The point-buy weapon customization system
(By upho, slightly modified by Qube)
Using the Point-Buy System is an easy way to create new weapons while considerably decreasing the risk of accidentally creating an over- or underpowered item. The system is strictly based on the currently existing weapons in official WotC 4e sources, i.e. it only uses the properties and restrictions etc which can be found in or derived from those sources. All published weapons except a few odd cases with special properties such as Rogue Weapon Talent daggers or the overpowered Double Sword are balanced according to the system (see also "Important Notes" below).
Starting with a few basic weapon stats you add properties, change values etc according to your wishes. Each change you apply to the weapon either decreases the number of points (such as making the weapon two-handed) or increases the number of points (such as giving the weapon a larger damage die). A weapon has a limit of 4 points. Depending on which type of weapon you wish to create, follow the instructions for either "Military and Superior Melee Weapons", "Simple Melee Weapons" or "Ranged Weapons".
Military and Superior Melee Weapons
Military and Superior melee weapons can belong to any melee weapon group except mace or staff, and one specific weapon may also belong to two or even three groups. You have considerably more options to choose from when creating a Military or Superior melee weapon than a weapon of any other type.
In order to make a Military or Superior melee weapon you are limited to 6 points and the following weapon "base" (see special rules for Double Weapons below):
Base weapon: Military one-handed melee, +2 proficiency, 1d4 damage
Apply changes and adjust available points according to the following:
|First weapon group (any except Light Blade or Polearm)||0|
|Light Blade (always first group, max 1d8 damage die)||2|
|Additional weapon group (any except Light Blade or Polearm)||1|
|Polearm including Reach (may only be added to a Two-handed weapon, must have at least one other group)^
|Polearm excluding Reach (may not be added to a One-handed Military weapon, must have at least one other group)^||2
|Heavy Thrown 5/10 or 3/6 with any group other than Flail (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)***||2|
|Heavy Thrown 10/20 with any group other than Flail (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)***||4|
|Heavy Thrown 5/10 or 3/6 with Flail (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)***||4|
|Off-Hand with any group other than Light Blade (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)*:||2|
|Off-Hand with Light Blade (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)*||0|
|Reach for weapon other than Polearm (can not be applied to a One-handed Military or Small weapon)^||2|
|Small (max 1d8 damage die for weapons that Small characters can wield as 1-handed weapons)||2|
|Versatile (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon without the Light Blade group)||0|
|Brutal 1 (per weapon die: 2d4 cost twice as much)||1|
|Brutal 2 (can only be added to a weapon using a d10 or d12 damage die)||2|
One step damage increase
^: A weapon with the Polearm group and/or reach property combined with the Heavy Blade or Flail group has an extra damage progression step - 2d4 - between 1d8 and 1d10.
*: A weapon with the Off-Hand property and +2 proficiency may not have a larger damage die than 1d8, with +3 proficiency not larger than 1d6. (A Double Weapon does not have this limit, see separate instructions below.)
**: One-handed weapons with a damage die of d10 or d12 automatically gains the Versatile property.
***: A Heavy Thrown weapon with the range 5/10 may not have a damage die larger than 1d6, range 3/6 or 10/20 not larger than 1d8.
If you want to make a Double Weapon, start with 12 points and the following base weapon:
Base weapon: Military one-handed melee, +2/+2 proficiency, 1d4/1d4 damage, stout, defensive, off-hand
Improve the both ends of the weapon separately using the “Military and Superior Points Adjustment Table” (above), as if creating two 6-point one-handed weapons.
Double Weapon restrictions:
- Double Weapons can not have the Reach property.
- The Off-Hand property does not limit a Double Weapon's damage.
- No property of the base weapon can be removed or exchanged for another property
Simple melee weapons
All Simple melee weapons belong to one of the groups heavy blade, light blade, mace, spear or staff. In order to create a simple melee weapon you start with 4 points and the following weapon:
base weapon: Simple one-handed melee, +2 proficiency, 1d4 damage
|Simple weapon group except Light Blade or Staff||0|
|Light Blade ( max 1d6 damage die)||2|
|Staff (may only be added to a Two-handed weapon)||2|
|Heavy Thrown 5/10 or 3/6 with any group other than Spear (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)***
|Heavy Thrown 10/20 with Spear group (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)***||2
|Off-Hand (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon)*||2|
|Versatile (can only be applied to a one-handed weapon without the Light Blade group)**||0|
One step damage increase (below):
^: A weapon that has a larger damage die than 1d8 may either use 2d4 or 1d0 (decided at creation)
*: A weapon with the Off-Hand property and +2 proficiency may not have a larger damage die than 1d6, with +3 proficiency not larger than 1d4.
**: One-handed weapons with a d8 damage die automatically gains the Versatile property.
***: A Heavy Thrown weapon with the range 5/10 may not have a damage die larger than 1d4, range 3/6 or 10/20 not larger than 1d6.
The ranged weapons are divided into two groups using different “embryos” and points adjustment tables: Projectile Weapons and Light Thrown Weapons. Projectile Weapons include weapons belonging to the ranged weapon groups with the Load propery, ie bows, crossbows and slings. Light Thrown Weapons include ranged weapon groups that may have the Light Thrown property: light blades or flails.
To create a Projectile Weapon (bow, crossbow or sling), you start with 6 points and the following base weapon:
base weapon: Military two-handed ranged, +2 proficiency, 1d4 damage, range 10/20, load minor
|Bow, Crossbow or Sling group||0|
|One-handed (Crossbow or Sling only)||2|
|Load Free with Bow or Sling||0|
|Small (max 1d8 damage die)||2
|One step damage (and range) increase (below)
d4 - d6 - d8 - d10 - d12 - 2d6
To create a Light Thrown Weapon (light blade or flail), you start with 4 points and the following:
base weapon: Superior one-handed ranged, +2 proficiency, 1d4 damage, range 4/8
|Light Blade group||0|
The system is not completely fail-safe against unbalanced weapons. Always compare your result with existing weapons and check if feat combinations or class features may upset the balance (and if so, please post your build here). Double Weapons, weapons with reach and the polearm group and weapons with multiple groups (especially if Light Blade is included) deserve extra attention here, as certain class features and feat combinations may make such weapons very powerful. Also, the system can not (yet) be used for creating balanced weapons with properties other than those included. If you would like to make a new special weapon requiring a multiclass feat or a new Superior Dagger usable with the Rogue Weapon Talent class feature, for example, feel free to use the system as a guideline but remember that the value of each component may be quite different when applied to a weapon the system doesn't support.
The reason certain weapons in the PHB has "non-compliant" damage, such as the Greatsword, is that WotC originally used the polearm/reach damage table for Two-handed weapons. Some of the older weapons "switched" to the 2-handed table directly after "buying" 1d8 in the 1-handed table, meaning the next step became 2d4 instead of 1d10. That is the reason for the Greatsword not dealing more damage than the Bastard Sword (1d10) and the later Fullblade dealing 1d12 - the Greatsword spent one additonal point in order to reach 1d10.