What Your Weapon Says About Your Character

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 21, 2012

“The clothes make the man.” It’s a pretty common expression. It quite literally means that you can draw a conclusion, and usually a fairly accurate conclusion, about a person’s personality just based on what they’re wearing. In D&D, the type of clothes (or armor) a person wears will usually indicate with great accuracy what class he is but it’s less likely to accurately indicate what kind of a man he is – for that you have to look at his weapon.

During character creation most players I’ve gamed with will equip their character before they determine his personality. I know that’s how I usually do it. But I’ve noticed over the years that the personality of a PC is very often directly related to the type of weapon he carries. It’s like the weapon imprints a specific personality type on the characters wielding them.

So I’ve put together a list of my observations. This is simply my first-hand account of how I see things. It’s not based on any scientific method or precise sampling, it’s just what I’ve seen over and over again in the many years that I’ve played D&D. I think that despite my rather loose methodology the results are surprisingly accurate.

If you think I’ve really missed the mark on any of these I encourage you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. I also welcome new additions to the list. After all, there are a lot of weapons in D&D and my list just scratches the surface.

Sharp Weapons

  • Dagger – A simple weapon for simple characters. As one of the cheapest weapons it’s often favoured by those who can’t afford anything better. If you use a dagger it’s because you like getting your hands dirty and prefer to get up close and personal.
  • Long Sword – By selecting the most common sword on the market you announce that you’re practical and logic. You prefer to take the tried and true path. You believe that if something works, there’s no reason to change it.
  • Short Sword – It’s rare for a character to use a short sword in one hand and nothing else in the other. You’re always trying to do many things simultaneously because you like to keep both hands busy all the time.
  • Scimitar – Since most choose the scimitar because of its high crit property, that suggests that you’re an optimist who’s willing to take chances. As a glass half full kind of guy, you strive to see the best in everyone.
  • Greatsword – Two hands on your sword at all times means that you’re focused. When a situation or problem comes up you want to do it right and you certainly only want to do it once.
  • Bastard Sword – If you use the bastard sword with two hands then you likely share a lot in common with the adventurer who wields a greatsword. If you wield the bastard sword with one hand then you’re a show off who wants to be the centre of attention.
  • Axe – You dislike subterfuge and prefer to cut to the heart of problems. You likely get along well with those who wield hammers.
  • Pole Arm – Clearly the size of your weapon is just your way of compensating for other shortcomings.

Blunt Weapons

  • Club – Your weapon if choice is a big piece of wood. You clearly don’t care what others think of you. You have a sense of adventure boarding on chaotic tendencies and will happily accept almost any challenge.
  • Hammer – You lack finesses. You’re thick-headed and like to tackle problem directly and head on. You and the axe wielders generally have a lot in common.
  • Mace – When it came to choosing a weapon you just wanted something heavy that you can smash with. This suggests that you’re opportunistic and rarely plan ahead.
  • Quarterstaff – You call a long branch you likely found in the woods your weapon (or implement). You’re cheap. You never pay for a round. You’re likely frail and probably use the quarterstaff as a walking stick as often as a weapon.
  • Fist – You don’t like to rely on others for anything. You want to handle all problems by yourself so that you know it’s done right. You’re not a good team player and have trust issues.

Ranged Weapons

  • Bow – You don’t like people or gatherings. You’re not interested in meeting anyone new. You prefer that strangers keep their distance.
  • Crossbow – You are the ultimate expression of the lazy adventurer. All you have to do is point and shoot, the weapon does all the real work. This weapon is favoured by overweight adventurers and old ladies.

Implements

  • Holy Symbol – You’re exceptionally needy. You prefer to let someone else, someone in authority, make the hard calls. Once someone sets a plan in motion you’re the first in line to support them and make sure everyone else does too. You’re a yes-man.
  • Orb – You have a short attention span and like shiny things. You’re easily distracted.
  • Wand – You’ve lived a privileged life, you’re soft and consider yourself better than others, but you likely lack the confidence to tell your companions that this is how you view them.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Al March 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

Rapier – You have a piercing wit as well as the sword. You also have a flair for the dramatic.

2 RocksFallBlog March 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

What about flails, man? You leaving us flail-lovers out?
RocksFallBlog´s last blog post ..New Look, Site Updates, and We Want You To Write For Rocks Fall!

3 Eamon March 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

Flail – You enjoy making a mess of things, twisting people’s words or just tripping them up.

4 dmscorpio March 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Tome – You possess a lot of power, but that power is a heavy burden. You have difficulty relating to others because you spend so much of your time inwardly focused.

5 Kiel Chenier March 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Ameron, are you saying all clerics are “yes-men”?

For shame…for shame, good sir…

The correct answer is “all clerics are yes-men and yes-women”.
Kiel Chenier´s last blog post ..Whippersnappers who game

6 Ameron (Derek Myers) March 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm

@Kiel Chenier
Although we always use male pronouns in our articles here at Dungeon’s Master, it’s done for simplicity and consistency. Whenever we say him, his or man we certainly mean him/her, his/hers, and man/woman. Since we’ve launched you’re the first person to ever call us on that one.

7 Justin Kane March 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm

What you have for Polearm sounds more like a Fullblade or Greataxe. How about…

Polearm – you prefer to keep things at arm’s length. You have intimacy issues.

8 William March 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Khopsh – You want the best of both worlds…the accessibility of a sword and the power of an Axe. You never savor your victories, but are instead looking towards amassing more. Power, treasure it doesn’t matter. You just want more.

9 Alton (Marc Talbot) March 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I have only ever used a dagger or a mace. Love them!

Great list.
Alton (Marc Talbot)´s last blog post ..Closet Gamers: Their Friends Think They go to Poker Every Friday!!

10 Kier'ke March 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Where’s my beloved spear? I mean, I know it’s a crummy “simple melee weapon” and all that, but it’s also the bread-and-butter weapon of the underprivileged oppressed masses.

11 Sunyaku March 22, 2012 at 12:35 am

Currently playing a shirtless flying (windlord) barbarian (berzerker) dwarf (gold) with a heavy pickaxe, and several smaller pickaxes for “hurling”. What does that say about my character?
Sunyaku´s last blog post ..The Avengers DnD Party

12 Zeroarmada March 22, 2012 at 10:33 am

Sling: You’re a child at heart, though maybe not so innocent. You try to get your way, and complain or lash out if you don’t.

13 Gormal March 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Greatbow -life is like a can of whoopa@#. It can hit you from really far away shich means you take life to be direct and in your favour whith out getting to personal and taking things to personally.

14 The Unlucky Paladin March 25, 2012 at 2:38 am

… the orb one explains Bob – partly – amazingly. Save for the slut part. But hey.

15 Shawn Edwards March 28, 2012 at 5:48 am

Do the dynamics change if you dual wield? If you dual wield bastard swords, are you still showing off? Or are you still the practical and logic type when you dual wield longswords? What happens when you mix and match? What about if you use a feat that enables you to use over-sized weapons? Does the Pole arm’s description fit any over sized weapon you use?

If you dual wield adds an element of ferocity (flurry of attacks) or of unity and balance to descriptions rather than rewrite them entirely.

Personally, I’d dual wield katanas (^_^)

16 Amanda May 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm

“Quarterstaff – You call a long branch you likely found in the woods your weapon (or implement). You’re cheap. You never pay for a round. You’re likely frail and probably use the quarterstaff as a walking stick as often as a weapon.”

I’m a little late to comment but I’d like to disagree with this one; I love playing druids and I love wielding quarterstaffs… mostly because I can have two different weapons in one and I’m traditional I guess (started in 2e where druids were restricted to using a scimtar or quarterstaff as their weapons). And I’d like to point out that because it’s essentially free I always sprang to get a MW version right off the bat…

17 David May 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Here’s my dilemma. I’m trying to make a sort of ballistic longsword of sorts. I got the original idea partially from playing Call of Duty: Black Ops and being amazed at the versatility of the Ballistic Knife and I wondered how badass it would be to have a much larger, serrated version. I would imagine that the range of this weapon would be roughly 20 feet or so when fired. My friends and I are playing D&D version 3.5 with some elements of 4. Now we don’t want to make any sort of weapons that would be too modern (so no lightsabers, guns, or stuff like that) but I’m having trouble figuring out how to make my sword, granted that the firing mechanism for a ballistic knife is either gas cartridge activated or spring loaded. (I’m fairly certain that in medieval times they didn’t have that kind of stuff. I figure I could get away with the spring loaded version, but I’d like it to be powerful enough to actually work well with a projectile secondary function.) A friend of mine suggested some sort of magical rune explosion propulsion system. Another idea was a retractable chain so that I don’t lose the blade itself. Any pointers and ideas of how it would function and damage?

I’m thinking like, 1d8 (Range of 15 feet, 3 squares) with a magical throwing enchantment (I think that’s a +1 effect if I’m not mistaken…) so I can get the blade back to the pommel/hilt/grip. Maybe 1d4 for return damage?
David´s last blog post ..One of the Greatest Stories Never Told

18 Dave Yamato October 21, 2012 at 3:51 am

I think your over thinking David. if you make it enchanted you never have to explain why things are/how they work; but I agree with your original hypothesis. if they’re all for it, let it ride.

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