Last Updated on January 25, 2023
Combat is a major part of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s how the majority of most players get interested in the game, and it can also be a little confusing for players when they first start out. Even with a solid Dungeon Master it’s always good to be a little prepared and know the basics of how combat works in 5e. We’re here to help walk you through it with our detailed DnD Weapons 5e Guide.
Melee Vs. Ranged
Melee weapons in 5e are weapons that can be used to attack characters within 5ft of the player character. These would be things like a club, sword, or spear.
Ranged weapons in 5e are used to target enemies at a distance. Ranged weapons have a maximum range that they’re effective at. Some examples would be bows and crossbows. Some melee weapons can also be ranged weapons. Knives and axes can be used in melee range as well as thrown at far away targets to do damage.
DnD 5e Weapon Proficiency
Before any character can use a particular weapon, they’ll need to be proficient with it. Proficiency refers to the character having the knowledge, experience, or training to use a weapon effectively. Each class is granted a certain number of weapon proficiencies at character creation, and some classes grant bonus ones as they level up.
When a character is making an attack using a weapon they’re proficient in they also add their proficiency bonus to the roll. This makes it much easier for them to actually hit the target and do some damage. If a character doesn’t have proficiency with a weapon they don’t get to add their proficiency bonus, but they can still add the appropriate ability score modifier.
The standard weapon proficiencies in 5e are simple, martial, and improvised. All weapons can fit into these categories. Simple weapons would be clubs, knives, or stone and sling. Martial Weapons on the other hand would be more professional. These would be swords, battle axes, or a halberd.
Some classes also classify their own category of weapons. Monks have a special category simply called Monk Weapons that they’re proficient in. These are a set of specially picked out weapons that can be used with the Monk class and their specific abilities.
If you’re familiar with any of the previous editions of DnD you may notice a lack of the Exotic Weapon Proficiency. DnD 5e does not have an Exotic Weapon Proficiency. It was removed to simplify the rules. Any homebrewed weapon can fit into either of the above categories at the discretion of the DM.
DnD 5e Weapon Properties
Some weapons in 5e have extra properties. These don’t necessarily make them special or magical, it just refers to different rules that apply when using the weapon.
An ammunition weapon means that you need ammo to use it. Bows, crossbows, slings, and even guns (if the DM allows them) are all ammo-based weapons and before using the weapon it must be loaded and the player must have ammunition.
Each attack uses up one arrow, bolt, rock, or bullet. At the end of combat, the player can search the battlefield to attempt to recover up to half the amount of ammunition used in a fight. If things get a little hectic and you need to use the ranged weapon in a melee attack, then the weapon properties become an improvised weapon. This can be mitigated if you have your character create their own weapon and create some kind of bayonet for your bow or gun.
Finesse Weapons 5e
What are Finesse Weapons in 5e?
Sometimes it’s not how hard you hit, but where you hit. Some weapons in DnD have special properties. One of those properties is Finesse.
A weapon with Finesse gives you a choice between Strength or Dexterity for the attack and damage roll. You must use the same modifier for both rolls.
Finesse weapons are great for thematic purposes and character flair and make characters high in DEX formidable adversaries. Finesse weapons in 5e do less base damage overall, but let characters be flexible with their weapon choices.
Some finesse weapons have additional special properties too.
Here’s a list of Finesse Weapons in 5e:
- Dagger – light, can be used in off-hand without penalty. Can be thrown.
- Dart – can be thrown.
- Scimitar – light, can be used in off-hand without penalty.
- Shortsword – light, can be used in off-hand without penalty.
- Whip – reach, can attack from an extra 5 feet out.
You can dual wield the 5e Finesse weapons Dagger, Scimitar, and Shortsword without the Dual-Wielder feat. Your Shadow Monk can carry around a bunch of daggers and darts to complement their martial arts skills.
Finesse Weapons in 5e are lighter than normal weapons, which is good news for packrats. Finesse weapons are also great choices for dexterous spellcasters who want an extra attack option but don’t have high enough strength to make carrying around a sword worth it.
And if you narrate your finesse-filled attack just right, your DM might even reward you with an advantage roll!
Typically when attacking the Strength modifier is used to determine attack and damage. Finesse weapons give the player the option to choose either Strength or Dexterity modifiers when rolling for attack and damage. Whichever is chosen must be used for both attack and damage rolls.
This means exactly what it says. This weapon is heavy.
If a small creature attempt to use a heavy weapon, then it must roll with disadvantage. You wouldn’t really expect a gnome to use an Orc-sized great sword, would you?
These are small lightweight weapons. They can be used in the character’s offhand while using two weapons to fight with. In previous editions, there were a lot of penalties associated with two-weapon fighting. These don’t really exist anymore. There is no penalty to fight with two weapons, but the second weapon must have the Light property.
This is a tricky one. The Player’s Handbook states:
“Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of Ammunition from it when you use an Action, bonus Action, or Reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.”
It makes sense at first, but the more you delve into it the vaguer it seems. I interpret it as 1 shot per Action, Bonus Action, or Reaction.
If a fighter gets multiple attacks per Action, they’d only be able to get off 1 shot on their Action using a Loading weapon, but using a non-Loading weapon like a sword they’d still get their multiple attacks.
If a character has haste cast on them, they’ll have 2 actions on their turn. They’ll then be able to fire twice with a Loading weapon because they’re using 2 actions to fire twice.
Simple Finesse Weapons
|Weapon||Melee or Ranged|
|Dagger (1d4 piercing)||Melee and Ranged|
|Dart (1d4 piercing)||Ranged|
Martial Finesse Weapons
|Weapon||Melee or ranged|
|Rapier (1d8 piercing)||Melee|
|Scimitar (1d6 slashing)||Melee|
|Shortsword (1d6 piercing)||Melee|
|Whip (1d4 slashing)||Melee|
If a weapon has the Range property attacks can be used as a ranged weapon. It typically gives two different ranges. The first is the normal range of the weapon and the second is the long range of the weapon.
Attacks continue as normal in the normal range, but attacks in the long-range category must be rolled with disadvantage to the attack roll. Anything beyond the long range cannot be attempted and will automatically fail.
When determining melee range, Reach adds an extra 5ft. Weapons like a glaive, lance, or a pike are all Reach weapons.
A weapon with a Special weapon property typically has its own separate rules section to explain it and doesn’t fit within any of the other normal rules categories.
A weapon with the Thrown property can be used like a normal melee weapon, but can also be used for a Ranged attack. It will have a separate set of details for the melee and ranged properties. If using it as a ranged weapon you would use Strength or Dexterity-based on the weapon.
If you would normally use the Strength modifier when making a melee attack roll, you’d have to use the Strength modifier when using a ranged attack roll. If the player has the option of Strength or Ranged with a melee roll, the player can choose whichever one they wish to use.
The weapon is larger than normal and can only be wielded with 2 hands. The character should not be able to use it effectively or at all with one hand.
Versatile weapons can be used either one-handed or two-handed. The damage values for each style will be different and will have different stat details for each.
What’s the difference between a club and a sturdy piece of firewood? What about a mace and a bat with a nail driven through it? Quality of the weapon, but not much difference really. The Dungeon Master can assign damage values to an improvised weapon if it resembles a similar type of weapon and the quality of it.
A sturdy piece of firewood is going to injure you just as much as a club if you knock someone on the back of the head. A rotting piece of wood, probably won’t, though.
Any object that is used as a weapon that isn’t actually a weapon deals 1d4 damage whether it’s in melee or ranged. The effective range for an improvised weapon is 20ft and the long range is 60 ft.
It’s just a well-known fact that monsters don’t like silver. Silvered weapons have a coating of silver applied to their weapons. Monsters that are immune or resistant to non-magical weapons will still find themselves damaged by Silvered Weapons. It’s not just for werewolves anymore.
It costs 100gp for a single weapon or 10 pieces of ammunition to have a Silvered coating applied. This is the price for materials and the labor of a skilled craftsman to apply the coating.
DnD Weapons 5e List
Here is a complete list of Weapons in 5e DnD:
The guide is broken down into
- Simple Weapons
- Simple Ranged Weapons
- Martial Melee Weapons
- Martial Ranged Weapons
The tables show the most common weapons used in 5e DnD, broken down by each element including Cost, the Damage that each weapon can do, the Weight, what Properties each weapon has, and its Weight.
Each weapon is broken down by Range, for example, a Melee weapon is used to attack a target at close range, i.e. less than 5ft. Whereas the name suggests, Ranged Weapons are used for Targets further away or from a distance.
Simple Weapons 5e
|Simple Melee Weapons||Cost||Damage||Weight||Properties||Range|
|Club||1 sp||1d4 bludgeoning||2lb||Light||NA|
|Dagger||2 gp||1d4 piercing||1lb||Finesse, Light, Thrown||20/60|
|Greatclub||2 sp||1d8 bludgeoning||10lb||Two-handed||NA|
|Handaxe||5 gp||1d6 slashing||2lb||Light, Thrown||20/60|
|Javelin||5 sp||1d6 piercing||2lb||Thrown||30/120|
|Light Hammer||2 gp||1d4 bludgeoning||2lb||Light, Thrown||20/60|
|Mace||5 gp||1d6 bludgeoning||4lb||NA||NA|
|Quarterstaff||2 sp||1d6 bludgeoning||4lb||Versatile||NA|
|Sickle||1 gp||1d4 slashing||2lb||Light||NA|
|Spear||1 gp||1d6 piercing||3lb||Thrown||20/60|
Simple Ranged Weapons
|Simple Ranged Weapons||Cost||Damage||Weight||Properties||Range|
|Crossbow, Light||25 gp||1d8 piercing||5 lb||Ammunition, Loading, Two-handed||80/320|
|Dart||5 cp||1d4 piercing||1/4 lb||Finesse, Thrown||20/60|
|Shortbow||25 gp||1d6 piercing||2 lb||Ammunition, Two-handed||80/320|
|Sling||1 sp||1d4 bludgeoning||NA||Ammunition||30/120|
Martial Melee Weapons
|Martial Melee Weapons||Cost||Damage||Weight||Properties|
|Battleaxe||10 gp||1d8 slashing||4 lb||Versatile (1d10)|
|Flail||10 gp||1d8 bludgeoning||2 lb||NA|
|Glaive||20 gp||1d10 slashing||6 lb||Heavy, reach, two-handed|
|Greataxe||30 gp||1d12 slashing||7 lb||Heavy, Two-handed|
|Greatsword||50 gp||2d6 slashing||6 lb||Heavy, Two-handed|
|Halberd||20 gp||1d10 slashing||6 lb||Heavy, Reach, Two-handed|
|Lance||10 gp||1d12 piercing||6 lb||Reach, special|
|Longsword||15 gp||1d8 slashing||3 lb||Versatile (1d10)|
|Maul||10 gp||2d6 bludgeoning||10 lb||Heavy, Two-handed|
|Morningstar||15 gp||1d8 piercing||4 lb||NA|
|Pike||5 gp||1d10 piercing||18 lb||Heavy, reach, two-handed|
|Rapier||25 gp||1d8 piercing||2 lb||Finesse|
|Scimitar||25 gp||1d6 slashing||3 lb||Finesse, light|
|Shortsword||10 gp||1d6 piercing||2 lb||Finesse, light|
|Trident||5 gp||1d6 piercing||4 lb||Thrown, Versatile (1d8) – Range 20/60|
|Warpick||5 gp||1d8 piercing||2 lb||NA|
|Warhammer||15 gp||1d8 bludgeoning||2 lb||Versatile (1d10)|
|Whip||2 gp||1d4 slashing||3 lb||Finesse, Reach|
Martial Ranged Weapons
|Martial Ranged Weapons||Cost||Damage||Weight||Properties||Range|
|Blowgun||10 gp||1 piercing||1 lb||Ammunition, loading||25/100|
|Crossbow, Hand||75 gp||1d6 piercing||3 lb||Ammunition, light, loading||30/120|
|Crossbow, Heavy||50 gp||1d10 piercing||18 lb||Ammunition, heavy, loading, two-handed||100/400|
|Longbow||50 gp||1d8 piercing||2 lb||Ammunition, heavy, two-handed||150/600|
|Net||1 gp||NA||3 lb||Special, thrown||5/15|
|Arrows (20)||1 gp||1 lb|
|Blowgun Needles (50)||1 gp||1 lb|
|Crossbow Bolts (20)||1 gp||1.5 lb|
|Sling Bullets (20)||4 gp||1.5 lb|