Weapon Group Feats

The original weapon group feats variant1, written for edition 3.5, did a wonderful job of adding flavor and variation to a typical campaign. Now that the game has evolved into Pathfinder, the weapon groups there have some minor problems, especially now that fighters receive their weapon training class feature, which uses a different set of weapon groups. Neither categorization is truly better than the other; both have categorizations that I like and some that I don’t. This brief article is intended to update the weapon groups to my satisfaction and meld them with the weapon groups that a fighter uses for weapon training. In terms of the weapon groups themselves, it is something of a compromise between the two sets of categorizations. Other than that, it uses the same weapon group rules as the already mentioned article, with a few updates stated explicitly.

Weapon Group Weapons Exotic Weapons Exotic Double
Axes and Picks battleaxe, dwarven waraxe (two handed use) greataxe, handaxe, heavy pick, light pick, throwing axe, scythe dwarven waraxe (one handed use) orc double axe, dwarven urgosh (must also have Weapon Group: Spears), gnome hooked hammer (must also have Weapon Group: Hammers and Maces)
Basic Weapons Club, Dagger, Quarterstaff
Blades, Heavy bastard sword (two handed use), falchion, greatsword, longsword, scimitar, scythe bastard sword (one handed use), fullblade, mercurial greatsword, mercurial longsword two bladed sword
Blades, Light dagger, kukri, punching dagger, rapier, sickle, short sword, starknife elven curve blade, elven thinblade, kama, kukri,
Bows composite longbow, composite shortbow, longbow, shortbow
Close2 gauntlet, heavy shield bash, light shield bash, punching dagger, sap, spiked armor, spiked gauntlet, spiked shield bash, unarmed strike
Crossbows heavy crossbow, light crossbow hand crossbow, repeating heavy crossbow, repeating light crossbow
Druid club, dagger, dart, dagger, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, spear, quarterstaff
Firearms bayonet, blunderbuss, blunderbuss pistol, double-barreled musket, double-barreled pistol, musket, pistol
Flails and Chains flail, heavy flail net, spiked chain, three-section-staff, whip, whipdagger
Hammers and Maces club, greatclub, heavy mace, light hammer, light mace, sap, warhammer gnome hooked hammer (must also have Weapon Group: Axes and Picks)
Monk2 kama, nunchaku, sai, shuriken, siangham, unarmed strike, quarterstaff three-section-staff
Natural natural weapons
Pole Arms glaive, guisarme, halberd, ranseur
Spears javelin, lance, longspear, shortspear, spear, trident dwarven urgosh (must also have Weapon Group: Axes and Picks)
Thrown blowgun, club, dagger, dart, javelin, light hammer, shortspear, sling, spear, starknife, throwing axe, trident bolas, halfling sling staff, net, shuriken

The Rules:
This variant establishes a number of feats, called Weapon Group proficiency feats, that each allows a character to use a small number of weapons without penalty. Although characters using this variant are typically proficient with fewer weapons than the standard character classes, the weapons they choose are grouped along a similar theme, providing a little more flavor to each character’s weapon choice at the expense of a small amount of versatility.
Each character receives a number of Weapon Group proficiencies at 1st level according to their class, as shown in the table below. If a character takes a level in a new class, he receives a number of Weapon Group proficiencies equal to the number of proficiencies provided by his new class minus the number of proficiencies he already has, with a minimum of zero. So if a Bard who has Basic weapons, Light Blades and Thrown takes a level of ranger, he gains one weapon group of his choice.
A character can take a new Weapon Group proficiency feat any time he would be allowed to take a combat feat.

Class Weapon Group Proficiencies at 1st Level
Alchemist Basic weapons, plus any other two
Antipaladin Basic weapons, plus any other three
Barbarian Basic weapons, plus any other three
Bard Basic weapons, plus any other two
Cavalier Basic weapons, plus any other three
Cleric Basic weapons, plus any other two
Druid Basic weapons, plus either druid weapons or spears
Fighter Basic weapons, plus any other four
Inquisitor Basic weapons, plus any other two
Monk Monk weapons
Oracle Basic weapons, plus any other two
Paladin Basic weapons, plus any other three
Ranger Basic weapons, plus any other three
Rogue Basic weapons, plus any other two
Sorcerer Basic weapons, plus either crossbows or spears
Summoner Basic weapons, plus any other two
Witch Basic weapons, plus either crossbows or spears
Wizard Basic weapons, plus either crossbows or spears

Fighter Weapon Training:
The weapon groups listed in the table above are also the weapon groups that a fighter may choose from to determine the weapons with which he gains a bonus due to his weapon training class feature. In the event that a given weapon appears in more than one weapon group, the bonuses do not stack. The fighter uses the highest bonus from all his weapon groups that include a given weapon.

Racial Weapon Familiarity:
Many races automatically receive proficiency with certain weapons. To reflect this, this variant provides the following bonus Weapon Group proficiencies based on race. If other racial weapons are published, they could be added in the same manner as the racial weapons presented below. These extra proficiencies are in addition to the weapon group proficiencies a character receives from his class(es).

  • Dwarf: A dwarf automatically gains Weapon Group (Axes and Picks) or Weapon Group (Hammers and Maces) at 1st level. A dwarf who has Weapon Group (Axes and Picks) is also proficient with the dwarven waraxe and dwarven urgosh.
  • Elf: An elf automatically gains Weapon Group (Light Blades) or Weapon Group (Bows) at 1st level. An elf who has Weapon Group (Light Blades) is also proficient with the elven thinblade and elven curve blade.
  • Gnome: A gnome who has Weapon Group (Axes and Picks) is also proficient with the gnome hooked hammer.
  • Half-orc: A half-orc automatically gains Weapon Group (Axes and Picks) or Weapon Group (Heavy Blades) at 1st level. An orc who takes Weapon Group (Axes and Picks) is also proficient with the orc double axe.
  • Halfling: A halfling who has Weapon Group (Thrown) is also proficient with the halfling sling staff.
  • Kobold: Imyr Kobolds receive Weapon (Spears) if they are lowborn or Weapon Group (Heavy Blades) if they are highborn. An Imyr kobold who has Weapon Group (Heavy Blades) is also proficient with the katana.

Weapon-Specific Feats
Under this variant, any feat that requires a character to choose a specific weapon, such as Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization or Improved Critical, instead requires the character to choose a specific Weapon Group. The character can apply the feat’s benefits to any weapon in the group.
Though this variant seems to provide a significant power increase, it actually doesn’t increase the power level of most characters. Since the typical player only wields one weapon at a time, or two, with a different weapon in each hand, most players don’t actually become more powerful in a typical fight. It does, however, allow the DM more freedom to include a wider variety of useful treasure because the odds of a player being able to use it are higher. Because characters are skilled in the use of more weapons, the odds of them actually using weapons they rather than simply selling them are much higher.

1 Weapon Group Feats

2 Note that both the Close and Monk weapon groups include Unarmed Strike. These two groups can be used in place of the Improved Unarmed Strike feat for the purpose of qualifying for feats or prestige classes.

Weapon Group Feats

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