Optional Weapon Mastery Rules for Microlite74 and Microlite81

D&D Masters Set Box CoverThe Masters Set of the BECMI version of D&D added a set of Weapon Mastery rules that provided specific rules for each weapon for five levels of weapon mastery (none, basic, skilled, expert, master). Many people considered this overpowered, but when used in play from the beginning of a campaign (instead of retroactively added to an ongoing campaign when one bought the Masters Set), I found that it wasn’t really overpowered and added a lot to the game, especially for the fighter class.

I’ve always wanted to add this to Microlite74 (and now Microlite81) but the system depended on two pages of tables and special rules for almost every weapon. This makes it hard to create a “microlite” version as the rules for Weapon Mastery would be as long or longer than the entire rules for Microlite74 Basic. After several years of thinking about this on and off, I finally concluded that I could make something like this if I made the effects general instead of specific to each weapon.

I modeled these draft Microlite74/81 Weapon Mastery system after the Talents rules already in some versions of Microlite74 and Microlite81. There are three levels of Weapon Mastery: Good at (a specific weapon), Expert at (a specific weapon) and Master at (a specific weapon). Naturally you have to already be “good at” a specific weapon before you can become “expert at” that specific weapon and you have to be “expert at” a specific weapon before you can become “master at” that specific weapon. Fighting classes would select a Weapon Mastery at 1st level and all odd-numbered levels (allowing them to still select normal non-weapon talents at even-numbered levels, they cannot select Weapon Mastery instead of normal talents at even-numbered levels). Non-fighters could select a Weapon Mastery instead of regular talent at even-numbered levels. Only Fighting Classes can reach the “Master at” level. Arcane casters can only reach the “Good at” level. No character can take a level of Weapon Mastery in a weapon he is unable to use because of class restrictions.

The effects of each level of Weapon Mastery are as follows::

Good at [Specific Weapon]: +2 to hit when wielding this specific weapon. Roll damage as 1d2+2 (for 1d4), 1d3+3 (for 1d6), 1d4+4 (for 1d8), etc. (Arcane Casters are only +1 to hit.)

Expert at [Specific Weapon]: +2 to hit when wielding this specific weapon. Roll damage as 1d2+2 (for 1d4), 1d3+3 (for 1d6), 1d4+4 (for 1d8), etc. Add +1 to damage for every two points you beat the number you need to hit on your attack roll. Critical Hit on a natural 19 or 20. Can hit beings that require a silver weapon to hit with a normal weapon.

Master at [Specific Weapon]: +3 to hit when wielding this specific weapon. Roll damage as 1d2+2 (for 1d4), 1d3+3 (for 1d6), 1d4+4 (for 1d8), etc. Add +1 to damage for every point you beat the number you need to hit on your attack roll. Critical Hit on a natural 18, 19, or 20. Critical hit does double normal body damage (or adds an extra die of damage on targets without body points). Can hit beings that require a silver or a magical weapon to hit with a normal weapon.

Specific Weapon means just at one specific type of weapon: a dagger, a short sword, a longbow, a sling, etc.

Fighting classes (only) may instead elect to take Weapon Mastery in an entire class of weapons (one-handed swords, bows, thrown weapons, polearms, etc.). The effects of Weapon Mastery for an entire class of weapons are less than for a specific weapon as shown below:

Good at [Weapon Class]: +1 to hit when wielding weapons of this general type.

Expert at [Weapon Class]: +1 to hit when wielding weapons of this general type. Roll damage as 1d2+2 (for 1d4), 1d3+3 (for 1d6), 1d4+4 (for 1d8), etc.

Master at [Weapon Class]: +1 to hit when wielding weapons of this general type. Roll damage as 1d2+2 (for 1d4), 1d3+3 (for 1d6), 1d4+4 (for 1d8), etc. Add +1 to damage for every two points you beat the number you need to hit on your attack roll. Critical Hit on a natural 19 or 20.

These rules should be suitable for Microlite74 (Standard or Extended) or Microlite81 (Extended), but they have not been playtested at all at this point. I’m sure they will need tweaking in playtest, assuming they aren’t found to be too complex or too powerful in play. Feedback is welcome. especially feedback from actual playtesting.

Randall Stukey

Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund.

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Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. Gates & Glamours RSS Feed

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Rachel Ghoul
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That's fairly cunning, I would say.

Randall
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@Rachel: And only took me 3-4 years to think up. 🙁