Aquatic / PirateD&D 5eNautical Nonsense

Fixing the Trident – Homebrew D&D 5e Trident

For my seafaring campaign (Seas of Vodari) I wanted to add lots of nautical flavor and when it came to weapons, tridents were a must have. Tridents are three-pronged spears used for spear fishing and historically as a polearm. Tridents are also a popular symbol of the sea and Poseidon (or Neptune), the god of the sea, is usually depicted holding one. Tridents are often seen in the hands of gladiators (sometimes with nets) and we saw Finnick in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) using one.

I was recently on a D&D Facebook group and a poster (William Chad Blackwood) brought up a good point about tridents in D&D 5th Edition…

”Anyone house rule Tridents to be worth their 5gp cost as opposed to just a fancy spear yet? Curious what ideas you all came up with.”

I like tridents and I gave proficiency with tridents to races from the sea in my campaign such as sea dwarves and sea elves. I also added proficiency with tridents to a couple of my campaign specific backgrounds. Having a three pronged piercing weapon deliver the same amount of piercing damage as a spear and cost more does not make sense in my world. I’m not saying D&D 5th Edition tridents are broken… but here is my fix (or break). Giving the same piercing damage as a War Pick might not work for everyone, but the Trident did roll a 1d8 (but it did not have the versatile property) during the playtest. You might want to just add a special property to the Trident like the Lance and Net both have and leave the damage alone.

Spear (Simple Melee Weapon) – D&D 5e Player’s Handbook p. 149

Cost: 1 gp
Weight: 3lbs
Damage: 1d6 piercing
Properties: Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d8)

Trident (Martial Melee Weapon) – D&D 5e Player’s Handbook p. 149

Cost: 5 gp (4 gold pieces more expensive than spear)
Weight: 4lbs (1 pound heavier than spear)
Damage: 1d6 piercing
Properties: Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d8)

Homebrew Trident A (Martial Melee Weapon)

Let’s give my players a reason to employ their proficiency with this weapon to look like a bad-ass Poseidon. The down side is you can throw it for 1d8 which makes the 1d6 javelin underpowered.

Damage: 1d8 piercing
Properties: Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d10)

Homebrew Trident B (Martial Melee Weapon)

This alternate is just a bit more powerful than a spear with a minimum 2 damage, just enough to choose it over the spear if you are trained. I don’t like this option as much, but it could work.

Damage: 2d3 piercing (or just do 1d6, minimum 2 damage)
Properties: Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (2d4)

Homebrew Trident C (Martial Melee Weapon)

This version rewards players for using the trident with 2 hands, but keeps the one-handed attacks and ranged attacks at 1d6. Thanks Joshua Carland for this idea.

Damage: 1d6 piercing
Properties: Thrown (range 20/60), Versatile (1d10)

Photo: Poseidon/Neptune sculpture in Copenhagen Port. ©2005 Hans Anderson.

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  • Capitão Hipster

    the last one with reach, would be perfection.

    • Shawn E.

      Hmmm. I don’t think you can have reach without heavy. Pike, Halberd and Glaive.
      The Lance is ‘Reach’ with ‘Special’ with some of its own challenges for fitting into the game.

      I don’t think a heavy trident could work, how could you throw it.

    • Capitão Hipster

      with all due respect, i disagree.

  • Shawn E.

    I just have to drop a note and mention this is a great idea.

  • Alex Franklinstein

    I have the trident deal 2d3 damage one-handed and 3d3 damage two-handed. Multiple spearheads means multiple damage dice from a single hit, and with two hands it’s easier to aim all three points at the same target.

    • Makes sense and d3 works on VTTs like Roll20, but no so good at the table. d6/2 not very a popular roll.

    • Alex Franklinstein

      I found a few d6s that only go up to three twice instead of six, so it’s not a problem with me. But yeah.

    • that is a good fix for sure!