Weapons (3.5e Guideline)
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Upper Damage Limit
Assuming the lowest crit (20/x2) and no other special abilities (range, reach, etc), the theoretical maximum average damages for a medium-sized weapon are:
The highest damage official weapons are the fullblade and heavy poleaxe/greatspear, at 2d8 and 2d6 respectively. These give averages of 9 and 7, but both have improved criticals, reach or thrown range. Having an absolute maximum average 10 prohibits 2d10 (11 average) and 3d6 (10.5) for medium weapons, but allows for interesting weapons at the limit: for example, if a crit range of 19-20 is worth +1 to the average, that allows for the fullblade (9 average damage, +1 = 10).
The maxmimum damage for a light weapons seem to be 1d6, with higher proficiencies adding more traits.
This is an index of common weapon traits for 3.5e. Before designing a homebrew weapon's special rules, check here first to see if there is an established trait that does what you want.
A reach weapon can be used to strike foes 10 feet away, but not adjacent foes.
- Ready Against Charge
If you use a ready action to set a spear against a charge, you deal double damage on a successful hit against a charging character.
A tripping weapon can be used to make trip attacks. If you are tripped during the attempt, you may drop the weapon to avoid being tripped in return.
A disarming weapon grants a +2 bonus on your opposed attack roll when attempting to disarm your opponent.
- Double Weapon
A non-lethal weapon deals nonlethal damage.
- Weapon Familiarity
If your weapon is a variant of an existing weapon, it might count as that weapon for the purpose of some or all feats. For example, barbed bolas are treated as bolas; the longstaff is treated as a quarterstaff.
- Racial Familiarity
This exotic weapon counts as a martial weapon for members of a certain race.
A thrown weapon that returns to the wielder in a non-magical fashion, like a boomerang. To catch a returning weapon, the thrower must make an attack roll (as if he were throwing the weapon) to hit AC 10. Failure indicates that the weapon lands in a random square adjacent to the thrower (if proficient) or 1d4 squares away (if not proficient).
Particularly heavy versions of weapons cannot be wielded at all by characters not proficient in that weapon; the greatspear for example.
Straddling the line between one-handed and two-handed, weapons like the maul or bastard sword can be wielded in two hands with martial proficiency, or in one hand with exotic proficiency.
- Slow Recovery
Very heavy swung weapons, such as the warmace. The wielder of such a weapon suffers a -1 penalty to AC.