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Weapon Specialization

Only members of the fighter class and the ranger sub-class can make use of weapon specialization. This discipline is manifested in the character’s choice of one weapon to practice and use, to the exclusion of others. If weapon specialization is to be practiced by the fighter or ranger, that decision must be made when the character is initially created. Weapon specialization counts as two weapon proficiency “slots”; that is, a fighter may choose a weapon of specialization in addition to two other weapons of proficiency to count for the character’s initial allotment of four proficient weapons, while a ranger may have one weapon of specialization and a single weapon of proficiency as well. Specializing in a bow other than a crossbow requires an additional proficiency “slot,” so that a fighter who specializes in the use of a bow may have only one other weapon of proficiency to start with, and a ranger specializing in the bow can have no other weapon of proficiency at the start of his or her adventuring career.

The benefits of weapon specialization are as follows.

Melee Weapons: The character is + 1 to hit and + 2 to damage with the special weapon, on top of all other strength and magic bonuses. The weapon must be a specific type, such as long sword or broad sword, as opposed to a general sword. In addition, the fighter gets additional attacks per round with the special weapon. The specifications for these additional attacks override the figures given on the Attacks Per Melee Round Table hereafter, and are summarized on the Weapon Specialization Table below.

Bows: Fighters and rangers using the long, short, or composite bow as a special weapon are entitled to a “point blank” range category. Point blank range is from 6’ to 30’. The character is + 2 “to hit” and on damage rolls against targets within this range, and furthermore any successful hit deals out double damage (a total of 6-16 points for a non-magical arrow) to the victim, plus bonuses for strength or magic if applicable. Additionally, a bow specialist who begins the round with arrow nocked, shaft drawn, and target in sight is entitled to loose that arrow prior to any initiative check. Short range for a bow specialist is from 30‘ up to the lower limit of medium range for that bow. The bowman is + l to hit and damage at short range. Bow specialists may also gain additional attacks at higher levels.

Crossbows: In the hands of a specialist, these weapons have a “point blank” range of 6’ to 60’ (this completely overtakes the short range of a light crossbow in the dungeon). The crossbow specialist is + 2 “to hit” and damage against targets in this range, and receives the double damage benefit as for a bow; thus, a light crossbow bolt fired by a specialist at point blank range will do 6-12 points of damage, exclusive of bonuses (if any) for strength and magic. At short range the crossbowman is + 1 to hit and damage. At medium range the crossbow specialist is + 1 to hit, but gains no bonus on damage by virtue of specialization. Crossbow specialists also increase in rate of fire with level, and the amount of this increase is dependent on whether a light or heavy crossbow is used. Crossbowmen also gain the “aimed shot” advantage of bowmen, so that if the crossbow is cocked and aimed and the target is in range, the crossbowman gets a free shot before initiative is rolled.

Other Missile Weapons: Users of other sorts of missile weapons gain a + 1 bonus “to hit” and a + 2 bonus on damage. Their number of attacks per round depends on the initial fire rate of the missile weapon.

Double Specialization: A fighter or ranger may either initially or at a later time decide to gain double specialization in his or her chosen weapon. Only melee weapons, excluding pole arms and the two-handed sword, may be used in double specialization. Double specialization is taken instead of a proficiency “slot” whenever the character qualifies for a new weapon, and can only be taken in the weapon type that the character is already specialized in. Double specialization gives the wielder + 3 to hit and + 3 to damage with that specific weapon.

Final Note: All “to hit” bonuses granted by weapon specialization are not magical in nature, and will not affect creatures that are only hit by magical weapons. If a ranger or fighter is wielding a magic weapon that is of the weapon type that he or she is specialized in, all magical bonuses apply in addition to the bonuses gained for specialization.

Unearthed Arcana, p.18

I’m willing to include these rules, with some small adjustments: Rangers can only specialize in missile weapons, and no double specialization. Anyone disagree?