Friday Favourite: What Your Weapon Says About Your Character

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on April 8, 2016

On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From March 21, 2012, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: What Your Weapon Says About Your Character.

“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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1 Dan April 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm

What would be your take on the following:

Whip
Rapier
Sling
Lance
Flail
And if you’re feeling particularly eager: Racial weapons

Personally, I choose my weapons for a number of reasons, both mechanical and roleplay. I also find that describing the weapon can say a lot as well. For example, the Longsword I equipped my Bard with has a blade of blue ice and a black hilt Studded with white and blue gemstones. While the longsword would imply that the character likes taking the tried and true method, the choice of design may say something else compared to a plain longsword, or a longsword with a leaf and Vine motif.

The idea of different personality types choosing different weapons is interesting when the approach is to simple unadorned weapons, but one must remember to look a the full picture as well, for context.

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