The Craftsmanship of Death

The Craftsmanship of Death

During their careers Acolytes will undoubtedly come across many types of weaponry, from the crudest las-locks hacked together from broken spares, to precision instruments of death made by masters of their craft.

Quality of Arms

Poor-quality firearms are roughly-made, cannibalised from a dozen similar weapons, or with entirely unsuitable parts used as no others are available. The machine-spirits of these weapons are broken, crippled things, and the weapons’ performance reflects their mutilated spirit, meaning that they have the Unreliable trait. If the weapon would already have this trait then it Jams on any failed to-hit roll.

Firearms in this woeful state, if offered for sale, cost approximately 50% of the market price of their type, and have their Availability increased by one step.

Standard-quality firearms are mass-produced, either by programmed servitors in the vast manufactorums of a Forge World or by apprentice gunsmiths working to specific plans in one of the many fanes of Gunmetal City (to give but two examples). They perform as expected for weapons of their type, having no additional traits (positive or otherwise).

Good-quality firearms are, most often, accurised and rebuilt versions of standard weapons. Their internal mechanisms have been reforged by an accomplished gunsmith, the focussing array polished to a high standard by a full Techpriest, and so on… At first glance they look identical to their lesser cousins, but a connoisseur of guns would recognise the extra care that had gone into their construction. The weapon-spirit of such a weapon is hale and hearty, far less temperamental than its weaker brethren, and the weapon itself gains the Reliable trait (or loses the Unreliable trait if it would normally have that). Should the weapon already have this trait then its Damage is increased by 1 instead.

Firearms of this quality can be found for sale, if rarely, for between three and five times the standard price for their type. Their Availability is likewise decreased by one step, with a minimum of Scarce (-10). A very few weapons are considered to always be of Good quality, due to their nature or construction.

Best-quality firearms are masterpieces of the gunsmiths craft, many of them are works of art, entirely unique one-off creations for favoured (or simply very wealthy) customers, while others have small, highly sought-after production runs. Forged from the very best materials, hand-made with precision tools that are themselves worth a fortune, these represent the pinnacle of Imperial firearms technology. Weapons of this degree of craft are incapable of suffering from a Jam result, instead this is simply a miss. They also commonly (if such a word can be used to describe such instruments) have other properties – as described below.

Such weapons are almost never found “for sale”, their quality is obvious to all but the most oblivious of merchants. Instead, through contacts and favours the existence of such a weapon being available for purchase could come to the attention of the Acolytes. Such situations often devolve into auctions, robberies or all-out wars, as many interested parties descend upon the would-be seller. It is, instead, more likely that a character would commission the construction of a unique weapon, in which case the asking price will start at seven times that of the weapon’s template (see below) and can only increase from there. The Availability of these weapons (or their manufacturer) is two steps above that of their base, with a minimum of Rare (-20).

Instruments of War

The likelihood of finding exactly what you want in a weapon on the off-chance that one of these masterpieces comes up for sale is extremely low. As such, those in search of their perfect weapon find that it is almost always better to commission it. This section describes this process.


The very first step is to design the weapon to be built. This is done by taking a pre-existing weapon, referred to as the template, and then modifying its stats and traits to create the new firearm. It is important to remember that this new weapon is not a version of the old (there is no such thing as a “Best-quality laspistol”), it is unique, built from scratch, and as such it should be given its own name.

Each modification made to the template has its own Cost Factor (CF), which is added to the basic cost of having such a weapon commissioned. To determine the final cost simply total the CFs of the options chosen and add 7, then multiply the cost of the template by that number.

Option Effect Weapons Cost Factor
Accurised Grants the Accurate Trait all +3
Enlarged Chamber Increases Damage SP +2
Exhaust Compressor Increases Penetration bolt, SP +1
Extended Magazine Increases Clip size bolt, SP +1
Fast Charge Cycle Increases Rate of Fire las, plasma +1
Frictionless Mechanism Increases Rate of Fire bolt, SP +1
High-Efficiency Burn Increases Clip size melta, plasma +1
Integrated Upgrade add standard upgrade, negative effects reduced by 50% (round down) all +0.5
Long Barrel Increases Range bolt, SP +2
Mag Vortex Containment Increases Range melta, plasma +2
Oversized Accumulators Increases Damage las +2
Pulsed Wave Generator Grants the Tearing trait las +4
Quick Load Reduces reload time all +0.5
Secondary Collimator Increases Range las +2
Superconducting Materials Increases Clip size las +1
Toxin Reservoir Grants the Toxic trait, single shot mode only SP +3
Wavefront Shaper Increases Penetration las +1

Since some of these options modify the numbers on the template’s profile as shown below:

Enlarged Chamber, Oversized Accumulators: Increase the weapon’s Damage either by twice the number of dice rolled or by 50% (round up) of the Damage modifier, whichever is greater. If this would take the modifier to +7 or higher then increase the number of damage dice by 1 and remove the modifier entirely.

Exhaust Compressor, Wavefront Shaper: Set the weapon’s Pen equal to the template’s Damage modifier plus 50% (round up) of any existing Pen rating. This does not take into account any alterations to Damage or Pen that may occur due to ammunition.

Extended Magazine, High-Efficiency Burn, Superconducting Materials: Increase the template’s Clip by 50% (round up).

Frictionless Mechanism, Fast Charge Cycle: If the weapon was single-shot only (S/-/-) then its new RoF is S/2/-. Otherwise the number of shots fired in as part of a semi-auto and/or full-auto burst is increased by 50% (round up).

Long Barrel, Mag Vortex Containment, Secondary Collimator: Pistols increase their template’s Range by 50% (rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5), Basic and Heavy weapons increase by 100%.


Once the design is completed, ie: the character knows exactly what he wishes to commission, the next step is to locate a master gunsmith who is willing and able to construct the desired weapon. Such craftsmen are, however, not easy to find Рnot merely because they are exceedingly rare, but because they understand the quality of their prospective client̬le. They are also massively in demand, the number of people who can afford to commission such a weapon far exceeds, even in the crushing oppression of the Imperium of Man, the number of people who are capable of building one. Thus, the Availability of Best-quality weapons is really that of their makers.

Once the gunsmith has been located it merely remains for them to be paid for the work to be done, and paid up-front (always, always up-front) and then to wait. Pistols have a base time to construct of one month, while Basic weapons require at least two months from commissioning to delivery. Additionally, the any add-ons from the Integrated Upgrade option may increase the time needed, as the artificer has to source the required components from other craftsmen. While most such can be located very easily, the more exotic ones can take time, even in the rarefied community of the master gunsmiths, hence any Rare upgrade will increase construction time by one week, while a Very Rare one will lengthen time to delivery by a fortnight.


Tychea the Adept wants a las-pistol that can be easily concealed in her robes, but which packs a serious punch. After some weeks locating a gunsmith, she lays out the exact specifications of the firearm, deciding that it will have the Fast Charge Cycle, Oversized Accumulators, Pulsed Wave Generator, Superconducting Materials and Wavefront Shaper options, in addition it will have two Integrated Upgrades, making it Compact and fitting a Red Dot Sight. These options have a total Cost Factor of 9, which when added to the base cost multiplier means that the final cost of the weapon, now christened the Polyex Pocket Pulsar, is 50 [template cost] x (9 [Cost Factors] + 7 [base multiplier]) + 100 [upgrades] = 900 Thrones, and it has the following profile:

Range: 25, RoF: S/2/-, Damage: 1d10+4E, Pen: 2, Clip: 22, Rld: F, Traits: Tearing

Tychea now has a small pistol that packs a massive punch, and should surprise anyone who ends up on the wrong side of it.

The Craftsmanship of Death

Only In Death Does Duty End moxiane moxiane