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This page explains attacks and all weapons in the 5e ruleset. We have made some changes to weapon properties for balance purposes. Click here for a complete breakdown.

Dual Wielding


When a character uses their action to take the Attack action or uses another ability to make a weapon attack, they must first roll to see if their attack deals damage to the target.

The attacking character rolls a d20 die, then adds any relevant bonuses. First, a character must add their ability modifier. For most weapons, the character will add their strength modifier to the attack roll. For weapons with the 'ranged' property, the character must add their dexterity modifier to the attack roll instead. If a weapon has the 'finesse' property, the character uses strength or dexterity, whichever is higher. If the character is proficient with the weapon they are using, they add their proficiency bonus to the roll. Many characters are proficient with all 'Simple' weapons, or with all 'Simple' and 'Martial' weapons. You primarily learn weapon proficiencies from your class. Some characters will add other bonuses or penalties to their attack roll, such as Fighters with the Archery Fighting Style, which adds 2 to attack rolls made with ranged weapons.


A fighter with the archery fighting style attacks with a longbow:

Attack Roll = 1d20 + ability modifier + proficiency bonus (if proficient) + miscellaneous bonuses

eg. Level 3 Archer's Attack Roll = 1d20 + 3 + 2 + 2

eg. Level 3 Archer's Attack Roll = 1d20 + 7


If the total attack roll is greater than or equal to the target's Armor Class, then the attack hits.

Dual Wielding

The Elkan 5e ruleset makes a change to dual wielding. If you are holding two weapons, then you make an additional off-hand attack with your second weapon whenever you take the Attack action. However, if you do not have the Two-Weapon Fighting Style, then you attack with disadvantage on this off-hand attack.

Switching Weapons

Whenever you use the Attack action, you can switch to a different weapon or pair of weapons. Otherwise, it takes an action to draw or switch weapons. If you are not actively holding a melee weapon, you cannot make an Attack of Opportunity until you switch to a melee weapon.


When an attack hits a creature, it deals damage. For most weapons, the damage equals the weapon's damage die plus the ability modifier the attacker used for the attack roll. Some characters will add other bonuses or penalties to their damage roll, such as fighters with the Dueling Fighting Style


The same fighter deals damage with a longbow:

Damage Roll = weapon damage die + ability modifier + miscellaneous bonuses

eg. Archer's Damage Roll = 1d8 + 3

Weapon Characteristics

Weapon Characteristics

Below is an explanation of all the characteristics that go into a weapon.

Melee weapons are weapons that can be used to attack effectively at close range. Most melee weapons can only be used to attack creatures that are within 5 ft. of you. Melee weapons with the Thrown property can also be used as a ranged weapon.


Ranged weapons are weapons meant to attack at a longer range.  If any hostile creature is within 5 ft., you have disadvantage on any attack roll with a Ranged weapon or when making a ranged attack with a Thrown weapon. Range is explained below.

Where the Damage of a given weapon type is listed, a weapon damage die will be provided, the relevant ability modifier(s) for damage will be listed. 'str' means strength modifier, 'dex' means dexterity modifier, and 'str/dex' means you choose strength or dexterity, whichever is higher, as per the Finesse property.

A weapon's Damage Type describes the way in which a weapon deals damage to the target. Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing represent whether the weapon uses blunt force, stabbing, or cutting to injure a creature. Some creatures will be vulnerable, resistant, or immune to certain damage types. If a weapon has more than one damage type listed, you can use either damage type when you hit with the weapon.

The Range for ranged and thrown weapons lists two numbers. The first is the weapon’s normal range in feet, and the second indicates the weapon’s long range. When attacking a target beyond normal range, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. You can’t attack a target beyond the weapon’s long range. If you have disadvantage on your attack roll from something other than shooting at long range, then you can only target a creature within the normal range, not the long range.

The weapon's cost is the weapon's normal cost when sold at a good price. Some regions or merchants may charge more than this value.

The various weapon properties are listed below:​

  • Ammunition: You can use a weapon that has the Ammunition property to make a ranged attack only if you have Ammunition to fire from the weapon. Each time you attack with the weapon, you expend one piece of ammunition. Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack. You need an empty hand to load a one-handed ranged weapon. At the end of the battle, you can recover half your expended ammunition by taking a minute to search the battlefield.

  • Finesse: When making an attack with a finesse weapon, you use your choice of your Strength or Dexterity modifier for the attack and damage Rolls. You must use the same modifier for both rolls.

  • Heavy: This property has no effects on its own, but may be referenced by other abilities. Click here for more information.

  • Light: A Light weapon is small and easy to handle, making it ideal for use when fighting with two Weapons. A weapon that is not Light cannot normally be used in the off-hand of a dual-wielding character.

  • Loading: Because of the time required to load this weapon, when you use the Attack action to attack with a loading weapon, you must also use a bonus action to load the weapon.

  • Mounted: This weapon is meant to be used while mounted. This weapon is considered Two-handed when not mounted, but can be held in one hand when mounted.

  • Reach: This melee weapon has a longer reach than 5 ft. when you attack with it, whether on your turn or for determining your reach for Attacks of Opportunity. The reach is listed in parentheses.

  • Thrown: If a weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon to make a ranged attack. You must then retrieve the weapon from where it landed to throw it again.

  • Two-handed: This weapon requires two hands when you attack with it. You may still use one of your hands to load a weapon or cast a spell while holding a Two-handed weapon.

  • Unwieldy: This weapon is hard to move quickly, and is meant for melee attacks at extended range. You have disadvantage on attacks against creatures within 5 ft. of you.

  • Versatile: This weapon can be used with one or two hands. A damage die in parentheses appears with the versatile property—the damage die when the weapon is used with two hands.

  • Adamantine/Cold Iron/Silver: Some weapons are forged from adamantine, cold iron, or silver. Some silver weapons in particular are merely coated in silver, but such weapons count as silver. Some creatures are resistant to damage from weapons not made from adamantine, cold iron, or silver, depending on the creature. Most golems are resistant or immune to non-adamantine weapons, for instance, though magical weapons may bypass this resistance as well.

  • Magic: Some weapons are enchanted. These weapons are unique and not listed on this page, but a 'magic' weapon is any weapon that has a bonus to attack and damage rolls, or which is otherwise designated as a 'magic' weapon of uncommon rarity or higher. These weapons deal magical bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage. Some creatures are resistant or immune to damage from weapons that are nonmagical. Incorporeal undead are always resistant to nonmagical weapons, for instant.

Simple Melee
Simple Ranged

Simple Weapons

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  • Clubs are blunt objects meant for striking with one end, such as a knotted wooden club, a sports bat, or a riot baton. Clubs can be comfortably wielded in one hand by just about anyone. Many improvised weapons fall into this category.

  • A dagger is a short blade balanced both for thrusting and throwing. Daggers, as opposed to common knives, were made for combat. Many improvised weapons use the statistics of a dagger.

  • Darts are pointed throwing weapons larger than the sort you would throw at a dart board in a tavern. They can also be used for stabbing at close range, but do not function well enough to be an off-hand side arm like a dagger.

  • Greatclubs are the same as a club, but built to be wielded with two hands, and too large to do otherwise. Large blunt improvised weapons fall into this category.

  • Handaxes are balanced for slashing and for throwing. Designed to be wielded with one hand, they are designed for combat, rather than prolonged use as a tool.

  • Javelins are long, thin spears. They can be used for thrusting attacks, but are designed to be thrown great distances.

  • Light Hammers are balanced for swinging at close range and for throwing. They are designed for combat, rather than for use as a tool.

  • Maces, larger than a club, tend to have a cap designed specifically for combat, and are of limited use for anything else.

  • Quarterstaff: this staff is between 6 and 9 ft. in length, and is used by travelers and adventurers to defend themselves. It can be effectively wielded in combat with two hands.

  • Sickle: a small curved or hooked blade, originally designed for harvesting plants. A sickle designed for combat can be used as a small slashing weapon.

  • Spear: heavier than a javelin and with greater effective melee reach, a spear can serve as a thrown weapon or a solid melee implement, and can be wielded with two hands in melee combat, allowing for greater punching power. A trident is a kind of spear.

  • Unarmed Strike: people who are trained with simple weapons are also trained in hand-to-hand combat, useful if they don't have access to a weapon.

  • Light Crossbow: this crossbow is small enough to be carried by anyone, and is easy to load. It uses bolts as ammunition and comes with a quiver.

  • Shortbow: this bow is designed to be easy to draw, though it doesn't shoot as far as larger bows. It uses arrows as ammunition and comes with a quiver.

  • Sling: wrapped around your hand, this sling can fling smooth stones called bullets at great speeds. It uses bullets as ammunition and comes with a pouch.

Martial Melee
Martial Ranged

Martial Weapons

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  • Battleaxes are large, one or two handed axes meant for melee combat.

  • Glaives are polearms with a slashing blade at one end.

  • Greataxes are heavy two handed axes designed for chopping blows.

  • Greatswords are heavy two-handed sword designed for slashing.

  • Halberd: a polearm with a spike on the end and a hooked blade for chopping. Can be used to make piercing attacks with the spike or slashing attacks with the blade.

  • Lances are long pointed sticks with a metal-tipped end. Typically carried by mounted warriors, and difficult to wield on foot or at very close range.

  • Longswords, which can be wielded with one or two hands, are the stable melee weapon of military officers and nobles.

  • Mauls are heavy two-handed crushing weapons, capable of devastating blows.

  • Morningstars are spiked maces which can be wielded one or two-handed. The spikes on the head of the weapon drive into their targets, piercing through defenses.

  • Pikes are very long polearms with pointed tips. They can be effectively wielded at a 10 ft. or 15 ft., but are awkward at very close range.

  • Rapiers are fencing weapons optimized for quick jabbing attacks. They rely on pinpoint accuracy rather than brute force.

  • Scimitars are short swords, usually curved, meant for making slashing attacks.

  • Shortswords can work as main hand or off-hand weapons, and are meant for stabbing attacks.

  • Warhammers are powerful weapons meant to deal crushing blows with one or two handed strikes.

  • Whips are long leather strips or flexible cords that can be uses to lash targets with incredible speed. As opposed to whips not intended for combat, these whips have long reach and can injure or kill the target.

  • Hand crossbows are like light crossbows but small enough to be loaded, aimed, and fired with one hand, though they still require a second hand to reload. They come with a quiver.

  • Heavy crossbows are large apparatuses designed to propel bolts with great speed. They come with a quiver. They are not difficult to fire, but their weight and size make them difficult to deploy for those untrained in their use.

  • Longbows are powerful bows capable of propelling arrows further than any other common projectile weapon. They come with a quiver. They are often too large or heavy to be used by the average person, even if they were coordinated enough to fire one.

If you're looking for flails, tridents, or war picks, click here.

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