Swordtember – shattered

Talenen, The Sundered Soul

Once, Talenen was a greatsword of legendary make; mirror-bright steel chased with delicate gold filigree and silver calligraphy, mounted in gilt bronze and turquoise and mother of pearl, the Mirror Of The Soul brought peace and clarity to the distressed and sorrowful retribution to the unrepentant.

Now the Sundered Soul is a dozen fragments of scorched steel and broken gilding, hovering about their bearer like fluttering, frightened butterflies of once-shining purpose.

* Once a day for each pair of Talenen’s fragments in one’s possession, the once-sword’s owner may dispel fear, dull or restore a memory as desired by the subject, show the image of a mysterious yet soothing flower-meadow in the metal of a shard, encourage one to sleep, or divert a shard to foul an attack (+2 to armour for that incoming attack). In duress, one shard may fly up to 60′, slashing as a dagger and ignoring defenses; all shards will blacken and be unresponsive for 24 hrs afterward.

It is said that, as the Mirror, Talenen possessed the ability of its shards and deeper, more revelatory gifts, in addition to granting its bearer great prowess against its enemies and greater prowess to defend the needy (+2 to attack and damage, +3 against deliberately evil or criminal or cruel subjects; or, lower these bonuses to increase armour in the service of taking blows meant for others, 1:2, per incident).

It is also whispered, more quietly still, that the Mirror possessed an awareness and a soul of its own.

* As the Mirror Of The Soul, Talenen was a source of inspiration and hope for many, just as its bearer, the itinerant knight Jahan Nightingale, had been. But Jahan’s light has long been extinguished, his remains long lost — if the knight be not held captive or ensorcelled or worse, or a moldering corpse in an oubliette — and Talenen scattered across the land.

Gathering Talenen’s shards has been the work of seers, devotees, would-be squires and once-been criminals, passed hand to hand as the thundering black hooves chase them in the night.

And it’s whispered that if one last shard is found Talenen will reassemble of its own accord, and grant its full strength to its new bearer in return for finding Jahan — or what remains.

Swordtember – moss


An unassuming shortsword — or a dagger, sometimes even a spear — of ordinary make, with leather-wrapped grip and maybe a few brass nails or the like for ornamentation; a Freshpick doesn’t advertise its enchantment to all and sundry by being flashy.

The most common tell, when one exists at all on a given Freshpick, is a mottled moss-like pattern across one or both side of the blade, or an embossed branching sigil on the pommel-nut or the side of the hilt.

* Dungeon ecologies get so much more comfortable with at least one Freshpick at play in there. Sure you can fight with it, but it’s really meant for after the fight, yours or someone else’s — a carcass stuck through with a Freshpick and sprinkled with any kind of liquid will, once the blade is pulled free, be promptly engulfed by lichen and mossy growths and fungi and do one of the following:
– sprout thin broad sheets to harvest as “leather”, enough to be a sheepskin or even an oxhide if the carcass is big enough;
– grow anywhere from two to two dozen dense nutritious growths, each good enough for a hearty meal;
– or spawn globes of spores or masses of horsetail-like fronds or clinging moss, which depending on chance may be good for washing, padding, light sources, or baiting traps.

Bodies so absorbed cannot be raised as undead or be resurrected.

* Truly a revolution in dungeon maintenance, once the Freshpick sorcery was pioneered (by Gevasse the Greenbone, deep orc maestro, so they say) the concept spread like wildfire through the underworld. No more corpse cleanup! A peaceful recycling after adventurer invasions! More resources! Suddenly the dungeonscape worked better than ever before!

Swordtember – geometric

Principle Of Order

This longsword appears to be carved entirely from grey marble — blade, hilt, all of it entirely from one piece of seamless, unblemished, smoothly polished stone. It is perfectly symmetrical and perfectly balanced, with a precisely angled blade-tip and squared off, prism-shaped quillions.

Nicks and scratches acquired by Principle Of Order disappear within moments; similarly the sword rejects any attempt to elaborate on its spare and spartan appearance, sloughing off everything from paint to gilding to wrapping of the hilt.

* Principle Of Order cannot be used to harm any creature or object that is not allied with or spawned of the forces of entropy; it will simply refuse to cause that harm. What it does, is act as a lodestone for setting things “right” as order defines it.

A slash of the blade against a sundered door, and the door stands whole; thrust into ashes, it raises the burned barn, pile by pile. A living being may be healed by Principle Of Order — by the blade in the wound, or against the flesh — but only once in a year’s cycle, because living beings chart their own paths and some injury and illness must therefore occur.

The sword will reveal the twisting of laws when those actions serve disorder and entropy, pulling law away from the common weal; but to do so it must be brandished against a manifestation of such a corrupted law, be it document or enforcer. Then phantom cracks, as if filled with lead, flash across Principle Of Order’s smooth stone surface until the disruption is contended with.

* A manifestation of order itself, this sword — some say it is unique, others claim a trio, still others an ennead of nine — cannot be created by mortal hands. It must be found (or “found”, as this is never truly by chance) or be gifted by one of orders champions — and the weight of accepting such a gift will be made very apparent before Principle Of Order is given into one’s hands.

Swordtember – topiary

Cuvan, Root-Running-Deep

A wooden sword? Yes indeed — a sabre carved of cherrywood and planed to razor sharpness, enchanted as strong as any steel blade. The warmth of Cuvan’s wood extends to its hilt, cherrywood again and pinned in place over the blade’s broad and rootlike tang, and the pommel cap bears a cherry blossom to complete the theme, picked out in pink and green and white glass.

Cuvan has no quillions to speak of, merely the faintest swelling of the wood before the blade begins in earnest. What it does have is a hollow bored through the blade’s hefty tang, accessed via pulling free the pommel cap; inside the snug little space is kept a surprisingly fresh twig or leaf, blossom or cutting from a tree or woody shrubbery.

* Cuvan nurtures green life on the lives it takes. Every time a wound is dealt by its edge, the tree (or shrub, or hedge) to which the cutting in its hilt belongs receives a full season’s nourishment; and if Root-Running-Deep is used to vanquish a foe, its wielder may choose to reshape that linked greenery, or instead cause a clonal double to split and establish itself alongside the first, like a strawberry runner.

In this way, green life is sustained even at a distance, and in the most forbidding of conditions, whatever they may be and why.

* Shaping Root-Running-Deep was considered a great success by the network of briar witches, nature-priests and hedgerow revolutionaries that call themselves the Taproot. The sabre was gifted to an exiled former noble; they have found new purpose in being a ferocious defender and nurturing, among others, a truly massive apple tree and its witchery cuttings for the villages that look to Taproot — and now there is great debate over channeling resources into make several more such blades.

It could only be for the better, right?

Swordtember – rot


Some swords are unpleasant necessary works.
This is one of them.

A longsword half eaten through by rust, by its looks — though its ragged blade is deceptively strong — and secured by rough iron nails to a wormeaten, oaken hilt. It does appear to have once had quillions, now broken (or rusted) off. The pommel is a broken stump.

And, when Prideblight is turned just so, an inscription in verdigris and bloody rust can just be perceived on its piecemeal flat: “Show your real face.”

* A strike from Prideblight appears to cause no injury save for a few shallow scorings, easily tended (which is a very good idea anyway, because of its general rust and foulness), a “failure” that may leave its wielder being jeered and mocked. But not for long.

Any arrogant member of high society — or any society, really, if they seek to crush others beneath their boot — callous or repressive nobility, abusers of laws and others of such ilk who receive so much as a scratch from the stained blade find their flesh beginning to look, feel and reek of decay, face and hands first: a progressive, weeping foulness spreading as the days pass that may only be relieved by the afflicted truly making an honest effort — to be a better person.

* Prideblight is a legend whispered of with hope by the downtrodden and terror by its potential victims. None know its creator, nor the identity of the first to wield it — as their face was hidden by veils of wool and bones — nor, truth be told, that of many of that Bleak Laughter’s numerous successors. Prideblight just has a way of appearing, even if it was presumed destroyed, and a breave bearer along with it; and then, once more, slipping away into obscurity to foster silent dread.

Swordtember – paranormal


A strange-looking rapier, Wraith-Chainer is: heavier than most, and forged of blackened iron, with the razor edges of its diamond-sectioned blade plated with silver — to match the silver sculptings of twisted silk scarves that make up the basket of its hand-guard — while the grip of its hilt is worn leather over cherrywood. It has no pommel really speak of, though the metal cap that marks the butt of its hilt bears a scratched out inscription in tiny lettering, possibly once a prayer or plea for rest.

* Wraith-Chainer is like a (very unsubtle) dowsing rod for restless spirits and similar ghostly remnants; if such an entity is within 40′ of the rapier it will weep “tears” down the length of its blade. Should its bearer hold the rapier to point at the heavens, Wraith-Chainer will tug in the direction of the ghostly presence — and if there are many, it all but vibrates.

Once located, of course, such a spirit is often still out of reach — unless struck with Wraith-Chainer, which promptly lives up to its name: a ghostly echos of the blade lodges itself in the haunt’s intangible corpus, solidifying said corpus and forcing interaction with the living, physical world. This rapier “chain” lasts for one hour or until the ghost blade is pulled free by Wraith-Chainer’s bearer.

* The beloved sidearm of the exorcist and ghost-hunter Twylyth Nightwise, Wraith-Chainer is a rare example of spontaneous enchantment brought about sheerly by the proximity of the blade to Twylyth and his hunts for so many years.

The rapier’s awakened abilities were just what the dogged hunter could have wished — and even moreso when he discovered how many haunts will willingly press on, if only they had a small chance to interact or even simply speak with someone just once more, embedded blade notwithstanding.

Swordtember – cosmic

Sebi, the Falling Star

A surprisingly broad shortsword with a mirror-bright edge to contrast its frosted flats, Sebi is forged of an exotic metal that fell from the heavens; there’s an almost milky white undertone to its steely frost, and when tipped into the light it shimmers with a faint golden sheen. Sebi’s hilt, including its quillions — backswept crescents — and smooth sphere of a pommel-nut are forged as one with the blade; its grip is bolstered by faceted pearl plates held in place by gilded pins.

* Should its wielder choose, Sebi may — rather than, or in addition to, simply attacking and wounding — produce one of two effects when the blade is swung: a drifting wave of soft gleaming golden stardust that obscures its wielder’s location (next attack against is at disadvantage), or the release of a silver-gold shining mote that flies up to 60′ and causes damage as a dagger.

Perhaps more useful to some, however, is Sebi’s ability as a guiding star map. Held up towards the sky and panned around, regardless of time of day or state of the weather, one may see the stars as they would be, in the flat of the Falling Star’s now night-dark blade. No feature of the starry vault may be hidden from Sebi’s sight.

* Carefully and lovingly gathered from its calamitous fall, the celestial metal that became the Falling Star was forged into its current shape by the skysmith Vanai Fatehealer, and carried by that worthy for the rest of their days. It has since been passed down to a series of skysmiths, diviners, sorcerers and charters of the heavens — and more than one star-following buccaneer amongst the lot.

Swordtember 2022 – birthday


These are simple weapons — some are shortswords, but as many or more are daggers, or even basic belt-knives — in the blade, all of which bear the same inscription engraved into the tang, whatever else may be added to the blade’s flat: “I wish.”

Unlike the blade itself, the mountings of a Moonwish are highly individualized, with varying examples of wood or horn or ivory hilt-plates, brightly coloured tassels, sculpted or subtle or barely-present quillions, and other small touches. Many have a ring-pommel for the tassels, or for braided cords or other attachments for securing to or inside clothing (in the case of smaller blades).

* As a weapon, a Moonwish is well-made but unremarkable; an especially finely forged one may offer a sight boon (+1 to damage), but no enchantment.

Rather, a Moonwish is a protective token, if an unconventionally shaped one — it will tweak fate (a second chance at a test/save/etc) once every cycle of the moon. Or, if its owner truly desires, it may be expended completely to guarantee success in one endeavor.

* Moonwish blades are traditionally gifted, amongst the Tiliwar of the Sorgwyn River valleys, on one’s day of majority, as a tangible token of well-wishes and hopes from one’s family and hearth.

It’s a badge of pride in some such circles to be in one’s late maturity with one’s Moonwish still unexpended; it’s also considered at least a little dodgy at best to actually fight with it, unless absolutely necessary.

Swordtember 2022 – void


A blade that cannot — must not — be touched. A blade that does not exist.

Sheathed, when at rest, in sun-tempered golden-sheened glass or something very much like it, hilted in nothing — for it seems to hover just above its gold-flecked glassy hilt of spiraling, twisted bars — Null is an emptiness where a slender single-edged shortsword should be, a spot of endless, bottomless, eternal blackness upon the world.

It must not be touched.

Bearer beware.

* Null ignores armour, defensive magics, and essentially everything but the ability to get out of the way of its touch. That touch deals maximum damage and, if applicable, will sever a limb or other suitable chunk clean off its victim 90% of the time.

Yes, one could carve through a door or wall or whatever with Null; but doing so runs the risk of fumbling, even a little, and injuring oneself with the thing.

Beware. Null cares not about its bearer.

* A tear in the fabric of existence, bound into blade-shape and barely anchored to sorcerously infused glass? One would be forgiven for assuming this was some mad wizard’s folly.

Alas, Null is no such thing — it was screamed into existence by the final rage-fueled grief of the lone survivor of the Red Iron March against the drakkalv kingdom of Riviek, and the first use of its non-existence annihilated that survivor’s sundered heart by their own hand.

Swordtember 2022 – mythological


A strange inexplicable sabre, heavy-bodied, almost a stereotypical scimitar but far far thicker across the spine of the thing; not of any metal or even porcelain, but rather a strange horn-like substance all the colours of carnelian and amber and blood, honed to terrible sharpness and tipped with a point sharp enough to pierce the soul. A great raptorial claw, mounted in ancient bronze and wrapped in yellowed linen embroidered with strange and undecipherable glyphs.

* Arete injures beings immune to mundane weapons, but provides no further bonuses to basic combat. God-beasts, demons and beings of heavenly descent are at disadvantage against Arete’s bearer, exhibiting an unease that they refuse to explain or elaborate upon even if pressed.

One who claims Arete catches constant glimpses of a world that was — fallen kingdoms, lost ecologies, impossible structures, unknown beasts — and, more terribly, more wonderfully, of a war that tore heaven asunder and wrenched open the underworld.

One who could make sense of these visions, or match them to extant locales, could find glory, ascension or damnation — or all three.

* What, or who, could have left Arete behind? It is not crafted, save for its mountings; it appears natural, if such a word can be used for such a thing. Did that which left this great talon behind do so by choice, by design? Or was Arete a trophy, perhaps of that all-sundering armageddon?