things, i can take it and it will be fun!", which, again, isn't bad, and should always be available to do, but I just feel like the katana needs a good home on a class that can really shine with it.
So what you're really trying to say is that the katana should be d12?
At D12, rogues would probably never get it

 I don't think the stats at all need to be changed, I think the idea of a 2hand weapon using dex, but slightly less damage, is cool, I just think the weapon would make more sense, and have a proper home, in the hands of a rogue.

Again, the rogue is the only pure melee class that cannot use it, the only primarily melee class that cannot use it, and hell one of the primary caster types(even though druid/cleric can melee well, they have cantrips and thus I count them as primarily spellcasters), can even use it...

"lets make a weapon that would be great in the hands of rogues, and then make them the only melee class that cannot use it" just feels super odd to me... 
At D12, rogues would probably never get it


For a rogue, it still wouldn't be nearly as good as two short swords, so I don't see why there would be a problem.

There is also an initiative benefit for going Dex based, might not necessarily balance the weapon, but does fit with the idea of the skilled Samurai who slices his enemy before they can draw their sword.
I presume(/hope) that they will add in ways to add in weapon proficiencies later, but right now the katana kind of seems pointless to me.

The class it would most fit with I think would be a rogue, as, given the current rules/systems we have in place, making a ninja archetype for a rogue would be super easy(and please don't start with the IRL ninja's didnt use katanas talk. This is a fantasy setting, more grounded in common fantasy archetypes/tropes then in real life historical accuracy). It would also allow for a rather interesting and different rogue, who would try to emerge from the shadows and deal large 2handed sneak attack strikes, before fading away into the darkness again.

The biggest issue for me is looking at the class that CAN use one. We have a 2handed finesse weapon that encourages a Dex based character. It can be used by:

Barbarians: Str based, get advantage on str attacks in their rage
Warbringer clerics: Str/Wis based, class is designed to be in heavy armor, and probably use a 1h/shield combination. Also, thematically, a cleric with a katana is just strange
Fighter: Could pull off the samurai OK, but melee fighters will be better based around STR than they will being based around Dex.  
Paladin: No major disadvantage to building a dex/cha paladin, in light armor, other than it just being a really strange character idea. Also, no real advantage to it over going for a str/cha build in heavy armor, getting D12 2handers instead
Ranger: Ranger can effectively wield it in a light armored dex build and do well. Would allow for a hybrid ranged/melee build that still pushes out strong damage without having to go into TWF. Thematically, again, it seems a little off though. I can't think of anything off the top of my head in eastern/asian fantasy/lore type settings that would be similar to a ranger using weapons like that.

So ultimately, I think making the Katana a 2H finesse weapon is cool in theory, but the class that both can utilize it the best, and makes the most sense thematically, cannot use it. A fighter also makes sense using it, but would be better off if it were a STR weapon, and a ranger can use it somewhat effectively, but it doesnt make the most sense.



Well, I have to point out one thing. One of the most historically famous ninja was, in fact, a samurai. Who do I speak of? Why no other than Hattori Hanzo. The fantasy archetype ninja uses the fictional ninjato. The historically accurate ninja uses any weapon that they can use to properly portray them in their given objective. To use an iconic weapon like a ninjato would be too much of a giveaway in a realistic perspective.
I feel like the tradeoff for using finesse weapons should always be less damage dealt for the reliance on DEX as a super stat for your martial character. Dex already grants INISH and Armor bonus. If you use finesse weapons, then it is your hit and damage stat, too. Adding a d1O finesse weapon, two-handed or not, just incentivises going the DEX route over the traditional STR route. While I really, really, like the idea of a mobility-based fighter, I do think the tradeoff for mobility and finesse should be less protection/damage potential. If you keep throwing in more stuff to make the DEX fighter just as damaging as the STR fighter, you've got no differentiation, less flavor, and fewer real choices to make.
Having finesse weapons use Dex to attack but Str for damage seems like a dirt-simple way to make it all work pretty well.
At D12, rogues would probably never get it


For a rogue, it still wouldn't be nearly as good as two short swords, so I don't see why there would be a problem.




Why would two shortswords be better?
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
At D12, rogues would probably never get it


For a rogue, it still wouldn't be nearly as good as two short swords, so I don't see why there would be a problem.




Why would two shortswords be better?


2d6 > 1d10

Also, at the time I wrote that I was thinking you would get two chances to score your sneak attack, but that isn't right. You can only attempt a sneak attack once per turn.
Having finesse weapons use Dex to attack but Str for damage seems like a dirt-simple way to make it all work pretty well.

Fer realz. 

(In other words: +1)

Danny

Having finesse weapons use Dex to attack but Str for damage seems like a dirt-simple way to make it all work pretty well.

No, seriously, terrible idea.

Strength is a super stat. It gives you a bonus to hit, and to damage, while Dex gives you a bonus to AC (and intiative which is clearly less important than the other three).

Finesse lets you make Dex into your super stat, instead of Strength. It's pretty well balanced right now, beause if you actually want a high AC, you need heavy armor, not high dex. A Finesse Weapon fighter is GIMPED, but cool, and interesting. Yay for stealth! Yay for initiative! But, in exchange, less damage, and easier to hit. Ouch!
Having finesse weapons use Dex to attack but Str for damage seems like a dirt-simple way to make it all work pretty well.

No, seriously, terrible idea.

Strength is a super stat. It gives you a bonus to hit, and to damage, while Dex gives you a bonus to AC (and intiative which is clearly less important than the other three).

Dexterity is widely regarded as the super stat of super stats.

Strength is not even in the running.

Finesse lets you make Dex into your super stat, instead of Strength. It's pretty well balanced right now, beause if you actually want a high AC, you need heavy armor, not high dex. A Finesse Weapon fighter is GIMPED, but cool, and interesting. Yay for stealth! Yay for initiative! But, in exchange, less damage, and easier to hit. Ouch!

Dexterity modifies AC, finesse attacks, finesse damage, ranged attacks, ranged damage, initiative, is the most-often targeted saving throw, is associated with some of the more useful exploration tasks (e.g. stealth), is modified by the dodge action, can be leveraged in the avoidance of the grapple action, can be leveraged in the avoidance of the knock down action, etc, etc. 

Danny


Finesse lets you make Dex into your super stat, instead of Strength. It's pretty well balanced right now, beause if you actually want a high AC, you need heavy armor, not high dex. A Finesse Weapon fighter is GIMPED, but cool, and interesting. Yay for stealth! Yay for initiative! But, in exchange, less damage, and easier to hit. Ouch!


Light armor is 0 to 1 pt of AC below heavy, given a plausible Dex:

Leather at 18 Dex: 15 AC
Chain: 16 AC

Dragon leather at 18 Dex: 16 AC
Banded: 17 AC

Mithril shirt at 20 Dex: 18 AC
Mithril plate: 18 AC

+1 AC is worth a feat. In exchange you get all the other things pop mentioned. In particular the bonus to Dex saves is surely worth a feat all by itself.

---
Edit: of course, there's little actual penalty for wearing heavy armor, if that point of AC was important to you, you could still just wear heavy armor and still get all the other benefits of high Dex (saves, ranged attacks, init, ...)
I have to agree with Jaelis and Pop, Dex is clearly better than Str - but that said I don't feel like they should make the change to using str for damage for all weapons.  I would rather see carrying capacity made realistic and maybe require certain strength scores for heavier armors.  I also think that Heavy armor users should be able to have a higher AC.  They still suffer for slower movement, less init, and worse reflexes than dex users so lets give them higher AC, not much, but lets give them something.
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Edit: of course, there's little actual penalty for wearing heavy armor, if that point of AC was important to you, you could still just wear heavy armor and still get all the other benefits of high Dex (saves, ranged attacks, init, ...)



This is a flaw with the amount of stat increases PCs get, not the armor system though.  Its practically guarunteed that you will have two 20s at level 20.
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I am currently creating a ninja like rogue. And I dont see why I would want to wield one d10katana if i can have a rapier and a shortsword. thats 1d8+dexmod+possible sneak attack D6 +another d6 with the shortsword. At lvl 9 I even get to add the dex mod on the shortsword attack if i choose the feat.
I also think that Heavy armor users should be able to have a higher AC.  They still suffer for slower movement, less init, and worse reflexes than dex users so lets give them higher AC, not much, but lets give them something.



^ this

When the rogue with with 20 DEX has as much AC as the fighter it just seems off to me. 
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
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