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Knowing how to use a weapon without embarrassing yourself is very different from being a master of that weapon. There are warriors, and then there are martial artists. An Olympic fencer is more than just an athlete; he can do things with his weapon that astound most fencers.

In the AD&D game, part of your character's skill is reflected in the bonuses he earns as he reaches higher levels. As your character advances, he becomes a wiser, more dangerous fighter. Experience has taught him to anticipate his opponents and to pounce on any advantage that presents itself. But this is a general, overall improvement, brought about by the warrior's sharpening senses and timing. It applies equally to all types of fighting.

Weapon specialization is an optional rule that enables a fighter (only) to choose a single weapon and specialize in its use. Any weapon may be chosen. Specialization is normally announced (and paid for with weapon proficiency slots) when the character is created. But even after a player character earns experience, he can still choose to specialize in a weapon, provided he has the weapon proficiency slots available.

In one way, a weapon specialist is like a wizard specialist. The specialization requires a single-minded dedication and training. Thus, multi-class characters cannot use weapon specialization; it is available only to single-class fighters.

Cost of Specialization

Weapon specialization is obtained by devoting extra weapon proficiency slots to the chosen weapon. To specialize in any sort of melee weapon or crossbow, the character must devote two slots--one slot to become proficient with it, and then a second slot to specialize in it. Any bow (other than a crossbow) requires a total of three proficiency slots: one for proficiency and two to specialize. Assume, for the moment, that Rath the dwarf decided to specialize with the warhammer. Two of his four proficiency slots are thus devoted to the warhammer. With the two remaining, he can become proficient with the short sword and short bow (for example).

Effects of Specialization

Table 35: Specialist Attacks Per Round
Fighter
Level
Melee
Weapon
Light
X-bow
Heavy
X-bow
Thrown
Dagger
Thrown
Dart
Other (Non-bow)
Missiles
1-6 3 attacks
in 2 rounds
1 attack
in 1 round
1 attack
in 2 rounds
3 attacks
in 1 round
4 attacks
in 1 round
3 attacks
in 2 rounds
7-12 2 attacks
in 1 round
3 attacks
in 2 rounds
1 attack
in 1 round
4 attacks
in 1 round
5 attacks
in 1 round
2 attacks
in 1 round
13+ 5 attacks
in 2 rounds
2 attacks
in 1 round
3 attacks
in 2 rounds
5 attacks
in 1 round
6 attacks
in 1 round
5 attacks
in 2 rounds

When a character specializes with a melee weapon, he gains a +1 bonus to all his attack rolls with that weapon and a +2 bonus to all damage rolls (in addition to bonuses for Strength and magic). The attack bonuses are not magical and do not enable the character to affect a creature that can be injured only by magical weapons.

Bow and crossbow specialists gain an additional range category: point blank. Point-blank range for bows is from six feet to 30 feet. Point-blank range for crossbows is from six feet to 60 feet. At point-blank range, the character gains a +2 modifier on attack rolls. No additional damage is caused, but Strength (for bows) and magical bonuses apply. Furthermore, if the character has an arrow nocked and drawn, or a bolt loaded and cocked, and has his target in sight, he can fire at the beginning of the round before any initiative rolls are made.

Fighters who specialize also gain extra attacks earlier than those who don't specialize. Bonus attacks for specialists are listed on Table 35. The use of this table is explained in Chapter 9: Combat. Bow specialists do not gain any additional attacks per round.



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