Dark Souls-inspired Weapons for Into the Odd/Cairn

Next up in my series on Cairn-inspired writing, weaponry! I love the quick combat of Cairn, so I don’t want to slow that down too much, nor do I want the character sheet to be filled with a load of special maneuvers.

The main goals for this project, which I’ve given the working title of Dodge, Parry, Block (DBP) are:

  • Keep the simplicity and core philosophies of ItO/Cairn
  • Keep skills, abilities and progression diegetic and natural – they must make sense within the fiction of the game

This post is a continuation of my Dodge, Parry & Block post, and will be built upon further in an upcoming post about Careers & Skills.

Weapon Types

First of all, the basic categories of weaponry:

  • Piercing. Rolling the maximum value on your damage roll makes your attack ignore armor.
  • Bludgeoning. Always ignores 1 armor.
  • Slashing. Deals +1 damage against targets without armor.
  • Bulky. Requires 2 hands to wield.
  • Ranged. Can attack at range.
The philosophy here is that a dagger (small damage die, piercing) allows you to bypass armor by precisely stabbing weak spots, armor can be bashed in with bludgeoning weapons, and most basic armor is designed to stop slashing weapons.

Weapon Tags

These are variations/expansions of the weapon tags and exotic weapon tags found in Into the Odd.

  • Heavy X: Ignore X points of ARMOR, but DAMAGE rolls of X or lower completely miss.
  • Sweep X: DAMAGE rolls of X or higher grant one bonus attack on another target in reach. You can’t chain this effect for multiple bonus attacks.
  • Reach X: When charged with a weapon shorter than yours when fighting back, the attacker must roll X or higher on their DAMAGE roll or else you get to attack them first.
  • Counter X: DAMAGE rolls of X or less against you are bounced back against your attacker.
  • Brutal X: CRITICAL DAMAGE resulting from a DAMAGE roll of X or more from this weapon is an instant kill, and forces a morale SAVE on the enemy.
  • Shock X: Damage rolls of X or higher trigger a STR Save – on a failure, the target loses its next turn.
  • Bleed X: On a damage roll of X or higher, the target takes an additional 1d4 STR damage at the start of their next turn.


  • Sharpened X: Reroll damage rolls of X or lower.
  • Mastercrafted: Roll 2 damage dice, highest result counts.

Learning How To Use A Weapon

If you are not proficient with an individual weapon, the weapon damage die is lowered one tier (d12>d10>d8>d6>d4). To gain proficiency with an individual weapon, roll max damage with the weapon 3 times while in lethal combat.

To use the weapon tag (Brutal, Sweep etc.) of an individual weapon, you need weapon mastery. This is achieved by making 5 killing blows with the weapon while in lethal combat.

If you are not proficient with a weapon type, you do not gain the benefits of Piercing/Bludgeoning/Slashing. To gain proficiency with the weapon type, make 5 killing blows while in lethal combat with any weapon of that type.

You get better at utilizing weapons by using them. Once you're used to slashing weapons, you can pick up another to easily slash with, but you do need to get used to the new balance, weight and "moveset" of the new weapon, hence the lowered damage die.
Using a weapon in more advanced ways (using its tag) requires the most practice and mastery.

Example Weapons

All inspired by Dark Souls. Rarity is an indicator of price and likeliness to be found in loot.

If tied into the aforementioned Dodge, Block, Parry system, I think it would make sense to have all d6 damage die weapons count as fast, d8 weapons count as ‘normal’ and d10 weapons as strong.

Piercing Weapons

  • Bow (d6): Piercing, Bulky, Ranged. Rarity: ⭐
  • Ceremonial Dagger (d6): Piercing, Bleed (5). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Dagger (d6): Piercing. Rarity: ⭐
  • Parrying Dagger (d6): Piercing, Counter (2). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Crossbow (d8): Piercing, Bulky, Ranged. Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Rapier (d8). Piercing, Counter (3). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Spear (d8): Piercing, Reach (3). Rarity: ⭐
  • War Pick (d8): Piercing, Bleed (7). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Boar-Hunting Spear (d10): Piercing, Bulky, Reach (4). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Greatbow (d10): Piercing, Bulky, Ranged. Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐

Bludgeoning Weapons

  • Cudgel (d6): Bludgeoning. Rarity: ⭐
  • Sage’s Staff (d6): Bludgeoning, Reach (3). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Simple Staff (d6): Bludgeoning, Reach (2). Rarity: ⭐
  • Flail (d8): Bludgeoning, Shock (5). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Mace (d8): Bludgeoning, Shock (7). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Spiked Mace (d8): Bludgeoning, Shock (6). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Maul (d10): Bludgeoning, Bulky, Shock (6). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Warhammer (d10): Bludgeoning, Bulky, Heavy (3). Rarity: ⭐⭐

Slashing Weapons

  • Shortsword (d6): Slashing. Rarity: ⭐
  • Axe (d8): Slashing, Heavy (2). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Executioner’s Axe (d8): Slashing, Brutal (5). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Flamberge (d8): Slashing, Bleed (6). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Halberd (d8): Slashing, Bulky, Reach (3), Sweep (7). Rarity: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Longsword (d8): Slashing, Sweep (7). Rarity: ⭐
  • Scimitar (d8): Slashing, Sweep (6). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Greataxe (d10): Slashing, Bulky, Brutal (6). Rarity: ⭐⭐
  • Greatsword (d10): Slashing, Bulky, Sweep (6). Rarity: ⭐⭐
I'm a bit torn as to whether axes should be Brutal or Heavy. 

4 thoughts on “Dark Souls-inspired Weapons for Into the Odd/Cairn

  1. Just a couple of thoughts. Some good ideas here. Like the approach.

    Maybe have variant forms of axes. One that is Brutal. One that is Heavy. Perhaps also for Greatsword.

    1. Good ideas! I was mostly trying to lay out the broad framework; between Tags, Tag level (the number attached) and Tag combinations there’s a lot of space to create extra weapons!

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