All weapons fall into broad categories reflected by the regular martial Abilities. But each individual weapon also corresponds to its own mastery Ability. If a character has a score of one or greater in such an Ability, she is said to have “mastered” that weapon.
A weapon mastery Ability affects die-rolling in two ways. First, an attack or defense roll with the weapon in question cannot roll lower than the user’s level of the corresponding mastery Ability, except in the case of a botch. For example, a character using a longsword with “Weapon Mastery—Longsword” level 4 counts all rolls that are lower than four as rolls of four (so long as they are not botched). The second effect is to reduce, by one per level, the number of botch dice rolled when using the weapon.
For every level in the mastery Ability, the character may also choose one special capability, applicable only to that mastered weapon. Thus, a character with mastery score of two has two special capabilities she can use when wielding that weapon.
Weapon mastery Abilities do not have specializations.
Action Surge (Any): When the warrior uses the Exertion combat option, the bonus applies to a designated attack roll with the affected weapon and to defense totals for that round.
Arrow Cutting (Melee): The wielder adds her mastery level to her defense totals against personal-scale missile weapons, except against bullets from firearms.
Better Handling (Any): The warrior’s Strength rating is considered to be 2 points higher for the purpose of determining whether she can wield this weapon.
Custos (Shield): If this shield in forward stance, the warrior counts as two people for determining if there are enough blockers to allow allies to be in rearward stance. Once per round, the warrior can “block” for one allied character that is standing next to her (or is behind her in rearward stance). Apply the shield’s Weapon Defense Bonus to the ally’s Defense Total to resist that attack.
Disarm (Melee): The warrior can use this weapon for maneuvers to disarm or to take her opponent’s weapon.
Double Shot (Firearm): The weapon user can fire two bullets in rapid succession, gaining a + 2 bonus to her Attack Total. This capability only applies to firearms that shoot one bullet per trigger pull and that do not use the spread or explosive features.
Engaging Attack (Melee): If the weapon user attacks someone in forward stance, whether she hits or not, that target must successfully use the rules for Disengaging if it wants to shift to rearward stance at the start of the next round.
En Passant (Melee): The warrior adds her mastery level to rolls for rushing or to resist rushing while armed with the appropriate weapon.
Finesse (Melee): The weapon user applies her Quickness to her Damage Total instead of her Strength. This capability can only be applied to light weapons, those that require Strength rating of – 1 or lower.
Heavy Strike (Melee): By putting her whole body into the swing, the warrior can make devastating strikes at the cost of precision. Before rolling to attack, the weapon user can decide to subtract 3 from her Attack Total and add 5 to her Damage Total. If using a two-handed weapon, the user can instead elect to subtract 6 from her Attack Total and add 10 to her Damage total. This capability can only be applied to heavy weapons, those that require a Strength rating of 0 or higher.
Mobile Firing (Ranged): The weapon’s user takes no penalty for using this ranged weapon due to her own movement or the movement of her target.
Mounted Archery (Ranged): The warrior takes no penalty for using this ranged weapon due to her mount’s movement.
Mounted Charge (Melee): The weapon user can make a charging attack with this weapon. A charging attack is a melee attack performed during a mount’s move, and the mount can cover double its normal movement distance. The mount must move at least 15 paces to build momentum before the attack can be made.
Mounted Defender (Shield): If using this shield while mounted, its Weapon Defense Bonus applies to the Defense Total of the warrior’s mount.
Mounted Overbear (Melee): If the mounted warrior successfully rushed in order to attack with this weapon, her mount can make a bonus attack of its own against the defender that failed the rushing check. The mount can attempt to trip the defender instead of inflicting damage.
Point Blank (Ranged): The warrior takes no penalties for using this missile weapon while engaged by melee fighters. She can also use this ranged weapon in forward stance, even if it is a two-handed weapon.
Precise Shot (Ranged): The character can ignore penalties to her attack total that stem from her target being engaged in melee combat or otherwise being covered or concealed.
Quick Draw (Any): Normal combat rounds assume that the participants will have time to draw weapons (or change weapons) without penalty. Even when the Storyguide determines there is not enough time to draw, characters with this capability can draw (or switch to) the associated weapon anyway.
Rapid Reload (Ranged): This special capability applies only to crossbows and firearms. If applied to a basic weapon, the user needs only to forego one round’s actions to reload the weapon. If applied to an advanced weapon, the reloading action can take the place of movement in a round instead of the user’s significant action (i.e., instead of her attack or spellcasting).
Shield Expert (Shield): The user gains 1 point of Armor Soak Bonus while wielding this type of shield. This capability can be selected multiple times, each time providing an additional point of Soak, to a total bonus no higher than the shield’s Weapon Defense Modifier. This Armor Soak Bonus is cumulative with the protection provided from regular armor.
Subduing Strike (Melee): The warrior no longer suffers the – 3 penalty for scuffling with this weapon. She can elect to not inflict the resulting wound levels from the Scuffle Effects chart, inflicting just the listed Fatigue levels.
Timed Attack (Any): The weapon user adds her mastery score to opposed initiative rolls when interrupting in combat or resisting being interrupted.
Trip (Melee): This mastery capability applies only to two-handed weapons. The warrior can use this weapon for maneuvers to trip or knock down enemies.
Two Weapon Fighting (Melee): The warrior can fight with two melee weapons, using this weapon in her off-hand. The second weapon adds its Attack and Defense bonuses to the primary weapon’s. These additional points apply only against another melee fighter. An off-hand weapon must be a melee weapon that is usable in one hand. Its Strength requirement is three points higher than listed. (Shields do not follow these rules or require this capability for off-hand use.)