Nano-weapons are specialized nanoviruses which in most cases cause harm to the subject rather than providing a benefit. Most nano-weapons, like other applications of nanotechnology, started with more altruistic goals before the idea of weaponizing them came to fruition. Few nanoweapons were conceptualized as potential weapons from the start. It’s usually near the end of the development lifecycle a scientist looking for additional research funds, or a scientist of questionable ethics has the eureka moment where they tell themselves, “Hey, wouldn’t this make an awesome weapon, and I bet a defense company would pay top dollar for the design specifications.”

Nano-weapons are stored in 1 ounce canisters and almost always delivered by injection. The needler pistol and rifle presented in Chapter 7 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook, and the retractable syringe presented in the Cybernetic Augmentations section are the most common delivery devices.

All nano-weapons with the injection delivery mechanism can also be purchased as a nano-grenade by paying double the normal purchase price. A nano-grenade consists of the typical nanite canister placed in a grenade-like container which deploys the nano-weapon as a 15-foot radius aerosol burst. This makes them twice as dangerous in public but much easier to defend against in military situations. Any armor that provides breathing as an environmental protection automatically shields the wearer from the effects of a nano-grenade. The aerosol deployment method does not function in a vacuum. For additional information on grenades, see the "Weapon Descriptions" section in Chapter 7 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook.

Table: Nano-Weapons

Name Level Price Delivery Method Source
Glowworm, standard 3 500 Injection SH:GA:NE
Gray death 3 585 Injection, or touch SH:GA:NE
Friendship 5 650 Injection SH:GA:NE
Carbonite encasement 6 995 Injection SH:GA:NE
Truth bringer 6 1,150 Injection SH:GA:NE
Jubilex, standard 6 1,000 Injection SH:GA:NE
Glowworm, advanced 7 1,500 Injection SH:GA:NE
Gray death, blue death 9 4,495 Injection, or touch SH:GA:NE
Nano-EMP 9 4,500 Injection SH:GA:NE
Jubilex, advanced 10 5,250 Injection SH:GA:NE
Reaper 10 4,950 Injection SH:GA:NE
Glowworm, superior 11 6,000 Injection SH:GA:NE
Paralytic inhibitor 11 6,185 Ingestion, or injection SH:GA:NE
Gray death, violet death “chainsaw” 13 12,475 Injection, or touch SH:GA:NE
Kill switch 15 30,000 Ingestion, or injection SH:GA:NE
Synapse Overload 18 95,000 Injection SH:GA:NE

List of Nano-Weapons

Carbonite Encasement

One of the strangest nano-weapons on the market, carbonite encasement was originally developed to ship livestock between planets on sub-FTL system ships. The subject must make a Fortitude save (DC 16), or succumb a state of hibernation. The nanites use carbon molecules stored in the subject’s solid, liquid, and gas wastes to encase their body in carbonite lattices complete with controls to end the encasement. Carbonite encasement can be maintained for up to one year per level or Hit Dice of the subject. Carbonite encasement only works on carbon based organics.

Gray Death

A weapon of the most depraved and foolhardy, gray death is a weaponized derivative of gray goo. It comes in a special injection module with its own containment field. When the nanovirus is injected into victim gray death goes immediately to work replicating itself at the host’s expense. The gray death builds more gray death nanites by recycling the hosts living tissues for materials.

For most people an injection with gray death is a death sentence. Each round the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC 20) or suffer 1d2 points of damage to each of their ability scores. Gray death continues every round until either all of the victim’s ability scores are reduced to 0, or the gray death is deactivated by a nano-hunter. Victim’s slain by gray death become gray goo colonies. (There may be other ways of removing this affliction at the GM’s discretion.)

Blue Death: This is the weaponized version of gray-blue goo. Blue death functions exactly like standard gray death except it only reacts with carbon-based organics. It will dissolve an enemy and transform them into gray-blue goo, but has the advantage of leaving their equipment intact and undamaged.

Violet Death: Designed as a weapon from conception, violet death is the assassin’s weapon of choice. Violet death functions like blue death but is programmed to only attack organisms with specific nuclear DNA markers. It's also known as “chainsaw” on in the shadow market because it can eliminate an entire family tree. Violet death can target up to five generations of a family. Note, a husband and wife don’t share the same DNA markers, but their children do. Targeting a child’s nuclear DNA would affect both parents, but targeting a parent’s nuclear DNA would affect the targeted parent and the children leaving the other parent immune.

Gray death and its derivatives blue death and violet death are all horrible nano-biological weapons. They are outlawed by almost all civilizations that have the technology to produce them.


Friendship makes a humanoid creature or playable character race regard you as its trusted friend and ally (treat the subject’s attitude as friendly). This nanovirus causes the subject to act as though they are under the effect of a Charm Person spell with a few exceptions.

Once the subject is injected they receive a Will save (DC 15 to fight off the effects of the friendship nanovirus. If they succeed they are not charmed, but gain the dazed condition for 1 round. If the subject failed their Will save they fall under the charm person affect for 4 hours.


Glowworm is favored among bounty hunters and spies who literally need to paint a target on their quarry. The subject must make a Fortitude save (DC 11), or a pale glow surrounds the subject in a dim luminescence similar to candle light. Any subject outlined by the effects of the glowworm nanites takes a -20 penalty on all Stealth checks.

An outlined subject does not gain any benefit from concealment provided by darkness, blur, displacement, cloaking, refractors, invisibility, or similar effects. Advanced glowworm is more difficult to resist (Fort DC 15) and superior glowworm is even difficult to resist (Fort DC 19). Once glowworm infects a subject the nanovirus feeds off the biological energy provided by the host and its effects will last indefinitely until the subject makes a fortitude save or is injected with proper nano-hunters. The subject is entitled to a new saving throw every 24-hours to rid themselves of the glowworm nanites.


Jubilex is another seedy black-market nanovirus popular amongst anarchist and persons more interested in causing mayhem than out right murder. Due to its nature, the victim is often brought down by law enforcement before the truth of the nanovirus is known. Criminals have been know use jubilex on innocents to cover their escape.

The jubilex nanovirus attacks the neurological system, causing the subject to be confused, as per confusion, for 2d6 rounds. If the subject succeeds at a Will save (DC 16) they are unaffected by the jubilex nanites. Advanced jubilex is more intense than the standard version, requiring a Will save (DC 20) to avoid the confused condition. If the saving throw is failed, the subject is gains the confused condition for 2d6 round but the D% is increased by +25% and any roll of 100+ is considered a 100.


Killswitch is a deadly nanovirus used by extremist governments and top-secret agencies to blackmail subjects into doing something they normally wouldn’t do. Killswitch isn’t just a clever name, it allows someone to trigger a potentially deadly nanite attack remotely as simply as flipping a switch. Unlike other nanoviruses, killswitch isn’t always injected, but often ingested after being planted in food or drink. After ingestion, the killswitch nanites work their way to the brain and heart of the subject. Killswitch must be triggered, but may be done so remotely. These nanites can also be set to trigger if the subject ever disconnects from a network.

When killswitch is triggered, the subject must make a Fortitude save (DC 25) or take 3d6 Constitution damage. If the subject makes their saving throw they take half damage.


The nano-EMP is one of the great equalizers when primitive societies find themselves at odds with highly advanced ones. These nanites are often gifted to primitives by spacefaring societies who are opposed to the advanced society the primitives have found themselves at odds with.

After injection, the nano-EMP lays dormant in its host. The host can activate the nano-EMP as a move action. Once activated the nano-EMP lets out a relatively weak 30-foot radius electromagnetic pulse. This pulse is too weak to destroy electronic equipment but is strong enough to prevent it from functioning while in its area of effect. The pulse effect last for 4d6 rounds and cannot be turned off once activated. This nano-weapon is a one-use item.

Cybernetics and bionics (biotech) operate on biological systems and are not affected by this nano-weapon, but the pulse does temporarily shut down other nanites.

Paralytic Inhibitor

Paralytic inhibitors have as many legitimate as illegitimate uses. In addition to injection these nanites may also be ingested. They immediately spread throughout the body and attempt to cease all of the target’s motor functions.

The subject must make a Fortitude save (DC 21), or gain the helpless condition for 2d6 minutes. If the subject succeeds on their saving throw they gain the staggered condition for 1 round.


An incredibly vile nanovirus, reaper is used in both torture and espionage. It has a single purpose—to inflict excruciating pain and damage to the subject. It floats inert in the bloodstream until activated, at which point the nanites burrow outward in random directions. Unlike other nano-weapons reaper can be activated up to 5 times and each time the results are more intense than the previous activation.

When reaper is activated, the subject is inflicted agonizing pain that imposes a –2 penalty to ability checks, attack rolls, and skill checks. In addition, the subject must make a Fortitude DC 20, or take 1d8 points of damage. This damage is not subject to any form of shielding or damage reduction. Each time reaper is activated the damage increases by 1d8, so by the fifth activation it does 5d8 damage. Each activation is subject to a separate Fortitude saving throw. In the case of a successful saving throw the subject only takes half damage for that activation. Reaper can only be activated once per round, but does not have to be activated in successive rounds.

Reaper comes with a small remote control for activating the nanites. The range on the remote control is limited to 500 feet. Since reaper is used in espionage it was specifically designed not to work on wireless frequencies as to avoid any form of remote detection from traffic sniffing.

Synapse Overload

For many years this nanovirus was used in correctional facilities for prisoners sentenced to death. After injection, the nanite colony travels straight to the brain. This nanovirus causes all the subject’s synapses to violently trigger resulting in a storm of overstimulation. The subject immediately takes 14d20 damage and is staggered for 1 minute. The subject can make a successful Fortitude (DC 21) to avoid the staggered condition, but still takes full damage.

Truth Bringer

A favorite nanovirus for interrogation specialist, the truth bringer prevents the subject of the injection to tell any deliberate or intentional lies. The subject is aware that they cannot lie and can choose to avoid answering a question rather than telling the truth. It last for 4 hours and is then flushed out by subject’s natural body systems. The subject may attempt to resist the truth bringer nanites by making a Will save (DC 16), but failure result in 2 Wisdom damage. The subject can avoid the saving throws by telling the truth.

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