Weapons from stone to iron


I have a source book that talks about the different types of weapons and goes threough the ages from the stone age to the steel age.And I am have a low magic world.I have a human race that is simlar to the atleateans in conan(they are gone and thats part of the back ground,but they had learned the secrets if steel).My question is.How do I set up the different weapons?It mean a bronze long sword:1d8 damage 19-20/x2,6lbs,S,5/12.AN Iron long sword:1d8,19-20/x2,5lbs,P,5/16.and a Steel long sword:1d8,19-20/x2,6lbs,S,8/12.

Besides the hardness and and weight there isn't really a difference in them. :?:

Yogah of Yag

1) You could take the "base" damage for the weapon and subtract -1 dam pt for each 'era' that preceded the current age of steel (if the "present" of your campaign is the Steel Age). AP and/or crit range can also be reduced (minimum AP 0).

2) You could knock the die down by one for each era that preceded the steel age. E.g. a Hyborian, steel broadsword would be 1d10, down to 1d8 for a bronze version. AP and/or crit range can also be reduced (minimum AP 0). (A stone broadsword just sounds plain silly! :wink: )

Also, e.g.

1) dagger/knife, steel, Hyborian: 1d4

2) dagger/knife, bronze, earlier era: 1d4-1 (i.e. 1d3). If item has too much tin, it is possible that it is more brittle and a 25% chance of breakage with each use. A masterwork bronze dagger would have the precise, superior ratio of copper-to-tin. Too much copper would introduce the possibility that it could bend in use. A bent weapon would then be either regarded as useless, or at most, a bludgeoning weapon instead.

3) dagger/knife, stone, earliest era: 1d4-2 (i.e. 1d2); 50% chance of breakage upon each use. A dagger/knife of obsidian or similar very sharp, glass-like stone (jade?) could be considered a masterwork item.

AFAIK, swords didn't come around until the bronze age, in which case they were not always that large (so they would be in the size range of a shortsword, at most).


Have to give that shot,right now I have a bardarian with a bronze studded great club,copper hand ax,and an Iron long sword.A ranger with a composite short bowand a copper hand axe,and a Shaman with a stone adze.The differnt human civ.'s make it a bit intresting with each one at differnt ages.I was thinking perhaps on the steel weapons to have as a +1 being that the normal wepon would be maybe the Iron wepaons,since the 2 largest human kingdoms are in that tech age.


The incas..or aztecs used swords made of wood edged with shards of obsidian. apparently they were reasonably effective. I would think that swords and blades of simple size could be made at stone age levels, and martial weapons at bronze age...and any weapon can be made at the iron age.

However, I'm sure i've seen somewhere that a comparison was made between bronze and iron and steel and they wasnt too much different in lethality.

So i would make iron age weapons -1 dmg, -1 hardness, -1AP
Bronze weapons -2 dmg, -2 hardness, -2AP
copper weapons -1lower dice for dmg (d10 becomes d8), -3 hardness, -3AP
stone weapons 2dice lower for dmg (d10 becomes d6), -4 hardness, -4AP
Min 1 hardness, min 0AP

other rules for breakage still apply.


The book I have called from stone to steel has a section on the weapons the Inca's and Aztecs used and talks about the wooden swords with obsidian,Was rummord that it could take a horses head off with a swing of it.But your Idea does have some good points to try to use.


Doesn't the SRD give a few lines about this topic?



I can't see anything in the SRD that applies in these cases really.

I found this site quite informative on the facts surrounding obsidian weapons.


I'll post the relevant bit here.

why didn't the Aztecs ever emerge from the stone age? Why did such a remarkably advanced people make such limited use of metal? Anthropologist Terry Stocker offers a troubling answer. When you already have a fine technology, you don't see beyond it. And the Aztecs had obsidian for their axes and knives.

Obsidian is a naturally-occurring glass, usually black and opaque. It's harder than steel, and it fractures smoothly. By splitting it, you can create murderously sharp blades. For the early Greeks and Egyptians, obsidian was a profitable medium of trade, not so easily available. Once artisans had shaped cutting tools from bronze, they had reason to give up obsidian.

That never happened in the Aztec world. Southern Mexico was richly endowed with obsidian. Anthropologists now think the huge and mysterious pre-Aztec city of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, was the center of an obsidian industry.

Aztec swords were made with rows of small obsidian teeth. They were murderous weapons for cutting an enemy. For a long time, historians have marveled at the amount of ceremonial self-mutilation the Aztecs underwent. Now we find that being cut with obsidian is less painful than you'd think, because it makes such a sharp edge.

So obsidian became woven into Aztec worship as well as Aztec function. What need could there be for a replacement material? The Aztecs didn't develop their use of metal because they couldn't see beyond obsidian.

Then the Spanish came with their steel guns, swords, and cannon. They conquered the Aztecs and tried to erase their history. The sublime irony of that is, we now use Aztec obsidian to reconstruct that history. For obsidian carries the imprint of its own past. Once fractured, obsidian slowly reacts to water in a chemical process called hydration. It's possible to read the age of artifacts by seeing how far that process has gone.


Here's some info from Dark Sun revised that might help.

Bone and wood weapons weigh ½ of their metal equivalents, but stone weapons weigh twice as much. The
hardness and hit points for non-metal weapons is listed in Table 6-3: Inferior Material Hardness and Hitpoints.
For purposes of creating and pricing magical and psionic items, simply change the market price entries from
the Dungeon Master Guide from gp to Cp.

and the table

Table 5-3: Inferior Material Hardness and Hitpoints
Weapon Hardness HP1
Light bone blade 6 1
Light stone blade 8 1
Light wood blade 5 1
One-handed bone blade 6 2
One-handed stone blade 8 3
One-handed wood blade 5 2
Two-handed bone blade 6 4
Two-handed stone blade 8 5
Two-handed wood blade 5 4
Light bone-hafted weapon 6 2
Light stone-hafted weapon 8 3
Light wood-hafted weapon 5 2
One-handed bone-hafted weapon 6 5
One-handed stone-hafted weapon 8 8
One-handed wood-hafted weapon 5 5
Two-handed bone-hafted weapon 6 10
Two-handed stone-hafted weapon 8 15
Two-handed wood-hafted weapon 5 10
1 The hp value given is for Medium weapons. Divide by 2 for
each size category of the item smaller than Medium or
multiply it by 2 for each size category larger than Medium.

and this

Metal is rare on Athas, and many weapons ordinarily crafted using metal components are extremely expensive.
Unworked iron is worth 100 Cp per pound on average, but can cost much, much more in some places. Worked
metal is even more expensive, as craftsmen who actually know how to craft metal items are rare at best Most metal weapons are items dating back to the Green Age, or have been crafted from the meager resources of Tyr’s iron mines.

Due to the rarity of metal, weapons and other items constructed primarily from metal are priced at their PHB listed cost in gp – they are not converted to Cp. For example a metal longsword costs 15 gp (or 1,500
Cp).Weapons and items containing only small quantities of metal are priced at half their Player’s Handbook listed cost in gp. Divide the listed Player’s Handbook price by 2.

For example, 20 metal-tip arrows cost 50 Cp. Due to the extremely high cost of metal weaponry, most weapons from the Player’s Handbook are
constructed from inferior, but functional, materials instead on Athas. Most common are bone and stone such as flint or obsidian, but treated wood is sometimes used as well. Weapons constructed from inferior materials, such as bone longsword or an axe with a head made from stone, suffer a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls. This penalty cannot reduce damage dealt below 1.

These weapons cost 0.5% of the listed price in the Player’s Handbook. Convert the listed Player’s Handbook price to Cp, then divide the cost by 2. For example a bone shortsword costs 5 Cp. The following weapons from the Player’s Handbook can be constructed from non-metal materials without penalty: Bolas, all bows (and arrows), club, all crossbows (and bolts), dart, dagger, greatclub, javelin, all lances, all maces, net, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, sap, sling (and bullets), all spears.

They weigh the same as listed in the Player’s Handbook. These weapons cost 1% of the listed price in the Player’s Handbook. Simply convert the
listed price in the Player’s Handbook to Cp. For example, a spear listed at 2 gp in the Player’s Handbook costs 2 Cp.

Hopefully that can help a bit.


Concerning the main topic: Why does everyone feel there needs to be a gigantic difference between weapons made with different materials? The truth is simply that steel, for example, is more resilient and stronger than bronze. It doesn't mystically create more grievous injuries. So increased HP and Hardness for better materials (or decreased, for worse materials) suits just fine.

I would also suggest decreasing the AP value of weapons facing armour made of superior material. So a bronze sword has a lower AP against iron armour, but the same AP as usual against bronze armour.

I would think that swords and blades of simple size could be made at stone age levels

With what? . . . Rocks? A Stone Age society has no.. metal. At least not metal weapons. Hence the term 'Stone Age.'

The macuahuitl, while often referred to as a 'Stone Age sword' or an 'Aztec sword' - is not really a sword. It's an edged club. It's no more a sword than it is an axe. But the term 'sword' is convienent.

Was rummord that it could take a horses head off with a swing of it

Of course this is ridiculous since even a fine steel cutting sword can barely take off a -human- head in one swing. I'm sure you realize that - but it's worth noting as I am equally sure that some people don't realize how silly some weapon-rumours truly are.

why didn't the Aztecs ever emerge from the stone age?

Lack of knowledge of mining procedures and not a terrible abundance of either iron ore or tin and copper.

History has proven again and again that just because a culture is advanced in one direction doesn't mean it suddenly advances everywhere else. Being awesome at math doesn't make you awesome at basketball, if you follow me.

hen you already have a fine technology, you don't see beyond it. And the Aztecs had obsidian for their axes and knives.

The logic makes no sense, though - because obsidian is not 'fine' by any stretch. The logic also doesn't hold water considering the continual improvement of military technology throughout Europe. By the aforementioned Mr. Stocker's logic, Europeans would never have bothered with iron, because they 'already had bronze and that works fine.'

It's harder than steel

It is. So is all glass. This is not a good thing. Obsidian is extremely brittle - it breaks with (relative) ease and cannot be mended, unlike iron and even bronze, to some extent.