Energy Cell Variants (5e Other)

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This variant introduces different types of energy cell for use with a futuristic 5e D&D campaign.

Technological advancement with energy storage is a game of tradeoffs. A new type of battery with breakthrough storage capacity might suffer from overheating.

Base Energy Cell[edit]


Energy cells in the DMG weigh 5 oz., but you might decide on a different baseline such as 1/10 lb., 1 lb., or even a 10 lb. backpack depending on how advanced the technology is in your campaign.


I have assumed that an energy cell is disposable and cannot be recharged, except when given the rechargeable property.


The number of shots you get from a cell depends on the properties of the weapon. Look at the weapon's damage die type, number of damage die, and normal range. The damage die determines the base number of shots; apply all the multipliers listed below and round to the nearest whole number (minimum 1).

  • Damage die
    • d4 = 25 shots
    • d6 = 20 shots
    • d8 = 15 shots
    • d10 = 10 shots
    • d12 = 5 shots
  • Number of damage dice
    • 1 = ×10 shots
    • 2 = ×5 shots
    • 3 = ×2 shots
    • 4 = ×1 shots
    • 5 = ×0.5 shots
    • 6 = ×;0.2 shots
    • 7 = ×0.1 shots
    • 8 = ×0.05 shots
  • Normal range
    • 5 – 10 ft. = ×1.6 shots
    • 20 – 30 ft. = ×;1.4 shots
    • 40 – 70 ft. = ×1.2 shots
    • 80 – 100 ft. = ×1 shots
    • 110 ft. – 130 ft. = ×0.8 shots

With this variant, the laser pistol has 48 shots; the laser rifle has 30 shots; and the antimatter rifle has 2 shots.

Variants and Features[edit]

Decide how many different types of energy cell will be in your campaign (I recommend 3). For each type, roll once on the "advantage" column and once on the "disadvantage" column below. Reroll conflicting results (e.g. "High Capacity" and "Low Capacity")


I decide my campaign has three types of energy cell, I roll an advantage and disadvantage for each and get:

  • Tediore D23 (Explosive, Volatile, Slow Discharge) [rolled 7, 10; rolled twice on 2nd columm: 7, 7; re-rolled duplicate: 3.]
  • Slug Mk I (Slow Discharge) [rolled 9, 3]
  • Yanov Multi-Spec (Dual-Energy [lightning]) [rolled 8, 9]

The Yanov is the standard energy clip, allowing energy weapons to mix superheated plasma with the emitted beam with no detriment. The "slug" is the colloquial name for a ubiquitous variety of low-quality mass-produced cells. The Tediore D23 is favored by risk-defying soldiers of fortune who enjoy the tactical versatility of these grenade-cells.

d10 Advantage Disadvantage
1 High Capacity Low Capacity
2 Rechargeable Gets Hot
3 Fast Discharge Slow Discharge
4 Efficient Inefficient
5 Cheap Expensive
6 Light Heavy
7 Explosive Volatile
8 Dual Energy Loud
9 No advantage No disadvantage
10 Roll twice* Roll twice*
  • Ignore further rolls of 10, reroll duplicate results.

The cell costs one third normal. If you are using rarity instead of cost, the cell is one step more common.

Dual Energy

When this cell variant is first determined, choose a secondary damage type: fire, lightning or radiant. All cells of this variant have the same secondary damage type.

When you fire a weapon using this cell, you can choose to have half the damage be the secondary damage type.


A weapon using this cell increases the normal range by 10 feet and the maximum range by 40 feet.


The cell costs eight times normal. If you are using rarity instead of cost, the cell is one step more rare.


The cell can be set to explode. If it weighs 2 lb or less, it can be thrown at point up to 60 feet away. If it weighs between 2 and 5 lbs, it can be thrown up to 30 feet. If it weighs more than 5 lbs, it can be set in place and has a timer (it can be set to explode after 1 turn or 1 minute). Each creature within 20 feet of an exploding energy cell must make a DC 15 Dexterity check, taking 3d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. If the cell has 10% or less remaining of its maximum shots, it only deals 1d6 fire damage.

Fast Discharge

When you attack with a weapon using this cell, you can choose to consume an additional shot to gain a bonus to damage equal to 1/10 the average damage of the weapon, rounded to the nearest whole number. (e.g. +1 for laser pistols and rifles; +3 for antimatter rifles)

Gets Hot

An attack roll of 1 melts the cell and damages the weapon. If the cell has expended half or more of its shots, this occurs on an attack roll of 1 or 2. A melted cell is useless, and a damaged weapon can be repaired in 1 hour given the correct tools.


The cell weighs 10 times normal.

High Capacity

The cell has double its normal number of shots.


A weapon using this cell has half its normal range and maximum range.


When inserted into a weapon, this cell emits a loud buzz that can be heard up to 60 feet away. It continues to buzz up to 1 minute after being removed from the weapon.


The cell weighs half as much as normal.

Low Capacity

The cell has half its normal number of shots.


The cell can be recharged at an appropriate power point. This takes 1 hour to reach maximum capacity.

Slow Discharge

A weapon using this cell has a penalty to damage rolls equal to 1/10 the average damage of the weapon, rounded to the nearest whole number. Multiply the capacity of the cell by 1.2.


A volatile cell might explode if it is subjected to heat or a heavy impact. If you take 8 or more points of fire or bludgeoning damage, roll 1d20 for each volatile cell you are carrying that holds more than 10% of its charge. On a 15 or greater, the cell bursts into flame, dealing 2d6 fire damage to you.

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