WEAPONS OF POWER (D&D v3.5)


Introduction

By ~600AD there are five weapons of power, three of which have been revealed in game. Two of these are swords, and one a shortspear. The spear, One-Eye, wasn't forged until around 400AD, so before then there were only four. Oddly all the various prophecies only predict four - it's as if One-Eye was an afterthought.

All are forged of mithral, one of white (the Water-Blade), two of black, and two of grey (Frost-Child, One-Eye), and all are at least semi-sentient. They (barring One-Eye) are the subject of a number of ancient prophecies, and are mentioned in any good book on artefacts, Elof, and/or prophecy. By this time the prophecies have become so full of gaps or garbled that they are of very little use. So far as anyone can tell they never told of the weapons' purpose, but merely gave tantalising hints as to who would wield them.

The Weapons

One-Eye

The spear is One-Eye, of grey mithral. It is in the form of a serpent pulled straight, with its protruding tongue (not forked) forming the blade - all made in one piece of mithral. The serpent has two eye sockets, but only one is filled, and that with a translucent blue gem of unknown type that sometimes appears to glow of its own light. The tongue's tip is sharp enough to be usable as a stylus to write in stone, and the end of the "tail" is also sharp enough to be dangerous to a careless user.

One-Eye communicates by emotion alone, predominantly radiating hunger. It's powers are primarily those of consumption and decay, and it appears unable or unwilling to suppress them out of combat - even through heavy gloves its bearers hands become dry and cracked as if they were handling lime or wet concrete. When a foe is impaled upon One-Eye their life's blood is consumed by the weapon, so that in the event of a death blow they become a dried husk.

Because of the irregular circumstances surrounding its creation One-Eye was not truly finished. As a result its powers are not truly fixed, and may grow and change with its users and the uses to which it is put. Due to its past users and their attitudes One-Eye is Chaotic Neutral, and this is unlikely to change, as it's ego is sufficient to ensure that it ends up in the hands of like-minded wielders.

Frost-Child

The fourth and last of Elof's original weapons of power and, given One-Eye's unfinished state, arguably the finest of his creations. Frost-Child is a bastard-sword sized for a tall human (or high-elf), with an egg-sized, slightly blue-tinted diamond as the pommel, sharkskin grip, a "wire" hilt of white mithral (of relatively low polish), and a grey mithral blade with a "satin" or "sand blasted" finish. The blade is not quite a straight taper from hilt to tip, and has a small flat on each side with no fullers. It is completely unadorned, without even a smith's mark.

Frost-Child can communicate telepathically with anyone in contact with it, including through thin leather and cloth. It has the unpleasant habit of whispering to those it strikes in combat while it's in their bodies. It has the voice of an ancient queen of snow, ice, and fate - a Norn. Frost-Child's primary powers relate to ice and cold, one of them being a blast of cold capable of freezing a person solid in the heat of a desert. A constant side-effect is that the area immediately around Frost-Child is always colder than the surrounding temperature - pleasant in the desert sun, rather less so in the arctic. If left in the same place for a sufficient length of time (years, decades, or more) this aura of cold will extend in area and the centre of it will become more intense as the cold seeps into the ground. This effect is stronger if the sword is in an enclosed space with little air movement.

The Water-Blade

Known only as "The Water-Blade", this sword was the first and the weakest of Elof's weapons of power. The Water-Blade is a simple longsword, blunt-tipped and wide in the style of the northern barbarians' swords with a plain leather-wrapped grip and a dark iron cross-guard and a "white" mithral blade. When sheathed the only distinctive feature is the clear quartz pommel. Like most white mithral weapons forged by Elof the mithral parts, in this case the blade, are highly polished and mirror-bright [to a modern person it'd look like a cheap prop - chrome-plated and tacky]. The fuller of the blade on each side has runes of power etched into them.

The Water-Blade is Neutral in alignment and has powers related to water. One such power is a ranged attack that turns the target's bones to jelly while leaving them alive (but helpless). If cared for and fed a high-calcium diet (lots of milk, etc.) the victims recover in a month or two (a powerful Str damaging attack).

Mithral

On Arles mithral is different from the default D&D metal. There are several different types, and it is naturally imbued with magical power, rarer, and more valuable than in the default D&D setting. Many major magic items, most epic, and almost all metallic artefacts are made of mithral.

Types:

[Note: All the following is very rough and could change at any time - especially the crunchy bits]

White Mithral Alloy: This is what D&D calls "mithral", and is an alloy of white mithral and steel. Also known as "white steel".

Black Mithral Alloy: Known in D&D as "adamantine", and on Arles sometimes called "black steel" it is an alloy of black mithral and steel. Both of these alloys can be the result of careless treatment of pure mithral - a careless smith that allows impurities (especially iron) into the mithral at the wrong time ends up with a non-magical "alloy" as a result. In D&D terms this is the result of failing a Craft check by five or more when working mithral.

White Mithral: Found deep underground, this is the least powerful and most common form of mithral. White mithral is associated with the elements of earth and fire. When used in a magical item the power within it provides some of the XP cost of the item - see the notes below.

Black Mithral: Found only in metallic meteorites that have recently landed (prolonged contact with the earth taints the mithral, changing it to black steel), this is much rarer than white mithral. Also called "star mithral". Associated with the elements of air and water. When used in a magical item the power within it provides some of the XP cost of the item - see the notes below.

Grey Mithral: Far and away the rarest form of mithral, grey mithral is created by carefully alloying white mithral with an equal quantity of black mithral. The slightest error results in an ingot of high-quality white steel. This process is a DC35 Craft (Blacksmith) check, made daily. Each successful day results in one pound (20,000gp) of grey mithral and requires half a pound each (2,500gp of white and 5,000gp of black mithral, respectively).

Mithral can be used in any item that can reasonably have metal in it.

For every 50gp of the item's material costs that is spent on mithral reduce the overall XP cost by one. For example, if a +1 ring of protection (base price 2,000gp) was made using 500gp of white mithral in its creation the XP cost would be 40 - 10 = 30XP. If it were made using 1000gp of mithral (i.e. all of the ring was mithral, and a lot was wasted in the process) the XP cost would be 40 - 20 = 20XP - half price.

When used to make weapons or armour, and more than half the material cost is in mithral, the item must have a certain enhancement bonus, and a base price within a certain range, depending on the type of mithral:

Type   bonus   base price*
White  +3      35,000 - 50,000gp
Black  +4      60,000 - 90,000gp
Grey   +5      95,000+gp
* doubled for a weapon

All mithral weapons are sentient, even if the caster level is less than 15. If the caster level is less than 15 the weapon always requires an extra 10,000gp over the base price, and the weapon's level of intelligence, alignment, etc. is rolled randomly (though its alignment won't be diametrically opposed to its creator unless the creation process is messed up in some way). If the caster level is 15+ the weapon's manufacturer can specify it's intelligence, etc. (and pays accordingly). Any other type of item that can normally be intelligent may become intelligent spontaneously if 90% or more of it's material costs were in mithral. The higher the item's value, the greater the chances - GM's call.


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This Page was last updated 20MAR2004. This Page and all content not otherwise noted copyright Rupert Boleyn, 1999-2004.