Weapon properties (4E)

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4ED&D 4E
4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Weapon properties define additional characteristics shared by weapons that might be in different groups.



A brutal weapon’s minimum damage is higher than that of a normal weapon. When rolling the weapon’s damage, reroll any die that displays a value equal to or lower than the brutal value given for the weapon. Reroll the die until the value shown exceeds the weapon’s brutal value, and then use the new value.

For example, the execution axe has a property of brutal 2. If a fighter wielding this weapon hits with steel serpent strike (a 2[W] power), the player rolls 2d12 for the weapon damage, rerolling a die result of 1 or 2 until the die shows 3 or higher.

Because this property is mechanically cumbersome, some campaigns replace it with the High Critical property. Check with your DM.


A defensive weapon grants you a +1 bonus to AC while you wield the defensive weapon in one hand and wield another melee weapon in your other hand. Wielding more than one defensive weapon does not increase this bonus. To gain this benefit, you need not attack with the defensive weapon, but you must be proficient with it.

A defensive weapon that does not also have the off-hand property still grants AC when used in the off hand, but cannot be used to attack together with the primary weapon or be used with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat.


Wielding a double weapon is like wielding a weapon in each hand. The first die given in the damage column of the table for a double weapon is for the primary (or main) end of the weapon; the second damage die is for the secondary (or off-hand) end. You can use either end of a double weapon to deliver an attack unless a power specifies a main or off-hand weapon attack.

An enchanted double weapon receives an enhancement bonus on both ends, but weapon properties or powers conferred by the enchantment affect only the primary end of the weapon.

Like two-handed weapons, double weapons cannot normally be wielded by Small creatures unless the weapon has the small property.

A double weapon is not considered an off-hand weapon for class abilities that affect off-hand weapons, such as that of the tempest fighter or Tempest Fighting Style ranger.

Heavy Thrown

You hurl a thrown weapon from your hand, rather than using it to loose a projectile. A ranged basic attack with a heavy thrown weapon uses your Strength instead of your Dexterity for the attack and damage rolls.

High Crit

A high crit weapon deals more damage when you score a critical hit with it. A critical hit deals maximum weapon damage and an extra 1[W] at 1st–10th levels, an extra 2[W] at 11th–20th levels, and an extra 3[W] at 21st–30th levels. This extra damage is in addition to any critical damage the weapon supplies if it is a magic weapon.

Light Thrown

A ranged basic attack with a light thrown weapon uses your Dexterity. Light thrown weapons don’t deal as much damage as heavy thrown weapons, but some powers let you hurl several of them at once or in rapid succession.


Ranged weapons that loose projectiles, including bows, crossbows, and slings, take some time to load. When a weapon shows “load free” on the Ranged Weapons table, that means you draw and load ammunition as a free action, effectively part of the action used to attack with the weapon. Any weapon that has the load property requires two hands to load, even if you can use only one hand to attack with it. (The sling, for example, is a one-handed weapon, but you need a free hand to load it.) The crossbow is “load minor,” which means it requires a minor action to load a bolt into the weapon. If a power allows you to hit multiple targets, the additional load time is accounted for in the power as long as the load time is minor or less.

Some weapons have are "reload rest", and these weapons can only be reloaded during a short rest.


An off-hand weapon is light enough that you can hold it and attack effectively with it while holding a weapon in your main hand. You can’t attack with both weapons in the same turn, unless you have a power that lets you do so, but you can attack with either weapon.


With a reach weapon, you can attack enemies that are 2 squares away from you as well as adjacent enemies, with no attack penalty. You can still make opportunity attacks only against adjacent enemies. Likewise, you can flank only an adjacent enemy.


This property describes a two-handed or a versatile weapon that a Small character can use in the same way a Medium character can. A halfling can use a shortbow, for example, even though halflings can’t normally use two-handed weapons.


Versatile weapons are one-handed, but you can use them two-handed. If you do, you deal an extra 1 point of damage when you roll damage for the weapon.

A Small character such as a halfling must use a versatile weapon two-handed and doesn’t deal extra damage.

See also