Versatile Weapons 5E: How Do They Work?

When it comes to weapons in Dungeons & Dragons 5E, you’ve got the choice between a Simple or a Martial Weapon to make. But beyond that, each weapon also has its own characteristics and properties to take into account. And understanding that is not only a key part to choosing the right weapon, but also part of using it properly. With that, we’re going to quickly cover the ins and outs of the Versatile weapon property in D&D 5E. If you’ve got any questions or are confused about how it works, then this guide for Versatile Weapons should help you out.

What is a Versatile Weapon?

versatile weapons 5e

This question is a bit less straightforward in comparison to Simple and Martial Weapons. Versatile refers to a property that a weapon can have, so it’s not quite constrained in the same way as the two weapon classes. Simply put, Versatile means that you can choose to use the weapon in one hand or with two. This has obvious benefits like being able to use the free hand for a shield, and using both hands can increase the amount of damage you do.

Versatile Weapons will have a base damage stat just like any weapon. But next to their Versatile tag, they’ll have the damage dice shown for when the weapon is wielded in two hands. It’s not a massive damage increase most of the time, but if you can land the right rolls, the extra damage won’t go unnoticed.

List of Versatile Weapons

There aren’t a massive amount of Versatile Weapons to choose from in D&D 5E, but there’s still a wide enough pool that ticks off most weapon types. So if you want to start using a Versatile weapon to reap the benefits, you can check out the following list.

Versatile Simple Melee Weapons

Quarterstaff2 sp1d6 bludgeoning4 lb.Versatile (1d8)
Spear1 gp1d6 piercing3 lb.Thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d8)

Versatile Martial Melee Weapons

Battleaxe10 gp1d8 slashing4 lb.Versatile (1d10)
Longsword15 gp1d8 slashing3 lb.Versatile (1d10)
Trident5 gp1d6 piercing4 lb.Thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d8)
Warhammer15 gp1d8 bludgeoning2 lb.Versatile (1d10)

Again the pool isn’t huge, but there’s still quite a lot of variety in weapon types. You may notice that there aren’t any versatile Ranged Weapons, but it’s not hard to figure out why. Versatile would only really apply to perhaps a Crossbow, and even then there isn’t any kind of bonus you could realistically achieve from it.

Versatile Weapon FAQ

The Versatile property for Melee Weapons in 5E is pretty straightforward all things considered. However, there’s also some leeway here that can make some aspects of it a bit confusing. So let’s answer a few questions that may still be lingering about Versatile Weapons.

Can you use Dex for Versatile Weapons?

Typically, Versatile is seen as a property that’s governed more by Strength than Dexterity. Think about it, you’re using two hands in order to supply more power for the weapon to increase its damage. Dexterity doesn’t really factor into the equation. Of course, if you want to tweak the rules a bit you could find a way to give Dexterity-focused characters a reason to use Versatile Weapons. But then its implementation will differ between each DM. Broadly speaking, Dexterity isn’t something that’s used for Versatile Weapons.

Can you Dual Wield Versatile Weapons?

This is a slightly trickier question to answer since there are a few ways to go about it. Dual wielding Versatile Weapons can be done in two ways. Two Weapon Fighting allows a player to wield a second weapon and use their bonus action to make an extra attack. The catch is that both weapons need to be Light. Players also aren’t able to apply a damage modifier to the extra attack. This is obviously pretty limiting when it comes to Versatile weapons, since none have the Light property.

However, the Dual-Wielder Feat allows a player to dual wield any two weapons, even if they aren’t light. So, if you want to dual wield a pair of Versatile Weapons, you’ll need this Feat. But remember that Versatile Weapons must be used with two hands in order to get the increased damage. So wielding one in each hand won’t get you that ability.

Is a Longsword Versatile?

The simple answer to this is, yes, a Longsword is indeed a Versatile Weapon. In fact, it’s one of the better ones, offering 1d8 slashing damage in one hand, and 1d10 in two hands. Even if a Longsword could be considered to be one of the more boring weapons to use in D&D 5E, it’s still a good one and can deal plenty of damage.

Conclusion for Versatile Weapons in 5E

Versatile Weapons are, well, versatile in the right hands. While the boost in damage isn’t necessarily game-changing, sometimes all you need is the extra one to two points of damage to win the fight. A lot of players also forget to use the Versatile property on their weapons and miss out on the potential damage bonus. So, if you’re using a Versatile Weapon, make sure you use both hands occasionally.

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