Sorry - your terminology was very similar to that typically used by AD&D - especially earlier variants - that I assumed it was your intent.
If a more general approach is intended then avoiding specific numbers and 'game' terms may be better.
Most subs here are light on actual mechanics for this reason. The germ of the idea - that the weapon becomes more intelligent and harder to control is really what is good here. Go to Comment
I do not think it _should_ be difficult at all, depending on the situation, unless your intent as a GM is to add a war to the game. If that is your intent, then I think it should happen off-camera with NPCs at fault, rather then have your PC's do what you want them to do.
It really should be situational and depend on the nature of the explorers and the other people.
There are examples of this in the south pacific - there were tribes that were very non-confrontational, and others that were quite bloodthirsty.
Frankly, it seems you are trying to force an outcome that involves combat, and to my mind, not a very nice one. I agree with Dossta - first contact should be a opportunity to use skills other then combat, since you can only first contact once, but you can fight anybody. Go to Comment
Like Dossta, I think they would be a singular or near singular even, perhaps some invasion from another realm, for humanity would quickly wage full scale war on these creatures and turn their hives/lairs into glassy radioactive holes.
They fit well into the crazy B-Movie world and are scary in an over-the-top way. Go to Comment
This is interesting - a dedicated 'embassy' for the king. I'd assume the local nobility would be required to maintain it as part of their fealty to the king. I could see that becoming a point of interest with different nobles coming up with ways around this arrangement somehow, Go to Comment
Such elements can easily spice up a game. A character finds an old shield in a dungeon with an unknown to him coat of arms and begins using it. Turns out the house it belonged to was expunged from history by an enraged king - the father of the current king.
Might make the next visit to the capital city a little more exciting. PC's might want to brush up on their heraldry skills on their next character :)
As for commoners not caring about heraldry, I could not disagree more. It is rather important to know whose boots you should lick exceptionally clean, and whose you must run from.
I think mostly in in lines of 1 &2 and a bit 5 as these are the most 'human' oriented of the options. Mages that will take the risk to expose themselves to the hazards of open warfare would be few - perhaps only those in service to themselves.
A mage in the service of a noble that demonstrates their ability to destroy other nobles will likely find that while the king is happy that his foe has been destroyed, will wonder when his servant will turn against him. Mages may find themselves in the same boat as say, chemical weapons. Something to hide, control and in 'forward' societies, destroy.
So basically, peer pressure. Most who have mastered the arts are going to keep a low profile and play safer games then the game of thrones :P Those that do play, are your major villains.