I love non-magical items and weapons that are more involved, interesting, functional, or useful than a typical item of the same type. There are a lot of cultures, religions, and people in RPG settings that willingly avoid using magical items for a variety of reasons. There are also those who just can’t afford magical items and have to make something that gives them an edge without using magic. And then there are people who want to use non-standard items and eventually enchant them to make them even more powerful. For those looking for unique weapons, here’s three you can steal.
The Third Hand
The Third Hand is a medium round shield with upward-facing hooks that line its perimeter. The hooks stick out far enough so the shaft of polearm weapons, such as spears and halberds, fit between the hooks and the shield. This allows the user to catch the shaft of a polearm and use the shield to swing it effectively while also using the shield for protection. The user can maneuver the polearm by catching it and aiding its movements with the shield, allowing them to swing it around with similar motions to if they were two-handing the weapon.
Mechanically, this allows the character to use a polearm essentially one-handed, keeping the bonus the shield gives them to their defense. The character retains the full reach of the weapon as well.
Because the character is using a two-handed weapon with one hand, they take a penalty when something tries to disarm them (-4 with Pathfinder, disadvantage with D&D 5e, 1-2 banes with Shadow of the Demon Lord, or whatever applies to the system you’re using).
The shield only works for weapons that an average human or smaller creature could use. The size and weight of larger polearms don’t allow for the same types of manipulation.
The fighting style and training required to use a shield and one hand to wield a polearm requires training only available through RPing and NPC training.
The Flace is a weapon that serves two purposes. In one form, it is a large, two-handed mace with a diamond-shaped spiked head. However, with a proper twist of the handle, claws in the handle release the spiked head. The head falls, pulling the chain attached to it out of the hollow shaft until it becomes a two-handed flail with reach.
In order to use the Flace, the character must be proficient with maces to use it as a mace and proficient with flails to use it as a flail. If they are not proficient with one of the weapon types, they take the normal penalties when using it as that type. Flace has the stats of a two-handed mace as a mace and the stats of a two-handed flail as a flail.
Because the handle of the mace is hollow, the weapon suffers from low durability. As a result, the flace has ½ the durability of a mace (using the stats of a mace for whatever system you are using).
Because the chain on the flail is so long and requires a lot of room to swing, a character cannot use it in any place or situation where the GM says it is too cramped.
This specially designed crossbow has a box of 10 bolts that fits on top of the flight groove. After firing, the user moves a handle on the crossbow forward and then pulls it back again. This grabs the string, pulls it back, drops a bolt into place, and fires all in one smooth action. Here’s a video of the actual repeating crossbow this is based on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JToxcNxED5I (I hope you know how hard it was for me to resist the urge to Rick Roll you). The repeating crossbow allows the user to fire an extra bolt as part of a full-round attack action.
It takes a full-round action to reload a clip with ten new bolts.
Since the repeating crossbow is designed for urban environments and closer combat, it has ½ the range of a normal crossbow.
Without a sight to look straight down, the user takes a slight penalty when aiming (-1 for D&D, Pathfinder, and Savage Worlds, 1 bane for Shadow of the Demon Lord, etc).
Because of the design, it is very difficult to find high-powered repeating crossbows. If there are grades of crossbows, such as light and heavy, repeating crossbows will almost always be on the weaker side.