All Finesse Weapons In Dungeons & Dragons, Ranked

Highlights

  • Finesse weapons in Dungeons & Dragons allow characters to use their dexterity instead of strength for attack and damage rolls.
  • Daggers are versatile and practical, and can be used for two-weapon fighting without a feat.
  • The whip is often overlooked but can be a powerful weapon, especially for monks, with its reach and customization options.

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The Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons has seven weapons with the finesse property. This means you can use your choice of strength or dexterity when making an attack. This allows characters with a higher dexterity to use that modifier instead of strength for attack and damage rolls. This usually benefits dexterous adventurers, but it can help strong ones too.

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Each character has advantages and ways to best utilize finesse weapons due to their unique properties and statistics. You will learn about every weapon type that has finesse here, and what they can accomplish in your D&D game.

7 The Dagger

A Dark Elf Rogue Wielding Daggers
The Rogue Class via The Player’s Handbook by Aaron J. Riley

Dagger

Damage dealt: 1d4

Damage type: piercing

Weight: 1 pound

List price: 2 gold

Properties: finesse, light, thrown

Proficiency type: simple

Thrown range: 20/60 feet

While the dagger deals little damage, you should still carry one. Because it’s a simple weapon any character should be proficient with it, making it more likely to land attacks. In addition to finesse, daggers have light and thrown properties. This lets you use two-weapon fighting without a feat. The thrown feature lets you keep a ranged option in your pocket.

Beyond its use in combat, a dagger can be very practical. Most dungeon masters allow using the blade edge for common tasks. You could drive a dagger into a difficult-to-climb wall, acting as a climbing piton for example. When all is said and done, the dagger is a fantastic pick for weighing a single pound.

6 The Scimitar

Drizzt Do'Urden holding scimitars
Drizzt Do’urden art via Wizards of the Coast

Scimitar

Damage dealt: 1d6

Damage type: slashing

Weight: 3 pounds

List price: 25 gold

Properties: finesse, light

Proficiency type: martial

Melee range: 5 feet

A martial weapon, the scimitar deals better damage and makes for an ideal choice for two-weapon fighting. You may decide on a shortsword due to lower cost and similar damage, but scimitars have one thing shortswords don’t; Druids start with proficiency in them. This means it is the only martial option for those characters, and is also the path to one of the highest damage outputs.

Often druids use a staff paired with the cantrip Shillelagh. With two scimitars you can deal more damage each round using two-weapon fighting. However, this does use your bonus action, meaning it won’t be available on your turn. If you take a subclass that does not use bonus actions, it will be available for attacks. Without the reliance on Shillelagh, you’ll have an additional cantrip as well.

5 The Shortsword

A fighter standing over his kill after a long fight in Dungeons & Dragons
Art of a fighter via Wizards of the Coast

Shortsword statistics

Damage dealt: 1d6

Damage type: piercing

Weight: 2 pounds

List price: 10 gold

Properties: finesse, light

Proficiency: martial

Melee range: 5 feet

Functionally the shortsword is a better scimitar. It deals the same damage, except it is lighter, cheaper, and deals piercing instead of slashing damage. That last difference allows the use of a feat, piercer. Available in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, piercer lets you reroll a damage die for your attack. This increases your average damage, and the feat increases it further on a critical blow.

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While some creatures resist piercing attacks, you’ll still deal more to others. If playing without feats, your character’s satchel and wallet will appreciate the lighter load and cost. Shortswords are common in adventures and loot tables too, meaning proficiency with shortswords over scimitars will make your weapons easier to find.

4 The Whip

Adventurers looking over a river while exploring a jungle
Dungeons & Dragons Jungles of Chult by Jedd Chevrier

Whip

Damage dealt: 1d4

Damage type: slashing

Weight: 3 pounds

List price: 2 gold

Properties: finesse, reach

Proficiency type: martial

Melee range: 10 feet

Often undervalued, the whip is the outcast of finesse weapons. It deals low damage and in return gets reach. This does mean it’s the only finesse and reach weapon. Paired with increased speed, this allows for effective kiting.

Thanks to Tasha’s Caldron of Everything two additions make the whip a deadly tool for monks. Customizing origin allows for changing a starting weapon proficiency, and the second level feature for monks dedicated weapon is a perfect match. Combining these means you have a reach monk weapon for your primary attacks. Martial arts will now increase the damage of your whip as you level.

Matched with the defensive and mobility options the monk provides, this makes for a powerful presence. One build is to choose the dual wielder feat. Late-game you make three attacks on your turn, and your armor class is increased. Whips have other uses outside of combat as well such as using it to swing around or interact with an object at range.

3 The Rapier

An image of Wyll ravenguard in a battle stance, holding a rapier.

Rapier

Damage dealt: 1d8

Damage type: piercing

Weight: 2 pounds

List price: 25 gold

Properties: finesse

Proficiency: martial

Melee range: 5 feet

The bigger sibling to the shortsword, the rapier is an excellent choice of piercing weapon. You can use the same feat to increase its damage, and being a one-handed weapon you can pair it with a shield. If you don’t want a shield or lack the proficiency there are other reasons to keep a hand free. Spellcasting and other features can require an open hand. If you fight with a rapier you can make use of these abilities.

Best for rogues, bards, and rangers, the latter of these classes has spellcasting. With a dexterity weapon and a hand available for a spell focus your bard or ranger can fight happily. This lets you deal reliable damage while keeping your spells ready to use. Both classes have proficiency in rapiers and prefer a high dexterity score, which means the rapier is the perfect choice.

2 The Hoopak: A Dragonlance Favorite

Soldiers attempt to escape river while tentacles attack
Dragonlance – Shadow of the Dragon Queen Chapter 5 Opener 

Hoopak Melee

Damage dealt: 1d6

Damage type: piercing

Weight: 2 pounds

List price: 1 gold

Properties: finesse, special, ammunition, two-handed

Proficiency: martial

Melee range: 5 feet

Hoopak Ranged

Damage dealt: 1d4

Damage type: bludgeoning

Range: 40/160 feet

Originating from the setting of Dragonlance and appearing in the Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure, this is a unique and versatile weapon made by the Kender which can be used for both melee and ranged combat. While the hoopak does not excel in either category, it is better than relying on thrown weapons as it has a greater range.

Because the weapon is from an adventure set in Dragonlance if it is not present you’ll need to rely on suitable replacements. You can choose to carry javelins as a substitute. However, your dexterity will no longer be of help, as you’ll require a high strength.

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Overall, the hoopak is an incredibly useful addition to your armory. You can use the sling to hurl rocks or small objects, like a bottle of acid. The tipped point allows you access to piercing damage for a feat-based build, while access to both damage types handles enemies who resist piercing. Your backpack will thank you for this space-saving multi-use weapon.

1 The Dart

From Tasha's Cauldron Of Everything, an Orc Monk Of the Four Elements unleashes a Ki-Fueled Attack in DND Dungeons and Dragons D&D by Sam Keiser
An Orc Monk Of the Four Elements Unleashes A Ki-Fueled Attack By Sam Keiser

Dart

Damage dealt: 1d4

Damage type: piercing

Weight: quarter pound

List price: 5 copper

Properties: finesse, thrown

Proficiency: simple

Range: 20/60

You may wonder why this mundane weapon is a serious threat, but the humble dart has the highest damage potential on this list. This awesome potential is unlocked through a feat, sharpshooter. Often taken by rangers or those using a bow, sharpshooter is effective with any ranged weapon. It removes penalties related to long-range attacks and enemies behind cover while offering a special method of attack.

When making a ranged weapon attack you can choose to take a -5 to your attack roll to deal ten additional damage on a successful hit. With the other benefits of the feat, this means you can deal massive damage at a range of 60 feet without penalty. Most importantly, finesse lets a strength-based character use darts with lethal force.

The simple dart paired with the right build will open up powerful ranged options for your more strapping characters. While many combinations of character features and weaponry can make for effective combat, this is a low-investment choice that will always find use.

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