By Paul Monteleoni

I wanted to increase the number of high-tech melee weapons available, because I really like the idea of the nobles' influence on weapon design.

A few house rules I use which are pertinent:

1. all melee weapons have an extra +1 initiative to reflect their increased reach compared to hand-to-hand attacks.

2. Rapiers have +2 initiative (instead of the +1 I use for other melee weapons) because of their lightness (this is to give them some advantage over broadswords, and is IMHO pretty realistic.

3. Rapiers, scimitars and main-gauches also give +1 goal on parries. This is to make them good at parrying, which in reality they are supposed to be.

4. Ranged Weapons (not bows, but guns, energy weapons, etc) have +1 initiative (for parity with melee weapons- the idea basically is that hand-to-hand combat is not a high-initiative thing).

5. guns, blasters, grenades, etc do +2 dice of damage. This is both for reality and to make them worse against shields and emphasize the necessity of hand-to-hand combat to slip under shields (a la Dune). As it stands, light pistols will just about always slip through shields, and do as much damage as a karate kick. This rule helps my game because I only have one player, and he has a shield. I understand how it might mess up other people's games.

I also don't feel that these additions really unbalance the weapons, but if you guys disagree, read the weapons without these extra bonuses.