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A slain guard was holding a longsword. In his stat block from the adventure I'm running, the longsword is listed as:

longsword +5 (1d8+2/19-20)

What are the weapon's base stats? Up until now, I assumed that in order to find out the weapon's inherent bonus, I had to deduce the additional bonuses by looking at this guard's Strength and Base Attack Bonus, and see what I'll be left with.

How do I know what the bare weapon's bonuses are in case my players want to use it?

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There are two sections to the attack line, a name, and then the stats. I’m going to format the name in bold and the stats in italics:

longsword +5 (1d8+2/19-20)

Thus, the name of the weapon – which weapon it actually is – is just “longsword.” As in the generic, unmodified, non-masterwork, non-magic longsword (stats in the “One-handed Martial Melee” weapons table).

The stats, by the way, are attack (+5), damage (1d8+2), and critical (19-20, the range; a multiplier of ×2 is implied). These stats are all totals, after all factors are applied, so that DMs can just use them as-is, without having to hunt down other relevant stats (and possibly miss something like a relevant Weapon Focus feat).

  • the +5 attack comes from a combination of BAB, Strength, and possibly something like Weapon Focus

  • the damage comes from the weapon itself (1d8) plus other bonuses like Strength

  • the critical stats are from the weapon, but can be modified by e.g. Improved Critical.

If you were dealing with a magical weapon, say a +1 defending longsword, the statblock would instead say:

+1 defending longsword +6 (1d8+3/19-20)

Note that the name is still bolded, it’s simply also italicized to be consistent with the formatting used by the books for magic items. Note how the +5 attack bonus is now +6 (because of the +1 enhancement bonus), and the damage is 1d8+3 (again, +1 enhancement bonus).

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If there is special (magical, masterwork) weapon in play, the stat block is certain to mention it specifically in the attack line and separately in an equipment or gear section. Consider all these NPC stat blocks on the PFSRD.

Cavalry

Melee mwk lance +12/+7 (1d8+6/×3)

...

Other Gear +1 banded mail, +1 heavy wooden shield, masterwork lance...

General

Melee +1 glaive +19/+14/+9 (1d10+11)

Other Gear +1 full plate with cold iron armor spikes, +1 glaive...

In that stat block you list, unless the writer of the stat block is a goon who doesn't know how to do it, it's a nonmagical normal longsword.

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The base stats for most weapons are listed in the Player's Handbook. You can also look at this table for the details.

In general, you determine the base stats of a weapon by looking it up in that table, and applying your character's bonuses. In the example of the longsword, the weapons table says that it deals 1d8 slashing damage and has a 19-20/x2 crit range.

Most weapons don't grant a special bonus to attack or damage. They deal damage based on their dice and whatever bonuses your character provides. For example, a longsword wielded by a level 4 Fighter with 16 Str, Weapon Focus, and Weapon Specialization would deal 1d8 + 5 (+3 from strength, +2 from Weapon Specialization) damage, and would have an attack bonus of +8 (+4 from BAB, +3 from Strength, +1 from Weapon Focus).

The exception to this rule is masterwork and enchanted weapons. A masterwork weapon grants a +1 enhancement bonus to attacks, and an enchanted weapon grants an enhancement bonus to attack and damage based on its listed bonus. For example, a +3 longsword grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage. Most of the time, masterwork weapons are referred to with a "mwk" tag. A masterwork longsword would be written like this: "mwk longsword".

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