Hand Weapons

Hand Weapons

Sometimes you end up too close, and your gun will put holes in everything but what you’re aiming at. That’s when it’s time for a combat knife and a prayer. Some people actively practice with hand weapons for various reasons, among them simple personal interest. Thus, a number of more sophistication weapons are available.

Science fiction is full of high-tech variations on hand weapons. There are no “photoswords” in Death may Die, or at least not within human technology. You also won’t find energy shields or anything of the sort. It is possible to superheat a weapon, and it will cause searing, but it will also tend to soften, scald, burn, or melt the weapon, so it’s a counterproductive strategy. Vibrating the weapon does little more than make it harder to grip. Although electroshock weapons are available, the advantage of electroshock (nonlethal stun) is rather nullified by serious tissue trauma, not to mention the risk of shocking yourself with your weapon.

Minimum Body

There are two new entries for every hand weapon, One Hand and Two Hands. This functions similarly to Recoil. If your Body isn’t as high as that number, then you’ll wear yourself out wielding it. Claiming an additional 25% cover from an attack using Hand-to-Hand Expert, attempting a counterattack or provoked attack, performing a two-weapon attack, or attempting “following fire” using Hand-to-Hand Expert will cost 1 Body apiece if using this weapon.

If your Body is less than half the listed score (round up), you may not wield that weapon in that way at all. Thus, if the minimum one-handed Body is 14, you cannot wield the weapon one-handed at all if your Body is less than 7. If the two-handed Body is 10, then you cannot wield the weapon under any circumstances if your Body is less than 5.

Weapon Defense, Shields, and Multiple Weapons

There are many “tricks” you can pull to keep yourself defended in close combat. If you’re using a firearm, it can count as a weapon for defensive purposes (and give you 25% cover against close combat attacks).

If you are Ambidextrous, you may make attacks with two melee weapons just as you would with two guns, at the same cost. You may also use that second weapon defensively, even if you don’t have Ambidextrous. This does not cost Attribute Points. This gives you an additional 25% Cover against close combat attacks.

A shield is a special variety of weapon. Bucklers, in fact, function in every way as weapons (and you can punch with them). They provide 25% cover in close combat, just like any other weapon. Medium shields, however, will provide 25% Cover against all attacks, including firearms, provided the defender is aware of them and can hide behind them.

Large shields provide 50% Cover against all attacks (but note that you cannot enjoy more than 75% Cover from a combination of weapons and shields). Large shields are big enough that you can actually Hide behind them. You’ll probably stand out like a sore thumb, but you will gain some significant Cover.

In many RPGs, these large shields are described as mobile siege bulwarks. These are well beyond the scope of what someone would carry into personal combat, although in a gun battle it isn’t a bad idea. These shields are the kinds of things a real person would actually carry.

Weapon Breakage

If you’re claiming Cover from weapons, there’s a chance that an attack will penetrate it, just like a bullet might go through cover. If the attack misses and the Cover die is the highest difficulty die, then the attack will strike the Cover provided it’s higher than every other difficulty element. The weapon’s base Damage Threshold is 15 plus its two-handed Body minimum for Wounded, and +10/+20/+40 for the others as usual.

A Wounded weapon loses some of its weapon quality, and inflicts only half its base damage (round down). A Crippled weapon is seriously distorted, and inflicts only half its penetration damage (round down) in addition to half its base damage. An Incapacitated weapon no longer functions in any weapon-like manner. A Devastated weapon is so thoroughly demolished that its wielder suffers a point of Awe.

Throwing Weapons

The throwing rules are heavily weighted towards throwing grenades, and don’t reflect any other form of thrown weapon. Throwing a grenade is very different from throwing a rock. A grenade needs to be at a specific place at a specific time in order to detonate at the proper location.

A rock needs to get to its target and make impact with its target, but it isn’t operating with a “fuse” and doesn’t generate a “blast” (unless it’s a really big rock). It immediately and automatically deploys its “payload” the moment it makes contact with its target. This is in some ways easier to line up, as you don’t need to get the weapon to the target at a precise moment in time. In some ways it’s harder, since if it lands a few feet off it’s missed.

In these rules, the distance one can throw a weapon is the same. If throwing a classical weapon (and not a grenade), the throw roll must meet or exceed the distance in meters times the weight in kg (round up to the nearest whole difficulty). Thus, if throwing a 0.5 kg knife at a target nine meters away, you have a difficulty of 5. Throwing a 1.2 kg weapon at that same target would have a difficulty of 11.

Because any melee weapon might get thrown, the mass of the weapon is shown in kg.


Weapon Ranges Damage Minimum Body (1h/2h) Mass (kg) Purchase
Arming Sword C1 9+Attacker’s Body x1.5 6/5 1.6 2
Bullwhip C3 4+Attacker’s Body x2 6/5 0.8 1
Cane C1 4+Attacker’s Body x1.5 2/2 0.5 1
Combat Knife C1 5+Attacker’s Body 1/1 0.6 1
Crowbar C1 5+Attacker’s Body x1.5 4/3 1.1 1
Fighting Staff C2 6+Attacker’s Body x2 8/6 1 2
Fire Axe C1 11+Attacker’s Body x1.5 7/6 1.9 3
Katana C1 11+Attacker’s Body x1.5 8/6 1.6 3
Police Baton C1 4+Attacker’s Body x2 2/2 0.6 1
Slapper Glove C1 1+Attacker’s Body 1/1 0.3 1
Buckler C1 4+Attacker’s Body 1/1 0.6 1
Riot Shield* C1 6+Attacker’s Body x1.5 10/8 3.9 1
* This is a medium shield and provides 25% cover against any attack of which the wielder is aware.

Hand Weapons

Death may Die Pneumonica Pneumonica