OSR: Magical Industrial Weaponry

I put 1d20 Minor Magic Weapons and 1d100 Magic Weapons (mostly designed for melee) in Magical Industrial Revolution, not counting wands and spells. Magical industrial weaponry is the first thing players tend to invent. And the second thing. And, usually, the third through fourth things, though there might be a brief break for magic armour or healing equipment. I didn't want to close that avenue to the PCs by making a canonical Innovation track; if they want to participate in magical industry, magical weapons are a incentive. They have a built-in apocalyptic mechanism. No need to add extra mechanics.

Here are a few ideas for extra weapons, just in case.

Sean Andrew Murray


A magical focus (a crystal; traditionally ruby) attached to a magical battery (traditionally, a staff of rowan or ash, but these days a cylinder of iron and copper containing mercury and occultum). Fires blasts of raw magic. Since the dawn of time, Wizards have made Bzotws. You can make them by accident, improvise them from household magical equipment, and hide them in innocuous items. Bwzots have a 10' range and deal 1d6 damage per charge expended. A Bzotwka is a very large Bzotw.

Aiming beyond 10' is difficult. Raw magic is, well, raw. Fire it at a wizard, someone wearing a magic accumulator, or someone wearing a copper helmet, and you might be surprised at the total lack of efficacy. Some enemies might even appreciate a light dose of raw magic; it helps recharge wands and boost enchantments.

Kinetic Launcher

Gunpowder is inconvenient. Why not launch a bullet with magic instead of fire and air? Enchantments for movable rods are common. With some adjustment, they can fling a stone or a lead ball.


Recoil. The force required to propel a projectile at any decent speed will also, thanks to the intensity of the enchantment required, propel the weapon backwards at a disproportionate rate. Alignment is crucial. If the enchantment is misaligned by half a degree, the weapon can tear itself apart. The enchantment also has to be powerful enough to rapidly accelerate a projectile; a 10' barrel is not feasible.

Magic Bullets

Why enchant the gun when you can enchant the bullet? On impact, cast fireball or lightning bolt or something even more exciting.

Expense. It's easy to miss your target, misfire, or hit something accidentally. An enchanted bullet packs a lot of magic into a small volume, then smashes that volume with fire and hot gas.

Orbital Stones

Basically a low-speed reusable magic projectile. A rock or dagger orbiting a wizard's head. With a gesture, it flies off, hits something and returns.

Retrieval enchantments reduce cost, but you're still basically throwing a stone at your own head, and hoping it will miss and return to its orbit. If you're standing still, the enchantment will probably work. If you're running, dodging, or fighting, you might smack yourself in the face with your own weapon. Very undignified. They're also difficult to conceal, take time to spin up to a useful speed, and clearly mark the bearer as someone looking for a fight.

Doug Williams


A living gun that shoots teeth. Properly horrible. Biomancers say they're the future of warfare, but Biomancers say a lot of things. Most weapon detection spells ignore meat guns, but non-magical weapon detection (i.e. sight) spots them fairly easily.

You have to feed it, wash it, and wait for the teeth to regrow.

Magic Cannons 

See this post.

Illusionary Weapons

Convinces the target they have been harmed via an illusion or a mind-altering effect, usually with an accompanying burst of smoke and fire.

Mind-altering effects are illegal in Endon, but so is shooting someone. Also, the weapon doesn't actually do anything.

Alchemical Explosives

Gunpowder is like candy to fire elementals, or maybe like a drug. Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse and burst eardrums. Stray magic can tunnel through leather and metal. Lead projectiles help, but sensible wizards earth their powder horns with copper wires and dust their gunpowder with lead.

Industrial wizards think gunpowder is a special form of stone and acid, which, combined with fire, turns into air. Cutting-edge alchemists think this theory is laughabl; the eightfold elemental model cannot resolve the Riddle of Phosphorous or the Cursed Glowing Rocks of Nurash.

Experimental explosive alchemists, a term which should make every sensible wizard shudder with horror, typically add very strong acid to another pure substance, then dry the results and see what happens. Their sucess is indisputable; burning fragments, shattered windows, and the distributed remains of alchemists all attest to the possibilities of alchemical explosives.

cademic wizards pursue the Thaumic Bomb, a weapon created by splitting the Thaum that collapses all nearby elements into raw magic. Some say they were used in the Sorcerer Wars of old.
Dominik Derow

1d6 Unique Ranged Weapons

Despite their reputation, wizards don't like leaving magic weapons lying around, for the same reason that your house isn't heated by a small nuclear reactor. Magic is not always shelf-stable. Leave a wand of explosive decompression in your cellar for a few decades and you might be in for a nasty surprise when you decide to do some housework.

Still, even in a peaceful city like Endon, wizards create deadly marvels.

1. Sphere of Annihilation Launcher Number 5.

A steel tube with a shoulder brace, folding sight, and a backpack-sized magical battery. Fires a fist-sized sphere of annihilation. The sphere drops and rolls after 50', then sinks into the earth after 30'. Requires 24 hours and 100gp in occultum to recharge. Every time the weapon is fired, there is a 1-in-10 chance it annihilates itself, the wielder, and anything else in a 30' sphere.

Launchers 1-4 were, needless to say, destroyed during testing.

2. The Cursed Contraption of Doctor Zorius Scorp

An elegant wood and brass pistol. 100' range. Fires a coruscating beam of energy that unerringly strikes the worst possible thing within range, excluding the target and the wielder. The beam deals 2d6 damage on a hit, and can adjust its damage type (fire, lighting, etc) if it makes the result more disastrous. 6 charges.

3. Hasselway's Hostage Gun

A bulky box with a trigger, an iron sight, and a clip of 5 complicated enchanted bombs. 100' range, target-seeking. The bomb attaches to a target, cheerfully broadcasts a prerecorded message, and threatens to explode if approached or touched. Hasselway was sentenced to Particularly Horrible Death by Sorcery.

4. Maxon's Musket of Vengeance

A trumpet-like musket with an ivory stock. Wizards in Endon, as a rule, avoid meddling with religion. How Maxon managed to trap an Angel of Vengeance in a weapon is unknown, but the weapon certainly exists, and Maxon had a surprising number of grievances to air.

Before firing the weapon, the bearer must explain why the target deserves to die. Personal wrongs are rated more highly than nebulous societal harm. The musket can detect lies but cannot speak. The musket deals no damage to innocent targets, 2d6 to annoyances, 3d10 to legitimate rivals, and 4d20 to
nemeses. It never misses. One shot per day.

5. Chernekov's First Pistol

Always stored a locked wooden case with a lead lining and strong anti-scrying enchantment. The weapon is an unremarkable enchanted pistol. It does not require reloading.

When the pistol is revealed, it will be fired within 10 minutes. Even if it is put back in its case and the case is closed, circumstances will - inevitably - lead to the case being open again or the pistol blasting through the side. The pistol does normal damage (typically 1d8). If it is not in its shielded case, it will fire (deliberately or not), every 10x1d6 minutes after the first 10 minutes.

(Damn, Goodberry Monthly got there first).

6. Chernekov's Second Pistol

Always stored in a locked wooden case with a lead lining and a pair of lead-lined gloves. The weapon is a pistol-shaped lump of blue metal.

The weapon has a 50' range and only affects living targets. When fired, the wielder loses half their remaining lifespan, but the target dies. No Save. If the wielder's remaining lifespan would drop below 1 year, they die instead. The weapon is silent and undetectable.

A 30-year-old who expects to live to 80 has a 50 year remaining lifespan. The first shot drops that to 25, the next to 12.5, then 6.25, 3.1, 1.5, then dead.

Edit: forgot to link to Richard's Cheese Guns method which is a very elegant way of dealing with weapon varieties.


  1. Well, these are cool
    the sphere of annihilation launcher makes me scream internally with horror... but I guess untold/unknowable damage to the environment due to magical shenanigans with no stop-don't button is a bit of a Theme.
    very nice
    (also reminding me I haven't got a copy of MIR yet, I better go remedy this lack)

    1. Bah, it'll gently sink towards the centre of the earth, collapsing its tunnel behind it, then probably evaporate when the magic runs out. It doesn't have a magic gravity field, so extra matter isn't drawn in.
      (Yet. Work on Sphere of Annihilation Launcher Number 6 continues.)

  2. When you say, "the worst possible thing", do you mean it hits Buer before it hits a puppy? Or does it hit a box of fireworks before it hits a box of cheese?

    1. I mean "the least helpful or useful thing". If the Buer was neutral or allied, but needed just a little push to set it off, then it hits the Buer. If not, it hits the puppy. It goes for fireworks with alarming frequency because a box of fireworks is, in most fights, the worst possible target. It might aim for cheese if the party is supposed to be protecting a valuable wheel of cheese.

      It's the GM's call as to what the "worst" target is, but if there are lots of bad options, any one will do.

  3. Meat seeking animated mangle. Flatten an enemy.