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I keep seeing the Gritty Sergeant and Noble Bred for War backgrounds mentioned as ways to gain proficiency with rapier. However rapier is listed in PHB as a superior weapon, and GS/NBfW grant proficiency with a simple or military weapon, so how can they be used to gain rapier proficiency?

If rapier is in fact a military weapon, where is that listed?

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I know this is irrelevant to DND, but I'd just like to point out that, IRL, the rapier most certainly was not a military weapon. A typical rapier would feature a long and slender blade with a fancy guard, designed for dueling, self-defense and looking impressive at social events. If you took one to a battlefield, you'd be laughed at. –  Ilmari Karonen Jun 14 '13 at 14:04
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The DDI lists Rapier as a Military weapon:

Rapier

Military one-handed melee weapon

Cost: 25

Damage: 1d8

And asserts that it can be found in:

Published in Player's Handbook, page(s) 218, Heroes of the Fallen Lands, page(s) 331, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, page(s) 334, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, page(s) 21.

Check the later books, or the errata, page 21 that asserts:

Rapier

Page 218: The weapon is longer a superior military weapon.

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Ah, I don't have DDI and only have access to PHB (out of the books you named), where it's listed as a Superior weapon. I'd wondered if there was errata for that, thank you for the clarification. –  Sirius Jun 14 '13 at 12:01
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"The weapon is longer a superior military weapon." Thank you WotC, for muddying things up with poor grammar. :-P –  Sirius Jun 14 '13 at 12:16
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The PHB lists Rapier as a Superior Melee weapon. According to the DDI, it was later rereleased as a Military weapon, probably by Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium.

The Gritty SergeantDDI is compatible with this latest update, but not the original rapier:

Benefit: You gain proficiency in a simple or military weapon of your choice, and you gain a +1 bonus to initiative checks.

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