Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ever Wonder Why Your Runeweapon is Trying to Kill You?

In my experience, runeweapons are too often poorly run by the DM, and give an unfair power boost to one character without any drawbacks. As I said in an earlier post, “Basically, if a player is happy to get a rune weapon, you’re running it wrong.” Since Elric’s Stormbringer is the model for rune weapons, they should be equally treacherous and perilous to the wielder. What follows is some tables to determine your runeweapon’s secret agenda, the overt power it can use on behalf of its wielder, and the covert power it holds in reserve to advance its own schemes.

The tables are descriptive and system-free so as to allow easy use in any system.


1) Revenge! The weapon seeks to destroy the foe of its last wielder. This foe is at least twice as powerful as the current wielder and has minions or allies equal in strength to the player characters. It cares not whether its wielder wins or loses, just that the battle continue.
2) Return! The weapon seeks to return to its last wielder. To determine former wielder’s location, roll 1d6 = 1 Wandering amnesiac somewhere in the world 2 Trapped in hell 3 Lost on another plane 4 At the deepest level of a dungeon 5 Imprisoned by the ruler of the land 6 In plague-infested City of Beggars.
3) Immolaton! The weapon seeks its own destruction, and doesn’t really care if the wielder is taken along for the ride. Roll 1d6 to see the only way it can be destroyed = 1 Thrown into the lava of Mount Badoom 2 Frozen and cracked by the Witch of the Wastes 3 Reforged by the King of the Deep Dwarves 4 Sucked dry of dweomer by an Enchanteater 5 Thrust into a Nullstone in the Faerie Realm 6 Skewering the Lord of the Undead.
4) Armageddon! The weapon seeks to bring about the End of the World! If the PCs are trying to stop this, the weapon will thwart them and aid their foes, or else set the chain of actions for Ragnarok in motion.
5) War! The weapon thrills at battle and will always seek to drag its wielder into any altercation it can, the larger the better. It will seek to persuade or kill a cowardly wielder.
6) Deicide! The weapon seeks to kill all gods and demigods. It will actively seek out the nearest target and commence hostilities regardless of the wielder’s intent or abilities.
7) Freedom! The weapon is a bound demon, and seeks escape from its current shape. Roll 1d6 to see how it can escape = 1 Exorcism by Great Leader of the largest Church in the land 2 Trading places with another soul using a Spirit Gem obtained from the Lichking Lair 3 Being destroyed (see Immolation above) 4 Undergoing purification in the hidden shrine of the Scarlett Swordmaidens who slay all men and enslave all women on sight 5 Striking the Great Golden Gong jealously guarded by the Fighting Tiger Monks of the Hidden Temple of Song Ho 6 Bathed in the acid blood of a freshly slain 7-headed Hydragon.
8) Allegiance! Will try to bind the wielder to the same force it serves. Roll 1d6 – 1 Law 2 Chaos 3 The Balance 4 Hell 5 Heaven 6 Itself!
9) Home! The weapon seeks to return to its home, and will desert the wielder should it get there. Roll 1d6 = 1 Armory of The Entropy Lords at the End of Time 2 In the hand of the Eight Armed Death Goddess Khali 3 With the Deep Dwarves who dwell below Mount Badoom 4 In the Tomb of the Hero Beneath the Hill from whence it was stolen 5 In the hidden shrine of the Scarlett Swordmaidens who slay all men and enslave all women on sight 6 In the Plane of Things were people don’t exist and all objects are sentient.
10) Nemesis! The weapon has an identical opposite wielded by another hero somewhere. The weapon can feel where its nemesis is and nudges its wielder towards a confrontation with it. It cares not whether its wielder wins or loses, just that the battle continue.
11) Blood & Souls! The weapon feeds on the flesh and spirit of those slain with it, and must feed upon a dozen souls every fortnight or turn on its wielder.
12) Roll twice and apply both. If the same agenda is rolled again, substitute with the next down the list.

All runic weapons share certain basic abilities.
1.        They can either do maximum damage or roll double the amount of dice for damage.
2.        They cannot be thrown away or destroyed, and will magically appear back in the wielder’s sheath.
3.        They cannot be surprised, and will automatically attack first against surprise attackers.
4.        They will kill all opponents, and will refuse to do stunning damage, instead always going for lethal hits.
5.        On a fumble, they automatically attack the closest ally of the wielder, some say out of jealousy.
6.        In addition, they have one Overt Power which they usually let the wielder know about and use, and one Covert Power which they normally keep to themselves and employ when it furthers their aim. Weapons can withhold or use either type of Powers at any time so long as it furthers their aims.
7.        Runeweapons can talk, but only do so the moment they slay their wielder.

OVERT POWERS Can be used once per session. Roll 1d12.

1) Blind – The weapon creates a dazzling sparkle that temporarily blinds 1-4 foes instead of an attack.
2) Elemental Attack – The weapon can cause an attack. Roll 1d6 = 1 Flame Burst (damage and item destruction) 2 Wind Blast (damage, blindness & knock back) 3 Water Punch (damage & drowning) 4 Rock Barrage (damage & concussion) 5 Lightning Bolt (damage & blindness) 6 Ice Dagger (damage & immobility).
3) Celerity – The weapon doubles the wielder’s speed and attacks.
4) Vorpality – The weapon breaks through mundane weapons, armor and shields. It can also negate the effects of magic armor.
5) Berserker – The weapon makes the wielder immune to all pain, fear, and sleep effects, and can fight until literally hacked to pieces.
6) Summon Allies – The weapon summons the undead corpses of the last creatures it slew to fight at its side.
7) Elemental Shield – The weapon can make a shield of one type of element that nullifies its opposite. Roll 1d6 = 1 Flame Buckler (vs plants or flesh) 2 Wind Target (vs arrows) 3 Water Wall (vs fire or insects) 4 Rock Wall (vs charging creatures) 5 Energy Field (vs firearms) 6 Ice Blockade (vs reptiles).
8) Duplication – The weapon can make 1d6 duplicates of the wielder appear to confuse its enemies.
9) Vampire – The weapon steals vitality from foes it kills to heal the wielder.
10) Levitate – The weapon can slowly lift the wielder, or slow their fall.
11) Recall – The weapon can be thrown or launch itself to attack an enemy in sight then return to the wielder’s hand.
12) Roll twice and apply both. If the same power is rolled again, substitute with the next down the list.

COVERT POWERS Can be used once per session. Roll 1d12.
1) Intangibility – The weapon can pass through solid objects, dropping through floors, hiding in pillars, etcetera.
2) Invisibility – The weapon can pass from sight, although it stays in the same place.
3) Charm Person – The weapon takes control of an NPC and has them do its bidding for a day.
4) Teleport Self – The weapon instantly disappears in one spot and reappears in another in the same building, dungeon or forest.
5) Polymorph Self – The weapon takes on the appearance of another object. Roll 1d6 = 1 Old rusty shield 2 A pair of boots 3 A dead rabbit 4 A head of lettuce 5 A spinning wheel 6 A bear trap.
6) Insect Swarm – The weapon summons 1d10x100 insects who attack anyone it chooses.
7) Wall of Blades – The weapon is surrounded by a whirling wall of magical blades who slice anyone attempting to pass through them.
8) Illusion – The weapon creates an illusion in the mind of all onlookers. Either reroll on this table and use the result as the illusion or make up a suitable one yourself.
9) Animate Objects = All objects in the room come to life and do the weapon’s bidding for one day. Curtains can strangle, chairs kick, and tables ram foes.
10) Fire Body – The weapon sprouts a pair of legs, arms, and head made of flame that can carry it around, pick up inflammable objects, and attack foes.
11) Demon Servant – The weapon summons a demon servant who will do one task for it. Roll 1d6 for demon type = 1 Imp, weak but can fly 2 Satyr, equal to men but can Mesmerize with its pipe playing 3 Hellhound, larger than men with flame breath 4 Firedrake, great fire-breathing flame serpent with wings 5 Balrog, strong, winged and flamewhip wielding 6 Flame princess, kind yet can steal the heart of any man who then immolates himself in her arms.
12) Roll twice and apply both. If the same power is rolled again, substitute with the next down the list.

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