Swordtember – noodle

Anvi’s Clever Flick

Well, this one is a bit different.

At rest, Anvi’s Clever Flick looks like an unassuming rapier. An ornamented — or ornamental — rapier, to be sure, with its silver handguard pierced so delicately it looks like lace, its dainty and useless-looking quillions, and the multicoloured glass finial it calls a pommel-nut, a riot of whirling colours in the shape of a tapered teardrop.

Then the Flick is, well, flicked through the air by its wielder and suddenly it is a snaking ribbon of rapier blade —

* Designed to confound and startle, as well as extend reach, Anvi’s Clever Flick will, once an encounter or engagement, cause any opponent unfamiliar with the blade to lose their next action as they stumble to a confused mental halt.

Anvi’s is a sneaky sword, capable of magically extending when swung (or even just vigorously, dramatically pointed) up to 30′ feet away in a supple arc of shining steel. The wielder of the Flick can dictate the path of the rapidly-flicking tendril; attacking at a distance, snaking around obstacles, and similar are all simple gambits. Needless to say, shields are useless against Anvi’s Clever Flick.

Worse, the flickering blade is ribbon thin and razor sharp; wounds continue to bleed freely until treated (minimum damage every action until healed or mundanely bound).

* Some things are enchanted as experiments; such is the case with Anvi’s Clever Flick. Anvi Firecracker’s attempt to create a magical sword that could fission into a blossom of flying, spiderwebbing metallic wires may have failed (for now), but the Clever Flick still turned out to be interesting, quirky and at times hilariously useful. Gifted to the swordmaster Tanton Phayar, it upset many a challenge until folks grew wise to the sword and its trick.

Swordtember – morbid


Is Tany a sword? Sword-shaped, certainly, more or less: a “blade” of vertebrae, their processes sharpened; quillions and handbasket of jawbone fused with ribs; a rust-brown grip entirely too warm and accommodating; and — most prominent of all — the swollen adamant egg between hilt and spine-blade filled with bloody fluid, tangled veins and a slowly beating heart.

Tany murmurs loneliness. Won’t you help? Please won’t you help?

* Attacking with Tany inflicts unnatural terror on any living creature struck — even plant life will curl up — leaving them fleeing and hiding for safety wherever they may, until the fear passes (test 1/hour). There’s a price for that, though. Tany’s bearer must fight off the mental backlash (dagger damage) as Tany fights back — and fights for a home.

What Tany really wants is to be driven to the quillions through a living body (best attempted on an unmoving target, but one can improvise). Doing so explodes Tany into a torrent of fluid and bone as the heart in the egg forcibly implants itself into the victim and brings Tany with it. The wound closes over with a lacework of splintered bone … and Tany looks back at the now former bearer of the blade.

What she does depends on a great many things.

* The sword Tany will not, or cannot, surrender details of her origins. Sometimes, even his assumed gender changes; species is never divulged, though humanoid of some kind might possibly be inferred. From Tany’s wistful whispered pleas can be gleaned the work of a death-forger, a lord of the grave; is this Tany? Is Tany a student? A victim? Is it all a tale?

Tany does have necromantic knowledge and will mournfully murmur anecdotes about many unliving and diabolical things.

Tany just wants to live.

Will you help?

Swordtember – iconic

Crown Of Glory

No two descriptions of Crown Of Glory involve the same type of blade — longsword, hanger, rapier, sabre, shortsword; dagger, cleaver, even a scribe’s trimming knife if one account is to be believed. But they all bear the same features in common: not a blemish on the blue steel blade, a grip of goldenoak plates pinned with nails capped with ivory, and on the low dome of the pommel, a glittering enamel inlay of a ring of golden flames.

* Crown Of Glory takes on whatever physical form is best suited for its owner, whether that be greatsword or carving knife. No matter its shape, it grants the ability to injure subjects immune to mundane weaponry to go with its sorcerously keen edge (+1 damage).

Carrying Crown Of Glory bolsters its bearer’s valour; they are immune to unnaturally inflicted fear and other mental and emotional compulsions.

When the time comes to lead, to share that valour, when its bearer steps up to the task, is when Crown Of Glory wakes up. When its bearer so proclaims their defiance, leads companions against the odds, exhorts people to bravery — then the blade’s magic erupts in a corona of brilliant, warming gold, surrounding its bearer with the phantom banner of rippling sunflame and a ghostly, towering representation of their ideal self calling all to action. So long as Glory’s bearer moves forward with their conviction, they are at advantage for their next five significant actions (or saves, or tests) and all allies within 100′ radius share in the psychic protections granted by the sword.

* The original form of Crown Of Glory was a bastard sword, the pride and joy incarnate of the hedge knight Amaryllis Sornyai. Sornyai led the beleaguered villagers and artisans of the Windshorn Borders against the depredations of the Bone Sphinx Auf-Nun, and again to stand against the blandishments and threats of the encroaching Duchy of Roatrix. Before her last charge, Sornyai had the Crown’s awakened magics altered to allow the sword to change physical form, specifically so that whoever came after her could make the full use of the blade.

Swordtember – nordic


A broadsword, well-worn and equally well maintained despite the tiny nicks in the blade and the scarring across the burnished oak of its heavy hilt. Waycutter sports stout, blocky iron quillions and its chunky hilt is nailed with the same, with a simple iron pommel-nut; in the furrow of its blade are chiseled a string of runes proclaiming the ocean, the craft of craftiness, the glories of both, and the sword’s own name.

* Waycutter is an excellent sword, and virtually immune to damage (which begs questions about the nicks it bears), but other than the ability to harm those immune to mundane weapons it offers no further benefits in battle. Actively bearing the blade confers a more subtle benefit: the ability to roughly gauge the value of any trade good, gift or plunder, even to the benefit of more than one party should Waycutter’s bearer wish it.

But the true worth of the broad blade is greater still. At a command, wordless, Waycutter will transform from sword to trimmed and sea-worthy longship fit to carry up to a score of travellers or warriors, and their cargo, holding this shape until commanded otherwise or until its bearer draws their final breath.

* There have been many Waycutters over the generations, or so it seems; enough sagas to suggest a small fleet of such grey-winged sword-ships. Or perhaps only one, or maybe two, famous blades. Who can say? Most tales do agree, however, that the first and finest was crafted from the iron bones of a smith-wyrm and quenched in an ice-witch’s foam-flecked harbour by the battlepriest Ironheart as a gift to the long-gloried Ingvi, the Storm Wave’s King.

Swordtember – musical


Slim for a longsword, Elegy is also quite a well-trimmed weapon — its bronzed quillions curve in gentle scrolls, its pommel is a bronze pinecone, and its hilt is fluted segments of cedarwood pegged with gilded nails.

For all that, it is still the blade itself that is most remarkable. One flat is blackened with niello picked out with gold and silver musical notation, the other left plain save for a gilded inscription: “What is taken must be remembered, no matter the kind, no matter the life.”

* Light in the hand, Elegy sharpens the wits as well as its wielder’s prowess (cannot be surprised in combat; +2 to attack).

Any sapient creature felled by the sword becomes the subject of a ghostly, unstoppable song that commemorates the fallen’s actions in life; the notations for such a song then appear on Elegy’s blade and haunt its bearer for the next 24 hours. Even if not otherwise recorded the deeds shall be sung at least once.

If Elegy’s bearer drops more than one foe, the blade will work through its subjects in sequence and unceasingly until all have been sung.

* For good or ill, Elegy has changed hands many times since its forging as a tool of memory in the face of atrocity by the song-witch Lestral. Its original purpose was to bring swift death to those who had no other means to voice their lives (the extreme dubiousness of the method used has been a source of philosophical debate; many believe Lestral may have been an adherent of the Beloved Oblivion Rest sect); it has been used to brutally reveal true evil, to shock its bearer into laying down all arms, and to perform mass acts of terrifying protest since, among other things.

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.