This is a chart I made a while ago as a bit of a joke. Frustrated with conversations about fears of RPGs taking inspiration from video games, I thought it would be fun to go all in on that and make a chart that can create more or less Diablo-style weapons.
The result isn’t quite that. It’s still probably something that would be disruptive to your average OSR game, but it leans more on silly attribute and plot hook combinations than on making players count and compare small damage bonuses to decide what weapon they use. I’ve also stuck mostly to non-magical traits, so this could be handy if your players travel to a new region and you want to entice them with some limited-availability weapon options or some exotic stuff found on a corpse in a cave, and you want to do so without just throwing magic items at them. Whatever you do, you probably don’t want to use this to generate every weapon that becomes available in your game. Doing so would quickly get overwhelming and time-consuming. Either way, if you enjoy using this table, look for a ranged version of it to pop up sometime soon!
This chart was made for D&D 5e, but shouldn’t be hard to translate to some other system. If you find some terminology that is confusing or unintentionally disruptive in the context of 5e (likely stemming from me thinking of all the D&D adjacent games I play as a single, chunky, homogeneous soup), please let me know and I’ll fix it!
To get entirely randomized (and swingier) traits: roll d100.
To favor somewhat neutral traits or get more traits with trade-offs: roll 5d20 and sum the result.
Either way, roll at least three times to give each weapon a unique spread of properties.
Minimum weapon die: d4
Weapon damage levels in order: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, 2d6, d20, 4d6
A weapon cannot be: 1) light and two-handed or 2) light and heavy. If it is, choose a property and remove it to make the weapon obey this rule. In fact, apply this rule to any nonsensical weapon.
First, roll d20 for weapon type (somewhat weighted chart provided below for convenience):
- Club, Light Hammer, or Sickle
- Light Hammer
- Mace, Quarterstaff
- Spear, Trident
- Battleaxe, Longsword
- Flail, Warpick
- Great Axe
- Greatsword, Maul
- Short Sword
- Unarmed Strike (weapon, but can be used in place of unarmed strike)
Then roll an appropriate amount of times on the following chart. If your game features luck or anything like that, feel free to add it to the roll at an appropriate rate, because the table follows a rough order of ascending quality.
Random Melee Weapon Traits
NOTE: Weapon qualities with asterisks stack!
- N/A or Ruined – Damage down 3 levels.*
- N/A or Horribly balanced – This weapon cannot be used to make more than a single attack per turn.
- N/A or Warped – Cannot perform critical hits
- N/A or Makeshift – This weapon is cobbled together from various parts, and is fragile. Breaks after use in one combat.
- Ruined – Damage down 3 levels.*
- Horribly Balanced – Due either to poor craftsmanship or damage over time, this weapon cannot be used to make more than a single attack per turn.
- Hard to Hold – This weapon deals 1 damage to you every time you make an attack with it.
- Difficult to Draw – you must draw this weapon as an action or bonus action rather than as an object interaction.
- Damaged – Damage down 2 levels.*
- Clumsy – This weapon deals only 1 damage (do not roll weapon damage dice) if you would attack with disadvantage. Other effects of the attack still do normal damage
- Ineffective (Larger) – This weapon imposes disadvantage on attacks made against creatures of a size category larger than you.
- Ineffective (Smaller) – This weapon imposes disadvantage on attacks made against creatures of a size category smaller than you.
- Pre-owned – This weapon belongs to a character the party has met or will soon meet. They will ask for it back if they see it.
- Illegal – This weapon, if carried on your person, will draw negative attention from the law because (d6): 1) it is of a make wielded only by a sect of assassins or thieves, 2) the brand on it suggests it was smithed by a master craftsmen, and weapons of this nature may only be owned by nobility, 3) it has been reported stolen, 4) it or a weapon that looks exactly like it was recently used to murder an important person, 5) its design comes from a country currently at war with this region, and makes you appear to be a foreign agent, or 6) part of it is clearly made from human bone and skin.
- Blasphemous – This weapon, if carried on your person, will draw negative attention either from clergy or townsfolk because (d6): 1) it is inscribed with bawdy messages or imagery, 2) it is traditionally associated with a foreign religion not welcome in this area, 3) it is gaudy and ostentatious, making you seem like a prick (+50 GP value), 4) a weapon of this kind is traditionally only carried by paladins or clerics of war in this community, 5) it is explicitly forbidden to carry a weapon of this kind according to the local religion, or 6) part of it is clearly made from human bone and skin.
- Brittle – Any attack made directly against this weapon will snap it in half.
- Ridiculous-looking – This weapon looks very silly. Rolls to intimidate while this weapon is visible on your person have disadvantage.
- Broken-off piece of a statue – Weighs +20 lbs, or three times as many inventory slots as usual. Gain Heavy property.
- Funky Shape – Due to its design, this weapon cannot be safely or easily sheathed. If you want to carry it on your person, it needs to be held in your hand.
- Oversized – Gain Two-Handed property.
- Needs to Reload – Weapon has the loading quality. DM decides what this could possibly mean.
- Esoteric Design – This weapon’s strange design makes it harder to use for no discernible gain, but it can still kill people. Only a Fighter may wield it.
- Easily Blocked – Disadvantage on attacks against enemies wielding shields.
- Inefficient – This weapon was designed for style over function. Damage down 1 level.*
- Ineffective (Light Armor) – This weapon poses disadvantage on attacks against enemies wearing light or no armor.
- Heavy – Gain Heavy property. Lose Light property.
- Encumbering – This weapon gains the heavy property. While wielding it, your movement is halved.
- Ineffective (Heavy Armor) – This weapon imposes disadvantage on attacks against creatures wearing heavy armor.
- Requires Training – Requires martial weapon proficiency if it doesn’t already.
- Smelly – For some reason, this weapon smells really bad. Keeping it sheathed or otherwise stowed helps for the most part. Anyone wielding this weapon has disadvantage on stealth rolls if it’s drawn. However, beasts are more likely to leave you alone.
- Leg Attachment – Weapon may be attached to one of your legs. You can still use that leg to walk. Using it via your leg counts as an unarmed strike.
- Two-Handed – Gain Two Handed property, damage up 1 level.
- Protrusion – This weapon has a strange protrusion that works similarly to the main “branch.” You have disadvantage on attacks with this weapon, but any successful attack can deal damage equal to the user’s STR or DEX to an adjacent creature.
- Tactical scope – For some reason, this weapon has a telescope attached to it. If the weapon is thrown, this telescope does nothing to help that.
- Ceremonial – This weapon is ornate and ceremonial. It was not designed for battle. Damage down one level. +100 GP.
- Great Weapon – Gain heavy property, damage up 1 level. Loses light property.
- Inscribed – Text engraved upon this weapon tells a useful story about some character or locale.
- Ringing – Weapon seems to sing as you swing it. Medium or smaller beasts likely to flee when they hear the sound. However, it is likely to attract attention from a distance.
- Reflective – In bright light, can replace a single attack roll with an attempt to blind an enemy (enemy saves against DC 8 + prof + dex, wis or int) for one round.
- Valuable – Weapon is made of or lined with valuable metals or gems and is worth +100 GP.*
- Rare Material – This weapon is made of a rare material, though it may not necessarily be worth more money as a result. DM’s choice or roll (d6): 1) The bone of an extinct animal. It’s valuable for scientific research and may lead to an exciting discovery. 2) Ironwood. Can be easily set aflame (+d6 fire damage for 1 minute), and if doused soon thereafter does not significantly damage the weapon. 3) Heavily magnetized metal. 4) a braided lock of a Giant’s hair. Famously strong. A desirable prize in some circles. 5) Dragon Tooth. Known to disrupt magical effects on touch. 6) An amalgam of various expensive spell components (GM’s choice). This may have previously belonged to some kind of battle mage.
- Extendable – As an Action, this weapon may briefly become a reach weapon with which you make a single attack (this replaces the normal Attack action).
- Weapon on a Rope – This weapon has an extremely durable tether (rope, chain or other) attached to its handle, which can be connected to the wielder’s armor or limbs. This tether cannot be cut by ordinary weapons. This weapon can be used to make ranged attacks as a thrown weapon, but cannot be thrown more than 10 feet while tethered to its wielder.
- Strange Hue – This weapon is oddly colored. DM or player’s choice.
- Momentum-based – This weapon cannot be used to make more than a single attack per use of the Attack action. Damage up two levels.
- Long handled – Gain versatile property (damage up 1 level when held in two hands)
- Forearm Attachment – This weapon may attach to your forearm and may be used as the base weapon or as part of an unarmed strike. Either way, the hand of the arm it is attached to is a free hand. This weapon loses and may not gain the two handed, heavy, or versatile properties.
- Small – Gain light property, damage down 1 level. Loses the Heavy property.
- Trick Weapon (Transforming) – weapon can change to a second type as an object interaction (Roll1d8 for or choose secondary weapon type – 1) Great Sword/Axe/Maul, 2) Quarterstaff/Spear/Halberd/Glaive, 3) Long Sword/Rapier, 4) Whip/Net, 5) Short Sword/Scimitar, 6) Warhammer/Battle Axe/Mace, 7) Shield, 8) Crossbow. Reroll if second type is the same.)*
- Multiple Threats – Weapon may deal bludgeoning/slashing/piercing (pick one) damage if it can’t already.
- Telescopic – weapon can collapse and be easily concealed.
- Runic – Can be used as an arcane focus
- Elegant – Gain finesse property. This weapon gains the ability to deal slashing or piercing (your choice) damage if it cannot already.
- Easy to use – Requires no weapon proficiencies
- Opportune – +d6 damage on readied attacks
- Pointed Pommel – Bonus action attack (d4); damage down 2 levels
- Tradesman’s Weapon – This weapon may double as a tool (pick one or two: lockpick, hammer, pliers, tongs, scissors, navigational tool, a mirror, a crowbar, a telescope, a grappling hook, an oar, a torch, or a shovel).
- Impressive-looking – This weapon looks bad as hell. Rolls to impress or intimidate using this weapon have advantage. Value +50 GP.
- Concealable – This weapon is easily concealed under clothes or armor (but drawn as normal) and requires a medium or DC 15 investigation check to uncover.
- Forceful – As an Action, this weapon may be used to make a single melee weapon attack against an enemy. On a successful hit, they take damage as normal and are pushed 10 ft. In a direction you choose.
- Crashing – This weapon always deals maximum damage against objects.
- Spinning – gain the Thrown property.
- Long Reach – Gain reach, damage down 1 level.
- Shockwaves – Weapon gains Heavy property. On a critical hit, deal damage equal to STR to all creatures within 20 feet of you.
- Trick Weapon (Poison Dispenser) – A mechanism on the weapon can douse it in poison. The weapon’s user must fill it with a poison of their choice that they obtained separately. The user may activate the dispenser as an object interaction or bonus action to coat the weapon for 1 minute, and successful attacks with the weapon add the effects of the poison applied. The poison dispenser can be refilled on a short or long rest. The dispenser may optionally be filled with holy water (again, provided by the user). If it is, the mechanism may instead douse the weapon with the holy water and cause it do deal +d6 radiant damage (2d6 to fiends and undead).
- Trick weapon (Concealed propulsion mechanism) – As a replacement for a single attack made with this weapon, make a ranged attack instead of a normal attack. Deals 1d12 damage on a success. Takes some time to reload (short or long rest).
- Boomerang – Damage down one level. This weapon gains the thrown property with a range of 30 feet. If a ranged attack made with this weapon misses an enemy, reroll the attack. On a success, it hits the enemy as normal on its way back. On a failure, it returns to the owner’s hand.
- Decoy – This weapon is phony and cannot actually be wielded to any practical effect. Damage down 5 levels. It contains either in a hidden compartment or its hollowed-out insides one of the following (d8): 1) a full kilogram of a highly potent and illegal narcotic, 2) 100 grams of ruby dust, 3) a kilogram of valuable spices that violate a trade embargo, 4) a treasonous message to be delivered to a courtier or courtesan of this country, 5) the deed to an acre of land located in a swamp, seemingly useless, 6) the blueprints for a printing press, a primitive firearm, or a bicycle (DM’s choice), 7) a letter from a prisoner in a distant land seeking help and offering a reward, 8) a few sticks of dynamite with a fuse subtly protruding from one end of the weapon.
- Light-Weight – Gain Light property. Loses heavy property.
- Parrying – While wielding this weapon, as a reaction, you may impose disadvantage on a weapon attack against you. Damage down one level.
- Stunning – On a critical hit, stun enemy for 1 round.
- Weave-cutting – Concentration checks made as a result of an attack made by this weapon have disadvantage.
- Dense – This weapon grants advantage when it is used for rolls to break objects or other weapons.
- Silencing – An enemy killed by this weapon before they take an action in combat does not make a sound.
- Trick weapon (Split) – this weapon gains the two handed property, goes up 1 damage level, and loses and may not gain the finesse and light properties. As an object interaction it may be detached into two light finesse weapons designed for use together (damage down two levels for each weapon), or rejoined into the original weapon.
- Couchable – If you move at least 10 ft. in a straight line before making an attack with this weapon, you have advantage on the first attack. If you are mounted while doing this, the attack also deals an extra 2d6 damage.
- Trick weapon (Hidden Whip) – When you make an attack with this weapon, you may choose to turn it into a whip that deals d6 damage. It acts as a standard whip in all ways other than damage (I.e. qualities gained from this chart do not apply to it), though the whip retains any magical properties that apply to this weapon.
- Hidden – This weapon is very easily concealed in as little as a sleeve, and requires a DC 20 investigation check to uncover. This weapon loses and may not gain the two handed, reach or heavy properties.
- Toxic Metal – On any successful hit, enemy must succeed on DC 12 constitution save or be poisoned. Damage down 1 level.
- Trick Weapon (Oiled) – Spark weapon as an object interaction to set it ablaze. Deals +1d6 fire damage for one minute. Once per short rest. The user does not need to purchase oil to recoat the weapon with oil on a rest.
- Easily Stowable – This weapon weighs almost nothing, and does not take up any weight, slots or other increment of encumbrance on your person. Additionally, you may both put away this weapon and draw another as part of the same object interaction.
- Armor Slayer – This weapon offers advantage on attacks made against creatures wearing heavy armor.
- Efficient – This weapon serves its intended purpose well. Damage up 1 level.*
- Pulling – As an Action, this weapon may be used to make a single melee weapon attack against an enemy. On a successful hit, deal damage as normal and pull the enemy a distance equal to half your remaining movement with you (both you and the enemy move in a direction you choose).
- Messy – Enemies killed by this weapon tend to explode in a bloody mess. When you kill an enemy with this weapon, enemies within 10 feet must succeed on DC 12 wisdom save or become frightened.
- Threatening – This weapon is a pain in the ass to deal with even when it misses. It deals damage equal to the wielder’s STR to the target of an attack on a miss. However, this does not count as a successful hit for purposes of triggering any other ability.
- Shield Breaker – This weapon offers advantage on attacks made against creatures wielding shields.
- Hooked – As a bonus action, this weapon may be used to attempt to trip the opponent. Opponent must pass a DC (8 + prof + STR or DEX) save or be knocked prone.
- Heirloom – Weapon is worth +500 GP and belongs to a respected family. A DC 12 history check can identify the family. Stacking this effect means ownership is contested.*
- Adamantine – Weapon cannot be broken except by an equal or stronger metal. Damage up 1 level.
- Quick – Bonus action attack (d4), damage down 1 level.
- Sweet Spot – Part of this weapon can do more harm if it connects. Critical hits occur on a 19-20 attack roll.
- Relic – Weapon is worth +1000 GP and is a historical artifact from a previous age. A DC 20 history check can identify it, but it looks obviously ancient and important. Only a knowledgeable buyer would offer the full value.
- Vorpal – This weapon deals an extra 1d6 damage if you attack with advantage.
- Fatal – This weapon rolls triple weapon damage dice on a critical hit. This trait does not apply to other sources of damage.
- Impossible Reach – This weapon, when used properly, can control a wider area than another weapon of this type could. It gains the Reach property if it doesn’t already have it. If it does, its range instead becomes 15 ft.
- Perfect Balance – Bonus action attack (d8).
- Meteorite – All or part of this weapon was crafted from meteorite. Damage up 2 levels.
- Keen – Critical hits occur on an 18-20 attack roll.
- Master Craftsmanship – This weapon is a masterpiece, and may be famous. Any disadvantages carried by this weapon could not possibly have been the fault of its creator. Damage up 3 levels.*
Some people have given some good feedback on confusing traits and/or unintended outcomes. Shout outs to: Bloom, Cynical_Cyanide and RandomGermangoGrill!