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RPG Weapons

This is a list describing various types of weapons that one might encounter in a fairly typical medieval setting. Some tend towards earlier times, some not developed until slightly later, but reality has been relaxed a bit in favor of having fun. NOTE: The damages for these weapons are tuned for a slightly cooked version of D&D, the major relevant changes being a modified strength table that gives damage bonuses much earlier, and a 20 part round (characters roll init as normal, and then add weapon speed - totals greater than 20 mean the character goes the next round)

If you just want the damages and other mechanics stuff, go to the weapons chart instead of this descriptive list.

There are 8 basic classes of weapons and one catch all category:

Under each general class there is a list of all weapons that fall under that class. Each weapon is identified by-

Name - description
damage, notes, speed (init modifier/init base)

Damage is always calculated by rolling the die, adding strength and/or magical modifiers, and then adding base damage modifiers. Also, a weapon can never have a strength based modifier greater than the the maximum base damage of the weapon, unless otherwise noted. Example: Johan the Fair is in a duel. He's using his rapier (dam 1d6), and he has a strength of 15 (giving him a +1 to hit and a +3 damage). He manages to hit, but only barely (rolls a 1 on 1d6). So, he starts with a 1 and then adds his strengh modifier, up to the max possible for the weapon. Normally this would mean adding 3, but the rapier has a max strength modifier of +1, so he adds 1, bringing his total up to 2. If the weapon had any other plusses or minuses intrinsic to its damage they would be added at this point.


      This class of weapons is characterized by having a fairly small handle and then a longer blade. The blade is sharpened either on the edges, the point, or both. The hadle and blade are of a single piece. Swords are very straight forward. They are fairly aggressive weapons - defending yourself with a sword takes quite a bit more skill than attacking someone with a sword. The sword class covers weapons ranging from small knives to greatswords. The main factors of a type of sword are: overall size, blade length, handle length, guard (or lack thereof), balance, and which parts of the blade are sharp. A typical se;ection of sword type weapons is given below. Small sword type weapons can be thrown end over end fairly effectively. Larger ones can be thrown as a spear if they are well balanced, but that takes considerable skill.

Knife - small (5-9" blade) one handed with little to no guard. Blade is usually sharp on only one edge and has a moderate point. Some also sharpen the back of the blade up by the tip. Blade is straight with a flat back and a simple curve on the edge. Poorly balanced. This is a cutting weapon/item.
1d3, extremely fast (1/10)

Dagger - slightly larger than a knife (6-12" blade) with little to moderate guard. Blade is often sharp on both sides, sharp tip. Blade is straight with both edges having a simple curve or straight taper. Well balanced. This is a cutting and stabbing weapon - it is not a utensil.
1d4, very fast (1/10)

Main-Gauche - this is a particularly long dagger (12-16" blade) with a moderate to large guard. It is well balanced, but the wrong size for throwing (too large for end over end, to small for spear style). It is usually used in the off hand paired with a longer weapon. It is a cutting, stabbing, and blocking weapon.
1d3+1, very fast (2/10)

Footmans Sword - this is a basic sword style with a moderately long blade (18-30") usually with a simple cross guard. it is sharp on both edges and the tip. The blade is straight with straight edges that curve together at the tip. It is moderately well balanced. It is poor for defense. It is a cutting and stabbing weapon. This is the smallest sword style weapon that gives a significant leverage and momentum advantage when swung, and also the smallest that is more than a hand to hand weapon. (NOTE: a gladius is a short thick version of this weapon, used much like a hatchet)
1d4+1, average (4/10)

Rapier - this weapon was developed for a) duelling and b) stabbing people. The blade is long (30-40") and usually has a large guard. The blade is always sharp on the tip, and often on the edges for the firtst 10-12" down from the tip, and almost never the full length. It is light and well balanced. The blade is straight, edges are usually tapered from base to tip. It is primarily a stabbing weapon, and useful for parrying but liable to break or get damaged when doing so. It is very quick. This is often the other weapon used with a main gauche.
1d6, max Str dam bonus is +1, very fast (2/10)

Saber - this is a slightly heavier version of the rapier, adapted for more realistic/battle use. It tends to be about the same size or slightly shorter, but with a thicker blade. It is usually sharp on only one side. The blade is straight or slightly curved away from the edge. The edge is straight and then curving up to the tip. It is moderately balanced, tending to be a bit blade heavy. It is a cutting and stabbing weapon. Parrying is common and reasonable, but tiring since it is relatively heavy. It's often used from horseback for a variety of reasons not to be gotten in to here.
1d6, max Str dam bonus is +3, fast (3/10)

Cutlass - this sword is another mid range one in length (24-36" blade). It usually has a moderate to significant guard. The blade is quite heavy. It is almost always sharp along only one edge. The blade is usually curved slightly away form the edge. The tip is usually sharp, but rarely used. This weapon is primarly a cutting weapon, usually strongly swung to take advantage of the weight of the blade. It is quite blade heavy. It is oftened used at sea where a saber is just slightly too long and not quite heavy enough to easily cut through ropes without a large wind up.
1d6, average (5/10)

Scimitar - this is like a larger version of a cutlass. The blade is usually longer (30-42") and more curved, usually too much so to make stabbing an effective attack. The blade is more often sharp only on the outside edge, but not overwhelmingly so. It is really tip heavy, gets great leverage advantage but requires quite a bit of room to swing, and difficult to parry with. It has little to significant guard. It is often used from horse back for much the same reasons a saber is. It does more damage than a saber, but is slightly slower and harder to defend with.
2d4, slightly slow (6/10)

Long Sword - these are the largest one handed swords available. Blade sizes range from about 36-48". Guard is usually simple. Blade and edges are usually straight. Tips range from very sharp to square. This weapon tends to be quite heavy, but well balanced. It is primarily a swinging weapon and is heavy enough to do significant damage whether it hits with the flat or the edge (edge being better, of course). Parrying with this weapon is possible, but not really realistic except against another large slowish weapon. A broad sword is a particular style of long sword having a blade on the shorter side, but thick and heavy. Broad swords are almost exclusively swing weapons and often have a rounded or squared tip to avoid getting it caught in things.
1d8+1, slightly slow (6/10)

Bastard Sword - these swords are slightly longer than long swords and are designed to be assisted by the second hand when used. The guard is usually small and simple so it doesn't get in the way of the second hand. The use of the secong hand gives additional control that makes thrusting a reasonable option. The blades are usually straight (sometimes wavy) with two sharp edges and a sharp point. The are sometimes stop-spikes on the blade to keep impaled things at a distance. This is a swinging and stabbing weapon reuiring quite a bit of room. It is possible to use it one handed, but it is much less effective since one arm just isn't strong enough (in most people).
1d10+1, slow (8/10)

Great Sword - this is getting out of the range of practical and into the range of decoration and compensation. These are really big swords. They can only be wielded using both hands at once. When they hit, they do lots, but they're REALLY slow. They cannot be used defensively. They require lots of room to use. They're really heavy.
1d12+1, very slow (10/10)


      This class of weapons covers weapons with relatively short hafts and a heavy head with 1 or 2 sharp edges and occasionally a spike. These are the favored weapons of the peasant class because they are easy to use, readily available, and always legal to have around. Axes in general are quite effective on attack, and next to useless on defense. Axesa re difficult to parry, and simply impossible with the larger ones.

Hatchet - this is a short (12") haft with a small head on the end. These are one handed utility items and are not really designed for fighting but mroe for making kindling or such things. Most of the power is provided by the swingers arm. It is swung from the end of the handle. It can be effectively thrown if properly balanced.
1d4, average (4/10)

Hand Scythe - an axe modification for cutting grains/grasses. A short haft with a long (relatively), heavy, very sharp, concave bit. Cannot be effectively thrown.
1d4+1, average (4/10)

Hand Axe - this is a slightly larger version of the hatchet. The haft is longer (18-30") and the head is larger and heavier. The blade is usually very sharp. These make effective but awkard weapons. It is swung one handed from the center of the handle and two handed from the end. Can be thrown if effectively balanced, two handed only if over 20".
1d4+2, slow (6/10)

Throwing Axe - this axe has a short handle (12") and a large head with lots of edge. It is thrown one-handed in a cross body or over hand motion. It can be used as a melee weapon, but not terribly effectively.
1d6 thrown, average (4/10), 1d4 melee, slow (5/10)

Felling Axe - this is a large axe with a long (36") handle and a heavy, flat, sharp head. They are designed for cutitng down trees. They make a decent weapon but have the disconcerting tendency to get stuck inside people. It is swung two handed from the end of the handle. It can be thrown over head with two hands. About half the time it has a double bitted head.
1d6+2, slow (7/10)

Large Scythe - a two handed long reaping tool. Usually has a handle with a double curve and a very long, moderately curved, very sharp bit. Difficult to use as an effective weapon, but possible. Two handed only, never thrown, requires lots of room.
1d6+1, very slow (9/10)

War Axe - this is an axe design for battle. The head is large, usually double bitted, and often with a spike on the end. The haft is long (usually about 36") but has grips all along it. It also usually has a loop at the end of the handle for easy retrieval/attatchment. It is difficult to throw, but it can be done by those skilled in its weilding. It is also balanced so that the handle can be used somewhat defensively when gripping closer to the head. Some versions also have a spike at the end of the handle.
1d8+2, slightly slow to very slow (7/10 to 8/10)

Great Axe - this a a larger version of the war axe. It is too large to be effective for thrusting, but works quite well when swung. Either double bitted or one bit with a spike on the back. Requires a significant amount of room to use. Cannot be effectively thrown.
1d12+2, extremely slow (10/10)


      These weapons are similar to axes except that the heads are not bladed. Maces have roundish or diamondish heads, hammers have striking faces. These weapons are often used by various clergy that have religious restrictions against bloodletting.

Small Hammer - one handed, utilitarian pounder.
1d3 average (4/10)

Horsemans Mace - a lightish one handed mace. Usually of a single metal piece. Round or diamond head.
1d6, slightly slow (6/10)

Morning Star - like a mace, but instead of a simple round or diamond head, the head is covered with a profusion of spikes.
1d6+1, slightly slow (6/10)

Footmans Mace - a much larger version of the horsemans mace, used by people on foot who have more stability and can afford to use two hands to swing it.
2d4, slow (8/10)

Spike Hammer - about the same size as a footmans mace, but with a striking face and one or more spikes on the other side.
1d8+1, slow (8/10)

Maul - a really heavy version of a mace, impractical for most melee combat.
2d8+1, extremely slow (11/10)


      These weapons are derived from maces but instead of having the head attatched directly to the haft there is a length of rope or chain in between to both increase leverage and give some decent entangling/ disarming capabilities. Flails are extremely difficult to block. The big disadvantage of flails is that they are difficult to control and require significant wind up time.

Ball and Chain - has no haft to speak of, just a weight with a chain and a loop at the end to hold it.
2d3, slow (6/10)

Horsemans's Flail - like the mace, but with chain
1d6+1, slow (7/10)

Holy Water Sprinkler - like a morning star but with chain
1d6+2, slow (7/10)

Footmans Flail - like the mace, but with chain
1d8+1, very slow (9/10) - -2 dam and +4 init if used 1 handed

Large Holy Water Sprinkler - like a big morning star but with chain
3d4, very slow (9/10) - -2 dam and +4 init if used 1 handed

Double Flail - basically two heavy hafts attatched by a length of chain or rope. Also called nun-chuka (or how ever it's spelled). This version of the flail can actually be used quite effectively for defense.
1d4, fast (3/10) - +1/2 atk/rnd if used 2 handed

Great Flail - bigger, harder, more. Difficult to use because it's so heavy and unwieldy. LOTS of room required.
3d6, extremely slow (13/10)


      Variations on the age old theme of beating people with a stick. Staves are used two handed and never thrown. They are fast, have good reach, and provide incredible defense. On the downside, they are large and therefore difficult to hide and require significant space to use. All in all, these are probably the best weapons for one on one fighting outdoors - and still quite effective while indoors. They also have the advantage of being legal, cheap, and allow for non-lethal combat better than most other weapons. This is the sport and defensive weapon of the peasant (while the axe is the one used when the main idea is to kill someone quickly).

Light Staff - this is a light weight flexible staff. It is used to hit peopel quickly and surprise them when it flexes around their parry. However, it is so light that it has to be moving really quickly to do damage. It is generally 5-6' long and 1-1 1/2" in diameter.
1d6-1 (min 1), extremely fast (2/10)

Blade Staff - this is like a light staff, but it has a 6-8" blade on one or both ends. It is only a weapon, no other common practical use, and so may very well be illegal. The extra weight on the ends makes it slightly slower than a light staff, but the blades add a significant damage potential.
1d6+1, very fast (4/10)

Quarter Staff - this is a heavier version of the staff. It is slightly longer (5 1/2 - 6 1/2' long) and slightly thicker (1 1/2 - 2 1/2" diameter). It is not flexible, but hits harder and is more effective at blocking (can take more of a beating, less prone to being knocked aside)
1d6, very fast (3/10)

Shod Staff - this is a quarter staff that has parts of it covered in iron or some other metal to increase it's striking power and increase its ability to withstand blows. The ends are occasionally sharpened as well. Due to the increased weight it's slightly slower than an unadorned staff.
1d6+1, fast (5/10)


      These weapons came into vogue at about the same time as combat from horseback did. The idea is that you do all the necessary carnage from such a distance that (ideally) your opponent doesn't get a chance to hit you. The other major advantage of pole arms is the tremendous leverage they can provide. Polearms generally require LOTS of room to use and almost all require 2 handed use to be effective (exception - the spear can be used 1 handed at a -1 damage penalty).

Spear - spike on a stick. Hit them with the pointy end. If they do manage to get close, use the haft like a quarter staff. Head is often barded or jagged to extra damage against unarmored foes, a longer straight head is generally used against armored foes.
1d8 (1d6-1 as staff), average (4/10 stabbing, 5/10 as staff) - can be thrown with no penalties

Lance - This is a version of the spear that has evolved for use from horseback. It is significantly heavier than a standard spear, and quite a bit heavier. It is pretty ineffectual when used by a footman, but it can be devastating when used by a skilled Lancer from horseback. It does lots of damage because the main power for it comes from the horse rather than the rider - the rider acts basically as just a guidance system and an energy transferance system, providing very littel of the energy themself. Damage calculation is complicated.
1d10, multi-round (23/10, +5/additional 10' charge) - Useable only from horseback at a charge - use the horse's strength (usually 18-20) for damage bonus calc, with an additional +1/10' beyond min dist of charge, up to +4 charge bonus (min 15' charge) - when attacking, make a riding prof. check, add to the to hit roll or subtract from the to hit roll the appropriate amount made or missed by

Glaive - sword on a stick. Kind of like a spear, but the head is longer, heavier, and has a sharp edge. A bit too unbalanced to be useful as a quarterstaff in close quarters.
1d10, slow (7/10)

Halberd - combination axe/spear/spike.
1d12, extremely slow (10/10)

Bardiche - big axe on a stick. Big head. Heavy. Lots of leverage. Ouch.
2d6+1, extremely slow (12/10)

Military Hammer - mace on a stick. Ibid.
3d4, extremely slow (12/10)

Bows & Crossbows

      Weapons that propel sharp objects to a significant distance. All bows have a speed of 1 if they are readied (have an arrow nocked and drawn, of or a quarrel in place). After that, they have the speed listed, and the second shot (if it has a second shot) is fired at the end of the round.

Horse Bow - this is a bow small enough to be fired easily from horse back, but it is often used from foot as well since it is easy to carry around and such. It has a limited effective power.
1d4, max Str 14, base attack 3/2 (4/10)

Horn Bow - this is a horse bow made from animal horn instead of wood. It can potentially be more powerful than the standard wood bow due to the slightly stronger arms.
1d4, max Str 16, base attack 3/2 (4/10)

Bow - a standard bow. shoots longer arrows than the horse bow, and sends them further and harder. This one can still be used from horseback with difficulty (-2 to hit).
1d6-1 (min 1), max Str 16, base attack 3/2 (4/10)

Long Bow - this is a bow with particularly long arms. This lets it fire really long arrows and send them a really long ways. It cannot be used from horseback.
1d6+1, no max Str, base attack 3/2 (4/10)

Recurve Bow - this bow is the same size as a normal bow, but the way the arms are curved lets it get almost as much power as a long bow. They tend to be more expensive than standard bows due to the difficulty of making them.
1d6, max Str 18, base attack 3/2 (4/10)

NOTE ON CROSSBOWS: crossbows have a strength rating. You must be at least that strong to cock it with out mechanical assistance. Each full 2 greater str you have improves your rate of fire by 1/2 (to a max of 2/1), each partial 2 less decreases it by 1/2 (to a min of 1/3). Base ROF for a cross bow is 2/3 (then 1/1, 3/2, 2/1). Cross bows also get any strength damage bonuses appropriate to their strength (though not to hit), and clever folks could rig them to use the strength in other fashions in certain desperate situations. All crossbows except the hand crossbow always fire last in a given round - initiative rolls for these weapons are used only to determine ordering among those going last.

Hand Crossbow - these contraptions pack quite a punch for their size, but their size is quite small. The darts/bolts are usually poisoned instead of relying on the damage they would normally do. Range is not terribly far (compared to other bows), as the tiny bolts tend to be a bit unstable in flight. Hand crossbows are expensive and often illegal.
1d2+1, Str 12 (10/10)

Light Crossbow - a horsemans crossbow. The mechanical assistance for these is usually a simple two part lever. Fires a standard size bolt used in most crossbows other than the hand one.
1d4+1, Str 14 (last)

Footmans Crossbow - a standard weight cross bow. Assistance is usually a multi part ratcheted lever system.
1d4+1, Str 16 (last) (2/3 atks/rnd)

Heavy Crossbow - used for punching through armor and for making attacks at extreme ranges. Assistance is usually in the form of a ratcheted winch.
1d4+1, Str 19 (last) (2/3 atks/rnd)


      These are among the earliest developed ranged weapons that give mechanical advantage (the spear thrower being another), and they are still in use. They are trivially simple to make, easy to find ammo for, trivial to hide, and generally all around spiff. They are the peasant hunting weapon of choice. Slings have fallen into slight disfavor since the developement of hard armor, but they are still quite common.

Hand Sling - this is a small cloth or leather pouch to hold the missile, and a couple of straps to swing it by. Typical missile sizes are 1/2 - 1" diameter. Missiles are usually either rounded stones or lead balls.
1d6-1, -1 dam vs hard armored targets, -1 to hit with stones, slow (7/10)

Staff Sling - this is a version of the sling that gets it power from a long staff rather than time spent spinning it. Also, the missiles used are usually a bit larger. On the down side, it takes more room to use.
1d6, -1 dam vs hard armored targets, -1 to hit with stones, slightly slow (5/10) - may be usedin melee as a slightly slow (+1 init) light staff

Unusual Weapons

      These are the weapons that are not your standard medeival fair. They are often concealable and not used in normal battle, though some are simply unusual and thats all. This is an extremely partial listing, merely some examples.

Javelin - this is a like a spear but shorter (4-5') and balanced for throwing. It can be used either in melee combat or thrown a fair distance. Some versions have flights, others just rely on spin (imparted by the thrower) for stability in flight.
1d6 melee or thrown, average (5/10)

Whip - inflicts pain and minor damage. come is a variety of sizes, damage determined mainly by the size of the whip. Whips are also often used for entanglement and in general to grab things that are far away.
none to 1d6-1, slow to fast (3/10 to 9/10)

Wire Whip - like a whip, but made in considerable part of wire instead of the standard cord or leather. Also, often has some sharp, hard bit at the end.
1d2 to 1d6, slow to fast (3/10 to 7/10)

Multi Part Whip - actually more like a flail. Sections of metal of hard wood linked by short lengths of chain or cord. Somewhat awkward, but quite effective.
1d10, slow (10/10)

Rope - a length of rope or doctored rope. Used to strangle, engangle, or occasionally smack with the a balled up bit. Typical doctoring would be lead core, or weights on the ends (light flail).
1d1 to 1d4, slow to fast (4/10 to 9/10)

Cloak - typically used to distract and confuse an opponent, it can also be used somewhat on offense just plain (e.g. entangling or strangling), and it can be doctored to be quite an efective offensive weapon (e.g. weighted, or a fringe of spikes (hidden or otherwise)). Using a cloak effectively is a hard skill to learn.
none to 1d4, slow to fast (5/10 to 9/10)

Blow Pipe - a pressure propelled projectile system, usually ones own lungs being the primary driver. They are mostly silent and can be easily hidden. The darts them selves do slight damage (though they can be fairly easily targeted at eyes and such things), but are often poisoned to great effect. Blow darts do not have a very long range, but they are almost completely silent.
1d2 (7/10)

Double Sticks - a pair of sticks 2-3' long and 1 - 1/2" diameter used in melee combat.
1d4-1 (min 1), fast (3/10) - +1/2 atk/rnd

Caltrop - a pyramid-ish shaped thing with sharp points, used to slow down pursuers by damaging their feet or the feet of their mount. Sizes ranging from about 1/2" to 2" spikes.
1d1 to 1d3, handful of 4 to 9 at a time, (7/10)