Starfinder Weapons

An adventurer’s weapon can be all that stands between them and death. Weapons primarily deal damage, and some have additional special properties. Some weapons also cause special critical hit effects.

Holding and Wielding Weapons

Melee weapons are categorized by how many hands are required to properly wield them. For ranged weapons, all small arms require one hand, longarms and heavy weapons require two hands, and special weapons are categorized by the number of hands required to wield them.

You can attack with a weapon (or threaten an area with it, for all melee weapons except unarmed strikes) only if you are wielding it with the correct number of hands. When the rules refer to wielding a weapon, it means you are holding a weapon with the correct number of hands and can thus make attacks with it. For example, if you are holding a small arm in your hand, you are considered to be wielding the weapon. If you are carrying a longarm in one hand or wearing a holstered weapon, you are not wielding it. You can carry a two-handed weapon in one hand, but you can’t make an attack with it while doing so.

Changing how you hold a weapon is a swift action. You are only considered to have as many hands as your race has actual functional hands or similar appendages (two for most races, but four in the case of kasathas and some other characters). Even if you could hold two weapons in the same hand, you can’t use the hand to wield both weapons. For example, a human with a power battleglove on one hand can still make ranged attacks with a longarm, but he can’t make melee attacks (and thus does not threaten any spaces) while doing so. As a swift action, the human can switch to hold his longarm with only one hand, allowing him to make attacks with the battleglove, but while doing so he can’t make longarm attacks.

Weapon Sizes

Weapons are built to be easily held and used by both Small and Medium creatures. Weapons can be built for use by smaller creatures but generally cost twice as much (since they require special miniaturization technology). Weapons can also be built for use by larger creatures with no increase in price. A Small or Medium creature trying to use a weapon built for a creature that is Tiny or Large su ers a –4 penalty to attack rolls. Weapons designed for creatures Diminutive or smaller, or Huge or larger, generally cannot be effectively used by Small or Medium creatures.


Weapons often employ electrical charges (typically stored in batteries), cartridges of ammunition, or individual missiles. A weapon’s capacity measures what size battery it uses or the number of cartridges it can hold, and its usage is how much ammunition it uses with each attack. You can use launchers to re their corresponding missiles, which must be loaded individually. Reloading a weapon or inserting a new battery (including ejecting a spent cartridge or battery if necessary) takes a move action.

Weapons that use standard ammunition (arrows, charges, darts, mini-rockets, petrol, rounds, scattergun shells, etc.) are sold preloaded. For weapons with other forms of ammunition (such as grenades), ammunition must be purchased separately.


This type of ammunition includes bullets (often called rounds or shells), bolts, darts, mini-rockets, pellets, and other physical projectiles with any necessary casing and propellant. Cartridges are typically either contained in a multi-cartridge magazine or loaded into the weapon individually; a weapon is assumed to come with enough magazines that you can load spare ones for reloading the weapon in battle. If you buy more cartridges than can be held in a single magazine of your weapon, the purchase includes additional magazines of the same capacity, up to the number needed to fit all your cartridges into magazines. The same rules apply to petrol for flame weapons.

Rounds are standardized by weapon type. For example, small arms all use the same size of round, but you can’t use a small arm round in a longarm. Most projectile weapons are one cartridge per attack unless they have special ring modes that shoot multiple cartridges in a short time.


This ammunition powers energy or projectile weapons using charges stored in batteries. Since each energy weapon varies in intensity, stronger weapons use up more charges per shot. You can restore a weapon’s charges by attaching it to a generator or a recharging station and thereby recharging its battery, or by swapping out its battery for another fully charged battery.

Recharging a weapon’s battery from a generator takes 1 minute per charge restored, and using a recharging station takes 1 round per charge, but swapping out a battery takes only a move action. Most batteries can hold 20 charges, but some high-capacity versions made of rare materials can hold more.

A weapon’s battery cannot be recharged to hold more charges than its capacity. A weapon that holds a high-capacity battery still works when a lower-capacity battery is inserted into it, but if a battery has fewer charges remaining than the minimum number required to fire a shot, the weapon doesn’t fire.

In addition to weapons, batteries can be used to power a wide array of items, including powered armor and technological items.


This special ammunition is loaded and fired one at a time, and it includes arrows and explosive rounds fired from launchers. Some weapons that fire missiles have the quick reload special property, allowing you to draw the ammunition and fire it as part of your attack or attacks. Attacks with missile weapons often have the explode special property.

Improvised Weapons

If you’re using an object that wasn’t meant to be used as a weapon, treat it as a club. You don’t add your Weapon Specialization bonus damage (if any) when attacking with an improvised weapon. At the GM’s discretion, the object might deal a different type of damage or not be treated as archaic, and in rare cases a GM might decide a nonweapon functions as a special weapon (such as an industrial grinder functioning as a fangblade). In such cases, attacks with the weapon take a –4 penalty to the attack roll because of the awkward nature of attacking with something designed for another purpose.

Targeting Armor Class

Whether you compare an attack roll to the target’s Energy Armor Class (EAC) or Kinetic Armor Class (KAC) depends on the type of damage the weapon deals. In rare cases, a weapon’s damage type can be magically altered with weapon fusions, but this never changes whether a weapon targets EAC or KAC.

If the weapon deals only energy damage, the attack targets EAC. Energy damage generally includes acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic damage, though it also potentially includes magical or exotic untyped energies.

If the weapon deals only kinetic damage, or if it deals both energy and kinetic damage, the attack targets KAC. Kinetic damage generally comes from attacks that deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as well as damage from crushing, constriction, or the impact from falling.

Weapon Damage

The energy and kinetic damage types are described below, including the abbreviations for each that appear in the weapon tables in this chapter. Weapons that deal multiple types of damage have an ampersand between the types (such as “B & E” for a weapon that deals bludgeoning and electricity damage). For such weapons, half the damage dealt is one type, and half is the other (if the damage done is an odd number, select one damage type to round up, rounding down the other damage type normally).

Energy Damage

The following types of damage are energy damage. Other, rare forms of energy damage exist, and such weapons specify whether they target EAC in their descriptions.

Kinetic Damage

The following are types of kinetic damage.

Weapon Types

The weapons on the following tables are grouped into types, and they are further divided into categories within each type. Most weapons belong to both a weapon type and a weapon category. For example, a zero pistol is both a small arm and a cryo weapon.

Weapons of the same type are of similar size and have similar mechanical properties. Weapon types include basic melee, advanced melee, small arms, longarms, heavy weapons, sniper weapons, grenades, and special weapons. Ammunition and solarian weapon crystals are also listed here.

Weapon Categories: Weapons fall into subgroups that indicate how a given weapon deals damage. Weapon categories include cryo weapons, flame weapons, laser weapons, plasma weapons, projectile weapons, shock weapons, and sonic weapons. When a weapon doesn’t fall into a special category, it is listed in the weapon tables as an uncategorized weapon.

Basic Melee

Any handheld weapon that must touch a target to deal damage is considered a melee weapon. Basic melee weapons can be easily used by almost anyone and generally require no special training. While basic melee weapons deal less damage than more sophisticated weapons of the same item level, they have the advantage of not usually requiring power sources and operating under almost any conditions. Basic melee weapons are divided into one-handed and two-handed weapons.

Advanced Melee

Any handheld weapon that must touch a target to damage it is considered a melee weapon. Advanced melee weapons require a degree of training and skill to use properly. Advanced melee weapons are divided into one-handed and two-handed weapons.

Small Arms

Small arms are handheld ranged weapons that can be held and operated with one hand. Various pistols are the most common type, though many types of small arms exist. Small arms require a battery or ammunition of the proper size and type to function.


Longarms are handheld, long-ranged weapons that must be held and operated with two hands. Various ri es are the most common type, though many types of longarms exist. Some longarms support automatic re as well. Longarms require a battery or ammunition of the proper size and type to function.

Heavy Weapons

Heavy weapons are military-grade, high-damage weapons that require specialized training to use. Heavy weapons are difficult to hold steadily and aim accurately, and they thus require a minimum Strength score to use to their full potential. Heavy weapons must be held and operated with two hands, and they require a battery or ammunition of the proper size and type to function.

Minimum Strength: The minimum Strength score is 12 for 1st- through 10th-level heavy weapons and 14 for 11th-level and higher heavy weapons. A character using a heavy weapon without the appropriate minimum Strength takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls with that weapon.

Sniper Weapons

Sniper weapons are handheld, long-ranged weapons that must be held and operated with two hands. They are similar to long arms, but they are designed to emphasize range and accuracy, even if this requires some sacri ce in damage potential. Sniper weapons require a battery or ammunition of the proper size and type to function.

Special Weapons

Special weapons resist classi cation into any other category. Some adventurers favor special weapons for the abilities they o er or for their unique beauty.

Ammunition and Grenades

Ammunition includes standard items (such as batteries that can replenish charged weapons), small arm and longarm rounds, and special units such as grenade arrows and missiles. Grenades are a special type of thrown weapon that can deal a variety of types of damage as well as create special hindering effects.

Solarian Weapon Crystals

A solarian weapon crystal adds damage to a solarian’s solar weapon. The solarian can place the crystal inside his mote as a standard action. While within a mote, a crystal applies its e ects any time that mote is in a solar weapon form. A crystal within a mote can’t be interacted with in any way other than via abilities that speci cally target a mote. The solarian can remove the crystal from his mote as a standard action, and the crystal falls loose if the mote is deactivated in any way. A solarian can’t have more than one crystal in his mote at a given time.

A solarian weapon crystal doesn’t give a solarian the option to create a solar weapon if he did not choose that option for his solar manifestation. Most weapon crystals increase the amount of damage attacks with the solar weapon deal. This increased damage is normally the same type of damage the solarian weapon deals (typically bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing). If a solarian crystal’s damage entry lists an abbreviation after the damage, however, the additional damage the solar weapon deals is of the indicated type.

Even if a solarian weapon crystal’s extra damage is a type of energy damage, attacks with the solar weapon still target KAC, not EAC. If a solarian crystal lists a critical e ect, that critical e ect applies to any critical hit the solar weapon makes while the solarian crystal is within the solarian’s mote.

For example, a solarian with a minor photon crystal and a base solar weapon damage of 2d6 deals 2d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, plus 1d6 re damage, on a hit with his solar weapon.

A solarian weapon crystal is a hybrid item that blends magic and technology. When a weapon crystal is within a mote and the solarian uses the mote in solar weapon form, the solar weapon is considered magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Broken Solarian Crystals: Broken Solarian Crystals: If a solarian weapon crystal with the broken condition is inside a solarian’s solar mote, the solarian takes a –2 penalty to attack and damage rolls with the solar weapon, and the solar weapon can’t deal extra critical e ects. Both e ects last until the crystal is repaired. As hybrid items, solarian crystals can be repaired using the make whole or mending spells, or with the Engineering or Mysticism skills, as described in Skills.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Starfinder Core Rulebook © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Jason Keeley, Robert G. McCreary, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mark Seifter, Owen K.C. Stephens, and James L. Sutter, with Alexander Augunas, Judy Bauer, John Compton, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, Lissa Guillet, Thurston Hillman, Erik Mona, Mark Moreland, Jessica Price, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber E. Scott, and Josh Vogt.