Swordtember 2022: Days 1-4

Time for a Swordtember post, I suppose, because I need to write some stats for a big ol’ baddie and I also need to regurgitate lore that has been percolating in my mind since I started doodling swords for this event.

Day 1: Crystal

Dwarven Shardblade, +1 sword/+2 vs duergar and svirfneblin. A crystalline longs word with a cluster of rainbow crystals at the pommel and three round gems inset into the blade. Every swing hums a unique tone and trails a rainbow blur behind the sword. The inset cabochon gems have daily powers: blue, reroll damage and keep higher; green, force save vs paralysis on next hit; pink, heal 1d6+1 HP. The sword was manufactured by Dwarven quartzsmiths for their champions - a class of warriors called wardens - who defend their subterranean cities from dangerous incursion by the horrors in the underdark below.

Deep in the cavernous cities of the pious dwarves, who carve the pillars of crystal into glittering statues and cathedrals, the quartzsmiths – highest calling of dwarvenkind – fashion geodes and gemstones into arms and armor for their bravest souls. So armed, these wardens delve deeper still and stand guard against the horrors their mines uncover.

This one came super easily to me, and is part of why I chose to go with Faith Schaffer’s prompt list this year.

Day 2: Candle

A long sword stood upright, with a leather rain guard collar of the type found on the Cluny sword and others of its era. It has a wide, flat, wheel-type pommel of steel and a brass-colored guard. Atop the pommel sits a half-melted red candle, lit in memoriam to a fallen knight, which trails burnt wax down onto the hilt, guard, and collar.

A longsword with candle lit upon the pommel in memoriam to Sir Oleksiy, loving father and heroic son who bravely stood and faced down marauding orcs with his brothers until he drew his last breath in the ruins of the razed town of Sieve. May his soul find comfort in the feasts of Elysium, and long may his name ring in these hills.

Day 3: Gear

Clockwork Estoc, a finely-pointed rapier with a red sharkskin grip wrapped with silver wire, a red tassel, and plenty of whirring brass gears at the guard and pommel. 1d6 dmg. Every critical hit advances the main gear by one phase; there are 12 phases and each has its own power. You can track this by keeping a d12 out and changing the face showing each time the phase changes on a critical hit. 1. +2 to hit 2. Dmg die now d8 3. User may teleport up to 20’ on a max dmg roll 4. Max dmg roll knock targets (Lrg or smaller) prone 5. Each consecutive hit on a target adds +1 to dmg rolls against it until it dies, is missed, or the user changes targets 6. Extra attack per turn 7. +1 bonus to AC 8. Max dmg rolls dizzy the target, they save vs para or are dazed and sickened for 2 turns 9. Dmg die now d4 10. All hits knock enemy (Lrg or smaller) backwards 5’ 11. Max dmg rolls sunder target’s shield, melee weapon, or armor in that order 12. Reroll all min dmg rolls.

Constructed by the Thyatian artificer Flarius during his infamous and quite public descent into madness after reading a cursed text on lost equations, this sword is an example of advanced clockwork in the dwarven traditions of crystalline resonances and captured lightning. Each phase of the main, driving gear generates a different frequency and results in a different, experimental and frankly unstable power.

Somehow I actually skipped doing this prompt and did Day 4 instead, and only realized this the morning of 03 September – so I had to rush through this design while watching a nature documentary after work later on in the day than usual. I think it’s a fun little sword though!

Day 4: Elemental

A sword elemental is a large, mostly mindless creature, an amalgam of iron and brass. It is shaped from twisted armor and swords. It looks like a potbelly stove pricked as a pincushion by dozens of swords. In its chest is a gaping maw, its teeth hundreds of daggers and sword points; for arms it has sometimes up to four bladed appendages which whirl and lash violently. It clanks inexorably around the forge it was warped into existence from, long after that forge has fallen to ruin until no signs of life are near; it may then slumber for centuries, rusting and tarnishing, until people draw close once more - then it shatters the rust with a horrible scream of metal grinding on metal and begins to kill any who come too close as if the ages of disrepair had never occurred

The sword elemental is formed when surges of horrible magic flood through forges, such as when wizards raze cities to the ground in wartime or demolish their tower and adjacent castle complex with malign rituals gone wrong. The resultant creature is essentially mindless, made of wrought steel tongs and iron blades and armor bits in the shape of a bipedal potbelly stove stuck through by dozens of swords. They have one to four “arms”, slashing appendages made of sabers and scimitars. In their center they have a gnashing maw with daggers for teeth. Though they do not speak, they are loud nonetheless, as their metal scrapes and grinds as they patrol around the ruined remains of their territory. They will kill all living things in this immediate area and then slumber until life comes nearby once more, sometimes remaining still so long they begin rusting in place. Though caked in oxidized metal, their magic origin prevents actual damage from resulting and they will suddenly burst forth from the corrosion to kill encroaching beings.

Sword Elemental

Number Appearing: 1-4
HD: 6
AC: 3
Move: 120′ (40′)
Attacks: 1d4 (decided at generation; number of arms present) sword swings per turn
Save As: Fighter 2
Morale: 12
Treasure: 1d4 mundane swords of varying style, 1-in-100 chance of magic sword.
Alignment: Neutral, but vehemently unfriendly
Immune to sleep, charm, hold person spells; cannot be reasoned with. Unable to communicate as it lacks language or comprehension.

That does it for the first batch! I’ve had a ton of fun working through this prompt list so far and I am especially happy with a few pieces. I look forward to posting those. Hopefully some of these get some use at someone’s table, though I think a few of them will get used in my Gygax ’75 project as well, so that should be fun. Let me know what you thought of these, or link your own Swordtember entries in the comments below!

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