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Eastern Armor and Weapons

Although most of the weapons in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game take their inspiration from medieval European weaponry and Western fantasy traditions, there's much more to the world of weapons and armor than sword-wielding knights in plate mail. The following section presents rules for armor and weapons drawn from the martial traditions of Asia, perfect for use by exotic characters or as new staples ready to be introduced into your campaign.

Eastern Armor

Many of the following types of armor are constructed of multiple parts, which a number of these armors mix and match. For instance, it is not unheard of for warriors to combine chain mail with four-mirror armor. Only the various types of plate mail would be either rare or unfamiliar in an Asian-inspired setting.

Table: Eastern Armor
ArmorCostArmor
Bonus
Maximum
Dex Bonus
Armor
Check Penalty
Arcane Spell
Failure
Speed
30ft
20ft
Weight
Light Armor
  Haramaki3 gp+100%30 ft.20 ft.1 lb.
  Silken ceremonial armor30 gp+100%30 ft.20 ft.4 lbs.
  Lamellar cuirass15 gp+2+405%30 ft.20 ft.8 lbs.
  Lamellar, leather60 gp+4+3–220%30 ft.20 ft.25 lbs.
Medium Armor
  Do-maru200 gp+5+4–425%20 ft. 15 ft.30 lbs.
  Kikko armor30 gp+5+4–320%20 ft. 15 ft.25 lbs.
  Lamellar, horn100 gp+5+3–425%20 ft.15 ft.30 lbs.
  Four-mirror armor45 gp+6+2–530%20 ft. 15 ft.45 lbs.
  Lamellar, steel150 gp+6+3–525%20 ft. 15 ft.35 lbs.
  Mountain pattern armor 250 gp+6+3–430%20 ft.15 ft.40 lbs.
Heavy Armor
  Kusari gusoku350 gp+7+1–735%20 ft.15 ft.45 lbs.
  Lamellar, iron200 gp+70–740%20 ft.15 ft.50 lbs.
  Tatami-do1,000 gp+7+3–635%20 ft.15 ft.45 lbs.
  O-yoroi1,700 gp+8+2–635%20 ft.15 ft.45 lbs.
  Stone coat500 gp+80–740%20 ft.15 ft.45 lbs.

Do-Maru: The lightest of all samurai armors, do-maru wraps around your body like a short armored coat. It consists primarily of lamellar and lacks a solid breastplate or sleeves. This permits you greater flexibility than do heavier armors.

Four-Mirror Armor: This armor consists of four plates harnessed together with leather shoulder straps. Two round plates protect your front and back, while two smaller rectangular plates cover the sides of the torso. Four-mirror armor is worn over chainmail to provide added protection, and comes with a spiked helmet with a chainmail hood.

Haramaki: Also called a belly-warmer, a haramaki is a simple silken sash lined with chainmail or articulated metal plates and tied about the stomach to protect it.

Kikko Armor: Kikko armor consists of hexagonal plates made from iron and sewn to cloth. The plates may be hidden by a layer of cloth or left exposed.

Kusari Gusoku: Kusari gusoku is similar to tatami-do armor; however, a katabira—a type of chain jacket—is worn in place of the chest armor.

Lamellar Armor: Lamellar is a type of armor in which small plates of various types of materials are strung together in parallel rows using fine cord. Lamellar plates can be constructed from lacquered leather, horn, or even stone, though steel and heavier iron are most common. Lamellar armor can be crafted into various shapes, including partial pieces such as breastplates, greaves, or even entire coats. The properties of specific suits and pieces of lamellar armor are determined by their material.

Lamellar Cuirass: This armor consists of a light breastplate and shoulder guards made from lacquered leather plates bound together and fitted over a silk shirt.

Mountain Pattern Armor: This medium armor consists of hundreds of small, interlocking pieces of steel shaped to resemble an ancient symbol for the word “mountain.” The mail is then riveted to a cloth or leather backing. It is worn like a mail coat and covers your torso, shoulders, and thighs.

O-Yoroi: Worn almost exclusively by high-ranking samurai, o-yoroi—or “great armor”—is a heavy combat armor that consists of various supplementary components that include both plate and lamellar elements. Each suit is crafted for a specific individual and displays the owner's aesthetic. Upon completion, the suit is colored and sealed with a final lacquer finish. The centerpiece of o-yoroi is a cuirass consisting of two parts—a separate reinforcement for the right side called a waidate, and a kikko cuirass. The upper part of the waidate consists of a leather-covered iron plate. The cuirass's leather shoulder straps—called watagami—are likewise armored with metal plates. Affixed to the cuirass are a number of supplementary pieces, including wide lamellar shoulder guards, a kikko sleeve for the shield arm, lacquered iron greaves worn over padded silk leggings, and a groin protector. Still, the signature component of each suit of armor is the tiered kabuto helmet and its accompanying ho-ate mask. Ho-ate masks can be made of hardened leather or metal and are fashioned into fearsome visages such as oni, dragons, or other mythical beings.

Silken Ceremonial Armor: Used for ceremonial displays or occasionally worn (albeit with no additional benefit) over heavier armor, these robes consist of several layers of cloth and an outer layer of silk intricately woven with gold brocade designs and covered with metal studs.

Stone Coat: This weighty breastplate consists of lamellar crafted from stones. It is worn in conjunction with kikko leg protectors.

Tatami-Do: Worn by samurai as a lighter-weight alternative to o-yoroi, tatami-do is a full-body field armor that combines both metal lamellar and kikko components into a suit of mail with a cloth backing. It typically includes a collapsible kabuto helmet or an armored hood, as well as arm, shoulder, and thigh guards.

Eastern Weapons

From wushu's whirling chains and multi-bladed polearms to the awe-evoking mystique of the samurai's gleaming blades, the martial arts of the East evoke images of fantastic weaponry. Exotic even within their own cultures, a number of these weapons require specialized training, and the secrets of their mastery are well protected in remote temples and secret dojos. In most Eastern cultures, the weapon is more than just a means of defense; possibly representing a cultural tradition or philosophy. It may display social status or even tell the history of a clan or house.

This section contains all the Eastern weapons needed to run an Eastern-inspired fantasy campaign with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. They were chosen from a variety of Asian cultures, including those of China, Japan, Korea, India, the Philippines, and more.

Special: Some of the following weapons have special qualities in addition to those noted in their description. New weapon special qualities are described below.

Blocking: When you use this weapon to fight defensively, you gain a +1 shield bonus to AC.


Deadly: When this weapon delivers a coup de grace, it gains +4 to damage when calculating the DC of the Fortitude saving throw to see whether the target of the coup de grace dies from the attack. The bonus is not added to the actual damage of the coup de grace attack.


Distracting: You gain a +2 bonus on Bluff skill checks to feint in combat while wielding this weapon.


Grapple: On a successful critical hit with a weapon of this type, you can grapple the target of the attack. The wielder can then attempt a combat maneuver check to grapple his opponent as a free action. This grapple attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the creature you are attempting to grapple if that creature is not threatening you. While you grapple the target with a grappling weapon, you can only move or damage the creature on your turn. You are still considered grappled, though you do not have to be adjacent to the creature to continue the grapple. If you move far enough away to be out of the weapon's reach, you end the grapple with that action.

Weapon Descriptions


Table: Eastern Weapons—Martial
Martial WeaponsCostDmg (S)Dmg (M)CriticalRangeWeight1Type2Special
Light Melee Weapons
Butterfly sword20 gp1d31d419–20/×21 lb.Smonk
Iron brush2 gp1d21d3×210 ft.P
Jutte8 gp1d41d6×21 lb.Bdisarm, monk
Kerambit2 gp1d21d3×3S
Lungchuan tamo5 gp1d31d4×210 ft.1 lb.P or Smonk
Shang gou6 gp1d31d4×21 lb.Sdisarm or trip, monk
Tonfa1 gp1d41d6×21 lb.Bblocking, monk
Wushu dart (5)1 gp1d21d3×210 ft.Pmonk
One-Handed Melee Weapons
Broadsword, nine ring15 gp1d61d8×34 lbs.Smonk
Double chicken saber12 gp1d41d619–20/×23 lbs.Sdisarm, monk
Sibat2 gp1d41d6×310 ft.2 lbs.P or Ssee description
Two-Handed Melee Weapons
Hooked lance3 gp1d61d8×410 lbs.Preach, trip
Monk's spade20 gp1d4/1d41d6/1d6×212 lbs.B or P or Sdouble, monk
Naginata35 gp1d61d8×49 lbs.Sreach
Nodachi60 gp1d81d1018–20/×28 lbs.S or Pbrace
Sansetsukon 8 gp1d81d1019–20/×23 lbs.Bblocking, disarm, monk
Sword, tri-point double-edged12 gp1d81d10×314 lbs.Preach
Tiger fork5 gp1d61d8×28 lbs.Pbrace, monk
Ranged Weapons
Tube arrow shooter3 gp1d31d4×240 ft.1/2 lb.P
Bamboo shaft (10) 1 gp1/2 lb.
Arrow, iron-tipped distance (20)1 gp4 lbs.
Arrow, whistling (20)2 gp3 lbs.
Poisoned sand tube1 gpspecialspecial1 lb.
1 Weight figures are for Medium weapons. A Small weapon weighs half as much, and a Large weapon weighs twice as much.
2 A weapon with two types is either type (wielder's choice) if the entry specifies “or.”


Table: Eastern Weapons—Exotic
Exotic WeaponsCostDmg (S)Dmg (M)CriticalRangeWeightType2Special
Light Melee Weapons
Dan bong1 sp1d21d319–20/×210 ft.Bblocking, monk
Emei piercer3 gp1d21d319–20/×2Pmonk, see text
Fighting fan5 gp1d31d4×3S or Pdistracting, monk
Tekko-kagi (iron claw)2 gp1d21d3×2Pdisarm, see text
Wakizashi35 gp1d41d618–20/×22 lbs.P or Sdeadly
One-Handed Melee Weapons
Katana50 gp1d61d818–20/×26 lbs.Sdeadly
Nine-section whip8 gp1d61d819–20/×23 lbs.Bblocking, distracting, monk,
trip
Urumi30 gp1d61d818–20/×26 lbs.Sdistracting
Two-Handed Melee Weapons
Bo staff1 gp1d41d6×23 lbs.Bblocking, double, monk
Kama, double-chained8 gp1d4/1d41d6/1d6×24 lbs.Sdouble, monk, reach,
trip
Katana, double walking stick50 gp1d4/1d41d6/1d6×36 lbs.Bdouble
Kusarigama (sickle and chain)12 gp1d2/1d41d3/1d6×23 lbs.S or Bdouble, monk, reach,
trip, grapple
Kyoketsu shoge6 gp1d31d4×220 ft.1 lb.S or Pdisarm, grapple, monk,
reach
Meteor hammer10 gp 1d6 1d8 ×210 lbs.B reach, trip
Sword, seven-branched50 gp1d81d10×37 lbs.Sdisarm, monk
Tetsubo20 gp1d81d10×410 lbs.B
Ranged Weapons
Rope dart1 gp1d31d4×220 ft.Pblocking, distracting, monk
1 Weight figures are for Medium weapons. A Small weapon weighs half as much, and a Large weapon weighs twice as much.
2 A weapon with two types is either type (wielder's choice) if the entry specifies “or.”

Arrow, Iron-Tipped Distance: Used tactically for long-range attacks on troops, these arrows are fitted with heavy iron heads. While these heads help them travel great distances, they make the arrows less effective at dealing damage. Iron-tipped distance arrows increase their bow's range increment by 10 feet but take a –1 penalty on damage dealt per range increment (minimum 1 point of damage). They are sold in leather quivers in quantities of 20.

Arrow, Whistling: These arrows come with specially designed grooves and fletching that cause them to emit a loud keening sound audible within 500 feet of their flight path. They are sold in quantities of 20.

Bamboo Shaft Arrow: These foot-long arrows are used as ammunition for arrow tubes. As an improvised melee weapon, they deal damage equivalent to a spiked gauntlet. They come in a bamboo tube that holds 10 shafts.

Bo Staff: Similar to a quarterstaff, only slightly more slender and tapered at one end, the bo staff is both a defensive device and a weapon.

Broadsword, Nine-Ring: This broad-bladed weapon has nine heavy rings threaded through its spine, providing additional weight to add to the force of its impressive chopping power.

Butterfly Sword: These short matching swords come in pairs, cleverly nested together to appear as a single blade. Both weapons can be drawn at the same time, and they can be separated as a free action and wielded in both hands to make wickedly effective chops and slashes. Their thin, broad blades extend just 1 foot in length. A butterfly sword has a hardwood grip covered with braided cord, and a metal D-shaped guard to protect the wielder's hand.

Dan Bong: These short, blunt sticks are held in the hands to enhance unarmed martial techniques. They provide the wielder with the ability to lock an opponent and target pressure points that grant her a +2 bonus on her combat maneuver to grapple.

Double Chicken Saber: The tip of this 3-foot-long, straight-bladed sword is bent into two staggered, opposing sharpened spurs that can be used to pull weapons from an opponent's hands.

Emei Piercer: This weapon is used to augment unarmed martial techniques. It consists of an 8- to 10-inch-long, dual-pointed steel spike set on swivels and mounted on a ring, so that it can be spun around at high speeds when slipped over the wielder's ring finger. The ring prevents the wielder from being disarmed and turns unarmed strikes into piercing attacks.

Fighting Fan: Made to resemble a courtier's fan, this device consists of silk paper stretched and folded over a folding frame of hardened steel. Folding fans are typically wielded in pairs using a technique that distracts the opponent. The fans sport sharp tips, which can be poisoned.

Hooked Lance: This slender, 10-foot-long polearm has an added hook protruding from the head that is used to snag the clothing and armor of opponents.

Iron Brush: This is an iron-handled version of a scholar's brush with a sharpened handle. Though it does little damage, it is easily concealed (the wielder gets a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand skill checks made to conceal a iron brush on her body) and can be used as a jabbing weapon or thrown short distances.

Jutte: This batonlike weapon is fitted with a metal hook that can be used to block and pin an opponent's weapon. Some variations are tipped with a sharpened metal spike or blade.

Kama, Double-Chained: This weapon comprises a pair of kama connected with an 8-foot length of chain. The wielder can attack as if armed with a single kama in each hand or extend the chain to make a single reach attack. By swinging the rope, the wielder can whip the kama about to disarm or trip opponents. Furthermore, if one of the weapons is dropped, the wielder can retrieve as a free action by pulling on the chain.

Katana: Specifically constructed for samurai, katanas employ multiple types of steel combined in a distinctive forging process. The result are swords noted for their wickedly sharp yet slender, gently curved blades, designed to make graceful hacking strokes capable of severing opponents' heads and limbs. Though finely balanced, these blades are difficult to master. Characters can use a katana two-handed as a martial weapon, but must take the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (katana) feat to use it one-handed.

Katana, Double Walking Stick: This single case conceals a pair of matched fighting swords perfectly balanced to be wielded as a pair. Despite their name, the blades more closely resemble the shorter wakizashi. When the blades are concealed in their case, this weapon can be used as a quarterstaff.

Kerambit: This small, curved pull dagger has a metal loop at the base of its handle allowing it to be secured with a pinky or worn on a string tied in the hair. While relatively small, the curved blade can create brutal wounds. Easily concealed (the wielder gets a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand skill checks made to conceal a kerambit on her body), it is a favorite concealed weapon of ninja and assassins.

Kusarigama: This weapon has a single sickle held in the off-hand attached by 10 feet of fine chain to a weighted metal ball. The sickle is used to make trips, jabs, and blocks while the ball is whipped around at high speeds and then smashed into the opponent.

Kyoketsu Shoge: This weapon consists of a foot-long double-edged blade, with another smaller, curved hook-blade sticking out the side like a rooster's spur. The blade is strung to a large iron hoop with 10-foot length of rope. The blade can be used as an off-hand melee weapon or thrown like a dagger, while the rope and circlet can be whipped around and swung at opponents as a bludgeoning reach weapon.

Lungchuan Tamo (Hidden Daggers): What appears to be an ordinary baton sheaths a pair of matching slender-bladed daggers, perfectly balanced throwing blades.

Meteor Hammer: This weapon consists of one or two spherical weights attached by a 10-foot chain. You whirl the weights and wrap them around an opponent's body. If you succeed at a trip attempt with a meteor hammer, you can drag your opponent 5 feet closer to you rather than knocking her prone. You may use this weapon in two different ways: in meteor mode you use it as a double weapon, while in fortress mode you cannot use it as a double weapon but gain reach and a +1 shield bonus to AC. Switching between these two modes is a free action decided at the start of your turn.

Monk's Spade: This weapon is a double weapon pole arm. One side is fitted with a broad, shovel-like sharpened blade while the opposite side is fitted with a crescent blade that juts out like a pair of bull's horns. The monk's spade does many types of damage. What type of damage it deals depends on how it is wielded, with the spade side able to bludgeon or slash and the crescent side able to jab, slash, and pierce.

Naginata: The naginata consists of a 6-foot staff affixed to a 2-foot-long, swordlike slightly curved blade. The shaft is designed to keep the wielder out of reach from swords and shorter weapons.

Nine-Section Whip: The nine-section whip consists of steel bars linked together. The final bar is a 6-inch weighted spike. This weapon can be wielded as a single-handed weapon, a two-handed weapon, or in pairs.

Nodachi: This very long two-handed weapon has a slender but wickedly sharp 4-foot-long blade at one end. It is predominantly used by ground troops to attack mounted warriors, and can be used to hack riders from their mounts or set to receive a charge.

Poisoned Sand Tube: Resembling a slender bamboo or metal scroll case, this tube is filled with fine sand that is soaked or coated with inhaled or contact poison. When loaded with 3 doses of these types of poison, the wielder blows into the tube, dispersing the poisoned sand into her enemies' faces in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in the cone is affected as if afflicted with 1 dose of the poison. Even when loaded with unpoisoned sand, the tube lets loose a powerful irritant, and an opponent struck must succeed at a DC 12 Fortitude saving throw or be dazzled for 1 round. Once expended, the tube must be repacked before it can be used again. Repacking a tube requires a full-round action, or a standard action if the wielder has the Rapid Reload feat.

Rope Dart: This deceptively complex weapon appears as nothing more than a 12-foot rope with a 6-inch-long, conical metal spike. Similar to a meteor hammer, it can be whirled at great speeds, then aimed to strike and pierce opponents with great reach. Once it strikes, the wielder can quickly retrieve the weapon with a tug of the rope.

Sansetsukon (Three-Section Staff): This staff is broken into three 2-foot-long segments that have been chained back together, allowing the wielder greater flexibility, and allows the weapon to be swung rapidly to create a defensive block.

Shang Gou: Forged in pairs, these solid metal blades end in curved hooks, while the hand guards are hammered into outward-facing spiked crescents. Both the crescent and the tip of the hilt are sharpened for combat. They can be wielded as single weapons or with two-weapon fighting styles. The weapons gain the disarm special weapon feature when used individually. A pair of shang gou can also be formed into a single one-handed weapon to gain the trip special feature.

Sibat: This weapon is similar to a shortspear with a flexible rattan or bamboo shaft and an elaborately barbed head. On a critical hit, the spear grabs flesh or armor. The wielder can then attempt a combat maneuver check to attempt to grapple its opponent as a free action. This grapple attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity from the creature you are attempting to grapple. While grappling the target with a sibat, the wielder can only move or damage the target on its turn. The wielder is still considered grappled, though it does not have to be adjacent to the target to continue the grapple. If you move far away to be out of the sibat's reach, you end the grapple with that action.

Sword, Seven-Branched: This unusual sword has a straight 2-foot-long blade with six shorter L-shaped blades protruding, three on each side in a staggered pattern. The shorter blades can be used to snag opponents' clothing or armor, or can target weapons in order to disarm them. To snag armor or clothing, the attacker makes a trip attempt. If successful, the victim doesn't fall prone, but instead is snagged and stumbles forward, leaving the victim flat-footed for the remainder of the round.

Tekko-Kagi: Also known as the iron claw, this device consists of a fanlike structure of five 10-inch blades secured to a sturdy handle strapped to the forearm of the off-hand. It can be used an offensive weapon, defensively like a buckler, or to disarm an opponent's weapon without provoking an attack of opportunity. It provides its owner with a +2 circumstance bonus on attempts to disarm or sunder swords or other slender-bladed weapons.

Tetsubo: A slight improvement over the great club, this weapon consists of a long, slender length whose upper half is shod with a thick sheet of studded iron. The iron gives added weight and strength to the club, while the studs are designed to crack helmets and armor.

Tiger Fork: This long, tridentlike weapon consists of a three-pronged metal fork set upon an 8-foot-long shaft. It is wielded much like a staff, with the wielder grasping the shaft from the center and jabbing its forked end. A tiger fork can be set to receive a charge.

Tonfa: These L-shaped fighting sticks are good for striking and blocking combinations. The wielder holds the handle and either spins the stick or strikes with the stick covering the forearm.

Tri-Point Double-Edged Sword: Topping the head of this 5-foot-long shaft are three long, backward-curved blades fashioned in the appearance of a blossoming lotus. The unusually large head is designed to land heavy blows and multiple wounds that open away from each other.

Tube Arrow Shooter: This weapon consists of a small metal tube hidden within a sleeve; the tube holds a short, spring-loaded bamboo shaft. The wielder gains a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand skill checks made to conceal an arrow tube shooter on his body. Releasing the fastener allows the spring to force the arrow out. Once a shaft is fired, the tube must be reloaded before it can be used again. Reloading a tube is a full-round action, or a standard action if the wielder has the Rapid Reload feat.

Urumi: Commonly known as a whip sword, this deadly weapon is fashioned from one to four 5-foot-long, razor-sharp blades of flexible steel. The weapon is wielded by whipping the blades at one's opponent. The coiled blade is fine and flexible enough to be worn as a belt.

Wakizashi: These short, slender blades are between 1 to 2 feet long. They are primarily used as back-up weapons, to decapitate defeated enemies, or to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) as a matter of honor. These blades are specifically worn by samurai and are intended to be paired with a katana. Together, this set of blades is referred to as a daisho.

Wushu Dart: This sharpened wooden spike can be used as a punching weapon but it is perfectly balanced for throwing.

Eastern Weapon Equivalents

While Eastern cultures have weapons equivalent to the longsword and the longbow, they often called them by different names. The following are statistical equivalents to just a few Eastern weapons with which you may be familiar.

Daikyu: This long curved bow made of laminated bamboo or wood, and favored by many samurai, is equivalent to a longbow.

Hankyu: This shorter bow is similar to the diakyu in form and construction and is equivalent to a shortbow.

Hwandudaedo: This heavy sword consists of large straight blade with a thick back and wickedly sharpened edge. It is equivalent to a longsword.