Blog Archives

Weapons in DungeonFinder (Starfinder variant)

So, Monday I posted a big entry with long lists of tables that gave benchmark damage values for weapons of all types at all item levels in Starfinder, and mentioned there were lots of fun things we could do with a list like that. Here’s another one.

We can eliminate weapon damage being primarily determined by item level.

There are lots of good and well-thought out reasons why damage is tied to item levels in Starfinder, and it works great for the core game, but it makes some setting hacks harder to pull off. In particular, it doesn’t work well for genres that encourage players to get attached to specific weapons (the Colt revolver Shanna the Gunslinger left you when she rode back into the Outlands, or the longsword your Grandfather carried in the aberration wars two generations ago, and so on).

So, let’s say we wanted to use Starfinder for a pure fantasy campaign, rather than science-fantasy. Perhaps a game set in Solstice, with charters constantly looking for new dungeons to explore.

We’ll call is DungeonFinder… for now.

And we want people to fight with swords and axes and bows in DungeonFinder, rather than plasma sabers and laser pistols. So, first, we make a few fantasy weapons. (This isn’t an exhaustive list, just a short set of examples).

For now we’ll list the prices in “cr,” which could stand for credits, crown coins, copper reals, or whatever. For this example we can treat 1-handed and 2-handed as properties for now (to keep these on fewer charts), allow boost on things without charges, and list the range increment of thrown weapons after the thrown property.

DungeonFinder Weapons

Basic Melee Weapons
Weapon  Item Level  Cost    Damage  Critical           Bulk Properties
Club                  0             0 cr       1d2 B         Knockdown   1        1H, Thrown (10 ft.)
Dagger             1             10 cr     1d3 S                                   L       1 H,  Thrown (15 ft.)
Mace                1             25 cr      1d4 B         Knockdown   1       1H, Boost (1d4)
Maul                1             10 cr      1d6 B         Knockdown   2       2H, Boost (1d6), unwieldy
Spear, light     1             15 cr      1d4 P                                  L       1 H, Reach
Spear, heavy  1             25 cr      1d6 P                                  1       2 H, Reach
Staff                 1             5 cr        1d4 B         Knockdown   1       2H, Block
Stiletto             1             50 cr      1d3 P        Bleed (1d3)     L       1H, Conceal, operative
Torch               1             1 cr         1d2 B & F Burn (1d3)     L       1 H, One 1-hour charge

Advanced Melee Weapons
Weapon  Item Level  Cost    Damage  Critical        Bulk     Properties
Battle Axe        1             50 cr     1d6 S      Wound          1           1 H, boost (1d6)
Great Axe        1            100 cr    1d10 S   Wound           2           2 H, boost (1d6), unwieldy
Great Sword   1             110 cr   2d4 S      Bleed (1d8)   2           2 H
Short Sword   1             30 cr     1d6 S      Bleed (1d4)   L           1 H
Longsword     1             50 cr      1d8 S     Bleed (1d6)   1            1 H
Rapier              1            150 cr     1d6 P     Demoralize  L           1 H, Block, feint, operative

THEN, we say if you are proficient with a weapon, when using it you do either its listed damage, or damage from the appropriate benchmark table using your class level (or perhaps equal to your base attack bonus if we want to give soldiers more of an edge) as the item level.

Magic weapons can have fusions… or really powerful ones could actually do damage at +1 or +2 levels on the benchmark chart.

Dungeonfidner Magic Axe

Slings and throw darts can be Small Arms. Crossbows and longbows Long Arms.

But MAGIC WANDS can be small arms too! Your cogamancer might have a wand of lighting that’s just a 1d6 ranged electricity attack with arc on it…

Dungeonfinder Magic Wands

This allows for a HUGE range of weapons, all of which need only be designed as a single item level, since damage will scale automatically.

Want More DungeonFinder?!
The best way to get more of this content, and to suggest other kinds of content you;d like to see, it by joining my Patreon for just a few dollars a month!

Fun with Starfinder Damage Benchmarks

So, yesterday I posted a big entry with long lists of tables that gave benchmark damage values for weapons of all types at all item levels in Starfinder, and mentioned there were lots of fun things we could do with a list like that. Here’s one of them.

We can scale weapon damage without having pre-written weapons.

For example, here’s a new version of the hammer fist ability from the soldier’s armor storm fighting style.

Hammer Fist (Ex) – 1st Level
You treat any unarmed attack you make while wearing heavy or powered armor as being made with a battleglove with an item level equal to or lower than your soldier level. Calculate damage for these attacks using the 1-handed basic melee benchmark damage, and adding bonuses as if you had the melee striker gear boost. If you have the melee striker gear boost, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with your unarmed attacks when using this ability. These unarmed attacks don’t benefit from other abilities that apply specifically to unarmed attacks (such as the Improved Unarmed Strike feat).

Scifi hand

(art by photoslaz)

With the core rulebook version of hammer fist, you have long dead levels where your damage with this ability doesn’t keep up. Now it goes to 1d6 at 2nd level and so on, keeping up with relevant weapons you could gain at those levels.

We can now also create class features that allow you to exceed the limits of your weapon’s damage, built on the idea a character *can* get access to an item up to their level +2, without creating some stacking nightmare that could be combined with higher-level gear to break the game.

Let’s say we wanted a Melee Weapon Master archetype, and we wanted them to do more damage with their melee weapon than other folks. The archetype can require to you to focus on an advanced melee weapon type, and then give you advantages with it.

Masterwork Damage (Ex): When using a weapon of your focused type that has an item level no greater than your character level, you may do more damage with it. Find the benchmark damage* matching your advanced melee weapon (KAC or EAC, 1-handed or 2-handed). You deal damage one level above your weapon’s benchmark.
*If your weapon damage dice do not exactly match a listed benchmark, your benchmark damage is considered to be the highest damage dice that have an average result that does not exceed your weapon’s damage dice’s average result. For example, if using a 1-handed EAC advanced melee weapon that does 1d20 damage, your benchmark damage is considered to be 3d6 (average of 10.5), as that is the highest total that does not exceed your weapon’s average (also 10.5). You would thus do 3d8, one benchmark level higher, when using this ability.

My patrons make these posts possible. Please consider joining them in funding my Patreon!

Weapon Damage Benchmarks for Starfinder

The following tables are benchmarks for how much damage a typical weapons of a specific type should do at each item level. This is the result of a LOT of work, which I have been doing literally for a couple of years. These numbers are based on creating weapons that match the mathematical assumptions behind combat in Starfinder, so if you have a weapon within a few item levels of your character level, you are within the range of combat effectiveness the game assumes when determining enemy AC and HP.


Of course such a system is not perfect. You can tell just by looking at it that it doesn’t perfectly recreate weapons in Starfinder, especially weapons of item level 5 or less. This is because lower-level weapons are, in fact, too good for the “assumed math” of Starfinder. An optimized 1st-level character can often kill a CR 1 or less foe in a single slightly-luckier-than-average shot. This is never the case at higher levels, and that’s intentional. Essentially when designing this system, low-level fights being easier for low-level characters than mid- and -high level fights are for mid- and high-level characters was considered an acceptable consequence of not wanting to say a 2-handed doshko does 1d6 to 1d8 damage.

Those issues even out at higher item levels, and even so these numbers provide weapons within the rough range of “useful.” That’s going to be important with some interesting things we’re going to do with these values as the week progresses.

*There are assumptions built into these numbers:
*These values assume typical range increment, usage, critical hit effect, and cost.
*A line does damage equal to a weapon three levels lower.
*A blast does damage equal to a weapon four levels lower.
*An unwieldy weapon does damage equal to a weapon two levels higher.
*A typical weapon has a single moderate critical hit and 1-2 positive special qualities. A weapon with none of these can do increased damage, but not as much as a 1-level shift. A weapon with wound, severe wound, or stunned and 1-2 positive special qualities, or with 3 or more special qualities, does damage equal to a weapon one level lower. Being unusually cheap, having a better-than-average range, or having unusually low usage count as a special quality, while the inverse can negate the impact of a special quality.

Weapons of level 9 or less should not have wound, severe wound, or stunned. No weapon should have more than one critical hit effect.

00 Retro Raygun 02 - JEB

Single Target, Ranged KAC Weapons


Level     Heavy   Longarm   Small Arm

-3            1d2         1 pt.       1 pt.

-2            1d3         1d2         1 pt.

-1            1d4         1d3         1 pt.

0              1d6         1d4         1d2

1              1d8         1d6         1d3

2              2d4         1d8         1d4

3              1d10      2d4         1d4

4              1d12      1d10      1d6

5              2d6         1d12      1d8

6              2d8         2d6         1d8

7              3d6         2d8         1d12

8              3d8         3d6         2d6

9              3d10      2d12      2d8

10           5d6         3d8         2d10

11           5d8         4d6         3d6

12           7d6         4d8         3d8

13           7d8         4d10      4d6

14           8d8         5d10      4d8

15           9d8         6d10      6d6

16           10d8      7d10      5d8

17           10d10    8d10      6d8

18           11d10    9d10      7d8

19           12d10    10d10    8d8

20           13d10    11d10    9d8

21           14d10    12d10    10d8

22           15d10    13d10    11d8

Single Target, Ranged EAC Weapons


Level     Heavy   Longarm   Small Arm

-3            1 pt.       1 pt        1 pt.

-2            1d2         1 pt.       1 pt.

-1            1d3         1d2         1 pt.

0              1d4         1d3         1d2

1              1d6         1d4         1d3

2              1d8         1d6         1d3

3              2d4         1d6         1d4

4              1d10      1d8         1d4

5              1d12      1d8         1d6

6              2d6         1d10      1d8

7              2d8         2d6         2d4

8              3d6         2d8         1d10

9              4d6         4d4         2d6

10           5d6         3d6         3d4

11           4d8         3d8         2d8

12           6d6         3d10      3d6

13           5d8         5d6         2d10

14           6d8         4d10      2d12

15           7d8         5d8         3d8

16           6d10      7d6         3d10

17           7d10      8d6         4d8

18           8d10      6d10      4d10

19           9d10      7d10      5d8

20           10d10    8d10      5d10

21           11d10    9d10      6d10

22           12d10    10d10    7d10

KAC Melee

Single Target Melee KAC Weapons

Item        1-handed            2-handed                                          1-handed            2-handed

Level     Advanced            Advanced            Operative          Basic                    Basic

-3            1d2         1d4         1 pt.       1 pt.       1d2

-2            1d3         1d4         1 pt.       1 pt.       1d3

-1            1d3         1d4         1 pt.       1d3         1d3

0              1d4         1d6         1d3         1d4         1d4

1              1d4         1d6         1d3         1d4         1d6

2              1d6         1d6         1d4         1d6         1d6

3              1d6         1d8         1d4         1d6         1d6

4              1d8         1d8         1d4         1d6         1d8

5              1d8         1d10      1d6         1d8         1d8

6              2d4         2d6         1d6         1d8         1d10

7              2d6         2d8         1d8         1d10      1d12

8              2d8         3d6         2d4         1d10      2d8

9              3d6         4d6         2d6         2d8         3d6

10           4d6         5d6         3d4         2d8         3d8

11           5d6         4d8         2d8         2d10      4d6

12           4d8         6d6         3d6         3d8         5d6

13           6d6         7d6         3d8         3d10      4d8

14           6d8         9d6         4d6         4d8         5d8

15           9d6         10d6      5d6         5d8         8d6

16           10d6      11d6      6d6         6d8         9d6

17           12d6      13d6      7d6         7d8         10d6

18           14d6      15d6      8d6         8d8         12d6

19           16d6      17d6      9d6         9d8         13d6

20           18d6      20d6      10d6      11d8      15d6

21           20d6      22d6      11d6      12d8      17d6

22           22d6      25d6      12d6      13d8      19d6

EAC Melee

Single Target Melee EAC Weapons

Item        1-handed            2-handed                                          1-handed            2-handed

Level     Advanced            Advanced            Operative          Basic                    Basic

-3            1 pt.        1d2         1 pt.       1 pt.       1 pt.

-2            1d2         1d3         1 pt.       1 pt.       1 pt.

-1            1d2         1d3         1 pt.        1d2        1 pt.

0              1d3         1d4         1d3         1d3         1d3

1              1d3         1d4         1d3         1d3         1d3

2              1d4         1d4         1d3         1d3         1d4

3              1d4         1d6         1d3         1d3         1d4

4              1d4         1d6         1d3         1d3         1d4

5              1d6         1d8         1d4         1d4         1d6

6              1d8         1d10      1d4         1d6         1d8

7              1d10      2d6         1d6         1d8         1d10

8              1d12      2d8         1d8         2d4         1d12

9              2d8         3d6         2d4         1d10      2d6

10           3d6         3d8         1d10      1d12      2d8

11           3d8         4d6         1d12      2d6         3d6

12           4d6         4d8         2d6         2d8         2d10

13           5d6         6d6         2d8         3d6         3d8

14           5d8         7d6         3d6         3d8         4d6

15           6d6         6d8         3d8         4d6         5d6

16           6d8         7d8         4d6         4d8         5d8

17           7d8         8d8         5d6         6d6         6d8

18           8d8         9d8         4d8         7d6         7d8

19           9d8         10d8      6d6         9d6         8d8

20           10d8      15d6      7d6         10d6      9d8

21           11d8      17d6      8d6         12d6      10d8

22           12d8      19d6      9d6         13d6      11d8

Made Possible By Patreon

Projects this big (involving this much math and art) are impossible without the support of my Patrons! Of you find any of my content useful, from this to videos to the #RealGameIndustry hashtag on social media, please consider backing me on Patreon even just for a few dollars a month.


Lassos in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

A lasso is definitely a thematic option for the Really Wild West, but it’s also something that can become unbalanced quickly or weird quickly. Lassos use in the real world to capture cattle is extremely common, but it’s use for anything else in a modern era is equally uncommon. While there were roman gladiatorial laquearius, but it is unclear if they were true gladiators or closer to clowns who fought mock battles. There are records of various groups in antiquity using lassos in combat, but they are neither clear nor common.

So, we need the lasso to be easily and commonly used to bring down big, strong cattle, and to be something you can use in combat but with a great deal more difficulty. We need it’s use to be common among cowboys, and rare among most other people.

I want to avoid using feats to cover this for a couple of reasons. First, it seems unlikely most cowboy builds will consider a feat a reasonable cost to be able to do a core, iconic thing from their concept. Secondly, if someone DOES expend a feat on lassoing, they’ll want to try to use the lasso all the time, rather than when it’s actually the right tool for a an encounter. So, we need to look to the item/weapon design itself to thread this needle of utility.

This is a first stab at such an item, which almost certainly will be adjusted given some playtesting. As a special weapon no one gains proficiency with it automatically from their class, but the “professional” weapon special property (defined in Armor) means anyone with 1 rank in Profession: Cowboy is considered proficient, which seems a reasonable compromise.

RWW lariat

(art by Elena)

2-Handed Special Weapon
Item       Level  Price       Dam    Crit           Range   Bulk   Special
Lasso         1         30            —      Entangle       15 ft.        1       Professional (Cowboy 1 rank)

A lasso is a ranged, 2-handed special weapon. A character trained in Survival or Profession: Cowboy can use a lasso to control a creature within 30 feet that has an Intelligence modifier of -3 or less. The DC for this check is 10 + 1.5x the CR of the creature. On a successful check, you control the creature’s movement until the end of your next round. If your check exceed’s the DC by 5 or more, the creature is flat-footed and off-target. If you are adjacent to the creature, exceed the check by 5 or more, and the creature was already flat-footed or off-target, you can bind the creature with the lasso, leaving it helpless.

If proficient with a lasso, you can use it to make grapple checks at range. You gain a +5 bonus to your attack roll if the target has no hands or arms, and a +5 bonus if your target has an Intelligence modifier of -3 or less. Once grappled the target is entangled (with you as the tether) as the weapon special property. If you use a lasso to successfully grapple an adjacent creature that is pinned, you can bind two of their limbs as if using manacles.

A lasso takes half damage from bludgeoning, piercing, cold, and sonic attacks.

Higher-level lassos made of special materials (and thus having higher hardness and HP) may exist.

Want more Really Wild West? If you are enjoying any of the content I make available on this blog, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!

Whips in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

You can’t have a Really Wild West campaign without rules for whips. Since the focus here is on classic whips, rather than electrified or neural whips, we need to write these up. (And we’ll need rules for lassos, and operative class features that work with whips, and…)

Obviously you can use these in other Starfinder campaigns, as well. 🙂

RWW Whip

Advanced One-Handed Melee Weapon Category

Item             Level  Price       Dam    Crit            Bulk   Special
Bullwhip         1      35            1d3 P  Entangle*    L      15 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Hidewhip        6     3,000r     1d6 P   Entangle*    L      15 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Wirewhip       11  20,000r    1d10 P Entangle*    L      20 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Cablewhip      16  130,000r  4d10 P Entangle*    L      20 ft. reach, analog, block, operative

*Entangle Crit Effect: When you critically hit a foe, it is entangled until it escapes with an Acrobatics check (DC = 10 + weapon’s item level + the attacker’s Dexterity modifier) or a Strength check (DC = 15 + weapon’s item level + the attacker’s Dexterity modifier). An entangled creature can attempt such a check as a move action. While you have a target entangled with this weapon, you cannot use it to make additional attacks. Also, you and the target cannot move farther apart while the target is entangled. If either attempt to, they must drag the other by making an opposed Athletics checks as a move action. You both move a maximum number of feet equal to the amount the character initiating the check wins the opposed check.

Creatures larger than Medium receive a special +4 bonus per size category larger for skill checks made as part of the entangle critical hit effect rules.

You can end the entangled voluntarily as part of any other action.

r In a Really Wild West campaign, you must pay all but 1,000 credits of this cost with renown.

Advanced Melee Weapons
Whips are flexible striking weapons with considerable reach. A bullwhip is normally made of common agrarian herd beast leather or strong textiles. A hidewhip is amde from the skin of an exotic or magical creature, such as a dragon. A wirewhip works a strong, flexible wire into the core of the whip, and a cablewhip is made entirely of strong, flexible metal.
The block feature of a whip represents not a crossguard, but the fact it can crack and create tiny sonic booms, which distract a foe, and the long whip can flex and coil distractingly, making it more difficult for a foe you strike with it to focus on attacking you.

Want more Really Wild West? If you are enjoying any of the content I make available on this blog, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!

Armor and the Really Wild West

The original blog entry for the Really Wild West  has super-simplified armor rules, which were enough to cover the campaign when it was just a couple of blog posts for running weird west in Starfinder. Now that the setting hack has grown to more than 20,000 words of content, it’s appropriate to expand on those–slightly–to cover iconic exceptions to the general trend of Old West heroes not wearing much in the way of armor.

These rules can also easily apply to GammaFinder and (with a change of tone and material from leather to kevlar) FreedomFinder.

Armor and AC

No one much wears armor in the Really Wild West. Instead every PC gains a bonus to EAC equal to your level, and a bonus to KAC equal to your level +2. If you are proficient with heavy armor, you get an additional +1 bonus to EAC and KAC, and if you are proficient with powered armor, you get an *additional* +1 bonus to EAC and KAC.

You can wear armor, it’s just uncommon. Ned Kelly famously covered himself in meal sheathing, a few gunslingers are known to have put a metal plate or two under their longcoats, and some cultures have adapted older armor techniques to the world of 1891 with varying degrees of success. From a game mechanics point of view, all armor of any use falls into one of four categories – light, high light, heavy, and spot heavy.

Item     Item Level       Cost     EAC      KAC     Max Dex          Armor Check   Movement       Bulk
Light Armor      1          100 credits       +0         +1         +5         -1         -0 ft.    L
High Light Armor          2          1,000 credits   +1         +1         +6         -0         -0 ft.    L
Heavy Armor    1          150 credits       +2         +2         +4         -3         -5 ft.    4
Heavy Spot Armor        1          100 credits       +0         +1         +5         -1         -0 ft.    2

Light Armor
Light armor is normally cloth or leather-based, with heavy leather dusters combined with chaps and gloves, double-layer canvas coveralls, and blacksmith aprons and gloves as good examples. Alternatively light armor can be made of bone, wood, laminated strips of cloth or hide or similar materials. Light armor is generally obvious, requiring bulky clothing to be concealed at all and it cannot be concealed from a dedicated search. It’s possible to instead have something like a very small area of high light armor (such as a vest with a fine chainmail front), which can be easily concealed as high light armor is, but the cost doubles.

High Light Armor
High armor is much rarer than light or heavy armor, and is most common among rich duelists, veteran mercenaries, and high-society explorers. It is more likely to be made of coats of spider-silk, inner linings of fine chain, enchanted natural materials, or cunningly designed plates of gravity-defying cavorite. Unlike light armor, high light armor can be concealed (impossible to notice casually, and requiring a DC 10 = 1.5x item level to notice with a careful examination).

Heavy Armor
This is the Ned Kelly option (though it may be more professionally designed), heavy metal plates protecting a good chunk of the body. It cannot be concealed.

RWW Ned Kelly

Heavy Spot Armor
Heavy spot armor is generally a thick plate placed over vitals (such as a boilerplate chestpiece), or areas that are easily used to block and defense (such as vambraces and greaves). Though it’s not as protective as full heavy armor, it allows someone with heavy armor proficiency add just a bit of extra protection. It can be concealed from casual observation (DC 10 = 1.5x item level to notice) but not careful examination.

Powered Armor
Powered armor essentially does not exist in the Really Wild West, at least not as a commercial option. Any powered armor is going to be the exclusive domain of characters who access it through class features or similar avenues. Standard Starfinder powered armor can be accessed in this way, but regardless of what the powered armor normally grants, it’s AC bonuses and Max Dexterity bonus to AC are calculated as light armor, high light armor, heavy armor, or spot heavy armor.

RWW Steam Powered Armor

Want more Really Wild West? If you are enjoying any of the content I make available on this blog, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!

Laser Dress (for Starfinder)

The always-amazing Crystal Frasier called over the cubical wall “Owen! I want a laser dress for Starfinder!” just as I was going on break.

I mean, who am I to refuse to create a laser dress?

Laser Dress (for Starfinder Roleplaying Game)

A laser dress is a truly outrageous, glittering high-fasion dress that is always considered to be in style regardless of the occasion. It is spectacularly bright, glittery, and fabulous.

A laser dress comes with a battery, but can use up to ultra-capaicty batteries if they are bought separately, and consumes 1 charge per 10 minutes of use.

A laser dress grants you a bonus to Profession (dancer) checks equal to the square root of its item level (+1 at 1st, +2 at 4th, +3 at 9th, +4 at 16th).

A laser dress allows you to make a Profession (dancer) in palce of Acrobatics to for the tumble task. It also allows you to use Profession (dancer) in place of Diplomacy checks for the Change Attitude task, though doing so requires the target be present for at least 30 minutes of your dancing.

A laser dress can also be used to make ranged attacks in a radius, with a range equal to it’s item level x5 feet. This is a full round action, but you can move up to your speed as part of this action if you succeed at a DC 15 Profession (dancer) check. You make a single ranged attack roll against all foes in range, doing 1d6 fire damage, plus double the dress’s item level (critical effect: target makes Reflex save or is blinded for 1d4 rounds). For this purpose, the laser dress is treaded as a small arm in the laser category, and each attack has a usage of 1.

A laser dress has negligible bulk, and costs 50 credits, +its item level squared x100 credits, + and additional 10,000 credits per item level above 10th.