Band Of Blades

Everyone likes having npcs to help, hinder, surprise, behind, or ambush the player characters.

Everyone (well, a decent chunk of everyone, anyway) likes magic swords.

Let’s combine them! :D!


Presented here are a dozen sentient, sapient swords. They all have names along with titles; they have personalities, and some magical abilities, and some areas of specialized knowledge they might share with a bearer if they feel like it.

Did I mention that there’s no guarantee you can just pick one of these folks up and get the benefits? Because, yeah, that’s a thing. You’re going to have to make friends, or at least a working relationship — and locking horns with your bladed companion can very well be a surefire trip to badness town where a refusal to communicate is the least of your worries.


All of these npcs have the following traits:

– The ability to injure subjects immune to mundane weaponry
– The ability to communicate, always telepathically and potentially also aloud
(feel free to apply or ignore any (intelligent or otherwise) magical weapon rules that may exist in your system of choice; feel free to tweak any details here that you want to tweak, for that matter)

Oh and just to make things fun —

They also have humanoid appearances. At least some of the time.

Yep.

Now, how that works is up to the individual using a sword or swords in a game. By the same token, each sword’s description gives a handful of notable (“iconic”?) visual traits for the humanoid form, but declines to commit to things like a complete visual appearance, a species, or a gender. These things may well even change for a given sword, unlike their iconic traits.

(yes, a sword wandering around as a humanoid can remove or even lose iconic clothing items. if they become a blade and then a humanoid again, they have them again. they’re iconic for a reason.)

How to encounter a sword as not-a-sword?

Here are some possibilities — it’s probably best to choose or roll one, maybe two, for a given npc and stick with it:

01. Dream visitation
02. Illusionary projection only visible by bearer
03. Illusionary projection visible by everyone
04. Shapeshift from sword to living being
05. Possess an individual
06. Possess sword’s bearer
07. Visible in reflective surfaces
08. Possess and reshape a corpse
09. Spontaneous independent manifestation (carrying themselves, even)
10. Weapon only (a temporary restriction?)


So, without further ado —


01. Tannah, the Silent Wanderer

– A worn, but still serviceable longsword, blade washed on both flats with a thin shadowy film that almost reveals some sort of calligraphic verse, hilted with cedar and black-enameled iron quillions and pommel

-> As a weapon, can harm all subjects but does no greater damage; however, Tannah’s bearer may never have terror be inflicted on them while on the road, and the blade warns of danger in the dark
-> Specialties: major trade arteries, travel logistics

– A lean figure in simple traveler’s gear, dark leather and rough brown wool, black of eye and grey of close-cropped curls, one hand scarred but functional

: inquisitive : patient : centred : light-footed : silence is golden :


02. Runi, Bring-Hither

– A greatsword, polished mirror-bright and never scratching, with heavy gilded quillions and a hilt of oak threaded onto steel — and an amber pommel that unscrews to reveal a hollow in the hilt itself

-> casts light to two lanterns in strength, as willed; if driven point-first into the earth, any who have placed a drop of tears or blood inside Runi’s hilt hollow immediately sense the blade and bearer’s location
-> Specialties: provisioning, legendary epics

– Strongly built and well-padded, with ready smile and strong features and coiling russet hair, dressed in rumpled linen tunic and leather breeches

: friendly : bridge-builder : guiding : remembrance : the ties that bind :


03. Lian, the Laughing Flame

– A brilliant piece, this: a slim sabre of translucent, orange-red porcelain as strong as steel, hilted with golden mother-of-pearl plates and twisting bronze quillions

-> doubles damage against aquatic or frozen adversaries, erupting in dancing flames; striking with Lian’s flat, however, against any fire extinguishes it no matter the size
-> Specialities: musical history, elemental lore

– Shockingly red-gold hair tumbling around bare, scarred shoulders, golden eyes that dance with mirth, and whirling split-skirts over leggings of multicoloured layers of patterned silks

: joyous : impulsive : instigatory : passionate : it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission :


04. Cor, the Veiled

– A shortsword of rough steel, unpolished save for the edges and tip of the blade, with ivory hilt and silvered, half-basket quillions

-> cannot harm the living; doubles damage against spirits, shades, ghosts and similar incorporeal beings, granting the wielder the ability to sense such even when hidden
-> Specialties: the otherworlds, folk magic

– Grey robes and loose trews; a white shawl over dark, tangled locks and a white veil over which pale blue eyes gaze steadily, bisected by bright scars

: relentless : observant : secretive : fatalistic : be thee now at rest :


05. Turien, Pledgetroth

– A thick ox-tongue of a shortsword, mounted in a hilt wrapped in darkened leather with brass fittings; the blade is of blued steel, but a centre channel glows and flows as if molten

-> wrapping one’s hand firmly around Turien’s blade causes no harm — unless one is an oathbreaker or is actively taking part in a lie or deception
-> Specialties: manuscript illumination, battle tactics

– Fleecy mantle over leather jack; with weathered features, neat silver hair and battlescarred hands stained with scribe’s work

: steady : legalistic : particular : inquiring : uphold your virtues :


06. Anrath, Winterdark

– A bastard sword of odd white metal, mounted with horn hilt-plates on the tang and ornamented with twisted silver wires wrapped around with tassels of white fur

-> freezes the core of those struck; whether the flesh (slowing them to half capability) or the spirit (forcing them to flee or cower)
-> Specialties: law codes, northern histories

– Tangled coils of long white hair threaded with icy blue, framing high cheekbones, hollow cheeks and a jaw sharp enough to cut, falling around fur-lined woolen robes

: grim : sharp-tongued : resigned : piercing : so shall they fall :


07. Ronken, the Stormlord’s Pride

– A fancy sabre, this, and no mistake: ebony hilt and golden quillions, gleaming blade etched with clouds and raindrops, inalid with gleaming electrum thunderbolts like twisting runes

-> casts a thunderbolt when swung, like a dagger of shocking electricity, while protecting the wielder against storms and lightning (though not drowning)
-> Specialties: gem appraising, liquor appraising

– A brazen shock of shaggy dark hair like a lion’s mane, a square jaw slashed by scars; booming laughter and a long coat decorated with pearl-buttons and pride

: jocular : bombastic : covetous : vengeful : no risk too daring :


08. Adonai, Bane-Breaker

– A longsword of dark finish, blue-silk-wrapped hilt and curving steel quillions, engraved with an inscription in niello condemning foes to lingering, eternal agonies

-> against a specific category (frex. “dragons”, “knights”, “sorcerers”) chosen by Adonai’s bearer when first claiming the sword, Adonai inflicts crippling pain and leaves venom in the wound, destroying life bit by bit over time as black ichor continues to bleed; if Adonai’s bearer ever spares a target, they suffer the same
-> Specialities: heraldry and blazons, genealogy

– Slender, green-eyed, braided hair coiled against fire-scarred scalp; savaged tabard, its insignia slashed, over flowing scarlet tunic

: driven : unforgiven : argumentative : lost : no quarter :


09. Ku, Defender of the Six Fallen Walls of the Charcoal Palace

– no sword of forgework, metal or otherwise; a blade of smooth, iridescently blue-green chitin, its hilt a pad of resinous feel that clasps a brassy-scaled basket around one’s grip

-> Ku’s bearer may designate a subject to be protected, animate or inanimate; all maledicta against said target is redirected to Ku’s bearer in a blue-brass flash
-> Specialties: contracts, architecture

– Broad-shouldered, looming, draped in indigo cloak and forest green mantle whose hood does not hide baroque brass horns nor clashing tusks, nor the barbed bony tail lashing behind, or the chitinous shell along limbs and spine

: loyal : unearthly : sorrowful : redeemed : failure is not an option :


10. Julien, Steel-Dancer

– A slender fighting-rapier, blade engraved with twining ribbons and a declaration of integrity in tiny, graceful script, its basket hilt polished steel wrought like twists of ivy and dotted with green glass ornaments

-> A successful strike may instead be used to automatically disarm (or disable) rather than injure; Julien grants all bearers the ability to wield a blade
-> Specialties: social mores, the etiquette of gifts

– Graceful and lean, dazzling green-gold eyes and a disarming smile, a fillet of steel-wrought ivy holding back shoulder-length, dark ringlets

: cavalier : courtly : amiable : insightful : shall we explore all options :


11. Vetiver, the Pearl Thunder Scholar

– Odd blade; a shortsword of frosted steel inlaid with a row of tiny mother-of-pearl teardrops, but never sharpened, mounted in a simple hilt of cherrywood wrapped in pale leather

-> not meant for physical fighting, Vetiver strikes at spellwork and enchantments; the greater the injury that would be inflicted by a sharpened blade, the stronger the magic severed
-> Specialties: sorcerous identification, herb-work

– Long coils of pearly grey hair, and a night-blue eye — the other lost — and a silver-grey mantle over simple clothing, a girdle-book hanging from a twisted sash

: reserved : obstinate : hopeful : inquiring : be unbound :


12. Benit, the Black Wolf’s Fang

– A longsword of bone? More like a great split tusk, dense and sharp as glass, its sculpted root wrapped in braided leather stained reddish black, etches of the hunt lining the flats and picked out with ochre

-> Doubles damage against manmade or other artifical constructs, alive or dead; Berit’s bearer can forage for sustenance in anything but the most barren, lifeless of environments
-> Specialties: wilderness survival, healing

– Golden-eyed, shaggy grizzled hair; sharp of teeth and striped with scars across throat and chest, dressed in black woolen coat and fur mantle to match

: territorial : possessive : black-humoured : biting : home is everything :

[emberlight] Pasts, Professions and Small Precious Things

Even in the remains of the world, people have something — someone — that they are, or were, or claimed to be.

Or want to be.

And everyone has a place they came from, even if they don’t want to stay there; and bits of that get carried forward as they forge ahead with a warm glimmer of hope in their hands.

Those things don’t just leave a mark on thoughts and beliefs, name and looks and outlook.
They’re often something literally carried along.


So who are you?

Roll d20 or choose from the following:

01. Briarsmith: ancient shears, collection of thorn-knives, cache of hips and haws
02. Brigand: tattered leather jack, tally-stick spear, bolas
03. Faithful: relic symbol, prayer knots, partial liturgy
04. Messenger: carry-bag, curved knife, passage writ
05. Farmer: sickle, dry rations, bolt of cloth or hide
06. Errant: leather scale cuirass, bow and quiver, painted emblem
07. Nightmare Cultist: morion razor, hymn runes, horn trumpet
08. Hedge-Healer: needles and nettle-thread, poultices, secret hoard of honey
09. Ancestor Warden: knife and cup, pouch of salts, favoured trinkets
10. Scavenger: packs and sacks, old dagger, patchwork coat
11. Wordscrap: homemade ink, bits of tomes, rag-paper and bark and hide
12. Hired Blade: maille mantle, sword or axe, pouch of trade goods
13. Dreamridden: scrap of glassy bone, jack of strong spirits, painted dream-map
14. Minstrel: bone flute, carefully mended instrument, feather-and-glass charm
15. Hunter: collection of snares, bow and quiver, smoked meat or pelt
16. Forager: willow-withe backpack, sharpened trowel, bundles of forbs and fungi
17. Scion: house or family badge, half-plate or furred greatcoat, provisions (or diary)
18. Witch: ritual knives and ribbons, briar paint, lucky charms
19. Craftwright: hammer and traveling anvil (or other tools of the trade), leather apron with runemark
20. Lost: tattered cloak or coat, handful of morion fragments, bloodstained relic of Empire


Some things cross one’s path and are picked up along the way, however, no matter from whence one sprang —

Roll d66 or choose, twice, on this second table.

How did you come by these things? Are they part and parcel of your life until now, something you stumbled upon, something gifted or cursed you, or odder still?

11. Leather mantle, enveloping and hooded
12. Letter or request inscribed in wax on a folding wooden tablet
13. Crow companion (attracted to shining things, carries messages)
14. Wooden knife edged with morion bladelets
15. 30′ of sturdy hempen rope
16. Stoneware, polychrome goblet
21. Rough morion mass, crystalline and thumb-sized
22. Woolen cloak, deeply hooded with two large inner pockets
23. Wooden token, oval and palm-sized, carved with insignia filled with pigment; a town-token
24. Shattered smoky, translucent metal plating — a fragment of armour from a Silent Knight
25. Billet of verdigrised copper the size of two fists
26. Four brindled hare-skins, tanned and trimmed
31. Cat companion (sees spirits, hunts dreams and vermin)
32. String of glass eye-beads, white and blue and turquoise
33. Leather pouch of dried mushrooms
34. A signet ring of tarnished silver once from a lordling’s hand
35. Horn jack with briarwood stopper; filled with cider, weak wine or blood
36. A sword, slim with re-sharpening
41. Tattered book of days with a number of pages missing around mid-autumn
42. Birch-paper map to a dream-ruin
43. Parchment disc declaring protection of the bearer by a specific lordling, with seal; unverified
44. A tiny lock of translucent silver-gold hair in a smooth steel locket
45. The twisting, blackwork key to a temple’s sanctum
46. Fist-sized wax-sealed pot of sticky resin
51. Round lens the size of a walnet, tinted faintly blue
52. Withered heart of some long-dead soul, trimmed and stitched with golden filigree
53. Dog companion (guardianship, pack animal, hunter)
54. An Imperial cavalier’s skull, or so you believe
55. A long rake of hardwood all of one branch; its curving tines further fire-hardened
56. Hollow gourd in a grass-woven carry net
61. Palm-sized, smooth jet stone engraved with strange patterns
62. A tattered battle-banner, wool and old satin, and bloodstained
63. 100′ of nettle-twine coiled in a tight ball
64. A sheep’s fleece
65. A small leather pouch of morion-dust
66. Two fistfuls of grey salt in a wooden box