Weapon and Armor Proficiency Groups: I created the weapon and armor proficiency groups to serve as a more organic backdrop from which players might develop their weapon and combat training skills, as I felt the current way that classes divide up weapon proficiencies were awkward and unimaginative. I also wanted to see other types of armor and weapons represented, and I felt this might contribute to that. Players will now have to pick from a list of group options that may or may not included everything they want in them, forcing some sacrifices and decision making. No longer will everyone be running around with a Greatsword and Chain Shirts!
Weapon and Proficiency groups are only ever selected once; upon taking one’s first core class. It should be noted that the proficiencies learned in these groups represent an amalgamation of preferences, oaths, and social pressures that conspire to make a “group” of proficiences. For example, a Knight would probably have had, at some point in his life, the opportunity to train in Leather armor, but that group does not include leather armor, because a Knight would probably not be caught dead in leather armor if he could help it. The likelihood is that the player will have another group which contributes said armor proficiency, but if he doesn’t, c’est la vie!
Any weapon or armor proficiency can be purchased by spending a feat to learn it, however, if the character doesn’t manage to get what he or she wants. He must still meet the pre-requisites for that feat, per the PHB. Note that armor and weapon feat proficiencies are limited to one selection per feat, however, not the whole group! For the purpose of qualifying for a feat, a single armor proficiency in the associated caliber (light, medium, heavy) prequalifies a character for any selection in the next bracket. (Aka, a character with Chainmail proficiency could spend a feat to get Full Plate armor proficiency)
The Agricultural Group: Flail, Heavy Flail, Hand Axe, Sickle, Scythe, Trident, Light Pick. Padded, Leather and Hide Armor.
The first tools ever used for weapons, the agriculture group is made up of weapons which started first as farming implements and were later customized for killing people or animals. All these weapons have an agricultural foudnation. Armor is that which is used to avoid animal or other natural hazards.
The Husbandry Group: Quarterstaff, Net, Whip, Dagger, Longspear, Club. Leather and Hide Armor, Buckler and Small Shield.
The husbandry group is made up of weapons used in the herding, training, or defense of animals, usually used for keeping them at bay or breaking up fights. Armor is meant for similar purpose.
The Hunting Group: Shortbow, Longbow, Spear, Shortspear, Javelin, Sling, Dagger, Net, Trident. Padded, Leather and Studded Leather Armor.
The hunting group of weapons includes those weapons which are ideal for killing or trapping any kind of animal, including large and small game as well as fish and vermin. Armor is of the type necessary to fend off a wild animal’s attack but still remain swift footed and unencumbered.
The Woodsman Group: Battle Axe, Hand Axe, Throwing Axe, Great Axe, Quarterstaff, Club, Greatclub. Padded, Leather, Studded Leather and Hide Armor.
The woodsman’s group of weaponry includes those tools and weapons which are found in the hands of lumberjacks, carpenters, and other men who work wood for a living, or travel heavily in the forest. Armor is of the type needed to move through wooded area, and avoid the hazards of natural animals and predators, or other dangers such as thorny patches, jagged rock, etc.
The Craftsman’s Group: Light Mace, Heavy Mace, Light Hammer, Warhammer, Light Pick, Heavy Pick. Padded Armor.
The craftsman’s group of weapons and armor constitutes weapon training that arises by associated tool usage, usually that which aids in the working of stone and metal. Armor proficiency represents the type of padding or working smocks one might find a smith wearing while beating iron.
The Professional’s Group: Dagger, Rapier, Quarterstaff, Club, Short Sword, Sap. Padded Armor, Buckler.
The professional’s group includes weapons that are easy to carry, lightweight, and won’t carry negative social ramifications. They are considered necessary or “gentleman’s” weapons, usually intended to keep thieves or muggers at bay in the town at night or after the shop closes. Associated armor is intended to be worn under social outfits so as to remain cosmopolitan.
The Criminal’s Group: Dagger, Unarmed, Club, Light Crossbow, Dart, Sling, Kukri, Shortsword, Scimitar, Rapier, Sap, Shortbow. Leather, Padded, and Studded Leather Armor.
This proficiency group includes smaller melee weapons that are easily concealable and work best against unaware/unarmored targets. It usually results from time spent as a criminal, thief, outcast or the like.
Militia’s Group: Short Spear, Spear, Longspear, Dagger, Hand Axe, Throwing Axe, Morning Star, Light Crossbow. Studded Leather, Scalemail, Splintmail Armor, Small and Large Shield.
The Milita’s group represents training for reservists or other part-time or conscript warriors who train a few weeks out of the year with simple, easy-to-produce weapons and light-medium affordable armor.
Guardsman’s Group: Short Sword, Halberd, Guisarme, Glaive, Ranseur. Buckler, Small Shield, Breastplate, Splintmail, Banded Mail.
The Guardsman’s proficiency comes from professional training in sentry type duties. It usually involves pole-arms, to keep intruders at bay while being arrested, contained or questioned, as well as medium-heavy armor, as they are often the victims of surprise attacks when a fight ensues, and generally don’t need to move far from their appointed places.
Soldier’s Group: Prereq: Str 11+ Shortsword, Morning Star, Light Pick, Heavy Pick, Light Hammer, Warhammer, Battle Axe, Hand Axe, Flail, Light and Heavy Crossbow. Scale mail, Chainmail, Splintmail. Large and Tower Shield.
The Soldier’s group represents the accumulated weapon and armor proficiency from professional soldiers who have trained extensively in organized combat, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually seen it. These are career soldiers (or would have been), and focus mainly on 1 handed martial melee weapons developed exclusively for combat in ranks, along with medium-heavy budget armor, as well as larger shields.
Archer’s Group: Prereq: Dex 11+, Bab +1 Shortbow, Longbow, and (Composite versions of each), Hand Axe, Throwing Axe, Dagger. Leather, and Studded Leather armor.
The archer’s group represents specialty missile troops and besiegers, or often experienced gamesmen. They train extensively in Bow usage, as well as the melee weapons needed to support and craft fletching. As they are not intended to see hand to hand combat, they have limited armor proficiency in cheap and maneuverable armor.
Noble’s Group: Prereq: Cha 11+. 1 of the following groups: Soldier, Archer, or Professional. Shortbow, Longbow, Shortsword, Longsword, Light Mace, Heavy Mace, Rapier, Lance, Whip. Chain Shirt, Chainmail, Breastplate, Banded Mail, Half-Plate, Buckler, Small Shield.
The Noble’s group consists of weapons and armor that would be fashionable and appropriate for nobles to wield, usually as signs of office, sport or gentelmanly training. This typically includes swords and maces, but also bows (hunting), lances and rapier (sport) and the whip (intimidating lesser men). They train in the use of the best and most expensive armors, for each respective class of armor, simply because they can afford it. One not need be an actual “noble” to have access this to this class of weapons. A squire or trainer for a noble would have such access, for example.
Knight’s Group: Prereq: Con 11+, Str 11+. Bab +1, 1 of the following groups: Soldier, Militia, Guardsman. Short Sword, Longsword, Bastard Sword, Battle Axe, Great Axe, Longspear, Glaive, Ranseur, Guisarme, Heavy Flail, Halberd, Lance. Chain Shirt, Chainmail, Breastplate, Half Plate. Heavy Shield.
The Knight’s group includes weapons and armor that were designed for serious warfare. It includes weaponry that packs a serious punch, usually 2 handed, and the heavier armors, as Knights are usually mounted and needn’t worry about weight and encumberance.
Veteran’s Group: Prereq: Str 11+, Dex 11+, Con 11+. Bab +1, 2 of the following groups: Archer, Soldier, Militia or Guardsman and 1 of the following groups: Noble or Knight. Longbow and Shortbow (Composite versions of each). Greatsword, Falchion, Scimitar, Longsword, Bastard Sword +1 Exotic Weapon of the Player’s Choosing. Chain Shirt, Breastplate, Half-Plate, Full Plate, all Shields (including spiked shields). Armor Spikes.
The Veteran’s group encompasses the very best weapons and armor, typically exposed to only after mastering the more basic weapons. It includes exotic weapons from far off lands, as well as complimentary free exotic weapon proficiency of the player’s choosing to represent the diverse exposure a Veteran fighter would have to warcraft.
Proficiency Groups per Core Class:
Barbarian: Any 3. Restricted: Veteran, Noble, Knight, Professional.
Bard: Professional +1 other: Criminal, Craftsman.
Cleric: By Domain.
Druid: Agricultural +1 other: Husbandry, Hunting, Woodsman.
Fighter: Any 4.
Hexblade: Any 3 from: Criminal, Militia, Guardsman, Soldier, Noble, Knight.
Paladin: Soldier +3 more, at least 1 of which must be Noble or Knight. Restricted: Criminal.
Ranger: 3, at least one of which must be Husbandry, Woodsman, or Archery. Restricted: Knight, Noble, Soldier.
Rogue: Criminal +1 other: Hunting, Craftsman, Professional.
Scout: Hunting +1 other: Woodsman, Criminal, Militia, Archery
Weapon Focus Groups: Instead of each “Weapon Focus” feat pertaining to only 1 weapon, Weapon Focus: Group covers every weapon in any of the groups below. Note that some weapons belong to multiple groups. You can only ever receive a +1 bonus from a weapon focus group. Note that the weapon focus feat does not give the wieilder proficiency in the weapon, and the net +1 bonus to hit only applies if the wielder already has proficiency in the given weapon. Note that further weapon feats (Improved Critical, Weapon Specialization) are very specialized studies of a given weapon, and as such, only apply to 1 weapon (per the RAW).
1 Handed Blades: Dagger, Kukri, Sickle, Short Sword, Rapier, Scimitar, Longsword.
2 Handed Blades: Longsword, Greatsword, Falchion, Bastard Sword, Two-Bladed Sword.
Thrusting Polearms: Javelin, Spear, Shortspear, Longspear, Ranseur, Trident, Lance.
Swung Polearms: Glaive, Guisarme, Halberd, Scythe, Quarterstaff, Greatclub.
Axes: Throwing Axe, Hand Axe, Battle Axe, Greataxe.
Chains and Flails: Flail, Heavy Flail, Net, Whip, Spiked Chain, Sling, Bola.
Maces and Hammers: Club, Light Mace, Heavy Mace, Light Pick, Heavy Pick, Warhammer, Morning Star.
Crossbows: Light Crossbow, Heavy Crossbow, Repeating Crossbow, Hand Crossbow.
Bows: Composite Short, Long and Greatbow.
Defensive: Armor Spikes, Spiked Shield, Unarmed Attacks, Caltrops, Gauntlets.
Light Thrown: Dagger, Dart, Javelin, Club, Shuriken, Grenades (Alchemists Fire, Holy Water, etc.)
Heavy Thrown: Shortspear, Spear, Throwing Axe, Light Hammer, Trident, Bola, Net.