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All questions of flavor aside, how balanced do you think this feat is compared to Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter?

Adept Weapon User (AWU)

  • Before you make a melee attack using the Attack action with either a weapon that does not have the heavy property that you are proficient with, an unarmed strike, or an improvised weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.
  • When you score a critical hit with a melee attack or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you have advantage on the next attack you make until the end of your next turn.

The idea behind the design is simply to give all martial classes access to a powerattack feat and to bring dual wielding, one-handed weapons and monks DPR-wise in line with two-handed and ranged weapons.

I deliberately chose to make the power attack only applicable to the Attack action, because otherwise Two-Weapon Fighting and Flurry of Blows would become too strong. Furthermore, I wanted to avoid making two-handed weapons strictly worse than sword and board (or worse, polearm master spear and shield), and so this powerattack cannot be used with opportunity attacks, the Ready action, bonus action attacks, or attacks from magic items (e.g. Scimitar of Speed, Dancing Sword). Additionally, the secondary feature of the feat is worse than that of Great Weapon Master. I also avoided clogging the bonus action, because monks and dual wielders already use this.

I have made some rough DPR calculations, but this is anything but rigorous. The biggest hurdle in a comparison is probably the fact that a player can choose to not use powerattack if the target's AC is too high (or its HP too low). One would need to have a distribution of AC targets and weight the values for each AC accordingly. To make this simpler, I have assumed a baseline hit chance of 65%, which is reduced to 40% when power attacking. Comparing one hit of a two-handed fighter (+4 STR, Defense Fighting Style), a GWM fighter (+3 STR, Defense Fighting Style) to a baseline sword-and-board fighter (+4 STR and Dueling) and one with the new feat (+3 STR and Dueling):

2H-base: (2d6 + 4) * 0.65 = 7.150
2H-GWM: (2d6 + 13) * 0.35 = 7.000
1H-base: (1d8 + 6) * 0.65 = 6.825
1h-AWU: (1d8 + 15) * 0.35 = 6.825 (this is a coincidence)

Note that these numbers do not reflect the powerattacker's option to not powerattack.

When the characters are high enough to get a +1 weapon and max out their STR:

2H-base: (2d6 + 6) * 0.70 = 9.100
2H-GWM: (2d6 + 16) * 0.45 = 10.350
1H-base: (1d8 + 8) * 0.70 = 8.750
1h-AWU: (1d8 + 18) * 0.45 = 10.125

Essentially, in this comparison a AWU-Fighter does slightly less damage than a GWM-Fighter per hit and has no additional chance for a bonus attack, but has +1 AC. Dual wielding is harder to calculate, because the number of mainhand attacks also plays a role.

Any thoughts?

The only loophole I can find is the Path of the Beast Barbarian's Claw attack, but even that is not excessively strong, in my opinion. Another downside of the current design is that the secondary effect is fairly weak for dual-wielding or sword and board barbarians.

Technically speaking it is possible to use both AWU and SS together when using a non-heavy ranged weapon as improvised weapon, similar to GWM and SS with a heavy ranged weapon (at least for a certain interpretation of the rules). I do not see this as a problem.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you stopped to consider that one handed weapon wielders shouldn't be doing damage comparable to someone with a two handed weapon? A sword and board character has chosen to forgo damage output for a higher AC. That's part of the game balance. \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Apr 14 at 1:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I have. That's why I said "all questions of flavor aside" and deliberately made the feat weaker than GWM. The numbers I presented do not reflect reality well enough to show how much better GWM DPR is than sword and board (because you can choose to not powerattack), and without magic items the difference in AC is +1 (or +2). I just wanted to close the gap a little bit, but not fully. Two-handed weapon users should still do more damage. \$\endgroup\$ – StefanS Apr 14 at 7:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ As written, this can be used with Haste. Haste allows a second Attack action (1 attack only). \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Apr 14 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are right, I'll edit this. Do you think this is a problem? I fear the mechanic is clunky enough already... \$\endgroup\$ – StefanS Apr 15 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 17 at 0:29
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I feel like it is balanced enough to be implemented into a game for playtesting. Lets look at each part:

Before you make a melee attack using the Attack action with either a weapon that does not have the heavy property that you are proficient with, an unarmed strike, or an improvised weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack's damage.

Similar to GWM and SS. Applies to a lot more weapons, so that might be worth looking out for, but other than that, it is fine and normal. Also, it only applies to the attack action, and not two weapon fighting, opportunity attacks, and the like.

When you score a critical hit with a melee attack or reduce a creature to 0 hit points with one, you have advantage on the next attack you make until the end of your next turn.

Similar to GWM, except maybe a little more powerful (IMO), since advantage is nothing to sneeze at, especially for a Rogue.

All in all, I think this is balanced with GWM and SS, though splitting up each weapon category could be better. I think it is a good feat.

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