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Other than taking the Weapon Master feat, is there any way of gaining proficiency in either one weapon or martial weapons that doesn't either extend from being a certain class/race or multi-classing?

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2 Answers 2

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By the rules, those are, indeed, the only ways.

A DM could allow a character to receive training in a weapon the same way you can train in a tool proficiency, but that would be a house rule.

The relevant rule is as follows:

You can spend time between adventures learning a new language or training with a set of tools. Your DM might allow additional training options.

First, you must find an instructor willing to teach you. The DM determines how long it takes, and whether one or more ability checks are required.

The training lasts for 250 days and costs 1 gp per day. After you spend the requisite amount of time and money, you learn the new language or gain proficiency with the new tool. (PHB5e p.187)

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    \$\begingroup\$ As DM, I find the rules for tool training (as above) works well enough for a simple weapon, maybe charge a bit more gp or days for martial. When the trainer is a partymate (e.g. the Fighter teaching the Wizard), then the gp cost can be discounted if the other PC doesn't charge for "labor". ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Pitzy
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, this would be tantamount to taking a level of Fighter for example. The classes are written as is for a reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – Escoce
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Escoce Then how is a Ranger a Ranger without also being a Fighter? Or a Paladin, or Barbarian? Martial proficiency is also separate from classes for a reason. Being a Fighter is a lot more than just knowing how to use a weapon, despite what the level up chart might tell you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 16:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then why can't a character just learn a cantrip without taking a level or feat? And I used fighter as an example not the only class one could take. I even said "fighter for example" or how about proficiency in lock picking? You can learn these skills by taking a level or appropriate feat. That's the purpose of doing so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Escoce
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please take this argument to a chat room. My answer only presents options, it doesn't address game design or DM styles. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 19:14
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Some Magic Items give weapon proficiencies

In addition to Derek Stucki's answer, I want to point out that there is a way to gain proficiency with certain weapons outside of race/class or the Weapon Master feat, and that's by being attuned to certain magic items, but obviously only for as long as you remain attuned to the relevant magic item, so it's not as "permanent" as the other ways to gain weapon proficiencies.

The only RAW example I can find is the Bracers of Archery, which gives you proficiency with Longbows and Shortbows. From the DMG, pg. 156:

While wearing these bracers, you have proficiency with the long bow and shortbow, and you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls on ranged attacks made with such weapons.

(This also sets the precedent for a DM to homebrew other magic items that allow magic items to grant proficiency).

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