It is a common trope that wizards are weak, frail, and unable to wield the heavy blades used by knights and berzerkers. The mage sword is a magical weapon that is commonly used by mages of a more active adventurer-upon-return lifestyle than the dusty dry academicians and sage-researcher magi.
The blade measures 28 to 16 inches in length and demonstrates a backwards curve and a single sharpened edge. The handle is long enough for a two handed grip, but the overall weight is light enough that the sword can be used with one hand. The sword has a minimal crossguard and no pommel/counter weight. Unlike the larger and thicker longswords and two-handed swords, a mage sword is not intended for use in heavy combat, but more as a deterrent weapon. It is of minimal use against foes in medium to heavy armors, but is a wicked slashing weapon when facing unarmored foes, or foes clad in leather and other light armors.
As a magical weapon, a Mage Sword has a number of minor powers that make it quite valuable in the right hands. In the hands of a non-magic user, a Mage Sword has none of the listed abilities.
1. Magic Weapon - Many creatures, especially planar beings, summoned creatures and the like are immune to most mundane weapons. While granting no bonuses to attack or to damage, a Mage Sword is considered a magic weapon and is able to harm things vulnerable to magic weapons at regular attack and damage.
2. Defensive Focus - As a magical weapon, a mage can use a Mage Sword in a defensive stance to increase his evasion ability, parry, or armor class. While not a major bonus, getting +1 to +3 to avoid injury can be very useful, and this bonus cannot be reversed and added to an attack roll. Most mages using the defensive focus are stalling for time while they formulate a new plan, or hold their own against lesser foes while more combative allies take down larger threats.
3. Mind over Muscle - An advanced ability of the mage sword, mind over muscle allows a mage to wield a Mage Sword with his intelligence attribute or his magic attribute rather than with strength or dexterity. I would suggest that this power of the sword require either training as an exotic proficiency or require the purchase of a character feat or special ability.
4. Spell Focus - An advanced user of a mage sword can use said weapon as a spell focus in place of the more common magic wand or magic staff. Unfortunately, the design and function of a sword limits the full versatility of the weapon as a spell focus and can only be used in casting purely combative spells, it cannot be used to cast illusions, defensive magics, or any other sort of spell without a direct intent to cause bodily harm and injury. As with Mind over Muscle, this ability should require a character feat or special ability.
5. Spell Vessel - as with almost any durable item, a spell can be intimated into a mage sword. unlike other items, a mage sword can have it's intimated spell removed and changed as the mage holding it requires. A mage can then use the spell stored in the blade as many times as he could normally cast a spell of it's level without studying or memorizing said spell. This is limited by the number of times said mage could cast the spell in question, thus if a mage could cast fireball a maximum or once per day, he could only cast it once a day from the sword, even if he had another spell memorized in place of fireball, but still utilizing the same amount of magic ability.
The basic inspiration behind the mage sword was the katana, as well as strong elements of Jedi mythology and the usage of katanas in the Final Fantasy games, where it is listed as a magic weapon.
Mages and staves have a long history together, and many fighters and thieves consider the use of the staff as compensation, just like the fighter who uses the absolute largest sword he can carry, or dwarves and their heavy hammers. The staff is and likely always be a mage's best friend, it is a versatile weapon that can be used with basic training, but can be used all the way to unheard of levels of skill and mastery. It also doubles as a walking stick, is seldom seen as weapon when placed next to axes, hammers, swords, and such, and it is a potent tool for the workings of magic. As with most magic items, a mage staff has no innate powers when not in the hands of a magic user.
1. Magic Weapon - Many creatures, especially planar beings, summoned creatures and the like are immune to most mundane weapons. While granting no bonuses to attack or to damage, a Mage Staff is considered a magic weapon and is able to harm things vulnerable to magic weapons at regular attack and damage. While this is of some use, most staves do little lasting damage and many an apprentice and consor has been slain thinking his trusty stave will be enough to protect him from a mis-summoned horror.
2. Defensive Stance - Once a mage expends all of his spell compliment, he becomes a liability rather than an asset, requiring protection due to poor armor class and relative frailty. A mage staff is a durable weapon and can be used in a purely defensive stance, though this prevents the usage of any spells, wands, potions, or the like.
3. Staff Borne Spells - By virtue of being a large object, mage staves are natural canvasses for mages to inscribe spells into. While the number of spells a mage can inscribe into a staff depends largely on the actual size of the staff and the skill of the mage in question, most can hold 2D4 spells before there is no room left on the staff for carving the proper runes, sigils and glyphs. The spells carved into the staff can be used as if the mage in question had already prepared them, though they are deducted from his ability to cast spells. Unlike intimated weapons, which can only be used by the magus who intimated the magic into the weapon, a carven Mage Staff can be utilized by anyone capable of working magic. If a carved spell is beyond their ability, the staff drains spell ability until either the amount required for a spell is taken. If insifficient power is available, the staff will drain the body of the caster until enough is taken, the caster discards the staff (a free action), or the caster dies from shock.
Coristan hefted his grand-master's staff, recently stolen from the Tower arsenal. He would take care of the forest imps that were marauding unchecked through the base level of the tower, it wasnt his fault that the scaly beasts had figured out how to cross the moat and pick the lock. He ran his thumb across the carvings for the fireball spell, it was not quite within his grasp, but it wouldnt be long before he would master it. He thrust the staff and let power flare through the runes. He gasped as the staff drew deeply from him, a moment later a brilliant orb of roiling flame enveloped the forest imps, turning the hellions into screaming, blazing charactures that quickly collapsed and filled the tower with the stink of roasting meat. (Apprentice mage casting a spell just beyond his ability)
Gannis rested on the roof, his chest heaving. It wasnt every day that a thief cantripist was able to pilfer a grand mage's staff. The runes seemed to indicate spells of great power inscribed into the tool, he licked his lips as he tested the item, the first spell was indeed powerful, more powerful than any spell he could ever hope to cast...at least until now. He pointed the staff at the Tower of the Magistrate and let mana flow into the looping runes of the spell. He felt a twinge, then his chest constricted, it seemed that the staff had a mind of it's own and it was sucking his blood from him. Crimson filled the runes, the cantripist shuddered, his aim drifting away from the thick casements of the tower and down towards Ganzhiis Circle. He felt his heart flutter as the pull stopped, the runes flared red as the spell devoured the innate mana in his blood. His eyes were glassy as a bolt of purple lightning struck the fountain in the center of the circle, showering the shops with shattered stone and steam. Two days later, the staff was recovered by the grand mage's raven and the body, bloated from two days in the sun, was carried to the morgue. (Beginner casting a high level spell)
4. Magic Booster - A staff, if left unadorned by sigils of spells and arcane chicanery can be marked with suitable geomantic patterns to function as a battery and conduit for ambient magical power. A mage armed with a staff so inclined, can add a boost to his magic attribute reflecting the larger amount of magical power he has access too. This basically equates to larger and more powerful spells. A staff cannot store spells and be a magic booster at the same time, the two functions are mutually exlcusive to prevent munchkinism.
There are times when one needs to have a focus for spells, but the generic power of a staff isn't good enough, or the carrying of a staff is impractical. Regardless, there is a need for a specific tool that can act as a focuser for a specific range of spells. The benefit of this is twofold: power, and size.
1) Size - Size is always a consideration, especially for those of the adventurer-upon-return persuasion. The fact that this is a specialized tool allows the imprinting of a magical matrix on a smaller item. In addition, there are always times when you just can't take your staff in, and not always is it environmental. In such cases, a rod or wand of some sort finds itself quite concealable and easy to wield.
Quite obviously from the name, a wand or rod is going to be about a third of the size of a staff, tops. Remember, the point is portability. Most of these are hand-held items, maybe a foot or two in length.
2) Power - Thanks to the specialization of such a tool, the focusing capabilities are much stronger in a wand than they are in a general-purpose staff. This directly interplays with size considerations, since you can get the same or more bang for your buck with a wand instead of a staff.
In game terms, a wand or rod that has been imprinted with a magical matrix is bound to one school of magic (masters of the art may get more mileage, getting two or even three schools within a single item). This gives it double the bonuses of a generic staff when focusing spells of that school, but it cannot be used for spells outside of its specific school.
The main drawback to this sort of tool is that it's limited in scope. Barring Harry Potter-type worlds, where wands are the only real way to cast magic, a wand is always going to be much more limited in what it can do for you as a magical focus. This is the trade-off for the extra power you can get out of it. If you want versatility, you need to have an actual staff, or other generic focusing tool.
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? Responses (7)
I wish I had a carved staff.
This is a good submission. Over time, it could become quite a useful thing. As of now, it could use a little fleshing out on the original submission, saying what sort of thing qualifies for inclusion. Minor tools and comfort items only, since those aren't worth full submissions?
Side-thought: if this is a scroll about items that aren't really worth making subs for, why is it a codex? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?
Well, I could make these into submissions, but I dont think that individually they would be more than 3.0/5 submissions and that isnt up to my usual standard and I dont want to bury them in an NPC, or a plot. I'd like to set them out on their own rather game oriented measure.
'I dont want to bury them in an NPC, or a plot'
you should have more faith in your readers.
Not bad- though the body of the sub could use just a little more polish - little more then History and a table of contents.
This is pretty crunchy stuff