Ever since reading about them on Greywulf’s Lair, I’ve wanted to simplify and port over the Rules Cyclopedia Weapon Mastery rules for Microlite20, my game of choice.
I’ve decided the best way to approach them is to split the rules into four levels of detail: I’m calling them Basic, Expert, Master, and Immortal levels. (Get it?)
Here, for your browsing pleasure, are the Basic Weapon Mastery Rules for Microlite20. Please note: while applicable for all characters, these rules replace the Fighter’s ability to gain +1 to all attack and damage rolls.
All characters receive a certain number of Weapon Proficiencies at character creation, representing the types of arms your character is most comfortable with, especially when fighting for their lives. Using an unfamiliar weapon is a dangerous gamble—any character using an untrained weapon receives a -4 penalty to their attack. As such, your choice of weapon will be incredibly important as you descend into the dungeon.
The number of proficiencies your character begins play with (in addition to Peasant Weapons, below) differs depending on your class. Wizards begin play with no proficiencies. Druids, Illusionists, and Sorcerers each begin play with one. Bards, Clerics, Monks, Rogues, and Warlords begin play with two. Assassins, Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers begin play with three. And Fighters begin play with four.
Each character gains an additional proficiency at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter (4, 6, 8, etc.).
Weapons are grouped into categories, to represent the broad familiarity inherent in weapon training.
The first category of weapons is referred to as Peasant Weapons. These are the tools every child grows up using, regardless of background; as such, every character is proficient with them. These include the Club, Dagger, Quarterstaff, Shortspear, Sling, and Sickle.
Other weapon categories include the following:
Bludgeoning: Club, Flail, Light Hammer, Light Mace, Gnomish Hooked Hammer, Greatclub, Heavy Flail, Heavy Mace, Morningstar, Quarterstaff , Sap, Warhammer
Bludgeoning, Exotic*: Nunchaku, Sai.
Bows: Composite Longbow, Composite Shortbow, Longbow, Shortbow.
Crossbows: Heavy Crossbow, Light Crossbow.
Crossbows, Exotic: Heavy Repeating Crossbow, Light Repeating Crossbow.
Piercing: Dagger, Heavy Pick, Light Pick, Punching Dagger, Rapier, Scythe, Short Sword
Piercing, Exotic: Gnomish Hooked Hammer, Siangham, Spiked Chain
Polearms: Guisarme, Halberd, Lance, Longspear, Ranseur, Shortspear, Spear, Trident
Polearms, Exotic: Dwarven Urgrosh
Slashing: Battleaxe, Dagger, Falchion, Greataxe, Greatsword, Handaxe, Kukri, Longsword, Scimitar, Scythe, Sickle
Slashing, Exotic: Bastard Sword, Dwarven Waraxe, Dwarven Urgrosh, Kama, Orcish Double Axe, Two-bladed Sword, Whip
Thrown**: Dagger, Clib, Dart, Javelin, Light Hammer, Shortspear, Sling, Spear, Throwing Axe, Trident
Thrown, Exotic*, **: Bolas, Net, Sai, Shuriken
Unarmed Combat: Unlike the other categories, there is no penalty for not being proficient in the Unarmed Combat category. However, a proficiency in this category allows the character to deal lethal damage instead of subdual when making unarmed attacks.
* Exotic weapons require a separate proficiency slot to reach a training level of Basic. However, for purposes of Weapon Specialization (see below), once both categories reach Basic level, only one proficiency slot is required to advance both categories beyond that point.
** A proficiency in Thrown weapons only applies to the weapons contained when they are used in ranged combat.
In addition to spending proficiency points on learning new weapons, characters may spend points to master their particular weapons. After gaining proficiency in a group of weapons, a character may spend a proficiency point to gain +1 to all attack and damage rolls made with weapons of that particular group. A character may spend a number of points in this way up to their level +1 (so at first level, a fighter may spend up to two points on a class of weapons, gaining a +1 bonus to attack and damage).
Points spend in this way do not stack; instead, take the higher bonus when using a weapon that fits into two categories. For example, if a fighter has spent 3 points on Bludgeoning Weapons (granting a +2 bonus), and 2 points on Peasant weapons (granting a +1 bonus), she would gain a +2 bonus.