Now THAT’S a sword!

Pathfinder has a lot of weapons. That’s a good thing for a game that has such a technical combat system, it increases the variety of options your character has. A quick count says Pathfinder has roughly 29 different swords. Most of them are different but some similar (looking at you cutlass and scimitar). None of them are classified as simple weapons, however limiting swords to the realm of martial characters. In fairness Paizo has done a lot giving non-martial characters options and archetypes expanding the kinds of weapons they can wield.

In real life, there’s a large variety of swords and bladed weapons produced in every corner of the globe that serve as the basis for these weapons in Pathfinder. The basic Pathfinder longsword is really an analogy for dozens of mostly straight, double edged blades. Weapon Master’s Handbook actually has a section about this, but I think it bears diving into a little bit.


Awesome, must-buy Player Companion.

Mechanically, Pathfinder has “best-in-slot” equipment. A magus’ best weapon is a one-handed slashing weapon with an 18-20 critical range, a barbarians’ best weapon for damage is a two handed weapon with 2D6 damage and a 19-20 critical range. There’s nothing wrong with this, games will always have “best” options. These “best” options may change depending on what your character does, like a Shoanti Burn Riders’ best weapon may be a lance to get sick charge damage.

Whenever there’s a best, its easy to feel like you’re losing something when you don’t choose it. Early on in my Pathfinder career, I made a magus and burned my third level feat for a Rhoka just because I didn’t want to be a stereotypical scimitar wielding magus. Throwing away mechanical benefit isn’t the only way to gain originality and creative control over your characters.

A quick Bing image search turned up all these results when I entered “scimitar”


Google Image Search kept giving me pictures of cutlasses.

That’s a good variety of weapons, even if they don’t all fit the textbook definition of a scimitar. Pathfinder and Pathfinder Society are pretty accepting of reskinning objects as long as they represent what they are well “I.E. you can’t have a scimitar that looks like a rubber chicken” and they have no mechanical changes. Heck, you don’t even have to call it a scimitar as long as your GM knows that mechanically it has the scimitars’ stat block and its appearance is that of a sword.

So, don’t be a wimpy nerd like me. Go forth and reskin your weapons (within your GM’s acceptance of course) and don’t punish yourself mechanically for creative variety! Do you have any neat re-skinned items or cool glimmered items? I’d like to hear about em’ down below.

James Ballod

James blossomed into geekdom like a piranha plant in the crack of a sidewalk. Watered by the muscle-brained lore of Warhammer 40,000 and nurtured in the rough bosom of World of Warcraft, tabletop RPGs came late in life to James. The rich lore and real-world influences in games like Pathfinder inspire James to explore them from every angle. When not being an annoying anime-fanboy he can be found discussing the history of various cuisines and over-analyzing real world influences in works of fiction.