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This is a question related to a very specific situation : I had an idea about an unorthodox build for an ape animal companion. Animals only have melee attacks by default, and even the rules mention that teaching an intelligent primate to use crafted weapons may not incline it to use them.

So the main element of my build idea is the use of improvised weapons, since hitting something hard with a big stick is way easier than wielding a sword, and throwing a rock is way more intuitive than archery.

There is one thing that got my attention : something as basic as a club (a non-masterwork club is just a piece of wood worth 0 gp) is considered a simple weapon. For most classes, this isn't a problem, but what about an ape that learnt to use improvised weapons ? Does it take the -4 non-proficiency penalty when using a simple branch as a club, or can an exception be made ?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If hitting things with sticks were easy, a commoner should be able to do so, also. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 14 '16 at 14:03
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The difference between a simple and an improvised weapon is that the simple weapon is manufactured/designed to be wielded as a weapon. It might have a grip, a sharp edge, metal studs embedded into it or just have a pointy piece of flint on the end but its primary purpose is as a weapon.

Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. link

Improvised weapons are everything else. Rocks, branches, stools, pumpkins, books and even small animals can be used to smack an opponent around the head but as it's not what they are designed for they count as improvised.

If you went down the improvised weapon proficiency route then you could still wield a heavy stick effectively like a club and with basically the same stats.

To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match.

Catch Off Guard would remove the penalty in melee and Throw Anything would let you chuck it at enemies too. This also gives the benefit of being able to use almost any item you come across as a potentially lethal weapon.

This doesn't let you use Simple, Martial or Exotic weapons however, you'd still have a -4 penalty with them, although a 'simple branch' is always going to be an improvised weapon and not a club anyway.

Alternatively, you could just use the Simple Weapon Proficiency feat, use a real club and save a lot of bother.

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Not according to the rules.

There is a feat for using simple weapons, called Simple Weapon Proficiency. Neither the feat you linked nor it's two prereq's grant any of the benefits of Simple Weapon Proficiency. If you think it makes sense, you can house rule it if you're the GM or take it to your GM in a home game, but you don't have much of a leg to stand on. That would be like saying taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Katana grants you Martial Weapon Proficiency for free because it's harder.

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Rules as written: No

Your ape can use pieces of wood, chairs, tables, poles and even branches as weapons without penalty. But he will take -4 when wielding clubs, as clubs are Simple Weapons.

Clubs allow you to use Weapon Focus(Club), Weapon Specialization (Club), can be crafted as a masterwork, and many other rules that can be applied to simple weapons (and martial, and exotic), that are not applied to improvised weapons.

Clubs even belong to a different weapon group:

Hammers: aklys, battle aspergillum, club, greatclub, heavy mace, light hammer, light mace, mere club, planson, taiaha, tetsubo, wahaika, and warhammer.

Keep in mind that Simple Weapon Proficiency gives proficiency with all simple weapons, not a single weapon, unlike Martial or Exotic Proficiency feats.

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No.

A club is quite simple, but still it needs practice to hold it the right way. However nothing forbids the ape to hit things with a club. It would not use club stats but improvised weapon stats, and won't benefits from its weapon enhancements, but would not have the -4 to hit.

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No. It makes sense when you think of it, a club is an age old weapon of war. Nothing forbids you declaring it a big branch and using it as an improvised weapon, which seems the most legitimate option. Wielding a club effectively is probably as tricky as wielding a spear or a sword with any efficiency: you can flail around with it, but you're nowhere near the full potential. Thus, -4 seems appropriate and reasonable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take the tour when you get a chance. I like this interpretation of what the rules are getting at. \$\endgroup\$ – UrhoKarila Sep 14 '16 at 19:03

protected by Oblivious Sage Sep 14 '16 at 21:35

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