New Weapon Proficiency Rules
The first item is dealing with bows. I have always thought bows got the short end of the stick as far as what specialization would get them. As such, these are the revisions I use in my campaigns...(As a side note, the Players Option: Combat and Tactics rules also work very well as a different option!)
1. I give bows the same hit and damage bonus the melee weapons get for specialization. The damage bonus represents the fact that the archer knows where to shoot to hurt the target more.
2. Point blank range and bonuses are intact.
3. Attack progression adding 1/2 attack every time a fighter is in line to get extra attacks for melee weapons.
4. Cost for specialization remains the same.
Use of individual WP slots to bolster existing weapons
This is kind of a mix between the styles of 2nd and the Players Option rules. I am still experimenting with the options of devoting a WP slot to benefiting either hit rolls, # of attacks, speed factor, or damage bonus. I have it set up right now that a single weapon proficiency slot will give one of the following benefits: +1 to hit, + 1 to damage, 1/2 additional attacks, or -2 to speed factor. The only exception is that for bows 2 slots must be spent to get the increase in number of attacks. You can only use this once you have proficiency with the weapon.
When you look at what the benefits are, you will realize that you get a bigger bang for your buck with standard specialization. What this offers instead is options to increase specialization benefits or work out a more unique fighting style. For example, a fighter with a two-handed sword could take a proficiency in the weapon, the two-handed style specialization from the AD&D Fighter's Handbook, and knock another 2 off his speed factor. At 1st level, he would not be able to use much besides a two-handed sword, but he would have an edge on speed against other people similarly armed.
A creative DM could take elements of these benefits, put them together in a weapon style specific to an area or weapon. As an example, a character could have come from an area with a lot of dwarves native to the land. In such an area, the character could learn a dwarven style with the hammer that has benefits as follows:+2 to damage
-2 to speed
Individually, those bonuses would cost 4 proficiency slots. As a package though, the character could have that style for 3 (for one type of hammer). For 4, it would be reasonable to open that up to all hammers. Ultimately, it will be a DM judgement call to set a total slot price for a style, depending on if it is for a tight group, broad group, or a single weapon. I would suggest adding one slot to the total cost for a tight group, two slots for a broad group. The big thing to remember is that the character must have already spent for the proficiency of the weapon that is being modified in this manner.
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