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There are a number of deities that have low-damaging weapons as their favored weapon, like daggers and gauntlets. Sharess for example has the Claw Bracer as her favored weapon, which according to the Arms and Equipment guide deals a meager 1d4 damage.

Compared to other weapons like the heavy mace, the longspear and the morningstar and their 1d8 damage this is a pittance. Additionally, these are simple weapons and do not require an Exotic Weapon feat to be able to use them, like a Claw Bracer is.

Are there any mechanical reasons for the Cleric to use a less-damaging but deity-favored weapon over a weapon that deals more damage?

I am aware that the PHB (strangely not the SRD though) mentions that it is a "point of pride", but this is not a hard limitation.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A thought exercise: there are no houserules in place limiting or banning specific weapons for Clerics. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Jacobs Jun 2 '15 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright, rephrased it. And for whoever downvoted this, why is this the case? \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Jacobs Jun 2 '15 at 11:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think there's a specific rule, but it's not a far reach to declare that the favored weapon can count as a Holy Symbol, which means you don't have to have a hand tied up holding one. \$\endgroup\$ – user9935 Jun 2 '15 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bankuei but you can also just draw your holy symbol on anything else with some chalk if you feel like it. The favored weapon doesn't really do anything there. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jun 2 '15 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @the dark wanderer - You're in the middle of a fight, you've got a torch in one hand, and a weapon in another - which 3rd hand do you use to pull out your holy symbol to cast? That's where it matters. Or maybe you have a shield. Or maybe you're hanging from a rope and flying undead come at you. Being able to double up the weapon/holy symbol is pretty useful, actually. \$\endgroup\$ – user9935 Jun 2 '15 at 16:24
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A deity's favored weapon is mostly flavor. Clerics can use whatever weapons they want, regardless of them being a favored weapon of their deity. There are a couple of mechanical effects for a deity's favored weapon though.

  1. Clerics of the War domain receive Martial Weapon Proficiency and Weapon Focus for their deity's favored weapon if they do not already have it. This only applies to weapons that require Martial Weapon Proficiency. Simple weapons, such as a quarterstaff, are already in a Cleric's proficiency, and exotic weapons such as a claw bracer still require you take Exotic Weapon Proficiency. You still receive Weapon Focus as a bonus feat regardless of the nature of the weapon.

  2. The spell spiritual weapon summons either your deity's favored weapon or a weapon with a spiritual connection to you. Spiritual weapons all do the same damage, but retain the threat range and critical multipliers of their shape.

  3. The Clr spell weapon of the deity (Spell Compendium 237) grants the caster's weapon special abilities based on the deity the caster worships if the weapon the caster wields is the deity's favored weapon.

Favored weapons are used mostly as a roleplaying device. Warriors of a particular deity might be discouraged by their church from using weapons other than their deity's preferred weapon, for example. There is no mechanical penalty or benefit (other than the two listed) unless the DM creates one through storytelling.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am about 90% sure some book clarified that you get the exotic weapon proficiency feat if your deity favors one. Even if no book does, you are literally the first person I’ve seen seriously suggest that you wouldn’t get it, and that includes some seriously strict-RAW-minded folks. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 2 '15 at 12:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan such as me, as usual ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Jun 2 '15 at 12:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I can only find forum posts that suggest houseruling it to also include exotic weapon proficiency. Nothing about the rules seems to suggest you get proficiency with exotic weapons for the war domain, even if it's your deity's favored weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – David Reeve Jun 2 '15 at 12:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidReeve point 2 is not quite true. The shape may give it bonuses to various special attacks, change the way it attacks (ala reach weapons), or make it a different kind of thing all together (Erastil in Pathfinder gets the longbow as her favored weapon, which is ranged). Furthermore you keep the crit chance and multiplier of the base weapon, so a scythe or kukri is strictly better than a club. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jun 2 '15 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer you're right, I misread the spell. Ranged weapons (and I assume reach weapons as well) don't receive any special treatment though, they still take a move action to change targets and only operate up to the spell's maximum range. \$\endgroup\$ – David Reeve Jun 2 '15 at 18:22

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