Ehdrigohr Gear: Spears

This is a series of articles from gear related items. It’s coming partly from stuff that I took out of the book because it was proving troublesome bringing it over to Fate Core from the original version of the rules which were being written from older, more crunchy versions of the Fate system. It’s also partly meant to be the space to dig down on things like spirit towers and items of mystery.

The first few passes will be focusing in on weapons.

I realize a lot of people really enjoy the more tactical feeling and flavor individual weapons and such give a game. This was intended for the core book but the book was getting too big already and these rules were still a bit clunky. So I thought I’d revise it a bit and put an experimental version of it out for people to play with. I’ll do one category of weapons at a time. It’s important to stress that this is all experimental and the standard was of playing with important weapons as aspects or stunts remains valid. At some point I’ll collect all of these article in an illustrated and more detailed book.

In most cases gear is something that effectively provides a temporary aspect that the player can invoke for free. It doesn’t get any stat or such things as what it can do will typically be dictated by the player in narrative when it gets used. Some effects are more or less convenient or powerful. This is reflected in their Cost. It’s one thing for a player to declare they have rope to use for climbing, it’s completely another thing for them to announce they have boots blessed by the winds that let him leap to the top of the wall.

Generally a piece of gear has one free use. This use can be passed from one character to another. Much like I can hand you a length of rope. Once the free use is gone, assuming the item isn’t perishable, the player can invoke it again if needed by creating an advantage or by paying a FATE point.


Generally weapons are gear that can be used in combat and have a bit more detail attributed to them. The weapons are normally grouped by category for the weapons skills (swords, spears, knives, axes, staff, whip-like, flails, thrown, bows, slings, crossbows, and contraptions). I’m going to be grouping them together in broader categories for the purposes of getting through these articles. The categories I’ll be using initially are blades, spears, clubs, axes, flexible, and ranged. While there may be some crossover most weapons have a primary purpose and belong to a category.  Knives, for example, are blades even though they may be used at range.

All weapons have the following attributes:

  • Control: This is a rating of how easy it is to use a particular weapon. This subtracts from the overall attack result. Persons without training in the weapons skill will often find their attacks in the negative
  • Stress Rating: This is a bonus added to the stress done by successful attacks
  • Range: This is the maximum range that a weapon can normally be used at. If a weapon lacks a range then it is assumed to be personal. Such weapons can only be used in the same zone. Attempts to use a personal weapon at range suffer a -2 penalty. (NOTE: Only range weapons will have a ranged score).
  • Special Qualities: These are conditions, advantages, and effects that can be brought into effect by the use of that weapon.
  • Consequences: The types of special consequences the weapon allows. If an attacker succeeds with style on an attack, and causes a consequence, she may opt to choose the consequence she inflicts. The defender can counter this with the expenditure of a FATE point.
  • Consequence types: When defining the description of a consequence using this weapon players can choose a description that falls into one of these areas: Crushing, Chopping, Piercing, Slashing, Binding, Unbalancing. This is important because you can designate certain armors or creatures to be resistant or immune to certain consequence types making certain weapons less effective against them.
  • Resource Cost: This is the difficulty of a resource check to obtain a normal version of said item. For more ornate versions increase the cost by one level. If the item is expected to be empowered by the mysteries in any way, have a higher power level, or be made of a special material, increase the resource check as is appropriate to your game.


Spears are the defacto weapon of most warriors of the wild. Because of all the hazards that exist as you grow further away from civilization weapons with greater utility become more sought after.

Craftsmen and warriors take great pride in their spears, often carving and painting ornate histories into the shaft and blades of a spear. The Crow’s lance is often seen as the epitome of this practice where the lance itself is an incredible multi-tool that is built by the crow’s flock and family for him with painstaking detail and artistry.

Spears, especially ornate spears, engender respect from the people. Someone who carries an ornate spear, or the spear of a recognized order, will be looked upon favorable by most people. This does however come along with the problem that people take note of you, come to you seeking help, or expect better behavior from you than others.

Spears beyond the standard spear are detailed further.


Spears Stress Control Qualities Consequences Cost
Crow’s lance 3 -2 Pierce, slash Great
Owl’s spade 2 0 Talisman Slash, crush Great
Short spear 1 0 Pierce, slash, crush Mediocre
Spider spear 1 -1 Retrieve Pierce Average
Long spear 2 -1 Clear Pierce Mediocre
Footlance 1 0 Set pierce Average
Mounted lance 3 -1 charge Pierce Fair
Reed lance 1 -2 snap Slash, pierce Fair

Crow’s Lance: A dangerous two headed spear that allows those trained in it’s use to bring an almost relentless barrage of attacks to a target. The blades are extra sharp and do greater damage from the momentum of the properly twirled weapon.

Owl’s Spade: A long handled polearm with a heavy shovel like blade at the business end.  These weapons are specially made by each Owl to serve as a focus in their use of the mysteries.  An Owl can create an advantage called talisman by using the spade in a that allows him to focus energies through it.

Spider Spear: This short harpoon-like spear has a hooked point and a chain or special braided attached to it that allows the wielder to slow or catch prey that it’s thrown at. After succeeding with style on a thrown attack the  wielder can create an advantage called “caught” that they can use to try to move an opponent 1 zone toward them or create a fair barrier to stop them from moving for one exchange.

Footlance: A long heavy spear. The spear is specially made to withstand a charge. A user can create the advantage “Set” which can be invoked to do 2 extra stress to a target that is hit by it.

Mounted lance: A heavy spear meant to be used from the back of a mount. When mounted, the user can create the advantage “Charge” that can be invoked on a hit to do +2 stress.

Reed Lance: This long spear is made from specially treated bamboos and other reed grasses. It is a surprisingly flexible weapon that bends and sways with every motion.  Users can take advantage of the hyper-flexible nature of the spear and create and advantage called “snap” where they are able to twirl the spear in such a way that is snaps back for a super swift, hard to avoid attack.

The next time we’ll take a look at Blades and Axes.

Allen Turner

Writer, Storyteller, Game designer, Teacher, Dad, Table-top RPG geek. I'm just a dude who likes to share my wild imaginings. Follow me on Twitter @CouncilOfFools


  1. Looking forward to more!! What an exciting series. I’ve read your Line In The Snow entries & I’m transfixed. Would you consider writing a novel taking place in this world? Or even an e-novel? Short story? It is. SO GOOD. Spreading the word every chance I get & having a game in a couple months. All the best to you

    • Thank you for the good words. The intention of the line in the snow stuff is that I will eventually gather it all together and push it out as a single novel. There is more coming. I’ll be taking short sojourn off the grid so I can get as much of this out of my head as possible. I want to get the next piece done before school starts up again.

  2. heya, love the game. planning on playing it for the first time soon.

    anyway, is there a mechanical difference between weapon’s control and stress rating? does one add to rolls while the other subtracts?

    • Hi Seraph,

      Mechanically, control adds or subtracts to the difficulty of using the weapon skill for that type of weapon in a maneuver. Its something that can be offset by creating a specialization stunt for that weapon. Stress is additional stress it does when a hit is actually scored. So a weapon that does +0 stress only gives the stress that is in excess of the actual strike roll. A +1 stress weapon would add +1 to that. A -1 stress weapon would reduce that stress (and yes it could reduce it to 0 which would cause the weapon to do no damage but still be considered a hit for purposes of any carrier effects that require contact).

      • ok, got it. thanks for the reply.

        this seems similar to how skill ratings and power levels work (though i may not understand that concept): skill ratings and control affect the odds of a hit while power levels and stress modify the result of a hit. is this correct?

        • Yes. Basic roll + skill determine if you succeed, and basic stress from that success. Stress adjustments from weapons modify that. Power levels can affect both. If the power levels are on your defense then they’ll reduce the chance of you being hit and the stress that you take. If they are on your attack then they’ll affect your ability to hit and the resultant stress. Power levels also add secondary effects that might modify the scene.

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