Category Archives: Magical Marvels

Guns in ORWA

Saturday Morning GunsAs I’ve discussed before, my ORWA campaign was meant to be a very standard fantasy game, with a post apocalyptic paint job. It’s only because the players managed to join a secret society of technologists, called The Internet, that I was thrust into the position of creating a more Sci-Fi world.

None the less, guns are heavily restricted. The players are meant to be relying on swords and bows, so I’ve made a point of keeping guns rare. The only way they can enter the game is during a Haven Turn, when there is a 2-in-6 chance that the Internet  has managed to find & repair a gun. When this happens, the gun is put up on eBay, where any member of the Internet can claim it. The cost is always exorbitant, to the point that players will usually need to pool their resources in order to afford it.

But after 14 months of running this game, with my players approaching level 9, that scarcity has begun to break down. Which is appropriate, the game should change as you reach higher levels. Nowadays, each player is wealthy enough that even the most expensive guns can be quickly snapped up. And there have been enough of the gun auctions that the party has quite the private arsenal on their hands. Not enough to equip every hireling, but certainly enough that every PC has a gun, or even two.

Because the game’s setting has a Saturday Morning Sci-Fi flavor, I like to get creative with the guns. They’re not normal equipment, after all. They’re more like magic items, which should have special abilities, and little peculiarities to keep them interesting.

So, seeing as I’ve now written this arsenal of ORWA guns, I figured I may as well share it.

The Spandau (Inspired by stories I’ve heard from WW2)
A fast-firing machine gun with poor accuracy. The Spandau attacks everything within a 10’x10′ hit box. Those within its area of effect must make a saving throw versus Breath, with a bonus of +2 to their save for each increment of 30′ away they are from their attacker. On a failed save, they take 2d4 damage. On a successful save, they take no damage.

Regardless of success or failure, any creature within the hit area must also check morale at a penalty of 2. On failure, they will dive for the nearest cover. They will not necessarily attempt to remove themselves from combat, but will move only very cautiously.

The Spandau and its ammo box are separate encumbering items. Each time the weapon is fired, roll 1d6. If a 1 is rolled, the ammo box is almost depleted and can be fired only once more before it is empty. Ammo boxes are sold for 50cc by The Internet.

The Uzi (Inspired by most video games where there are Uzis)
A weapon which fires so quickly it can be easy to run out of ammunition without even realizing it. Before making their attack roll, a player should announce how many d6s of damage they are going to deal. They can choose as few as 1, and as many as 6.

After their attack roll, whether it is a hit or a miss, they should roll a d6. If they roll equal to or lower than the number of damage dice they had announced, then they’ve used up their current ammo clip.

Each spare ammo clip the character carries is an encumbering item. They cost 50cc, and are sold by The Internet.

The Grappling Gun (Inspired by Batman: The Animated Series)
A small weapon, the size of a flare gun, with a folded grapnel protruding from the end of the barrel. When the trigger is pulled, the grapnel will launch out of the barrel, trailing a cord created by a liquid, micro-filament cartridge. When the trigger is released, the rope retracts into the gun, returning to a compressed liquid form, and pulling the wearer up to wherever the grapnel hooked to.

If time is passing in exploration turns, a grapple can be assumed on any location up to 25 stories high. If time is being measured in rounds, a hit roll is required. The armor rating of the shot is 1, per story of the target. (So, a 12 story building would have an Armor of 12 for this purpose).

If the gun is used to create a zipline, the grapnel and micro-filament rope may not be recoverable. In this instance, new ones may be purchased for 25cc.

The Auto-Crossbow (Inspired by a YouTube video)
Weaker than a standard crossbow, but that deficiency is compensated for by the sheer volume of bolts it can put out each round.

The wielder can make 3 attack rolls each round, which each deal 1d4 damage on a successful hit. Unlike normal crossbows, these do not ignore any amount of defenses from armor. After each round of fire, the wielder must roll 1d6. On a 1, the weapon is either out of ammo, or it has become jammed. They must spend 1 round reloading/clearing it before they can fire again.

(The Auto-Crossbow is not actually a gun. It was created by a player using the Tinker skill, after he found the above-linked YouTube video in an old archive. None the less, it seems an appropriate inclusion here.)

The Lasorator (Inspired by Star Trek)
An advanced weapon with many settings. Before making each attack roll, the wielder may choose how high the weapon’s energy usage is set. The higher the setting, the more damage is dealt; but also, the more quickly the battery will be drained.

If the weapon is set to deal 1d4 damage, then the player must roll a d12 after they fire. On a roll of 1, the weapon’s energy cell is exhausted. For each higher damage die the wielder sets the weapon to, (1d6, 1d8, 1d10, or 1d12); it has a lower exhaustion die (1d10, 1d8, 1d6, 1d4).

So, if the weapon is set to deal 1d8 damage, it will have a 1d8 exhaustion die. If it’s set for 1d12 damage, it will have a 1d4 exhaustion die, etc.

The Lasorator can be set to “Wide Beam,” which is ineffective in combat, but useful for silently melting barriers. Weak barriers such as glass windows require a d8 exhaustion die. While more robust barriers, such as those made of steel, require a d4 exhaustion die.

The weapon also has a stun setting, which requires the most energy of any of them. On a successful hit, the target must make a saving throw versus Paralyzation. On failure, they fall unconscious. The exhaustion die for the stun setting is 1d2.

Extra power packs for the weapon are encumbering items. They cost 150cc, and can be purchased from the Internet.

The Derringer (Honestly, Inspired by The Simpsons)
A small, easily concealable weapon with two barrels. The derringer deals 1d6 damage at a range of up to 30′. After 30′, attack rolls suffer a -3 penalty. After 60′, the bullets are moving so slowly, they would not cause any harm even if they did hit a person.

After every 2 shots, the derringer must be reloaded (which requires 1 round). Each time the weapon is reloaded, roll a d6. If a 1 is rolled, then the ammo pouch is empty, and the gun cannot be reloaded from it again. Ammo pouches are an encumbering item, and can be purchased for 20cc.

Because the derringer is so easy to conceal, it grants a +1 to any Sleight of Hand checks made with it.

Tranquilizer Pistol (Inspired by Metal Gear Solid)
On a successful hit, targets must make a saving throw versus Poison. On failure, they will fall unconscious after 1d4 – 1 rounds, and will remain unconscious for 1d6 + 2 turns.

Attacks with the Tranquilizier Pistol made from steal receive a +4 bonus to their attack roll. If the attack roll exceeds the target’s armor rating by 6 or more, then the target has been struck in the head or groin, and does not receive any saving throw. Instead, they fall unconscious instantly.

The gun can only hold a single round, and must be reloaded after each use. (As with all guns, reloading requires 1 round). A box of tranquilizer darts has an exhaustion die of 1d4, which should be rolled each time the gun is reloaded.

Some targets may be immune to being tranquilized for a variety of reasons, at the discretion of the referee.

The Bazooka (Inspired by classic FPS games)
A massive weapon which deals 6d6 damage on a successful hit. It ignores most forms of hardness & damage resistance, including personal armor and shields. This allows it to easily blow holes through most walls or floors. However, moving targets gain a bonus of 6 to their armor rating.

Functionally, this means that the base armor for a living target is 18, plus any bonus they may receive from dexterity.

Even if the bazooka misses, however, it will eventually hit something and explode. The referee should determine where this happens to the best of their ability. Anyone adjacent to the explosion must attempt a saving throw versus Breath. On failure, they take half the damage that was rolled. On success, they take only a quarter of the damage.

The bazooka can only hold one shot of ammunition at a time, requiring a reload after each shot. Each shot of ammunition costs 200cc, and counts as an encumbering item.

If the wielder jumps into the air and fires the bazooka directly beneath themselves, they will take 2d6 damage, and be launched high into the air, where they will hopefully find something to grab onto before they plummet back down to earth.

If you found this post useful, or interesting, or entertaining, consider checking out my Patreon campaign! It allows me to focus more of my attentions onto this blog, and also helps me improve the quality of my upcoming work.

The Box of Nails

handmadenailsI’m really glad October had so many Sundays in it this year. Writing four spoopy posts has been a thoroughly enjoyable way to get into the Halloween spirit for me.

If an adventuring party is particularly unfortunate, they may come across a hinged wooden box, of rough make, of a size that would be useful for holding a pair of shoes. The box has a simple latch of twine, which is sealed with yellowed wax. An odd sign, pictured below, has been pressed there.

Inverted Chi RhoIf the box is opened, all present must make a save versus Magic. However, only some will be the true target’s of the box’s curse. It falls upon those who have conceded the agency of their actions to another. Men and women who rise in the morning to do the bidding of another, and fall asleep in the evening only when the tasks given them are complete. This is primarily henchpeople, hirelings, slaves, those under the command of a geas, or those who have sold their soul.

All others who fail their save may think that they have been affected by the box’s malice, but they are merely experiencing its rejection of them. They will retch and vomit until they have nothing left inside of them, and then continue for an hour more. They take 1d6 damage, and if your game uses any sort of stress or sanity mechanic, they ought to get a shit ton of that as well.

Everyone else who fails, (the henchpeople, hirelings, slaves, etc.) do not suffer any vomiting, damage, or psychic torment. They are, however, cursed like a motherfucker.

There is a stage of acute radiation sickness that is grimly referred to as the “Walking Ghost Phase.” At this stage, the bone marrow of the afflicted is gone. Their body can no longer produce white blood cells, their insides are melting. They are turning to goo from the inside out, and they feel absolutely fine.

Sometimes they mistakenly think the worst is over, when in point of fact they are already dead. Their body has completely given up and very shortly they will experience an agonizing death. Nothing can be done to help them.

That is how you should consider those who fail their save against the curse of the box. The save they just made was a save versus Death, and they are now dead. But it will be a very long, very interesting death.

Within the box are nails, which the cursed will fixate upon. They become addicted, and like any addict, they have an amazing talent for feeding their addiction. There is, functionally, no way to prevent the cursed character from getting to the nails when it’s time for a fix. They will pick pockets, sneak into locked rooms, bribe, threaten, and fight. Short of encasing the box in cement, dropping it in the ocean, and keeping the addict under lock & key with 24 hour surveillance on the other side of the world, you’ll just have to accept that the addict will get a nail whenever they want a nail.

When they want nails will be whenever they obey an instruction from their employer. They won’t disrupt or delay their task–being of good service is part of the pleasure of it–but as soon as they have a spare moment they’ll go get one of the nails and hammer it into their body. Favorite locations are into their skulls, their ears, their eyes, nose, between their fingers, into their knees, and eventually just wherever they still have room. Regardless of where they are placed, the nails do not affect the abilities of the character. Someone with nails in both eyes can still see, for example. None the less, it is a grizzly sight to behold, and once the nail is in, it grows roots of iron. It can never be removed without completely destroying the body part it is attached to.

With each nail inserted into the body, the addict’s maximum hit points are lowered by one, and a randomly determined ability score (Str, Con, Dex, Int, Wis, or Cha) is raised by 2.

As per usual, no individual ability score can every rise higher than 18. If a nail would cause that to happen, the ability score is instead raised to 18 (if that was not the case already), and the addict rolls on the following table to determine what happens to them:

  1. The addict becomes a pedophile. If children are nearby, the addict will use any spare moment to seek them out.
  2. The addict gains an expertise of 6-in-6 in a randomly determined skill.
  3. The addict becomes a cannibal, and is compelled to feast on the flesh of their own kind anytime it is available. At least once a week, if not more often.
  4. The addict gains the ability to fly anytime they wave their arms as though they were a bird.
  5. A desire for the pleasures of sadism overwhelms the addict. They become fascinated by torture, and will employ it on anyone they have within their power.
  6. Punches and kicks delivered by the addict strike with inhuman force, dealing 1d12 damage.
  7. The addict becomes an unmanageable gossip. Any secrets they are privy to will become common knowledge almost instantaneously.
  8. The addict gains a Fighter’s attack bonus.
  9. The blood of the addict takes on a very particular, very pungent scent. One that can be smelled from miles away by vampires. At least one such creature with 2d4 hit dice will appear each month.
  10. The addict becomes powerfully telekinetic, and can either move small objects with great speed and precision, or move heavy objects very slowly and clumsily.
  11. The addict becomes haughty and insulting to an extent that would be considered untoward even if it was coming from the prince of a wealthy and powerful kingdom.
  12. The addict gains the ability to grown and shrink at will, from the size of a great oak tree to the size of a baby mouse.
  13. The addict is afflicted with incontinence, and will shit themselves frequently.
  15. The addict becomes very fond of the sound glass and ceramics make when they are shattered, and will break any glass they find.
  16. The addict’s carrying capacity is the stuff of legends. Anything small enough to fit in a backpack can be carried without penalty. no matter how much of it there is. If you keep handing the addict bricks, they’ll keep shoving them in pouches and pockets without any strain on their body until you run out of bricks. Even if you disassemble a whole village worth of houses to do it.
  17. The addict addresses every speaking creature that the party encounters in a boorish, sexually suggestive manner. Never in a nice way either. Less “Your hair glistens in the moonlight like the waters of a fragrant meadow” and more “You smell like a dirty fuck, lemme see that asshole.”
  18. The addict refuses any form of compensation for their efforts, and will direct all pay to their employer. Service is its own reward.
  19. The addict’s pleasure from being subservient rises to the level of sexual fetish. They respond with uncomfortable amounts of pleasure when given commands, and can often be found masturbating after being scolded, or told to do something. They seem to think their employer is complicit in their fetish, and cannot be convinced otherwise.
  20. The addict’s kiss can heal 1d6 hit points.

Because this addiction feeds on subservience, it will never occur rto the addict to leave their employer of their own volition. If they are fired, they will demand to be given the nail boxc as severence. They will not take “no” for an answer, and will attempt force if necessary. In that event they will resent being forced to stand up for themselves (in contradiction to their throbbing need to act subservient). This resentment will likely give rise to a merciless thirst for violences worked upon the one who wronged them.

If they are unemployed and have the box, they will immediately seek out a new employer. Any work, for any amount of pay is acceptable. They may even sell themselves to slavery, so long as they retain access to their nails.

Given their (likely) vile disposition and (probably) great ability, employment will be easy to find with disreputable folk.

Magical Marvels 31: Getting Weird with the Classics 3

Cat-Bag-5This shit is way too entertaining to ever stop doing it. Same thing as last time. Three randomly determined magic items from the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide. One roll on the rings table, two rolls on the miscellaneous tables. The items are modified to suit my own sensibilities. This isn’t an attempt to “update” or “fix” anything, since none of them are broken. They’re just not my style.

Ring of Spell Turning

This ring distorts the three normal dimensions with respect to magic spells directed at its wearer. Any spell cast at an individual will usually rebound, in part or perhaps in whole, upon the spell caster. The distance between, and area occupied by, the victim (the ring wearer) and the spell caster are not as they seem when the magic activates the spell turning ring.

Ring of Spell Divergence

Spells cast by, or at, the wearer of this ring have something like the opposite of their intended effect. These aberrant magics are conjured from the imagination of the referee on the spot, and he or she bears no responsibility for making these new spells any better or worse than the originals. The ring is no guarantee of safety from magic, and the wearer takes full responsibility for the risks of wearing it.

Whatever illogical weirdness the referee comes up with when pressured to invent a new spell on the spot is unassailable law. They are not bound to remember precedent, or make their aberrant spells consistent in any way. The spells produced in the spur of the moment may or may not be available to be researched on their own in the game world, determined by the referee on a case by case basis.

Any attempt to argue with the referee, even to simply suggest a more reasonable ‘opposite’ spell effect, causes the ring to explode and take the wearer’s entire hand with it. Any anachronisms in the referee’s thinking on this subject are not a bug. They are a feature. They are the infinite impossibilities of magic folding backwards onto themselves, and producing something spontaneous, and terrifyingly beautiful.

Thus “Fireball” may become “Water Cube.” Or it may trap you inside a giant hamster ball of fire. Or it may force you to sing Katy Perry’s “Firework,” replacing the titular word with “Fireball.” Every referee will come up with a different way to reverse any given spell. The wearer must hope that these will work out in their favor more often than not.

Bag of Tricks

As is usual, a bag of tricks appears to be a typical size for sacks, and visual or other examination will not reveal any contents. However, if an individual reaches inside, her or she will feel a small, fuzzy object. If this is withdrawn and tossed 1′ to 20′ away, it will balloon into one of the following animals, which will obey and fight for the individual who brought it into being until the current combat terminates. The animals inside a bag of tricks are dependent upon which sort of bag is found. Roll 1d10 to determine which type.

(Type 1: weasel, skunk, badger, wolf, Giant Lynx, Wolverine, Boar, Giant Stag. Type 2: Rat, Owl, Dog, Goat, Ram, Bull, Bear, Lion, Type 3: Jackal, Eagle, Baboon, Ostrich, Leopard, Jaguar, Buffalo, Tiger)

Only 1 creature can be drawn forth at a time. It alone exists until it is slain or 1 turn has elapsed and it is ordered back into the back of tricks. Another animal may then be brought forth, but it could be another just like the one which was drawn previously. Note that only one roll is made for type of bag, but type of creature is rolled for each time one is drawn forth. up to 10 creatures maximum may be drawn from the bag each week.

For real, the Bag of Tricks is already pretty weird. I could easily see myself including this in a game nearly as-is, with only a few minor tweaks. Perhaps you’d need to coax an animal into the bag before it could be pulled out. But that isn’t really worth writing up, so I’m gonna jump a little off base with this one.

Cat in a Bag

A small burlap sack with a cat inside of it, closed tight with a knotted drawstring. The cat doesn’t particularly like being inside the bag, but it’s content enough that it doesn’t struggle or mewl constantly. It doesn’t need to be fed, but it can be harmed by attacks or by drowning, so some care must be taken to protect the bag.

Anytime the cat is let out of the bag, it will brush up against someone’s legs before running off to enjoy its temporary freedom. That person must reveal the most relevant secret they have. Whatever it is that they would most wish to keep hidden from the people who will hear them speak, is exactly what they must now reveal.

When the bag is opened, the owner should indicate a target to the cat. This cat is unusually obedient, so there is a fully 60% chance it will brush up against the indicated target’s legs. Otherwise, the cat’s target should be randomly determined from among everyone in the room, including the owner of the bag.

If the person has no obviously important secret to reveal, roll 1d6 to determine an appropriate sort of secret.

  1. The cat’s target must reveal a major crime which those present will want to punish them for committing.
  2. The cat’s target must reveal a minor crime which those present will want to prosecute them for committing.
  3. The cat’s target must reveal a shameful indiscretion from their past, which will alienate those around them.
  4. The cat’s target must reveal a taboo and disgusting preference, which will alienate them from those around them.
  5. The cat’s target must admit that they changed their identity, and provide a new name and 1-3 sentence backstory.
  6. The cat’s target must admit that they secretly produce embarrassingly bad art under a pseudonym.

Anytime the cat is let out of the bag, it will take some time to find the cat. There is a 1-in-6 chance of encountering it each hour the players spend in the same area if they are not specifically looking for it. A 3-in-6 chance per hour if they are specifically looking for it. Once found it can be reliably coaxed back into the back with 10 minutes of effort and a ration’s worth of food.

Javelin of Piercing

This weapon is not actually hurled, as when a command word is spoken, the Javelin of Piercing launches itself. Range is 6″, all distancves considered as short rangte. The javelin is +6 “to hit” and inflicts 7-12 hit points of damage. (Note this missile will fly horizontally, verticvally, or any combination thereof to the full extent of its range.) From 2-8 will be found. The magic of the javelin is good for only 1 throw.

The Snapshot Musket

For most magic items, ownership and possession are functionally the same thing. However, very nearly the whole point of the Snapshot Musket is to get other people to use it. Thus, ownership is granted to whomever most recently held the rifle while being fully cognizant of its magical properties.

The musket does not stand out among other weapons of its kind. It is a battered thing. Functional, but not beautiful. Any time the owner snaps their fingers, the weapon will fire. It does so whether or not it is loaded.

If the barrel pointed at a target, attack rolls are made normally without any bonuses or penalties. If the barrel is resting directly against something, a hit is automatic. If the barrel is not directed towards anything in particular, it probably won’t hit anything, but the referee may choose a random target at their discretion.

In any event, a gun going off unintentionally will certainly startle its wielder, and probably anyone nearby. The shot will be audible from a significant distance, and may attract unwanted attention.

Magical Marvels 30: Getting Weird with the Classics 2

King Edward the 9th Carrying the Orb of MightI thought this was super fun, so I’m doing it again. These were more or less randomly generated from the 1979 Dungeon Master’s Guide. (One roll on rings table, two rolls on the miscellaneous tables).

The modifications aren’t an attempt to “update”or “fix” these magic items. It’s just me altering them to suit my particular sensibilities. I love magic items, but I’m not a big fan of plentiful, standardized, unambiguously useful ones.

Ring of Protection
A ring of protection increases the wearer’s armor class value and saving throws versus all forms of attack. A +1 ring raises AC by 1, say from 10 to 9 and gives a bonus of +1 on saving throw die rolls.

The Ring of Protection From…?

A fickle sort of magic that protects its wearer from whatever it feels like at any given time. The ring of protection is a silver band with a large seal. The seal is made up of a half dozen concentric rings, each of which have embossed lines and twists on them. Each time the ring activates, these rings spin round one another, causing the lines and squiggles to form a new word, indicating what the wearer will be protected from next.

When the ring is found, roll 2d6 on the table below to find out what it is currently protecting its wearer from. The next time that thing would cause the wearer suffering, the ring activates. This protection takes whatever form seems simplest at the time. You might think of it as a kind of limited Wish spell; it’ll get the job done, but the way in which the job is done varies. If the player is protected from rocks, and rocks fall on them, then perhaps the rocks will disappear, or perhaps they’ll bounce off the character like they were made of Styrofoam, or maybe the character will teleport out from under them. The possibilities are limited only by the referee’s imagination. Just remember not to be a dick about it. No “protecting” them right into harm’s way.

2. Sadness
3. Torture
4. The opposite sex.
5. The Law
6. Social Awkwardness
7. Being too healthy (Take 1d4 damage, reroll)
8. Rocks
9. Falling
10. Reptiles
11. Blades
12. Death

Orb of Might
According to tradition, great items of regalia were constructed for special servants of the deities of each alignment when the gods were contending amongst themselves. Who among them first conceived of the idea is unknown. The champion of each ethic alignment–Evil, Good, Neutrality–was given a crown, an orb, and a scepter. These items have been scattered and lost over the centuries of struggle since they first appeared. These 3 complete sets bestow great powers.

Each Orb has an ethic alignment determined as follows:

01-06: Evil
07-14: Good
15-20: Neutrality

If a character of another ethos touches an Orb different from his or hers, a saving throw versus magic must be made to avoid death and from 4-24 hit points of damage will be taken if the save is successful. If the character so touching an Orb also possesses a Crown and/or Scepter, surviving the saving throw versus magic will invoke a malevolent effect from table IV. Each Orb is of platinum, encrusted with gems, and topped with a device of precious metals and stones, so as to be worth 100,00 or more gold pieces on the open market. Each orb is equal to a Gem of Brightness and also has [two randomly rolled Minor Benign Powers, and one randomly rolled Minor Malevolent Effect].

Orb of the Crusader
A gold sphere, richly appointed with gems and inlays, and topped with an ornate cross. This orb was crafted by the Pope Urban the II himself, and was meant to be wielded in the crusades by Adhemar of Le Puy

If the orb is touched by one who is not a Catholic in good standing, their hand will wither to a shriveled black thing, dealing 1d8 damage to their maximum hit points.

The orb’s wielder is endowed with all the powers of a priest. Not a cleric, mind you, but a priest. The wielder may hear confessions, perform the mass, administer sacraments, etc. If the wielder encounters any non-catholic, or catholic heretic, they must call on that person to convert immediately. If the person refuses, the wielder must save versus magic or be compelled to seek that person’s destruction on the spot.

When held, the orb provides the same defensive benefits as a shield. It does not deflect attacks or projectiles, but those attacking the wielder find their technique becoming sloppy. The light gets in their eyes, or their arrows are diverted by an errant gust of wind.

The wielder’s hirelings have their loyalty raised to 12. They will gladly risk their lives for their employer, accepting nearly suicidal commands so long as there is even a moderate chance they will survive.

In addition, each wielder of the orb gains the ability to perform one of Jesus’ miracles. The miracle is randomly determined when the wielder first touches the orb, and can never be changed after that. The miracle can only be performed while the orb is held.

  1. Change water into wine.
  2. Calm stormy weather.
  3. Cast out any spirits that are possessing a person.
  4. Cure deafness.
  5. Cure blindness.
  6. Cure muteness (even disrupting a silencing spell).
  7. Cure leprosy.
  8. Restore missing or destroyed limbs.
  9. Use “Turn Undead” against demons.
  10. Transform a small amount of food into a feast.
  11. Rise from the dead after 3 days. (Once, and once only).
  12. Raise others from the dead. (3 times total).

Boots of Levitation
As other magical boots, these soft footgear will expand or contract to fit giant to halfling-sized feet. Boots of levitation allow the wearer, at will, to ascend or descend vertically. The speed of ascent/descent is 20′ per round (minute). There is no limitation on usage. The amount of weight the boots can levitate is randomly determined in 14 pound increments by rolling d20 and adding the result to a base of 280 pounds, i.e. a given pair of boots can levitate from 294 to 560 pounds of weight. Thus, an ogre could be wearing such boots, but its weight would be too great to levitate. (Cf. second level magic-user spell , levitation.)

Airwalker Boots

The wearer is able to walk right off of a ledge without falling. It appears as though there is an invisible floor beneath their feet, at the same level as whatever surface they stepped off of. They cannot rise or ascend vertically, but they can move about freely on a horizontal plane.

The magic of the boots only lasts for 10 steps, or about 20′. After that the character can remain still to prevent themselves from falling, but if they move their feet at all, they will suddenly realize they’re standing on nothing. Like an oldschool cartoon character, they will plummet to whatever more substantive surface awaits below.

Figuratively +X Swords

JonTron's Brave Boy Bit, Gone through a digital dreamLast week I wrote a bunch of alternatives to +1 swords. I did this because I believe that +1 swords are lame. Not only are they uninspired, but they damage the fabric of the game by unnecessarily inflating numbers, and creating standard magic items that players learn to expect. But then someone had the sheer unmitigated gall to agree with me.

Plus X Weapons Suck - Papers and Pencils Comment Screenshot

So now, of course, I have to prove them (and by extension, myself) wrong by creating the greatest list of +X swords the world has ever seen.

Map Plus “X” A rapier of simple and sturdy make. The blade appears to be entirely indistinct, and yet the point always leaves an “X” mark on anything it punctures. If the wielder takes a map, closes their eyes, and stabs at the map with this weapon, the “X” will mark the location of some valuables.

Which valuables are marked is entirely at the discretion of the referee. They may be of high or low value, they may be free for the taking or guarded by horrible monsters. They may even be in a location within the bounds of the map, but not actually depicted by any cartography. In the margins, for example.

Attempting to use the rapier twice on the same map will result in the map being torn to shreds, rendering it completely useless.

Wielder Plus “X” During downtime, the wielder must meditate with their sword; sitting still in nature and studying the movements of insects. They must acknowledge the superiority of the insectile form, and strive to find the insect within themselves.

At the end of a game session, the wielder may add an “X” to the name they most identify with. This is the name they introduce themselves as, or the one they use to refer to themselves. They cannot extend this process by bringing in last names or middle names that they rarely use. This is about integrating the glory of insect kind within your own identity, not cynically grasping for ever increasing power. The sword will punish those who use its gifts so callously with horrible deformities.

The wielder must be able to pronounce their new name to the referees satisfaction; and they must always pronounce their name that way forever afterwords. Failure to do so results in the aforementioned horrible deformities.

When play resumes next session, the referee will reveal to the sword’s what new insectile feature their devotion has granted them. The nature of these evolutions, and the benefits they grant, are entirely up to the referee. Some suggestions that are in no way compulsory would be:

  • Wings
  • The ability to explode their body, harming anyone nearby.
  • A stinger.
  • A stinger which kills you when you use it.
  • A venomous bite.
  • A life which ends abruptly the first time you mate.
  • A hardened carapace
  • The ability to lift many times your body weight
  • The ability to climb sheer surfaces.

Plu Sex Sword: Once per day, the wielder may summon Plu. Plu is a horrid boor, and and Plu is horny. Plu has no distinct gender; nor any distinct sexual preferences. Plu just wants to fuck any intelligent creature that will let Plu at em’. None but the most deranged sexual deviants would accept Plu’s offer. Most would sooner vomit than allow the stubby, stinky, lard-beast that is Plu anywhere near their naked bodies.

The wielder has no control over Plu, they merely bring Plu into the world. Plu is a quick way to end any social gathering, or to disgust any decent folk.

Plus X-Beam The wielder of this sword may engage in a minute long ritual in which they slowly wave their blade through the air in a large “X” shape. Doing so summons a pair of well-fortified wooden cross beams. The beams will fill whatever space they’re summoned in up to 15′ by 15′, bracing against the floor and ceiling. In larger spaces the full sized beams appear, but are not braced against anything.

The wielder may do this as many times as they like, but only 5 beams may be in existence at any one time. Summoning a 6th causes the 1st one summoned to disappear. (And so on when summoning a 7th, 8th, etcetera).

Plus Your Ex A Claymore with a thick lens mounted at the center of the crossguard. Once per day, by looking through this lens, the wielder can attempt to deceive themselves with its illusory magic. If they succeed on a saving throw versus Magic, then the foe they look at through the lens will take on the appearance of the wielder’s ex for the rest of the day.

Not a good ex. One that broke the wielder’s fuckin’ heart, ground it into hamburger with malice aforethought. All attacks made against this foe roll double the normal amount of damage dice.

Plus eXtreme! A Zweihander of unnaturally bright colors: a stark white cross guard with hot pink wrapping, and a deep red blade. Once per day the wielder may hold the blade aloft and a beam of light will lance down from the clouds, obscuring all but the wielder’s silhouette. When they step out of this light they will be transformed, and will remain so for 1 turn.

The wielder’s muscles are now massive. Even muscles that do not normally exist bulge as though they’re trying to escape from the wielder’s own skin. This doubles the wielder’s strength score, and allows them to grapple as though they were four levels higher than they are, and to wield the Zweihander in a single hand.

Furthermore, the wielder’s clothes are now covered in pouches. From these they can remove any mundane, non-specific item that is small enough to be held in one hand by a non-transformed character.

If at any time the player of the transformed character smiles, laughs, or shows any sign of an emotion other than melancholy, anger, or rage; the transformation ends.

+ X to Y Sword When this weapon is first acquired, roll the smallest die already on the table that is large enough to include the wielder’s level. (If the wielder is levels 5 or 6, roll 1d6, if they’re levels 7 or 8, roll 1d8, etc.) The die’s result is the numerical bonus which the sword grants.

Next, roll 2d6 on the table below to determine what action that bonus applies to. This bonus remains unchanged until the wielder fails a roll while attempting the task they’re receiving a bonus for. When that happens, both the bonus and what the bonus applies to are re-rolled.

The bonus can never be used to make a roll a sure-thing. If it would, then the referee rules on what the failure conditions would be. They may opt to simply reduce the bonus granted, rule that a 1 is always a failure, etc. Similarly, if the thing you receive a bonus for is not normally rolled in your game, then for you it is rolled, until you fail at it.

2. Making handcrafted ceramic animals.
3. Gambling
4. Having a conversation without punching the other person in the face.
5. Seduction
6. Dancing
7. Attack Rolls
8. Caligraphy
9. Waking up on time.
10. Fishing
11. Painting
12. Writing Poetry

Jumping on a 2-Year Old Bandwagon: Replacing +1 Swords

maxresdefaultIn 2014 it was fashionable to post evocative alternatives to +1 swords. Gus did it. Courtney did it. Arnold did it. Errybody did it. I wasn’t blogging much at the time, but I really enjoyed reading those. I miss reading them. So I’m gonna write one.

The Mugger’s Choice:  On a natural 20, the wound dealt to the target becomes a geyser of money! 1d100 coins spray across the room, making a terrible racket. Literal blood money!

Sword of Justification: If used to slay a human or human-like creature, the Sword of Justification will cause the corpse to undergo a gruesome metamorphosis. It will contort itself into monstrous shapes, growing horns or fur, oozing black blood, and reeking of sulfur and brimstone. The specific shape will vary, but no one looking at the result will imagine it was anything but an evil creature.

Immovable Sword – There’s a switch on the hilt which locks the swords position relative to its environment. It’ll stay floating in mid air if you tell it to. Like an immovable rod, but a sword. Useful for setting impromptu traps.

Self Preservation Sword – Anytime a save v. breath is required, both wielder and sword attempt the save. (Sword saves as a 1st level fighter.) If the sword saves and the wielder do not, the wielder can make a strength check to hold on to the sword. If they succeed, the sword pulls them along with it and effectively makes their save for them. If they fail, their sword flies out of their hands.

Chewing Sword: Each miss with this sword deals 1 notch of damage to the opponent’s weapon. Standard weapons can take 6 notches before they break and become useless. Does not work against unarmed characters, or characters using natural weapons.

The No-Blade: A hilt without any blade. When the crossbar of the hilt is tapped against a material, a blade of that material grows from the hilt, and lasts for 10 minutes. All blade materials are functional, but most have quirks. Dirt blades deal 1d4 damage and only work for one hit, stone blades deal 1d6 but break on a 1, wood blades can be lit on fire to deal +1d6 damage for 3 rounds until they’ve been burned to the point of uselessness, metal blades work normally. Be creative. What do blades of grass, bone, crystal, clay, or flesh do?

Binding Blade: On a successful attack the wielder may choose for the sword to become a pair of manacles binding the humanoid target instead of dealing damage. Target may save v. magic to avoid. On a successful save, the sword does not transform, and the wielder may continue using it.

Spelltning Swo-Rod: Comes with a special lead-lined scabbard. If this weapon is drawn, then the wielder becomes the target of any spell cast within their general vicinity. Every “Cure Light Wounds” and “Fireball” will be centered on the person holding the Spelltning Swo-Rod, even if they are technically out of the spell’s range. Note that casters may not immediately catch on to this fact. The cleric may notice that their healing spell didn’t work, but they won’t instinctively know that someone else nearby was healed.

Charming Sword: On a successful hit, instead of dealing damage, the player may opt to make a new reaction roll. If the result is better than neutral, the enemy will be willing to forgive and forget the battle up to this point. If the party then resumes hostilities, their foe gains a +2 to all attack rolls due to their outrage at the bad manners of the party.

The Sword of Second Chances: The blade of this sword is the shaved finger bone of a titan, with sharp bits of steel inlaid around the edge. When it cuts an intelligent living creature, noises come from within the wounds. There’s someone behind them. They might speak, voicing their confusion over what is happening.

If the Sword of Second Chances delivers the killing blow, then the newly dead corpse will shortly be torn apart. A person will emerge, like a chicken from an egg. Within the last 25 years of your campaign world, this person died an unnatural death within 100 miles of the wielder’s current location. Whether or not they deserved it may not be immediately apparent. They’ve been stuck in the afterlife for who knows how long, and now they’ve got a second chance. Perhaps they’ll run off to find their family, perhaps they’ll join the party out of gratitude, or perhaps the players just resurrected a serial killer. Who really knows?

The Wall-Slidy Sword: When the blade is touched to a wall, the character can slide down it at a rate of 20′ per round, allowing them to reach a safe landing below. Using the sword in this capacity causes a shower of sparks to illuminate the character’s descent, and elicits screeching sound that’ll make the rest of the party want to act passive aggressively towards the wielder for a few turns. Also it may mimic the mating squawk of the Biting Leatherhorn. So watch out for those.

The Reflection Holding Blade: A wide blade polished to a mirror sheen. By use of a command word, the reflection on the blade can be frozen, causing whatever image is currently being reflected to remain visible on the blade until the reverse command word is uttered. Will eventually be made obsolete by camera phones.

The Useless Sword: Damage dealt with this weapon only lasts 24 hours. After that, wounds will slowly knit themselves back together, even to the point of reversing death or decapitation. Note that it is only wounds dealt with this particular weapon that are reversed, So if the corpse is burned after being killed with the Useless Sword, it’s not gonna un-burn itself.

The Blage of Empires: If two turns (20 minutes) are spent striking at a piece of stone, that stone will catch on fire and burn like wood. This fire can spread to other stones of similar composition, but it will not spread to wood or other typically flammable material. Nor will it spread to different types of stone. The Blage of Empires is never dulled or broken by striking at stone.

The Sword which is Not Yours – The wielder may summon a 7th level fighter in gleaming armor, who will appear from around the nearest corner or through the nearest doorway. When the fighter sees her “squire” in danger, she will hold out her hand and call for the PC to give her her sword. Once she has it, she will join the fray with wild abandon. When the danger is passed, she will thank her squire for caring for her weapon, and depart with the sword.

The Sword of Weeping Mothers: Though it appears normal, out of the corner of your eye this sword sometimes appears to, for lack of a better word, “pulse.” Any time this blade deals damage, eyes look out from the wound it opens. They appear bloodshot, and afraid. If anyone with one of these wounds drops to 4 hit points or less, the eyes bulge, trying to press out of the body, and dealing 1d3 damage. If this damage kills the target, a dozen screaming shadows rocket into the distance and fade into nothingness. Something bad happens in the nearest community. The referee is encouraged to be creative, but to be clear, we’re talking “pile of dead children” levels of bad. Whether or not the players ever know about it, it does happen.

Bit of a tone shift from the rest of these, I know.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...