Archive for Wizards of the Coast

Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 19, 2021 by boccobsblog

Meet Fizban the Fabulous: doddering archmage, unlikely war hero, divine avatar of a dragon-god—and your guide to the mysteries of dragonkind.

What is the difference between a red dragon and a gold dragon? What is dragonsight? How does a dragon’s magic impact the world around them? This comprehensive guide provides Dungeon Masters with a rich hoard of tools and information for designing dragon-themed encounters, adventures, and campaigns. Dragonslayers and dragon scholars alike will also appreciate its insight into harnessing the power of dragon magic and options for players to create unique, memorable draconic characters.

Contents: 

  • Introduces gem dragons to fifth edition!
  • Provides Dungeon Masters with tools to craft adventures inspired by dragons, including dragon lair maps and detailed information about 20 different types of dragons
  • Adds player character options, including dragon-themed subclasses for monks and rangers, unique draconic ancestries for dragonborn, additional spell options, and a feat
  • Presents a complete dragon bestiary and introduces a variety of dragons and dragon-related creatures—including aspects of the dragon gods, dragon minions, and more
  • Reveals the story of the First World and the role the dragon gods Bahamut and Tiamat played in its creation and destruction

Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons is available now!

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight: A Feywild Adventure

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Wizards of the Coast with tags , , , on September 21, 2021 by boccobsblog
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The Wild Beyond the Witchlight is available now.

According to Wizards of the Coast:

Once every eight years, the fantastic Witchlight Carnival touches down on your world, bringing joy to one settlement after the next. Its owners, Mister Witch and Mister Light, know how to put on a good show. But there’s more to this magical extravaganza than meets the eye!

The carnival is a gateway to a fantastic Feywild domain unlike anything found on the Material Plane. Time has not been kind to this realm, however, and dark days lie ahead unless someone can thwart the dastardly schemes of the Hourglass Coven.

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight takes adventurers from the Witchlight Carnival to Prismeer, a Feywild domain of delight, and is designed for characters of levels 1–8. This book comes with a poster map that shows the carnival on one side and Prismeer on the other.

Contents: 

  • Explore the Plane of Faerie in the first official D&D adventure set primarily in the Feywild
  • Easily drop The Witchlight Carnival into any campaign—for passage into the Feywild or just a night of carnival games and wild entertainment
  • Introduces two races—play as a fairy or as a harengon, a race of humanoid rabbits
  • Adds two backgrounds—the Feylost who grew up in the Feywild, and a Witchlight Hand who works at the carnival
  • All encounters can be resolved without resorting to combat, rewarding clever ideas and creative roleplay
  • Classic 1980s Dungeons & Dragons characters return, including Warduke, Strongheart, and Kelek

ISBN: 9780786967278

SKU: C92760000

20 Feywild Quest Ideas

Posted in boccob's blessed blog, D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , , , , on September 13, 2021 by boccobsblog
Next Dungeons & Dragons book will be a whimsical romp in the feywild -  Polygon

With The Wild Beyond the Witchlight just around the corner (Sept. 21), its high time we gave our tables some #feywildbullshit in our adventures. However, the biggest problem facing DM’s is usually just getting to the feywild in the first place. With that in mind, here are 20 feywild crossroads (portal) ideas to use in your campaign! 

  1. Traversing exotic islands, the party stumbles upon a battle between Triton’s and Merfolk across a coral reef. If the party decides to help one group defeat the other, the reef becomes a portal to either the Elemental Plane of Water or feywild Lake. 
  1. While ascending alpine slopes, adventurers can choose to scale a particularly imposing cliff face or go around it. If they choose to scale it, they climb for much longer than expected, and the top reveals another, even more magnificent cliff… in the feywild.
  1. Trudging through a swamp, a player sees a group of fireflies leading off in a specific direction. As they follow, the swamp water begins to smell sweet rather than rotten and the ground becomes spongy rather than muddy. An arch of glowing green moss leads them into a colorful feywild marsh. 
  1. As your table wanders deeper and deeper into a forest, the party begins to notice the trees growing larger and larger. One tree has a large cavity at the base, big enough to sleep in. If they stay overnight, in the morning the trees will become the size of buildings (like Lothlorian), and they will have been teleported into the feywild. 
  1. Deep in a dungeon, a particularly small party member wiggles through a hole that opens up to a magnificent cavern. If they drink from the water dripping the stalactites, they will pass out and regain consciousness in a similar cavern, but in the feywild where the ceiling drips cool silver rather than water. 
  1. A rocky desert with scattered cacti greets the hero’s as they descend from the mountains. If any adventurer wants water from a cactus in blook, and slices it open, the inside of the cactus will glow a warm, bright pink. If they arrange pieces of the cactus into a circle, a portal will appear to a wildly blooming cactus forest. 
  1. The party travels through a countryside littered with isolated pillars of rounded granite pillars jutting up into the sky. If they climb one of them, they will see other pillars in the feywild floating in the sky, with vines that one can maybe, just maybe, leap and grab hold of.
  1. The group walks onto a beach that still has its morning mist shrouded over the waves. If they enter a rocky cave before the mist blows off, they will exit on a feywild coastline with marine colored waves twice as large
  1. A city museum features a painting made with magic paint of a grand countryside. If the party is there at sunrise/sunset, for a brief few seconds the painting begins to blow with breezes and chirp with birds. They can hop through it if they want, but the portal is only one way; they would need to find another way out. 
  1. To reach their quarry, the adventurers must cross a frozen lake. If they do so in a gentle snowfall, and one of them falls through, they will discover the water to be comfortably warm, and teeming with colorful life. They will even be able to breathe this fey lake water. 
  1. Mr. Mcgillicutty’s flower garden is in full bloom, and people from all across the countryside have come to marvel. Even folk from a different realm, creatures of the feywild, have taken notice, as it is eerily similar to a garden they have seen back home.
  1. Our heroes are terrified as they walk along a rickety bridge across a bottomless chasm. The red hued walls are so beautiful they rival those found in the feywild. If anyone falls off the bridge they will NOT crash into the rocks. Instead they gently land on soft moss at the bottom of a fey canyon four times deeper than the one in the material plane.
  1. As the players travel across a Serengeti type plain, they sense that a fresh spring rain will be coming soon. If they travel through the night as it rains, by morning they will not really notice how the colors of all the flora are popping, for they will be distracted byt the 50ft tall elephants roaming the feywild land. 
  1. Wandering through the woods, the heroes come across cascading waters into a pool that seems particularly radiant. If they walk behind the waterfall and grab some of the moss with supposed healing properties, when they exit they will find themselves in a feywild pool that is as large as a lake. 
  1. Crossing the countryside, the party run their hands through the fields of wheat. If they are there at sunset and close their eyes, the wheat will suddenly feel as hard as rock. Opening their eyes, they will see that the golden wheat is now solid gold… they have stumbled into the treasury of the Summer Court. 
  1. Weary from travel, our heroes enter the outskirts of a halfling village hurrying to ready for the annual festival. Once a year, satyr’s in the feywild set up the exact same decorations, creating a portal that allows both groups to party all night together. 
  1. Exploring a barren desert, the party settles down for the evening, noticing the weather to be particularly clear. If all are awake at midnight under a spectacular starry night sky, the desert will become a bright pink, and when they wake the fey desert will be full of vibrant oases as far as the eye can see. 
  1. It is autumn in the forgotten realms, and your campaign trail has led to a forest of aspen trees. The bright red, orange, and yellow is more alive than the flickering flames of a fire. As a big wind blows, for a brief few moments the fallen leaves twirl into a portal that can be entered. 
  1. In the frigid arctic, the party faces a frozen glacier. If their fire is out, the light of the full moon will reflect all throughout the clear ice in such a way that they feel they see a frozen fey banquet hall full of creatures dancing. A swift swing of the blade will shatter the thin veneer and allow them to take part in the festivities. 
  1. Strolling through the forest, the party steps down to drink from a bubbling stream. If any of them lose their balance and fall in, they discover the current is much, much faster than it looks, hurdling them down stream. If they ever dip beneath the waves, they will come up for air in a feywild river. 

About the Author
Riley Rath is a freelance copywriter who specializes in serving the tabletop gaming community. He is currently running a campaign and playing in TOA. His favorite board games include: Space Alert, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Puerto Rico. Ever since he was a kid, he has had a vivid imagination and longed for adventure. Every stick in the hand was a sword or weapon to be used against imaginary enemies! As an adult, he continues to adventure through backpacking the wilderness, connecting with other people, and, or course, role-playing in D&D. And though when he was young he always preferred to play outside to reading indoors, he now delights in reading all sorts of history, philosophy, and theology. 

Storm King’s Thunder Reviewed

Posted in D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Product Review with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2016 by boccobsblog

Storm-Kings-Thunder-Cover

This is a spoiler free review. I have read the book, but not DM’d the adventure yet.

From Wizards:

Giants have emerged from their strongholds to threaten civilization as never before. Hill giants are stealing all the grain and livestock they can while stone giants have been scouring settlements that have been around forever. Fire giants are press-ganging the smallfolk into the desert, while frost giant longships have been pillaging along the Sword Coast. Even the elusive cloud giants have been witnessed, their wondrous floating cities appearing above Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate. Where is the storm giant King Hekaton, who is tasked with keeping order among the giants?

The humans, dwarves, elves, and other small folk of the Sword Coast will be crushed underfoot from the onslaught of these giant foes. The only chance at survival is for the small folk to work together to investigate this invasion and harness the power of rune magic, the giants’ weapon against their ancient enemy the dragons. The only way the people of Faerun can restore order is to use the giants’ own power against them.

Our Thoughts:

The Good

  • The Art is amazing
  • The story is well thought out
  • The plot connects to all 5e published adventures (even MoP)

The Badass

  • A lot of fleshed out NPCs that could be reskinned for other campaigns.
  • The body count is high, really high

The Ugly

  • No player content
  • A lot of plots and NPCs (not George RR Martin level, but close)

All in all this is a solid campaign. There are quests and side quests to keep your party busy, and the art and cartography are beautiful. But, while I understand we’ve moved away from the days of splat books and endless feats, a few new spells, backgrounds, and player options go a long way.

Want to expand your SKT campaign even further?

Check out our SKT Encounters on DM’s Guild. You wont need to look up stats or roll treasure. Download 10 encounters, 30 further adventure hooks, and a new monster.

Visit our D&D 5e store for high quality, low priced products!

Ravenloft Encounters

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, D&D Next, Dungeons and Dragons, Limitless-Adventures.com, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by boccobsblog

DMsGuildProductLogoLarge

We’ve launched our first DM’s Guild product, Ravenloft Encounters, a collection of D&D random encounters set in Barovia. The pack includes:

  • 10 random encounters set in Barovia , and compatible with Curse of Strahd
  •  30 hooks for further adventure
  • A new magic item, the Deva’s Feather
  • Full stat blocks for monsters and NPCs
  • Detailed treasure for each encounter
  • Both full color and printer-friendly PDF versions

Several night’s worth of D&D 5e adventures set in Ravenloft for just three dollars. For setting neutral D&D quest ideas and 5e encounters, be sure to check our our store at Limitless-Adventures.com

 

Hybrid Monster Contest: Round Three

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons with tags , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by boccobsblog

Ok, it is round three in Wizard’s of the Coast’s Hybrid Monster Contest. It is down to the final four creatures:

Were-Chimera Vs. Displacer Cube

Were-Chimera
The result of a mad artificer who studied lycanthropes, this terrible creature morphs into any form it needs to gain advantage against its prey. In combat, it’s been known to change from a dragon (controller) to a lion (skirmisher), to a goat (charging brute), to still other creatures as necessary.
Displacer Cube
It’s rumored that a gelatinous cube once fed exclusively in displacer beasts, and absorbed something of their qualities. Already difficult to spot, the displacer cube’s actual location may be shifted somewhere else entirely. It attacks with gelatinous tentacles that reach out and inflict acidic damage. It’s noted that while displacer cubes are not necessarily interested in absorbing adventurers, they can nonetheless be very territorial.

 

and

Intellect Tyrant Vs. Displacer Dragon

Intellect Tyrant
Intellect devourers do not breed in the conventional sense. Rather, new larvae spawn from the brain tissue of creatures killed by other intellect devourers. Never does this occur with more terrifying results than when the host creature is a beholder. These hybrids appear as large intellect devourers, but with atrophied limbs and the beholder’s ability to hover; although they lack eye stalks, a visible aura of psionic tendrils surrounds them, used to cast the creature’s mind-controlling abilities. They are the ultimate puppet masters.
The Displacer Dragon
A silent, vengeful specter, this dragon is known to stalk from the darkness, disappearing and reappearing from one shadow to the next. Midnight black, with glowing, golden eyes, the displacer dragon does not have scales but instead a velvet skin, with four large tentacles extending from its shoulders and ending in the spiked pads of displacer beasts.
Vote now at Wizard’s Website.

Fortune Cards: Neverwinter Released Tomorrow

Posted in D&D 4e Content, Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming News with tags , , on July 18, 2011 by boccobsblog

pic via wizards.com

On July 19th Wizards will release their next set of Fortune Cards. The next set will feature a Neverwinter theme to coincide with the release of the Neverwinter Campaign Setting set to release in August.

The response to Fortune Cards has been mixed to say the least. Some players adore any opportunity to add to and modify their game in new and exciting ways, others see them as a just another attempt to get their money.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the cards work; here’s an explanation from Wizards.com:

At the start of each encounter, shuffle your deck and draw a card.

You can play one card per round. It requires no action to play. The rules on each card state when you can play it and what effect it has. A card takes effect just once unless it states otherwise, and you discard the card when its effect ends.

You can have only one Fortune Card in your hand at a time. At the start of each of your turns, you can do one of the following:

  • Discard the card in your hand and draw a new one.
  • Draw a new card if you don’t have one in your hand.
  • Keep the card that’s in your hand if you haven’t played itThe cards will come in booster packs of 8 cards and retail for 3.99 USD

Example cards:

 

 

 

 

 

We would be interested in hearing from anyone that uses Fortune Cards in their game. What do you think of them? Do they improve game play?

For more info on Fortune Cards click here

Wizards Transforms Indy into Neverwinter

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, Gaming News, Gen Con 2011 with tags , , on July 8, 2011 by boccobsblog

At this year’s Gen Con Wizards of the Coast will be transporting fans to the fabled city of Neverwinter. According to Wizards.com:

This year, Wizards of the Coast is taking Dungeons & Dragons fans back to the iconic, fan-favorite city of Neverwinter with a robust offering of Neverwinter-related products and programs. Gen Con attendees will find themselves fully immersed in the city with hundreds of gaming sessions in the Sagamore Ballroom, a life-sized encounter in the Wizards booth, and the largest Dungeons and Dragons event of the year, D&D Neverwinter Game Day, taking place on Saturday. Fans will also get the chance to experience Neverwinter by participating in the first-ever “mass adventure” happening throughout the show with a chance to earn fun prizes and swag items. A full schedule of seminars and special guests is also planned, including New York Times Best-Selling author R.A. Salvatore.

I’m not sure what a “life-sized encounter” is, but I will be sure to find out and report back live from the con.

We are less than a month away from the 42nd Gen Con!

D&D Monster Mash-up Finalists

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Gaming Culture, Gaming News with tags , on July 6, 2011 by boccobsblog

A while back we posted a link to Wizards creature mash-up contest. The following is a list of the final contestants. We hope yours made the list.

Over the next few weeks fans can vote on Wizards.com/dnd and decide which monster wins.

Were-chimera: The result of a mad artificer who studied lycanthropes, this terrible creature morphs into any form it needs to gain advantage against its prey. In combat, it’s been known to change from a dragon (controller) to a lion (skirmisher), to a goat (charging brute), to still other creatures as necessary.

Cannibal cow: Carnivorous pack animals, typically found in lightly settled plains and scrublands. Some say a wizard crossed a bull and a lion in a fit of magical animal husbandry, some say a barbarian tribe held a yurt-raising that went too far. A mane of fur around their necks and a lion’s tail differentiate them from lesser cattle. Their teeth have adapted to ripping and tearing flesh, using their dim intelligence to bring down smaller animals and to herd larger ones. They have been known to raid farms, rustling cattle for their own herds. The wisest and cruelest of them worship the Horned King, Baphomet.

Enfield: A creature with the head of a fox, the feathered breast and foreclaws of an eagle, and the body of a wolf; the enfield possess the subtlety and cunning of the fox, the fortitude, grace and honor of the eagle, and the fierceness and loyalty of the wolf. In Celtic mythology, the enfield protected the fallen bodies of chieftains against desecration by the enemy until the tribesmen of such chiefs could give them proper funerary rites; although it appears in real-world heraldry (such as the coat of arms of the London Borough of Enfield), this hybrid has never before appeared in the game.

Platypotamus: This immense semi-aquatic animal has a beak shaped like an axe-head, a huge flat tail that it uses to propel through the water (or to swamp boats that venture too close), and venomous spurs on its hind legs.

Rust Grub: Also known as Anvilbane Worms, these species of grubs range in size from 1′ to 1″ and secrete an oxidizing enzyme that breaks down most metals into a digestible format. They travel in swarms and have been known to ruin entire mines, not to mention suits of armor.

Grivvin: This foul creature is a combination of hyena and vulture. While it has the wings, tail, and hind feet of a vulture, its head and forelegs are that of a hyena. The grivvin is a carrion eater, loathsome enough that it will even eat the undead. Its wild maniacal laugh is said to be one of the few things that unnerves undead creatures!

Displacer Cube: It’s rumored that a gelatinous cube once fed exclusively in displacer beasts, and absorbed something of their qualities. Already difficult to spot, the displacer cube’s actual location may be shifted somewhere else entirely. It attacks with gelatinous tentacles that reach out and inflict acidic damage. It’s noted that while displacer cubes are not necessarily interested in absorbing adventurers, they can nonetheless be very territorial.

Mantiplacer: The wizard Bubanta is known by many wealthy patrons who seek his services as a breeder of rare beasts for mounts and guardians. One such beast is the mantiplacer, a creature comprised of the aspects of the sadistic manticore and the predatory displacer beast. With the head of a man (albeit with catlike features), the body of the beast retains its six legs and panther form and can reach a full fifteen feet in length at adulthood. Its claws and poisonous bite are formidable weapons, but the mantiplacer also possesses two tails endowed with long spikes that can be hurled with great accuracy; furthermore, the beast can strike with its spiked tentacles or buffet foes with its bat-like wings—pushing them away to a preferable distance.

Abolithids: The foul results of a mind flayer experiment on ceremorphosis using an aboleth host. Unfortunately for the inquisitive mind flayers, the abolithids had the combined psionic power of both races as well as their pride and greed, and they quickly enslaved their creators. They largely ignore the humanoid races, as the abolithids’ size and power make eating such tiny, dull brains impractical; instead, they feast on the brains of aboleths and dragons, and let the their enslaved servants do what they want with the humanoid vermin.

Intellect Tyrant: Intellect devourers do not breed in the conventional sense. Rather, new larvae spawn from the brain tissue of creatures killed by other intellect devourers. Never does this occur with more terrifying results than when the host creature is a beholder. These hybrids appear as large intellect devourers, but with atrophied limbs and the beholder’s ability to hover; although they lack eye stalks, a visible aura of psionic tendrils surrounds them, used to cast the creature’s mind-controlling abilities. They are the ultimate puppet masters.

Ruxie: This fey creature combines the worst traits of a pixie and a rust monster. It appears as a tiny feral humanoid with a double set of gossamer wings, a malevolent glare in its eye, and an oversized mustache ending in twirling prehensile whiskers, usually a ruddy brown color. Able to fly quickly, turn invisible, and create powerful illusions, its most feared power may be that any ferrous metal touched by the whiskers is instantly reduced to a pile of rust.

Stirgethid: Seemingly a cross between a stirge and illithid, they are very similar in size and appearance to a stirge but with tentacles surrounding a lamprey-like mouth instead of a proboscis. The stirgethid attacks in a similar manner as a stirge; however its diet includes the brains of its victims—wrapping its tentacles around its victim’s head and latching on.

Elder Brain in a Jar: The great necromantic generals of the drow armies are said to have captured and enslaved an elder brain, keeping it in a state of near death in a magically animated jar of viscous fluid. The fluid preserves the brain and suppresses its will, making it subject to the control of the drow. Its psionic powers, however, are unparalleled.

The Displacer Dragon: A silent, vengeful specter, this dragon is known to stalk from the darkness, disappearing and reappearing from one shadow to the next. Midnight black, with glowing, golden eyes, the displacer dragon does not have scales but instead a velvet skin, with four large tentacles extending from its shoulders and ending in the spiked pads of displacer beasts.

Gray Matter: This odd creature—easily one of the most intelligent oozes—resembles a throbbing mass of brain matter. Seeking out the dark corners of humanoid settlements, it waits patiently for a suitable victim to take over with its psionic powers, a portion of itself entering the victim’s body and taking control; this new puppet is sent back into its community to lure more victims. After several days in a host body, the original mind is consumed. The victim will be abandoned, expelling a fully grown gray matter. In this way, an entire community might be consumed and outgrown in a matter of weeks.

The Legendary Medusa Hydra: This scaly, four-legged beast resembles a multi-headed hydra (with the hydra’s regenerative and multiplicative powers)—yet each head is that of a medusa, with a petrifying gaze.

You can read the complete article here

Memorable Magic Weapons

Posted in D&D 3.5e DM Content with tags , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2011 by boccobsblog

Player: What’s in the chest?

DM: You find a +1 staff.

Player *yawns* ok, next room…

In this week’s article we will detail, step by step, how to create memorable magic weapons that players will want to keep throughout the campaign.

For this article I owe a debt to Charles Rodgers, whose Dragon Magazine #180 article, “Not Another Magic Sword”, from 1992 has always stuck with me.

Select weapon

This may seem like a no brainer, but often DM’s will dream up some epic weapon to place in their campaign and never give pause to what weapons their players actually use. It is anticlimactic when your fighter triumphs after a series of grueling quests to find the sword of legend to be a longsword when he’s spent all his feats to specialize in the greatsword.

Select material

What is the weapon made of? Is there a material that fits the weapon’s theme or history better than regular wood or steel? The idea is to create a weapon so unique and interesting that your player will wield it throughout the campaign.

Possible Materials:

  • Baatorian Green Steel (A&EG p13)
  • Gehennan Morghuth-Iron (A&EG p14)
  • Starmetal (CArc p141)
  • Pandemonic Silver (CWar p136)
  • Thinaun(CWar p136)
  • Dwarvencraft Quality (RoS p159)
  • Blue Ice (Frost p80)
  • Aurorum (BoED p38)
  • Frystalline (BoED p38)
  • Serren (BoED p38)
  • Solarian True-Steel (BoED p38)
  • Adamantine (DMG p283)
  • Darkwood (DMG p283)
  • Iron, Cold (DMG p284)
  • Silver, Alchemical (DMG p284)
  • Mithril (DMG p284)

Powers

One thing I have learned as a DM, what I think is cool, isn’t always what the players think is cool. When you custom-make a weapon, have the player in mind. Ask yourself what would fit with the player’s concept. For example: if the weapon has the bane property, is it for a creature that the ranger has as a favored enemy?

Note: if you’ve exhausted the powers in your DMG be sure to check out the magic Item Compendium or DMG2 for new options.

Flavor

What can you add to the weapon to make it unique while not drastically changing its cost or power level? Flavor is anything that adds to the coolness factor of a weapon without any serious in-game benefits. These elements are what will make the weapon memorable. Examples:

  • screams when it delivers a death-blow or critical hit
  • smells of brimstone or another distinct scent
  • vibrates or hums when polished
  • whispers something in a forgotten tongue when unsheathed
  • moves during the night, nothing drastic, but the weapon is in a different place than the pc placed it before going to sleep (though still close to the PC).

Note: see signature traits in DMGII p229 for more ideas.

Description

What does the sword look like? Can you find a picture that matches your idea of the weapon? If you have any artistic ability, draw the weapon on a piece of sketchbook paper.  This is where the Rodgers article really shined; he detailed each piece of the sword making sure to talk about the rare materials used. He drew a mental picture of the blade, hand-guard, handle, pommel, etc.

History

Adding a history to a weapon will deepen its role-play value while not increasing it power level. In addition, if you make the weapon a bit of mystery, it will provide further quest possibilities, and allow character with bardic, or traditional knowledge skills to flex some RP muscle and use a skill often times overlooked.

Name

This one could be up to the PC, but if you have a player that shies away from role-play, you may want to name the weapon for them. Possibilities:

  • Carved into a wooden weapon
  • Runes on the blade
  • A sage, cleric, or arcanist recognizes the weapon and knows its name (think Elrond in The Hobbit when he recognizes the Foe Hammer and the Goblin Cleaver)
  • Perhaps the weapon whispers its name the first time the PC picks it up.
  • Maybe the former wielder tells the PC prior to death. This provides an interesting role-playing angle if the PC gets the weapon after slaying an enemy (as they normally do). Perhaps the dying orc king takes the barbarian pc’s hand and wraps it around the hilt of his magic great ax and whispers the name in orcish or broken common as a gesture that the player is worthy of wielding it. While this idea really only works for honorable villains, it is still a cool option.

Increasing Power Over Time

I feel that it adds something significant to a PC’s experience if they keep the same weapon over time. Of course, this idea won’t apply to all players, and you as the DM will be able to judge that for yourself, but as a whole, having a weapon that grows in power with the pc helps to enrich the storytelling process.  Not to mention, you’ve put all this work into creating an awesome item, you don’t want your player to sell it off when he reaches the next level. This idea is common among fantasy literature, heroes don’t trade in their signature weapon, so why should your players?

Possible routes for increasing power:

  • Legacy Weapon (Weapons of Legacy)
  • Legendary Weapon (Unearthed Arcana p162)
  • Item Familiar (Unearthed Arcana p170 )
  • Bonded Item (DMGII p231 )
  • Ancestral Relic (Book of Exalted Deeds p39)
  • Forgo treasure on an adventure and have the player’s deity or a potent caster empower the weapon

Player: What’s in the chest?

DM:  You find an ornately fashioned, darkwood staff roughly five feet long. The shaft has images of orcs fleeing a flaming village. The head of the staff is carved in the likeness of a ruby-eyed red dragon that snarls and breathes a gout of illusory flame as you remove it from the chest. Draconic runes just below the dragon carving spell out what you assume to be a name.

Player: Nice!