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A favored weapon is a type of weapon associated with a particular deity. It is of particular importance to that deity and their followers. Clerics often wield their deity's favored weapon as a point of pride.[1][2]

Examples[]

Notable examples of favored weapons include the warhammer, wielded by Thor, Moradin and their clerics; the mace, wielded by clerics of Pelor and Lathander; and the longsword, wielded by followers of Corellon Larethian, Merrshaulk, and Heimdall.

It is generally accepted that all deities have a favored weapon.[1] For some, like Ilmater, that weapon is unarmed strike, although this is not the same as having no favored weapon.

Some monstrous deities have a creature's natural weapon as their favored weapon. Examples include the beholder goddess Great Mother and the naga deity Shekinester, whose favored weapons are their bite.[3] Some demon lords powerful enough to have worshipers also have a favored weapon.

Uses[]

A favored weapon is often based on a specific example of that weapon which is used personally by that deity. Such weapons are usually extremely powerful by mortal standards. Examples include Cyric's longsword Razor's Edge and Thors famous warhammer Mjolnir. The term "favored weapon" is sometimes used to refer to a deity's personal weapon, although this is not strictly correct.

Some spells differ based on the deity's favored weapon. For example, a cleric of Thor who casts the spell spiritual weapon will manifest it in the form of a warhammer, while a cleric of Pelor would create a mace. Other spells which rely on a deity's favored weapon include divine storm and weapon of the deity.[4]

A deity's favored weapon may have symbolic significance. For example, Moradin's favored weapon, the hammer, reflects the creation myth of the dwarves, who believe that Moradin crafted the dwarves through the art of blacksmithing.

Evil deities somtimes grant an individual a mark of apostasy, created from the same material as the deity's favored weapon.[5]

Publication history[]

AD&D 1st edition[]

The term "favored weapon" was not used in AD&D to refer to the weapon preferred by a deity or their clerics. All clerics were forbidden from using edged or pointed weapons.

However, the term "favored weapon" was used to refer to a character's preferred weapon. This usage appeared in Monster Manual (1e) (1977), p.19, which defined a Type VI demon's "favored weapons" as a sword and a whip. Examples of AD&D sourcebooks which followed this usage include REF6 Rogues' Gallery (1992), I14 Swords of the Iron Legion (1988), and OP1 Tales of the Outer Planes (1988).

An early influence in the concept of a deity's favored weapon appeared in the article Hammer of Thor, Spear of Zeus, Dragon #115 (Nov 1986), p.38-40. Building on rules appearing in Dragon #67-71 which allowed clerics of Trithereon to wield spears, this article allowed clerics to wield a weapon depending on their deity.

AD&D 2nd edition[]

The earliest known reference to "favored weapon" in relation to a deity or cleric appears in the Forgotten Realms sourcebook FR10 Old Empires (1990), p.85, where a magic item known as the Staff of Osiris is the "favored weapon" of the priests of Osiris. However, this only referred to a specific (and relatively rare) magic item, rather than a weapon type.

The Red Steel (1994) box set used the term "favored weapon" in a context which would be familiar to players of later editions. In the Campaign Book, p.34, it is stated that:

'If a War Priests' Immortal has a favored weapon, the cleric must take proficiency for that weapon as a "weapon of choice."'

D&D 3rd edition[]

The "favored weapon" mechanic, under that name, was specific to D&D 3rd edition, which introduced it as a core mechanic.

Rules for favored weapons appeared in the cleric class description in the Player's Handbook (3.0) (2000), p.31, while the deities' favored weapons themselves are listed in the deities section on p.90. All deities have a favored weapon, and clerics of the War domain gain martial weapon proficiency in that weapon for free.

In a rare error, the sourcebook Complete Divine (2004) accidentally left a writer's note in a printed sourcebook, incorrectly defining Tharizdun's favored weapon as something called the check toee.

D&D 4th edition[]

The preview book Wizards Presents: Races and Classes (2007), p.56, states that each deity would give a specific benefit such as a favored weapon or a defense bonus. However, this feature would not appear in the final rules.

In the article Channel Divinity: Sehanine, Dragon #386 (Apr 2010), p.69, it is said that Sehanine favors bows of all quality, but especially shortbows (because they are easier to hide). On the contrary, she frowns upon crossbows, because these are weapons of Lolth. The concept of a favored weapon wielded by clerics as a symbol of their deity finally re-appeared in Staff Fighters, Dragon #391 (Sep 2010), p.47. It defines the staff as the favored weapon of Ioun and Avandra. A similar reference to Gond's favored weapon appears in Dragon #403 (Sep 2011), p.7.

D&D 5th edition[]

Deities do not have favored weapons listed, nor is that term used in the Player's Handbook (5e) (2014). However, the spell spiritual weapon (p.278) notes that if a deity is associated with a particular weapon, the spiritual weapon will take that form. Clerics of the Tempest and War domains gain martial weapon proficiency. Thor conveniently has both of these domains and a specific famous weapon.

A reference to the favored weapon of hobgoblin deity Nomog-Geaya appears in Volo's Guide to Monsters (2016), p.46.

References[]

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