Without a doubt, weapons number among adventurers’ most coveted possessions. Whether weapons are used as tools to lay foul monsters low, as the medium for magical enhancements, or as outlets for a host of fundamental class abilities, few heroes head into the field without their favorite—or perhaps even a whole arsenal of their favorites. This section presents all manner of nonmagical weapons for PCs to purchase and put to use, whatever their adventures might entail. The weapons presented here should be relatively easy to find and purchase in most towns and cities, although GMs might wish to restrict the availability of some of the more expensive and exotic items.
All weapons deal hit point damage. This damage is subtracted from the current hit points of any creature struck by the weapon. When the result of the die roll to make an attack is a natural 20 (that is, the die actually shows a 20), this is known as a critical threat (although some weapons can score a critical threat on a roll of less than 20). If a critical threat is scored, another attack roll is made, using the same modifiers as the original attack roll. If this second attack roll exceeds the target's AC, the hit becomes a critical hit, dealing additional damage.
Weapons are grouped into several interlocking sets of categories. These categories pertain to what training is needed to become proficient in a weapon's use (simple, martial, or exotic), the weapon's usefulness either in close combat (melee) or at a distance (ranged, which includes both thrown and projectile weapons), its relative encumbrance (light, one-handed, or two-handed), and its size (Small, Medium, or Large).
Most character classes are proficient with all simple weapons. Combat-oriented classes such as barbarians, cavaliers, and fighters are proficient with all simple and all martial weapons. Characters of other classes are proficient with an assortment of simple weapons and possibly some martial or even exotic weapons. All characters are proficient with unarmed strikes and any natural weapons they gain from their race. A character who uses a weapon with which he is not proficient takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon.
Melee weapons are used for making melee attacks, though some of them can be thrown as well. Ranged weapons are thrown weapons or projectile weapons that are not effective in melee.
Reach Weapons: A reach weapon is a melee weapon that allows its wielder to strike at targets that aren't adjacent to him. Most reach weapons double the wielder's natural reach, meaning that a typical Small or Medium wielder of such a weapon can attack a creature 10 feet away, but not a creature in an adjacent square. A typical Large character wielding a reach weapon of the appropriate size can attack a creature 15 or 20 feet away, but not adjacent creatures or creatures up to 10 feet away.
Double Weapons: A character can fight with both ends of a double weapon as if fighting with two weapons, but he incurs all the normal attack penalties associated with two-weapon combat, just as though the character were wielding a one-handed weapon and a light weapon. The character can also choose to use a double weapon two-handed, attacking with only one end of it. A creature wielding a double weapon in one hand can't use it as a double weapon—only one end of the weapon can be used in any given round.
Thrown Weapons: The wielder applies his Strength modifier to damage dealt by thrown weapons (except for splash weapons). It is possible to throw a weapon that isn't designed to be thrown (that is, a melee weapon that doesn't have a numeric entry in the Range column on Table: Weapons), and a character who does so takes a –4 penalty on the attack roll. Throwing a light or one-handed weapon is a standard action, while throwing a two-handed weapon is a full-round action. Regardless of the type of weapon, such an attack scores a threat only on a natural 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. Such a weapon has a range increment of 10 feet.
Projectile Weapons: Most projectile weapons require two hands to use (see specific weapon descriptions). A character gets no Strength bonus on damage rolls with a projectile weapon unless it's a specially built composite shortbow or longbow, or a sling. If the character has a penalty for low Strength, apply it to damage rolls when he uses a bow or a sling.
Ammunition: Projectile weapons use ammunition: arrows (for bows), bolts (for crossbows), darts (for blowguns), or sling bullets (for slings and halfling sling staves). When using a bow, a character can draw ammunition as a free action; crossbows and slings require an action for reloading (as noted in their descriptions). Generally speaking, ammunition that hits its target is destroyed or rendered useless, while ammunition that misses has a 50% chance of being destroyed or lost. Although they are thrown weapons, shuriken are treated as ammunition for the purposes of drawing them, crafting masterwork or otherwise special versions of them, and what happens to them after they are thrown.
This designation is a measure of how much effort it takes to wield a weapon in combat. It indicates whether a melee weapon, when wielded by a character of the weapon's size category, is considered a light weapon, a one-handed weapon, or a two-handed weapon.
Light: A light weapon is used in one hand. It is easier to use in one's off hand than a one-handed weapon is, and can be used while grappling (see Combat). Add the wielder's Strength modifier to damage rolls for melee attacks with a light weapon if it's used in the primary hand, or half the wielder's Strength bonus if it's used in the off hand. Using two hands to wield a light weapon gives no advantage on damage; the Strength bonus applies as though the weapon were held in the wielder's primary hand only. An unarmed strike is always considered a light weapon.
One-Handed: A one-handed weapon can be used in either the primary hand or the off hand. Add the wielder's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with a one-handed weapon if it's used in the primary hand, or 1/2 his Strength bonus if it's used in the off hand. If a one-handed weapon is wielded with two hands during melee combat, add 1-1/2 times the character's Strength bonus to damage rolls.
Two-Handed: Two hands are required to use a two-handed melee weapon effectively. Apply 1-1/2 times the character's Strength bonus to damage rolls for melee attacks with such a weapon (see FAQ at right for more information.)
Every weapon has a size category. This designation indicates the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed.
A weapon's size category isn't the same as its size as an object. Instead, a weapon's size category is keyed to the size of the intended wielder. In general, a light weapon is an object two size categories smaller than the wielder, a one-handed weapon is an object one size category smaller than the wielder, and a two-handed weapon is an object of the same size category as the wielder.
Inappropriately Sized Weapons: A creature can't make optimum use of a weapon that isn't properly sized for it. A cumulative –2 penalty applies on attack rolls for each size category of difference between the size of its intended wielder and the size of its actual wielder. If the creature isn't proficient with the weapon, a –4 nonproficiency penalty also applies.
The measure of how much effort it takes to use a weapon (whether the weapon is designated as a light, one-handed, or two-handed weapon for a particular wielder) is altered by one step for each size category of difference between the wielder's size and the size of the creature for which the weapon was designed. For example, a Small creature would wield a Medium one-handed weapon as a two-handed weapon. If a weapon's designation would be changed to something other than light, one-handed, or two-handed by this alteration, the creature can't wield the weapon at all.
Sometimes objects not crafted to be weapons nonetheless see use in combat. Because such objects are not designed for this use, any creature that uses an improvised weapon in combat is considered to be nonproficient with it and takes a –4 penalty on attack rolls made with that object. To determine the size category and appropriate damage for an improvised weapon, compare its relative size and damage potential to the weapon list to find a reasonable match. An improvised weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a critical hit. An improvised thrown weapon has a range increment of 10 feet.
Here is the format for weapon entries (given as column headings on Table: Weapons).
Price: This value is the weapon's price in gold pieces (gp) or silver pieces (sp). The price includes miscellaneous gear that goes with the weapon, such as a scabbard or quiver. This price is the same for a Small or Medium version of the weapon. A Large version costs twice the listed price.
Dmg: These columns give the damage dealt by the weapon on a successful hit. The column labeled “Dmg (S)” is for Small weapons. The column labeled “Dmg (M)” is for Medium weapons. If two damage ranges are given, then the weapon is a double weapon. Use the second damage figure given for the double weapon's extra attack. Table: Tiny and Large Weapon Damage gives weapon damage values for Tiny and Large weapons.
|Medium Weapon Damage||Tiny Weapon Damage||Large Weapon Damage|
Critical: The entry in this column notes how the weapon is used with the rules for critical hits. When your character scores a critical hit, roll the damage two, three, or four times, as indicated by its critical multiplier (using all applicable modifiers on each roll), and add all the results together.
Extra damage over and above a weapon's normal damage is not multiplied when you score a critical hit.
×2: The weapon deals double damage on a critical hit.
×3: The weapon deals triple damage on a critical hit.
×4: The weapon deals quadruple damage on a critical hit.
19–20/×2: The weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 19 or 20 (instead of just 20) and deals double damage on a critical hit.
18–20/×2: The weapon scores a threat on a natural roll of 18, 19, or 20 (instead of just 20) and deals double damage on a critical hit.
Range: Any attack at more than this distance is penalized for range. Beyond this range, the attack takes a cumulative –2 penalty for each full range increment (or fraction thereof) of distance to the target. For example, a dagger (with a range of 10 feet) thrown at a target that is 25 feet away would incur a –4 penalty. A thrown weapon has a maximum range of five range increments. A projectile weapon can shoot to 10 range increments.
*Weight: This column gives the weight of a Medium version of the weapon. Halve this number for Small weapons and double it for Large weapons. Some weapons have a special weight. See the weapon's description for details. See FAQ/Errata (at right for information regarding weapons with a Weight of "—" and pricing for crafting them of special materials.
Type: Weapons are classified according to the type of damage they deal: B for bludgeoning, P for piercing, or S for slashing. Some monsters may be resistant or immune to attacks from certain types of weapons. Some weapons deal damage of multiple types. If a weapon causes two types of damage, the type it deals is not half one type and half another; all damage caused is of both types. Therefore, a creature would have to be immune to both types of damage to ignore any of the damage caused by such a weapon. In other cases, a weapon can deal either of two types of damage. In a situation where the damage type is significant, the wielder can choose which type of damage to deal with such a weapon.
Treated as: If a weapon’s description says it is “treated as” another weapon, a character lacking the appropriate exotic weapon proficiency, can still use it as if it were the other kind of weapon and feats such as Weapon Focus still apply, as do abilities requiring a certain weapon. For example, the butterfly knife allows a proficient user to open or close it as a free action and is otherwise treated as a dagger, meaning she can wield it as a dagger, gain the benefit of Weapon Focus (dagger) when wielding it, use it as the target of a spell that only affects daggers, and so on.
Some weapons have special features in addition to those noted in their descriptions.
Brace: If you use a readied action to set a brace weapon against a charge, you deal double damage on a successful hit against a charging creature (see Combat).
Deadly: When you use this weapon to deliver a coup de grace, it gains a +4 bonus to damage when calculating the DC of the Fortitude saving throw to see whether the target of the coup de grace dies from the attack. The bonus is not added to the actual damage of the coup de grace attack. Source: Ultimate Combat.
Double: You can use a double weapon to fight as if fighting with two weapons, but if you do, you incur all the normal attack penalties associated with fighting with two weapons, just as if you were using a one-handed weapon and a light weapon. You can choose to wield one end of a double weapon two-handed, but it cannot be used as a double weapon when wielded in this way—only one end of the weapon can be used in any given round.
Fragile: Weapons and armor with the fragile quality cannot take the beating that sturdier weapons can. A fragile weapon gains the broken condition if the wielder rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll with the weapon. If a fragile weapon is already broken, the roll of a natural 1 destroys it instead. Masterwork and magical fragile weapons and armor lack these flaws unless otherwise noted in the item description or the special material description.
If a weapon gains the broken condition in this way, that weapon is considered to have taken damage equal to half its hit points +1. This damage is repaired either by something that addresses the effect that granted the weapon the broken condition (like quick clear in the case of firearm misfires or the Field Repair feat) or by the repair methods described in the broken condition. When an effect that grants the broken condition is removed, the weapon regains the hit points it lost when the broken condition was applied. Damage done by an attack against a weapon (such as from a sunder combat maneuver) cannot be repaired by an effect that removes the broken condition. Source: Ultimate Combat.
Grapple: On a successful critical hit with a weapon of this type, you can grapple the target of the attack. The wielder can then attempt a combat maneuver check to grapple his opponent as a free action. This grapple attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the creature you are attempting to grapple if that creature is not threatening you. While you grapple the target with a grappling weapon, you can only move or damage the creature on your turn. You are still considered grappled, though you do not have to be adjacent to the creature to continue the grapple. If you move far enough away to be out of the weapon’s reach, you end the grapple with that action. Source: Ultimate Combat.
Nonlethal: These weapons deal nonlethal damage (see Combat).
Performance: When wielding this weapon, if an attack or combat maneuver made with this weapon prompts a combat performance check, you gain a +2 bonus on that check. See Gladiator Weapons below for more information.
Almost every culture features warriors who fight for sport and entertainment. While only the most decadent or evil cultures enjoy all-out blood sports in which the combatants fight to the death for the pleasure of the crowd, even the most benign societies enjoy the spectacle of armed conflict. These conflicts often require specialized weapons and training to get the most out of such performance combat.
Performance is a weapon quality that grants bonuses when using the weapon in performance combat. Performance weapons tend to be the preferred weapons of warriors who fight in the arena or some other forum where showmanship is just as important as scoring a debilitating blow or deadly hit, and these weapons are often well known to the spectators of such events.
There is another way in which a weapon can gain the performance quality. A creature can take the Master Combat Performer feat, which allows any weapon it wields to gain the performance quality.
A masterwork weapon is a finely crafted version of a normal weapon. Wielding it provides a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls. You can't add the masterwork quality to a weapon after it is created; it must be crafted as a masterwork weapon (see the Craft skill). The masterwork quality adds 300 gp to the cost of a normal weapon (or 6 gp to the cost of a single unit of ammunition). Adding the masterwork quality to a double weapon costs twice the normal increase (+600 gp).
All magic weapons are automatically considered to be of masterwork quality. The enhancement bonus granted by the masterwork quality doesn't stack with the enhancement bonus provided by the weapon's magic.
Even though some types of armor and shields can be used as weapons, you can't create a masterwork version of such an item that confers an enhancement bonus on attack rolls. Instead, masterwork armor and shields have lessened armor check penalties.
With a ranged weapon, you can shoot or throw at any target that is within the weapon's maximum range and in line of sight. The maximum range for a thrown weapon is five range increments. For projectile weapons, it is 10 range increments. Some ranged weapons have shorter maximum ranges, as specified in their descriptions.