Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.

"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Friday, January 17, 2014

Intelligent Swords and Cursed Blades


Intelligent sword rules in most every edition are complicated and don't seem to gain much for the complication. But the idea of the fighting for control of his sword/ring/arm like Elric/Frodo/Dr. Strangelove seems like Gaming Fun, so could we do that with a simpler mechanic?


The Reaction table is perfect, and the bell curve that makes the center of the bell "uncertain" roll come up the most often encourages roleplaying. It's the dice telling you to talk more.

The intelligent sword formula takes into account STR and INT I think and percentage of hit points, but really all that is measuring is how tough you are and the dead simple way to measure how tough you are is level
so I'm going to use that instead. And the swords pluses and powers make it harder to control so when it's time for a PC to battle for control roll 2d6 + level -plusses and powers of the sword: check
result on the reaction table. Simple.

2d6 + wielder's Level - 1 for each plus or power of the sword

Adding level won't get out of hand A. Because high level characters are rare anyway and B. I'm adding level caps for every class except M-Us in this campaign.

2:   draw and attack
3-5:  draw or attack if drawn already
6-8: stagger around and argue
9-11: drop sword or attack inanimate object (Player's choice)
12: sheath it.  End of argument.

Ok, but how do you know when to roll?
Swords have Alignment: roll d6:

1-2: Law,
3-4: Neutral,
5-6: Chaos.

Law and Chaos insists on attacking anyone or anything of the opposite alignment within 30 feet. I bet Lawful swords would get more characters killed than Chaos. "No I really insist we stay and fight the dragon." Maybe Neutral swords have a specific goal like: travel, in which case the PC would have to fight for control to resist jumping into the teleporter/portal/ ship heading out to sea/onto the wyverns back.  I'll have to think about neutral sword some more.

And SENTIENT SPELLS may use the same mechanic, or maybe each spell gets it's own weird reaction chart? I'll have to think about that more too.

I was thinking that I'd use the same mechanic for Cursed Blades, but  now I have a better idea:

The reaction table encourages roleplaying and hopefully makes making the PC do something that they don't want to do entertaining and fun, but with Cursed Blades I want to give incentive to the PLAYER to use the sword.  Make the thing easy to use, the benefits of using the sword hard to pass up and at the same time telegraph the risks.



Certain swords and daggers are links to a hell/demon world. Using one of these blades provides a Demon the opportunity to enter our world.  Even just carrying one allows the demon to learn about you and the world around you. It's possible that the only way to destroy a cursed blade is to kill the demon linked to it, but then again that might be a bunch of hooey. Also what happens when you kill a demon is Goblins come out.

(dicey part: when the cursed blade is used to attack a normal d20 attack roll is made. At the same time roll 3d6. The single highest die is added to the attack roll. If all 3 d6 show a 6 it's hello demon time.)

Each time the sword is used the PC will see The demon in a flash of brimstone. It will encourage/taunt/laugh at/cajole the PC though it wont have time to say much.  There is a 1/6 chance the demon will
speak to the PC in their dreams after each use of the blade. It might not know common, which may be even more terrifying than if it did.

I need a quick demon generator...