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MyGURPS - BAE Melee Weapons

BAE Melee Weapons

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Anyone can punch/kick for Str damage or use their gun as an improvised weapon (-2 to Fighting) to either pistol-whip or butt-stroke for Str+d4 damage. But some Vault Hunters prefer getting up close and personal with their foes.

Getting Medieval

Let's summarize the basic rules, with some Borderlands-specific clarifications.

Min Str: Unless stated otherwise, a weapon's Minimum Strength equals its damage die (e.g., Str+d8 means Min Str d8). If you don't meet this minimum, the weapon's damage die is reduced to your Strength die and you lose most positive features found in its "Notes": Fighting bonus, Parry bonus, Reach, Compact, Thrown, and/or improved critical damage. Only its flat damage bonus, AP, and elemental effects still apply — along with any drawbacks, of course!

Handedness: Melee weapons are one-handed unless specified otherwise. Obviously, apply the Parry bonus/penalty for a melee weapon held in the primary hand. For one held in the off-hand, any Parry penalty applies, but a Parry bonus applies only if the wielder has the Ambidextrous Edge.

Throwable Weapons: Use Athletics to throw a weapon; the Combat Slinger Edge lets you substitute Fighting if better. Reach does not affect Range in any way, and vice-versa. Thrown weapons digistruct back into your hands at the end of your turn (not the end of the round). You must meet a weapon's minimum Strength to throw it!

Note: The Improvisational Fighter Edge lets you ignore "to hit" and Parry penalties with any melee weapon, improvised or otherwise.

Generating a Melee Weapon

Use the following steps to create a random grenade mod, usually when it came up as the result in BAE Guns, Glorious Guns!.

Type of Weapon

Roll d20 on the following table

1-2HatchetStr+d62Can be thrown (Range 3/6/12).
3-5ChainsawStr+d6+172 hands. Critical failure hits the wielder or an ally*.
6-7BuzzaxeStr+d8+110AP 2, Parry -1, 2 hands. Critical failure hits the wielder or an ally*.
8DaggerStr+d41Can be thrown (Range 3/6/12).
9-10GreataxeStr+d107AP 2, Parry -1, 2 hands
11-12GreatswordStr+d1062 hands
13HalberdStr+d86Reach 1, 2 hands
14-15ArmbladesStr+d62Always equipped (even when firing guns or using a different melee weapon), so no action required to switch to or from, but -1 to hit.
16RapierStr+d42Parry +1.
17-18SpearStr+d63Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 hands. Can be thrown (Range 3/6/12).
* Roll randomly based on the number of friendly targets within reach (including the wielder).


Only a few companies bother making melee weapons. Roll d20 on the following table.

1-8COVDamage +1, Parry -1.Bulky, top-heavy weapons made from repurposed junk.
9-15DahlAs written.Simple, no-nonsense weapons for military use.
16-20MaliwanDamage -2. Roll d20 to add an element: (1‑4) Corrosive, (5‑8) Cryo, (9‑12) Incendiary, (13‑16) Radiation, (17‑20) Shock.Steampunk weapons with gas vents, electrical nodules, acid sprayers, etc. along the weapon's length.


For a Novice character's White weapon, stop there. Rarer weapons and/or more experienced characters get additional Upgrades:

RarityUpgrades   PC RankUpgrades
Green+1 Seasoned+1
Blue+2 Veteran+2
Purple+3 Heroic+3
Orange+5* Legendary+4
* Orange weapons get +4 regular Upgrades plus an automatic Red Text Upgrade (applied first).

For each Upgrade, roll d20 on the following table. Most Upgrades have a limit; if you reach that limit, reroll. Do apply Upgrades as you go, at least for Parry.


Balance (Limit: 4, or 5 for armblades)

Improves one's odds to hit, via Fighting or (if throwable) Athletics. Effect depends on final Balance Upgrade level:

  1. Ignore 1 point of penalties to hit (of any type)
  2. +1 to hit
  3. Ignore 2 points of penalties to hit (of any type)
  4. +2 to hit

Exception: For armblades, the first level of Balance removes the inherent -1 to hit, and levels 2-5 provide the benefits above.


Critical Damage (Limit: 5)

Improves the extra damage this weapon does on a Raise, based on Critical Damage Upgrade level:

  1. +2d4
  2. +2d6
  3. +2d8
  4. +2d10
  5. +2d12


Damage (No limit)

Each level adds +1 Damage.


Parry (Limit: Special)

Each level improves Parry by +1, to a maximum of Parry +1 (or Parry +2 for a rapier or spear).


Elemental (Limit: 1, or 0 for Maliwan)

Reduce Damage by -1 and roll a d6 to add an element to the weapon: (1) Corrosive, (2) Cryo, (3) Explosive, (4) Incendiary, (5) Radiation, (6) Shock.

See BAE Elemental Damage for a note about how Explosive melee weapons work.


Thrown (Limit: Special)

If the weapon is not yet throwable, now it can be thrown with Range 3/6/12.

If the weapon is throwable, improve its Range to 5/10/20.

Past that, reroll.

This Upgrade is not available for armblades.


Reach (Limit: 1 or 0)

If the weapon doesn't have Reach 1, give it Reach 1.

If it already has Reach 1, reroll.

This Upgrade is not available for armblades.


Compact (Limit: 1 or 0)

If the weapon is two-handed, halve its weight (round up) and change it to one-handed.

If it's already one-handed, reroll.


Heavy (Limit: 1)

Add the HW (Heavy Weapon) keyword. Like a can opener, this weapon does full damage to vehicles and fortifications.

Also add +2 AP.


Special (Limit: 1 Red Text (if Blue+) and 1 Anointment)

First, some ground rules: Weapons of any quality can have an Anointment. But only Blue weapons or better can have Red Text (and Orange weapons have this automatically, as a bonus Upgrade).

If the weapon qualifies for both and has neither, roll d4: (1-2) Add an Anointment, (3-4) Add Red Text. Otherwise, give it whichever it qualifies for; if neither, reroll.

Exception: If you're here generating a hybrid weapon because you rolled Bayonet Upgrade 2 for a gun, reroll this result!


Finally, consider adding a descriptive prefix to the weapon; e.g., if a COV Sword added Shock damage, you could call it a COV Electric Sword. The gear generator app does this for you, but even then feel free to replace it with something more unique.

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