Originally, I didn't make any changes, but then I saw a thread on exotic weapons. The poster suggested getting rid of the exotic feat and giving exotic weapons prerequisites. It didn't go very far, but I took the idea and ran with it.

Thus, I went through all the exotic weapons and rebalanced them. Several shouldn't have been exotic, IMO: the kama, shuriken, two-bladed sword, and crossbows. The kama is just a modified sickle; the two-bladed sword is a staff with blades (and once you drop the damage to 1d6, it's pretty well balanced as a martial weapon); the hand crossbow is just a smaller version of the crossbow (which is itself a simple weapon); and the repeating crossbow isn't that much harder to use. Shuriken are even worse than darts; their only saving grace is that monks can flurry with them. Whoopdedoo - making them martial weapons doesn't unbalance them, since monks are the only ones who use them anyway. So, the hand crossbow got moved to simple, and the others are all martial.

I dropped the siangham entirely. It's a goofy weapon, a cross between a dart and a dagger, which you can't even throw. Its only real use is as a monkish weapon, and since PP uses weapon groups, there's no use for it at all. The dire flail was dropped for much the same reasons - you can wield two light flails and get the same effect for a fraction of the cost, AND not have to get an exotic feat.

For the rest, I had to think up prerequisites for each. My original iteration of this idea had a simple stat requirement to use the special abilities (for example, nunchaki required 15 Dex to gain the disarm bonus). When I went back to it to do some more work, I decided to simply have a straight stat requirement to use the weapon at all, and a second, higher, one to employ maneuvers. Thus, the nunchaku now requires 13 Dex to use without a penalty and 15 Dex to be able to disarm opponents.

The bastard sword and dwarven waraxe were odd cases; they're large and unwieldy (and already require 13 Strength), but you can wield them two-handed as martial weapons or one-handed as exotic. I decided to up the Strength prereq to 15 and make it so that if you have 15 Strength, you can wield it one-handed and deal normal damage; if you have 14 or less, you can either use one hand and deal less damage, or use two hands for full damage.

I also found a weapon valuing system on the Wizards boards (which you can download here), which I tweaked a bit and used to value and balance all the existing weapons, as well as the new ones I added. This is the reason why some weapons have different damage/crit values than normal. Also, some research turned up very interesting facts: the sling, for instance, requires years of practice to use effectively and actually has a range comparable to a longbow's, and the javelin has a very short effective range (about a third what's listed). I decided to make the sling an exotic weapon and upped the range - it can be pretty effective in the hands of a proficient user.

Weapon groups: I originally used this idea for fighters only, as a way of letting them be specialized with large numbers of weapons without blowing a boatload of feats. Someone asked me why I didn't just use it for all classes, and I started thinking about it. It was a good idea, but I had one major stumbling block: What to do with simple and martial weapons. See, I could easily institute the system - simply replace the class' starting weapons with groups, and you're done. The problem is, most classes aren't proficient with martial weapons on the whole - bards, rogues, and monks get a few specific ones, but that's it. I didn't want mages to be able to take a couple weapon groups and suddenly be able to use swords.

I finally came up with a solution, though: all characters can use simple weapons in their groups without penalty. Martial weapons, however, require the MWP feat - it grants proficiency with any martial weapons in your groups. [I]For example:[/I] Josef the mage takes Slings and Spears as his two groups. Of the weapons in his groups, the shuriken, javelin, lance, and trident are all martial - he suffers a -2 penalty to use them (as opposed to -4 for a weapon outside of his allowed groups). If he took the MWP feat, he could use all those weapons without penalty. Since exotic weapons are now classes as "martial with prereqs", this works out very well.

This most closely simulates advanced training without the kludgy simple/martial weapons system - some weapons, while similar to what you know, are just different enough that they require a little extra effort to learn to wield properly.

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