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 – Feat Friday: Punching Dagger Feats

Annah_-_Character_PortraitSo I was thinking about how there’s all these weapons that are rarely used but are really cool, and wondering how to design a reason to use them. I was pretty happy with the Spear Feats post a while back, and I wanted to expand on that idea with the punching dagger. This weapon is neat, and has a really satisfying feel to it, but won’t really stand out much as it lacks a lot of the versatility of the dagger and only stands out with a x3 critical.

I hope you enjoy these feats for punching dagger mastery!

Stabbing Uppercut (combat)
You know a trick to shove your dagger under an opponent’s defenses.
Prerequisites: Power Attack, proficiency with punching daggers, BaB +3
Benefit: A number of times per day equal to 3 + your Dexterity modifier, you can make an opponent flat-footed against your attack with a punching dagger.

Throw Your Weight Into It (combat)
You are skilled at putting your whole body behind your blade.
Prerequisites: Stabbing Uppercut, BaB +6
Benefit: A number of times per day equal to 3 + your Dexterity modifier, you can throw your weight into an attack with a punching dagger. You are considered to be wielding it with both hands for the purposes of damage bonuses from Strength and Power Attack. You can’t use this feat with an off-hand weapon.

In the deep jungle, the undergrowth is too thick for standard weapons, and the lizardfolk developed punching daggers to compensate.


-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: Gemdrain Blade

Gemdrain Blade

Aura strong transmutation; CL 17th; Slot none;
Price 60,500 gp; Weight 4 lbs

This beautifully crafted +1 longsword drains magic power from mages that it strikes. Whenever you score a hit on a spellcaster with this weapon, they must instantly lose a spell slot of a level equal to your damage divided by 5 (if they prepare spells, they choose which prepared spell or empty spell slot is lost). For the next minute, you gain one free casting of any spell you know or have prepared of equivalent level or lower. You may only gain a free casting once per day, although you can drain any number of spell levels.

Craft Magic Arms and Armor, creator must be able to cast 9th-level spells; Cost 30,250 gp

The secrets of this weapon are ancient and well-hidden by the craftsmen of the deepest forges. The gemdrain blade was developed by a fallen paladin seeking vengeance against a powerful evil wizard. The paladin fought valiantly and his weapon served him well, but the vile wizard prevailed and stole the design of the weapon for his own gains. 


A great weapon for a magus or eldritch knight: anyone who wants to combine spell-slinging with sword-swinging!

– 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