DnD’s Next Unearthed Arcana Will Introduce New Weapon Mastery Rules

Blades and bows will be getting an overhaul in the upcoming Dungeon & Dragons 5E Unearthed Arcana document.

D&D Fighter Cover

Image via Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of the Coast has announced the upcoming Unearthed Arcana will introduce a Weapon Mastery system, granting additional properties to the weapons in the game when wielded by members of the martial classes. This update is long overdue, as the current weapons in the D&D 5E Player’s Handbook are boring in implementation, as it’s often a character’s class abilities that have to make them interesting.

In D&D 5E, weapons are broken into Simple and Martial proficiency groups, which determine the classes that can use them. In practice, most weapons are just a damage type and dice roll, with a few possessing minor additional properties, such as Versatile weapons, which can be used two-handed to deal extra damage. This is in stark contrast to D&D 3E, which had many unique weapon types and made the usual fare interesting, such as giving the longsword a higher critical hit rate than other blades.

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D&D 5E’s Weapon Mastery Rules Will Change The Game

Image via Wizards of the Coast

The time is coming for weapons to shine in D&D 5E. A new video on the official Dungeons & Dragons YouTube channel has announced that a 50-page Unearthed Arcana is coming on April 26, featuring a brand new Weapon Mastery system that will change how weapons work. This Unearthed Arcana will feature playtesting material for the Barbarian and Fighter, explaining how they interact with the Weapon Mastery System. This material is meant to be tested by fans before its potential inclusion in the upcoming 2024 revision of D&D 5E.

Weapon Mastery works for Barbarians and Fighters because they can use additional special abilities when using a weapon called a Mastery Property. These include Topple, which knocks an enemy prone; Cleave, which allows you to hit multiple targets; Slow, which reduces an enemy’s movement speed; and Graze, which lets you deal some damage if you miss. Changes will also be made to the damage and properties of existing weapons, including shortswords now being bumped up to Martial.

The Fighter is the ultimate user of Weapon Mastery, as they gain the ability to change a weapon’s Mastery Property and add multiple properties to a weapon at higher levels. This class will have the most use of this new system, as the other martial classes have their own special abilities, such as the Barbarian’s Rage and the Paladin’s Divine Smite. It also bears mentioning that other classes can gain a Mastery Property by taking specific Feats.

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D&D 5E has a much greater focus on class abilities than previous editions, making magic items and weapons less important. This new Weapon Mastery system will hopefully bring blades and bows back into prominence and make the combat more tactical for the classes that don’t sling spells for a living.