Friday, September 04, 2020

Melee Weapons of the FUTURE!

Coming up with hand-to-hand weapons for sci-fi games is fun.  You can really let your imagination run wild with options.  While what follows are not the craziest things in the world (nothing on the level of, say, the avern flower from Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer), they are both easy to imagine by the players (most can be represented by pictures of real weapons from museums to give the basic idea) and yet each has a nice little sci-fi or fantasy twist.  

These, of course, are for Machinations of the Space Princess, my current RPG fascination.  I tried to give every weapon its niche, so that any of them would make sense for the PCs or their foes to use.  

Deflection-dagger - powerful deflection field adds +1 to any Defend action.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: 1d6 penetrating or slashing.

Cost: 8 GP

The deflection-dagger is a main gauche with a powerful deflection field in its hilt.  While it can be used to attack, its true utility is in its ability to ward against incoming attacks.  If you don’t use the deflection-dagger to make an attack in the same turn, you may add +1 to any Defend actions (so +2 if Defending with one action and +4 with two Defend actions).  

Gyro-stabilized Cutlass - adds +2 to the attack roll, but skilled warriors eschew the correction for greater damage potential.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d6 + bonus +2 on attack rolls.

Cost: 20 GP

The gyro-stabilized cutlass is a single-edged fighting blade crafted with the neophyte warrior in mind.  Internal stabilizers guide the wielder’s hand, keeping the edge aligned with the target and promoting proper follow-through on draw cuts.  

While the guidance of the cutlass is a boon to the inexperienced, it aggravates experienced warriors who find themselves fighting against the weapon to perform anything but the most generic attacks and parries.  Because of this, the gyro-stabilized cutlass cannot be used to perform any Combat skills.   

Grav-mace - for pounding through armour.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d8 Impact + 2 levels of Armour Defeating

Cost: 40 GP

The grav-mace uses gravitic pulse technology to deliver crushing blows on impact while allowing the wielder to recover quickly and prepare for their next strike.  It’s a favorite among boarding parties who are likely to face heavily armoured opponents but don’t have the room to wield two-handed weapons.  

Kālakūṭa Stiletto - a dagger fashioned from poison.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d8 + concealable + make a Toughness save every round or take an addition 1d4 damage until they succeed on a Toughness save.

Cost: 250 GP

The kālakūṭa stiletto is fashioned from a mysterious dark stone whose depths absorb all light, though the edges are translucent and smokey.  The stone is inimical to nearly all life and beings not immune to poison often take additional damage from any wound caused by such a blade.  Mere cuts can lead to death if the wounds are not swiftly treated.  

As the stiletto has no mechanical or technological components, isn’t made of any sort of normal metal or composite, and must be sheathed in lead to be carried safely, it is completely invisible to most scanner technology, and a carefully hidden kālakūṭa stiletto is nearly impossible to detect.  

Power Hammer - generates ball of energy to cause destructive harm to target. 

Two-handed close-combat weapon.

Damage: d12 energy + 1 level of Armour Defeating or d8 piercing + 2 levels of Armour Defeating

Cost: 280 GP

The power hammer resembles the ancient lucerne hammer.  The spikes on the top and back are fashioned of the same stuff the smallsword is, while the tines of the hammer head can encase itself in a destructive sphere of energy that’s released when it strikes a target.  The wielder must pick before swinging the weapon which they wish to hit with, and may only use one side per target per turn.  

The power hammer is considered the best weapon for cracking heavy armour.  When the wealthiest powers go to war, hulking juggernauts lay into each other with power hammers, battering each other back-and-forth across the battlefield.  

Rondel Dagger - diamond-bladed for punching through armour.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d6 penetrating + 4 levels of Armour Defeating 

Cost: 32 GP

The ultimate in piercing through armour, the triangular “blade” of the rondel dagger is fashioned from nanocomb-reinforced diamond.  Don’t actually try to cut anything with it, however; that “blade” is actually more of a spike, ultra-specialized in punching through resistance and getting at the soft, squishy body hidden inside armour.  The big round disks at either end of the grip protect the hand from sparks, jagged bits of shattered armour, or ablative defenses, while also giving you a good grip in case the dagger gets stuck.  

Scissor Katar - diamond-edged plus it opens up to do more damage!

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d10 piercing/slicing + 1 level of Armour Defeating.

Cost: 45 GP

The scissor katar takes the reinforced diamond of the rondel, uses it for the edge of a broad blade, then adds a motorized scissor-action to open the blade up once it’s inside!  While nasty enough in the hands of most combatants, a skilled opponent can literally use the scissor katar to peel your armour right off you; when using the Armour Eater skill, the wielder of a scissor katar only suffers a -3 on their attack roll.  

The scissor katar continues to be favored by infantry and marine officers of the remnants of the Urlanth Matriarchy.

Shock-cestus - electrified gauntlet.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d6 volt + shocking (Toughness save or unable to act on your next turn.)

Cost: 3 GP

The shock-cestus is the calling card of the thug and slaver.  While its power cells and metal framework make it impossible to hide from scans or a professional search, it’s easy enough to veil by a cloak or coat.  In certain regions, thug and gang fashion is dominated by long, loose left sleeves designed to conceal a shock-cestus from casual glances.

Smallsword - favored by Urlanth nobility.  Can attack twice.  Also comes in a concealable cane version.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d8 + 1 levels of Armour Defeating + Double

Cost: 30 GP (80 GP for the sword cane version)

At first glance, the smallsword appears to be a rondel on steroids.  While the blade is the same shape, with its triangular cross-section and no real edge to speak of, it’s of completely different manufacture. The sandwich of memory-ceramics and harder alloys gives the smallsword impressive flexibility without sacrificing much of its penetrating power.  The blade can take a shocking amount of punishment, allowing it to parry attacks from even a sonnenbalger without snapping or melting.  The grip molds to the hand of the wielder, and the active balance gravitics in the pommel give unparalleled accuracy and speed in the hands of a skilled combatant.    

The smallsword is favored by Urlanth nobility and naval officers.  It is the default weapon for settling duels.  Note that while the prices listed represent the bare-bones options, few nobles can resist decorating their weapons in the latest styles.

The sword cane version of the smallsword is popular among well-to-do merchants and uppity middle-class sorts who might not be allowed to wear a sword everywhere they go, but feel the need for a solid self-defense option in a pinch.  Due to its lack of directly offensive tech housed in the weapon itself, a properly crafted sword cane can sneak past even alert security forces.  

Sonnenbalger - plasma-edged arming sword.

One-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d10 heat

Cost: 20 GP

The ubiquitous sonnenbalger is the sidearm of choice among mercenaries and non-coms.  The sturdy weapon with its distinctive s-shaped handguard and heavy “fishtail” pommel is seen by many to be the badge of the “true” soldier, and so is affected by many who aspire to that status.

Such posers run the risk of setting their pants on fire.  The sonnenbalger projects a wave of superheated plasma along both edges of the blade, hot enough to burn through all but the heaviest armour.  The waves occasionally interrupt each other where they meet, making the sonnenbalger mediocre for thrusting.

Wailing Katana - edge shrouded in sonic wave that cuts finer than obsidian!

Two-handed, close-combat weapon.

Damage: d20

Cost: 300 GP

While there are many warrior and combat societies that swear by the deadliness of the wailing katana, there are just as many who will tell you that the weapon is over-hyped.  There are recorded instances of wailing katanas cutting off an arm or a leg from a juggernaut armour suit, but these are the acts of extremely skilled masters of the martial arts, and even they rarely get to do it twice if they’re not also heavily armoured themselves.

The cutting power of the wailing katana comes from the sonic wave it projects around its edge, allowing it to slice finer than even some monofilament weapons.  While the weapon's warbling moan isn’t so loud as to make stealth impossible, it does require an atmosphere to work properly, making the weapon useless in vacuum.