Blog Archives

Weapon Upgrade Pricing for Starfinder

Here’s the final post for the week, playing with fun options for the weapon damage benchmarks per level for Starfinder I posted on Monday.

Since those benchmarks allow you to determine the damage of nearly any weapon at any item level (grenades and special weapons are special cases), they are half of what we need to allow you to upgrade Starfinder weapons. If you want to have your laser pistol be improved so it does more damage, just select an item level on the EAC small arms table with a benchmark that’s better than your current damage, and increase the pistol’s item level to match.

The big question left, of course, is “how much does that cost?”

Enter the Weapon Upgrade Pricing chart.

To determine the cost of such an upgraded weapon, find the first value on the chart that is more than it’s current cost. Then go three steps down the chart from there for each increase in item level. That entry is the new value of the weapon. Pay the difference between that new value and your original value, and your weapon is upgraded. (Upgrading a weapon requires the same time, resources, and skill at building a weapon of the new item level from scratch).

SF Dull Revolver

SF Revolver

(art by 3droman)

For example: Carl has a 5th level wyrmling dragon rifle, a longarm which does 1d8 fire damage and costs 3,020 credits. But his character is 7th level, has money to spare, and he wants to upgrade the weapon. Looking at the benchmark table, he sees that if he upgrades his longarm to 7th level, it’ll do 2d6 damage. Much better!

His friend Ali the mechanic has the ranks and tools to do the upgrade. All Carl needs to know is the price.

Looking at the Upgrade Pricing Chart, he sees the first value higher than 3,020 is 3,250. Since he increased two item levels he needs to go six steps down the chart, which is 7,000 credits. Since his weapon currently has a value of 3,020, he needs to pay the difference — 3,980 credit (likely in UPBs) to get the weapon upgraded.

Weapon Upgrade Pricing Chart

You can also use the chart to estimate the cost of other kinds of equipment such as armor and even magic items… but that’s a different article!

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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 attacked 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.

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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.

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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.

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Combo Weapons and Shotgun Maces in the Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

To be really wild, the Really Wild West has to allow from some out-there combinations. Combo weapons are one example, so you can have gunblades and heat-ray-lances. So, to allow for that, today we have rules for making combo weapons.

And to make some of those combinations more interesting, we also add rules for huge 2-handed iron maces.

So you can add shotguns to them.

Combo Weapons: A combo weapon is made from two weapons. If either weapon is a two-handed weapon, or has a bulk of 2 or more, the final weapon is a two-handed weapon. Otherwise it is a 1-handed weapon. Its bulk is 1 if both weapons have light bulk, otherwise its 1 bulk more than the bulkier weapon’s bulk. Each weapon operates as normal.
The cost of a combo weapon is equal to 100% of the cheaper weapon, +125% of the more expensive one. You can upgrade one weapon of a combo weapon to a new weapon, but the cost is the same as buying the new weapon.

rww kanabou

New Weapon Special Property: Slam

Slam: If you make a single attack with the weapon as a full action, on a successful hit you do the additional damage listed.

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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.

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What’s Your Runeblade Name?

Runeblades always have cool, evocative names… but it can be a pain to have to come with them from scratch all the time. So for all your Runeblade name needs, here’s the What’s Your Runeblade quiz!

Take the second letter of your first name, and the last letter of your last name. So, as Owen Stephens, my Runeblade name is Shadow Slayer. (Or Shadowslayer—you can run them together or not, as you prefer.)

Or, you can roll 1d100 twice to create a random name.

Or just pick something cool. 😊

Runeblade Name Beginning
(Second letter of your first name, or 1d100)

A (01-04). Ash
B. (05-08). Bane
C. (09-12). Battle
D. (13-16). Blaze
E. (17-20). Blood
F. (21-24). Bright
G. (25-28). Crimson
H. (26-32). Dawn
I. (33-36). Death
J. (37-40). Doom
K. (41-44). Fear
L. (45-48). Foe
M. (49-52. Gray
N. (53-56). Hell
O. (57-60). Ice
P. (61-64). Luck
Q. (65-68). Mourn
R. (69-72). Night
S. (73-76). Pain
T. (77-80). Rage
U. (81-84). Run
V. (85-88). Sea
W. (89-91). Shadow
X. (92-94). Soul
Y. (95-97). Storm
Z. (98-100). War

Runeblade Name Beginning
(Last letter of your last name, or 1d100)

A. (01-04). Blade
B. (05-08). Bringer
C. (09-12). Claw
D. (13-16). Cleaver
E. (17-20). Crasher
F. (21-24). Dragon
G. (25-28). Fist
H. (29-32). Flame
I. (33-36). Friend
J. (37-40). Gate
K. (41-44). Hammer
L. (42-48). Iron
M. (49-52). Master/Mistress
N. (53-56). Moon
O. (57-60). Raven
P. (61-64). Razor
Q. (65-68). Sigil
R. (69-72). Skull
S. (73-76). Slayer
T. (77-80). Song
U. (81-84). Star
V. (85-88). Thunder
W. (89-91). Tomb
X. (92.-94). Tooth
Y. (95-97). Wand
Z. (98-100). Widow

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Fantasy Pollaxe for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Once again, I was watching the show Forged in Fire, and found myself moved to write Pathfinder Roleplaying Game stats for the features weapon. In this case it was a pollaxe, which is similar in some regards to the halberd and lucerne hammer, but distinct enough (and was common enough) I think it deserves its own write-up.

Martial Two-Handed Weapon

Name    Cost       Dmg (S) Dmg (M)    Crit    Weight   Type      Special
Pollaxe  30gp      1d8           1d10           x2       7 lbs.        B/S/P     Brace, Trip

A pollaxe is a common weapon among knights and those who must face heavily armored foes on foot. It has a wooden haft between five and six-and-a-half feet long, with languets running along the top third or half. A metal head is mounted to the top, which features an axe blade, hammerhead, and spike. It is often confused with the halberd (which has a larger axe blade and normally no hammer), and the lucerne hammer (which has a clawhead rather than an axe blade).

A proficient character can use a pollaxe one-handed. Whenever a pole-axe is used one-handed, it is a one-handed weapon, and it’s damage die is reduced by one step (to d8, for S/M weapons).

A proficient character using a pollaxe two-handed, and who has the Lunge feat, can use Lunge with the pollaxe while taking only a -1 penalty to AC (rather than the normal -2).

A proficient character using a pollaxe two-handed, and who has the Combat Patrol feat, can use Combat Patrol as a standard action (rather than the full round action).

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Awesome 80s: Gazer Guns (for Starfinder)

Some weird, awesome stuff came out in the 1980s, that impacted my geek trajectory significantly. The Awesome 80s line of blog posts is about sharing some of the things I have been inspired to create by movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s gazer guns, optical weapons that use the optic nerves (or cameras) to access the nervous systems.command circuits of a target and shut them down.

This one is a bit more obscure so I’ll mention, there was this 1981 science fiction film written and directed by Michael Crichton called Looker

Gazer Guns

Gazer guns create bolts of intense optical patterns that, when perceived by optical nerves, travel directly to the brain and can short-circuit the nervous system (or control circuitry) of nearly any creature with sight. Gazer gun attacks are made against a target’s EAC.

The damage dice of a gazer gun don’t indicate points of damage, but instead the number of rounds an affected creature is dazzled. If a gazer gun affects a creature that is already dazzled, the creature is instead dazzled, flat-footed and off-target for the duration indicated by the damage dice. If a gazer gun hits a target that is already dazzled, flat-footed, and off-target, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 weapon item level +attacker’s Dex modifier, minus any penalties that apply to the attack roll) or be dazzled, flat-footed, off-target, and staggered for the duration indicated by the damage dice. If a gazer gun hits a target that is already dazzled, flat-footed, off-target, and staggered, the target must make a Fortitude save (same DC) or be dazzled, flat-footed, off-target, and dazed for the duration indicated by the damage dice.

A creature dazed by a gazer gun does not notice the passage of time while dazed, and is not aware of events that happen within the condition’s duration.

A gazer gun cannot make attacks against creatures that cannot see the attacker, including those that are blinded or sightless.

All gazer guns are of light bulk, and have a capacity of 20 and a usage of 1.

Untyped Small Arms
WEAPON LVL Price Damage Crit Range
Gazer, astarte 1 200 1d2 Staggered 20 ft.
Gazer, qetesh 4 2,500 1d3 Staggered 30 ft.
Gazer, hathor 8 10,000 1d4 Stunned 30 ft.
Gazer, turan 10 19,000 2d3 Stunned 40 ft.
Gazer, nanaya 12 44,000 2d4 Stunned 50 ft
Gazer, venus 14 90,000 2d5* Stunned 60 ft
Gazer, xochipili 16 200,000 2d6 Stunned 70 ft
Gazer, prende 18 400,000 2d7* Stunned 80 ft

*If you do not have access to d5s, this damage can be 1d4+1d6. If you do not have access to d7s, this damage can be 1d6+1d8.


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The Awooginator, for Starfinder

An awooginator is an unusual weapon, popular with pacifists, some law-enforcement groups, anarchists, and some tactical combat teams. It does nothing but create a technologically-generated psychic wave that causes all creatures in the area to hear a loud claxonlike noise, which is most often written as “awoooGA” by those who try to express the sound to people who have never been on the wrong end of an awooginator. Because the waves of psychic energy are carried along an electromagnetic field to affect the nervous systems of creatures, things like armor and cover can protect a target from the awooginator’s effects. To be affected, a target must be in the weapon’s blast, and it must successfully hit the target’s EAC.

The psychically-generated sound is spectacularly sudden, loud, and distracting. Targets are thrown off-target for a number of rounds equal to 1/5th the awooginator’s item level (minimum 1 round), and can be deafened by it (even though the sound is psychic, rather than real), as the target is overcome by the sheer neurological memory of the phantom sound. All awooginator models are of light bulk, and have a capacity of 20 and a usage of 4.


Small Arms

Name Level Cost Range Crit Special
Awooginator, bellow 1 400 30 ft. deafen blast
Awooginator, horn 6 5,000 40 ft. deafen blast
Awwoginator, siren 11 22k 50 ft. deafen blast
Awooginator, claxon 16 146k 60 ft. deafen blast


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