Friday, April 28, 2023


The technopriests—numinous technologists of the science-fantasy future. While they don’t follow a specific deity per se they revere an entity known as "Techne," which in one sense embodies the totality of technological and scientific understanding and in another refers more specifically to the application of such understanding to tangibly alter the material world.

This isn’t the mere fetishization of cogs and wires. Technology is a means to an end. In that sense, the technopriest cares less about theory than practical application—the understanding of how or why a piece of machinery works is only important insofar as it enables the user to harness it. A man with the right tools is infinitely more capable than a man with none, and yet without human will and ingenuity the tools themselves are worthless. Thus, Techne, the convergence of man and machine, is sacred for it allows us to become onto gods and shape the world to our whim. 

Posting Moebius feels like cheating, but the shoe fits

Technopriests function as clerics without the weapon restrictions, with the following changes to casting:

“Spells” (an archaic word used in the vernacular to describe uncanny powers beyond common ken) can be performed through the use of tech, either in the form of Gadgets or Implants. Unlike clerics they don’t have complete access to the spell list, and instead must acquire spells like magic-users in the form of new technological implements. When a technopriest acquires a new spell, the player chooses whether it is a gadget or implant. Prosthetics can also have a spell-function installed, but must be created using the magic item creation rules. Like spell books, a technopriest's bespoke tech is constructed such that only that technopriest knows how to make it work. 

Each day, a technopriest decides which spells to calibrate for the day. Each piece of tech can only be used safely once per day—a spell can’t be “prepared” more than once. To use as spell again, an Overclock roll must be made. Pieces of tech that were not calibrated during the day can also be used if the technopriest makes an Overclock roll. Failing to Overclock a calibrated implant locks out Overclocking all other implants for the day, whereas failing to Overclock a gadget breaks it, requiring a number of hours to repair equal to its spell level. Prosthetics can work as either gadgets or implants—the player chooses which Overclock penalty to take. 

Overclocking: Your overclock score starts at 11 and increases by one every even technopriest level starting at 4th. Roll a d20 below your Overclock score but above the spell level. Rolling your Overclock score exactly means you get the Overclock penalty, but the spell is cast as normal.

A technopriest also has the ability to Technobabble, which functions as Turn Undead but for sentient machines. When using Technobabble, a technopriest poses a paradoxical conundrum that causes robots to go momentarily haywire and flee. A high-level technopriest’s Technobabble is so complex and multi-layered that it can cause lesser robots to completely brick (smoke out the ears, sparks flying everywhere, etc.). 

In place of a holy symbol, technopriests have their hallowed tools. They are required to calibrate technopriest tech.

Every time a technopriest gains a new spell slot, they can spend two weeks and a number of gold equal to 100x the spell level to fashion a new gadget or implant that can cast a spell of their choosing. On levels where the technopriest gains multiple spell slots, they can create multiple spells this way. Otherwise, they can acquire new spells through typical spell research or acquiring and discovering new tech. 


New spells (or at least those not in B/X) are bolded and described below 

Level 1
  1. Cure Light Wounds
  2. Detect Magic 
  3. Flash-Flare
  4. Occlusion
  5. Ordnance
  6. Purify Food and Water 
  7. Repair
  8. Scan
  9. Sensor Ward
  10. Threat Analysis
Level 2
  1. Activate/Disable Mechanism
  2. Alarm
  3. Bless 
  4. Blight
  5. Detect Invisible
  6. Find Traps 
  7. Hold Person 
  8. Resist Fire 
  9. Silence 15’ Radius 
  10. Thermal Conversion
Level 3
  1. Excise malignancy
  2. Fabricate
  3. Greater Flash-Flare
  4. Greater Occlusion
  5. Induce malignancy
  6. Locate Object 
  7. Striking
  8. Turbocharge 
Level 4
  1. Call Vehicle
  2. Create Water 
  3. Cure Serious Wounds
  4. Force Ward 
  5. Inhabit Machine
  6. Neutralize Poison 
  7. Sacred Ordnance
  8. Universal Glossator
Level 5
  1. Consult Noosphere 
  2. Death ray
  3. Orbital Cannon 
  4. Pulsar
  5. Quantum Convergence
  6. Quest/Remove Quest 
  7. Reanimate
  8. Synthesize Nutriment


Level 1; Duration: 8 turns; Range: 80’

Creates a blinding flare that quickly fades to shed light in a 15’ radius. Everyone in sight must save vs. spells or be blinded for 1d6 rounds. This spell can be cast on an object, in which case it doesn’t create a flare but instead can be moved with the object. Casting Flash-Flare on a creature’s eyes makes them save vs. spells or be blind for the duration. PCs who are aware that Flash-Flare is being cast can close their eyes to avoid the effect of the spell.


Level 1; Duration: 8 turns; Range: 80’

Creates a vaporous darkness within which all light is swallowed. The vapor can be of any size or shape within a 15’ radius sphere. This spell can be cast on an object, in which case it cannot be shaped but instead fills a 15’ radius sphere that can be moved with the object. Casting Occlusion at a creature’s eyes makes them save vs. spells or be blind for the duration. Creatures with infravision are able to see through the occluding vapor. 


Level 1; Duration: Instant; Range: 140’; Gadget only

Fires an object up to 3 pounds at high velocity, striking as a +1 magic projectile modified by the caster’s dexterity. Weapon ammunition fired this way ignores the target’s armor. Projectiles deal 1d6+1 damage. Fragile objects shatter on impact, while more solid projectiles remain embedded in the target. 


Level 1; Duration: Permanent; Range: 90’

Completely repair a broken mundane object, making it as good as new. The object can be in any state of disrepair—rent asunder, shattered, corroded, etc.—though if unique vital components are missing the spell will fail. The area affected by the spell is no greater than 3’ in diameter. If the object is of greater size, only the space within the diameter will be affected. The casting time could either be instant, in which case the repair lasts for 10 minutes; or 1 turn, which makes the repairs permanent. 


Level 1; Duration: 1 turn; Range: Caster

Allows the caster to discern the nature and purpose of complicated machinery. Functions as Read Magic but for technopriest tech and other advanced or alien technologies. The caster might not necessarily learn how something works, but will get a rough understanding of what it does or what it might be used for. 

Sensor Ward

Level 1; Duration: 12 turns; Range: Caster

Projects a faint sheen around the caster making them imperceptible to constructed and inorganic creatures. The caster can not be targeted by attacks from affected creatures unless the caster engages them in melee, in which case the creatures suffer a -4 penalty to hit. This spell also prevents the caster from being detected by non-analog mechanical sensors—the caster won’t get picked up by a security camera, but stepping on a pressure plate (a tactile sensor) still causes it to trigger.

Threat Analysis

Level 1; Duration 6 turns; Range 120’; Implant only

Creates an instant readout visible to the caster detailing the potential danger of creatures within view. The analysis lists approximate power level relative to the caster (significantly higher, higher, lower, or roughly the same HD) and primary weapons or forms of attack. The analysis also scans creature’s behavior to detect hostile intentions, as well as the influence of mind control or possession. 

Activate/Disable Mechanism

Level 2; Duration: See below; Range: 60’

Trigger a single mechanism in range, as though it was activated by a user. Doors and locks open or close, traps activate, guns fire, servo arms lift or retract, etc. Vehicles affected by this spell move on their own, even without fuel, for up to a minute. Magic items or objects under the influence of magic are not affected, as well as mechanisms missing vital components (ie a crossbow can’t fire without a bowstring).

This spell can also have the opposite effect, making a mechanism is rendered inoperable for 1d6 minutes. Sentient robots get a save vs. spells to avoid the effect.


Level 2; Duration: 6 hours; Range: 30’

Causes a designated area up to a 20’ cube to react to the presence of creatures other than those deemed by the caster. The caster is alerted to the intrusion and receives a mental image of the intruding creature(s). The caster can choose to have the alarm be solely mental or audible to everyone within 200’ (-10’ for each door and -20’ for each wall in the way). Casters of 6th level and above can create simple conditions for their alarm, like triggering only when a certain type or number of creatures are in proximity. Only one Alarm can be active at a time. 

Thermal Conversion

Level 2; Duration: See below; Range: 60’

Transfer thermal energy from one creature or object to another within range. Targeted creatures can make a saving throw vs. spells to avoid the effects; on a success, the spell fails. The damage this spell can deal to creatures varies depending on the amount of heat being transferred, but as a rule of thumb the amount of heat exchanged does not exceed the equivalent of 1d8 points of damage—enough to extinguish a torch or pool of burning oil. When transferring heat between two objects the conversion lasts for 1 turn per caster level, after which the thermal energy returns to its original source. 

Excise Malignancy

Level 3; Duration: Instant; Range: Touch

This spell functions as Cure Disease and Remove Curse, with a 6-in-20 chance of failure. The chance is reduced by 1 for every turn the caster spends “operating” on the target, as well as for every even technopriest level the caster has above 6. 

Greater Flash-Flare

Level 3; Duration: Permanent; Range: 100’

This spell functions as Flash-Flare, although the light it creates after the initial flare illuminates 30’ and persists indefinitely, until the caster wills the effect to end, or casts the spell again. If the caster has Flash-Flare calibrated when casting this spell, the light created by Greater Flash-Flare is as bright as daylight, making creatures penalized by daylight suffer the same penalties when in the effect of Greater Flash-Flare. 

Greater Occlusion

Level 3; Duration: Permanent; Range: 100’

This spell functions as occlusion, although the radius of darkness expands to 30’ and persists indefinitely, or until the caster wills the effect to end or casts the spell again. If the caster has Occlusion calibrated when casting this spell, the darkness is so complete it prevents infravision and magically or technologically enhanced sight. 

Induce Malignancy

Level 3; Duration: Permanent; Range: Touch/See below

This spell functions as either Cause Disease and Curse, determined by the caster when the spell is used. This spell can be imbued on a projectile or piece of ammunition, activating on a successful hit against a target. Creatures affected by the spell this way get a +2 bonus to their save. The caster can only imbue one projectile at a time, and the imbuing lasts 24 hours before the projectile returns to normal. 


Level 3; Duration: 12 turns; Range: 60’

Doubles the speed, damage, and load capacity of a vehicle. If this spell is cast on a single vehicle more than once in a 24-hour period, there is a 50% chance it falls into disrepair when the spell ends. 

Call Vehicle

Level 4; Duration 1 hour/caster level; Range: 50 miles

Calls an unoccupied vehicle to the caster. The caster can operate the vehicle even if it requires special knowledge or expertise to pilot for the duration of the spell. Once the duration has elapsed, the vehicle stops (landing, if necessary) and returns to its original location after 1 minute, regardless of its fuel level or state of disrepair.  Vehicles called this way can hold at most 10 people. If no viable vehicles are within the spell range, there is a 1-in-20 chance an autonomous flying craft will be somewhere in range and pulled from its trajectory to the caster; otherwise, the spell fails. If Call Vehicle is cast in a location no vehicle can reasonably access, the spell fails. 


Level 4; Duration: 1 hour/caster level; Range: Touch

Convert mundane material into finished goods. Non-consumable adventuring equipment, weapons, ammunition, and other objects can be created even with incongruous material—like using stone to make rope or dirt to make a sword. Once the spell duration has elapsed, the fabricated goods fall apart and return to inert material. This spell can affect up to 1 cubic yard of material per caster level. 

Force Ward

Level 4; Duration 12 turns; Range: 10’ around the caster/caster

This spell has two functions, determined by the caster when the spell is cast. The spell can either function as a Sensor Ward projected around the caster and allies within a 10’ radius. The spell can alternatively project a gleaming force membrane around the caster, functioning as Sensor Ward and additionally granting the caster complete invulnerability to lasers and other energy-based attacks. 

Inhabit Machine

Level 4; Duration: 1 turn/caster level; Range: 100’

Temporarily transports the caster’s consciousness into a machine. While inhabited, the machine can operate autonomously. Any sensory information normally detected by the machine is picked up by the caster. During this time, the caster’s physical body is immobilized, with their eyes rolling back in their head and soft machine beep sounds escaping from their mouth. Robots and sentient machines are allowed a saving throw to prevent being inhabited. If the inhabited machine is destroyed, the spell ends and the caster’s consciousness returns to their body, and they must save vs. paralysis or be stunned for 1 turn. 

Sacred Ordnance

Level 4; Duration: Instant; Range: 140’; Gadget only

This spell functions as Ordnance, but deals 2d6+2 damage to the target. If the caster has Ordnance calibrated when casting this spell, Sacred Ordnance can create up to three projectiles that can be fired at up to three different targets, each dealing 1d6+1 damage.

Universal Glossator

Level 4; Duration: 3 turns; Range: Caster

Allows the caster to speak and understand any language for the duration. 

Consult Noosphere

Level 5; Duration: 3 turns; Range: Caster

Functions as Commune, where the caster makes contact with networked overmind with which all knowledge and understanding is connected to.

Death Ray

Level 5; Duration: Instant; Range: 120’

As Finger of Death. Death Ray heals 3d10 hp to undead creatures with at least 8 HD. 

Orbital Weapon

Level 5; Duration: Concentration (up to 1 minute); Range: 480’

Signal to a great satellite weapon from ages past to fire a beam of focused energy from the heavens. The beam has a radius of 5’ and appears in a place of the caster’s choosing in range. Creatures who start their round in the beam must save vs. breath or take 4d8 damage, half on a success. Around the beam is a 30’ (from the center) radius field of strong electromagnetic energy. Constructs and vehicles made of metal, as well as people wearing metal armor, are unable to attack while within the field and must move at half speed. The caster can move the beam up to 20’ each round as long as it stays within the spell’s range. This spell only functions outdoors with direct access to the sky.


Level 5; Duration: Concentration (up to 1 turn)/instant; Range: 30’ radius

By concentrating and remaining stationary, the caster emits strong bursts of electromagnetic energy. Constructed and synthetic creatures within range must save vs. spells or be destroyed. If the save succeeds, the creature must flee the area of the spell. The caster can alternatively direct the energy to a single constructed or synthetic creature in range, which causes it to save vs spells with a -2 penalty. Additionally, this spell can be used to rid a single piece of machinery of any sort of curse, corruption, or possession. 

Quantum Convergence 

Level 5; Duration: Permanent (see below); Range: See below; Implant only

When this spell is cast, the caster chooses two different prepared spells to integrate and merge their effects. The two spells could be used at once (like casting Induce Malignancy on an Ordnance projectile), one spell could trigger another (rigging an Alarm to cast Flash-Flare when it activates), spell effects could be combined (using Fabricate and Thermal Conversion to create a heat sink), or they could be used together in some other way of the caster’s choosing (subject to the DM’s approval). Using Quantum Convergence takes a full round, after which the affected spells are prepared and can be used at the caster’s choosing. Spells affected by Quantum Convergence must be calibrated, and cannot be cast normally unless the caster cancels the spell integration. Quantum Convergence cannot be Overclocked. 

Quest/Remove Quest 

Level 5; Duration: Until quest is completed/instant; Range: Touch

Aside from the change in range, this spell functions as the standard cleric Quest/Remove Quest spell. 

Side note: The premise here is that the technopriest embeds some sort of  compliance-inducing device into the target like Escape from New York. The reason why this is a reversible technopriest spell is because having an entire spell dedicated to removing quests really isn’t worth it; therefore, the process of removing a Quest device uses the same sort of technology as embedding one and is straightforward but difficult enough to necessitate a skilled technopriest. 


Level 5; Duration: Permanent; Range: Touch

As Raise Dead, with the following change: when a creature gets re-animated, they return with 1d6 hp and otherwise does not suffer the usual Raise Dead penalty. There is a 2-in-10 chance the re-animated creature returns as a berserk, mindless undead under the DM’s control.

Synthesize Nutriment

Level 5; Duration: Permanent; Range: Appears in the caster’s presence

Functions as Create Food, but with the additional feature that three units of animal feed can be converted into one unit of fuel for a small or medium vehicle. 

Design notes FEEL FREE TO SKIP

The spell list was designed such that most of the new spells are similar-but-distinct enough to the standard B/X cleric offerings that they can replace them fully or be used side-by-side as an alternate cleric-type.

While the technopriest spell list is longer, they’ll end up having slightly more limited casting, as they can’t reverse spells and don’t have access to the full spell list as clerics do. Instead they get the Overclock, which gives them more mileage out the spells they have to work with.

The technopriest, or tech-worshipping cleric stand-in, was something I originally conceived for my science-fantasy Last Planet game which is sadly now a relic of the pandemic era. I ended up scrapping technopriests and opted instead for weird black hole cultists as the cleric alternative, which were interesting but maybe a little too conceptually baroque for their own good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Magic sword menagerie

I love magic swords. They're one of my favorite parts of the game, let alone one of the elements I find most compelling in fantasy literature and media at large. To my great delight, there are more than enough boutique magic swords available on blogs and forums throughout the internet that can be dropped into a campaign. But sometimes you just need something fast. Or maybe you want to finally try to make a true TSR-vanilla dungeon and only use the tables found in the official material. You can generate a bunch of swords using the magic sword table but many of them are repeats and almost all have just flat passive bonuses. 

For a long time I’d just hand-make a little bonus feature or two for the sword and move on. I had the thought of coming up with lists of potential subfeatures for each special sword in B/Xian D&D but it always seemed like too much time and energy. 

But time and energy be damned, I did it anyway. That's what love is all about.  


Sword +1, +2 vs. lycanthropes 

  1. A lycanthrope's true form is revealed in the blade’s reflection. 
  2. The sword confounds a lycanthrope’s senses, granting a +1 bonus to surprise rolls when encountering lycanthropes. 
  3. Hitting a lycanthrope for max damage reverts them to their base form and prevents them from changing back for one turn. 
  4. Using the blade to cauterize wounds left by a lycanthrope prevents lycanthropic infection. 
  5. The wielder of the sword can smell lycanthropes, regardless of what form they are in.
  6. As long as the blade is drawn, lycanthropes in the immediate area are unable to summon animal allies.
  7. The sword enhances the wielder's primal instincts, granting +1 to listening checks and giving a 70% to successfully track creatures when in the wilderness.
  8. Once per day, the sword can cast a silver sheen out to a 30’ radius for up to a turn. Metal weapons become silver while within the sheen.

Sword appearance ideas

  • Extra wide lugs hook around either side of the blade to prevent a crazed lycanthrope from working its way up the length of the sword.
  • The blade arcs dramatically, reminiscent of a crescent moon.
  • Deep silver inlays decorate the blade with esoteric patterns.

Sword +1, +2 vs. spell users

  1. Glints on the jewel pommel show the relative location of nearby spell users.
  2. Hitting a spell user for max damage forces them to save vs. wands or be unable to cast spells for the next hour.
  3. Hitting an MU or elf with the weapon allows the wielder to learn the spells of the highest level they have memorized.
  4. 50% chance to deflect magic missiles and other magic projectiles; on a percentile roll of 25 or lower they are shot back to the caster.
  5. Sword has the power to sunder magic wands, rods, and staves with a single blow.
  6. Defensive wards on the hilt protect the wielder from charm, sleep, and hold spells as long as the sword is in hand.
  7. On a successful hit, the wielder can choose to forego dealing damage to instead shatter magical protection caused by spells and scrolls (including the Shield spell and “Protection from...” effects). Spells with a radius or that affect an area instead of an individual are treated as having AC 9.
  8. Attacking a spell user in the same round they are preparing to cast a spell disrupts the spell casting, regardless of if the attack lands. If the attack is successful, the wielder has a 2:6 chance of not disrupting the spell but instead being able to redirect the spell to a target of their choice.
Sword appearance ideas
  • Iridescent blade, like an insect’s carapace.
  • Baroque design; possibly more of a work of art than a weapon.
  • Blade is composed of many small glittering shards fused together through unearthly means.

Sword +1, +3 vs. undead

  1. The sword can serve as a conduit for turning undead. When an allied cleric turns undead and is within eyesight of the wielder, the sword can simultaneously turn undead as a cleric of one level less than the allied cleric. This ability can be used once per day.
  2. Spending a round brandishing the sword creates a burst of radiance that causes undead in the immediate area to become vulnerable to mundane attacks for an hour.
  3. Driving the sword through the chest of a victim killed by a ghoul, wight, wraith, specter, or vampire prevents them from being raised as undead. The effect also works for necromantic magic.
  4. Anyone within sight of the sword gets +2 to saves against an undead’s supernatural fear or charming effects.
  5. Hitting an undead creature with less than 10 hp automatically destroys it.
  6. The wielder gets to save vs. death to avoid an undead’s experience-draining abilities.
  7. Slaying an undead with this weapon also puts to rest all the undead creatures the target created.
  8. The sword has three sigils near the base of the blade. If the wielder touches one and issues a mental command, they activate to function as a scroll of protection from undead. After a sigil has been activated, it becomes inert. The DM may allow the sigils to be repowered, perhaps requiring a high-level cleric and the same cost and time requirements as it takes to scribe a scroll of protection from undead.
Sword appearance ideas
  • The entire sword is made of pure obsidian.
  • Red gems are embedded in a dark metal blade. Spikes and skulls decorate the hilt.
  • The weapon is a saber, with a basket hilt shaped like a ribcage and a grip made of polished ivory.
Sword +1, +3 vs. dragons
  1. The wielder is able to speak with all kinds of dragons, regardless of whether they share a language. Additionally, from speaking with a dragon the wielder can intuit if the dragon can cast spells, and has a 50% chance of identifying what spells they know (rolled individually for each spell).
  2. The sword is partially made from a toxic substance known to enervate dragons. On striking a dragon with the weapon, the dragon receives a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls. Another successful attack the next round increments the penalty to -2, and so on for each subsequent round. The penalty is removed if the wielder fails to damage the dragon on a subsequent round. Dragon’s with 7 HD or less are unable to fly with a penalty of -3 or greater, dragon’s with 8-9 HD are unable to fly with a penalty of -4 or greater, and 10+ HD are unable to fly with a penalty of at least -5.
  3. Followers of the wielder of this weapon get +2 to their morale score when fighting a dragon.
  4. Take the higher of two damage rolls when dealing subdual damage to a dragon.
  5. Once per hour, the wielder can leap 60’ in the air. Falling from this height after leaping doesn’t incur damage, and successfully attacking a creature after jumping (either by landing on an opponent below or thrusting at a flying creature) deals double damage.
  6. Bathing the sword in the blood of a recently slain dragon grants the wielder experience equal to the dragon’s HD x 100.
  7. The wielder gains 10 temporary hp when entering combat against a dragon. The temporary hp can exceed the wielder’s maximum, and are depleted before their standard hp. The hp are lost when combat ends.
  8. The first time the wielder is hit by a dragon’s breath weapon they survive miraculously unscathed, taking no damage.
Sword appearance ideas
  • Massively oversized anime-scale sword.
  • The blade is etched such that the surface looks to be covered in hundreds of tiny scales
  • A heavy knight sword, the blade striped with various colors. Each time the sword slays a dragon, a new stripe forms of the corresponding color.
  • The blade has a flared, undulating tip; useful for getting under scales.
Sword +1, +3 vs. regenerating creatures
  1. The weapon leaves sickening black wounds. Creatures hit by this weapon can’t regenerate the damage it deals. Natural healing doesn’t work either.
  2. The sword is repulsive to regenerating creatures, and forces them to make a morale check when it is first drawn and again when first taking damage from it.
  3. On a max damage roll, the wielder can choose to sever a limb of a regenerating creature (1. L arm 2. R arm 3. L leg 4. R leg). Severing an arm reduces the number of arm-based attacks the creature can make per round by 1, whereas severing a leg reduces move speed by half.
  4. The sword pulses vividly when near spontaneous regeneration, imbuing its wielder with its own vitality. Every time a creature regenerates while the wielder is within 30’, the wielder also regenerates that much hp.
  5. The blade takes on a greenish hue when regenerating creatures are nearby.
  6. The wounds left by the blade immediately harden into bulging, crusty scars, limiting mobility. Each time a creature regenerates after getting hit by this weapon, they get a -1 penalty to attack, to a maximum of -5.
  7. The sword stimulates the wielder’s own regenerative abilities. +2 bonus to natural healing.
  8. Dipping the blade into a pool of water turns it into acid over the course of 10 minutes. Up to 10 cubic feet of water is affected at a time. Large bodies and running water are unaffected.
Sword appearance ideas
  • Broad, fat blade; looks like a giant meat cleaver.
  • The edge of the blade is serrated like a bonesaw.
  • The blade is corroded and tarnished but the rest of the sword being in perfect condition.
  • Oversized billhook.
Sword +1, +3 vs. enchanted monsters
  1. The first time an enchanted creature is hit with the weapon, they must save vs. wands or be knocked slightly out-of-phase with reality, unable to move or attack the next round.
  2. After observing an enchanted creature for at least a round, the wielder can intuit how the creature was summoned or animated, who if anyone controls them, and what their purpose or goal is if any.
  3. On a natural 20, target enchanted creature must save vs. wands or be deactivated (if a construct or otherwise animated by magic), turned (if undead), or banished (if summoned) for the next 1d6 hours.
  4. Spending your round pointing the sword at an enchanted creature causes them to save vs. wands or be bound in place and unable to move (but can still attack) until you get hit or take another action. This effect has a range of 100’.
  5. Efreet and djinn defeated by this weapon become bound to the sword and forced to serve the wielder for a week and a day. Efreet and djinn servitors are vengeful of their master, and while they follow the letter of their commands they will attempt to subvert the intent. Only one creature can be bound at a time.
  6. Once per week, the sword can switch places with a dimensional outsider from the far reaches of the astral plane that serves the wielder. The outsider lasts for a number of turns before disappearing equal to the wielder's HD, or until its hp reaches zero or is dismissed by the wielder. When it disappears, the sword reappears in its place. The outsider appears as a disorienting insect-cephalopod hybrid with waving tentacles and an iridescent carapace that hovers a few feet above the ground. It has the stats of a grizzly bear, can communicate simple ideas telepathically with the wielder, is immune to mind-affecting spells, and has one of the following features:
    1. Telekinesis at will (as per the spell)
    2. Energy attack—range 60’/120’/180’, damage 1d8, usable twice a round in lieu of attacking. 
    3. 15’ aura that functions as a scroll of protection from magic.
    4. Casts Confusion on creatures it successfully hits.
    5. Immune to nonmagical damage.
    6. Charm Monster usable once per hour. Duration of charm is one minute. If a creature succeeds on their save they are immune to this effect.
  7. On dealing maximum damage to an enchanted creature, the wielder can choose to leave the sword lodged in the target. The creature must save vs. wands or fall under the control of the wielder. The wielder is unable to attack or cast spells while the sword is in the target, and must maintain concentration on the creature. Creatures with fewer HD than the level of the wielder may make another save at the end of every turn, and creatures with HD equal to or higher than the wielder’s level may make a new save at the end of every round. On a successful save, the creature spends their next round dislodging the blade. Godlings, greater demons, and other particularly powerful creatures are unaffected by this ability.
  8. The sword shutters in the presence of enchanted creatures. The length and intensity of the shuddering alerts the wielder of the creature's approximate power level (weaker than the wielder, about as strong as the wielder, stronger than the wielder, or much stronger than the wielder).
Sword appearance ideas
  • The entire blade is hewn from a single crystal. 
  • The sword is an ancient ritual weapon made of stone, predating all known civilizations.
  • The blade is made from a murky purple substance that swirls like liquid encased in glass. Every now and then a glowing rune forms somewhere on the surface before fading a few moments later.
Sword +1, casts light on command 30' radius
  1. The wielder can point the sword toward the sky to create a beacon that can be seen up to 3 miles away.
  2. Once per day, the wielder can issue a command and cause the sword to release a blinding flash of light. Everyone that can see the sword within 60' must save vs. wands or be blinded for 1d6 minutes. Characters or creatures that have their eyes closed or don't need eyes to see are unaffected.
  3. The light the sword creates causes magical illusions glow faintly and become slightly transparent, revealing their nature to everyone in sight.
  4. The light is not perceptible by creatures with infravision. Adventuring parties that use the sword as their sole lightsource do not lose their chance to surprise randomly encountered creatures.
  5. Light can function as a protection from evil spell once per day.
  6. In addition to producing light, the sword can also swallow light on command and create a 30’ radius of darkness.
  7. Creatures with sunlight sensitivities like orcs and goblins are affected by the light of the sword as though it were sunlight. They tend to hate this and will target the wielder first.
  8. The light from the blade reduces the chances of being surprised by invisible and ambushing creatures like crab spiders and wererats to 1:6.
  9. The sword can “throw” a nimbus of light up to 60’ away. The nimbus casts light in a 30’ radius as it travels, and if it hits a creature they must save or be blinded for a round.
  10. +3 against shadows.
Sword appearance ideas
  • The entire sword is made of hardened light.
  • Light emits from a jewel on the pommel.
  • The sword doesn’t actually emit light, instead conjures large luminescent motes that float around the blade.
  • The hilt is made from a single crystal, cut with precise angles and planes to refract light from any angle.
Sword +1, locate objects
Once per day, the sword grants the wielder the ability to detect objects in a 120' radius, as per the locate objects spell.
  1. Sword can be folded origami-style anywhere between the size of a shortsword and 2-handed sword.
  2. Pommel opens up to reveal an extradimensional secret compartment; can hold up to 30 pounds of material as long as the objects can fit in the coin-sized opening.
  3. Helpful readout on the blade shows location of the sun, direction of magnetic north, relative altitude or depth (dungeon level), and the distance and direction of the last place the blade was planted in the ground. 
  4. The sword has a remarkable acoustic conductivity. Holding the tip against a door or the floor and listening at the pommel gives +3 to hearing noises rolls; also good for a makeshift stethoscope.
  5. Cutting an esoteric symbol in the air above an object makes it so that it cannot be located by magic or discovered by chance. This only works on reasonably sized objects—not landmarks, locations, or things so big they are unmistakably conspicuous. Only one thing can be obscured in this way at a time.
  6. Blade unravels into a cord 30’ long that can grab hold of objects and follow the wielder’s commands. The cord can support up to 50 pounds.
  7. When outdoors, holding the small lens embedded in the pommel of the sword up to the sun projects a bird’s-eye map of the immediate area. Chances of getting lost in the wilderness are reduced by 1. Doesn't work on cloudy days where the sun isn't visible.
  8. Ingenious design of the sword’s crossguard allows it to be broken apart into individual specially shaped pieces which can serve as thieves' tools. The sword’s daily use locate-objects ability can be used instead to grant a thief the better of two rolls when using the sword’s thieves’ tools.
Sword appearance ideas
  • Antenna stick out of the crossguard like a radio receiver.
  • Arcane circuitry runs along the length of the fuller.
  • A magnifying lens is embedded within the base of the blade.
Sword +1, flames on command
When activated, the sword bursts into flames, casting light in a 30' radius, granting +2 to regenerating and bird-like creatures, and +3 to plant creatures and undead.
  1. Can shoot out a scorching beam 1d3 times a day; 2d8 damage in a 60’ line, save vs. breath for half.
  2. Once per day, the sword's magic can incarnate a 4 HD fire elemental (taking the form of a phoenix, dragon, human warrior, etc.) under the wielder's control. The elemental lasts for up to one turn or until its hp reaches 0. While the elemental is active, the sword loses its flaming ability and just acts as a sword +1. 
  3. Rolling a natural 20 attack creates a burst of flame, dealing an additional 3d6 damage to the target. Everyone within 10’ except for the wielder saves vs. breath or takes half damage.
  4. Plasma arcs around the blade, hot enough to melt through metal. The wielder can forego dealing damage to the opponent on a successful attack to instead melt through the opponent’s weapon. The wielder can also spend a turn to cut a man-sized hole in through thin stone or metal walls.
  5. Raising the sword overhead releases a flash of heat that ignites all exposed nonliving flammable material in a 50’ radius.
  6. Dragging the tip along the ground creates a shallow wall of flame that functions like a pool of flaming oil, lasting for two rounds. The sword cannot be dragged and used to attack in the same round.
  7. The flame is actually righteous lightning, allowing the sword to fully harm creatures that are otherwise resistant to fire.
  8. Holding the sword unsheathed protects the wielder from fire as per a ring of fire resistance. The sword temporarily loses its magic powers if it gets wet, and if the wielder gets submerged or covered in water they get -2 to attack and damage rolls until they dry off. If the wielder also wears a ring of fire resistance, the effects stack and the penalties from getting wet are negated.
Sword appearance ideas
  • Flame circles the blade in a neat helix.
  • A flamberge, aflame.
  • The sword does not actually produce fire but instead glows super hot.
  • A heavy bronze broadsword with flame jetting out of a decorative dragon head at the hilt.
  • When activated, the blade itself becomes a sword-shaped wedge of solid flame.
Sword +1, drains life energy
On a successful hit, the wielder can choose to drain the target's life energy. In addition to taking damage, the target loses one experience level or hit die. The sword may drain a total of 1d4+4 levels before becoming a normal sword +1. 
  1. When this weapon kills a creature, the blade absorbs part of their essence and the wielder gains 1d6 hp plus 1 hp for every HD of the creature.
  2. The sword stores the soul of a claimed victim. The soul can be talked to, though it is likely unwilling to be of any assistance to the wielder. Only one soul can be stored at a time. The soul can be used in several ways:
    1. Power the sword, granting a bonus equal to the soul’s old HD to attack and damage for the next 1d6 attacks.
    2. Be summoned as a phantasm. Hp equal to the number of HD the creature had; only vulnerable to silver weapons and magic attacks; otherwise attacks, damage, AC, and non-spellcasting special abilities the same. The phantasm lasts for one hour or until they’re hp is reduced to zero. Phantasms will begrudgingly follow the wielder’s commands, but have a 1:10 chance of turning on the wielder. 
    3. Invigorate the wielder. The wielder gains 1 hp for every HD of the creature, gets +1 to attack rolls, gains +30’(10’) additional movement speed, and is inured from fatigue caused by things like dungeon exploration and wilderness travel. The effect lasts for one day.
    4. The soul can be transferred to another creature or entity who might make use of such a thing, such as a demon or evil high priest.
  3. Humans slain with this weapon become ghouls under the wielder's control. The ghouls stick around for 1d6 days before going off on their own. The number of ghouls the wielder can have under their control cannot exceed their max number of retainers, but don’t count toward their follower total.
  4. Spectral weapon; ignores armor and other tangible nonliving matter.
  5. Fearsome affect inflicts -2 morale to intelligent enemies.
  6. The ghoulish blade leaves wounds that numb the victim. On a successful hit, the target must save vs. paralysis or be paralyzed for one round.
  7. The sword protects the wielder from lethal poisons, diseases, and other save or die effects. The wielder must still make saving throws against death/poison as normal—if they fail they remain alive as if nothing happened, but they will die if the sword ever leaves their side.
  8. The sword stores the experience it steals from its victims. The HD drained by the sword can be used to restore levels lost by energy drain.
Sword appearance ideas
  • The blade is a hellish crimson as though cast from solid blood.
  • Pale mist falls from the blade like frosted breath. Maddening black runes are seared over the surface of the blade in incoherent patterns.
  • The hilt is covered in carvings of tiny faces all crying out in agony.
Sword +1, wishes 
The sword grants 1d4 wishes, which must be spoken aloud by the wielder. 
  1. When the last wish is used, the entire sword turns to diamond. The sword fractures too easily to be used effectively as a weapon but can be sold for 25,000 gp.
  2. Whosoever wields the sword occupies a special place in the inscrutable fate of the universe. Extraplanar and deific entities recognize the wielder on sight and may potentially take a special interest in them.
  3. A cult of 3d4 hooded acolytes forms around the wielder. The cult follows the party from place to place; sometimes trailing them and sometimes just cropping up wherever the wielder settles for a while. The cultists develop rituals and traditions based on the wielder’s mannerisms and build strange effigies in their likeness. They don’t directly obey the wielder, instead choosing to interpret statements and commands as portentous dictums that they dissect with talmudic intensity. Should the wielder demonstrate that they value a certain behavior, the cult will adapt it into their practices; for instance, if the wielder shows a great love for fighting and combat, the cult would become militant and seek to defeat the wielder’s enemies on the field of battle. If the wielder shows a particular financial shrewdness and desire for wealth, the cult will orient itself around accumulating money through savings and calculated business ventures.
  4. When the wielder sleeps with the sword under their pillow, they have bizarre dreams of distant lands and impossible places. Any time the wielder travels to a different world, plane, or dimension, they have an intuitive understanding of where they are and the basic gist of their current locale.
  5. The reality-bending qualities of the sword suffuse the wielder with miraculous power. The wielder gains the ability to cast spells as a cleric of equal level. The spell slots don’t recover on their own; instead, the wielder must perform a 1-hour ritual that can only be completed on the last day of each month.
  6. Swinging the blade leaves a dazzling afterimage—when the wielder misses an attack, the target must save vs paralysis or get -4 on their attacks for one round.
Sword appearance ideas
  • The sword is utterly resplendent, nearly glowing with unsuppressed majesty.
  • It looks like a normal sword when you’re staring at it, but out of the corner of your eye it shifts and warps like something from a dream.
  • At the center of the sword’s crossguard is a micro-universe contained within a golf ball-sized cage. There are a number of swirling galaxies in the micro-universe equal to the amount of wishes remaining.
Sword +2, charm person
The sword grants the wielder the ability to charm others, as per the charm person spell. This can be done up to 3 times per week. 
    1. Wielder can issue a one word command once per day; 2d8 Hit Dice of creatures of 4 HD or fewer must obey.
    2. The wielder’s loyalty score and maximum number of retainers both increase by 1.
    3. The wielder’s gets +2 to reaction rolls when attempting to petition human NPCs or hire new followers.
    4. The weapon grants the owner a supernatural mastery of all forms of etiquette and imparts substantial conversational ability. They can easily fit in and assimilate to any sort of social situation.
    5. Slowly pulling the sword from its sheath draws all attention to the wielder.
    6. Pointing the eye on the chape of the sword toward a creature of 4 HD or fewer allows the wielder to read their thoughts. This can only be done for 1d6 rounds per day.
    7. The wielder is able to read and speak two additional languages of their choosing.
    8. Animals adore the wielder.
    Sword appearance ideas
    • The hilt is carved to look like many nude bodies in the throes of ecstatic union.
    • The sword is lavishly decorated with jewels and filigree. The decorations are excessive, just on the verge of garishness yet somehow remarkably tasteful.
    General magic sword qualities 
    1. Nearly weightless. Does not contribute to encumbrance.
    2. Flies to the wielder’s hand on command.
    3. Wielder can make the sword vanish or turn into something innocuous like a wristband or needle.
    4. Spell storing. The sword can store a number of spell levels equal to its modifier.
    5. Unbreakable. Can withstand an infinite amount of force without bending or breaking.
    6. The blade waves and whips around like a snake. Attacks ignore shields.
    7. Sword beam. 1d10 damage, range 50’/100/150’, usable a number of times per turn equal to the sword’s att/dmg bonus.
    8. Unless surprised, the wielder always goes first in initiative.
    9. After landing a successful attack, the wielder can choose to mark the target creature. Once marked, the wielder can sense the general whereabouts of the creature at all times. Only one creature can be marked at a time.
    10. The sword grants the wielder enhanced reflexes and reaction time in combat. If the wielder doesn’t attack on their round, they get +1 to their AC and are impervious to projectiles javelin-sized or smaller (including magic missiles) until their next round.
    11. The sword can hover or glide horizontally 120’(40’) for up to 1 minute at a time before falling. The wielder can leave it hanging in the air while they do something with both hands or ride it like a surfboard.
    12. The sword produces a toxic mist or film. On a hit, the target must save vs. poison—if they fail, they take 1d6 damage at the beginning of the next round unless they spend their round writhing in pain.
    13. The sword has a special significance to a creature type or group of NPCs (of a specific nation, religious sect, lineage, etc.). The wielder gets +2 to reaction rolls and would largely be revered and respected by individuals of that type—and reviled by their enemies.
    14. When this weapon kills an enemy it completely destroys the body, either by disintegrating it, causing it to explode in a burst of gore, or simply making it blink out of existence. Enemies get a -2 penalty on morale checks for the rest of the encounter after the wielder makes their first kill.
    15. Superpositional. Swinging the sword causes it to exist in several places at once, making it look like the wielder momentarily manifests several additional arms all attacking in different directions. The sword ignores AC bonuses granted by dexterity, as well as the displacer beast’s ability, the mirror image spell, and similar effects.
    16. The blade is wreathed in an enervating miasma. Hitting an opponent saps their strength, imparting a -1 penalty to attack and damage for the next turn. 
    17. The sword is made from an incredibly cold substance, or draws in heat from its surroundings. The sword can extinguish flames up to 10’x10’ by swiping through them and counts as a cold-based attack against creatures with such vulnerability, like certain molds and oozes.
    18. The sword rends or corrodes armor. Armored creatures that are hit with the weapon get a -1 AC penalty. If the penalty becomes equal to the AC granted by the armor (for instance, if a creature wearing chainmail gets hit four times), the armor is completely destroyed.
    19. On a damage roll of 1, the sword shatters the opponent’s weapon. If the opponent isn’t holding a weapon, they lose one of their attacks their next round.
    20. Dancing sword. The wielder can toss the sword and make a mental command, which causes it to fly around and attack creatures on its own. It uses the wielder’s stats for attack and damage rolls, and cannot be targeted by attacks. The wielder controls where the sword goes and who it attacks, but is free to wield other weapons while the sword is dancing. The sword can dance for up to three rounds before flying back to the wielder. If the sword and the wielder are more than 30’ apart from one another, the sword falls to the ground inert.
    General cursed sword qualities
    The features listed here could be used instead of or in addition to a cursed sword’s typical attack/damage penalty. It is assumed that characters are unable to lose or discard cursed swords and are incapable of wielding other weapons. Breaking a sword’s curse typically requires no less than a remove curse spell, and cleansing the sword entirely takes substantially greater magic.
    1. The wielder’s dominant hand withers into a black claw. It can’t be used for anything except holding the sword.
    2. The sword lets out a high-pitched whining, wailing sound whenever it is drawn, enough to alert nearby creature’s of the wielder’s presence.
    3. On a natural 20 attack roll, dozens of blades identical to the sword pierce out the target’s body, dealing triple damage to the target and everyone within melee range of them including the wielder. Creatures except for the target get to save vs. paralysis for half damage.
    4. The sword is incredibly heavy, weighing five times as much as normal.
    5. In combat the sword binds itself to the wielder's hand with thick iron cords that won’t come free until either the enemies or the wielder is slain.
    6. Every time the wielder misses an attack by 5 or more, the sword ricochets and makes another attack against another random creature in range (potentially the wielder).
    7. If the wielder dies, their soul becomes trapped in the sword forever.
    8. Each day, the wielder must kill a man-type creature or else age 1d10 years.
    9. The sword is entirely unable to kill living beings. Any time the wielder lands an attack that would reduce a creature to 0 hp, the attack automatically misses. Undead and constructs can be slain as normal.
    10. Every time the wielder uses the sword in combat, there is a 50% chance that a glowing crack will form on the blade. Once four cracks have formed, the sword will shatter, freeing the wielder from the curse but releasing a powerful demon that was trapped within the blade.
    11. The wielder is unable to gain experience from treasure, though they are still figured into the dividing of experience (essentially, their share is “wasted”). Instead, they gain 20 times the normal experience from defeating monsters.
    12. The blade of the sword is broken. At the beginning of each day, the wielder can restore the broken blade by channeling their hit points into the sword. No more than 8 hp can be channeled into the sword at a time. Every time the wielder lands an attack throughout the day, they can choose how much damage is dealt to the target (not exceeding what would otherwise be maximum damage for the weapon), drawing from a pool of damage points equal to 5 times the amount of hp channeled into the blade that morning. Once the pool has been depleted or a new day begins, the blade breaks once more. The broken blade does not incur any penalty to the attack roll, but can only deal 1 point of damage on a successful attack.