Okay so this was originally the post for Swordtember days 5-10 of 2022, but I never posted it and here we are now. It has been converted to the ultimate half-remembered catch-up, featuring days 5-30 of Swordtember 2022, so I can get it out of the way and move on to posting yet other, newer catch-up posts.
I’ve left the original 5-10 text unchanged but the 11-30 stuff is new, written in Swor… September 2023. The images are from September of 2022, though. Most of them were posted on my Instagram back then, but the last few days of the event I never got around to posting. In fact, I’m not certain I completed the artwork for them entirely, so you may get some unfinished doodles at the end. We’ll find out together as I write and assemble this post!
On with the show!
We now reconvene for more Swordtember art, just because grouping it here is a good way to keep things neat and tidy and to expand on the things I write under the character limits of various social media sites. I’m still having lots of fun with Swordtember and I am glad I took on this challenge.
Day 5: Edible
Schwertkeks, the cookies of the valley halflings:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2-3/4 cups flour
8 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- Melt chocolate in a bowl over a boiling saucepan of water. Set aside to cool slightly; it should still be easily stirred.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and chocolate.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour and cinnamon thoroughly and then carefully add to the chocolate mixture until evenly combined.
- Divide dough into two halves, roll into discs the size of plates, and wrap in waxed paper. Place in a cool cellar or an iced-over windowsill for 30 minutes (or zap with a frost spell). It should be easy to roll.
- Heat an oven to 350F.
- Use a small amount of flour and sugar on your counter and roll the dough to 1/4″ thickness; trim into 2″ cookies in the shape of swords (in honor of the Festival of Blades), or into 2″ shields if you’re one of those inbred hill halflings who abide by the Law of the Buckler.
- Place 1″ apart from each other on an ungreased iron platter and bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes or until edges firm up. Cool on wire racks.
- Ice with your preferred mixture of sugary confection for decoration.
- Consume for second breakfast on the Day of Sabers with good company (no dwarves, hillfolk, or adventurers!)
This is a real recipe, you can actually bake it. My wife picked it at random on the internet and dictated it to me after I drew the cookie, so I am a little fuzzy on the specifics of its origin. If you cook this please tell me if it was good or if it poisoned you. Halflings can be crafty!
Day 6: Liquid
This is it. This is the prompt that truly made me do Faith Schaffer’s list. The previous five days were just a warmup for this. The rest of the month is merely an obligation I must fulfill to justify doing day 6.
Liquid Swords is one of the best hiphop albums of all time. I’ve been a lifelong Wu fan. Like, really, really big fan of the Wu; listen to them throughout the week, every week, etc. Huge fan. The minute I saw LIQUID as a prompt I knew what had to be done: the GZA must be immortalized. If nothing else on this blog stands as a testament to my existence I hope this does.
For the uninitiated, here’s Liquid Swords in its entirety from a few sources. Get down with this classic solo project!
And here’s a classic meme just because:
Seriously though, listen to Wu-Tang, now and forever.
Day 7: Mirror
Zabar is an elvish artifact from a bygone age of courtly intrigue and danger, when assassination was as commonplace as poetry in the pavilions of the faefolk. Meant to be constant companions, mirror swords such as this were once very fashionable accessories and served many purposes: seeing invisible spies and would-be murderers chief among them, but also fixing one’s lovely hair and elaborate jewelry, stabbing rivals, and deflecting various curses meant to turn flesh to stone in the gorgon-guarded gardens so popular in those days. They were also a thinly-veiled warning that the bearer was guarded and ready, perhaps making some half-baked plotters rethink their schemes. Each mirror sword was ornately decorated in the styles of recognizable artists and named by its commissioner.
Sadly, much of Zabar’s most potent powers are lost to the ravages of time and tarnish, hidden beneath verdigris laid by centuries of neglect. An elvish artisan versed in the schools of sorcerous polishing could probably restore it to its prior glory, mind you.
1d6 dmg, +1 to AC while actively in use. Reflect gorgon petrification.
See invisible at-will in its shiny surfaces.
Day 8: Veined
Imperial Marmoris was once a thriving kingdom where quarries and mines dotted mountains and valleys and great stoneworks unlike any other in the surface world became the things of legend. Massive aqueducts decorated with intricate carvings telling the story of thousands of years of royal history ran from glacier lakes to towns and cities. Pillars topped with arches and incredible sculptures marked the miles and forks of every road, and bridges with incredible geometry built wide enough for a dozen dozen chariots to cross abreast spanned rushing rivers and ravines.
Here you find one of the last relics of the Sundered Kingdom, decades after the rest of Marmoris was brought to ruin and its monuments were crushed to gravel by Snaldr, Tyrant King of the Fire Giants. The Sword of Marmoris is a hand-and-a-half longsword with a pale, off-white marble stone blade, a golden brassy hilt, and a russet leather grip. Despite its age, it looks no worse for the wear. Its pommel is a transparent, bluish, ovoid rock crystal held by golden claws. It is said this weapon comes from the royal armories themselves, and some say it can cut through armor and weapons of normal mortal make on a roll of 19-20.
It was either this or an eggplant emoji with a hilt, for this prompt. I read it and I was like, “Come on, am I being punked?” That’s the kind of prompt that makes you look around for hidden cameras.
Day 9: Floral
This one was a really peaceful and easy one to draw while watching TV. I suppose the Roman pugio is the real inspiration here, being similarly broad knives somewhere between a dagger and a short sword. Honestly it’s common for me to draw Roman-style swords even when it’s not Swordtember.
Day 10: Snake
The death cult is a fevered whisper now, used to keep kids in line and remind adults that happiness loves silence – but it wasn’t always so mythical, and traces of it remain in shadows even today – perhaps even Serpentongue lurks still! Serpentongue, a horrible artifact of the death cult which once plagued the kingdom and very nearly undid it through their sorcerous machinations, murders, and outright rebellion. Serpentongue was forged for assassins to ply their fatal trade on the proponents of order and justice and servants of the light and life. A grip of coppery snake scales, a guard of a fanged snake head, and a bisected blade resembling cruel fangs leave no room for misunderstanding the sword’s intent. It was believed lost after the final great battle between good and evil when an army of goodly knights marched on their profane temple of doom.
Being magical, it is actually an intelligent entity, and serves as a Longsword +1. It hates holy paladins and clerics and seeks to slay them. It is enchanted to inflict cruel, caustic wounds on its foes, and hissing neon green venom drips from the snake’s tongue down the length of its blades. This venomous coating causes a save vs poison on successful hits, and failure means the victim takes 1d4 extra damage at the start of the following turn – however, when fighting foes in line with its malign agenda, Serpentongue’s venom becomes much more potent – forcing instead a save vs paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d4 turns. Worse still, once it has thusly incapacitated a holy foe, all subsequent hits cause a save vs death roll! Conversely, when fighting fellow truly evil creatures, it refuses to excrete its magical toxins at all and behaves as a mundane sword without bonus.
Day 11: Neon
As I recall I posted this one to Twitter rather than Instagram but my memory is a bit fuzzy. I mostly used this prompt as an excuse to play with some funny brushes in Procreate because I am not nearly artistic enough to generate neon glow without the aid of brush sorcery.
Day 12: Woven
Oh, look at the time – it’s Roman-sword-o-clock. I truly doodle a stupid number of swords as a weird relaxation thing and Roman gladius and later spatha-type weapons are probably the most numerous. I just like their proportions!
Day 13: Hidden
Behold Wraithbite, a magical dagger for assassins and other dastardly types. To quote my Instagram from back when I posted this the first time:
“A cruciform stiletto in pale, gleaming metal. At the guard is a grinning skull. It is surrounded by otherworldly mists. The dagger is made of Geist Iron, a possibly supernatural metal worked by ghoulish hands, and is hard to see as a result. In moonlight, it borders on invisible. Because of this unnatural origin, Wraithbite can be hidden from searches by Thief class characters. It is a +1 dagger; on a critical hit roll of 20, it does 1 CON damage. It works with the Thief’s sneak attack/back stab feature (if applicable to your system). The owner of Wraithbite may turn into mist once per day as long as they possess the dagger.”
Good luck to all thugs, murderers, hooligans, miscreants, crooks, cutpurses, and reavers out there hunting for Wraithbite – I’ve heard rumors it is owned by the feared sorcerer-thief Margul of the Wastes and kept in his lair deep below the crypts of the old ones!
Day 14: Witch
One of my favorite pieces of Swordtember 2022 art is Witch. To quote my contemporaneous Instagram post:
“Here’s a ceremonial dagger of jade, used by the swamp coven of the frog cult, who consort with a miserable Death Slaad and his swarms of insect attendants. The handle is richly carved with intricate depictions of Slaad, insectoid demons, skulls, turtles, and swamp hags with the tortured faces of those they’ve tormented with hexes and curses.”
Day 15: Dual Purpose
Also from Instagram all those months ago:
“The Chef’s Special is much more like a bardiche or battleaxe in use than the overgrown kitchen cleaver it resembles. It’s made of hammered iron with a razor sharp blade and olive wood handles riveted through its full-length tang with brass studs. It is the perfect weapon for a cook gone rogue or a rogue needing to cook.
Damage as battleaxe. Treat as +1 against plants and plant-based creatures. If your game has downtime and this weapon is used to prepare food in the downtime, any who consume that food heal twice as fast as the normal rate.”
Day 16: Shell
I remember struggling with this because I am not a very well-rounded or learned artist, I just doodle stuff, and so I frankly lack the knowledge it takes to get a clear mental image down on paper the way I see it. I remember restarting this image like four times because of frustration and perfectionism which is kind of an ongoing battle for me in all aspects of life. It turned out okay but it’s one of those images that makes me wish I had gone to art school or something so I’d be better equipped to put the mental image on a page to share with everyone.
Day 17-18: Smoke & Glass
On an opposite note, here’s a pair of prompts I did together as a set which I was very happy with! To quote the Instagram:
“Two sacred artifacts of the paladin St Mortimer, used in his great crusade against the dread lich Lom Bar Di.
The first is a falchion with an enchanted censer chained to its pommel. Its broad, serrated blade is richly engraved with the words VIRTUS & AMARE and a priest with a bell and spear.
The second is a dagger with a large stained glass window in an an iron arch, from which the blade projects at its top; the glass is set with a design of beautiful rainbow halos surrounding a priestess holding the blessed infant and a bell.
The falchion, COURAGE + LOVE, is a +2 short sword; burning any incense in this censer grants Protection From Evil to all within 40′. The dagger, DIVINE SALVATION, is a +1 weapon; shining daylight through the glass onto an ally acts as a Cure Serious Wounds spell up to 4x per day. Owning the pair renders the bearer immune to diseases.”
The lich, of course, is named after Mikey Lombardi, friend to many over on Twitter.
Day 19: Heirloom
I enjoyed doing this one because I always loved when SNES JRPGs did the tricky gimmick of giving you a lame object early that, if kept, can later be upgraded or later becomes super awesome and can one-hit a specific monster or whatever. I loved that. So I made this weapon more or less the equivalent of that. I think at the time I was also flipping through AD&D 1E books a lot for some reason too. Anyway, quoth the Instagram:
“Here you find a rusted and battered sword of a bygone age, once the pride of an entire family line.
If its history is unraveled and it is taken to the forge that created it, perhaps it can be restored to its former glory.
As it sits today, this is ruined sword caked in decades of rust. The blade is chipped and flaking. The bronze guard – once decorated in a motif of clovers and peaches – is tarnished and notched from use and neglect. Abandoned for years, the pommel is missing and tattered rags are snagged on its rusted tang. Current condition, it is faintly magical, knowing the direction of its homestead while in sunlight from any distance and gently pulling that way, and also striking natural beasts as a +1 sword.
If restored at the forge that made it, it can be brought back to legendary glory, fit for new generations of warriors. It would gleam brightly as a +4 Defender (AD&D1e p 165) – a highly magical sword with INT 14, common language skill, and a lawful/good agenda. While in possession of it, the owner’s CHA gains a +1 bonus for all checks on commanding followers and hirelings/recruiting/morale.”
Day 20: Leaf
I enjoyed doing this one. I thought it up very early on in the process of looking at the prompts. Not terribly original, but fun. There’s a nice gesture of goodwill to my homeland of Canada and also some cool fey vibes here. I think this was posted to maybe Twitter but maybe I am misremembering. Day 19 was certainly the last of the Instagram posts, though, of this we can be sure!
Day 21: Lantern
This was probably the first one I thought up when I saw the prompt list and it was also one of the very first I drew, out of order. It was such an enticing idea I knew I wanted to do it right away. I love lanterns, in games and in real life, so I was super jazzed by this prompt and came up with the idea instantly. I was extremely proud of how I got it out onto the page, as well – I think this may have been the very best doodle of the entire Swordtember 2022 event as far as my work is concerned. I did this in bed and showed my wife like a goofy toddler as soon as I was done! Everything about this came to me so easy, even the lighting and shadow effects and the tree bark. Those things would usually stump me and prove to be very frustrating but for some reason they just clicked, probably because of enthusiasm maybe. Either way, I love this doodle.
Amberglow, +1 sword (+2 vs Chaos)
Serves only good alignments. “Fireflies” illuminate as torch and can be commanded to fly out of the lantern to illuminate any point within 120′.
The sword was fashioned by the half-elf smith Connak Riddle with lanterns to house the luminous magical fireflies that guided him to safety a hundred times or more when he helped the scion save the world during the Years of the Dagger – his way of passing an enchantment which had been his birthright on to future heroes with kind hearts
Day 22: Horn
I half-recall posting this to Twitter but maybe not. I’m not sure what I was thinking for the overall gimmick here but it feels heavy metal as hell so let’s roll with it.
Day 23: Chain
An odd one where I had the idea early and I didn’t hate the execution when I got around to putting the image together but I immediately decided that the face looked less like a voracious, thirsting vampire and more like a twisted mockery of a porn face. Happens to the best of us, right? I really did think I had a super cool idea for this one, though – a vampiric, blood-fueled whip made of barbed chain which can be ordered to fixate as a “blade” and which becomes more dangerous as it is fed blood.
Day 24: Coral
A second attempt at an underwater theme. I think the first was done on my cellphone of the time (a Samsung Note with a stylus) and this one was done in Procreate I imagine. I remember looking at lots of coral references but not having the patience or knowledge to get them quite right. Weird slinky water monster guy in the background racing you for the sword, though!
Day 25: Spider
Another sword I think I had an okay idea on and executed acceptably. I knew right away what I wanted to draw – a drow sword with the widows as the hilt basketed around the blade – but I didn’t draw it out of order because it was a bit intimidating.
Matriarch’s Rapier, +3 longsword
INT 13, Empathic, Evil
Heal 1x per day, Detect Invisible 1x per day, Drain HD/Level on all rolls of 20, Unholy Communion 1x per month (user must be hidden from the sun, may ask one question and will get an answer in line with Llolth’s goals)
A masterpiece of drow make, this blade has been enchanted by priestess of Llolth. To make a sword of this caliber, an order of monastic forge acolytes expose the hammered blade to the iridescent light of the Deep Moon, an immense opal jealously guarded by the dominant house holding sway in Llolth’s favor. Silversmiths shape delicate webs and spiders as decorative devotions to the Queen of All Spiders. Lastly, the tough red skin of the rays that glide so effortlessly in the subterranean seas is carefully tanned and bound to the hilt with gold and copper threads.
Day 26: Wooden
I think many of us growing up fashioned swords from sticks and imagined ourselves heroes and villains. Hell, we’re still doing it now!
Day 27: Pattern
And now we’re into the unfinished stuff.
This prompt was going to be a colorful love letter to World of Warcraft, a game I’ve played regularly since 2005 – a fact I am never prepared to reckon with when my mind starts in on the math. It’s a tiled pattern of Horde swords (pointing upwards, decorated with the tusks and dinged by warfare) and Alliance swords (pointing downwards, with a lion and some triforces, shiny and pristine like all dumb Alliance stuff).
I simply never got around to coloring this one.
Day 28: Asymmetrical
Another instance of an unfinished doodle, though less obviously so. I planned to add ribs and some other stuff to this one and never got around to it. I remember struggling with making a sword design that wasn’t blatantly obvious easymode and also not goofy and obnoxious. I don’t remember how many prior designs I had in mind but I have an unfinished sketch of at least one somewhere.
Bonechop, a sword said to be of Orc make. It is heavy and unwieldy, poorly balanced but devastating. Some say it will sever whole limbs!
Day 29: Crown
Another totally unfinished idea:
We can call it the biblically-accurate longsword. The idea was to have crowns rotating around crowns as a guard, with a stoic paladin face there and a crown again at the pommel. The blade would be orbited by bands of glowing sigils and letters and also four angelic wings. It was kind of a restatement of this doodle from like June or May of 2022:
…which may have been done with a cellphone and stylus, I think?
Day 30: Skull
And the final unfinished doodle – a design I was about a third of the way through. Very straightforward but was to be the most mechanically potent weapon in the list. I remember I knew what I wanted to draw right away for this prompt but I didn’t get around to it early.
Okay, well, there’s that band-aid ripped right off! Honestly I think dumping unfinished thoughts and doodles on here is kind of therapeutic for me in a way because, as I shared on Twitter a couple weeks back, I have always suffered from a perfectionist attitude in addition to attention deficit disorder (and probably partly because of it) and therefore have a truly astounding amount of unfinished, nearly-done, mostly-useful stuff sitting in folders and documents and notebooks because I bumped into a distraction or a difficulty or a defeatist sort of thought that prevented me from finishing. I need to be better about using this blog to store those things and, ideally, finishing something once in a blue moon. So I guess completing the posting of last year’s Swordtember during this year’s Swordtember is a pretty good way to start that!
Hopefully somebody out there gets some use of the magical swords and lore in these doodles and fits them into their home games! If you do, please do drop me a line and let me know – you can reach me in the comments down below or you can hit me up in the Mastodon– or Bluesky-shaped possum nests out back behind the trash fire formerly known as Twitter. I look forward to hearing about it!