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Featherlight (melee weapon enhancement)

posted Saturday, December 17th 2005 by Jonathan Drain
Game MaterialMagic Items & GearThird EditionWeapons

First created by elven clerics to allow their warriors to wield a longsword in each hand, a featherlight weapon wields like a much lighter weapon, thus counting as one size class smaller for the purpose of determining how easily it can be wielded. For example, a human’s featherlight greatsword could be wielded as a one-handed weapon, and an elf’s featherlight longsword could be wielded as a light weapon.

The weapon’s damage is unchanged by this enhancement. Due to the inherently “light” nature of the enhancement, it cannot be applied to weapons sized for creatures larger than Medium, and for the purposes of disarm attempts it counts as if one size smaller (a featherlight longsword is as easily disarmed as a shortsword).

Faint transmutation; CL 5th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cat’s grace; Price: +1 bonus.

Author’s Note: In v3.5 rules a Greatsword sized for a Large creature would deal an average 3.5 points more damage than one sized for humans, which is too powerful for a +1 equivalent enhancement. At best, this enhancement allows a person to wield a greatsword one handed for an average +1.5 points damage over a longsword, which is about right for a +1 enhancement.


  1. Kath Murphy

    June 22nd, 2006

    A good portion of the damage done by a weapon (such as a greatsword) wasn’t the edge, it was the sheer mass. Making a weapon “lighter” should make the weapon do an amount less damage (physics-wise). Additionally, the limitation of for “weapons sized for creatures larger than medium” doesn’t address the issue of say a small PC using this to abuse a medium-sized weapon.

    What about an inherent -1 to damage penalty instead? I agree a (3.5 – 1) is still a bit much for a +1 enhancement, but that is assuming two-handed use, correct? This would also require the appropriate feats, as wielding a weapon in this manner would likely be an exotic proficiency.

    My $0.02. I love some of the ideas you have here.

  2. Zordran

    July 19th, 2006

    Not so at all. Any elementally enchanced weaponm deals an extra +1d6 damage on a successful hit, which averages to 3.5 damage. Thus, the +1 enchancement cost isn’t worth it unless you’re planning to put it on a Large greatsword in the first place!

  3. Kath Murphy

    July 31st, 2006

    The problem with comparing this to an extra +1d6 elemental is that it cannot be resisted. The “always on” damage is also why a +1 enhancement (which also gives the + to hit) is worth as much as the +1d6 elemental damage.

    Breaking it down math-wise, +3.5 extra damage would then be equiv to +1 unnamed damage & +1 to hit (as well as possibly resistance to breaking and suchwhat).

    The Featherlight adjustment I suggested would change it from a +3.5 unnamed damage to a +2.5 unnamed damage plus possibly (admit it, most often it would be used for this reason) additional reach.

    An additional “flavor” suggestion might be to change the required spell from cat’s grace to featherfall…

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