Boom, indeed. It'd be a particularly nasty weapon if fired at a pack of thaumavores like the Whisps; they'd absorb a tremendous dose of aether, overload, and detonate in fallout reactions pretty much at the same instant as the pulse shreds the world, making it the equivalent of a radioactive blast. Go to Comment
I think the worst component of this would be for the soldier at the epicenter, witnessing the ripples preceding the event, and realizing he's too close to the heart of it to escape. The kind of sudden fear, panic, and apathetic despair that would have to crash over him in that moment would potentially be as destructive as the weapon itself; I imagine some commit suicide before the detonation occurs, if they know what's happening. Go to Comment
You're correct; I imagine mock assemblages of components would relatively common among the less-prosperous states, leading to a kind of cold-war state where everyone distrusts everyone else. Ulfdin likely has a top-grade counter-spy network in place to protect their control over the key components of the devices, and that there are probably those among their welathiest rivals trying to reverse-engineer one of the cannons in order to create their own...
They are, indeed, fairly expensive; given their sheer bulk and come delicate components, they're not battlefield-portable, so they tend to be emplacements. Ulfdin tends to see a fair surplus to their treasury whenever one gets comissioned, as they have the secret of growing the 'warp crystals' that help focus the transformation effect. I expect other nations are vigorously researching the method of creation, but as the sub suggests, it involved less than pleasant methods to divine the secret. That said, it's only a matter of time and will, and I'm sure that eventually you'll have battlefields that have soldiers equipped with firearms equivalents of Uther Doul's Possible Sword, each firing producing a swarm of nigh-bullets.
A Cold War situation is highly probable as a result of their creation, yes. Go to Comment
That was the chief inspirational effect, yes. Rather than a sustained and steady operative field, this is a split-second pulse of utter devastation. The Device is a bomb with fallout. The Cannon is just a devastating gun. Go to Comment
In this case, the usage would be more 'campaign defining' than it would be 'magical'.
A key question to ask is, if you were a GM or a writer dealing in this genre, would this be something you'd be able to readily include? For example, take Ouroborus's recent Conversion Warhead. You'll never expect to see it used in a game, ever. But it can be mixed into any fantastic-steampunk setting fairly easily; the Great City of (Name, not necessarily Locastus) is known to have three of these incredibly deadly weapons left after using one in a previous war. It's great; both as background color and as a plot hook (Hey, what's this ticking sphere in this old dirigible wreck? What do you mean everyone's after us now?)
Also, everyone uses swords. That's a good reason in and of itself not to use them. Go to Comment
My chief dislikes have already largely been covered, but I do have a few nitpicks; one, you're using D&D-specific terminology. I know that it's a handy framework; I've accidentally done it myself on more than one occasion. It isn't helpful in disseminating ideas, however. 'soul-burning flames' is concise and more evocative than 'deals fire damage and negative energy damage', which could help it fit in systems or games which don't have specific categories of energy, or where the energy types are significantly different.
Second, if the blacksmith had this all-powerful blade which was personally blessed by the god, shouldn't he have been more than able to deal with a few brigands? Particularly if the blade itself wreathes the wielder in destructive energy, as it is described in the properties. Indeed, one so faithful to the god, carrying a relic blessed personally by said god, should have been quite a challenge for a motley pack of brigands. I could see the rivals of the church learning of it and bringing their own forces, bolstered by the might of their deity, down to deal with the blacksmith; I could see a powerful creature sensing the power of the weapon and wanting it for itself. I just can't see brigands being the ones to kill the smith off in this case.
Last, why a sword? Swords are overdone. There are a positively ludicrous number of magic swords. Yes, they're fantasy-stereotyped as The Weapon of Choice, but they've become two-dimensional by now. Where is the hammer that commands the fire of the forge? The axe that has the might of the mountains? If it's soul-searing, why not a scythe to play off of the association with death?
It isn't really bad; I'm certain that for your specific setting, it works great. But it doesn't translate too well, and it just seems less than three-dimensional to me. Go to Comment
This is an awesome idea, as is the notion that the devices can be 'shut down' and potentially reused; a sufficiently callous government could send expendables into the wild zone until one of them finally managed to shut the device down, and then move the normal army in to mop up the remaining disaster.
This has given me an idea for another weapon. Hopefully I can find the time to work on it between novel-writing and work. Go to Comment
The party comes across a nice hermit in the woods. He gives them food and lodging for the night. They awaken to his terrified screams. "East! It's east! Stop it! It'll kill us all!" The poor horror-stricken hermit dies thrashing in agony, one boney arm outstretched, his finger pointing to the east.