Beyond the normal enchantments placed on ordinary magical arms, there lies the special category of those whose creators have imbued with that extraordinary gift (or perhaps curse, as the case may be): sentience. The swords of myth are the most common recipient of this most unusual characteristic, but there is no prohibition on many other types carrying such enchantments. Certain types of weapons, however, whether it by chance or some inherent natural predisposition, are more likely to retain the powerful magics that an intelligent weapon requires:
|Table 1: Chance of Weapon Possessing Intelligence|
|Bows, Crossbows, Handaxe||1%|
|Staff, Spear, Battleaxe, Mace||5%|
|Dagger, Hammer, Knife, Trident||15%|
Not all intelligent weapons are created equal, of course. The lesser of the species have no more intelligence that a dog, while their betters can hold their own against the average human. The truly rare and wondrous weapon possesses abilities beyond that of normal man and has intelligence to rival the best human (or demi-human) -kind can offer. Of course, the difficulty in constructing these wondrous arms is beyond the reach of all but the most fearsome of mages and holiest of priests, and therefore the more powerful and intelligent weapons are consequently much more scare (to put it mildly!)
|Table 2: Weapon Intelligence and Capabilities|
|97-00||17||3 primary +
|speech and telepathy5|
Due to the extreme concentration and effort that construction of a magically intelligent weapon requires, and the tendency of the weapon to mimic the alignment of its creator, the balance of weapons are lawful in nature. This does not preclude a chaotic weapon from being created, though the frequency with which chaotic creatures submit to such arduous tasks is considerably lower than their lawful or neutral counterparts.
|Table 3: Alignment|
* Characters of any alignment may use this weapon with no penalties. They have no alignment language.
Normally, only a character with the exact alignment of the weapon may use it to its full extent. Characters whose alignment is one place removed from that of the weapon can usually use the weapon (some exceptions: a Holy Avenger, a "Final Word" sword, etc.). However, they incur a -4 penalty to their personality when resolving personality conflicts, and they are more likely to get into such conflicts with the weapon in the first place, since their goals are less compatible (usually) with the weapon than those of a like-aligned creature.
All intelligent weapons have at least one basic power; the more intelligent have commensurately more powers. All primary abilities of a weapon function on command, as many times as desired per day. The wielder must grip the weapon (though it need not be draw for all functions to work) and concentrate on the desired ability.
|Table 4: Primary Abilities|
|01-07||detect elevator/shifting rooms/walls, 10' radius||60||300|
|08-14||detect sloping passages, 10' radius||60||300|
|15-24||detect evil/good, 10' radius||120||600|
|25-28||detect law/chaos, 10' radius||120||600|
|29-35||detect gems, number and kind, 20' radius||240||1,200|
|36-42||detect precious metals, kind and amount, 20' radius||240||1,200|
|43-52||find traps, 10' radius||240||1,200|
|53-62||detect magic, 10' radius||240||1,200|
|63-67||detect illusion, 10' radius||240||1,200|
|68-72||detect secret doors, 10' radius||120||600|
|73-77||know alignment, 10' radius||120||600|
|78-82||detect invisibility, 10' radius||240||1,200|
|83-87||locate object, 120' radius||180||900|
|88-92||non-detection on self||180||900|
|93-98||roll twice, ignoring scores of 93-98|
|99-00||roll on Table 5 instead|
Note that the detect evil/good and the detect law/chaos powers are one or the other, according to the alignment of the sword; neutral weapons have a 50% chance of either.
If the same ability is rolled twice, double the radius.
All abilities functions only when the weapon is held and the possessor is concentrating on the desired result. Use of an ability is the only action allowed during that round.
Extraordinary abilities are limited to use but a few times per day. Weapons usually will not use these power unless it specifically furthers their immediate interests to do so - careless and/or wasteful use of extraordinary powers is a good way to end up in conflict with a weapon.
|Table 5: Extraordinary Abilities|
|01-02||Add weapon's pluses to saving throws, 1/day, 1 turn duration||300||1,500|
|03-04||Animate Dead, 1/day||420||2,100|
|05-06||Anti-Magic Shell, 1/day, 5 round duration||600||3,000|
|07-08||Charm Person on contact, 3/day||360||1,800|
|09-10||Clairaudience, 30' range, 3/day for 1 round||360||1,800|
|11-12||Clairvoyance, 30' range, 3/day, for 1 round||360||1,800|
|13-14||Color Spray, 2/day||360||1,800|
|17-19||Cone of Cold, 8d6, 1/day, 120' range||600||3,000|
|20-21||Cure light wounds on self, 3/day||300||1,500|
|22-23||Cure critical wounds on self, 2/day||420||2,100|
|24-25||Determine direction and depth, 2/day||300||1,500|
|26-28||Dispel Magic, 2/day||480||2,400|
|29-30||ESP, 30' range, 3/day for 1 round||480||2,400|
|31-33||Fireball, 8d6, 1/day, 180' range||600||3,000|
|34-36||Fly, 120'/round, 1 hour/day||480||2,400|
|37-38||Gaze reflection, 3/day||360||1,800|
|39-40||Haste self, 1/day||480||2,400|
|41-42||Heal self, 1/day||600||3,000|
|43-44||Hold person, 2/day on contact||420||2,100|
|45-46||Hypnotic Pattern, 2/day||420||2,100|
|47-48||Create Illusion, 120' range, 2/day, as per wand of illusion||480||2,400|
|49-51||Invisibility on self, 3/day||360||1,800|
|52-53||Levitate, 1 turn duration, 3/day||420||2,100|
|54-56||Lightning bolt, 8d6, 1/day, 120' range||600||3,000|
|57-58||Magic Missile, 4 missiles, 140' range, 2/day||420||2,100|
|59-60||Magic Resistance, 20-80%, 2/day, 8 rounds duration||540||2,700|
|61-62||Mirror Image, 2/day||360||1,800|
|63-65||Paralyzation, 2/day on contact||480||2,400|
|66-67||Polymorph Self, 1/day, 16 turn duration||540||2,700|
|68-70||Protection from evil/good or law/chaos, 3/day, 16 round duration||360||1,800|
|71-72||Ray of Enfeeblement, 2/day, 35% strength loss, 30' range||420||2,100|
|73-74||Shift to/from Ethereal Plane, Astral Plane, or Plane of Shadow, one only (3/day)||540||2,700|
|75-76||Slow, 1/day on contact||480||2,400|
|77-78||Strength on self, 1/day, 8 turn duration||420||2,100|
|79-81||Silence on self, 3/day||300||1,500|
|82-83||Suggestion, 2/day, 5 turn duration, 1 creature only||420||2,100|
|84-86||Telekinesis, 2500gp weight, 2/day for 1 round||420||2,100|
|87-89||Teleportation, 1/day, 6000gp weight maximum, 2 segments to activate||540||2,700|
|90-91||Tongues, 2/day, 5 rounds duration||420||2,100|
|92-94||X-Ray vision, 2/day, 1 turn duration||420||2,100|
|95-97||Roll Twice, ignoring 95-97|
|98-99||Choose a power|
|00||Choose a power and roll on Table 6|
All spell effects work as if cast at the 8th level of ability.
If the same power is rolled twice, double the usage per day.
The weapon must be held and concentrated upon for one full round to activate power.
Special Purposes are just that: the weapon was created for some over-riding idea. Special purpose weapons exhibit a single-mindedness seldom seen in living creatures. All plans and adventures are to bring about the fulfillment of its special purpose. Failure to use the special power when applicable to the situation is a major conflict with the weapon. All special powers are usable only when facing certain opponents or situations, but may be used as many times as long as the situation/opponent is present.
|Table 6: Special Purposes|
|01-04||Defeat opposite alignment||200||1,000|
|39||Slay specialist (one type)||225||1,125|
|49||Slay daemons or demodands||250||1,250|
|62-64||Slay extra-planar creatures||250||1,250|
|76-80||Slay magic-using creatures||225||1,125|
|84-85||Slay plant life||200||1,000|
|86-88||Slay poison-using creatures||225||1,125|
|90-91||Slay psionic creatures||250||1,250|
|95-96||Slay faerie creatures*||225||1,125|
* Faerie creatures include: brownies, centaurs, dryads, pegasi, pixies, satyrs, sprites, sylphs, unicorns, and other similar sylvian creatures.
The purpose of a true neutral weapon with a "slay opposite alignment" purpose is to defeat/slay creatures of the four extreme alignments (LG, LE, CE, CG).
Classes do NOT include their respective subclasses; i.e. cleric does NOT include druid.
Creatures that the weapon is made to slay will be affected by the special purpose power if they fail a save vs. spells when the weapon hits them.
|Table 7: Special Purpose Powers|
|01-08||Cause blindness for 2-12 rounds||100||500|
|09-15||Confusion for 2-12 rounds||100||500|
|36-42||Cause fear for 1-4 rounds||100||500|
|43-49||Feeblemind for 1-4 rounds||150||750|
|50-56||Insanity for 1-4 rounds||100||500|
|67-75||Paralyzation for 1-4 rounds||150||750|
All weapons with speech capabilities can speak their alignment tongue; in addition, one or more other languages may be know. Select the appropriate languages according to the history/purpose of the weapon.
|Table 8: Non-Alignment Languages|
Each language (including the alignment language) is worth 50xp and 250gp.
All weapons were created to fulfill some specific need, not just those with high and mighty special purposes. It is incumbent upon the DM to create at the minimum a cursory history of the weapon, detailing its creation and the circumstances surrounding it. A more ambitious DM can include details of the time period in which it was forged, the sagas of various heros who bore it, and massive battles in which it slew mighty opponents. The more mighty weapons will have a long and glorious past, and will constantly remind their owners of such if they are not properly treated. Even lowly weapons will have some history, and it is to the detriment of the game if this aspect of the weapon is neglected. The past history and events that have taken place around the weapon, former owners, and special powers all shape the personality of the weapon, which has a direct impact on the player.
What happens when a character desires to use a function of the weapon, and the weapon refuses (it can refuse, just like any sentient being)? The answer to this question lies in exploring the complex relationship between owner and weapon, wielder and wielded.
Despite their unusual nature, intelligent weapons have all the desires and cravings normal beings want. They have goals, drives, and ambitions, just like ordinary living creatures. The more intelligent and powerful the weapon, the more intense and driven it is to achieve these goals.
Sadly (for the players, but for the DM ... ), a weapon's motives, methods, and goals seldom coincide exactly with the character wielding it. Especially in the case of the more intelligent and powerful weapons, there can be considerable bickering with the weapon over choices the party has made. The weapon seldom sees the party's goals as acceptable; it sees only its purpose and anything extraneous is to be avoided. This does not mean that all weapons are uncooperative or short-sighted; indeed, many will cooperate in the achievement of seeming unrelated tasks if it convinces the wielder to participate in an undertaking more to the weapon's desires.
Weapons may demand concessions from their owners in exchange for the use of their powers; common ones include expensive adornments, removal of associates/henchmen distasteful to the weapon, removal of other magical weapons, or that a character take it along on all occasions. Most intelligent weapons' personalities are self-centered from a human perspective, thought exceptions are rife.
Many times, concessions to a weapon or just significant explanation are sufficient to gain the weapon's compliance. However, when a character and weapon come into conflict, the argument must be settled somehow. Like many other arguments, the winner of a weapon vs. character conflict is the one with the more forceful personality. The personality of a character is determined by adding the character's Intelligence, Charisma, and level of experience together. Note that level is based on current hit point totals, so if a character has lost 50% of his total in a fight, his effective level is half normal for determination of personality. Characters affected by fatigue are treated as having 2/3 of their current hit points for level determination, while exhausted characters have 1/3 of their current total. Tired and wounded characters are naturally less compelling.
The personality of an intelligent weapon is the sum of its intelligence rating (as determined above) and its ego. The ego of a particular weapon is determined as follows:
|Table 9: Ego|
|Attribute of Weapon||Ego Points|
|Each `plus' of the weapon1||1|
|Each primary ability2||1|
|Each extraordinary ability2||2|
|Each language spoken3||1/2|
|Read languages ability||1|
|Read magic ability||2|
After the personality of the weapon and character have been determined, the two are compared. If the character exceeds the weapon's personality by 25% or more, the character can effectively control and command weapon with no effective argument from the weapon. If the character's personality is greater that the weapon's, but not by 25%, then the character can still control the weapon fully, but the mental strain of forcing the weapon to bend to one's will is such that for every time a primary/extraordinary/special purpose power is used, the wielder must rest one round/5 rounds/1 turn. No action is possible during this resting period other than immediate self-defense; the character may flee a melee, but not of his own accord (another character must physically force the character to run).
Should a weapon's personality exceed that of the character, the weapon is able to impose its will upon the character. If the weapon has no more that 125% of the character's personality, the character cannot use any of the weapon's powers voluntarily (thought the weapon may choose to utilize them). The sword can force the character to drop the weapon, or give it to another. It can also refuse to strike an opponent. It also has the power to enforce more mundane demands: the purchase of expensive engraving on the blade or removal of a rival weapon. Should the personality of a weapon exceed 125% of the character, the weapon can control the wielder. All commands short of immediate suicide can be enforced; thus a controlled character could find himself forced to attack a giant alone, or be carried into a quest to bring the weapon to a greater demon. The possibilities are endless (of course!)
Comments? Errors? Submissions?