Knight Weapon Specialization: the good and bad

PHB fighters choose either a +1 bonus to one- or two-handed weapons, which is BAD. A fighter with a +1 to two-handed weapons will forever disdain one-handed weapons. I’d like fighters to be the most versatile weapon-using class.

Essentials Knights have a +1 to all weapons, which is GOOD.

Essentials also have a class feature called “Weapon Specialization”:

Level 7: Weapon Specialization
You gain one of the following benefits of your choice.

Bladed Step: After you use power strike with a heavy blade, you can immediately shift 1 square adjacent to an enemy. You then gain combat advantage against that enemy until the end of your next turn.

Staggering Hammer: When you use power strike with a hammer and the target is adjacent to you, the target is also immobilized until the end of your next turn or until you are no longer adjacent to it. You also gain combat advantage against the target until the next turn.

I like the fact that a hammer-using knight feels different from one with a sword. Making the fighter’s choice of weapon meaningful is GOOD. But making that choice permanent is BAD.

The simple fix is to give both of these abilities to any knight. The meaningful choice will be made, not at level 7, but whenever the knight draws a weapon.

I’m all for letting fighters bathe in the glory of having mastery over two or more types of weapons. However, simply allowing both of these specializations won’t quite do the trick. You’ve also got the feat hump, where expertise and weapon focus will make them lean one way or another, so those would need to be houseruled.

Agreed, which is why expertise and weapon focus are BAD.

More Essentials thoughts…


7 Responses to “Knight Weapon Specialization: the good and bad”

  1. Moon DM says:

    I don’t think it’s so bad to be specialized. The players will probably get their magic weapon and not use a new one for 5 levels anyway, I don’t see a lot of switching around in my campaign. Still, if a player wanted to extend their specialization feats to a different weapon, I’d probbaly allow it.

  2. Rory Rory says:

    I don’t see much switching around in my campaign either, but it makes me a little sad. I don’t so much mind people sticking with one melee weapon, but it is a shame to see fighters and other classes using javelins and other ranged weapons at early levels and then basically giving up on them once they start picking up specific magic weapons and a variety of feats that really encourage specialization. So even if you do pick up a really cool magic javelin at level 16, you probably will almost never use it since you get a +2 bonus to attack from expertise and a +2 bonus to damage from weapon focus.

  3. DMZ says:

    I was houseruling it so that everyone got a specialization feat of their choice, but maybe I should change it to +1, +2, +3 to everything. It would be easier on the weapon/implement guys, the racial guys, and the guys who want to use chairs as weapons.

  4. Terry O'Carroll says:

    I don’t see any problem. As a player, the weapon that my character uses is part of my character concept. This is a constant of fiction. Diego Montoya is a swordsman. Gimli uses an axe. Legolamb uses a bow. Monkey (from the series Monkey Magic & the very old buddhist children’s fable) uses his staff, Pigsy the muck-rake. The same applies to wizards: Harry Potter uses a magic wand. I don’t want the DM insisting that my fighter use just any weapon, it’s my character, not his.

  5. paul paul says:

    Of course, using the same weapon (Inigo’s sword, Monkey’s staff) from level 1 to 30 requires some house rules or other, anyway.

    I’m actually ok with some benefits for specialization. I’d like specialization to be weaker than it is, and to be fairly optional, though: Gimli with a sword shouldn’t suddenly become a useless tool. Similarly, someone who doesn’t choose to specialize shouldn’t be, say, 75% as effective as everyone else.

    That’s the case with, for instance, an epic-level character who isn’t benefiting from some sort of Expertise feat. If Gimli hits a certain enemy on a natural roll of 8 or higher with his +3 axe expertise bonus, he needs a 11 or higher if he ends up with a sword. Instead of hitting on 12 rolls out of 20, he hits on 9 rolls out of 20.

    The HotFL Master at Arms feat goes a long way to fix this, luckily.

  6. […] Knight Weapon Specialization: the good and bad from Blog of Holding […]

  7. (Continuing my tour through older posts): I agree with your points here So. Hard. 5e’s fighting styles don’t bother me… much… but only because there are still a lot of possibilities within a fighting style. Mainly I think 5e should have written in a respec mechanic for fighting styles, rather than making me houserule one. This is why Defense is kinda the best, though.

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