If a magic sword possesses sentience (see Swords, p<?> for the likelihood), the procedure on this page may be used to determine its powers. (Alternatively, the referee may select its qualities as desired.)
- 1 Rolling a Sentient Sword
- 2 Using a Sentient Sword
- 3 Control
- 4 Extraordinary Powers
- 5 Sensory Powers
- 6 Special Purpose
Rolling a Sentient Sword
- Special purpose: If the sword has a special purpose, see Special Purpose, p<?> to determine what it is.
- 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.
- Communication: The sword’s INT determines the means by which it can communicate. See the table to the right.
- Empathy: The sword cannot communicate directly, but empathically informs the wielder of its powers and how to use them.
- 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.
- Reading: The sword can read all languages it can speak, as well as magical inscriptions.
- Alignment: See the table to the right.
- 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.
- 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.
- In hand: To use a power, the sword must be in the wielder’s hand.
- Concentration: The wielder must concentrate to activate a power.
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.
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.)
When one of the aforementioned circumstances occurs, a control check is required:
- Determine the sword’s Will score:
- The sum of its INT and Ego.
- Add one for each extraordinary power the sword has.
- Add 1d10 if the sword and the wielder of are different alignments.
- Determine the wielder’s Will score:
- The sum of STR and WIS scores.
- 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).
- 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!
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.
See Extraordinary Powers of Sentient Swords for more.
Each sensory power should be rolled on the table below, with duplicates re-rolled.
Usage frequency: Unless a power’s description notes otherwise, it may be used without limit.
Sentient Sword Sensory Powers
|Detect evil or good|
|Detect shifting architecture|
|Locate secret doors|
|See invisible objects|
|Roll an extraordinary power|
|Roll twice again on this table|
Detect Evil or Good
The wielder can sense the intention to do evil or good within 20’. (Note: some potentially harmful things—e.g. animals, traps—are not evil.)
The sword will point in the direction of any gems within 60’.
- Count: The wielder is also informed of the number of gems present.
- Obstruction: Lead blocks this power.
Up to three times a day, the sword can detect magic within 20’. On command, the magic may be caused to glow.
The sword will point in the direction of metal of a named type within 60’.
- Obstruction: Lead blocks this power.
Detect Shifting Architecture
The wielder can locate shifting walls or rooms up to 10’ distant.
The wielder can sense sloped floors within 10’.
Up to three times a day, the wielder can sense traps within 10’.
Locate Secret Doors
Up to three times a day, the wielder can find all secret doors within 10’.
See Invisible Objects
The wielder can see invisible or concealed objects up to 20’ distant. (This power does not reveal secret doors.)
Some sentient swords are also imbued with a special purpose. The purpose of such swords is typically to slay a certain type of character or creature. The purpose may be rolled on the table below, or the referee may invent others.
Sentient Sword Special Purpose
|Type of Target to be Slain|
|Arcane spell casters|
|Divine spell casters|
|Warriors (e.g. fighters or other primarily combat-oriented, non-spell casting classes, including non-spell casting demihumans)|
|Specific type of monster (determine randomly)|
|Lawful creatures (or chaotic creatures if the sword is lawful)|
|Chaotic creatures (or lawful creatures if the sword is chaotic)|
In addition to their sensory and extraordinary powers, swords of special purpose have an extra power when used to achieve their designated purpose (e.g. when attacking the enemy the sword was designed to slay). This power depends on the sword’s alignment:
- Lawful: Chaotic foes hit by the sword must save versus spells or be paralysed.
- Neutral: The wielder gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws.
- Chaotic: Lawful foes hit by the sword must save versus spells or be turned to stone.