Sentient Swords

From OSE SRD

If a magic sword possesses sentience (see Swords for the likelihood), the procedure on this page may be used to determine its powers. (Alternatively, the referee may select its qualities as desired.)

Rolling a Sentient Sword

  1. Special purpose: If the sword has a special purpose, see Special Purpose of Sentient Swords to determine what it is.
  2. Intelligence and personality: The sword’s INT is 1d6+6. (Swords imbued with a special purpose always have INT 12.) The sword has its own personality and should be played as an NPC.
  3. Communication: The sword’s INT determines the means by which it can communicate. See the table to the right.
    1. Empathy: The sword cannot communicate directly, but empathically informs the wielder of its powers and how to use them.
    2. Speech: The sword speaks out loud. The number of languages it knows is indicated by rolling on the languages table, to the right. Languages should be selected by the referee.
    3. Reading: The sword can read all languages it can speak, as well as magical inscriptions.
  4. Alignment: See the table to the right.
  5. Powers: The sword’s INT determines the number of powers it has. See the table to the right. Powers are described in the following pages.
  6. Ego: Sentient swords have an Ego rating—a measure of their force of personality. This is rolled on 1d12. Swords imbued with a special purpose always have an Ego of 12.

Using a Sentient Sword

Sentient swords grant the wielder special powers beyond those of a normal magic sword, but using one also carries risks.

Activating Powers

  • In hand: To use a power, the sword must be in the wielder’s hand.
  • Concentration: The wielder must concentrate to activate a power.

Alignment

The alignment of the sword can only be determined by touching it. Doing so may incur damage if the character is of a different alignment to the sword:

  • Lawful swords: Inflict 1d6 damage per round to neutral characters and 2d6 per round to chaotic characters.
  • Neutral swords: Inflict 1d6 damage per round to non-neutral characters.
  • Chaotic swords: Inflict 1d6 damage per round to neutral characters and 2d6 per round to lawful characters.

Control

A sentient sword has its own personality and can, at times, attempt to exercise control over the person who wields it. A control check (see below) is triggered in any of the following circumstances:

  • First contact: Upon the character first touching the sword.
  • Wounded: When the character is reduced to half hit points or less.
  • Jealousy: When another magic weapon comes into the character’s possession.
  • Alignment difference: Upon every use, if the sword and the character are of different alignments.
  • Special purpose: If the sword has a special purpose: every time the special purpose is applicable. (e.g. when encountering a character or creature of the type the sword is designed to slay.)

Control Checks

When one of the aforementioned circumstances occurs, a control check is required:

  1. Determine the sword’s Will score:
    1. The sum of its INT and Ego.
    2. Add one for each extraordinary power the sword has.
    3. Add 1d10 if the sword and the wielder of are different alignments.
  2. Determine the wielder’s Will score:
    1. The sum of STR and WIS scores.
    2. If the character has less than full hit points, Will is reduced by 1d4 (or 2d4 if the character has less than half hit points).
  3. Compare the Will scores. If the sword’s Will score is higher, it takes control of the character’s actions.

When the Sword Takes Control

The referee determines the behaviour of the character, via the sword, for example:

  • Jealousy: Discarding other weapons, or ignoring newly discovered magic weapons.
  • Glory: Charging into battle, in order to gain glory for the sword.
  • Surrender: To a foe whom the sword deems either more worthy of possessing it or more susceptible to being controlled.
  • Indulgence: Making lavish expenditures for the sword. Purchasing expensive sheaths, having jewels fitted, having enchantments and wards applied, etc. The sword may force the character to spend most of their money on such things!

Ending Control

Once in control, the sword will only release the character when the circumstance that triggered the control check is over or when the sword is otherwise satisfied.

Extraordinary Powers

See Extraordinary Powers of Sentient Swords for more.

Sensory Powers

See Sensory Powers of Sentient Swords for more.

Special Purpose

See Special Purpose of Sentient Swords for more.