Fighter Ancient Weapon Master | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

Currently, I’m working towards the February book which is titled Creaturepedia: Monsters of the Ninth Kingdom Vol 1. It will include a number of monsters that I’ve created for the Patron-sourced campaign setting, Wandrossa. In addition to the monsters, the book will include a few subclasses, too.

Following a poll on my Patreon, these are the classes that the worldbuilders said they wanted to see made:

In addition, I’m tossing in a secret subclass that will come out only with the book.

Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Design Notes

Here are my notes for this build.

Before the Build

Back in third edition, the Oriental Adventures samurai class was waaay better. Basically, you got a special heirloom weapon which leveled up as you did. I think. At least, that’s how I want to remember it. And that’s more or less what I want to do with this build.

Here is what I hope to accomplish:

  • The fighter attunes to one specific weapon.
  • As the fighter gains levels in the class, the weapon grants the fighter powers.
  • By the time the fighter hits its capstone, it has the equivalent of a legendary weapon.

After the Build

I think I got the balance of this one just right, but I’m sure I’ll get some feedback telling me otherwise. Overall, I wanted this archetype to support three different types of fighters: a stealth fighter, one that is sort of “holy”, and an “over-the-top” powerful model.

Here are my notes on balancing for each of the features. Feel free to give your own feedback on each:

  • Some will complain that the class is bound to a specific weapon. However, the weapon is easily replaceable (it only takes an hour to imbue another weapon with its power, so basically, a short rest). Also, you get locate object specific to your weapon.
  • Mathematically speaking, martial symbiosis works similar to the way samurai’s fighting spirit does. Fighting spirit gives advantage, which is effectively a +2.4 damage bonus on attacks. Adding 1d4 damage is the same thing. Plus, instead of the temporary hit points, it gives you a scaleable bonus to AC that lasts until the start of your next turn.
  • Magical Awakening makes your magic weapon. Not exciting, but necessary. Plus, it gives some unique powers, none of which are more powerful than a 3rd level spell.
    • Dispelling Strike works like dispel magic, but without the upper benefits.
    • Mind of Its Own turns your weapon into an off-hand weapon that you can move around with your mind. Kinda like spiritual weapon.
    • And Out of Sight lets you turn invisible.
  • Unbreakable Bond is the typical “if you’re out of gas, here’s a can” feature necessary to fuel X uses/day powers such as Arcane Shot and Fighting Spirit.
  • Ferocious Strike gives you a chance to make a creature shaken when you hit it the first time during combat. This is balanced against Cavalier’s Ferocious Charger that knocks a creature prone.
  • Finally, the big capstone power gives you multiple choices again:
    • Avatar of Destruction lets you fly and do dive attacks with your weapon. The weapon’s bonus damage is 2d6, which is roughly where arcane shots are. At 18th level, an Arcane Archer can pull off roughly 6-8 Arcane Shots per day thanks to its Ever-Ready Shot feature. In one minute of combat, you may be able to pull off an equal number (especially if fighting a Deadly challenge). So the damage output may actually be weaker than the Arcane Archer’s. However, you still have the ability to fly, which in itself is huge.
    • Ghostwalk works both as a defensive and offensive maneuver, similar to Feylock’s Misty Escape feature, but offering up damage immunities, too.
    • Finally, Legendary Radiance makes your weapon glow with bright light and each attack you make with it gets an additional 1d6. Again, a fighter should only get off so many attacks with its weapon in this state, so it should be balanced with the damage output of a high-level Arcane Archer. Plus, the other powers this feature grants are pretty niche.

Let me know what you think. Looking forward to your feedback!


Fighter Archetype

At 3rd level, a fighter gains the Martial Archetype feature. The following Ancient Weapon Master option is available to a fighter, in addition to those normally offered.

Ancient Weapon Master

Some fighters specialize in multiple weapons. Others are practitioners of the bow. And then, there are those who develop a kinship with a single weapon, that chosen weapon becoming an extension of the fighter itself.

As an ancient weapon master, you have selected a weapon to develop a bond with. Through your travels, you and the chosen weapon grow as one. In time, it is less a weapon, and more a partner; perhaps it is even like family.

Bonus Proficiencies

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you gain proficiency with the History skill and smith’s tools.

Chosen Weapon

When you select this archetype at 3rd level, you can attune to a weapon of your choice, making it your chosen weapon. To do so, you must conduct an hour-long ritual that binds you to that weapon. Once the hour ends, the chosen weapon takes on a dull blue glow, emitting dim light in a 10-foot sphere. As a bonus action, you can deactivate or reactivate this light.

While you are away from your chosen weapon, you can use an action to sense the direction of your weapon, as long as the weapon is on the same plane of existence as you. If the weapon is in motion, you know the direction of its movement. This effect can’t locate your weapon if any thickness of lead, even a thin sheet, blocks a direct path between you and your weapon.

Any creature other than you that makes an attack with your chosen weapon does so with disadvantage.

You may only have one chosen weapon at a time. If you perform this ritual again on another weapon, the chosen weapon status of the first weapon is removed and reapplied to the new weapon.

Martial Symbiosis

As a bonus action on your turn, you can empower your chosen weapon. While empowered, your chosen weapon deals an additional 1d4 damage on a hit. In addition, you also gain a +1 bonus to your AC. The bonus to your AC increases when you reach certain levels in this class, increasing to +2 at 10th level, and +3 at 15th level. These effects last until the start of your next turn.

You can use this feature three times, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Magical Awakening

Starting at 7th level, unless it is already a magical weapon, your chosen weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage. In addition, you gain one of the following benefits of your choice.

Dispelling Strike. Immediately after you use the Attack action on your turn and successfully hit a creature or object with your chosen weapon, you can end the effect of any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Mind of its Own. As an action, you can imbue your chosen weapon with temporary cognizance which lasts for 1 minute. While cognizant, your chosen weapon gains a flying speed of 20 feet. On each of your turns, including the turn you grant its cognizance, you can use your bonus action to telepathically move the chosen weapon and attack a creature within reach or range of it. This effect also extends to any ammunition used by the chosen weapon which follows it. While your chosen weapon acts on its own, it does not add your Strength or Dexterity modifier to its damage rolls. Furthermore, your chosen weapon must remain within 20 feet of you, or it loses its cognizance, and if it is flying it immediately falls to the ground. At the end of the duration, your chosen weapon immediately returns to your hand unless it is prevented from doing so. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Out of Sight. As an action on your turn, you can turn invisible as long as you are carrying your chosen weapon. This invisibility lasts for 1 minute, or until you attack or cast a spell. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Unbreakable Bond

Starting at 10th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of Martial Symbiosis remaining, you regain one use.

Ferocious Strike

Starting at 15th level, the attacks you make with your chosen weapon have the potential of disorienting your targets. When you hit a creature with an attack using your chosen weapon, that target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier) or the target has disadvantage on its attack rolls until the end of your next turn. If the creature succeeds on its saving throw or the effect ends for it, it is immune to this effect for 24 hours. You can use this feature only once on each of your turns.

Legendary Weapon

At 18th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice.

Avatar of Destruction. While you are wielding your chosen weapon, as a bonus action on your turn you can transform into an Avatar of Destruction. You take on a fearsome appearance, which gives you advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. Plus, you gain a fly speed of 30 feet. If you fly and dive at least 30 feet straight toward a target and then hit it with your chosen weapon, the attack deals an extra 2d6 damage to the target. This effect lasts for 1 minute or until you use your bonus action to dismiss it. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Ghostwalk. While you are wielding your chosen weapon, as a bonus action on your turn you become incorporeal and can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see. In your incorporeal state, you gain immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical attacks and you have advantage on Dexterity saving throws. Other objects and creature can move through you as if you were difficult terrain. You remain incorporeal until the start of your next turn or until you move or take an action or reaction. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Legendary Radiance. As a bonus action on your turn, you can cause your chosen weapon to glow with radiant energy. Your weapon casts bright light in a 30-foot radius sphere and dim light for an additional 30 feet. While your chosen weapon glows, undead and fiends have disadvantage on their saving throws and invisible creatures become visible within 30 feet of you. If you hit a creature with your chosen weapon while it is glowing, it deals an extra 1d6 radiant damage. This effect lasts for 1 minute or until you use your bonus action to dismiss it. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.


EVIL is now on sale.

The first compendium of 2019 is already up and for sale on the site. It includes 17 new subclasses, 3 new playable races, 16 new monsters, 4 new spells, advanced weapons rules, and a whole lot more. It’s 56 pages of original Fifth Edition content.

It’s only $10 to purchase. Or, if you become a Patron, it’s FREE.

Check out a FREE sample of the content here on the site.

EVIL book cover art by DMDave. Thumbnail art by Shutterstock.

1 thought on “Fighter Ancient Weapon Master | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

  1. Are we still expecting the Ranger Urban Tracker and the Warlock Patron of the Ancient Dragon with this group?

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