|Rapier||25 gp||1d8 piercing||2 lbs||Finesse, Martial weapon|
Who is proficient with rapiers? Drow, Barbarian, Bard, Fighter, Paladin, Rogue, War Cleric, Hexblade Warlock, Battle Smith Artificer, and Twilight Domain Cleric are proficient with rapiers in DnD 5e. Githyanki can become proficient with any weapon of their choice for the day with the Astral Knowledge feature, including rapiers.
Rapiers are the premier finesse weapon of DnD 5e for those with the proficiency to wield it. So much so that some players get annoyed that it’s the “must-pick” weapon for Dexterity-based melee characters.
If you’re considering building a character like that, this article will cover just why rapiers are good in DnD 5e. And if you’re not a fan of rapiers in general, I’ll also go over options for re-skinning them while retaining their properties.
Why Are Rapiers Good in 5e?
Rapiers are considered the best finesse weapon in DnD 5e. Finesse is a weapon property that allows you to use either your Strength or Dexterity modifier for its attack rolls and damage rolls, instead of being forced to use Strength.
This is a good option for any character that has reason to make Dexterity their primary ability (which is a lot) and can use martial weapons/rapiers.
Dexterity is widely accepted as the primary or secondary ability of almost every class in 5e, because, unless you’re wearing heavy armor, your AC directly scales with Dexterity (it also stops mattering after +2 for characters that wear medium armor).
But the real reason why rapiers are considered the best among finesse weapons in 5e is that they deal 1d8 (4.5 average) piercing damage, 1 more than other finesse weapons (scimitars and shortswords deal 1d6 (3.5 average) damage, slashing and piercing respectively). The only simple finesse weapon is the dagger, which deals 1d4 (2.5 average piercing).
Now, while those other weapons have other properties — scimitars and shortswords are light, so you can use them for two-weapon fighting, while daggers are light, as well as thrown (range 20/60 feet). Whips have reach (10-foot range), but a measly 1d4 damage as well, on a martial weapon.
But many players feel that you’re “forced” to shoehorn a rapier into your character if they’re not interested in two-weapon fighting (because you want to save your bonus action for something else, as the primary reason).
Can You Dual Wield Rapiers?
No, you cannot dual wield rapiers under normal conditions in DnD 5e, because they lack the “light” property. However, if your character has the Dual Wielder feat, then you can use two-weapon fighting with one-handed weapons that aren’t light, allowing you to dual wield rapiers.
Rapier or Dual Wield?
In most cases, dual wielding shortswords will deal more damage (2d6, 7 average) than rapiers (1d8, 4.5 average).
However, this doesn’t take into account the opportunity cost of requiring your bonus action to attack with your off-hand weapon each turn. For example, if you’re a Rogue who relies on Cunning Action to dart into and out of melee range of enemies you’re hitting each round, two-weapon fighting becomes a risky proposition, while a rapier is safer.
On the other hand, two-weapon fighting allows for more attack rolls (and, therefore, hits), which is a big deal if you’re relying on Sneak Attack damage (a Rogue’s main source of damage).
Plus, you can use a shield with a rapier in one hand, boosting your AC by +2.
Ultimately, it comes down to your character build and whether or not you need your bonus action for something else.
If You Think Rapiers Make Dexterity Characters Feel “Samey”
If you feel that rapiers make every melee-based Dexterity character feel the same, there’s a simple fix: re-skin them to something else. This is a fantasy game, and you can call your weapon whatever you want to call it — keep the properties of a rapier, and you won’t be changing anything mechanically about the game (which, by the way, you’re also allowed to do!)