As long as you use the stats of an existing weapon, is it legal to describe/name a weapon something else?

Monks are explicitly given this leeway (PHB page 79):

Certain monastaries use specialized forms of Monk weapons. For example, you might use a club that is two lengths of wood connected by a short chain (called a nunchaku) or a sickle with a shorter, straighter blade (called a kama). Whatever name you use for a mok weapon, you can use the game statistic provided for the weapon in chapter 5, 'Equipment.'

Adventurer's League officially condones a similar practice as far as races go (ALPGv4 page 3):

You can indicate that you are a member of a rare elf subrace for the purpose of roleplaying, but you can use only the subrace traits for elves given in the Player’s Handbook

So as long as the stats match an existing weapon (and you don't use the same name as an existing weapon, to limit confusion), is it legal for any player to do the same thing as Monks with any weapon?

My thinking is that in AL you will likely have many DMs, so while "DM decision" would be a nice answer, it can be frustrating to a player who has built a concept around a custom weapon (for example a barbarian who uses a greataxe that is restyled as a Soul Calibur style zweihander to set it apart from a regular greatsword) to have to ask at every session if it's "okay to use his imagination" so that his character isn't "Generic Barbarian #2" (which is inertia you already have to fight in AL games). I think in most private games the DM would shrug and say "sure," because refluffing is generally considered legal, but is it "official" enough to do in an AL game with at least some degree of confidence? I've met many AL DMs who have never even heard of refluffing and might reject it just out of uncertainty and not because it's against the rules.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Quick question about your example: why use the greataxe rules for the soul calibur sword? A greatsword is very specifically a sword roughly as tall as the wielder, which can only be used effectively with two hands. From what I could find on Google, the soul calibur swords all fit that description. \$\endgroup\$
    – xanderh
    May 4, 2016 at 5:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ My REAL example is I want to use the stats for a Handaxe as a throwable Shortsword and call it a "Gladius" (or whatever... something different), both have the same weight and same damage- one is finesse, one is throwable. I've talked to lots of people who think throwing swords (esp for big guys like Half-Orcs, Goliaths and Warforged) is thematically cool- and while it's not tossing a longsword, it's also not wasting a feat on tavern brawler to get throwing a regular shortsword up to the same damage as throwing a dagger. \$\endgroup\$
    – Z.Moe
    May 4, 2016 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for the Greataxe example- this was someone else I talked to. He already had a greatsword, what he actually wanted was a buster sword type weapon. The greatsword is a big sword, but it's actually rather graceful (look up the greataxe vs greatsword argument)- where it does more damage than the greataxe on most strikes but the greataxe crits harder. So this character would be walking around with both (conflicted half-orc- one sword represents his human heritage and one his orc heritage), I thought it was neat thematically but the DM overruled him because he claimed only Monks can restyle. \$\endgroup\$
    – Z.Moe
    May 4, 2016 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ ^Quick clarification on my Gladius thing, I'm not trying to get Finesse AND Throwable, it would basically be trading one for the other (presumably I'd pay the higher price of the two weapons in that instance, but it's 5 gp vs 10 gp so whatever) \$\endgroup\$
    – Z.Moe
    May 4, 2016 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It was definitely allowed for other classes by-book in older editions, but I can't recall a direct ruling that didn't fall back on DM fiat for the current one, so I don't know if the precedent is relevant. \$\endgroup\$
    – user28753
    May 10, 2016 at 4:36

2 Answers 2


Your character can call things differently than your character sheet. If your sheet says "greatsword," but your character keeps referring to his zweihander, an AL DM would not have any grounds to stop you, as there are no rules for role playing (aside from alignment restrictions, rules of conduct, etc). You can play a halfling that insists, in character, that he's a hill giant, or calls his dagger a potato, so long as your character sheet is AL legal.

As for what is considered legal to put on your sheet, Jeremy Crawford tweeted in response to a very similar question on 9-May-2016:

The wuxia weapon names in the DMG (p. 41) are available to a member of any class, if the DM gives the OK. #DnD

So, only those weapon names listed in the DMG can be used on your sheet, and only with DM approval. Without it, only those listed in the equipment chapter should be on your sheet.

Source: https://mobile.twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/729786362010869760

  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's the problem with that-- a Monk doesn't have to write "Shortsword" and only verbally say "Jian," they don't have to write "club" and only say "nunchaku"-- what the rules say specifically for Monks is "Whatever name you use for a monk weapon, you can use the game statistic provided for the weapon in chapter 5, 'Equipment.'" So as long as the statistics match. it should be fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Z.Moe
    May 5, 2016 at 10:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not liking an answer doesn't make it false. \$\endgroup\$ May 5, 2016 at 12:35

The Adventurer's League Player's Guide explicitly states both what is ALLOWED (which books, character creation methods etc) and what is DISALLOWED (for example- Evil alignments outside certain LE exceptions). The Allowed Rules includes everything in the PHB except rolling for attributes and hit points.

The rule under Monk specifically states that "Whatever name you use for a monk weapon, you can use the game statistic provided for the weapon in chapter 5, 'Equipment.'"

As long as the weapon is statistically something the same as in the book, there is no grounds to disallow it.

That said, for the sake of both common courtesy and to head off confusion, it might be wise to put an asterisk beside the item and list the standard name somewhere on your character sheet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that it specifies "Monk Weapon". If it simply said "weapon", then all well and good. However, it doesn't say anything about whether renaming is allowed or not for anyone else. \$\endgroup\$
    – user28753
    May 10, 2016 at 4:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Recent Twitter answer from someone who asked this same question said the Wuxia weapon names in the DMG are available to any character. No further information was provided. \$\endgroup\$
    – Z.Moe
    May 16, 2016 at 1:44

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