DMs Guild Review – Weapon Perks

New weapon-specific abilities for every simple and martial weapon in the Player’s Handbook.

A review copy of “Weapon Perks” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Justin Handlin (Crit Academy)

Despite being based on Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, Baldur’s Gate 3 makes a number of changes, including adding weapon-specific abilities to each kind of weapon. The Pillars of Eternity series also has different modal stances that could be turned on depending on the weapon you were wielding.

Weapon Perks brings these video game concepts back into D&D, with new abilities for each of the 30+ ranged and melee weapons found in the Player’s Handbook.

Often in D&D 5e, players stick to the same few weapons that are optimal for their class. The mace, the longsword, the rapier. And as the designer correctly points out, many weapons feature the exact same stats, rendering their differences purely cosmetic, such as the spear and the trident.

Weapon Perks attempts to make each weapon different and interesting by granting them each a unique ability. Sickles and Tridents can be used defensively, by spending a reaction and making an attack roll to strike them back (sickle) or turn their own attack on a nearby enemy (trident).

Some weapons take advantage of moving or playing defensively. The Battleaxe’s Reckless Charge grants a bonus action attack when using the Dash action, and a +5 to damage rolls when moving in a straight line towards an opponent. The scimitar allows you to make a reaction attack when using the dodge action.

dms guild

Other weapons utilize skill checks in combat, like using a Perception check with a rapier to pinpoint a weak point in an opponent’s armor, bypassing their armor entirely (turning their AC into 10+ DEX). As a bonus action with the shortbow you can aim for a more precise hit using Insight, doubling your chance for a critical hit (19 or 20) on the next attack.

There’s a tricky line to walk between granting fun weapon abilities without stepping on the toes of would-be magic items, and Weapon Perks does cross that line a few times. The blowgun can fire both sleep and poison darts, with only a once per short rest restriction the sleep dart. The longbow has a dangerously powerful once-per-long-rest True Shot ability, using a bonus action to mark every target within range and fire at everyone with a single weapon attack. That you, McCree?

Those are neat abilities, but they’re better suited to magic items rather than just being proficient in a normal weapon. If something is restricted per rest, it’s probably too powerful for an everyday weapon ability.

For the most part the abilities work very well and feel thematically appropriate, like armor penetration for the war pick, stunning attacks for most of the clubs and hammers, and twirling a flail over your head, hitting anyone who gets near.

Weapon Perks is also a good-looking product, with well-written and fun flavor text for every single weapon that highlights their historical significance and strengths, as well as the excellent use of silhouette character art to show off different weapons, making this an easy recommendation for all players and DMs.

Pros:

  • Over 30 new combat abilities for every simple and martial weapon in the Player’s Handbook.
  • Informative flavor text that highlights the strengths and uses of each weapon.
  • Silhouette art shows off weapon varieties.

Cons:

  • Some abilities need better balancing.

The Verdict: Weapon Perks adds fun and meaningful new abilities for each weapon, encouraging players to branch out with a much broader variety of choices in combat.

A review copy of “Weapon Perks” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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