In DnD 5e the Ranger get simple and martial weapon proficiencies. Do these include RANGED weapons of those types, or only melee?

I had assumed only melee, but then there's no way they can be proficient in bow without a racial proficiency. Sorry human, no bow for you. That didn't make sense if they are equiped with a bow at 1st level.

I'm wondering why it doesn't simply say "All weapons" like for a Fighter, or maybe "All weapons but Exotic" if the Fighter is intended to have Exotic Weapons in addition to all simple and martial weapons.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Can you please say why you make this assumption about ranged weapons being excluded? You can either add a comment after this one or edit your question. Don't add an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – harlandski
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 6:15
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't say "All weapons" for the fighter, it says "Simple weapons, martial weapons". You're probably thinking of the fighter's "All armour". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


Firstly, the Ranger proficiencies say "Simple weapons, martial weapons". If you look at the Weapons table, you can see that each category has both melee and ranged weapons in it. The Ranger has every weapon in both categories, regardless of whether it is melee or ranged.

Secondly, the Fighter proficiencies use exactly the same wording as the Ranger proficiencies. "Simple weapons, martial weapons". I don't know where you got "All weapons" from, but the Fighter's and the Ranger's weapon proficiencies are identical.

Finally, if you look at the Weapons table again, you can see that there is no Exotic weapons category in D&D 5e.


From Weapon Proficiency on p.146

The two categories are simple and martial.

All weapons are one or the other. While there may well be "exotic" weapons (e.g. three-handed throwing petrol bombs) - this is not something that has a game effect.

All weapons can also be used in melee (even bows). See the 1st paragraph at the top of p.147.

If you use a weapon that has the ammunition property to make a melee attack, you treat the weapon as an improvised weapon (see "Improvised Weapons" later in the section). A sling must be loaded to deal any damage when used in this way.

A weapon may possess other properties e.g. a range (which makes it a ranged weapon)

"Simple and martial" = "All weapons". A ranger can use everything a fighter can.

Why does it use both terms? Probably because of the deliberate editorial choice to make the rules "conversational" rather than "legalistic"

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ "Simple and Martial" is actually more legalistic than all weapons in that it allows for future development of weapons a ranger could not use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patrick
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 11:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Patrick But everyone can use every weapon. Proficiency with a weapon just grants the proficiency bonus. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 12:24
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @Nareshkendel I suppose the proper form of my comment would be "...development of weapons a ranger could not use proficiently" as an example the DMG gives some ideas for a campaign where some futuristic weapons might become available via something like a spaceship crash. Perhaps a Ranger would not automatically be proficient with a laser rifle as they are not on the simple or martial weapons list. \$\endgroup\$
    – Patrick
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 12:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the fighter's proficiencies are listed as "Simple weapons, martial weapons", just like the ranger's, not "all weapons." You should consider editing the answer to reflect that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 17:05

You'll find on the Weapons Table that both Simple Weapons and Martial Weapons contain both melee and ranged categories. Thus, as long as a proficiency does not specify one or the other (for example, "simple melee weapons"), then you would gain proficiency in both melee and ranged weapons of that type.

Both the Fighter and the Ranger class descriptions list their weapon proficiencies as "simple weapons, martial weapons", so your point about the fighter being worded differently is unrelated. Furthermore, as both classes' proficiencies do not specify ONLY melee weapons, the proficiencies DO include ranged weapons in the simple and martial categories.

In addition, the reason it says "simple weapons, martial weapons" could be to exclude proficiency with any additional weapons that are not counted as "Simple" or "Martial". For example, an improvised weapon may not be considered either if it, as described in the Improvised Weapons section of the Player's Handbook (p.147-148) "bears no resemblance to a weapon ...".

Lastly, the DMG mentions in its Firearms section on p.267:

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 ...

Having proficiency described as "Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons" rather than "All Weapons" provides RAW for a character to not be proficient in a weapon of this nature.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice edit, that's perfect. :) And again, welcome to RPG.SE! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 20:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .