Poor Fighter. He’s living out every gamer’s worst fear. If you’ve never experienced this nightmare scenario, allow me to illustrate the horror.

First imagine that you’re a fighting man. You picked “battleaxe” as your weapon of choice, mostly because you’re a fighting man and battleaxes are awesome. With weapon in hand and a band of stalwart companions at your side, you set out for the nearest dungeon. There you face peril, hack apart said peril, and miraculously manage not to die. And so, flush with success, you head back to town with a purse full of gold and a character sheet full of XP. Ye olde magick shoppe is having a sale, so it’s a no-brainer to get that starter package battleaxe enchanted. And while ol’ Bessy is in the shop, you’ve still got those XP burning a hole in your pocket. After careful consideration, you decide to spend your precious level-up picking out battleaxe-related powers like “smite tree” and “hit better with axe.” Thus fortified you set out for another adventure, only to find that the great treasure at the heart of this new dungeon is (Son of a bitch!) a glaive-guisarme-guisarme-glaive. This stupid pointy stick has powers and abilities far in advance of poor Bessy, and suddenly your battleaxe build is a limitation rather than an asset. Take the new weapon and your battleaxe abilities are wasted. Stick with the old weapon and you’re using inferior hardware.

Even worse, suppose that you’re playing Inigo Montoya. His sword is built right into his backstory, and there’s no way he’s giving it up for the new and shiny thing. Suckier and suckier.

My own attempt at a solution to these problems comes courtesy of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Their weapons bear names like Graywand, Scalpel, Heartseeker and Cat’s Claw, but they are by no means special or magical. In fact, they aren’t even the same weapons from story to story. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are often divested of their gear, and so resort to giving the same name to whatever cutlery they happen to be carrying at the moment. That’s why my current barbarian began play with a greataxe named Undertow, traded it out for a masterwork greataxe named Undertow, and then traded that out for a +1 bastard sword named Undertow. (My GM was extremely confused.) I also elected to hold off on taking any weapon-specific abilities, opting instead for the more generally useful stuff like blind-fight, toughness, and quick draw.

We’ll see if this gamble pays off later on in the campaign (come on enchanted glaive-guisarme-guisarme-glaive!), but I’m curious how the rest of you guys deal with this problem. Do you like focusing on a specific kind of weapon/fighting style, or do you try to keep your options open?


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.