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Weapon Master

Weapon Master is a prestige class in NWN2.

DND 3.5 Weapon MasterEdit

Description: For a Weapon Master, perfection is found in the mastery of a single melee weapon. A Weapon Master seeks to unite this weapon of choice with the body to make them one and to use the weapon as naturally and without thought as any other limb. Weapon masters may not choose Unarmed Strike as their Weapon of Choice due to engine limitations.

RequirementsEdit

Base Attack Bonus: +5

Skills: Intimidate 4 ranks

Abilities: Dexterity 13, Intelligence 13

Feats: Weapon Focus in a melee weapon, Dodge, Mobility, Combat Expertise, Spring Attack, Whirlwind Attack

Notes:

  • Weapon Focus in Unarmed Strike will not satisfy the requirement for this class.
  • The ability requirements are not specifically mentioned in the game's description (although they are noted in the manual) for this class. However, they are required by the feats.


Class FeaturesEdit

Hit die: d10
Proficiencies: None
Skill points: 2 + Int modifier
Class skills: Craft Weapon, Intimidate, Lore, Parry, Taunt
Base attack bonus progression: High
Saving throwshigh:Reflex
low:Fortitude, Will


Class ProgressionEdit

Level Features Gained
1 Ki Damage 1/Day, Weapon of Choice
2 Ki Damage 2/Day
3 Ki Damage 3/Day
4 Ki Damage 4/Day
5 Ki Damage 5/Day, Superior Weapon Focus, Increased Multiplier
6 Ki Damage 6/Day
7 Ki Damage 7/Day, Ki Critical
8 Ki Damage 8/Day
9 Ki Damage 9/Day
10 Ki Damage 10/Day

Weapon of ChoiceEdit

When characters acquires their first level of Weapon Master, they must select a single melee weapon type (for example, Longsword or Dwarven Waraxe) as their Weapon of Choice. Their Weapon Master abilities only function when they have a weapon of the selected type equipped. See Choosing a Weapon below for information and suggestions. 

Ki DamageEdit

Once per day per level, a Weapon Master may choose to make a special attack with her weapon of choice. If this attack hits, it automatically inflicts maximum damage.

Increased MultiplierEdit

At 5th level, the Weapon Master’s critical multiplier with their chosen weapon increases by +1, i.e. x2 becomes x3, x3 becomes x4, etc.

Superior Weapon FocusEdit

At 5th-level, the Weapon Masters gains +1 to their attack rolls with their Weapon of Choice.

Ki CriticalEdit

At 7th level, the Weapon Master increases their threat range by 2 when using their weapon of choice. For example, a Longsword normally has a Threat Range of 19-20. In the hands of a 7th-level Weapon Master with the longsword as their weapon of choice, it threatens on a 17-20.

This feat does stack with Improved Critical or the Keen property. However, only the original Threat Range is doubled; the +2 from Ki Critical is added afterward. Thus, with both feats a Longsword would threaten on a roll of 15-20, rather than 13-20.

Choosing a WeaponEdit

Choosing a weapon is arguably more important for a weapon master than any other class, because they become locked in and cannot gain their bonuses with any other weapon type. The two major factors affecting this choice are Critical Threat and Critical Multiplier (see the Critical hit page for descriptions). Other factors, such as the need to dual-wield or sneak attack effectively, can also come into play. However, the weapon damage die is not so important.

A weapon's base damage is usually small compared to other factors affecting a weapon master's damage. In NWN2's enchantment-heavy worlds, even a damage die of d12 is usually overshadowed by the weapon's enhancement bonus and elemental effects, and the player's strength modifier, feats, and other bonuses. Thus, we focus on threat and multiplier.

The main weapons that satisfy the high threat role are the Scimitar, Falchion, Rapier and Kukri. Each of these has a 18-20 threat before Ki Critical and Improved Critical are applied. The Scythe has the best multiplier, a x4 before Increased Multiplier. These weapons make the best use of the weapon master's abilities. A kukri or rapier is usually used by those who are dual-wielding or sneak attacking. The rapier is also useful to the Swashbuckler.

Weapon Masters can expect about equal overall damage between a scimitar/falchion and a scythe (as long as the scimitar is wielded 2-handed, it receives the same strength bonus). Their minor base damage differences aside, these weapons come out nearly equal with their threat and multipliers: With 7 WM levels and Improved Critical, Scimitar and Falchion give a threat of 40% chance per hit (13-20) for a 3x modifier, while Scythe gives 20% (17-20) for 5x damage.

High Threat VS High MultiplierEdit

Even though the Scimitar, Falchion and Scythe come out nearly the same in their average damage, each holds a special advantage depending on the enemies in your campaign.

High-threat weapons (scimitar, falchion, and kukri) will critical more often for less damage. They work best when fighting lots of enemies that do not take many hits to kill. A high-multiplier weapon will too often waste its rarer critical damage on weak minions in this situation. Great Cleave enjoys the same benefit against swarms, and a weapon master's criticals will often cleave more often and make longer cleave chains.

However, the wide threat range of these weapons suffers when fighting enemies that have high AC. Targets that require a natural roll of 14 or higher will waste a high threat range of 13-20, but not the multiplier. In these cases the Scythe enjoys a better overall bonus. Its threat range is not diminished until a target requires a natural 18 or higher, and it offers a higher multiplier during its criticals.

Thus, a Weapon Master's best weapon of choice may depend on the campaign he is playing. In the original and Storm of Zehir campaigns, where enemies are usually weak and numerous, scimitars and falchions are an excellent choice. In the Mask of the Betrayer expansion or PvP, a scythe should be most effective... although many enemies in that campaign are crit-immune.

Weapon Master in Mask of the BetrayerEdit

Unfortunately, the developers of Mask of the Betrayer thought it would be fun to design a campaign around crit-immune spirits, elementals, etc. Rogues, Weapon Masters, and other characters who rely on critical hits/sneak attack/etc as a core class feature are severely penalized by this campaign. There are two weapons that allow characters to bypass this problem: a rapier and a falchion (named Elemental's Ruin and Transcendent Edge). These weapons grant the Elemental's Ruin and Spirit's Ruin feat respectively, allowing you to crit and sneak-attack against elementals or spirits. Other Ruin feats (against undead, constructs, etc) exist in the game code and can be modded into the game as a character feat or item enchantment, but the rapier and falchion are the only two items offered in the campaign itself to offer such feats.

To avoid spoilers, I will remain vague. Just know that the rapier can be found very early in the campaign, while the falchion takes quite a while longer to acquire. The rapier is already enchanted and cannot be modified further by recipes, while the falchion can. Take this into account when building a weapon master in the MOTB campaign.

Were it not for the rampant crit-immunity, the Scythe would be the best choice for MOTB because its crit range is not diminished by fighting high-AC enemies (and many enemies in this campaign are very hard to hit), and because its huge multiplier works well against the campaign's high-HP foes. However, you'll instead need to choose rapier or falchion unless you can acquire the Ruin feats by some other means (i.e. a mod to either create an item containing the feats, or to add them as selectable character feats).

Using Mods to Acquire Ruin FeatsEdit

If you feel your crit-dependent character is being unfairly broken by this campaign, you may want to take matters into your own hands and mod in a solution. Note that this could be seen as cheating, though. It depends a lot on who you ask.

The simplest way to do this is to duplicate an item in the modding tools -- something that gives a passive bonus while in your inventory, like the Silver Shard. Remove its properties and rename it, then give it the applicable Ruin feat(s). Place the item in an easy-to-reach location of a simple campaign (in a box or offered as a quest reward), like the tutorial campaign that comes with the game. Then play that custom campaign with the character to acquire the item and save your character. When you start the MOTB campaign with that character, the item will remain in his inventory and allow him to sneak attack & crit as normal.

Ostensibly one could, with enough modding prowess, allow characters to select ruin feats as any other feat when leveling up. This would be the preferred solution for many, but it may be much harder to implement because the Ruin feats are designed as item feats only. (note that mods like this may already exist -- a link would be beneficial if that is so).

There is a step by step guide for creating an amulet with all ruin feats here, written by nWirb.

NWN ComparisonEdit

  • This class was introduced in the Hordes of the Underdark NWN expansion.
  • The discipline skill that was created for NWN was removed in NWN2 and combat feats relating to it now function closer to 3.5 rules.
  • You do not gain a second Weapon of Choice in NWN2.

3.5 Rules ComparisonEdit

  • The parry skill was created by NWN and is not a feature of DnD 3.5, and has returned in NWN2 for the same reasons it was in NWN.
  • In D&D 3.5, the Weapon Master also gains a favoured "style" as well as weapon. This offers bonuses either to the type of armour used (light/medium/heavy) or other bonuses for a style such as two-weapon fighting, or sword+shield. I do not know why this has been removed, but from the possible abilities gained, I'd wager that it is an engine limitation.

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