These categories though are not straight jackets. It’s possible for a weapon to fall into multiple categories based on how you use it. For example, you can use a dagger as a finesse weapon when you stab someone, or you can throw it and it becomes a ranged weapon. A longsword might be used as either a martial or a finesse weapon. A bastard sword might be a martial weapon when wielded one-handed or a heavy weapon when employed in two hands. You can switch back and forth between these categories as makes sense, as long as you only use one category per exchange.

Melee Weapons

Martial Weapons

Martial weapons are weapons that rely on main strength, training, or both. Longswords, battle axes, clubs, and warhammers are all martial weapons. Clubbing a guy upside the head with a pistol or rifle counts as a martial weapon, but it sure won’t do its reliability any favors. When you successfully attack with a martial weapon, you deal one additional point of stress.

Finesse Weapons

Finesse weapons, like rapiers, scimitars, nunchucku, daggers, and so forth, rely more on speed and precision than on strength. Naval cutlasses sometimes count as finesse weapons, depending on the style of swordplay the wielder’s using. When you use a finesse weapon, you may use Dexterity instead of Strength for any rolls you make with it.

Heavy Weapons

Heavy weapons are like martial weapons but bigger; they are weapons of brute force and overwhelming power. Greatswords, mauls, cabers, and other huge weapons are heavy weapons. When you attack with a heavy weapon, you deal two additional points of stress on a success. However, while you wield it, you can never act first in a conflict.

Ranged Weapons

Ranged weapons are meant to be used from a distance. Guns, bows, crossbows, throwing daggers, shuriken, and so forth are all ranged weapons. When you use a ranged weapon, you can target someone in any zone, not just the zone you’re in.

Black Powder Weapons

Black powder weapons are quickly becoming favored by Freeporters over things like bows and crossbows. They’re simple to use and maintain and can be devastatingly effective. They’re still a bit pricey, but that’s changing as more smiths learn to build them.

They do have their drawbacks, though. All black powder weapons require an action to reload, which requires both hands free. They all have the aspect Loud and Unreliable, which might get you in trouble. They hold a single shot and require an action to reload. Typically, armor is ineffective against black powder weapons, unless the armor is Proofed- tested against gunfire and proven effective.

Most black powder weapons such as pistols and muskets clearly fall into one of these four categories. Some more specialized weapons (blunderbuss, horse pistol, long rifle, etc.) may justify modifying these guidelines a bit. Work with your GM to figure out how a particular gun works.


Sidearms are small black powder pistols, usually built with a flintlock or wheellock mechanism. You can use a sidearm to attack anyone in your zone or an adjacent zone. When you attack with a sidearm, you deal 1 shift of extra stress if you deal stress, and your attack completely ignores most armor. You must spend 1 action to reload a sidearm.


Longarms are longer, two-handed black powder weapons such as muskets. They’re a bit more powerful than sidearms and most have greater range, but it also takes a bit longer to bring them to bear. You can use longarms to attack anyone in any zone you can see except your own. When you attack with a longarm, you deal 2 shifts of extra stress if you deal stress, and your attack ignores most armor. If you’re shooting a longarm, you can’t go first in the exchange.


Adventures in Freeport and Beyond josh61980