Gear - Weapons


Duncehack Edition

So who are you?

Just some tosser with an over inflated sense of self importance.

Send verbal abuse via

What is the Duncehack?

It emerged from a place of frustration. There's quite a number of areas where 5e could be improved but... it's not going to happen for various reasons.

The Duncehack is my attempt to fix these problems I have. Plan is to go through the whole game - all of it - and homebrew it into the game I think is should have been.

Feel free to disagree with me, but ultimately I think there's no harm in putting my thoughts out there, at the very least if even one DM decides to adopt these rules, then my job is done.

No DM Guild? No OGL Release?

I chafe under binding contracts and both of these are exactly that.

The DM Guild gives you more room to mess with established rules, but basically demands that all be under the service of flagship settings.

The SRD on the other hand gives more room for interesting settings but clamps down extremely hard on what established rules you're allowed to use. Their biggest contention is that they don't want someone to sell a sourcebook that removes the need for core books. Translation: they don't want Pathfinder to happen all over again.

More to the point, both assume money will change hands. I don't want money, I just want Wizards to fix their game.

Credit where it's due

MalthusPrime, one of the people who've been playtesting this stuff, suggested the optional rule outlined a couple pages from now (about Crit Adjustment).


Groundrules for the Duncehack are as follows:

  • No Nerfs: the goal is to bring weaker archetypes on the level of the stronger ones.

  • Remove Traps: incentives built into classes and archetypes should provide an active payoff, rather than be the suboptimal choice.

  • Frontload Agency, Backend Power: Generally speaking, people like having more options to do things, rather than more raw power. As a design rule: things that feel like core class features, or are defining class mechanics, should happen in the first ten levels, sheer numeric increases in power should come after that.

No money changed hands here

This is a passion project. I want to keep it that way.

I also want to avoid legal issues for self-evident reasons.

No UA?

Too much changes between UA and official release.

Obligatory Natural Crit Plug

Someone else made a thing that lets me make homebrews without having to post them on pastebin or something. They deserve a lot of credit for that.

Obligatory /tg/ Plug

The feedback I got from various Anons on this helped me build this into something that wasn't bad and stupid.

No Images?

I originally wanted to, but I was encountering problems with the sheer size of these PDFs. I have to break these into parts to upload them anywhere as it is.

So what is this?

So the more I got into the weapons overhaul, the more dangerously close to being Pathfinder I got.

For well over a year I was adamant I was going to get that perfect weaponry overhaul.

Well... Frankly, the simple solution just kept turning out to be the best.

This may be updated down the road depending on how Baldur's Gate 3 handles the once/short rest weapon actions.



Stealing something from other games (usually generic systems do this), where costs are abstracted to a general word 'cheap, expensive, etc.' instead of a hard gold cost.

This is primarily because there's no reason why a greatsword should cost 50gp while a maul costs 10gp when they are identical (well, in the few monster stat blocks where physical damage type matters, it's specifically vulnerability to bludgeoning damage, so mauls are in practice superior).

So I'll be using the following categories:

Cost Weightings
Cost Rough Value Avg.
Cheap Cost listed in Copper 5cp
Low Cost listed in Silver 5sp
Moderate Cost listed in Gold 5gp
High Cost listed in Platinum 5pp
Expensive Cost compared to magic items

This chart only handles non-magic items, as once you get past the 'high' cost, you're in the realm of Magic Item Prices.

If I want to randomise costs?

2+2d4, or 5+1d4 coins works.

What if I want more specific costs?

You could just use 5 pieces of whatever category it's in as the number. Which I'd recommend for character creation.

Magic Item Prices

I think this one came from the DMG. It won't actually be used in this document, but I wanted to highlight that 'High' cost items compete with common magic items for price, and to save anyone using this the effort of digging it up when they decide to just make something +1 for the players.

Cost by Rarity
Rarity Character Level Bonus Value Avg.
Common 1st or higher - 50-100 gp 50gp
Uncommon 1st or higher - 101-500 gp 250gp
Rare 5th or higher +1 501 -5,000 gp 2,500gp
Very rare 11th or higher +2 5,001 - 50,000 gp 25,000gp
Legendary 17th or higher +3 50,001+ gp 60,000gp

Magic items will be dealt with properly in a different writeup.

Optional: Damage Type Rules

The following rules take the Tasha's feats: Crusher, Piercer and Slasher, and rolls them into a regular feature of the different damage types rather than as a feat that has to be purchased.

The reason this is listed as an option rule is that if permitted, you're essentially giving the players half a feat's worth of power for free.

Needless to say, if you implement this rule, remove Crusher, Piercer and Slasher from the available list of feats.


  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals bludgeoning damage, you can move it 5 feet to an unoccupied space, provided the target is no more than one size larger than you.
  • When you score a critical hit that deals bludgeoning damage to a creature, attack rolls against that creature are made with advantage until the start of your next turn


  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with an attack that deals piercing damage, you can reroll one of the attack's damage dice, and you must use the new roll.
  • When you score a critical hit that deals piercing damage to a creature, you can roll one additional damage die when determining the extra piercing damage the target takes.


  • Once per turn when you hit a creature with an attack that deals slashing damage, you can reduce the speed of the target by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.
  • When you score a critical hit that deals slashing damage to a creature, you grievously wound it. Until the start of your next turn, the target has disadvantage on all attack rolls.

Optional Rule: More Crit Damage

If, for whatever reason you don't think the rules as follows does enough to properly differentiate damage dice (e.g. you still see issues with the Greataxe vs. Greatsword debate for Barbarians), then you can implement the following rule.

Improved Weapon Criticals

Whenever a weapon attack critically strikes, one of the weapon damage dice provided by the weapon deals maximum damage.



Each weapon has a list of properties that differentiate it from the others.


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. A sling must be loaded to deal any damage when used in this way.


A weapon with the brutal property adds another weapon damage die on a critical hit.


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.


Creatures that are Small or Tiny have disadvantage on attack rolls with heavy weapons. A heavy weapon's size and bulk make it too large for a Small or Tiny creature to use effectively.


When you make shove action while wielding this weapon, the target of your shove has disadvantage on their contested Strength or Dexterity check to resist it.


A light weapon is small and easy to handle, making it ideal for use when fighting with two weapons.


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.


A weapon that can be used to make a ranged attack has a range shown 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.


This weapon adds 5 feet to your reach when you attack with it. This property also determines your reach for opportunity attacks with a reach weapon.


A weapon with the special property has unusual rules governing its use, explained in the weapon's description.


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.


This weapon requires two hands to use. This property is relevant only when you attack with the weapon, not when you simply hold it


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.

  • Created Brutal.
  • Created Impact.

    Brutal and Impact gave me just enough extra headroom to list every single weapon as having a defined role unique from the others.


Simple Melee Weapons
Name Damage Weight Cost Properties
Club 1d4 bludgeoning 2 lb. Cheap Finesse, Light, Versatile (1d6)
Dagger 1d4 piercing 1 lb. Low Finesse, Light, Thrown (range 20/60)
Greatclub 2d4 bludgeoning 10 lb. Cheap Heavy, Two-Handed
Handaxe 1d6 slashing 2 lb. Low Light, Thrown (range 20/60)
Javelin 1d6 piercing 2 lb. Cheap Thrown (range 30/120)
Light Hammer 1d4 bludgeoning 2 lb. Low Light, Impact, Thrown (range 20/60)
Mace 1d6 bludgeoning 4 lb. Low Brutal, Versatile (1d8)
Quarterstaff 1d6 bludgeoning 4 lb. Cheap Impact, Versatile (1d8, Reach)
Sickle 1d4 slashing 2 lb. Low Finesse, Light, Brutal
Spear 1d6 piercing 3 lb. Low Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d8, Reach)
Torch 1d4 bludgeoning 2 lb. low Light, Versatile (1d6), Special
Yklwa 1d8 slashing 3 lb. Low Thrown (range 10/30)
Simple Ranged Weapons
Name Damage Weight Cost Properties
Crossbow, light 1d8 piercing 5 lb. High Ammunition (range 80/320), loading, two-handed
Crossbow, Light Repeating 1d8 piercing 5 lb. Expensive Ammunition (range 40/160), two-handed, special
Dart 1d4 piercing 1/4 lb. Cheap light, finesse, thrown (range 20/60), special
Shortbow 1d6 piercing 2 lb. High Ammunition (range 80/320), two-handed
Sling 1d4 bludgeoning - Cheap Ammunition (range 30/120), special
Martial Melee Weapons
Name Damage Weight Cost Properties
Battleaxe 1d8 slashing 4 lb. Moderate Versatile (1d10), Brutal
Double-Bladed Scimitar 2d4 slashing 6 lb. Expensive special, two-handed, Finesse
Flail 1d8 bludgeoning 2 lb. Moderate Versatile (1d10), Special
Hooked Shortspear 1d4 piercing 2 lb. Moderate light, special, versatile (1d6, reach, impact)
Lance 1d12 piercing 6 lb. Moderate Reach, special
Longsword, Elven 1d8 slashing 3 lb. Moderate Versatile (1d10), Finesse
Morningstar 1d8 piercing 4 lb. Moderate Versatile (1d10), Heavy
Pike 1d8 piercing 18 lb. High Heavy, Reach, Two-handed, Impact
Rapier 1d8 piercing 2 lb. Moderate Finesse, Brutal
Scimitar 1d6 slashing 3 lb. Moderate Finesse, light, brutal
Trident 1d6 piercing 4 lb. Low Thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d8, Reach), Special
Warhammer 1d8 bludgeoning 2 lb. Moderate Versatile (1d10), Impact
War Pick 1d6 piercing 2 lb. Moderate Versatile (1d8), Impact, Brutal
Whip 1d4 slashing 3 lb. Moderate Finesse, Reach, Light, Special
Martial Ranged Weapons
Name Damage Weight Cost Properties
Blowgun 1 piercing 1 lb. Low Ammunition (range 25/100), loading, special
Crossbow, hand 1d6 piercing 3 lb. High Ammunition (range 30/120), light, loading
Crossbow, heavy 1d10 piercing 18 lb. High Ammunition (range 100/400), heavy, loading, two-handed
Longbow 1d8 piercing 2 lb. High Ammunition (range 150/600), heavy, two-handed
Net - 3 lb. Low Special, thrown (range 5/15)


Weapon Special Rules

Crossbow, Light Reloading

This crossbow is fitted with a cartridge that can hold up to six crossbow bolts. It automatically reloads after firing until the cartridge runs out of ammunition. Reloading the cartridge takes an action.


Darts, due to their small size and ease of use, are treated as having ammunition for the purposes of attacking (i.e. a new dart is drawn per attack, rather than as a seperate object interaction).

Double-Bladed Scimitar

If you attack with a double-bladed scimitar as part of the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action immediately after to make a melee attack with it. This attack deals 1d4 slashing damage on a hit, instead of 2d4.

On Revenant Blade

I'm not fond of feats that benefit one specific weapon. I understand the buff to this weapon does complicate things, as the feat provides +1 Str/Dex and +1AC as well, but the opportunity cost it frees up elsewise in my humble opinion is more than worth it.

If it's still a problem at your table, offer your players a version of Fighting Initiate (allowing them to take the +1 AC from the double-bladed scimitar as a seperate fighting style), that also gives +1 to either Strength or Dexterity as compensation.

Fighting Initiate as a feat needs the buff anyway, so you'll be killing two birds with one stone.


Flails ignore features and reactions that would reduce the damage they inflict (e.g. Heavy Armour Master feat).

Flails ignore reactions that would otherwise increase AC.

If the flail is being wielded with two hands, the flail also ignores the AC provided by shields.

Hooked Shortspear

Shove actions with this weapon can be made as a Strength saving throw rather than a contested athletics check. The DC is 8 + the wielder's Strength modifier + the wielder's proficiency bonus.

Shove actions made with this weapon can be made against creatures of any size category.

The impact property also applies to this special rule.

While using this weapon in two hands, shove actions may be made freely within weapon reach. Creatures may be pulled 5 ft. towards the wielder as a shove action.


You have disadvantage when you use a lance to attack a target within 5 feet of you. Also, a lance requires two hands to wield when you aren't mounted.


Slings, being loaded with small rocks, are not that onerous to reload. They may be reloaded even if the other hand is not free (i.e. such as if the other hand is holding a shield).

In addition, so long as they are loaded, they may be used for melee weapon attacks without incurring disadvantage, however the attack is a Strength Based 1d4 Bludgeoning damage attack with no special properties (i.e. if you still wish to use Dexterity for the attack, it is then a ranged weapon attack that incurs disadvantage as normal).


While wielding this weapon in two hands, you may attempt disarm actions against creatures within the weapon's reach.

You cannot suffer disadvantage on your attempts to disarm another creature while wielding this weapon.


While lit, the torch deals an extra 1d4 fire damage. Using a torch as a weapon however reduces its lifespan. At the end of a combat encounter where a torch was used as a weapon, the torch goes out and must be furnished with more fuel before it can be relit.

On Resource Rules

If you are using any form of alternative resource rules, refer to those rules for the particulars of how to bookkeep for ammunition and torches.


You may attempt to shove an opponent with the whip if they are within the whip's reach. When opting to push the opponent beyond 5 feet of you this way, you may only pull them 5 feet directly towards you. When attempting to trip them, your roll is made at disadvantage.

Shove actions you make with a whip may be made with your Dexterity instead of Strength for the Athletics check.


Oversized Longbow

Martial weapon, ranged weapon 2 lb. 2d6 piercing - ammunition (150/600 ft.), heavy, two-handed This unique weapon can be used only by a Medium or larger creature that has a Strength of 18 or higher. The bow shoots oversized arrows that deal piercing damage equal to 2d6 + the wielder's Strength modifier.

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. Loading a one-handed weapon requires a free hand. 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. A sling must be loaded to deal any damage when used in this way.

Heavy. Creatures that are Small or Tiny have disadvantage on attack rolls with heavy weapons. A heavy weapon's size and bulk make it too large for a Small or Tiny creature to use effectively. Two-Handed. This weapon requires two hands to use. This property is relevant only when you attack with the weapon, not when you simply hold it.

Why the Dart Special Rule?

Becuase to be completely honest, why else would there be a point in using them?

But what about your rule about turning this into a Monk weapon?

Stunning Strike requires melee and darts are constrained by ammunition counts - so I'm okay with those as balancing points.

Why the Sling Special Rule?

I get why they did the ammunition ruling where you need a free hand for a reload (it's essentially just anti-munchkin insurance, the kind Pathfinder goes way overboard in writing out).

Thing is, it was also the nail in the coffin that killed the sling as a weapon. If you can't make use of the fact that slings are the only one-handed ranged weapon (well, if you don't count any of the thrown weapons), then why even bother?

And... to be completely honest, if I can run a sling+shield on my cleric in Baldur's Gate, I don't care what the sage advice in 5e has to say on what is ostensibly a suboptimal build to begin with.


  • Glaive. Damage changed to 2d4, gains Brutal.
  • Greataxe. Gains Brutal
  • Maul. Gains Impact
  • Pike. Lowered damage to 1d8, gains Impact

  • Shortsword. Gains Special

Shortsword/Longsword Special

Designed to be much easier to handle than most other martial weapons, you have a degree of control over the weapon, even when others are trying to take it away from you.

You cannot suffer disadvantage when defending against a disarm action to remove a shortsword you are holding. In addition, opponents cannot gain advantage on disarm attempts to remove a shortsword from your hand.

Flail Special/What is block?

This assumes you're using my Combat Options writeup.

So you don't have to chase it:


When using a shield (but not a greatshield), and you suffer a weapon attack, you may use your reaction to reduce the incoming damage by an amount equal to your Strength modifier.

Shortsword Special?

To be completely honest I was running out of ideas. Decided to go with somthing to emphasise 'ease of use'. First idea was 'can be used in conjunction with non-light, non heavy weapons' and I realised quickly that mightn't be a good idea.

Trident Special?

It's a martial weapon, it should get something more than a spear. Moreover, the shape can be abused for disarming in the hands of a skilled fighter (which, I assume PCs are if they're proficient in the weapon).

Why Whip Buffs?

Because generally speaking, you were better off just going a ranged weapon as Whips simply didn't do enough to justify a dex character going with a reach weapon.

"But," you might say, "what about that Arcane Trickster booming blade build?" That one build that likely won't make use of either of the two new rules? (need bonus action for cunning/mage hand, doesn't care about the grapple stuff).


Net Special

A Large or smaller creature hit by a net is restrained until it is freed. A net has no effect on creatures that are formless, or creatures that are Huge or larger. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 (+ your proficiency modifier if you are proficient in nets) Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success.

The quality of the materials determine its HP, but for a standard rope net, its HP is 5 (+ your proficiency modifier if you are proficient) and its AC is 10. It is resistant to all damage that is not slashing, fire, or acid damage. It is immune to poison and psychic damage.

You may attempt to repair a destroyed net with an Intelligence or Wisdom check and 10 minutes of time. If you have proficiency in weaver's tools, you may add your proficiency modifier to the check.

The mending spell treats the net as a singular, contiguous object.

No changes to further differentiate longbows from heavy crossbows?

That'll be a big deal in my major overhaul, at present longbows to actually have a place (heavy crossbows require a feat to be useful for martials past 5th level). It's not a great niche, but feats are costly and not everyone can/wants to afford it.

I do plan to give them a bit of a better niche, but that requires more work than I can do here.

Net Special

Clarified the toughness of the net and gave the line about repairing them. If you're wondering why weaver's tools, it's the closest profession I could see in the list of artisans to a ropemaker.

Removed the line about 'only one attack if you use a net' because it's why nets are never used.

No buffs to blowguns?

Given their use, this requires a full overhaul on how stuff you can apply to weapons (like poisons) would function. I do think Blowguns deserve the love, but it's a little beyond the scope of this document.

So now all that's done, where are you actually going to take the 'Major Overhaul' you keep banging on about?

Mainly, a system of variations and modifications on any given weapon. Weapons are largely going to have more properties (As a general rule a die type increase in damage and a property are going to be worth roughly the same. I'll need to math it out though), but I don't want to be Pathfinder with over a dozen things to remember.

As an example, here are modifications to a whip, this represents a Shadar-Kai Bladed Chain.

Bladed Chain, light

  • Wielding: One Handed
  • Damage: 1d4 slashing
  • Proficiency: Martial
  • Properties: Reach, Versatile (1d6), Finesse, Special

So in this example, Light is dropped for an extra paragraph in the Special rule, along with access to the 1d6 Versatile.

Bladed Chain, heavy

  • Wielding: Two Handed
  • Damage: 1d8 slashing
  • Proficiency: Martial
  • Properties: Reach, Heavy, Special

Whereas in this example, it's now a heavy weapon (with access to GWM) and its damage jumps up two die types, but it's now a two-handed weapon that loses Finesse in the tradeoff.

Bladed Chain Special

You may attempt to shove an opponent with the whip if they are within 10 feet of you. When opting to push the opponent, you may only pull them 5 feed directly towards you. When attempting to trip them, your roll is made at disadvantage.

If you're using the chain in both hands, trip attempts do not suffer disadvantage and successful actions to pull them towards you inflict your Strength Modifier in slashing damage. Light chains may use your Dexterity modifier instead.

Shove actions you make with a Light bladed Chain may be made with your Dexterity instead of Strength for the Athletics check.



DMG Firearms List (Unchanged)
Weapon Damage Weight Properties
Pistol, Renaissance 1d10 piercing 3 lb. Ammunition (range 30/90), loading
Musket 1d12 piercing 10 lb. Ammunition (range 40/120), loading, two-handed
Pistol, automatic 2d6 piercing 3 lb. Ammunition (range 50/150), reload (15 shots)
Revolver 2d8 piercing 3 lb. Ammunition (range 40/120), reload (6 shots)
Rifle, hunting 2d10 piercing 8 lb. Ammunition (range 80/240), reload (5 shots), two-handed
Rifle, automatic 2d8 piercing 8 lb. Ammunition (range 80/240), burst fire, reload (30 shots), two-handed
Shotgun 2d8 piercing 7 lb. Ammunition (range 30/90), reload (2 shots), two-handed
Laser pistol 3d6 radiant 2 lb. Ammunition (range 40/120), reload (50 shots)
Antimatter rifle 6d8 necrotic 10 lb. Ammunition (range 120/360), reload (2 shots), two-handed
Laser rifle 3d8 radiant 7 lb. Ammunition (range 100/300), reload (30 shots), two-handed

Properties (DMG Writeup)

Firearms use special ammunition, and some of them have the burst fire or reload property.

  • Ammunition. The ammunition of a firearm is destroyed upon use. Renaissance and modern firearms use bullets. Futuristic firearms are powered by a special type of ammunition called energy cells. An energy cell contains enough power for all the shots its firearm can make.
  • Burst Fire. A weapon that has the burst fire property can make a normal single-target attack, or it can spray a 10-foot-cube area within normal range with shots. Each creature in the area must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take the weapon's normal damage. This action uses ten pieces of ammunition.
  • Reload. A limited number of shots can be made with a weapon that has the reload property. A character must then reload it using an action or a bonus action (the character's choice).

Source: DMG, page 267

To be pedantic...

You don't really get 10 round burst fire. 2 or 3, sometimes 5 but that's really unusual. If you're looking to do more than that as a shooter, you're generally better off (and likely trained to) just switch the thing to full auto and get good at judging how long to squeeze the trigger by feel. If it's a feature of the gun, I'll bet money that the gun is also has selective fire (access to multiple firing modes) anyway.

Burst Fire refers to an actual mechanical feature of the gun, and not just letting off more than one round. For those who care, the 'action', the actual mechanism that makes the gun work, is actually a clockwork device. Anyone familiar with basic engineering knows where I'm going with this: Burst Fire is a form of timing mechanism (timing kept with a type of cam that resets position when the trigger is released) built into action.

Design Notes

(and why this DMG writeup is here)

I should have done Firearms on the first version of this document as it's been asked about by a lot of people since. Well, it's here now.

The reason I included this unchanged DMG list above is because a quick point I need to make: The above list doesn't balance with the PHB weapons at all.

Fact of the matter is, there's a design issue inherent in 5e that prevents firearms from being handled more eloquently. See, the issue with firearms in real life is armour penetration. It's not that they did more damage per se, if anything the injuries from firearms were less horrific than many other weapons of the time, but the rounds tore straight through all but the heaviest of armour. Platemail sturdy enough to take bullets did exist, but were crazy expensive on account of the added material cost and weighed more than many knights were comfortable fighting in.

Problem is, without having special rules that modify target's AC, you can't really handle it that way. Moreover, that kind of ruleset rapidly falls apart when you consider that Dex based AC represents dodging (and on top of that Monk unarmoured Defense represents the Monk reading how you're going to strike before you actually do it). In this case the rules would have be be a whole succession of dicking around in a way that would make it unfun to actually use in-game.

"But you can't dodge a bullet" you might say, to which I respond: "You can't really dodge an arrow either. You dodge where the dude who hates you is aiming".

So yeah, guns are copping a global nerf in this document - but it's not like that's really a big deal because tables rarely, if ever, used them anyway precisely because of how unbalanced it makes the game.

The next page has my rules. I stop at Renaissance Firearms because those are the ones that can still be balanced with the rest of the game easily. That and I genuinely think that the writer of the DMG doesn't know a damn thing about guns, and I wholeheartedly disagree with their handling of modern firearms. Unfortunately my thoughts on that one would take up a whole writeup on its own (as I'd be doing damage types by rough calibre ranges - e.g. .177s and .22s would be 1d4)


Renaissance Firearms

Renaissance Firearms
Weapon Damage Properties
Pistol, Holdout 1d4 Piercing Ammunition (range 20/60), Loading (2 shots), Light, Special
Pistol, Duelling 1d6 Piercing Ammunition (range 30/90), Loading, Light, Versatile (1d8)
Pistol, Double Barrel 1d6 Piercing Ammunition (range 30/90), Loading (2 shots), Versatile (1d8)
Pistol, Naval 1d6 Piercing Ammunition (range 30/90), Loading, Versatile (1d8), Bayonet (1d4)
Pistol, Cavalry 1d6 Piercing Ammunition (range 30/90), Loading, Versatile (2d4)
Pistol, Blunderbuss 1d6 Piercing Ammunition (range 20/60), Loading, Versatile (1d8), Brutal
Arquebus 2d4 Piercing Ammunition (range 50/150), Loading, Two-Handed, Heavy, Brutal, Special
Musket 2d4 Piercing Ammunition (range 40/130), Loading, Two-Handed, Heavy, Bayonet (1d8)
Musketoon 1d8 Piercing Ammunition (range 30/90), Loading, Two-Handed, Bayonet (1d6)
Blunderbuss 2d4 Piercing Ammunition (range 30/90), Loading, Two-Handed, Heavy, Brutal (Ranged), Bayonet (1d6)


Holdout Special

This might appear as an option for daggers and darts in my full rework.

Other Characters attempting to find this weapon on your person have disadvantage on their perception or investigation rolls to find it. They suffer a -5 penalty to any passive perception or investigation checks to spot it.

Versatile on Pistols?

My explantion is both recoil and the fact that two hands are steadier than one. Pop culture examples of firearms don't respect that even small guns start to feel heavy after a few shots and that recoil pretty much means you have to steady and aim all over again if you want a chance to actually hit anything.

Arquebus Special

Arquebuses come with a monopod (basically a single long leg to rest the firearm on).

You may spend a bonus action establishing an arquebus's monopod. If you do, so long as you have not, and do not, move during your turns, you may ignore the loading property of this weapon. If you move at all, even unwillingly, you must establish the monopod again before benefitting from this feature.


This weapon may be used as a melee weapon, dealing damage as outlined in the parentheses. Ranged weapon attacks may be made into melee with no penalty with a bayonet-affixed weapon. Any loading or reloading property on the weapon still applies.

Note. Up to you if rifles are sufficienctly "polearm" enough for use with the Polearm Master feat. I'd allow it personally, because any rifle of the period that could take a bayonet, was designed for use as a spear.


Different kinds of Pistols

Because why not if we're doing a full rebuild.

  • Holdout. Pocket pistols. You might know them by the brand name Derringer.
  • Duelling. What gentry shoot each other with
  • Double Barrel. Exactly what you'd expect.
  • Naval. Think, pirate or privateer.
  • Cavalry. Meant to be used on the charge before you get in sabre range.
  • Blunderbuss. Antique shotgun pistol.

Arquebus vs. Musket?

To oversimplify, Arquebus is the precursor to the Musket. I'm using it here to differentiate two different weapon options however. The monopod thing was a real thing, they were a specialist weapon the way a heavy crossbowman is - they were fielded for a specific reason on the battlefield. Arquebuses weren't designed for taking a bayonet and were an improvised weapon at best if used in melee. If you had an arquebus, you had a sword as your backup weapon.

Muskets on the other hand were the big game changer as a general purpose infantry firearm. It was on the musket that bayonet designs were iterated upon after all.


Just a small musket.


Picture a gun where the end sort of looks like a trumpet. It's the great grand-daddy to the shotgun.

No mention of Flintlock?

In my experience most people who throw around that word, or at least insist on its use, don't actually know what it refers to, nor are they aware matchlock and wheellock both exist.

They're just methods of igniting the powder in the gun. For the purposes of their effectiveness as a weapon, there's no meaningful rules difference I can see unless people really want hard rules on how to maintain their firearms.


Changelist and Rationale

To keep track of the changes from the official writeup.

Simple Weapons

  • Clubs. Gains Finesse, Versatile (1d6)
  • Greatclub. Damage changed to 2d4, Added Heavy property.
  • Mace. Gained Versatile (1d8)
  • Quarterstaff. Gained Impact and Reach to the Versatile feature (i.e. while wielded in 2 hands, it has the reach property).
  • Sickle. Gained Finesse.
  • Spear. Gained Reach to the Versatile feature (i.e. while wielded in 2 hands, it has the reach property).
Simple Ranged Weapons
  • Dart. Gained light and the special property (which makes it act like ammunition).
  • Shortbow.
  • Sling. Gained the special property (which just clarifies you can reload it while using a shield).
Martial Melee Weapons
  • Battleaxe. Gains Brutal.
  • Double-Bladed Scimitar. Gains Finesse.
  • Flail. Gained special rule (ignores damage reductions and reactions that would increase AC. If 2-handed, ignores shields too) and Versatile (1d10).
  • Hooked Shortspear. Changed it so that the saving throw is on any shove action, and no longer requires a successful roll to hit.
  • Longsword, Elven. Gains Finesse (as per PHB rules)
  • Morningstar. Gains Heavy.
  • Pike. Gains Impact, damage reduced to d8.
  • Rapier. Gains Brutal
  • Scimitar. Gains Brutal
  • Trident. Gains reach on its versatile property and a Special property (disarm actions within weapon reach while wielding in two hands, cannot suffer disadvantage on disarm checks).
  • Warhammer. Gains Impact.
  • War Pick. Gains Impact, Versatile (1d8), Brutal. Base die type reduced to 1d6.
  • Whip: Gains Light and Special.
Martial Ranged Weapons


You need to understand, the problem here isn't that the weapons are poorly balanced, it's that there's barely anything to balance around other than gold cost - which is wildly inconsistent - and class access - which might explain maces and scimitars.

So the fundamental goal is to give every single weapon a defined role in the simplest means I have available to me: a list of properties.

Weapon Roles

Simple Melee Weapons

Club. Anyone can use effectively, in any situation. Dagger. The only throwable finesse melee weapon. Greatclub. Only heavy simple weapon. i.e. for a Great Weapon Master build on a class with no martial weapon access. Handaxe. Strength based light/thrown melee weapon - focusing on damage. Javelin. Thrown weapon with decent range. Light Hammer. Strength based light/thrown melee weapon - focusing on utility. Mace. Strength based brutal weapon. Quarterstaff. Only reach weapon with the impact quality. Sickle. Only light weapon with the brutal quality. Spear. Most possible options for its use. Yklwa. 1d8, but literally no other benefits (aside from a terrible throw). Basically suboptimal compared to Martial weapons, the lack of features stings though.

Simple Ranged Weapons

Crossbow, Light. High damage and range, but loading property restriction. Crossbow, Light Repeating . High damage, short range, must be reloaded every 6th shot using a whole action. It's fundamentally worse than a regular crossbow on characters who only get one attack a turn. On characters who get more than one, it offers Crossbow Expert's benefits, but only for a couple of turns. It's fantastic on War Clerics, not so great on anyone else. Dart. Simple light ranged weapon. Basically it now serves as the simple equivalent to a hand crossbow. Also being thrown changes some of core interactions, such as with fighting styles. Shortbow. Sling.

Martial Melee Weapons

Battleaxe. Highest damage one handed weapon. Double-Bladed Scimitar. Highest damage two-handed finesse weapon. Flail. Counter to reaction stacking/damage reduction. Greatsword. Highest average damage, no other properties. Hooked Longspear. Pure shove utility. Lance. Highest damage reach weapon. Longsword. Longsword, Elven. Highest damage versatile finesse weapon. Morningstar. Only Heavy one-handed weapon. Pike. Reach Impact. Rapier. Highest damage single handed finesse weapon. Scimitar. Highest damage light finesse weapon. Trident. Disarm at distance. Warhammer. Highest damage versatile impact weapon. War Pick. Most properties on a non-thrown martial weapon. Whip. Reach finesse with utility (dex equivalent to hooked longspear).

Martial Ranged Weapons