Weapon Special Properties
Some weapons possess inherent special properties. A weapon’s special properties are listed in the Special column entry in its corresponding weapons table. Details of these special weapon properties appear below.
This weapon does not use any advanced electronics, computer systems, or electrical power sources. It is immune to abilities that target technology. While this use of the word “analog” is not technically correct when referring to technology, use of the term in this way has become common.
This weapon deals 5 fewer damage unless the target is wearing no armor or archaic armor. Archaic weapons are made of primitive materials such as wood or common steel.
In addition to making ranged attacks normally, a weapon with this special property can fire in fully automatic Mode. No action is required to toggle a weapon between making normal ranged attacks and using automatic Mode.
When you make a full attack with a weapon in automatic Mode, you can attack in a cone with a range of half the weapon’s range increment. This uses all the weapon’s remaining ammunition. Roll one attack against each target in the cone, starting with those closest to you. Attacks made with a weapon in automatic Mode can’t score critical hits. Roll damage only once, and apply it to all targets struck. Each attack against an individual creature in the cone uses up the same amount of ammunition or charges as taking two shots, and once you no longer have enough ammunition to attack another target, you stop making attacks.
For example, if you were using a Tactical X-gen gun with 27 rounds remaining, you would target the nearest 6 creatures in the cone and use up all 27 rounds.
If more than one creature is equidistant and you don’t have enough cartridges remaining to shoot at all equidistant creatures, determine randomly which one you target. You can’t avoid shooting at allies in the cone, nor can you shoot any creature more than once, even if you have enough cartridges to fire more shots than you have targets. Attacks in automatic Mode take the same penalties as other full attacks.
This weapon fires in a cone that extends only to its first range increment. You can’t use it to attack creatures beyond that range.
For each attack you make with a weapon with the blast special property, roll one attack against each target in the cone, starting with those closest to you. Each attack takes a –2 penalty in addition to other penalties, such as the penalty to all attacks during a full attack. Roll damage only once for all targets. If you roll one or more critical hits, roll the extra critical damage only once (or any other special effects on a critical hit that require you to roll) and apply it to each creature against which you score a critical hit. You can’t avoid shooting at allies in the cone, nor can you shoot any creature more than once.
Attacks with blast weapons ignore concealment. A blast weapon doesn’t benefit from feats or abilities that increase the damage of a single attack (such as the operative’s trick attack). Ammunition for blast weapons is designed for blast attacks, so you spend the usage amount only once for each cone of attacks.
Only melee weapons can have the block special property, which represents some kind of guard or crossbar that can protect you from attacks by a foe you strike in melee. When you successfully strike a target with a melee attack using such a weapon, you gain a +1 enhancement bonus to your AC for 1 round against melee attacks from that target.
You can charge up a weapon with this special property as a move action. When you do, you increase the weapon’s damage by the listed amount on the next attack you make with the weapon. Boosting expends charges from the weapon equal to its usage value. This increases the weapon’s damage and is multiplied on a critical hit. Boosting a weapon more than once before firing it doesn’t have any extra effect, and the extra charge dissipates if the weapon is not fired by the end of your next turn.
Attacks with bright weapons illuminate the area within 20 feet of you and your target for 1 round following the attack, increasing the illumination level by one step, to a maximum of normal light.
When you attempt a disarm combat maneuver while wielding a weapon with the disarm special property, you gain a +2 bonus to your attack roll.
A creature hit by an entangle weapon becomes 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. Some weapons (such as stickybomb grenades) have a maximum duration for this effect. See the entangled condition.
Explosives have the explode special property, which lists the amount of damage the explosion deals, the damage type, special effects (with a duration, if necessary), and the radius of the explosion. When you attack with this type of weapon or ammunition, aim at a grid intersection. Each creature within the blast radius takes the listed damage but can attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage. If the explode special property has any special effects other than damage, they are negated with a successful saving throw. Some exploding weapons, such as smoke grenades, don’t deal damage, so they don’t include the damage and damage type entries.
This weapon or its ammunition can be filled with a drug, an injury poison, or a medicinal compound. On a successful attack with the weapon (either the first attack if it’s a melee weapon or an attack with the relevant piece of ammunition if it’s a ranged weapon), the weapon automatically injects the target with the substance.
The weapon with a new substance acts as reloading it and is a move action. Each different injectable material must be bought separately and can be used in any weapon with the injection special property. See rules and prices for drugs, medicinals, and poisons.
This weapon fires a projectile in a straight line that pierces through multiple creatures or obstacles. When attacking with such a weapon, make a single attack roll and compare it to the relevant Armor Class of all creatures and objects in a line extending to the weapon’s listed range increment. Roll damage only once. The weapon hits all targets with an AC equal to or lower than the attack roll. However, if an attack fails to damage a creature or obstacle hit in the line (typically due to damage reduction or hardness), the path is stopped and the attack doesn’t damage creatures farther away. A line weapon can’t damage targets beyond its listed range. If you score a critical hit, that effect applies only to the first target hit in the line, and you roll the critical damage separately. If multiple creatures are equally close, you choose which one takes the effects of the critical hit. A line weapon doesn’t benefit from feats or abilities that increase the damage of a single attack (such as the operative’s trick attack).
This weapon deals nonlethal damage.
An operative can use the trick attack class feature with a weapon that has this special property. Any character can add her Dexterity modifier rather than her Strength modifier on melee attack rolls with weapons with this special property.
A penetrating weapon is designed to punch through large objects’ outer layers, making it easier to damage them. A penetrating weapon ignores an amount of hardness equal to the weapon’s level.
A melee weapon with an internal battery that must be charged to function has the powered special property, which lists its capacity and usage. Unlike with a ranged weapon, the usage is for 1 minute of operation rather than per attack, though using a powered weapon for less than 1 full minute still expends 1 full usage. The number of charges expended is equal to the usage × the number of minutes the weapon is used, rounded up to the nearest minute. You can activate the power of the weapon as part of the action used to make an attack with it, and it automatically deactivates after 1 minute.
Some weapons that explode or cause critical hit effects allow the target to attempt a saving throw. The DC of such a saving throw is typically equal to 10 + half the weapon’s item level + one of your ability modifiers. Unless stated otherwise, the ability modifier corresponds to the ability score you’d normally use to make an attack with that weapon (Dexterity for a ranged or thrown weapon, and Strength for a melee weapon). Any penalty you would normally take to your weapon attack roll also applies to this DC, including penalties from the weapon’s range increment.
As with ranged weapons, you can recharge the battery of a powered melee weapon using a generator or a recharging station, or you can purchase new batteries for it. If you try to attack with a powered weapon that’s out of charges, it functions as an improvised weapon.
You can reload this weapon as part of the same action as firing it, instead of taking a move action to reload.
Only melee weapons can have the reach special property. Wielding a weapon with reach gives you 10 feet of reach for attacks with that weapon. See Reach and Threatened Squares for more information.
Weapons with the sniper special property can be fired accurately at very long ranges if aimed properly. If you aim the weapon as a move action and then fire it on the same turn, use the value listed with the sniper special property as the weapon’s range increment. You can still fire a sniper weapon as normal, but it has only the range listed under its normal range entry when you do.
You can set a weapon with the stun special property to stun Mode (or reset it to normal Mode) as a move action. While in stun Mode, all the weapon’s attacks are nonlethal.
Ranged weapons that must be thrown and melee weapons that can be thrown as a ranged attack have the thrown special property. You apply your Strength modifier to damage rolls for thrown attacks. After you throw a weapon, it lands near your target and you must recover it if you want to attack with it again.
When you attempt a trip combat maneuver while wielding a weapon with this property, you gain a +2 bonus to your attack roll.
Weapons with the unwieldy special property are large and awkward, can’t be fired without cooling down first, or are otherwise difficult to use with repeated attacks. You can’t use an unwieldy weapon as part of a full attack (or any other action in which you could make multiple attacks), you can’t attack with it more than once per round, and you can’t use it to make an attack of opportunity.
An antibiological weapon damages only living targets. Objects and creatures with the unliving special quality, such as robots and undead, are immune to its effects.
When an aurora weapon strikes a target, the creature glows with a soft luminescence for 1 minute. This negates invisibility effects and makes it impossible for the target to gain concealment from or hide in areas of shadow or darkness.
A breach weapon is specifically designed to apply sudden force to doors and walls in an effort to break them. If you are trained in Engineering, as a full action you can use a breach weapon against an adjacent stationary door or wall, or at the GM’s discretion, against a similar adjacent object. An attack with the weapon expends ammunition as normal, but instead of making an attack roll, you attempt a Strength check against the object’s break DC (Core Rulebook 408) and add the breach weapon’s item level to the check.
A breakdown weapon can be taken apart into multiple small pieces. While broken down, the weapon is treated as especially small or easy to hide for the purpose of Sleight of Hand’s hide object task and can fit into spaces that can typically hold only items of light bulk (including a ysoki’s cheek pouches). It takes 1 minute to take apart or reassemble a breakdown weapon.
A cluster weapon is a form of grenade launcher that can fire a single grenade or (if loaded with appropriate grenades) can expend two identical grenades as a single attack. In the latter case, the grenades act as a single grenade of the same type (with a single attack roll, dealing damage only once, and so on), except its radius is increased by the listed amount listed and the save DC of any effects created by the grenade is calculated using the cluster weapon’s item level if it is higher than the grenade’s item level. Attempting to fire two nonidentical grenades results in an error code and the weapon does not fire.
A weapon with the conceal special property is considered especially small or easy to hide for purposes of Sleight of Hand’s hide object task, granting you a +4 circumstance bonus to skill checks to hide object.
The target of a weapon with the deconstruct special property takes the listed amount of acid damage every round until the target succeeds at a Reflex save to end the damage. This functions as the burning condition, except as noted and that the ongoing damage is also ended if the target takes any amount of electricity damage.
A weapon with the deflect special property generates both an energy and a kinetic effect, which allows you to use it with the Deflect Projectiles feat (if you have it) to counter both kinetic and energy ranged attacks.
A double weapon has two different weapons placed end to end so you can attack with either easily without changing your grip. For the purpose of the Multi-Weapon Fighting feat, a double weapon is treated as two or more operative melee weapons. A double weapon is not treated as an operative weapon for any other purpose unless it has the operative weapon special property.
Some double weapons have ends that deal different damage types. When making a single attack with such a weapon, you can choose which damage type to deal, but if you make more than one attack in the same round, at least one of those attacks must be made with the second damage type. The weapon category of a double weapon that deals more than one damage type is based on the first damage type listed. If its second damage type causes it to be considered a different weapon category when dealing that damage, that category is listed in parentheses. For example, a double weapon in the flame category that deals 1d6 fire damage or 1d6 cold damage lists “double (cryo)” to indicate that when it is used to deal cold damage, it is treated as a weapon in the cryo category.
When a weapon with the drain charge weapon special property hits an enemy that has a natural attack that deals electricity damage (an attack not dependent on armor upgrades, spells, spell-like abilities, or carried weapons or equipment), it siphons off some of that target’s inherent electricity and regains the number of charges listed in the weapon’s usage entry.
An echo weapon establishes a lingering sonic resonance within a target. A creature with blindsense or blindsight (vibration or sound) can detect a target hit by an echo weapon at a distance of up to 10 × its normal range. This does not grant blindsense or blindsight to creatures that do not already have this ability.
You can expend all remaining charges of this weapon (even if it has only a single charge or use) as a swift action to remove the burning condition from yourself or an adjacent creature, or to quench the flames in 1 square. If the weapon affects an area, it extinguishes all flames in that area (including ending the burning condition for all targets fully within the area). Extinguishing flames does not prevent the area from catching fire again, especially if flames survive nearby.
Fiery ammunition bursts into glowing embers when fired. While this is not enough to change its normal damage to fire damage, any extra damage from a critical hit is considered fire damage and the weapon deals half damage to targets that take half damage from energy attacks but no damage from kinetic attacks (such as incorporeal creatures) and counts as a weapon with the explode special property against creatures with swarm defenses. If fiery ammunition is used in a weapon that already deals half fire damage (such as a weapon with the flaming weapon fusion), on a critical hit, all the damage dealt is fire damage. At the GM’s discretion, fiery ammunition can set extremely flammable materials on fire, such as oil-soaked rags or dry tinder.
A weapon with the first arc special property always generates an electrical arc, per the critical hit effect, whenever it hits a target.
A flexible weapon generates lines of effect at a distance from the user. Choose two points, both of which must be within the weapon’s first range increment. The weapon’s effect extends from one point to the other. Other than this placement, resolve the attack per the line weapon special property.
A force weapon is treated as having the force descriptor, which can cause it to interact differently with some targets (as defined by the targets’ special rules). Force weapons deal kinetic damage but still target EAC.
A free hands weapon is unbalanced or otherwise awkward to use. This difficulty in using the weapon can be negated by moving the listed number of hands that are not holding anything or being used for any other purpose as counterweights. You wield a free hands weapon using the normal number of hands, but if you have the listed number of free hands available while wielding it, the weapon is not considered unwieldy. For example, a kasatha wielding a flame spinner in two of her hands while her other two hands remain empty treats the weapon as though it does not have the unwieldy weapon special property.
A fueled weapon has an integrated petrol tank and must be activated to function properly. This works like the powered weapon special property, except it uses petrol as a fuel source instead of a battery. Unlike a battery, petrol is permanently expended upon use and must be purchased rather than recharged.
When wielding a grapple weapon, you can use it to perform a grapple combat maneuver without having your hands free. When you do so, you gain a +2 bonus to the attack roll, and if you roll a natural 20 on the attack roll, you apply the weapon’s critical hit effect (if any) to the target.
When you hit a target with a gravitation weapon, you can move that target the listed distance either toward you or away from you unless it succeeds at a Reflex save (DC = 10 + 1/2 weapon’s item level + your Dexterity bonus). If this movement would cause the target to move through a wall, object, or another barrier, the target creature stops moving, but it does not fall prone or take damage. If the movement would push the target off a cliff, into a trap, or otherwise move it into an area of obvious danger, the target must succeed at a second Reflex saving throw to stop its movement or be moved into the dangerous space. Movement caused by a gravitation weapon does not trigger attacks of opportunity.
A guided weapon uses a signal along with wireless telemetry, magnetic guidance, or another means of guiding its payload after the weapon has been fired. When you take a move action to aim the weapon and then fire it on the same turn (including doing so with a sniper weapon), your target does not gain the bonus to AC provided by cover, partial cover, or soft cover. Improved cover and total cover still confer their bonuses normally.
A harrying weapon produces exceptionally distracting bursts of fire. When you take the harrying fire action with this weapon, you gain a +2 insight bonus to your attack roll.
A holy water weapon is infused with the blessings of one or more good-aligned deities (most commonly Hylax, Iomedae, or Sarenrae within the Pact Worlds, though devoted followers of any good-aligned deity could create such weapons). It damages only undead (regardless of alignment) and outsiders with the evil subtype, and even those creatures suffer no effect (and show no sign of their nature if it is not already obvious) with a successful saving throw. Crafting a holy water grenade requires the blessing of formally trained priests of a good deity, though a character of any alignment can do the actual crafting.
Weapons with the ignite special property use an accelerant to start small, intense fires on their targets. A target hit by a weapon with this special property must succeed at a Reflex save (DC = 20 + 1/2 the item’s level + your Dexterity bonus) or gains the burning condition (Core Rulebook 273) with the listed amount of damage. Gaining the burning condition multiple times from the ignite special property does not increase your burning damage—you take only the highest listed ignite damage each round. A character who gains the burning condition through other means (such as the burn critical effect, even from a weapon with ignite) does add that damage to her burning damage each round. Ending the burning condition ends burning from all sources.
An indirect weapon uses a wireless signal along with a multistage firing system, internal telemetry, bimetallic fluctuation, magnetic guidance, or some other system to make it appear as if a shot from the weapon had been fired from a different location. This reduces the penalty to Stealth checks for sniping by 10.
An integrated weapon can be wielded normally or installed in an armor upgrade slot. When properly installed, the weapon is considered to be wielded without needing to assign a number of hands to wield it. An integrated weapon requires the listed number of armor slots for proper installation. An android or any other creature with the upgrade slot racial ability cannot combine its racial upgrade slot with armor upgrade slots to install an integrated weapon. Installing, removing, or replacing an integrated weapon in a suit of armor takes 10 minutes, as if it were an armor upgrade.
Unlike simpler forms of biotech, a living weapon is not just organic material—it’s actually a simple living organism. The core function of a living weapon is based on the same scientific principles as manufactured weapons, but come about as part of its natural development and body function.
A living weapon can be affected by spells that target creatures, though it is mindless, incapable of independent action, and has no ability scores other than Constitution (which is always equal to its item level). It is subject to poisons and diseases, though it does not need to breath and is always protected as well as a creature with active environmental protection from armor. If it is forced to make a saving throw, its save bonus is always equal to its item level. If it suffers a condition that would normally cause it to take a penalty to attacks, damage, or save DCs, those penalties apply to any attack or effect created with it. Living weapons “eat” by absorbing part of the charges or fuel (or energy from some other form of ammunition) when fired. They do not sleep or breathe, cannot communicate in any way, are immune to pain effects due to their incredibly simple nervous systems, and are mindless.
A mind-affecting weapon affects only creatures with minds; targets that are immune to mind-affecting effects are immune to this weapon. The damage from mind-affecting weapons is normally untyped, in which case it is affected by the same things that affect damage from the spell mind thrust. For example, if a creature was immune to mind thrust, it would also be immune to untyped damage from a mind-affecting weapon.
A weapon with the mine special property is able to modify the ammunition fired from it to delay the detonation of its ordnance. Ammunition fired from this weapon (typically a grenade or mini-rocket) lands at the target grid intersection intact, detonating only when a creature moves into an adjacent square, or automatically detonating after 1d6+1 rounds have passed.
A mire weapon has a defined area (generally a radius) that it temporarily turns into difficult terrain. Only a surface can be turned into difficult terrain (you can’t use a mire weapon to create difficult terrain in midair, for example), and the difficult terrain affects only the climb speed and land speed of creatures in the area.
A modal weapon can be toggled to deal different types of damage, with the options listed in the weapon’s damage entry. The weapon can deal only one type of damage at a time; changing the weapon’s mode to deal another damage type requires a move action. The weapon category of a modal weapon is based on the first damage type listed. If its second damage type causes it to be considered a different category of weapon when dealing that damage, that category is listed in parentheses. For example, a modal weapon in the flame category that deals 1d6 fire damage or 1d6 cold damage lists “modal (cryo)” to indicate that when it is used to deal cold damage, it is treated as a weapon in the cryo category.
A weapon with the polarize special property briefly builds up a polarized charge in a target. When striking a target multiple times with a weapon with the polarize special property in the same round, damage from each such strike after the first is increased by the listed amount. This resets at the beginning of your next turn.
A professional weapon is a tool used in a specialized trade that nevertheless has tremendous damaging potential. When using a professional weapon, you gain a +2 insight bonus to checks with the listed Profession skill (or to checks with similar skills that could reasonably use that weapon as part of the profession, subject to the GM’s discretion). If you have a number of ranks in the listed Profession skill equal to the item level, you are considered proficient with that weapon, even if you would not normally be. This proficiency never counts toward prerequisites of any kind.
A radioactive weapon contains unstable radioactive components. When the wielder rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll, she is exposed to dangerous radiation and must succeed at a Fortitude save or be inflicted with radiation sickness. (For radioactive blast weapons, the user must attempt a Fortitude save if any of the attacks are a natural 1). This is considered a low level of radiation. The DCs for this save and the disease are each equal to the weapon’s critical hit DC.
A recall weapon is keyed to a wristband or another small device worn by the wearer (which does not count against the maximum of two worn magic or hybrid items). If you throw a recall weapon and your attack misses, the weapon returns to you at the end of your turn.
A weapon with the shape special property has a complex targeting array that allows it to target specified areas. If you make a single attack as a full action with such a weapon, you can exclude the listed number of squares from within this weapon’s area of effect. This means you can avoid shooting an ally in the area of a blast weapon’s effect, for example.
A few melee weapons can be loaded with scattergun shells to create a powerful close-range, one-shot attack. A weapon with the shell special property lists its capacity and usage value. Unlike charges for powered melee weapons, this usage is per attack.
A shield weapon encapsulates the target in a short-term force field. This force field lasts until the start of your next turn or until it has absorbed the listed amount of damage, whichever occurs first. A force field originating from a shield weapon blocks only incoming damage; it does not interfere in any way with the target’s weapons or attacks. You can’t use a shield projector to target yourself.
A subtle weapon fires either very small ordnance or otherwise generates a nearly imperceptible discharge that even the target may not be aware of. A target hit by a subtle weapon must succeed at a Perception check with a DC equal to 15 + 1-1/2 the weapon’s item level or it doesn’t realize it has been struck. The target notices other effects conveyed by a subtle weapon, such as an injected substance, as normal. For example, you might use a subtle weapon to inject a target with a poison with an onset delay; the target may not realize it has been hit by the dart, but it would notice the effects of the poison once it took effect.
If you have a tail (or similar taillike appendage), you can wear a weapon with the tail weapon special property on your tail, rather than wield it in your hand. Attaching or removing a tail weapon is a full action, and once it’s installed, you wield the weapon without using your hands.
A thought weapon can be fully or partially controlled via telepathy. If you have the telepathy or limited telepathy racial trait, are benefiting from a telepathy spell, are wearing a mindlink circlet, or have a similar ability, you ignore the weapon’s unwieldy weapon special property.
A throttle weapon deals damage only when it is used to grapple a foe, automatically dealing damage with every successful grapple combat maneuver. These are considered attacks for abilities that can increase a weapon’s damage (such as trick attack). All throttle weapons are also grapple weapons. While a target is successfully being grappled with a throttle weapon, it cannot use its airways to speak or make vocalizations of any kind (though other forms of making noise work normally).
A weapon with the variant boost special property acts as a weapon with the boost special property, except boosting the weapon does not expend additional charges and the weapon can be boosted only the listed number of times per day.
A wide line weapon functions as a weapon with the line weapon special property, except the line is 10 feet wide. When determining the squares that are in the path of a line, note which squares that line would normally pass through, and extend the area to one side of the line (your choice) so that the line is 2 squares wide. For an obstacle to block the path of a line, it must block the line’s full width; otherwise, the line continues (at full width) beyond the obstacle.
Weapon Special Property and Critical Hit DCs
Some weapons that explode or cause critical hit effects (see page 182) allow the target to attempt a saving throw. The DC of such a saving throw is typically equal to 10 + half the weapon’s item level + one of your ability modifiers. Unless stated otherwise, the ability modifier corresponds to the ability score you’d normally use to make an attack with that weapon (Dexterity for a ranged or thrown weapon, and Strength for a melee weapon). Any penalty you would normally take to your weapon attack roll also applies to this DC, including penalties from the weapon’s range increment.