The Flying Guillotine


Homebrew and House Rules


Well for various reasons, I am once again GM for my group. Don't feel bad, I enjoy the role, and it gives me a chance to do something new. I've decided to run a Dragon Empire Campaign, and for the BBEG I wanted something exotic and intimidating. So I found the Yamabushi Tengu Oni from 'Jade Reagent #1: The Brinewall Legacy' (I think it was that one). But I wanted something more, so I settled on giving him that most infamous weapon, The Flying Guillotine!!!!

New Weapon: The Flying Guillotine
Consisting of a mechanical, bag-like contraption attached to a long rope, this weapon is infamous for it's difficulty to use. It is designed for the bag to be thrown over an opponents head, and then with a pull of the rope, blades spring out of the mechanism, hopefully, severing the targets head and returning it to the wielder. To use it is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The attacker must roll to hit as normal, but suffers a -4 penalty. Non-proficient users suffer a -8 penalty. If the weapon hits, it inflicts an automatic Coup De Grace on the target. Retrieving the guillotine is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

Name Flying Guillotine
Cost 75gp
Damage 1d6 Small, 1d8 Medium
Range 40 ft
Weight 20 lbs
Type Slashing
Qualities Special; See above


Er, so you want to kill your players? I mean, seriously, this thing is nearly guaranteed to take at least one of them out.


You might be right, on a subconscious level.......

How could I change it to be somewhat 'less' horribly lethal, without reducing the flavour aspect?


Isn't the flying guillotine an artifact?


Hhhhhmmm......I don't think I've heard that. I haven't actually seen the movie. Guess it was a stupid idea without it.


Obscenely over powered, not balanced. Causes instant death. Don't do it, you're going to regret it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Giving the target a reflex or fort save might help. But really, this kind of insta-kill weapon causes to many arguments for me to think it's worth it.

If you still want to use the Flying Guillotine then possibly when the PC's show up the guillotine is damaged? Or perhaps it's the prize in a contest? The PCs lose and have to face the winner, but he doesn't actually know how to use it properly yet?

In either case the guillotine is little more than a spiked chain in the hands of their opponent...though the PCs don't have to know that.


What I meant by 'automatic Coup De Grace' was that it inflicts a coup de grace. It doesn't automatically kill them, they still get a fort save.

EDIT: I really should learn to be more clear. As in the wielder makes a normal coup de grace attack. Basically so the opponent doesn't need to be helpless. Thats all.


Kazarath wrote:

What I meant by 'automatic Coup De Grace' was that it inflicts a coup de grace. It doesn't automatically kill them, they still get a fort save.

EDIT: I really should learn to be more clear. As in the wielder makes a normal coup de grace attack. Basically so the opponent doesn't need to be helpless. Thats all.

I knew what you meant. That doesn't change how deadly it is. Do you really expect every one of your players to make every one of those fort saves?


I'm only really going to use it once or twice, maybe even on an NPC. My main goal is just to use it to inspire fear in the PCs.


Kazarath wrote:
I'm only really going to use it once or twice, maybe even on an NPC. My main goal is just to use it to inspire fear in the PCs.

And when the PC's recover the item from their foes body and say "cool!" and start to use it to one shot all your big bads?


maybe add that if their attack of opportunity hits the thing auto-misses


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
And when the PC's recover the item from their foes body and say "cool!" and start to use it to one shot all your big bads?

I had not thought of that. Good Point.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kazarath wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
And when the PC's recover the item from their foes body and say "cool!" and start to use it to one shot all your big bads?
I had not thought of that. Good Point.

Well, there are ways around that.

First off, a flying guillotine is only useful against small to medium creatures with a definable head, though I could see an argument for using it to "disarm" an opponent. Against a large creature it wouldn't fit over their heads, and tiny creatures would likely just be enveloped.

Then there's the matter of the feat tax. I'm not sure that just taking an Exotic weapons proficiency would cover the full gamut of abilities you get with a flying guillotine. If it were me I might require EWP just to use it as a standard chain weapon, then the Equipment Trick feat in order to use the decapitation feature.

Also, the decapitation mechanism is going to be a fairly complex. I'd have it require a full-round action to reset the blades/saw after a attack, successful or not. And you might consider using the misfire rule, i.e. if a one comes up on the attack roll the flying guillotine gets the broken condition.

Lastly, a Flying Guillotine is a weapon of assassination and terror. Unless you're running an evil party no one should want to touch it except to destroy it. Even if you do have and evil PC, the social penalties for using a flying guillotine should be severe.


Ok, how about this:

Flying Guillotine:
Consisting of a mechanical, bag-like contraption attached to a long rope, this weapon is infamous for it's difficulty to use. It is designed for the bag to be thrown over an opponents head, and then with a pull of the rope, blades spring out of the mechanism, hopefully, severing the targets head. To use a flying guillotine properly, it requires the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Flying Guillotine) Feat. This allows you to use it as a improvised weapon that deals 1d4 damage. If the Weapon Trick (Flying Guillotine) Feat is taken, it grants access to its special attack. To use it is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The attacker must roll to hit as normal, but suffers a -4 penalty. Non-proficient users suffer a -8 penalty. If the weapon hits, it inflicts an automatic Coup De Grace on the target. Retrieving the guillotine is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity, and resetting the blade for after an attack is another full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

Name Flying Guillotine
Cost 450gp
Damage 1d6 Small, 1d8 Medium
Range 40 ft
Weight 20 lbs
Type Slashing
Qualities Special; See above

EDIT: The Flying Guillotine is only effective on creatures within one size category of the weapon's size that are not immune to critical hits and has a definable head. .

EDIT 2: Increased price.

EDIT 3: Crit x2


Its still an instakill and thus overpowered. It is an instant kill because the dc on a 2d4+8 coup de grace (if your user has an 18 strength) fort save is 23.


And thats not even counting a its as of now non-exisent crit multiplier. Which could be even higher.

However you could allow something similiar which allows you to make ranged CdG attempts against a slightly larger subset such as including stunned and staggered.


Well there are other instakills in the game, look at the Jubjub bird. If it confirms a crit the target has to pass a DC 33 fort save or die instantly.

EDIT: and it only does 1d8 with at most a +2 bonus.


Ok, so maybe I'm crazy here, but what if you just have him throw this weird bag thingy over an NPC's head and it decapitates the hapless guy, and the PCs are freaked out and scared or whatever, but when they fight him, he doesn't use it and there are no game mechanics for it because it's just supposed to scare them and paint the guy as a scary badass.

I mean, crap, what happens if you stat this all up and he uses it on some NPC, and misses? Or if the NPC survives the Coup De Grace somehow? Then it just looks stupid and awkward.


Yes but it has to confirm not simply hit. your looking at something that a low level half-elf or human fighter could wreck guys with fairly early.


Also i can't use a JubJub birds attack once its dead while if this guy dies your party has a new tactic.

Lower enemies fort saves and Ac and let the guy with the feats kill em.


I just gotta ask... did you watch the "Mythbusters" episode on the flying guillotine? It sure sounds like what you are describing here.


Quote:
Well there are other instakills in the game, look at the Jubjub bird. If it confirms a crit the target has to pass a DC 33 fort save or die instantly.

The jub jub bird is a cr 15 encounter. Your bag can be bought at 2nd level.

Quote:
EDIT: and it only does 1d8 with at most a +2 bonus.

A coup de grace is an automatic critical hit, and there's no listing of a maximum strength bonus.

Have a bag that combines the grapple combat manuever, the blinding dirty trick, and the grapple for damage rules if you want to make something remotely balanced.


I'd think of it as a masterwork meteor hammer. A second feat would unlock its vorpal enhancement and a deadly weapon. Prerequisites for the feat would be 19 Dex, 10 ranks in Acrobatics, and proficiencies with Meteor Hammer and Net. Which means if you wanted it, you'd REALLY want to have it.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I just gotta ask... did you watch the "Mythbusters" episode on the flying guillotine? It sure sounds like what you are describing here.

I did. Master of the Flying Guillotine is one of my favs (when it comes to cheesy old school kung-fu movies).

To the OP. The range is far too long, unless that is it's full range. Otherwise, you can throw up to 5 range increments, meaning up to 200 feet! The Mythbusters showed that the maximum effective range would be about 15 feet. So, I propose altering the range increment to 10' or make it 20' and allow only 2 range increments, due to it's weight.

But that is a big IF. Given what everybody else is saying, it is still unbalancing.

Perhaps make the mechanics more like a net that grapples, but with a pin, then it does it's thing. That way you have to hit with the thing, establish a grapple, then attempt a pin with it, then inflict the guillotine property.


*Sigh* ....Nevermind, I'm just going to scrap the idea.


Any weapon could chop an head if it deal the last hp required to kill the opponent. Just make it like a spiked chain that always consider an opponent flat-foot during the first use of a combat. This way it is still deadly in the hand of a rogue but not insta-kill by anybody against anything.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kazarath wrote:
*Sigh* ....Nevermind, I'm just going to scrap the idea.

It's not a horrible thing to have turn up, especially in a high-level campaign. I think ninety percent of our objections come from the possibility of PCs (especially low level PCs) getting their hands on it.

If you can railroad it out of their reach and keep it an NPC-held plot device I think you'll be fine.


Son of the Veterinarian wrote:
Kazarath wrote:
*Sigh* ....Nevermind, I'm just going to scrap the idea.

It's not a horrible thing to have turn up, especially in a high-level campaign. I think ninety percent of our objections come from the possibility of PCs (especially low level PCs) getting their hands on it.

If you can railroad it out of their reach and keep it an NPC-held plot device I think you'll be fine.

I feel artifact status would be good enough for this thing. Considering a lot of artifacts have instant kills built in, this isn't out of the reach of one imo.


It's basically a vorpal sword.


This machine is magnificent!


You're probably right. I'll wait until they're a higher level. Do you think maybe lvl 12-14, somewhere around there?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kazarath wrote:
You're probably right. I'll wait until they're a higher level. Do you think maybe lvl 12-14, somewhere around there?

Yeah, I'd say around the point Raise Dead and Resurrection become reasonable options is about right.


throwing my 2cp in:
cool concept. i don't see strength being a factor in the damage, so have a rule that says that it doesn't get extra damage from strength.
what if it just did an auto crit on a normal hit, then became a coup de grace on a to hit roll of a natural 20? it's still nasty, and can easily prove lethal on a good roll, but it's not as bad on the instagib front.
i'd also say that the target is blinded until either it gets retracted by the wielder, or if the target spends a move action to take it off. thoughts?


Dude, that ridiculous film is one of my all-time favorites!

What if the death attack only occurs on a crit? Make it the price of a higher level magic item. It can still be deadly in the right hands (maybe give it a crit range of 19-20 and if the player wants to they can take a feat to expand it) but not overpowered in the hands of the untrained.

I like the idea, but you'd have to have a party who was okay with the distinct possibility of character death. There should also be some defense against it, like the one-armed guy using bamboo poles to rip out the blades. If you were to use it, you would need to foreshadow it heavily before the players fought this foe (maybe have the dude decapitate someone the party was observing, then their mark becomes guillotine fodder). Then if the party dares to engage him after seeing him in action, they are choosing to take their lives in their hands.


Kazarath wrote:


New Weapon: The Flying Guillotine
Consisting of a mechanical, bag-like contraption attached to a long rope, this weapon is infamous for it's difficulty to use. It is designed for the bag to be thrown over an opponents head, and then with a pull of the rope, blades spring out of the mechanism, hopefully, severing the targets head and returning it to the wielder. To use it is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The attacker must roll to hit as normal, but suffers a -4 penalty. Non-proficient users suffer a -8 penalty. If the weapon hits, it inflicts an automatic Coup De Grace on the target. Retrieving the guillotine is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

Name Flying Guillotine
Cost 75gp
Damage 1d6 Small, 1d8 Medium
Range 40 ft
Weight 20 lbs
Type Slashing
Qualities Special; See above

Well it's been quite a while since someone posted here, so I guess you either scrapped the idea or used one of the suggestions but anyways here is my version:

First I would change the Range to 20 ft (the reach of a Kyoketsu Shoge or Rope Dart). A Weight 10 lbs is more fitting when compared to other weapons. The damage seems fine.
As for the Qualities how about: Deadly; Monk(optional, might make it too powerful);Special*

(*If an attack from this weapon reduces the target to zero or less HP, the attacker may immediatly deliver a coup de grace as free action. The attacker does not need to be adjacent to the target. The coup de grace still provokes attacks of opportunity as usual.
If the target is already helpless the coup de grace is handled as usual.)

I also agree that you should use it to auto-kill a low-level NPC first,
so the players understand how deadly the Guillotine is.

Liberty's Edge

Comrade Kazarath,

The people of Galt are pleased with your innovative ideas, citizen !

Keep going, you are on the right track !


Alright...it's been three years or so, but I'm going to tag in anyway.

First off; the Flying Guillotine is primarily, an assassination weapon of terror. If you look at the original first movie; it is almost never used as a "combat weapon." The Emperor's assassins throw the guillotine at range from cover and kill their targets from stealth. The assassin gets away because of the sudden terror generated within the witnesses by seeing somebody instantly decapitated. Unless there is a trained bodyguard or guardsman in the vicinity of the kill, the assassin will get away in the chaos. And that's assuming that the kill is a public assassination. If the target is secluded, then there will be no witnesses to the kill.

The only two ways that the player characters will ever be exposed to the weapon is if they are either targets or witnesses. A smart assassin will almost never use the flying guillotine as a primary weapon, let alone allow anyone to even know that they possess the accursed thing.

However, if you look at the second movie, "One Armed Boxer vs. The Flying Guillotine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVXNMkXL4Yo)," then you see it being used similar to a spiked chain or a rope dart because that version of the weapon has blades on the outer rim as well meaning that this particular version can and does do damage even if it does not land on the target's head. The people in the movie end up being slashed with it both at range and in melee.

As for the Mythbusters episode; with all due respect, that should not have even entered into the conversation. The fact that it is part of the Wuxia milieu, already establishes it as an item that could be allowed in a fantasy campaign.

In regards to the mechanics of the weapon and assuming that you are using the rim-bladed, "One Armed Boxer..." version of the weapon; here's what I came up with.

In standard combat, if the attacker makes a simple successful strike, then the target takes damage from the rim blades of the guillotine (fixed damage, no Str bonus dmg). If the attacker's roll exceeds the target's AC by 10+, then the guillotine has successfully landed on the target's head.

The target then has to make a reflex save vs. the attacker's roll in order to remove the basket from his head before the chain is pulled activating the internal blades. If successful, then the target only takes conditional damage from the internal blades (fixed dmg one die type greater than the rim blades, and again no bonus Str dmg) and if a 20 is rolled, then they take no damage whatsoever. If they fail the save...then goodbye head....

However if the guillotine is used from stealth, then this is when the weapon gets real ugly. First off, the attack roll margin for getting the guillotine basket over the target's head is reduced to 5+ rather than 10+. Second, the reflex save is replaced with a Coup de Grace save based on the damage of the internal blades of the guillotine (DC 10+ internal blades damage). In either case; if the attacker gets a confirmed critical hit, then they have successfully decapitated their target.

As for limitations for the weapon; I totally agree with the availability of an "attack of opportunity" against the attacker if the Flying Guillotine is used in standard combat. Second, the use of the weapon in standard combat is a full-round action as all the attacker can do is to aim, throw, and retrieve the weapon within a combat round. Next, the flying guillotine would only be a ranged weapon (unlike the version in "One Armed Boxer...."). Furthermore, it should also be a "fragile" weapon to further discourage it from being used in standard combat (the lightness required to make the guillotine a viable weapon contributes to its fragility). Finally, you can even eliminate the rim blades from the weapon if you feel that they are too much. If the roll is not high enough to land on the target's head, then it just misses and does no damage to the target at all; end of discussion. That should discourage it from being used in standard combat even further.

If you have a character (or NPC) who is an assassin in your campaign, then you (the GM) should do everything to encourage the use of this weapon only from stealth (always) and anonymity (unless you are running an "evil" campaign, of course...then it could be a source of infamy for the character). The very mention of this weapon should scare the feces out of most people (NPC commoners and non-heroic folk) who hear it. And if any of your non-heroic NPCs happens to witness the guillotine being used (i.e. seeing a magistrate or noble being killed by it), then they should react in stark terror as the target's body does the "headless chicken dance."

On a side note; I'm trying to build this damn thing in Hero Lab and having a hell of a time with it...sigh.

Thanks for reading and comments are welcome....

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