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ID: 4682


December 24, 2007, 12:44 am

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Cheka Man

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Spirit of the Steel


A methodology for the magic behind the magic weapon.

Magic weapons are a staple of fantasy gaming, and for every Excaliber and Zodiac Spear, there are legions of mundane magic weapons, the innocuous Longsword +1 and other magical weapons only expressed as a weapon type and a bonus modifier. While such a display is anathema to fantasy writing, it is quite standard par for the adventure gaming course. While the notion of every magical weapon having a grand backstory, a mythical origin, and a hard to pronounce name, most of this is likely to fall by the wayside as the rugged band of heroes hack their way to gold, glory, and XP.

A Sword With No Name
Heroes wield mighty blades hammered by the gods, PCs tend to get a bit less unless games are incredibly high level or high powered. Descriptions of blades very by the type and style of sword, but certain aspects remain the same. The most common aspect being that the weapon in question is made of the best quality materials and is of the top quality the weapon maker in question is capable of. Apprentice work, flawed blades, and the like do not make it past the rigours of testing before the process of enchantment and bonding takes place. The second aspect that is similar is the presence of some sort of arcane script etched, carved, embossed, or otherwise made a permanent part of the blade. It doesn’t matter if it is runes, elfin poetry, geomantic sigils, or eldritch symbols of power, the end effect is the same, a bonus modifier to attack and damage.

A Weapon of Two Worlds
Most fantasy settings work with some sort of multi-planar cosmology, ranging from a simple duality, to a wide spread cornucopia of planar realms running from elemental realms to exotic pockets of reality. The true purpose of the arcane script etched into the weapon is that it creates a bond to this spirit and energy filled alternate realm, a conduit for the natural flow of magic. This makes the weapon in question real in both the material world and the spirit world. As such, a wound inflicted by the weapon is able to overcome magical and supernatural abilities, penetrate normally impenetrable armor, and cause more damage than would be expected.

The power of the weapon is determined by the skill of the etcher or engraver who works the arcane writing into the weapon. The more skill and time they invest into the etching or engraving, the more potent the weapon in question. It is very likely that the actual empowering symbols will be surrounded by ornamental symbols, artful etching and the like. Some of this is purely ornamental, the other aspect is that it prevents someone from merely looking at the length of the engraving on a weapon and determining the magical strength of the weapon.

Who Makes These Things?
Mundane magic weapons might not actually be considered magical weapons, since they do not evince any sort of magical ability other than a magical aura and increased ability to do damage. As such, these weapons could be made by practitioners of Low Sorcery. True magi would hardly consider making such lowly weapons beneath their ability, leaving the making of these weapons in the hands of enlightened weaponsmiths and enchanters of the Low Sorcery method. As such a village with a decent forge could have one or two of these class of weapons, heirlooms of masters of the forge, or possessions of the local gentry and lower echelons of the nobility.

Applications of Force
You Can Have it, But it Will Cost You - Sometimes a player and subsequent PC will want a large and nasty beat-stick for taking down monsters and getting XP from large and nasty foes. Such a weapon can be procured without all the drama of hunting down a legendary weapon, dispelling curses and all the other baggage that comes with getting such an awesome and likely broken weapon. The PC/Player can commission a Sword +3, or Sword +5 but there are two things that can constrain said player. The first being that such a weapon will remain expensive, likely several thousand gold pieces to tens of thousands of gold pieces to cover the materials and labor of both a master bladesmith and a master enchanter of low sorcery. Secondly, such a weapon will take time, 1D4 + 1 Month/per level of power. The PC is saddled with both a large bill, and subsequent downtime waiting for the weapon to be made.

Tough, But Not Unbreakable - Magic Swords don’t get broken, and in the rare cases where they do (Narsil/Anduril) it is a legend worthy tale behind their reforging. A common Sword +3 can be broken, and while it is a blow to character, it isn’t derailing to the story, plot, or history of an established setting.

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
December 24, 2007, 7:32
Thank you for writing this.
Voted Siren no Orakio
December 25, 2007, 10:58
It seems like a good collection of the most basic ideas of enchantment. Good for the +1 sword, maybe, but it doesn't feel so much like this would be right for Anduril. (As you note.)
Voted valadaar
December 29, 2007, 13:45
This feels somewhat incomplete or overy brief - like the outline for a more complete sub still in work.

I like where it is going, though a trifle too gamespeak in places for me. The 3rd paragraph is the best of the lot and I like the idea that magic weapons are made by having them exist both in the material and spirit realm.
December 29, 2007, 14:43
it is a bit heavy on gamespeak and there is no fluff text in it anywhere. Rather than making something highly artistic and nigh useless for the magic item quest, I thought I would try something that can actually be used in a game setting.
Voted Murometz
January 10, 2008, 23:36
Usable it certainly is and, BUMP. Quest sub!

(I like the mechanical tone, in this particular instance.)
Voted Ramhir
February 23, 2011, 15:59

A useful sub. Actually, I liked it without the 'fluff'. It makes it more useful to the GM.

Voted MysticMoon
February 23, 2011, 23:39

I agree with Valadaar on all points.

I like the Weapon of Two Worlds bit and was hoping for the same kind of descriptions for the rest of it. I can't use it as-is for my own game, since the system I'm using doesn't quite translate, but it does have enough for me to start from.

Voted Moonlake
June 19, 2012, 21:43
I like the sub as it is w/o any fluff but like Valadaar, I also feel this sub can be more somehow. Also, personally I feel somehow the sub becomes a bit disjointed when moving from the first paragraph to the second.

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       By: Raptyr

Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.

Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.

Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.

The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.

Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.

In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.

Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.

Ideas  ( Lifeforms ) | October 12, 2011 | View | UpVote 3xp

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