AGE Dragon Age Game Design

Hacking AGE – Weapons

The Dragon Age RPG includes the stats for the majority of standard quasi-European fantasy weapons, but I’m looking at expanding the list a bit to include weapons from both African and East Asian cultures.


Weapon Group

Each weapon belongs to a weapon group that is a broad set of weapons such as Axes or Heavy Blades. Characters who are not trained in a weapon group take a -2 penalty on attack rolls, inflict half damage, and also cut range in half for ranged weapons. In addition, a weapon’s group determines whether Strength or Dexterity is used for attack rolls with the weapon.

Set 1 of the Dragon Age RPG included the following weapon groups: Axes (Strength), Bludgeons (Strength), Bows (Dexterity), Brawling (Dexterity), Heavy Blades (Strength), Light Blades (Dexterity), Spears (Strength), and Staves (Dexterity). Sets 2 and the Set 3 playtest introduced a few additional groups: Dueling (Dexterity), Lances (Strength), and Polearms (Strength).

I’m going to add a couple new weapon groups to cover some of the more exotic weapons, but for the most part I think the existing groups will cover most weapons. Because I’m doing away with classes, which are the primary means for characters to gain weapon groups, I’m planning to get rid of the penalty for using a weapon without training. I also think that I will change some weapon groups, such as Brawling, to allow using either Dexterity or Strength for their attack rolls. Finally, the Dueling group introduced in Set 2 seems like it could easily just get folded into the Light Blades group other than the spiked buckler that could go to Brawling.


Each weapon deals a different amount of damage. The damage values for existing weapons range from 1d3 for an unarmed strike to 3d6 for a two-handed sword.

Damage Min. Mean Max. Weapons
1d3 1 1.5 3 fist
1d3+1 2 2.5 4 gauntlet
1d6-1 0 2.5 5 improvised weapon
1d6 1 3.5 6 club, spiked buckler, throwing knife
1d6+1 2 4.5 7 dagger, jousting lance, main gauche, short bow, quarterstaff
1d6+2 3 5.5 8 short sword, throwing axe
1d6+3 4 6.5 9 light lance, long bow, maul, morningstar, rapier, spear, throwing spear
2d6 2 7 12 battle axe, long sword, mace, military fork, two-handed spear
2d6+1 3 8 13 bastard sword, crossbow, glaive, heavy lance
2d6+2 4 9 14
2d6+3 5 10 15 halberd, two-handed maul
3d6 3 10.5 18 two-handed axe, two-handed sword

An important thing to keep in mind with damage values for weapons is that armor works as damage reduction in the AGE system. A character wearing armor will reduce damage by anywhere from 3 (light leather) to 10 (heavy plate). That tends to mean that high damage weapons can be critical for being able to harm opponents rather than being stuck with 0-damage hits.

Minimum Strength

Heavy weapons include a minimum Strength score that a character must have to use the weapon effectively. If a character doesn’t meet the Strength requirement, then the weapon’s damage is reduced to 1d6-1. The minimum Strength rating for weapons can be as high as 3.

Because I’m planning to get rid of most ability score advancement, I think that I’ll have to either reduce the minimum Strength values or get rid of them altogether. The first thing I’ll probably test is reducing minimum strength values by 1 across the board to make it easier for starting characters to be able to qualify to use heavy weapons.

Ranged Weapons

Ranged weapons include a few additional statistics. Each ranged weapon has a short range and a long range. Attacks at up to short range are made normally. Attacks out to long range are still possible, but they take a -2 penalty on the attack roll. In addition to range values, ranged weapons also have a reload time. Most weapons take a minor action to reload, or draw a new one in the case of thrown weapons, but crossbows instead take a major action.

Other Weapon Attributes

Outside of the main weapon stats, a few weapons have additional special rules. Some weapons require 2 hands to wield. A Spiked Buckler gives a +1 bonus to Defense against melee attacks. Lances can only be used effectively from horseback and get demoted to improvised weapons otherwise.

I will likely increase the number of special rules in order to provide a bit more differentiation between weapons. One thing that I’d like to try is adding tags to weapons that talents and stunts can then use as triggers. For example, a chain or whip could have an “entangling” tag and then the disarm and trip stunts could include a reduced cost when using an entangling weapon. I hope that using tags will allow me to avoid having many references to specific weapons in other mechanics so that the weapon list is easier to expand as needed.

Adding Weapons

My current list of weapons to add consists of the following: blowgun, chain whip, flying hammer, sai, three-section staff, throwing club, throwing staff, tiger claw, and whip. Are there any other weapons that you don’t think are covered by the existing Dragon Age RPG weapons and these new ones?

Weapon Group Damage Min. Str. Notes
Blowgun Blowguns 1d3 Short 10 yd; Long 20 yds; Reload – Minor Action
Chain Whip Chains 1d6+2 0 Entangling, Reach
Flying Hammer Chains 2d6+2 2 Entangling, Reach, Two-Handed
Sai Staves 1d6 Parrying, Disarming
Three-Section Staff Chains 1d6+2 -1 Wrapping (can partially negate shield bonuses)
Throwing Club Staves 1d6+1 -1 Short 6 yds; Long 12 yds; Reload – Minor Action
Throwing Staff Staves 1d6+2 0 Short 6 yds; Long 12 yds; Reload – Minor Action
Tiger Claw Brawling 1d6
Whip Whips 1d3+1 Entangling, Reach

All three of the new weapon groups (Blowguns, Chains, and Whips) will use Dexterity for their attack rolls.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

One reply on “Hacking AGE – Weapons”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s