A Sarvas Sword is a classic, slightly magical longsword (longsword +1 in D&D terms). It has no special properties aside from being exceedingly well-made and very sharp. What makes it notable is that there are several dozen of them in existance, and they are all nearly identical.
During an ancient Elf-War, the mighty wizard Sarvas was commissioned to make a weapon for the armies of King Sarathas of Silverwood. He made a few mighty weapons for the King, but making them was time consuming and exceedingly draining. He experimented for several months to find a more efficient way to create magical weapons for the elite but small Elven armies.
What he developed was a magical Forge, which bears his name, capable of producing many identical magical swords in a relatively short period of time. Those swords the Forge made were distributed to the armies of the Elves. The Forge of Sarvas was totally unique (and some claim the work of the gods) and lost to time long ago, but not before it created hundreds of these swords. Over the eons these swords passed on to other owners, either becoming dispersed into treasures, the hands of warriors, or lost forever.
Each sword is, as stated above, identical. They are finely crafted, well-balanced and exceedingly strong. They have one bloodline down the center, a utilitarian steel hilt, and old Elven runes identifying their creator, Sarvas, inscribed on either side of the blade. The only things that differs from sword to sword is the wrappings of the hilts (the original leather doesn't remain) and whatever nicks and dings the sword recieved in its life.
Purpose and Uses:
This is an unoriginal item. It is a longsword +1 with a simple backhistory. Why use it? Why value it? Most fantasy worlds are besmottered with minor magical items of unknown origin and seemingly made only to be cast away into treasure hordes. Who is this mighty wizard creating a proliferation of (relatively) bad magical weapons and distributing them to the world? Why would they not be improved by their owners? Why would there be so many of them? This weapon begins to answer some of those questions, as well as give any campaign setting you introduce them to an interesting flavor (oh, he has a Sarvas Sword too!).
—Somewhere the Forge of Sarvas has been found and is being put to use creating a new wave of swords for an evil army bent on uhh... evil. The PC's must rush to the rescue
—An eccentric collector is trying to assemble a collection of them, and is willing to buy the PC's magical weapons from them, as well as pay them handsomely to retrieve more of these swords.
—The PC's return from an adventure with one of the swords, only to run into someone with an identical one, who would understandably like to know their whereabouts.
—A wizard is searching for the secrets to the Forge of Sarvas, in an attempt to recreate the item. He could be rounding up the swords by force to study them and try to reverse engineer them.
Basically anything involving their numerousness—someone could think they have the only one, or know there are many and try to gather them.
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? Responses (12)
A decent explanation for all those unremarkable +1 swords.
I want to add a plot, though:
*More than Junk: there is another purpose to the swords. If all that exist and are not broken are assembled in one place, they may open a gate/tomb/treasury.
And you have the reason why someone is killing/robbing all those low level heroes and guard captains. What was taken? Nothing but a crappy magical sword.
It might actually be interesting to write up the forge.
Good work on giving plus one swords a backstory. The real star of the post is the forge, but that seems more like a mass production maching than a magic item.
In any case, good post.
No, it's a McGuffin.
Very good, an explanation for all the crap enchanted swords.
The funny thing is branding - and all somewhat experienced people are quick to recognize it.
The idea has also interesting consequences in low-magic worlds, where even a '+1 sword' is potent and rare. The keeper of such a powerful weapon would be instantly recognizable... beware of thieves.
One more thing to the production method: I would think that a part of the Forge was The Prototype - the sword all others were made alike. Given its use, it could be in fact a +1 artifact (weak and indestructible ;) ).
As the Forge was probably destroyed, even finding and repairing its remains would not help to make it work - the prototype would have to be found. Question is, which of the hundreds of swords that look way too similar is the right one?
Problem: How do you even the odds when your army is small and your enemies many? Make one uber-powerful munchkin-weapon for the king or hundreds of more modest blades to distribute of all of your men.
Answer: Fairly obvious really. In the long term, you get better return with a minor power boost to all of your men.
A nice explanation for the existence of basic low-level weapons - definitely worth remembering - 3/5
BTW - try to avoid the obvious D&D references - we like to keep things generalised here
A little of common things, a little of the strange, plenty of flavour to boot. Not the most amazing thing, but one you can add to the game in a heartbeat.
Good! Can't wait to use this in my games.
Awesome backstory for an item everyone has touched in one way or another in their games.
Perhaps lost in history but now realized by that collector or Mr. Evil is that the sum is greater than the parts. Individually the swords are only +1. But when many swords are massed there is some additional effect that takes place (each sword becomes +3, morale boost, berserk rage, haste, perhaps being near or touching forge grants mind control over sword wielders, etc).
Yes, this is a good way to explain many cookie-cutter swords in one's world. Where do they come from? A magic forge of course.