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Tasha's Cauldron of Everything includes some recommendations for building a Battle Master fighter. The introduction to the section says:

Below are recommendations for how you might build a Battle Master to reflect various types of warriors.

Each of these builds contains suggested fighting styles, maneuvers, and feats. Those suggestions are from the Player’s Handbook, except for the ones followed by an asterisk, which indicates an option introduced in this book.

Two of these builds (Duelist and Gladiator) list the Weapon Master feat as a recommended feat. Weapon Master says:

  • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • You gain proficiency with four weapons of your choice. Each one must be a simple or a martial weapon.

The Proficiencies section of the Fighter class says:

Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons

Fighters are already proficient in all simple and martial weapons.

Am I missing something here or is the Weapon Master feat a complete waste of an ASI1 for a fighter? Is there some way that taking the Weapon Master feat as a fighter is not entirely redundant?


1Ability Score Improvement

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I was going to mention multiclassing, but they get those proficiencies on multiclassing as well \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2020 at 18:00

4 Answers 4

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It's almost useless.

Option 1: If you're taking a feat instead of an Ability Score Improvement (ASI), the ASI is always better than this particular feat. You already have proficiency with all weapons, so 2 attribute points is better than 1.

Option 2: If you pick Variant Human, you take a feat at level one. If the player's desired attribute (STR or DEX) is an odd number, a half-feat like Weapon Master is useful. But there are other half-feats (e.g., Athlete) that will give you more stuff along with the single attribute point, so Weapon Master is also useless.

Option 3: If you start with another class and dip into fighter, you get these proficiencies: Light armor, medium armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons. So you're back to option 1, ASI will always be better than the feat.


The only case I found (thanks to cezaryx) where this feat can be sort-of useful is if you're in a world with some exotic yet simple/martial weapon that cannot be learned quickly otherwise. For example, if your world has Firearms, and the DM has not granted your fighter proficiency with them (despite your proficiency with martial weapons), and you cannot use downtime to learn them (or you need to learn them very quickly), then these are eligible for the feat.

It's up to [the DM] to decide whether a character has proficiency with a firearm. Characters in most D&D worlds wouldn't have such proficiency. During their downtime, characters can use the training rules in the Player's Handbook to acquire proficiency, assuming that they have enough ammunition to keep the weapons working while mastering their use.

That being said, as a DM, I would not force my player to take this feat, and I'd either arrange the downtime or just outright grant that Fighters with proficiency in martial weapons would have proficiency in firearms. But to each their own.

Aside from this small niche case, I can't think of any other where the feat is not completely outclassed by something else, for a Fighter.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Theoretically, firearms are a thing. What's more, excluding artificers, this is the only way that you can use firearms with your proficiency bonus. Not every world have firearms, true, but it does not mean it is completly useless. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cezaryx
    Dec 14, 2021 at 7:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cezaryx You have a point. I edited the answer \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Dec 14, 2021 at 8:47
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In short...

Yep, complete waste of a feat. There are no core weapons that a Fighter can't use.

Covering the Bases...

There is a precedent in the DMG for having weapons that PCs do not have proficiency for, such as Firearms

It’s up to you to decide whether a character has proficiency with a firearm. Characters in most D&D worlds wouldn’t have such proficiency. During their downtime, characters can use the training rules in the Player’s Handbook to acquire proficiency, assuming that they have enough ammunition to keep the weapons working while mastering their use.

The Pincer Staff used by Kuo-toa and a Fighting Chain used by a Chain Devil are two examples of weapons that exist in the world of D&D, but are not listed as Simple or Martial weapons. But this is firmly in the realm of DM's Call as to whether or not a Player Character would be proficient with such a weapon.

Additionally, it is possible to gain proficiency in Improvised Weapons (which are neither Simple nor Martial) by way of the Tavern Brawler feat

However

You gain proficiency with four weapons of your choice. Each one must be a simple or a martial weapon.

This line was the subject of errata which added the bolded clause. So you can't use this feat to gain access to 'Exotic' weapons of any sort or Improvised Weapons.

Thus, in all cases, the Weapons Master feat is useless to Fighters. It grants proficiency in Simple or Martial Weapons, and you are already proficient in all Simple and Martial Weapons

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  • \$\begingroup\$ RAW, a fighter has proficiency in all weapons. Verisimilitude-wise this is obviously an exaggeration. I think you are correct in pointing to what previous editions called "Exotic" weapons. For a DM that cares as much about setting and culture as mechanics, this makes sense if your DM is restricting access to certain weapons because 'your PC wouldn't know that'. In particular, since one of the suggested builds is 'Gladiator', that hints that the exotic weapons gained would be ones that are sub-optimal in field combat but often used in spectator blood sport; cesti, trident, net, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 20, 2020 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, the feat specifies that the weapons be simple or martial. If the weapons count as neither, then they can't be selected via the feat, rendering it still useless. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2020 at 20:50
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The recommendation to take the Weapon Master feat was removed in the December '21 Errata.

The feat recommendations for Duelist and Gladiator originally included the Weapon Master feat. In December of 2021 an errata document for Tasha's Cauldron of Everything removed Weapon Master from these lists:

Duelist (pg. 46). In the Feats entry, “Weapon Master” has been cut and “Martial Adept” has been added before “Observant.”

Gladiator (pg. 46). In the Feats entry, “Weapon Master” has been cut and “Martial Adept” has been added before “Savage Attacker.”

As other answers have established, Weapon Master is obviously a waste of a feat, but at least now the book isn't recommending it.

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The feat is awful for anyone

Weapon Master is an awful feat for any character. It doesn't provide any unique abilities nor significant mechanical buffs. Most characters are proficient in what would be the best weapons for their class anyways, and it is rare for a character to be able to benefit from even two different weapon proficiencies, let alone 4.

So just in general, don't take this feat. If you need proficiency in a weapon you could use effectively, it's probably not simple or martial anyhow (e.g. Firearms), the rest of the time extra proficiencies are something like +1 damage or at best more range on account of longbows/heavy crossbows.

The feat is almost literally useless for a fighter

Fighters (and rangers and paladins etc) are already proficient with all normal weapons. That means the feat does literally nothing for you except increasing your Str or Dex by 1 instead of any stat by 2. For a fighter this feat isn't just bad as in not contributory, it's bad as in does not work.

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