This knife is decorated with a gem as the pommel, which looks like a sun from one side and a moon from the other. The blade is a solid white shimmering material (that looks pearly), about 10cm long, and does normal knife damage for most of the time. The hilt is made of a dark wood, wrapped with gold wire. However, it has the weight of a broadsword and can't be used by anyone able to cast magic spells (whether it's divine magic or arcane magic).
When it hits a target for a critical hit, it ages them by 1d6 centuries - this will kill most creatures outright, except for long-lived races (elves etc. may survive, depending on age and dice roll) or races who aren't killed by age (dragons and other similar creatures definitely will survive). If the target is aged by 600 years (i.e. a 6 is rolled), the wielder is also de-aged by 1d10 years. This will affect their ability score adjustments and can even undo other magical aging. However, if the wielder becomes too young, they will revert to being a child, a baby, or may even die, meaning the weapon is not without risks.
The blade is a dragon's tooth, and the weapon was created by a great mage who defeated the dragon. However, the dragon's will is still alive in the blade. If the wielder dies through de-aging, the dragon (a Red dragon named Aranath) is reborn at the same time (and more importantly, in the same place), and will be 1d20 * 30 years old. He will attack anyone around him, as the many years of not-quite-death have broken his mind, and die a true death in 2d4 hours.
There is an ancient saga told about the battle, which ended the dragon-threat amongst the 'Folk of the Plains' as they call themselves. They maintain that the mage was only able to defeat Aranath because the gods of the mountains aided him, and gave him the materials for the Knife of Eternity. He fought the dragon once, but was forced to flee when the dragon overpowered him. However, he was able to take with him a single tooth he knocked out of the dragon's mouth. He used the gifts of the mountain gods to create the Knife, and then enchanted it with his most powerful magics. He knew he would have to win the next fight, before the magic in the knife ran out.
The battle raged for three days, and the dragon was about to finally destroy the mage who had come to kill him, when he threw the dagger with the last of his strength. It pierced the dragon's heart, and his body crumbled to ash, which was swept away by the wind. The mage collapsed in front of his fallen foe, and died.
The people of the plains found him there, and gave him their highest honours. They buried the knife with him, because they believed the dragon's power still slept within it. And who knows, they may be right. Aranath's death definitely changed the magic inside the dagger.
This weapon may be best given to a foe, and then when the players fight him, he accidentally summons the dragon and dies. The knife will become a normal knife if the dragon is summoned, and cannot be re-enchanted.
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? Responses (11)-11
First of all, I would call this a stub. You could for instance include some background story, who made it, who owned it previously and so on. Second, it was good that you included that last part otherwise this could easily have been a game breaker. That being said, the best laid plans and all that, what if the PCs stop the Npc from using it and then takes it off of him? I can think of several ways, poison, sleeping spells etc.
Ok, I'll try to add more. Also, for balance, it's kinda like a vorpal weapon (in terms of effect), except there's some creatures who are immune to it - or at least that's how I see it.
An interesting idea. I would have liked to know more about the history and myths behind an instrument like this rather than reading the exact rules on how much aging is taking place per hit scored.
Wow. That is some powerful magic without much defense against it! Would the person instantly age or would it be a slow, cumulative affect that has the chance of being stopped somehow?
I generally don't like instant kill weapons, if you scaled it down a lot, say dump the centuries and take it to years, it would be more fun to use and more fun in gaming. Having the possibility of it going up or down would also be pretty sweet. The fountain of youth with the danger of aging too.
Either way, I think you concentrate too much on the aging and not enough on the weapon and the actual use of it.
I do love the idea of it causing the birth of a dragon though, that is an outstanding idea!
Going to withhold my vote as well because this needs some work, but there are quite a few good ideas in there!
Congrats on your first submission!!
I've changed it a bit now, but the main concept was that this was more a McGuffin level of weapon for when the players are at a high enough level that it's more balanced - I think the aging effect handles like a vorpal effect, in that it can insta-kill. But by limiting it to non-magic users, and effectively just warriors, it removes the worst abuse (de-aging for an infinite number of wishes) and makes the de-aging more of a threat.
I may add more later.
and the effect would be 'Hit, crumble into dust' speed, I think. Although a slower effect would be pretty cool too!
Very powerful, indeed! I like the flavour backstory you added to it. The idea itself is thought provoking, and the added twist that the dragon may return (to the shock of the players) is nice, however the ability to age someone centuries with a single nick of a dagger is something which most people would be reluctant to add.
An interesting alternate idea would be perhaps that whoever is nicked by this dagger instead ages at 1d6 (or whatever) times their normal rate, and the attacker's age is reversed at the same rate (So basically, the attacker leeches the life force from their victim.
The sneaky part of this idea is that the person who has been age-accelerated may not notice for some weeks or months, when their companions start getting greys or wrinkles, and it may spur an additional campain to go and hunt down the attacker who is leeching their life force before they die of old age! Killing the attacker will halt or possibly reverse the aging effect.
This would give the GM a nasty surprise tool to throw at the players.
'The would-be elderly assassin slices your arm, but it is only a nick - hardly worth a mention! He then runs away like a coward!'
Some sessions down the track...
'Your companions comment on the sudden greyness of your beard and hair... it looks like the years really are catching up to you! Perhaps you'd best go see the local cleric to make sure nothing is wrong with you!' (Cleric discovers the age-leeching magic and you are sent on a journey to recover your youth!)
I was looking more for a very strong magic item - after all, it is made from a dragon's powers combined with the powers of the mage who killed him! I prefer a fast aging process because it instills a deep fear in people - imagine being a young elven fighter, who gets stabbed once by an assassin and is suddenly old and grey!
The problem with slower aging is that it's not as useful in a straight-up fight. An insta-kill on most foes when you crit is about the same level of power as a vorpal weapon, and an issue players might hit is that it will actually make dragons stronger! A fitting final act by a powerful dragon, wouldn't you agree? :)
Interesting as an idea but too over-powered. One that aged people by 10 to 20 years and deaged the holder by the same amount. With a 1 in 6 chance of making the holder lose certain memories,
Your item and back-story are fairly solid and well done, I like the combination of the powers of the two enemies, although truthfully, the aging aspects don't fall into line very neatly. Neither dragon nor mage has any anti-aging or similar to generate this kind of effect. While not a necessity, I feel it important for accidental magical effects to have some sort of reasoning behind them.
Like other commenters, I have to say that this appears very over-powered as it stands. I'm not a huge fan of insta-kill weapons, not even the vorpal swords. I prefer to see both the players and NPC's fight for their kills.
That being said, to each his/her own. I've played in campaigns where death was a very real outcome, and the GM pulled no punches. It was very exciting, even if I was creating new characters every few weeks.
Eric the Grey
I do not think the power of this weapon is that much different from many other insta-kill weapons and GM's are free to add whatever mechanics they choose -(saving throws, resistance rolls, and the like) to reign it in. It is not really that effective a weapon except perhaps by surprise, since Critical hits are _generally_ uncommon in most systems.
And most of the time, you are doing pretty pathetic damage, so your own chances of being killed are pretty high.
A more likely use would be for someone who learns of the legend and wants to bring the dragon back into being. He would setup 'gladiatorial' games with young combatants with one using the knife, and their victim/opponents unarmed.
The odd part is the attempt to make the knife - a weapon normally used by mages, and in this case was used by a mage, too heavy to be used by a mage, much less thrown hard enough to kill a dragon.