Magic Items: Runeswords Take Two

In my previous post, I looked at Flamesinger and the initial take on Runeswords, which had powers of the blade manifest themselves based on a the wielder’s level.  This post is about the Shadow Blade, and uses a simple Affinity mechanic to determine the abilities of the weapon.

Part of the initial thoughts behind the Runeswords were making magic weapons that meant something to the character and would continue to play a part in an adventurer’s life as they gained in power.  It’s a great moment when your character picks up their first +1 magic sword and it becomes part of the ongoing adventures of that hero.  Less exciting is when that warrior finds a +2 weapon and now sees that special +1 sword as a chance to make a few gold coins selling it back in town.  What was a special and heroic weapon is now just taking up encumbrance slots and gets discarded quickly.  The Runeswords were designed to counter this thinking, making them relevant and special throughout an adventurers lifespan.

The challenge presented with the powers-by-level mechanism, as outlined with Flamesinger, is that the weapon is just as effective to the 15th-level paladin who picks it up for the first time as it is to the 15th-level warrior who’s carried the blade throughout all of those 15 levels.  Indeed, the abilities of the item can be summoned by a new wielder immediately, which could turn the blade into nothing more than a 4-foot long wand of fireballs, getting passed around amongst a high-level party before they engage in melee combat.

An alternative method is to base the weapon’s granted powers on the affinity the blade has with the user.  For this method, there is an Affinity score, which starts at 1 when the blade is first acquired and increases by 1 for every level the character has while the blade is in his possession.  A first-level character that finds the Shadow Blade and carries it with him for 10 levels would have an Affinity score of 11, whereas an 11th-level character just gaining the blade for the first time would only have a 1.  This would encourage a character to keep the magic weapon and discourage it becoming another item in a high-level groups shared arsenal of pass-around weapons.

by Tori Brine (C) Fiery Dragon Productions, Inc

The Shadowblade is a magical longsword forged on the lost Island of Sorcery thousands of years ago.  Part of their arsenal of ultimate weapons, the forgers created the Shadowblade as a tool for deception, subterfuge and stealth.  There are rumored to be six Runeswords in existence, although their whereabouts are currently unknown.  Recent stories tell of a mysterious rider known as The Highwayman who seems to possess powers related to this weapon, but whether he truly weilds the blade or not is unconfirmed.

The sword’s manifested powers are based on its affinity with the user.  The following abilities are cumulative, thus a weilder with a 5 Affinity score gains all the benefits listed under Affinity scores 1-4.

  1. +1 Enchantment bonus to attack and damage rolls; the owner of the blade gains low-light vision to 30-feet (if the user is from a race that already has low-light vision, the range is extended by an additional 30-feet)
  2. Gain an advantage (+2) for stealth skill checks (Move Silently, Hide in Shadows) made while in possession of the blade.
  3. Gain an advantage (+2) for subterfuge skill checks (Bluff, Disguise) made while in possession of the blade.
  4. Alter Appearance – once per day, you can alter how you appear physically, including making yourself seem up to 1-foot taller or shorter, weighing more or less, changing hair color or equipment.  There is no actual transformation that takes place, just how you appear to others.  Anyone you interact with can make a saving throw or opposed skill check to notice the illusion, but you gain a +10 bonus (or they have a -10 penalty) to determine the truth.
  5. Cloak of Shadow – you can create an obsuring zone of shadow in a 10-foot radius around you, which grants partial concealment to everyone within the zone against attacks from outside the zone.  The zone lasts up to 5 combat rounds or until dismissed; usable once per day.
  6. Shadow Armor - gain defensive advantage (+2 to AC and Saves) when in dimly-lit areas or total darkness; Darkvision 30-feet (If the character is from a race that already has darkvision, the range is extended by 30-feet).
  7. Undetectable – while in possession of the blade, you cannot be subjected to attempts at diviniation or scrying.
  8. Cloak of Darkness – you can create a zone of total darkness in a 10-foot radius around you.  All within have total concealment against those outside the zone; all within have partial concealment against others in the zone, save the wielder who can see everyone perfectly.  The zone lasts up to 5 combat rounds or until dismissed; usable once per day.
  9. Invisibility – once per day, you can turn invisible for up to 10 minutes or until you make an attack.
  10. Additional +1 Enchantment bonus to attack and damage (bringing the total bonus to +2); deal an additional 1d8 points of shadow damage (dark/negative- or necrotic-energy) on a critical hit.
  11. Shadow Door – once per day, can teleport up to 100-feet.  Starting and ending location must be within dimly-lit area (must be able to Hide in Shadows).  User does not have to have Line of Sight to ending location.
  12. Silent Stalker – if you become hidden from an enemy, you remain automatically remain hidden from that enemy until you move within 10-feet of the target.
  13. Thrown Cloak – gain 2 additional uses of Cloak of Shadow and Cloak of Darkness each (up to 3 per day); the effect no longer has to be centered on you, you can “pin it” to a location and it will maintain itself even while you move away.
  14. Without a Trace – you can become invisible until the end of your next turn and teleport up to any point in your line of sight up to 100-feet distant.
  15. Additional +1 Enchantment bonus to attack and damage (bringing the total to +3); All stealth and subterfuge skill advantages increase by +2 (bringing the total to +4 for Hide in Shadows, Move Silent, Bluff, Disguise)
  16. Shadow Phase – the wielder can become intangible until the end of his next turn; you can pass through solid objects and any attacks that “hit” you only affect you if the d20 attack roll was an even number.  You can attack other intangible foes as if you were both corporeal.
  17. Invisible Attacker – you gain 2 additional uses of Invisibility per day, and your invisibility does not end if you attack.
  18. Shadow Aura – any bloodied creatures (less than half hit points) that enter a 5-foot area around you take 1d6 points of shadow damage (dark/negative energy or necrotic damage).
  19. Mind Shadow – Unless you specifically allow it, your physical appearance cannot be remembered or described by any who view you once you leave their sight.
  20. Additional +1 Enchantment bonus to attack and damage (bringing the total to +4);
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