Titles weapons
Weapons in the Mass Effect universe are micro-scaled mass accelerators, using mass-reducing fields and magnetic force to propel miniature slugs to lethal speeds. Nearly every gun on the battlefield is laden with features, from targeting auto-assists to projectile shavers that can generate thousands of rounds of ammunition from a small, internal block of metal.

Recently personal weapons have undergone a massive shift. It was discovered that, in an age of kinetic barriers, most firefights were won by the side who could put the most rounds downrange the fastest. As such, detachable heat sinks, known as thermal clips, were adopted first by the geth, and shortly thereafter by organic arms manufacturers. Ammunition may never be a concern with modern arms, but the availability of thermal clips is; weapons without thermal clips have nowhere to disperse their heat and are incapable of firing.


To better simulate weapons in Mass Effect a few things will be added to the base gun rules on page 127 of the Bulldogs! rulebook. Namely Penetration and Minimum and Maximum Range as seen in Diaspora. Also most weapons in Mass Effect are ballistic weapons so the base assumptions in the rule book about lasers and blast weapons should be ignored.

    Penetration is subtracted from the armor rating of an opponent’s armor before damage is applied. Negative numbers give a bonus to the armor for the purposes of that attack. Cost: Penetration costs 1 Improvement per positive bonus while a negative bonus will subtract 1 Improvement.

For example: An M-4 Shuriken submachinegun isn’t very effective against armor with a Penetration of -1 and a damage of 2. A character with medium armor reduces stress by 1 per attack which becomes effectively a 2 against the M-4 meaning that the target takes no stress.

    Range is also divided into two separate numbers representing Minimum and Maximum Range. Range 0, or the same zone as the attacker, is included as part of that. A weapon used inside its minimum range or outside its maximum range applies a modifier of -2 to the roll. Cost: Adding an Area of Range to a template costs 1 Improvement while subtracting an Area will subtract 1 Improvement.
    Because of the changes in Range accuracy is no longer used as a separate category. Bonuses or penalties can still be applied in certain circumstances to attack rolls however. For example Autofire causes a -1 or -2 penalty to attack rolls depending on its level.
  • BULK
    Bulk works exactly as it does for Armor and represents a negative applied to actions involving Tech Talents and Biotics. Reducing Bulk will cost 1 single improvement per point and applies to both Tech Talents and Biotics unlike armor penalties which require an improvement expenditure per skill penalty reduced. Bulk from weapons doesn’t restrict Athletics or Alertness at its base however. Penalties can be added to Athletics and Alertness if desired which will subtract 1 improvement point per penalty per skill impacted.


Weapons in Mass Effect can be designed by using the following templates which replace the Type and Forms in the base rules (see Bulldogs! pg. 128). Once a Template is selected it can be modified using the rules presented here and in the Bulldogs! rule book by adding Improvements listed below as desired. Note that these rules are made for designing different weapons. They are not intended for modifying an already existing model. That is more the providence of Upgrades which can be purchased separately below.

I priced the weapon templates Cost by using the following formula rounding up on fractions:

Damage + Sum of Areas of Effective Range + Penetration – Bulk = (Subtotal / 2) -1 = Cost


Assault rifles
NOTES: Autofire.
Assault Rifles in Mass Effect are a class of rapid firing ranged weapons, which also encompasses battle rifles, marksman rifles and light machine guns.



NOTES: Scattershot (page 129) is included.
Shotguns are particularly deadly at close range. The shotgun is stored on the small of the back in its collapsed form, below your character’s assault rifle and sniper rifle.


Sniper rifles

NOTES: Scoped.
Sniper rifles are slow to fire often requiring re-cocking after each shot. However, they make up for this in range and damage – higher-level sniper rifles retain accuracy at incredible ranges, and they will often kill weaker enemies in one shot. Beware, though; close-range encounters are not recommended, due to the fact that you will more than likely miss any shots in close combat.



NOTES: Autofire (Page 129).
Submachine Guns (SMGs) in Mass Effect are a class of rapid firing weapons, including both fully automatic and burst fire weapons. They generally have low accuracy and damage per shot, offset by their clip size and rate of fire. They are best suited for close-mid range combat. SMGs are very effective against shields and biotic barriers, but are weak against armor.


Heavy pistols

Heavy pistols are a class of semi-automatic weapons, which have a low rate of fire and limited ammunition, but do relatively high damage per shot. They are an invaluable backup weapon, somewhat effective against armor, less so against shields and relatively accurate at mid range.


Below is the list of improvements from Bulldogs! page 129 that were used in creating the Weapon Templates above. Some additional Improvements were brought in from Diaspora Weapon Stunts on page 115. Italicized entries are new or modified to better reflect the Mass Effect paradigm.

Improvements can be used to modify an existing template or to create a new one as needed.

    Not Available because of changes to Range.
    Not Available.
    Available. See Upgrades below for a list of common aspects applied to weapons in Mass Effect.
    Available. Part of Assault Rifle and SMG templates. Can be removed from those templates for -1 improvement point. Autofire still causes a -1 or -2 penalty to attack rolls depending on its level as stated in the text despite Accuracy no longer be used. When autofire is used an opponent can free tag an “Out of Ammo” Aspect compelling them to reload that weapon or use another instead of attacking for a round.
    “Out of ammo” is free-taggable (or free compel) after regular fire and not just AoE fire. -1 improvement point.
    “Out of ammo” cannot be free-tagged. If a weapon has 2 levels of Autofire only the FIRST free tag may be negated. To eliminate the free tag all together would require adding a Heat Sink upgrade or Magazine Upgrade (see Upgrades below). +1 improvement point.
  • HIGH EXPLOSIVE (Explosive guns only):
    Available but only for artillery and heavy weapons.
    The weapon can only be fired every other round unless the firer is prone. -1 improvement point.
    Available but only for artillery and heavy weapons.
  • Long RANGE:
    This is available but modified. It can be used to increase or decrease the number of areas a weapon is effective by one and becomes called RANGE.
    Because of the great weight and bulk of this weapon it reduces Athletics checks by one for -1 improvement point.
    Available. Although it will mostly be covered with Ammo Upgrades.
    Available. Can be a penalty on a template as well for -1 improvement point.
    Available. Found in the shotgun template already. Can be removed from that template for -1 improvement point.
    Available. In addition to adding to Damage it can be applied to Penetration although it must be selected separately for Armor and Shields. +1 improvement point.
    Usually applied to sniper rifles. A weapon with this usually requires sighting through a scope to use properly. This reduces situational awareness which results in a -1 to Alertness checks for noticing and for initiative purposes. -1 improvement point.

For example: I decide to make a shotgun that can drop a charging krogan with one shot. It needs to be effective against armor and shields and deal out a stupendous amount of damage. I decide that I am not really concerned with cost. I start out with the base shotgun template from above which gives me DAMAGE: 3 RANGE: 0-2 PENETRATION: -1 BULK: 1 COST: 2 NOTES: Scattershot

I add the Powerful Improvement to increase the damage to 5 which adds 2 to the cost of the shotgun for a total of Cost: 4. But I also want this shotgun to be effective against armor and add 3 Specialized Improvements to increase its Penetration against armor from -1 to a respectable 2. This raises my cost to 7! That is a bit too high so I increase the weapon’s Bulk to 2 which lowers the cost to 6. That is still too expensive. I decide a weapon this powerful is likely hard to maneuver and would have a small magazine. So I pick out the Massive and Awkward Reload Improvements reducing the cost by 2 more points.

Below is what I end up with:


Gun m300 claymore

NOTES: Scattershot (page 129). Massive (-1 Athletics). Awkward Reload.

The Claymore used to be a hard-hitting but poor-selling shotgun due to kickback problems snapping the arms of anyone but krogan firing the weapon. After a rehaul of its kinetic dampening system, the Claymore is being rolled out again. As a way to lure back customers, the gun’s manufacturer has lowered the shotgun’s selling price without skimping on its stopping-power.


Below is a selection of Upgrades that can be selected to customize weapons. Unlike the Improvements above they can be added after a weapon is purchased or acquired. Weapon Upgrades are bought separately from a weapon for a cost of Fair +2. Some Weapon Upgrades have a second level which can be bought at a cost of +4 Great. Each weapon can only have 2 additional Weapon Upgrades plus a single active Ammo Upgrade.


Upgrade buttons e scopeSNIPER RIFLE ENHANCED SCOPE
Stability-enhancing scope increases accuracy while moving and taking damage. Negates the Alertness Penalty caused by the Scoped Improvement.

Upgrade buttons extended barrelEXTENDED BARREL
Lengthens barrel, creating greater bullet velocity and impact. Adds +1 Damage to a weapon. When combined with the Piercing Mod it negates the damage reduction penalty. A second level, at a Cost of +4 Great, can be purchased for +2 to damage but because of the extra length of the barrel adds Bulk +1.

Upgrade buttons heat sinkHEAT SINK
Increases heat conductivity of thermal clip receiver. Negates heat generated by some shots. The “Out of ammo” Aspect created by Autofire cannot be free-tagged. If a weapon has Autofire x2 it will only negate the FIRST free tag unless the weapon also has the High Capacity improvement or the Magazine Upgrade.

Upgrade buttons magazineMAGAZINE UPGRADE
Increases magazine capacity, allowing more shots before reload. The “Out of ammo” Aspect created by Autofire cannot be free-tagged. If a weapon has Autofire x2 it will only negate the FIRST free tag unless the weapon also has the High Capacity improvement or the Heat Sink Upgrade.

Upgrade buttons piercingPIERCING MOD
Capacitor boosts kinetic coil generators, increasing shot penetration versus armor but at the price of reducing overall damage. Adds +1 to a weapon’s Penetration against Armor at the cost of reducing its Damage by 1. A second level can be acquired providing a +2 to Armor Penetration with a Damage penalty of 2 for a cost of +4 Great.

Upgrade buttons scopePRECISION SCOPE
Simple 2x-4x optical scope to enhance stability and increase the effective Maximum Range by +1. Only Assault Rifles, Pistols or Submachineguns can use this Upgrade. A second level can be acquired providing a +2 to Maximum Range for a cost of +4 Great. However, the second level penalizes the Alertness skill -1 in the same manner as the Scoped Improvement above.

Upgrade buttons smart chokeSHOTGUN SMART CHOKE
Servo motors hooked up to adjustable system tighten or loosen pellet spread for maximum accuracy. Adds 1 to a shotgun’s Maximum range.

Upgrade buttons stability dampSTABILITY DAMPER
Distributes recoil with sliding system of counterweights compatible with kinetic coil generators. Reduces weapon kickback. This reduces the Attack Penalty of using Autofire by 1 point. This upgrade can be bought at a second level for a cost of +4 Great.


A player may select an Ammunition Upgrade for a point of Refresh just like any other Stunts. When an Ammo Upgrade is selected it can be applied to any and all weapons in a character’s kit. To switch between different ammo upgrades takes a supplemental action.

Upgrade buttons apARMOR PIERCING AMMO
This type of ammunition is derived from tungsten. This extremely dense, heavy metal is about 1.7 times heavier than lead, and far more difficult to deform than steel. It is excellent for use in armor-piercing type ammunition. Adds +2 to Armor Penetration but at a cost of -1 to overall Damage.

Ammo cryoCRYO AMMO
When activated, the user’s weapon is empowered and has a chance of freezing enemies without any special defenses for a short time, preventing them from moving. This is a block against Athletics checks to move from an area equal to the weapon’s Damage. Frozen enemies are more susceptible to damage (+1 Penetration against Armor) and can even be shattered for an instant kill.

Ammo disruptorDISRUPTOR AMMO
When activated, the player’s weapon is empowered by an electric field that causes additional damage to shields giving the weapon +1 to damage against them. The ammo also deals +2 increased damage to synthetic enemies like the Geth who have the ELECTROMAGNETIC VULNERABILITY weakness.

Ammo incendiaryINCENDIARY AMMO
When activated, the user’s weapon causes fire damage to enemies, burning through armor (+1 Penetration against it) and setting them on fire. This stops health regeneration, and can cause unprotected organic enemies to panic for a FATE point. Synthetic enemies are resistant to fire damage and get a +1 Armor against it.

Upgrade buttons warp ammoWARP AMMO
Warp Ammo is effective against biotic barriers, armor and organic Targets. It provides a +2 damage against Barriers, +1 Penetration against Armor or +1 Damage against organic unarmored or unshielded targets.