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Warframe weapons locker (part 1)


Context

If you’re not familiar with the Warframe video game, you can first check our Warframe setting article. This entry assumes familiarity.

This article is part of our Weapons Locker series, about (wait for it) weapons. Warframe is covered in three articles :

  1. Part #1 – Weapons.
  2. Part #2 – Warframes in general (with separate individual profiles).
  3. Part #3 – Archwings, Sentinels, etc..

It is not a full coverage of every existing weapon in the game :

  1. It only covers weapons I’ve used.
  2. It focuses on the most notable ones.

The article thus starts with a small-ish selection, and will evolve as I try new weapons.


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The cybersecurity of weapons

Warframe takes place in the far future. Yet most weapons are firearms, bows, melee weapons, thrown weapons and other low-tech ordnance. There are two main factors for this :

  1. The Player Characters  have superhuman strength and acumen. An arrow from a bow shot by a warframe is much heavier than a normal one and flies at extreme speeds. It outperforms a low-tech ballista by a large margin.
  2. During the Old War, lower-tech weapons became the norm. That was to prevent the Sentients from taking remote control of them.

Warframe also features energy weaponry, primarily used by the Corpus. But these perform on a similar scale to the firearms. This is likely a combo of :

  • A loss of technological know-how during the Old War and the Fall of the Orokin.
  • Low-tech firearms having been greatly refined during the Old War, out of necessity.

Many firearms, particularly Grineer ones, feature reservoirs of liquid. It seems likely that they use liquid explosives rather than gunpowder as propellant. This might reference the old idea of using binary propellants (two liquids that explode when mixed, but are stable separately) to fire faster and heavier projectiles.


A matter of scale

Establishing a fact-based scale for the ordnance in Warframe ain’t gonna work.

  • Each weapon goes through 30 levels as it gains experience.
  • This performance is multiplied by mods applied to the weapons, with many variables (rarity, available drain, synergies…) playing a strong role.
  • There isn’t quite a “normal” target that could serve as a baseline. Opponents also come in a wide variety of levels.
    The more “normal” target in the game is the feral kubrow, an Earth animal. But it’s heavily genetically engineered. So we can’t assume it is as durable as another animal of a comparable mass. It’s almost certainly tougher than that.

The stock low-level opponent is a Grineer lancer – basically a space marine. I am going to arbitrarily assume a BODY of 07 for these. It’s lower than the stock space marine type, but these are disposable clones intended as cannon fodder.

This suggests a scale where weapons have two more APs of EV, and two APs of Sharpness (EV) over comparable modern firearms.

(This is an action video game. So we won’t assume that one attack in DC Heroes correspond to one trigger pull in Warframe. One DCH attacks represent a series of shots or blows in the video game.)


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Feel the weight

Warframes are superhumanly strong. They are also larger than the vast majority of humans, and much heavier. Likewise, a lot of enemy units such as Corpus crewmen and Grineer marines seem to be huge and with augmented strength.

It thus seems reasonable to assume that the weapons are markedly larger, heavier and with a beefier recoil than modern weapons for humans. This is reflected here with Recommended STR values. This mechanic is explained in the Gadgetry article.

A matter of distance

Standard DC Heroes rules have the APs of Ranged Powers (say, Projectile Weapons) also indicating their Range. This generally works well with modern weaponry, but starts producing odd results as APs get higher.

This is the case with many Warframe weapons. These have enough APs to make improbably long-ranged shots. We’re not generally going to bother correcting for this, since it is a system-wide characteristic. The one exception is the Shotgun Blast Power, which was developed to avoid writing the same modifiers over and over again (including Range-related ones).

Our Rules Miscellanea page has optional rules for handling Range in more realistic Genres. These could be used if the effect of high APs on Range bother you.


Some stock weapons

Here are some basic weapons. There isn’t much to say about these, but they show concrete examples of these additional APs getting applied.


Braton assault carbine

A typical Tenno-made automatic weapon.

[BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 08, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 12, Recommended STR 04, Advantage : Autofire, Descriptor: Ballistic].

Warframe - Ember prime with Braton

Warframe Braton


Strun shotgun

Standard tenno shotgun. The super-dense pellets are good against shields.

[BODY 05, Shotgun Blast (Range 03): 08, Sharpness (Shotgun blast): 02, Ammo: 06, Recommended STR 06, Drawback: Very Long Reload, Descriptor: Blunt].

Warframe Strun

Nyx warframe pointing a strun shotgun


Skana sword

Standard Tenno sabre. It has been suggested it is derived from traditional Russian designs.

[BODY 09, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 10), Sharpness (EV): 02, Recommended STR 04, Descriptor: Slashing, piercing].

Warframe Skana

Warframe Titania dual skana

Titania warframe dual-wielding  skanas that emit a corrosive field.


Lato pistol

Standard Tenno sidearm in a medium calibre.

[BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 06, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 01, Ammo: 15, Recommended STR 04, Descriptor: Ballistic].

Warframe Lato pistol

Warframe - Limbo with Lato pistol


Stubba submachinegun

A surprisingly subdued, workhorse Grineer submachinegun. The recoil and report are moderate, and the slow-ish fire rate allows for accurate-by-Grineer-standards automatic fire with the heavy handgun round.

The 57-round mag also gives excellent staying power. And the magazine well and ejector systems allow for lightning-quick reloads.

Since it’s used by huge and super-strong gunners, this SMG is wielded more like a machine pistol.

[BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Ammo: 13, Recommended STR 05, Descriptor: Ballistic].

Warframe Stubba

Frost warframe aiming a stubba SMG


Some melee weapons

Furax gauntlets

These threatening-looking power gauntlets augment the force of blows. They can also release a concussive blast when hitting hard ground, staggering nearby opponents.

[BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 10), Shockwave (0 APs radius): 08, Descriptor: Blunt, Recommended STR 05, Note: Cannot Be Taken Away].

Warframe - Rhino with Furax gloves fists


Glaive

This is a glaive in the sense of the 1980s movie Krull. That is, a large bladed weapon that can be throw as a spinning disc of death, and follow odd trajectories. These do pop up in video games from time to time – say, Torchlight.

The Tenno glaive is spring-loaded to deploy its blades. Since it is so large and heavy, it can be wielded in melee like a sort of strange sword, using specific styles. When thrown with superhuman strength it will ricochet off targets and obstacles, quite possibly harming several.

On its last bounce, the glaive will fly back to the thrower. This and its odd aerodynamics are likely done using anti-gravity tech. Presumably the same sort used on warframes.

These ricochets are hard to predict in open spaces. So it can’t really do precision caroming like Captain America’s shield or Daredevil’s billy club. But in more enclosed spaces, precision doesn’t matter.

Since it doesn’t use any propellant, a glaive doesn’t register on sensors, doesn’t make an easily identifiable sound, won’t be picked by ballistic radars, etc.. It is thus an asset in maintaining stealth.

[BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 08), Range: 03, Recommended STR 06, Descriptor: Slashing, Note: not meeting the Recommended STR also lowers Range, which corresponds to the weapon being thrown].

In most conditions, the glaive will only hit another desired target if the throw attack rolls a double. In more confined conditions, where the glaive doesn’t really have somewhere else to go, a glaive can hit up to four targets. Say, four enemies running in a narrow corridor or occupying a small room.

Warframe - Ivara holding a glaive


Heliocor hammer

This huge weapon has peculiar striking surfaces, seemingly made of solid light.

As weapons go, it isn’t a good design. It is hefty and too front-heavy, making it slow and clumsy even when wielded by a trained warframe. It is thus commonly modified to increase its speed and responsiveness, likely using the same tech warframes use for mobility. Our stats assume such modifications.

Designed by an artificial intelligence, the Heliocor doubles as a scientific research weapon. The impact of the hard light head also emits scanner rays. These benefit from the damage inflicted to the target, to scan its inner workings. Killing stuff with an Heliocor thus generates ample if indiscriminate data about their physiology. Or electronics, for robots.

[BODY 08, Data storage: 18, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 12), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Bludgeon, Recommended STR 07].

Notes

The Data Storage stores information about the targets, particularly exposed workings/tissues resulting of Helicor blows.

The Warframe setting doesn’t use Scientist (Observation), since it’s such a Silver Age  comic books skills. But the data facilitates more realistic, much slower Scientist rolls to determine to which forms of attacks/energies the target type is particularly resilient or vulnerable toward.

It also allows for less martially-inclined scientific inquiry. Say, for simple xenozoological purposes.

Without in-game speed-enhancing mods (such as Fury), the Recommended STR would be 9. The blows are just too slow.

Warframe Trinity heliocor


Hirudo spikes

These are four claws from Infestation creatures that have been set upon a set of back-of-the-hands protections, and the equivalent of a steel-toe protections. The specialised armour plates allow a warframe to kick and punch at full power.

The alien claws atop the plates have a vampiric effect. Which creature this is derived from is unclear, but it may come from “disruptor” creatures that drain energy. In the case of the hirudo, the drain is used to repair the warframe and keep it going. Perhaps it is some form of skin-tight forcefield under the normal shields, not unlike a Rhino warframe.

The claws are also extremely hard. They can easily penetrated metallic body armour. Wielded by a warframe accomplished in the martial arts, such as Valkyr, this is devastating.

[BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 09), Vampirism: 08, Descriptor: Piercing, Recommended STR 05, Limitation: Vampirism has No Range and cannot score more than two RAPs, Note: Cannot Be Taken Away.]

Warframe - Valkyr with hirudo (and kavat)

Valkyr Prime warframe with Hirudo claws mounted on the back of her hands. Photobombing courtesy of Muffin the vain kavat.


Kronen tonfa

These enormous blades are “tonfa” in that they have a similar side handle construction. But they otherwise are their own thing. Such weapons only make sense for super-strong and super-durable, tireless wielders.

Many of the advanced moves also use the weight and gravity manipulation of warframes to produce a whirlwind of powerful stabs and massive slashes.

[BODY 09, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 11), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Slashing, Piercing, Recommended STR 07].

Frost warframe with kronen bladed tonfa


Boltace

Very much like the Kronen, but with even more… distinctive aesthetics. Rather than an edge, it has various spikes and claws.

[BODY 10, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 11), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Piercing, Recommended STR 07].

Warframe boltace


Orthos poleaxe

One of the most classic and beloved Warframe melee weapons. It is an axe head on a pole, with a smaller blade on the other end. However, it is in practice wielded more like a quarterstaff, with the techniques emphasising rapid, sweeping, arcing strikes. This style likely wouldn’t work without abnormal levels of speed and strength on the wielder’s part.

The big asset of an orthos is its reach. Said sweeping arcs will cleave through numerous opponents around the warframe, as the fighter spins and twirls. This asset is usually further emphasised with range-enhancing mods. One can imagine that the axeheads are outfitted with force emitters, creating a giant transparent force blade around the physical one. Perhaps square, spade-like ones.

With such modifications, hitting opponents half-a-dozen metres away with one sweep would be common. Which means that being mobbed by, say, Infested creatures isn’t an issue unless they’re highly durable.

[BODY 08, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 10), Range: 01, Sharpness (EV): 01, Bonus: Multi-attack 2, Descriptor: Slashing, Note: the Range AP is applied to all melee attacks using this weapon.]

Frost warframe with orthos prime polearm

This here is the “prime” version of the Orthos. It thus sports the Orokin decadent aesthetics with the marble whites, shiny golds, arches everywhere, the equivalent of RGB lighting, etc..


Tipedo

A staff with a broad, bladed head. In the hands of a specially trained, superhumanly strong and fast wielder, the tipedo moves with blinding speed. An expert warframe can thus slash one or multiple enemies, laying waste around them.

One could imagine that this is done using a somewhat flexible haft, allowing the weapon to store and restitute momentum when swung right. Some Zulu weapons, among others, used this principle.

[BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 11), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Slashing, Recommended STR 06]. An expert will have the Fists of Fury Schtick, possibly limited to the tipedo. In DCH logic, this is a property of the wielder, not the weapon.

Warframe tipedo titania


Volnus axe

This odd design is associated with Gara warframes. These can generate and manipulate a strong, sharp glass-like substance. The elaborate, crystalline head of a Volnus is typical Gara aesthetics.

Oddly enough, this weapon is properly wielded as if it were an ancient fighting hammer, rather than as axe. This may be because the head’s material gives it a counter-intuitive balance. But once one is used to that, the Volnus is remarkably fast and agile.

[BODY 10, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 12), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Slashing, Recommended STR 07].

Warframe Volnus Rhino

Warframe volnus Rhino 2


Zenistar

A zenistar is a polearm, with a huge and vaguely axe-like blade. At the center of said head is a disc-shaped generator. A zenistar presumably can only be efficiently wielded by the superhuman strong. And even then, specialised techniques are likely necessary to counter the poor balance.

There are actually two layers of blade. When the disc is removed, strikes are conducted with the falchion-like physical edges. Without the disc, strikes are faster and more agile. But when the disc is on and active, the physical edges are prolonged by blade-shaped fields of superheated plasma.

The main trick with a zenistar is ejecting the armoured disc as the weapon is being swung. The freed disc will fly for about nine metres, then start levitating in place. Within a second or so, its autonomous systems will engage and turn it into a sort of turret. It radiates a selective heat field, burning enemies within range. Unaugmented, the radius is four metres.

With the disc being active in this way, holding a perimeter becomes much easier. Typical uses include :

  • Turning a chokepoint into a deathtrap.
  • Locking down a corridor or other access that the Tenno lack manpower to keep watch on.
  • Protecting an object or site from melee attackers.
  • Detering pursuit.

The disc will automatically fly back and reattach after 45 seconds, or if the rest of the zenistar moves away by 100 metres or so.

Vauban warframe brandishing a zenistar

Stats

Zenistar (with disc on) [BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 11), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Flame, Recommended STR 08].

Zenistar (without disc) [BODY 07, Enhance (EV): 02 (cap is 11), Sharpness (EV): 02, Descriptor: Slashing, Recommended STR 07].

Zenistar (autonomous disc) [BODY 10, Flame project: 07, Flight: 07, Shrinking: 04, Weaponry (Self): 08, Note: Flame Project has a 1 AP selective Area of Effect, but no Range. Flight can only be used to return to the handle. The disc is considered to have AV 11 (Flight + Shrinking) when autonomous. This is a munchkinny approach, but using it here explains why nobody ever shoots the disc.]


Some primary weapons

Amprex electrical projector

A rifle that shoots chain lightning. Though the range is limited, it is one of the best weapons to clear swarms of enemies in close quarters. The initial bolt will split and cascade from enemy to enemy, arcing to hit even hard targets.

It is a very intuitive weapon. Just point it in the direction of the enemy and fire. The electrical shocks are good at preventing return fire, and an Amprex can fire from quite a while before it needs to be reloaded.

[BODY 04, Lightning: 09, Stagger: 06, Range: 03, Ammo: 20, Recommended STR 04, Bonuses: Multi-Attack 2, Area of Effect 0, Stagger is Combined with Lightning, Drawback: Lightning has No Range, used the listed Range instead].

(These stats represents an Amprex with a reactor and three formas or so – the weapon requires a fair bit of investment).

Amprex held by an Inaros warframe


Arca plasmor

This rare weapon can only be produced in some Corpus and Tenno armament labs. It is a cannon that shoots a big bubble of high-energy plasma. This projectile will smash, fry and irradiate everything it touches before it loses its coherence after about 30 metres.

An Arca Plasmor is among the deadliest weapons in the game. It requires a superhumanly strong wielder with specialised training. It is usually deployed when a rapid kill rate is imperative for survival

Though the damage is enormous, it is possible to defend against it. It is simply that armouring against plasma and radiation isn’t standard. The main exception are the Infested, which have tremendous radiation tolerance.

[BODY 02, Energy blast (Area of Effect 1): 10, Sharpness (Energy blast): 02, Ammo: 10, Descriptor: Radiation, Recommended STR 06, Drawback: Slow Reload Speed].

Warframe - Trinity aiming an arca plasmor

Notes

The RV vs. this radiation descriptor is boosted by Systemic Antidote, but not Sealed Systems.

The Area of Effect is actually a line 0 APs wide and 3 APs long.


Boar

The Boar is an automatic shotgun. As such it shotguns, automatically.

The pellets have a lower amount of propellant than those for its cousin, the Strun. This keeps the weapon controllable, though the recoil remains bad even for a strong warframe. The Boar is thus used as a “room broom” or “street sweeper”, to deliver high volumes of close-range fire. It shreds the softer targets, and provides copious suppression fire.

Still, it is a niche weapon. Unless you *know* that the deployment is 100% CQB  against light infantry, a Boar operator is best paired with another warframe with more general-purpose weaponry.

[BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 10 (Diminishing, Area of effect 1 AP), Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 01, Range: 03, Ammo: 05, R#03, Recommended STR: 06, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, use the listed Range].

Waframe boar automatic shotgun

Warframe boar automatic shotgun rhino


Boltor

This Tenno weapon’s H.R. Giger  aesthetics are its more memorable characteristic. However, it also fires heavy, super-dense penetrators. The ballistics aren’t the best, but these excel at piercing armour.

The boltor isn’t a good choice for long-range fire, due to low projectile speed and significant bullet drop.

[BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 07, Range: 04, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 03, Ammo: 12, Recommended STR 04, Advantage : Autofire, Descriptor: Piercing, Limitation: Projectile weapons have No Range – use the listed Range instead].

Warframe Boltor


Corinth

A huge, heavy pump-action shotgun built by and for Tenno warriors. It is amazingly powerful, and each shot sounds like a muscular thunderbolt slamming shut a bank vault door.

There is no semi-auto mode. Each shell must be chambered by a superhumanly strong person working the pump. It thus fires relatively slowly. Especially since it must also be reloaded shell by shell, and only holds five. The sound of the weapon being worked is unusually intimidating.

(This here small clip  shows the four “layers” of sound used for this weapon.)

The Corinth can also fire airburst grenades. Like the rest of the weapon these are powerful, rugged and simple. They will detonate at exactly 20 metres – not before, not after. I can imagine a mechanism that strips and ejects the buckshot from the shell, and floods the freed space with a timed explosive liquid.

The powerful Corinth isn’t commonly deployed, even by the Tenno. It requires specialised training and warframe reinforcements.

Warframe - Corinth shotgun

Warframe - Ivara aiming a Corinth

Stats

[BODY 05, Shotgun Blast (Range 04): 09, Sharpness (Shotgun blast): 02, Ammo: 05, Recommended STR 07, Drawback: Long Reload, Descriptor: Ballistic] w/ Airburst grenades [Mental blast (Area of Effect 1, Indirect 1): 08, Shockwave (Area of Effect 1, Indirect 1): 08, Ammo: 05, Bonus: both Powers are Combined, Drawback: Very Long Reload, Descriptor: Bludgeon].

The airburst is Indirect 1 since the point is to detonate above the targets to ignore most forms of cover. The airburst is dumb (it always detonate at 20 metres), but an experienced operator will manoeuvre to compensate. Since warframes are so mobile, it ends up being no big deal.

It is common for Corinths to be modded to reduce the reload time.


Grakata

One of the standard Grineer firearms. Its name is presumably an onomatopoeia.

It is an oversized submachinegun that spits out bullets at an alarming rate. The projectiles are light, with poor ballistics, and the fire rate produces significant recoil. But this weapon is meant for close-quarter storming actions, and to saturate Corpus shields with squash-head rounds impacts.

Curiously, reloading is done by replacing the cauldron-like object at the bottom of the trigger handle. Maybe it’s some sort of liquid propellant. If so the bullets might be teleported in, since the Grineer have some crude short-range teleportation tech.

(Shortly before publication, a Grakata-specific mod was released than gives credit to this hypothesis. As it can “refund” spent ammunition if a condition is met.)

A Grakata has downsides due to its specialised close-range anti-shields usage. Thus, the Grineer Lancers who wield it are normally mixed with other trooper types with different weapons.

[BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 08, Range: 05, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 10, Recommended STR 05, Advantage : Autofire, Drawback: PW has No Range, used the listed Range instead, Descriptor: Bludgeon].

Warframe grakata


Hek

An oversized Grineer four-barelled shotgun. It is loaded with the biggest flechette  rounds that can be produced cheaply and quickly. Apparently the action rotates between the barrels, firing them in turn. It weighs a lot, and the recoil requires high strength and body armour to handle.

The ballistics of the Hek are surprisingly good, delivering fairly tight groups even at 15+ metres. Video game shotguns, especially in shoot-and-loot games, tend to have a wilder spread. And the flechettes hit hard enough to kill most opposition in one shot.

Heks are normally used by the most elite troops, such as the red-armoured Grineer palace guards.

[BODY 05, Shotgun Blast (Range 04): 09, Sharpness (Shotgun blast): 02, Ammo: 04, Recommended STR 07, Drawback: Very Long Reload, Descriptor: Piercing].

Note

If wielded by a person with an RV below 06 (vs. Unarmed damage, if using optional Descriptors), the Hek will cause self-harm. Say, 05/05 tested vs. BODY/BODY, though it cannot inflict more than 1 RAP.

This is a sidenote, since it is unlikely to come up in practice.

Warframe Hek

Limbo warframe with Vaykor Hek shotgun

Vaykor Hek variant shotgun kindly provided by Uncle Doug.


Ignis flamethrower

This assault-rifle-sized weapon shoots a high-pressure jet of vapour, lit aflame as it leaves the barrel. The jet is about 30 yards (27m) long, and more or less conical.

An Ignis isn’t intended to take on heavy, armoured targets. It is meant to sweep rooms and corridors in close-quarter battles, killing lighter units and setting heavier units on fire. It excels against swarms – such as Infested hordes, but also flying and rolling Corpus drones. And the wide jet works fine even if you don’t/can’t aim. Thus, its niche is much like the Amprex’s.

Like the miter (below), it is one of the Warframe weapons that obviously cannot carry its ammunition. Teleportation (of a binary flammable liquid) might be involved, or the in-game model might abstract out a backpack-like fuel tank. Unlike most flamethrowers, the Ignis has ample fuel autonomy – 40+ seconds on a single tank is doable.

As with all Warframe weapons, the weapon’s load can be tweaked to be more target-specific. For instance, the payload might use different liquids so that the spray is corrosive as well as incendiary. Or to be a high-pressure spray of poison gas (which has the advantage of ignoring shields) rather than burning vapour.

[BODY 04, Flame project: 09, Stagger: 06, Range: 03, Ammo: 20, Recommended STR 04, Bonuses: Multi-Attack 2, Area of Effect 0, Stagger is Combined with Flame Project, Drawback: FP has No Range, used the listed Range instead].

Ember Prime warframe with Ignis Wraith

Ember Prime warframe shooting an Ignis Wraith flamethrower

An Ember frame, painted an fetching industrial orange, operates a high-end Ignis Wraith variant flamethrower. Fwoooosh.


Kohm automatic weapon

The Kohm is often considered an automatic shotgun. It has a peculiar “spooling” action. Pressing the trigger will just fire one pellet. But if the trigger is kept pressed, further shots will chain at an increasingly rapid pace, each having more and more pellets. At full spool, a Kohm puts a *lot* of metal in the air – with a magazine capacity to match.

One hypothesis is that the Kohm’s core is a flywheel made of a hard but frangible material. A monomolecular wire shaves fragments off, which are redirected and accelerated to become a sort of buckshot. This hypothesis matches observed performance, and its in-game-files as a “spark gun” (think Zippo lighters).

Though the projectiles have mediocre ballistics, the Kohm makes up for that through sheer volume and lengthy bursts.

In DC Heroes RPG terms, a Kohm has three fire modes :

  1. Single shot [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Recommended STR 03, Descriptor: Slashing].
  2. Ramping up [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 03): 08, Sharpness (Shotgun blast): 01, Ammo: 20, Recommended STR 04, Descriptor: Slashing].
  3. Full spool [BODY 04, Shotgun Blast (Range 03, Are of Effect 0 APs): 09, Sharpness (Shotgun blast): 02, Ammo: 10, Recommended STR 06, Descriptor: Slashing].

Kohm shotgun in Warframe video game

Valkyr warframe with Kohm shotgun


Lenz launcher

A Lenz is sort of like a bow, but with a huge central part. It is operated by drawing back a string, presumably since warframes are archery-trained and the projectile has ballistics not unlike an arrow. However, the warhead is a sophisticated explosive devastating a large area. As it impacts it gives off a freezing pulse, followed by an explosion.

Using a Lenz in close quarters is a recipe for disaster. It is more of a specialised system. Especially since it only holds six charges, and takes some time to rebuild those. It can be useful in the open – say, to blow an enemy area up before storming it with CQB weapons.

Still, it *is* possible to use one in more ordinary Tenno missions with enough practice. Warframes are fast and mobile enough to conceivably dodge the explosion in the split-second between the impact and the detonations.

Nova warframe with a Lenz bow

Stats

[BODY 02, Energy blast (Area of Effect 3): 11, Ammo: 06, Descriptor: Structural, Recommended STR 07, Drawback: Very Slow Reload Speed. Furthermore, chaining between the Ammo is done as if the Lenz were a bow with Ammo: 01].

Below is a Lenz being shot by a warmly-coloured Nova warframe. The rings of force suggest a magnetic accelerator. The “jet engines” on the tips might be heat pumps super-cooling the projectile just before it is fired.


Miter launcher

This is one of the repurposed pieces of industrial equipment used by Grineer troops. Before they were turned into soldiers, the Grineer were workers. It is reminiscent of the classic Ripper weapon in Unreal Tournament.

This one launches a large, circular saw blade. This “warhead” is held by four rails serving as a “barrel”. Given the impressive ballistics, one suspects some sort of magnetic acceleration, railgun -like. The spinning projectiles flies far and true, allowing for precise shooting.

Where said projectiles come from is unclear. As with the Grakata, I suspect that crude teleportation is used to replenish in the field.

What is in the launcher seems to only be the hub of the sawblade. As soon as it is shot, the blade apparently pop out. This results in a huge projectile, perhaps two metres wide. Reaping multiple targets in one shot isn’t rare.

Furthermore, the sawblade is durable enough to ricochet off large, durable surfaces and carry on with its wayward ways. “Skill shot” ricochets are thus feasible, the trajectory being relatively predictable.

Miter launchers are usually deployed by specialised Grineer sharpshooters called Eviscerators. Tenno warframes also occasionally, but this is much rarer. Perhaps because of the need for specialised, large equipment to set up the teleportation ammo resupply.

Ivara warframe aiming a miter

Ivara warframe aiming a miter (side view)

Stats

[BODY 05, Claws (Area of Effect 0 APs): 09, Range: 06, Sharpness (Claws): 02, Ammo: 20, Recommended STR 06, Drawback: Very Long Reload].

Ricochet shots tend to be Critical Strikes (hitting the same target twice), Multi-Attacks or Trick Shots (to hit a target not in direct sight or behind cover). Combat Manoeuvre penalties can be lowered or even waived in cramped quarters, where there isn’t much choice as to where the huge sawblade flies.

The Area of Effect means that the projectile cannot be shot through smaller apertures, unless they are light enough for it to rip through.


Nagantaka repeater crossbow

This elaborate crossbow is primarily associated with Garuda-class warframes – as those familiar with Indic religions likely guessed. As Garuda frames draw power from shedding blood, the bolts from a nagatanka have a special broadhead design to inflict laceration wounds.

These are repeater crossbows with a nine-round internal magazine. As such, they are primarily useful for discreet but powerful precision shooting. However, an alternate trigger allows for a nagantaka to fire its remaining magazine as a burst, without any loss of power for the individual projectiles.

Though this attack is difficult to control, there’s little that can survive such a barrage at close range. In a pinch, it can also be used to increase odds of hitting a fast-moving object such as an aircraft.

The bolts are tracer rounds of sorts, leaving a small trail of a blood-like liquid behind them. Which can be useful to correct aiming for successive long-range shots.

[BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 09, Ammo: 09, Recommended STR 04, Thief (Stealth): 02, Descriptor: Slashing, Limitation: Thief only to muffle the shots. The burst mode raises the EV by 01 if at least 3 Ammo are left, and by 02 if at least 6 Ammo are left. It always expends all Ammo, and always raises the Rec STR by 01].

Nagantaka crossbow operated by zenith warframe

Zenith warframe aiming a nagantaka crossbow


Phage emitter

The phage is an Infestation weapon. Like others, such as the Synapse, it seems to be a merger between a normal weapon and a mutated creature, or perhaps mutated organs. It looks like the remains of the skull of a strange creature, occupied by a writhing set of dark red tentacles.

When activated, the tentacles project energy tendrils that blindly rake across a wide, short, three-dimensional cone in front of the user. By pressing another part of the weapon, these tendrils can be made to collimate into a single, longer beam. This process takes a bit more than a second. The unified beam is more useful as a weapon, as the individual energy tendrils lack power.

The exotic energies emitted by a phage will rapidly induce necrosis in living tissues, with the notable exception of mainline strain Infestation. It also inflicts significant, but less severe, damage on machines, body armour and the like.

[BODY 04, Energy blast: 09, Sharpness (Energy blast): 01, Range: 03, Ammo: 20, Recommended STR 04, B&L:

  • Energy blast has No Range, use the listed Range instead.
  • Sharpness can only engaged if the target is a living creature, and not clad in inorganic armour.
  • Energy blast can have a 1-AP Area of Effect. But if so it has no Range, and the EV is diminished by 2 APs.
  • Loss Vulnerabilility : EV lowered by 2 APs against most Infested creatures.].

Mag warframe with a Phage


Synapse beam emitter

This is an Infested construct. One gets the impression that it was originally a rifle (or rifle-like object) that was colonised and warped to became a sort of mutant organ. Though it can be operated as a rifle, it is clearly alive and writhing.

The Synapse emits a bio-electrical beam. This is particularly effective against metal (the game classifies it as corrosive damage), but the nature of the beam is unrevealed. Maybe the electricity forms a tunnel for some sort of disintegration energy. In any case, it inflicts tremendous damage as it burns its way through a target.

A Synapse lacks the Amprex or the Arca Plasmor’s ability to affect multiple targets. But if the continuous beam is maintained on the target, the damage builds up to devastating levels.

As with all Infested weapons, it is possible that the wielder must be Infested and/or immune to the Infestation.

[BODY 04, Acid: 10, Sharpness (Acid): 01, Range: 03, Ammo: 20, Recommended STR 05, Note: Acid can use the Range.]

(This presents a potato’d and forma’d Synapse. As a crit weapon it requires investment.)

Saryn warframe with synapse shotgun


Vectis precision rifle

A straightforward, high-powered and presumably large-calibre precision rifle. It uses some sort of exotic action, but the cadence and method of use make it very much like a bolt-action sniper rifle.

The Vectis doesn’t have a full-on optical scope. It features a much simpler magnification system, though it goes up to 4.5x and has a good reticle. This weapon seems more intended to eliminate power-armoured infantry at medium range, using placed shots. A well-positioned marksperson can also use a Vectis for deadly medium-range interdiction.

[BODY 02, Projectile weapon: 09, Sharpness (projectile weapons): 02, Telescopic vision: 02, Ammo: 01, Limitation: Chambering a new round takes an Automatic Action].

Nyx prime warframe with vectis prime

This shot shows a Vectis Prime rifle handled by a Nyx prime warframe. Both are more powerful variants of the baseline model, dating back to the Old War. As such, both use typical Orokin aesthetics with marble white, gleaming gold, arches, gaps, etc..


Some secondary weapons

Atomos

This jury-rigged prototype projects a powerful heat beam. What makes it remarkable is that the flame beam, when it hits an opponent, chains to another opponent within a few meters. It can ricochet across five targets or so, though the beam gets less powerful with each hop.

How it works is mysterious. Perhaps it’s a specific superheated plasma that also has conduction characteristics akin to chain lightning.

The Atomos is a close-quarter weapon. But as a flamethrower of sorts it requires little precision, and it is devastating if it overcomes its targets’ defenses.

[BODY 04, Flame project (Multi-attack 2): 08, Sharpness (Flame project): 01, Ammo: 10, Recommended STR 04].

Warframe - Ember Prime brandishing an Atomos


Bronco

A Bronco is a snub-nosed but heavy pistol. One assumes that it uses explosives to propel super-dense buckshot. The ballistics are disastrous, but the point is to use the Bronco as a close quarters defense weapon.

If the target is close enough, the impact of the shot is tremendous, particularly against shields. It wouldn’t be out of place in a much larger shotgun. But past of few meters, the buckshot begins to randomly disperse and only hit the scenery. As the old joke goes, it’s a great weapon for a firefight taking place within an elevator.

Furthermore, it only has two shots. I can imagine a tank full of liquid explosives for propulsion, and prepared buckshot charges looking a bit like thick coffee pads. These can be stored in the weapon, but a fresh pad has to be manually rotated into place.

Broncos tend to be paired with a long range weapon such as a sniper rifle.

[BODY 05, Shotgun Blast (Range 01): 08, Sharpness (Shotgun blast): 01, Ammo: 02, Recommended STR 06, Descriptor: Blunt].

Warframe bronco

Warframe - Nyx aiming a Bronco shotgun


Furis

A low-to-medium calibre machine pistol with a superior rate of fire.

In many games this type of weapon isn’t too good. Say, the Shuriken in Mass Effect. But the Furis has excellent ballistics, allowing for tight groups of called shots. This makes it deadlier than raw numbers would indicate.

[BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 08, Recommended STR 05, Advantage : Autofire, Descriptor: Ballistic].

Warframe furis ember

Warframe furis


Gammacor

The gammacor is derived from ore prospecting beams. These pulverise rock and soil, and analyze the chemical composition of ores and gems as it breaks them down. Such beams are carried by individual prospectors.

One of the independent Artificial Intelligences in the Origin System realised it could make for a workable weapon. And thus the gammacor was born. It indeed works as a close-range beam weapon.

A gammacor isn’t a stellar gun, but its magnetism-based damage makes it good to strip force shields. And that it is a continuous beam allows for quickly ablating other types of shields, such as nullifier bubbles. Making it a sound anti-Corpus tool.

Not having been designed by a Human, the gammacor looks more “alien” and sci-fi-ish than other weapons. It is also worn on the forearm, rather than wielded like a firearm, and cannot be Taken Away.

[BODY 02, Energy blast: 06, Sharpness (Energy blast): 02, Ammo: 06, Recommended STR 03, Advantage: Autofire, Descriptor: Magnetic].

Warframe gammacor titania


Gremlin

Gremlins seem to be repurposed, high-powered nail guns. This industrial equipment is usually wielded in pairs. Given their power, the original form of the gremlin is likely intended to be used by workers with strong, computer-guided cyber-arms (as in “limb”, not “weapon”). And they are likely meant to drive nails through dense, hard metal.

Once weaponised, a gremlin is essentially a machine pistol. The velocity of the round isn’t the best, and the rate of fire is limited. But it hits fairly hard, and the nails perform well against nearly every kind of defence. All in all, these conversions can outperform the cheaper types of machine pistols. They provide fair firepower.

[BODY 05, Projectile weapons: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 12, Recommended STR 05, Descriptor: Ballistic].

Warframe-Gremlins-Valkyr

Warframe-Gremlins-Valkyr-2


Kunai

These are throwing knives. However, they are clearly adapted to warframe use – so these are super-dense, hard blades that likely weigh half a kilo. A trained warframe can throw these so quickly they’re essentially bursts. The impact can send even armoured opponents flying.

Like most thrown weapons, they also don’t register on weapon use sensors. This makes them more discreet than firearms or energy weapons.

[BODY 06, Projectile weapons: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapons): 02, Ammo: 07, Recommended STR 06, Advantage: Autofire, Descriptor: Piercing].

Nyx warframe armed with kunai

The high angle of this shot is unusual, but it shows a Nyx warframe holding a kunai in each hand, plus one of her thigh-mounted automated kunai dispensers.

Notes

An individual kunai can also presumably be wielded as a knife.

The high Recommended STR does most of the lifting. But the high EV and the Autofire Advantage are only usable for an operator who can throw at super-speed, like warframes can. The bacterial neural networks No-Prize Hypothesis  in our warframes article offers an hypothesis as to how they do it.

A non-super-speed thrower would likely top out at EV 4 and no Autofire.


Marelok

This is radically shortened lever-action Grimlok precision rifle. The stock and barrel are both sawed-off, and the lever’s frame has been enlarged to facilitate one-handed operation.

(This references several fictional guns. Primarily the Mare’s Leg, but also the Rifleman’s modified Winchester – both described in our Old West Guns article. The Rifleman’s weapon later received an homage in Terminator II.)

With a large and super-strong operator, the Marelok is operated one-handed. It is spun around by the lever to chamber a new round, then aimed and fired. Somehow, it works. And even with the sawed-off barrel, the rifle round hits hard.

The Marelok thus provides a medium-range precision fire solution – a sort of sniper pistol. This is of particular interest to fighters with a huge short-range primary weapon, such as a shotgun or flamethrower.

[BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 08, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Ammo: 06, Recommended STR 06, Descriptor: Ballistic, Limitation: a Marelok cannot perform Multi-Attacks, or Flailing Attacks]. If using our optional Range rules, the Marelok is considered to have a stock (somehow).

Warframe marelok ember


Pandero

A pandero is a type of tambourine. As one can guess, pistols named after musical instruments are associated with the Octavia warframes.

Panderos are superb pistols – powerful, accurate, fast, packing eight shots, and reloaded in a flash. They are among the very best non-modular sidearms in the game. Furthermore, an alternate trigger allows to fire all their remaining shots as a burst.

(In video games, bullets often become inexplicably less powerful when used for automatic fire. This isn’t the case for this pistol, making for a deadly attack.)

Curiously, the cylinder is near the business end of the barrel. This strongly suggests that it doesn’t work like a normal firearm. Perhaps the “chambers” in the cylinder actually generate an energy that charges up and/or accelerate the projectiles.

[BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Ammo: 08, Recommended STR 05, Descriptor: Ballistic. The burst mode raises the EV by 01 if at least 3 Ammo are left, and by 02 if at least 6 Ammo are left. It always expends all Ammo, and always raises the Rec STR by 01].

Zenith warframe aiming a pandero pistol


Pox biological payload

A Pox is a result of the Infestation infecting… something. It might a creature or plant. Or it might be a mutated organ off another creature. Who knows. It looks like a mostly dead, mutated limp squid filled with evil liquefied flatulence. It is thrown and bursts on impact, not unlike some grenades.

The content of a Pox smells like diarrheic dead bedbugs marinated in rotting semen, but its offensive capabilities are more physical. Furthermore, they can be changed by engineering the exact strain of Infestation mutating the Pox.

A common use is to have it create a cloud that persists for a half-dozen seconds. Being exposed to this stuns the enemy (so they’ll stay in the cloud longer) and corrodes their armour plating to weaken it.

Now, “corrosives weaken armour plating” is video game logic . And the Pox is usually deployed to compensate for oddities in armour scaling in Warframe. But we can help suspend disbelief by recasting it as an advanced tear gas that seeps/eats its way through protections and affects a wide range of organisms.

A Pox is about as large as two grenades, so you can only fit so many on your webbing.

Pox [BODY 01, Fog: 03, Chemical attack: 05, Sharpness (Chemical attack): 06, R#02, Grenade drawback, Bonus: Chemical attack is Combined With and Active Throughout the Fog].

Saryn warframe with pox weapons


Rogga flintlock shotgun pistol

A one-handed, heavy weapon shooting a huge shotshell. This isn’t literally a flintlock pistol, but the aesthetics and strikers certainly resemble one.

These Grineer shotguns also are single-shot affairs. Their size isn’t about holding ammunition – it’s about withstanding the round’s power, and helping absorb recoil. Thus, the Roggas are often carried as a brace (meaning a pair). With the right technique it is possible to quickly reload a brace. Cocking back the striker presumably teleport a new round into the chamber.

This weapon isn’t unlike the Bronco, but more extreme. The power is incredible, the range pitiful, and the shooter absolutely needs superhuman strength. The huge shell also carries more pellets. 15+ with standard issue, but Tenno armourers have modified several to fire double-length shells, with about 40 pellets. This means a lot of small warheads – explosive, toxic, corrosive, electrical…

For some reason I can see the shell as a metallic rectangular cuboid, made of smaller cubes (each cube a warhead) magnetised together.

[BODY 05, Shotgun Blast (Range 01): 09, Ammo: 01, Recommended STR 07, Descriptor: Piercing].

Oberon warframe with Twin Rogga shotguns


Vasto

A magnum-type revolver with unusual looks. It fires faster than most video game heavy revolvers. But given the recoil, rapid fire is useless in most circumstances.

By Warframe standards it isn’t particularly heavy, but it’s clearly more powerful than the baseline Lato.

[BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 01, Ammo: 06, Recommended STR 05, Descriptor: Ballistic].

Warframe Vasto revolver

warframe vasto titania

By SĂ©bastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Warframe video game.

Helper(s): Some generic pictures from the Fandom wikia and from the Bandedehoufs community site . Also, Darci.

Writeup first published on the 25th of March, 2019. Then updated as I play.

Writeups.org is a non-commercial, community site

We chat and work at the DC Heroes Yahoo! group .