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I had a weird thought just now. Maybe this has been done before, maybe not.

My experience with weapon and armor proficiency in 3e/4e has been mixed. The -4 non-proficiency penalty to attack rolls made a lot of sense at the time — but less with a couple years of hindsight. Why penalize players from mixing it up with their weapons? Plus other reasons I don’t want to get into now.

Then I had problems with armor proficiency basically being a passive “permission” to have better AC than other characters. There was tie-in with the Arcane Spell Failure, but I never played a 3e game where we rolled that — it was just accepted that Arcane casters wouldn’t wear heavy armor. It was easier.

So I’ve changed a few things up for weapon/armor proficiency. It figures.

But my thought was this — weapon/armor proficiency have both been “permissions-” type features in the past, how could they be made more active in average gameplay? The thought I had was basically that proficiency with a weapon would award you bigger damage dice with that particular weapon.

Proficiency wouldn’t be about accuracy, it’d be about effectiveness.

Deal more damage with a weapon you’re proficient with — but why do this? Two reasons — one is that changing dice types in play is dynamic. If it resets between fights, you need only remember it round-to-round. No extra bookkeeping.

Sometimes you need to use a bow but you’re honestly better with a spear. Your proficiency allows you to deal more damage with a spear than a bow, but there’s nothing stopping you from using a bow if the situation calls for it.

The other reason, is that it eliminates a table from the book — it’s one less thing to memorize. Need weapon stats? Refer to your proficiency on your character sheet. You don’t need an equipment section to figure out your damage.

I think 13th Age does something like this but I don’t really know how their version of this works. I think individual classes deal more or less damage with specific weapon types, but that isn’t what I’m talking about so much.

This takes the “weapon group” idea and allows ANY character with proficiency to deal more damage with weapons from that type. Everyone starts at a basic damage level — “when in doubt, roll a dee-six.” That kind of thing. Proficiency just gives you more, presumably based on a stacking basis.

Here’s an example of how stacking proficiency might work: You’re a fighter with everything-proficiency. You draw a weapon and attack. What’s your basic damage? Dee-six. Is it a melee weapon? Dee-eight. Is it a blade? Dee-ten.

I think the Gear rules might work here, too — when you roll the minimum damage on damage, the weapon degrades. You can either continue using it at one die size lower, or drop it and draw a new one to continue fighting. Sounds like fun!