Thursday, April 23, 2020

Twenty-Three Swords-ish

    Before I give you the long list of weird swords, let me babble at you about color for a moment. There is a disconnect between the words your language uses to describe color and your actual ability to perceive it (although it's not a total disconnect and there have been a lot of weird experiments about that). There exist impossible colors, corresponding to your brain's interpretation of misfiring cone cells. There may be human tetrachromats with a fourth yellow-sensitive cone in their eyes, and people with damaged corneas can see farther into the ultraviolet spectrum (just looks like more purple apparently).
Can't read this chart but I bet it's useful.
    And this isn't even getting into the made-up sounding stuff, like how brown doesn't exist or how you can see low-frequency sounds. Wild. Anyway, back to the swords.

Sacred Steel

    The g_ds invented new colors (more reliable than simple atoms) as they needed them, to perform specific and unusual tasks. Mankind alloyed these colors with iron to make weapons and tools. Many legendary weapons are made by some combination of the sacred steels, but you can buy a non-legendary weapon if you have some cash.
  • Pale. The color is something like the quality of translucency or pearlescence, such as can be seen on morning mists and fresh-cut plants. Green is green because it is pale.
        Folklore says that pale steels are arrogant but cowardly. Scholars say that pale steels contain crystalline structures which are easily damaged by torsion or heat differentials, which is just incredibly boring and swotty. Mechanically, pale weapons have +2 to-hit and damage, but are ruined on a fumble and must be repaired by a smith.
  • Chardun. The color is something like the quality of matteness or of soft light, such as can be seen on cloudy dawns or through thin smoke. Reds and grays are chardun.
        Chardun steels are flinty to the touch, and do not clink or rattle. Chardun armor gives no stealth penalties and weapons deal maximum damage on surprise.
  • Bronte. The color is something like the quality of penumbrance or of damaged vision, such as can be seen out of the corner of the eye or after a lightning strike. Purple and ultraviolet are colors with a lot of bronte in them.
        Bronte steels are friends to the ditch-digger and the dirt-farmer. Families pass bronte shovel-heads and plough-shares down through generations, and these tools are always eager to assist their masters. Mechanically, they provide a +1 bonus to all checks related to their use (including attacks).
  • Ossgold. The color is something like the quality of light reflecting from gold or radiating from hot objects, such as can be seen when counting money by firelight. Infrared may be perceived as ossgold.
        Ossgold steel is heavy, yes, but also possesses more inertia than it should. It is a good insulator but makes better shields than armor. Mechanically, tools made out of ossgold takes up twice as many slots as normal. Weapons have +1 to-hit and damage and harm the undead, shields may be used to block lightning and fire, and a full set of light armor halves falling damage but is as restricting as heavy armor. A full set of medium armor would halve all damage but subject you to the maximum possible encumbrance penalties (and would be worth more than its weight in diamonds). A full set of heavy armor would kill a strong man.
  • Adamant. The color is something like epilepsy and something like staring directly at the sun, such as can be seen by inducing flicker-vertigo in yourself with a laser pointer. Blue has a little adamant in it.
        It is no longer possible to rework adamant steels, but if you find an appropriately-shaped piece it is an indestructible weapon which always deals maximum damage. All such pieces are cursed.

    And finally, a list of odd swords vaguely in the style of Dwarf Fortress artifacts. They have the bonuses listed; not those of normal weapons of their material. They may or may not be able to speak at least some human languages.
  1. EMPTY THRONE MILLENNIUM. He is a heavy sword of pale and adamant. Six feet long, guard and hilt studded uncomfortably with flawed diamonds, with runes down the fuller revealing his name. He sings verses of scriptures while cutting and promises miserable reincarnations to those he kills. Every time you kill someone with EMPTY THRONE MILLENNIUM, intelligent enemies within earshot check morale. Currently a prized treasure of the green heretics.

  2. STOCHASTIC UNIVERSAL DESCRIPTION. He is a light rapier (+1) of adamant. Elaborate swept basket hilt, name in runes ringing the pommel. When a nearby enemy rolls a fumble mark it down; your next attack against them automatically hits. When you roll a fumble he laughs at you. Currently in the possession of a fairy bounty hunter.

  3. PRAGMA OMP PARALLEL. She is a medium sword (+1) of chardun. Sturdy Oakeshott XVIIIb, name passed down by tradition. When you take damage while holding her, you may teleport to a spot you could have strolled to in about three seconds (~15 feet on level terrain). Currently in the possession of a blue heretic at the bottom of a deep well.

  4. VOID STAR RETURN. It is a medium swordbreaker of pale and chardun. Unadorned metal rod with linen-wrapped handle embroidered with its name. The damage of this weapon explodes on an 8 (only possible when wielding it in two hands), and it destroys magical locks with a touch. Currently buried in a treasure chest on a desolate island.

  5. NO VOID RETURN. She is a medium tulwar (+1) of chardun. Broad polished blade, gilded hilt with her name spelled out in rubies. Reflections in the blade have inverted colors. Text reflected in her blade is translated to your own language (though it's not necessarily easy to read mirrored color-inverted text). Currently volunteering at a museum.

  6. THIS ALWAYS WORKS. She is a light straight-razor of ossgold. Her scales are well-worn red pine and she whispers her name when held to the ear. If thrown, she flies 30' and then rapidly returns to the hand. If thrown after promising to retrieve her, she flies 60' and automatically hits. Holds grudges. Can be found embedded high in an apple tree totally encrusted in old gore.

  7. DEAD RECKONING G_D. He is a medium kopesh of pale and bronte. Curved blade with sharpened false-edge, hilt and guard of heavy brass. Screams his own name once every sixty seconds, alerting nearby enemies and marking time perfectly. He either refuses to respond to conversation or else can't hear you at all. Hits on an attack roll of 11–20 and misses on 1–10. Currently serving as a church bell in a small town.

  8. WHO LIVES DIES. It is a medium whipsword of bronte. Sharp-edged squares two inches to a side, linked by unbreakable chains. Name passed down by tradition. Who Lives Dies may be whirled around the body like a dancer's ribbon, granting an effective AC as leather+shield. Also grants its wielder an additional attack, but if you roll a fumble you deal normal damage to yourself. A monastery in the west uses it in a particularly bizarre harvest festival.

  9. LONG CANDLE SNUFFER. He is a heavy executioner's sword (+2) of bronte and ossgold. Mottled blade of black and gold, prayers and his name etched directly into the metal. On a critical hit or upon rolling maximum damage, the creature struck by Long Candle Snuffer saves or rapidly disintegrates. He is a staunch Black Mask and will attempt to kill wielders who defy their tenets. Travels in the possession of a nervous murderer who is trying to pawn him off without revealing the crime.

  10. NIGHT BLUNTED SCYTHE. He is a massive long falx (+3) of pale and adamant. Looks like a single ten-foot chunk of indestructible glass. Immediately recognizable to anyone, and was once a favorite weapon of the First Brother himself. Deals half of 4d6 damage. There isn't a grindstone in the world which can repair Night Blunted Scythe's ruined edge (he is very sad about this). Lives in the holy city as a beloved religious artifact.

  11. SPRING THAW MOON. It is a medium sword (+3) of extremely high-quality pale. Straight, double-edged, designed with cavalry in mind. A small army of Kings are trying to retrieve it so it may be melted down. They will pay you a large sum of money for it, and if unwilling to sell they will kill you with throwing stars.

  12. SPHERE EQUATION TENDENCY. He is a medium sword of adamant. Standard Oakeshott XII with a translucent blue blade. Happy to explain his name and his dislike for wooden architecture (encourages sexual profligacy and poor diet). Twice a day, instantly damages a wooden object as much as a strong man could in thirty seconds with a hatchet. An heirloom of a woodcutter's family, but he has finally realized they are affiliated with Big Wood and would be happy to find a new master.

  13. LATE CRISIS WORD. She is a light rapier of pale and adamant. Blade of delicate mauve, knuckleguard covered with green rhinestones, her name psionically revealed to those who touch the rhinestones. Anyone so much as scratched by her must save or have a portion of their blood transmuted into a mild acid, which causes an additional 1d6 damage, exhaustion, cramping, vomiting and permanent liver damage. She frantically apologizes when this happens. Currently part of a collector's favorite set.

  14. KNOWLEDGE ALSO DESTROYS. She is a heavy greatsword (+1) of pale and chardun. Unremarkable design, but a topaz in her pommel vaguely resembles an eye. Affects consummate professionalism. If you pour one pint of fine gin on her blade she will fly for 60' in a requested direction with you and up to two other people clinging to her. Flight gets more dangerous and erratic as she gets more drunk. Decorates a noble's tomb in a haunted necropolis.

  15. I WOULD OBEY. He is light seax (+2) of bronte and ossgold. Attractive damasking changes as you watch, occasionally spelling out his name. He is a skilled barber and veterinarian, and is intimately familiar with the anatomy of humans and animals. Unfulfilled at his job as a hill-country sheep shearer.

  16. TWILIT PLACE TOKEN. It is a medium sword of bronte and adamant. Fat purple five-finger blade with blackened bone handle. Text inscribed on the blade explains it is considered highly valuable by the Fairy, which is true. Waits in an antique shop for a buyer who will believe.

  17. SUDDEN LIAR ARRIVAL. She is a medium flamberge (+1) of chardun. Wavy jet blade, sings quietly to herself or to wielder, but not if anyone else is around. She is clairvoyant out to five miles but only looking straight down from 100'. Marooned on a desert island, and is beginning to crack.

  18. FIFTH OF FIVE. It is a heavy kriegsmesser (+1) of ossgold and adamant. Tangerine blade lit from the inside, visible for miles in the darkness, stamped with its name. Its touch is agonizingly cold and can absorb an arbitrary amount of heat. Property of a mad explorer who wishes to visit the sun and loves to talk about his project.

  19. PIECE OF HEAVEN. He is a medium shank of ylem. Resembles a splinter torn from Yggdrasil the World-Tree. Wants to kill the First Brother, who tore him from his rightful place, and then return home. Deals double damage to supernatural opponents. Location unknown.

  20. MAKE SOMETHING NEW. She is a light sickle (+2) of purest chardun. Infinitely dark blade, sharkskin wrappings on the handle. Doesn't understand human society, refuses to learn. Carves through non-living material like paper. Presumably Owain (the Second Brother) still carries this with him.

  21. SOLVE PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY. It is a heavy lance of purest bronte. Proportioned like a rapier. Completely immovable when impaled in a solid object, unless grasped by the handle and pulled out by an intelligent being. Currently traps a powerful demon somewhere in the deep ocean.

  22. HEAVY ON SHOULDER. He is a heavy maul of purest ossgold. Complex alchemical diagrams cover his clamshell blade. You can spend two rounds whirling it about your head to strike for double damage, three rounds for triple, &c. One minute should be enough to shatter a castle wall, ten to topple a small hill, but past a certain point you will likely not survive the explosion. Gripped in the hands of the Immortal Saul, where his body lies in the far north.

  23. I WOULD NOT. She is a medium broadsword of purest adamant. Sawtoothed, speaks no human language. When she strikes an enemy you heal HP equal to damage done. If you cut yourself on the blade she can inflict damage to an enemy equal to HP lost. Works line-of-sight, or at any range if you know their name.


  1. Ok but the naming conventions on these? Really very exceptionally good

  2. How do alloys work?

    For example, EMPTY THRONE MILLENNIUM is made of pale and adamant - do you get both the +2 to-hit and damage and always roll maximum damage? What about the durability - would the sword be fragile like pale, or indestructible like adamant?

  3. Ah ha! I stumbled across this when you wrote it then lost it - and have found it again! Glorious day, I love the treatment of the metals here, will be using this in game immediately. Great work!