Monday, February 15, 2016

Crafting: Weapon Customization

Kinda like this?
GURPS has a lot of optional rules for tweaking weapons. Usually this uses a system of picking out modifiers that have cost factors (or rarely, a flat dollar amount) and adding up some +1s to some stats, -1s to others. This post is meant to be somewhat of a reference of the more important modifications that already exist (especially with respects to Dungeon Fantasy) and then a few home spun stop gaps that I try to keep reasonably raw by extrapolating from other systems. Let's see what we can find:

Basic Set

  • Weapon Quality (p.274)
    • Cheap: melee weapons come with a decent discount, break a lot easier, and harder to throw, but are much cheaper.
    • Good is "normal," all stats are unmodified.
    • Fine is slightly better than normal. It is harder to break, and cutting and impaling weapons get better damage (not crushing.) Muscle Powered Ranged Weapons (bows, crossbows, and blowpipes) get an increased range; ammo can be fine for more damage as per melee weapon rules. Price is pretty context sensitive.
    • Very Fine is only available to fencing weapons and swords and is all the advantages of Fine dialed up even further at a very large price increase.
  • Silver Weapons. (p. 275) is a small aside that gives an example of crafting weapons from exotic materials for enemies that have supernatural vulnerabilities.
  • Bodkin Arrows (p.277) arrows with slightly different properties, useful in the right context.
  • Crossbows (p.410) can be bought with any rated ST, even going beyond strength of a given character. A higher strength crossbow does more damage and has a better range, but if it is higher than the strength of the character can require extra loading time and/or tools.

Martial Arts

  • Combination Weapons (p.214) includes these options. These interestingly don't use CF, but flat dollar amounts.
    • Hammer
    • Hook
    • Kusari Two-Yard/Four-Yard
    • Pick
    • Sickle
    • Spear
  • Weapons of Quality (p.216) adds an optional higher grain quality element to the Basic Set's Weapon Quality concept. A weapon can be varied on a quality axis of "balance" (which provides a bonus or penalty to skill) and "material" (as per the basic set)
  • Hidden Weapons (p.218) These add bonuses to holdout, allow weapons to be held in broad daylight without reaction penalties, and more easily enable surprise attacks.
    • Trick Weapons gives bonus to holdout, and allows readying as a free action without a Fast-Draw skill
    • Disguised Weapons makes a weapon look like a mundane object or a different weapon. The first allows one to be armed in situations where it would normally be uncouth, the latter allows catching an opponent off guard.
  • Special Arrows (p.232) expands the list of special arrow-points.
    • Barbed
    • Blunt
    • Bowel Raker
    • Frog Crotch
    • Humming Bulb
    • Willow Leaf
  • Training Weapons (p.234) has some customization options for weapons that are less dangerous.
    • Blunt
    • Flexible
    • Heavy Blunt
    • Padded
    • Ultra-Light
    • Wooden


  • Decorated Equipment (p.37) has rules for making more ornate or ostentatious weapons and give improved reaction rolls. Notably, even back in the Basic set, this is an option, but this is the first time a mechanical benefit is attached to the option of making a weapon more expensive for aesthetic's sake.
  • Sheaths (p.57) has extra options for sheathes to make them more useful than a container for your sharp weapons.
  • Weapons of Quality (p.59) has new rules for allowing new types of weapons to be very fine.
  • Alternate Arrows (p.73) has most of the arrows from Martial Arts listed but adds a few more.
    • Barbed Willow Leaf
    • Fire Arrow
    • Fire-Cage
    • Flight
  • Rated ST(p.75) can be chosen at bow creation just like for Cross-Bows according to the basic set.

Low-Tech Companion 2: Weapons and Warriors

  • Armor-Piercing Weapons (p.12) describes trading a small amount of damage for an armor-divisor
  • Falchion (p.12) increases swing damage, but reduces thrust damage. It also is unbalanced at high weights.
  • Long Handle (p.13) gives polearms more swing damage and longer reach in exchange for longer readying times.
  • Short Handle (p.13) makes a very long polearm shorter, reducing range and swing damage as well as price.
  • Throwable (p.13) gives options to adjust the ease of use of weapons for throwing and melee.
  • Similar to Martial Arts: Combination Weapons, many of the combinations are repeated, starting page 13, but the following options are also made available
    • Axe Head (p.13)
    • Barbs (p.14)
    • Flanges, Spikes, or End Caps (p.14)
    • Butt Spike (p.14)
    • Chain (p.14)
    • Prongs (p.15)
  • Options for customizing a weapon hilt (p.15) including adding, removing, or changing to a basket hilt which can affect parrying, holdout, and protection capabilities of a weapon.
  • Cool Ethnic Weapons and Armor (p.16) say weapons can be cool (or not cool) just by virtue of being foreign.
  • Cinematic Weapons (p.16) gives rules for right out unrealistic weapons, which might be fine if the setting is Dungeon Fantasy.
  • Several options for customizing shields, including capabilities to turn it into a decent weapon start on p.18.
  • Rules for scaling the weapons for very large or small characters can be found on p.20.

Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers

  • Balanced (p.26) is similar to fine "balanced" weapons from Martial Arts. It also adds rules for projectile weapons too.
  • Dwarven (p.26) removes unbalanced from parries.
  • Elven (p.26) lets regular bows count as having extra strength, and therefore, more damage.
  • Meteoric (p.27) is immune to magic
  • Orichalcum(p.27) can't break, and can easily break other non-Orichalcum weapons.
  • Shields can be Mirrored(p.27) to reflect gaze type attacks.

Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables

  • Poisonwood (p.33) can make certain weapons poisonous
  • Dragonbone (p.33) can make non-metallic weapons as strong as orichalcum
  • Tempered Glass (p.33) can make cutting weapons more powerful
  • Poison Metal (p.33) can make some weapons poisonous.

Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 2: Epic Treasures

  • Blade of Destiny (p.4) can make a weapon especially lucky.
  • Whirlwind Sword (p.5) can make a weapon especially effective against crowds of enemies.


Several enchantments can be found throughout GURPS Magic, and especially fitting and new ones can be found in Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables and Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 2: Epic Treasures. For hand-spinning custom enchantments, GURPS Powers and GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery can be used.

Pyramid Issues

I'm sure there are even more than these but these few were recommended. I don't own them, so I can't find specific page references.
  • 3/33 Low-Tech has very sophisticated rules for designing bows based off of physical properties.
  • 3/60 Dungeon Fantasy III has Imbuement Resonant Gear, an enhancement that meshes with Power-Ups 1: Imbuements
  • 3/51 Tech and Toys III, even though it is more high tech has a few new material options for melee weapons.
  • 3/87 Low-Tech III has extra rules for determining fragility of a weapon and more detailed repairs.

Closing Thoughts

I originally started this because I was thinking of making a standardized system for some mundane improvements for weapons, but I didn't realize that Cinematic Weapons in Low-Tech Companion 2 already had my back. I like using enchantments through sorcery when I want to spin up a totally alien effect for improving weapons, but as per the advice of Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 2, don't get hung up on statting up the perfect emulation of your concept if it doesn't work for you. Don't get hung up on a ridiculous price if something that should be almost a small special effect turns out to be exorbitantly expensive. Rules in GURPS are guidelines, but the GM has final say if the guidelines don't fit the vision.

1 comment:

  1. Very good post and bookmarked! Thank you for summing up what is where.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...