Sunday, October 8, 2017

Optional Rules: Putting The Sorcery Into Swords

Fantasy stories abound with magical weapons, but none more so than the magic sword. The discovery of a magic sword is an excitement practically every adventurer has enjoyed at least once in their careers. However, all too often, the excitement wears off as the players then set their sights on more and more powerful magic weapons, abandoning their old trusty +1's for the next bigger and better deal to come along.

In our home campaign, magic swords are more than a collection of escalating magical bonuses. They have backgrounds, special properties, and many have the potential to grow with the one who wields them.

The basics:

No magical sword is ever made of common materials. There are no copper, or even bronze, magic swords. They must be made of the finest steel, meteoric iron, or other exotic material, only then can they accept the mystical properties enchanting them will bestow. Though a magic blade can not be detected as such without the use of Detect Magic, a skilled fighter can easily identify that such blades are far superior to a normal blade of its type.

Though extremely durable, no magic sword is unbreakable. Unless someone goes out of their way to damage the blade, or subjects it to tremendous abuse, a magical blade should remain functional. But should such a blade be subjected to extreme stress, or damaged magically, or attacked by superhuman power, then they can fail. i.e. Using a +1 sword as a lever to lift a wagon is not a good idea.

A magic blade with a bonus of +1 or +2 is a function of the quality of the blade itself, not its magical properties. While the base magical enchantment allows such blades to hit those creatures only harmed by magic weapons, the bonus to hit and damage is derived from the weapon itself. Such weapons are better balanced, stronger, and sharper than normal blades, allowing them to be used more effectively in combat than normal blades. Even if temporarily or permanently disenchanted, these weapons will retain their hit and damage bonuses.

A magic-user, or other spell-caster, can create a magical weapon of +1 ability, or equivalent, at 3rd level. They may create a +2 weapon, or equivalent, at 6th level. Only the most powerful weapons may be crafted by spell-casters of 9th level and higher. The mechanics and how-to of creating magic weapons will appear in an upcoming article.

A non-player character may create a +1 magic weapon for a base cost of 100 times the cost of a normal weapon of the same type, and one week's time of uninterrupted work. A +2 weapon costs 200 times the normal base weapon cost, and one month of uninterrupted work. The DM may require the Player Characters to go out and collect additional materials for the construction of these items.

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