August 31, 2018

Eastern Weapons

Comments from the Finger: This is almost certainly just a first pass at a group of traditional Japanese weapons, but I thought I'd throw it out here do collect everyone's opinions on balance, variety, and accuracy. 

Eastern Weapons

WeaponCost DamageWeight Properties
Simple Melee

  Bō Staff2 sp1d6 bludgeoning 4 lb.Versatile (1d8)
  Claw Gauntlet5 gp1d4 slashing2 lb.Fist, light
  Kama1 gp1d4 slashing2 lb.Finesse, light
  Kunai5 cp1d4 piercing1/4 lb.Finesse, thrown (range 20/60)
  Sai2 gp1d4 piercing2 lb.Finesse, light
  Tonfa1 sp1d4 bludgeoning1 lb.Light
Martial Melee

  Katana50 gp1d8 slashing3 lb.Finesse, versatile (d10)
  Kusarigama25 gp1d6 slashing4 lb.Two-handed, finesse, reach
  Naginata50 gp1d10 slashing5 lb.Heavy, reach, two-handed
  Nunchaku5 sp1d6 bludgeoning1 lb.Finesse, light
  Ōdachi100 gp1d12 slashing7 lb.Finesse, heavy, two-handed
  Tetsubo15 gp1d12 bludgeoning10 lb.Heavy, two-handed
  Wakizashi25 gp1d6 slashing2 lb.Finesse, light
Simple Ranged

  Shuriken5 cp1d4 slashing1/4 lb.Finesse, thrown (range 20/60)
Martial Ranged

  Tanegashima150 gp2d8 piercing10 lb.Ammunition (range 80/240),
dry, loading, misfire, two-handed
  Yumi50 gp1d8 piercing2 lb.Ammunition (range 80/320), two-handed

Weapon Properties
The eastern weapons above share a number of special properties. Of important exception is the Tanegashima which, as a firearm, does not add an ability score to its damage rolls. Other weapon properties are detailed here:
     Ammunition. You can use a weapon that has the Ammunition property to make a ranged attack only if you have ammunition to fire from the weapon. Each time you attack with the weapon, you expend one piece of ammunition. Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack (you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon). At the end of the battle, you can recover half your expended ammunition by taking a minute to search the battlefield. If you use a weapon that has the ammunition property to make a melee attack, you treat the weapon as an improvised weapon. Firearm ammunition is destroyed upon use.
     Dry. If this weapon is ever submerged in water or doused with a significant quantity of water, it jams. A jammed firearm can't be used to make an attack until a creature uses its action to clear the weapon malfunction.
     Finesse. When making an attack with a finesse weapon, you use your choice of your Strength or Dexterity modifier for the attack and damage rolls. You must use the same modifier for both rolls.
     Fist. You can treat attacks with this weapon as unarmed strikes.
     Heavy. Small creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls with heavy weapons. A heavy weapon’s size and bulk make it too large for a Small creature to use effectively.
     Light. A light weapon is small and easy to handle, making it ideal for use when fighting with two weapons.
     Loading. Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.
     Misfire. When you roll a critical failure on an attack roll with this weapon, it jams. A jammed firearm can't be used to make an attack until a creature uses its action to clear the weapon malfunction.
     Range. A weapon that can be used to make a ranged attack has a range in parentheses after the Ammunition or Thrown property. The range lists two numbers. The first is the weapon’s normal range in feet, and the second indicates the weapon’s long range. When attacking a target beyond normal range, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. You can’t attack a target beyond the weapon’s long range.
     Reach. This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you attack with it, as well as when determining your reach for opportunity attacks with it.
     Thrown. If a weapon has the Thrown property, you can throw the weapon to make a ranged attack. If the weapon is a melee weapon, you use the same ability modifier for that attack roll and damage roll that you would use for a melee attack with the weapon. For example, if you throw a handaxe, you use your Strength, but if you throw a dagger, you can use either your Strength or your Dexterity, since the dagger has the finesse property.
     Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it.
     Versatile. This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage value in parentheses appears with the property—the damage when the weapon is used with two hands to make a melee attack.

Changelog: 9/1/18: Nunchaku moved to martial: Added properties
Katana: Versatile
Wakizashi: Light


  1. Cool. The two-handed finesse melee weapons are a first, but are completely balanced and fitting.

    the only issue is the tanegashima- does it use your firearms rules? If so, it's ok (and should probably be mentioned somewhere), but otherwise it's obviously overpowered.

    1. I would certainly have assumed that our firearm rules apply.

    2. I think it’s because the weapon is a matchlock weapon irl, and needed to be lit by a match in order to be fired.

  2. One note - the claw gauntlet has the fist property, which isn't defined in this post. Otherwise, everything looks great!

  3. Uhm... What stops someone from going Rogue with a dip into another class for Great Weapon Fighting, then use Katana or Odachi? That would allow them to reroll all 1s and 2s on sneak attack dice. Pretty darn potent if you ask me.

    1. Sneak Attack dice are not weapon damage dice, as mentioned in Sage Advice. Same deal with Smite and Hunters Mark.

  4. Would any of these weapons count as “Monk” Weapons?

  5. I have one point of critique. I think 1 hand wielding a Katana is a common enough imagery, and probably was a common enough practice, that it should be a versatile weapon rather than a strictly two-handed one.

    1. To be honest, I wouldn't have given it finesse, either. It should use the exact same stats as a vanilla longsword.

    2. I could argue finesse. I, personally, stat it as a versatile variant of the Scimitar: 1d6/1d8, light, finesse.

      It at least needs to be a carbon copy of the longsword stats, since dual wielding is a popular trope thanks to Musashi.

  6. This is pretty cool. It actually came up in my local DM group that a bunch of weapons needed a redo to make them more useful (morning star, flail, sickle, etc). I had already made an Arms and Armor Variant before then but it (and now this) reminded me to get it finished already. Some of the weapons on here were on my variant and I must say, you seem more generous with damage output than me. Lol

    My only issues are with the Katana and Odachi. I made the katana in my variant a longsword with the light property, so that it could be used either for dual-wielding or as a great weapon without allowing it to be a buffed up shortswords for monks and rogues, but giving it finesse is just asking for a Rogue to grab one and buff up their damage from the rapier. I'd suggest either drop it to 1d8 (or 2d4) or drop finesse and make it versatile either way. As for the Odachi, how does one have a "finesse, heavy" weapon? I'd think one would need strength to wield a heavy weapon, no? To be fair, it's basically a greatsword that uses Dex and costs more money, just the finesse/heavy thing doesn't click with me.

    1. 1) A rogue would not have proficiency with a katana.
      2) The heavy finesse thing is kinda weird, but it might be plausible for an extremely well-balanced weapon. Still, maybe it should have a minimum strength requirement.

    2. Thing is, you don't need proficiency to swing a weapon, it's just an attack roll bonus, so you just don't hit as easily. But then maybe that's the balance for it. I can still see a Monk(Kensai)/Rogue thing happening to take the Katana and output some serious damage though. I'd drop it to 1d8 with versatile (d10).

      As for the heavy/finesse thing, adding a strength requirement could make sense physically, but then the character is probably strong enough that the finesse part wouldn't matter. I'd just say drop finesse but don't add a requirement.

  7. I have some mixed feelings here. On the one hand, I do love the idea of seeing an attempt to make these weapons beyond refluffing existing ones, on the other, a lot of it feels different from what I'd expect; some things, like the Sai, miss the point of what the weapon actually is, and some, like the Odachi being a heavy finesse weapon, just seem contradictory. And Shuriken definitely should be light at the very least.

  8. I think something more could be done with the Bō Staff. Maybe make it finesse? I just feel like it is the exact same as a normal weapon, why have it here? Also I personally really like the Ōdachi being Finesse and Heavy. I think that for this we should try to avoid just re-flavoring normal weapons as much as possible, since if we are doing that, why did we even make this list? Also. I see the debate over what the Katana should be, and I wonder if maybe it should be split into two separate weapons? I like the Katana as it is in the list, but I also like what The Palm said about it being a Versatile Scimitar.

    1. You could even call one of them a kodachi, since they were in use during the same period as katana.

      I'm not really sure there is any difference between a bō and a quarterstaff. They're both 6-foot wooden sticks that you hit people with...

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. This is pretty cool but I'm a little suspicious about the high base damage finesse weapons. Aren't you afraid of this burying strength builds? The only thing strength had over dexterity is higher melee damage potential. Nobody in their right mind would build strength anymore if they'd get the exact same out of dex but with the added defensive and out-of-combat applications, maybe unless they are some sort of offense-based barb.

    1. Strength gets 18 base AC and weapons that deal 2d6, for starters. I don't think this ruins the balance quite as much as you think.

    2. I agree with Idan here, but to be fair, we'd see a lot more Kensai Monks and Dex-based Fighters.

    3. Strength and a four digit sum gets 18 base AC... That curbstomps stealth and might leave you fighting in your underclothes if you don't have a quick don enchantment. Been there a few times. And these weapons catch up to that damage output.
      But to each their own, I reckon, I might be in the wrong here.

    4. I'm on the side of 'I don't like how some of these options are flat-out stronger than core options,' for what it's worth.

      Some could easily be fixed by making them exotic and slapping on one of the exotic weapon drawbacks we established before... but that wouldn't make sense a setting where they're supposed to be the default.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Fantastic weapons! I've always fancied a list of East Asian Weapons and am looking forward to more. Yet I have a few qualms over certain weapons on the current list.
    Though the Katana feels right with those stats, the Great Scimitar from the Exotic Weapons section of the Complete Craftsman has the same stats, but is considered an exotic weapon. Therefore requiring a special feature or feat to be proficient with. Shouldn't then the Katana fall under the same exotic weapon category? Also, on account of the Odachi, a strength requirement imposed by the superheavy property from the exotic weapons list seems appropriate to compensate for its advantage over the greataxe. Though again IMHO, the Odachi seems to belong in the exotic weapon category, unless in both cases this is meant to represent a standard of power for East Asian Settings shifted towards Dexterity.
    As post script I'm quite fond of the versatile scimitar katana as a martial weapon, though as a smaller counterpart to the current Katana. The Nails' Kodachi would be a fine addition to this collection.

  13. I think a sai should do bludgeoning damage, since I don't think they're sharpened. But more importantly, the katana and odachi as written are game-changers. The versatile, finesse katana having the damage of a non-versatile longsword means that Kensei Monks, Blade Warlocks, and any other Dex characters with martial weapons but not shields get a damage upgrade (from rapier) at no opportunity cost. The odachi is even more rebalancing (perhaps unbalancing) as it means Dex Barbarians, which already have superior AC, can nearly match the damage output of the traditional Str Barbarians. Not to mention the potential of a Rogue starting with a single Fighter level to get odachi proficiency.