Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not Just Another +1 Sword (Part 2)

I've got to post these ideas the moment they come to me, I had a much better articulated and thought out idea in my head when I decided to do this, but  I just seem too busy to get them down right away. My wife and I just bought our first home, and we move in 4 days...so we are busy as heck right now.

Right so my next idea on how to keep the magic in magic weapons. Games, or campaigns which have a higher prevalence of magic, may have +1 swords a plenty, and the idea of naming all of them too daunting, or unrealistic.Most classic modules seem to fall in this category; even Keep on the Borderlands looks to have quite a few in the hands of many of the NPC's, not to mention the Caves  of Chaos themselves. Another option here maybe the Hattori Hanzo option (re: Kill Bill 1); have the "low level" swords be crafted by master sword makers. A campaign could have  between 1-5 true master weapon smiths whose  creations are seen as true works of art.  “This my finest sword. If in your journey you should encounter God, God will be cut.” Maybe each one has some sort of signature, sigil, or symbol belonging to the great artist, which is always present on their pieces. It could be that the weapons are expected to held only by those worthy enough  to wield such a treasure, and challenges could be made to test if this is really the case. Perhaps certain martial schools have a signature weapon, which only their members can own (think of what happens if a non-memeber is caught with a Hell's Angel patch).
   Another take maybe the weapon made by an ancient long dead civilization; swords made from Atlantean steel, Bows from the Ancient Groves blessed by the Druids etc. Again anything to give the weapon some kind of history.
   Speaking about history why shouldn't the weapon have a past. I like the idea of the PC's learning a little something about the weapon; things like who owned it, their own fortunes, and what legends are told about them. These things can give the characters a chance to hypothesize about the weapons capabilities. The weapons past doesn't have to be to grandiose, Characters may or may not what a weapon which has belonged to the greatest hero in history, creating an expectation they themselves may never live up to. It could be something as simple as "This weapon belonged to the loyal bodyguard of the Thane of Theosguard, who died protecting the fallen body of his lord liege. Its said that he fought as ten man that day, and sustain such injuries as would have killed twenty. But he held on, refusing to fall, till he saw his fellows rescue the unconscious form of his beloved king." Forget about what plus the weapon has, thats a weapon with some weight behind it, and a pretty good "cool factor".
    A weapon could even come tied with a destiny.  I'm not talking some railroad plotted destiny, it's best if things are left vague enough to allow for its fufillment to be seen after the fact. Who's to say that the great danger that will be overcome wasn't the Blue dragon to which the character just managed to inflict the killing blow. (a nasty idea is to take away the weapons abiltes afterwards, at least until it is needed again). Plus in all honesty the destiny may not necessarily be fulfilled by the character presently holding the weapon (its sad but they just weren't worthy of the great responsibility). It maybe a curse that is also placed on the blade which is hinted at through riddles. My one compliant about old school weapons is that the curses were sometimes to blatantly obvious. Curses can be tied to boons; yes Swiftstrike will allow you to hit first in the first round, but it also leads to hot tempered aggressiveness, with the character needing to role to see if they will attack immediately in an encounter.

I've got a couple of other ideas to share, but I'm going to leave it be for tonight. I hope some of this "idea diarrhea" is proving useful to someone besides myself.

1 comment:

  1. Your post reminded me of wanting to run/play in a game modelled after the Book of Swords books (Poul Anderson I believe). I never read all of them, but loved that swords were named and had special abilities, both good and bad.

    I also remember a book I read long ago about a fighter asking a mage to make him a sword but that one of the components wasn't correct (I want to say it was because a brass ring was used instead of a gold one). The sword had great power, but there was a pretty awesome side-affect that drove the entire plot.

    One of the things that drove me away from fantasy gaming was the deluge of regular magic items (or over the top ones). I might try and get back into it using both your suggestions and the Book of Swords ideas.