System Shock Wiki
System Shock Wiki

Exotic Weapons refers to both a category of weapon and the combat skill required to wield them in System Shock 2.


Exotic Weapons are generally made of Annelid tissue or materials. In order to be used they must be Researched first as they are alien weapons. There are three Exotic Weapons that can be found in System Shock 2: the Crystal Shard, which is the strongest melee weapon in the game ; the Viral Proliferator, a powerful biological weapon against Annelids ; and the Annelid Launcher, an enemy-seeking projectile thrower.

The Exotic Weapons skill governs which weapons in this category soldier can equip. The maximum skill level that can be reached is 6. Exotic Weapons receive 15% damage bonus for each level above their minimal requirement. Thus, the maximum damage bonus for Crystal Shard and Viral Proliferator is 75% and 30%, respectively. The Annelid Launcher does not receive any damage bonus.

Note that Exotic Weapons does not appear in the Weapon Cybernetic Upgrade Units until after the engine core has been brought online, so it is not possible to level the skill until then.


Some weapons require minimum statistics or skill levels to equip and use.

Weapon Minimum Skills Minimum Statistics
Crystal Shard Exotic Weapons: 1
Research: 4
Viral Proliferator Exotic Weapons: 4
Research: 3
Annelid Launcher Exotic Weapons: 6
Research: 6
Strength: 3
Agility: 3

Specializing in Exotic Weapons


  • Any enemy that is vulnerable to the Crystal Shard can be taken down fast, as it is the most powerful melee weapon in the game.
  • The Crystal Shard's overhand attack granted by Smasher deals 27 damage, due to a bug. This is more than double the base damage of the weapon.
  • Both Viral Proliferator and Annelid Launcher deal a large amount of damage to Annelid creatures.
  • ANTI-ANNELID attacks are the most destructive to pure Annelids, especially Psi Reavers and all Arachnids.
  • The ANTI-ANNELID mode of Exotic Weapons is the only way to eliminate Swarms.


  • All Exotic Weapons require high Research skill, hence are bigger investments than any other type of weapons.
  • Unlike other weapon skills, it is not possible to have a starting bonus in Exotic Weapons. This means you will have to spend the Cybernetic Modules to use them.
  • Exotic Weapons are not found until later on in the game, so you will need to have at least one level in another weapon skill, unless you plan on using only the Wrench until then.
  • Worm Clusters, the ammunition used by Viral Proliferator and Annelid Launcher is by far the most uncommon as it's not replicated. Without Molecular Duplication Psi power the total number of Worm Clusters found in the game is 184, regardless of game difficulty.
  • Ranged Exotic Weapons are not only weak against half-mechanical opponents, they also deal no damage to fully mechanical foes at all, forcing one to use the Crystal Shard.
    • The Crystal Shard also suffers from a 50% damage penalty when fighting against fully mechanical enemies. This makes it only twice as effective as the Wrench against them (unless using overhand attacks provided by Smasher), which has the same penalty but half the base damage compared to the Crystal Shard.
  • Ranged Exotic Weapons degrade in a much faster rate than other weapons.
  • No Exotic Weapon can harm the final boss nor its shields.