RPG Design – Weapon Wednesday: Sawback Scimitar

Sawback Scimitar by Anthony Rosbottom 2003Sawback Scimitar

Exotic one-handed weapon. 55 gp. 4 lbs. 1d6 slashing damage, critical 18-20 x2.  Special: performance, see text

The vicious sawback scimitar is forged with a serrated edge. When you make a full attack with this weapon and score a critical on the first attack, you can sacrifice your remaining attacks in the round to draw the blade back in a sawing motion, horrifically wounding the victim. Every attack you sacrificed increases the critical multiplier by one.

The fighting pits are where the hardest-hearted warriors are born. The deadliest gladiators of the arena invented the sawback scimitar to combine a weapon that demands notice with the bloodiest kills possible. 


This weapon involves a tradeoff that can really help against enemies with damage reduction. Great for a bloody-minded character who wants to make his critical hits really spectacular. Enjoy!

-Max Porter Zasada


RPG Design – Weapon Wednesday: Cleaving Greatsword

cleaving greatsword by Anthony Rosbottom 2003Cleaving Greatsword

Exotic two-handed weapon. 50 gp. 12 lbs. 2d6 slashing damage, critical 19-20 x2.  Special: see text

This mighty blade is forged with a curve that increases its effectiveness as it cleaves through foes. When used with the cleave feat, this weapon grants the wielder an additional +2 attack and damage on the bonus attacks granted by the feat.

The mightiest warriors of the mountains are said to cut down their opponents with a single blow. With their carefully balanced weapons they can cut a swathe through entire armies, one head at a time. 


This weapon is meant exclusively for Pathfinder, where the opportunity cost of the Cleave feat is quite high. Consider this a further development of the hack sword, which I created some time ago. Enjoy!

-Max Porter Zasada

RPG Design – Weapon Wednesday: Blade Bow

Rough_Bow_designs_by_carlos1170Blade Bow

Two-handed exotic ranged weapon. 1d8 piercing damage. x3 critical. 5 lbs. 205 gp. Special: see text

This longbow is fitted with extra braces and blades so that it can be wielded in hand-to-hand combat. It can be wielded as a two-bladed sword that does 1d4/1d4 damage. However, at the beginning of your turn you must declare whether you are using the correct hand position to wield the weapon as a melee or a ranged weapon and that choice holds until the beginning of your next turn. Even if you are using the blade bow as a ranged weapon, you can use the blades to make a melee attack, but it is considered to be an improvised weapon and you do not threaten squares with it.

Developed by the warriors of the plains to battle their centaur enemies, these bows give several options to a master archer or dervish, who can change his manner of fighting in the space of a moment. 


Exotic weapons should be truly unusual or strange, and give special power to the Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat.

Max Porter-Zasada

RPG Design – Weapon Wednesday: Crackblade


One-handed martial weapon. 1d8 slashing damage. 19-20 x2 critical. 3 lbs. 15 gp. Special: Fragile, see text

This weapon is intentionally designed to fly apart into shards that can cut your opponent. When this blade breaks while you are wielding it during combat due to an opponent’s sunder attack, you may immediately make 3 attacks as if with thrown daggers against that opponent.


Weird and wonky weapon. Requires a very specific situation, but man that would be cool!

Max Porter-Zasada

RPG Design – Weapon Wednesday: Scale Slicer

 Scale Slicer

1-handed exotic melee weapon. 1d8 slashing damage. 19-20 critical. 45 gp. 3 lbs. Special: (see text)

This weapon is designed to take down some of the mightiest creatures in existence. When wielded against a large or larger creature with scales (such as a dragon), this weapon deals a bonus 1d8 damage and negates any type of damage reduction.

Long ago, there lived a great dragon slayer who became old and decrepit. He could no longer fight the creatures that had made him famous, yet one ancient black dragon still plagued the land, hunting for him. In hiding, the dragon slayer chafed at the weakness When the dragon slayer felt he could no longer hide and watch his most powerful enemy ravage the land, he pulled himself out of bed and buckled on his armor. The dragon slayer called his son to his side and instructed the boy.

“Do not follow in my footsteps, as other boys do their fathers. No my son, you must become a metalworker, a smith–forge for others a weapon that will take down this scourge.”

And with that, he went out of hiding to his glorious death. 

The son did as his father had asked, and in all his long life created one famous style of blade that could take down dragons. This is the story of the scale slicer.


I see no reason why special weaponry should be the province of magic items alone. Magic items don’t add style, they don’t add flavor–unless you create something yourself, magic weapons mostly just add numbers. But a particular weapon or item that has to be forged a certain way to get its abilities? Aha, that adds an instant flair.


– Max Porter-Zasada

Weapon Wednesday: Briarblade | Pathfinder RPG Design


2-handed exotic weapon. 2d6 damage. 19-20 x2 critical. 8 lbs. 85 gp. Special: trip

This immense two-handed sword is marked with cruel barbs and prongs to catch off-balance foes.  When you make a full attack and strike your foe with your first attack, but deal more damage with a secondary attack against the same enemy using this weapon, his speed is lowered by 5 ft. for one round and you may make a trip attempt against that enemy with a +2 bonus.

The first briarblades were forged by the Howlers, a savage band of forest guardians who would leap screaming into battle, almost naked save for their deadly two-handed weapons. The Howlers would come away covered in scars, and it was hard to find new recruits. However, they developed the briarblade to put fear into those who would defile their forest, laying enemies low and helpless among the tangled roots of the forest floor.

One of their greatest warriors, known for wearing a single thorny rose in his hair during battle, was felled by a dwarven captain-at-arms who was too difficult to trip. This warrior and his briarblade were brought to a nearby town, and the secret weapon was developed and its use spread elsewhere. Facing enemies trained to counter their best attack, the Howlers were eventually disbanded and driven from the forest, leaving their weapon as a fell legacy. 


This weapon is great for a raging barbarian with a bit of extra style. You don’t have to specialize in tripping to be awesome with this weapon, but that’s the path to getting the maximum benefit. Enjoy the use of a terrifying blade of legend!

-Max Porter-Zasada

Weapon Wednesday: Slip Sword

One-handed exotic melee weapon. 1d10 slashing damage. x2 critical. 65 gp. 6 lbs. Special: Trip

This heavy weapon has a curved section at the end, perfect for gripping limbs. 

Modelled after the bastard sword, this weapon is less precise in its swing but can trip opponents. In addition, you get a +2 circumstance bonus to dirty trick maneuvers performed with this weapon. A character can use a slip sword two-handed as a martial weapon like a bastard sword, but cannot benefit from the special qualities or bonuses of the slip sword.


Developed by a troop of ingenious warriors, the slip sword was created to combine deadly prowess with nasty cunning. They enjoyed some success as highwaymen and mercenaries, finally taking a small keep in the wilderness. However, as arguments arose about who first thought up the slip sword, this troop of warriors has since broken up, allowing the use of the weapon to spread to a few lucky souls.


I love the idea of the dirty trick maneuver, but it’s a bit unreliable compared with trip. This weapon combines both in a neat little package!

So, as we continue infusing our weapons with interest through background, I wish to ask you: is it working? Do you enjoy the background for these weapons, and does that add the missing ingredient for making Wednesdays worthwhile?


-Max Porter-Zasada