Another Collection of +1 Magical Swords

So last week I stumbled across "On Magical +1 Swords" at the Hack & Slash blog, which was the latest in a series of a excellent posts on old-school magical blades (check out the rest: Different Magic Swords: A Proposal by JD Jarvis, Evocative +1 Sword Replacements by Gus L, and Weird Swords and Not Swords by Arnold K). 

The idea behind the series is to create interesting, colourful weapons with compelling stories, abilities and drawbacks.  They don't necessarily need to be insanely powerful - not every weapon will be Excalibur, Stormbringer or Shieldbreaker - but there should never be such a thing as "just a +1 sword" either.

I love me some magical swords. Magical swords are probably the reason I started playing D&D in the first place (greatest magic sword ever? The lightsaber), so I had to throw my two cents in here.  Or two feet.  Of steel, that is.

Some of these I've actually used in campaigns and some are brand new that I've just brainstormed this week, so I have no idea how useful or interesting they would be in actual play.  All of them are intended to be +1 or +2 weapons, though they would work just as well with no enhancement bonus at all.

Caitiff's Blade

A dark-grey or black bladed short sword that provides a +2 bonus to hit unarmed, surprised or otherwise unaware opponents. It deals double-damage on such attacks. If the wielder already has a damage multiple (such as a thief’s backstabbing ability), then increase the multiplier by one (i.e., from x2 to x3).

The wielder of the blade finds himself more and more compelled to take advantage of the weapon's cowardly abilities the longer he possesses it. He also begins to loath facing opponents in fair combat. After using the blade in battle for the first time, the wielder must thereafter make a saving throw vs. spell every time he faces an opponent of equal or greater ability in a fair fight, or be forced to flee in fear for 1d4 rounds. Each month the wielder owns the blade adds a -1 penalty to this save.

Also, the wielder's growing shiftiness and unsavory nature grants a -1 penalty on NPC reaction checks, and few people (if anyone) will ever trust his word.


This pure iron-forged long sword is dull grey and pitted.  It dents and nicks easily and will rust quickly if not properly cared for.  It was forged by pilgrims trying to clear native faeries out of a freshly-settled land. Its bare iron blade is anathema to faeries, pixies, brownies and their ilk.

Faeblight deals an extra 1d6 damage on hits against fae creatures, and its wounds are painful and slow to heal due to the metal fragments acting like poison in their blood.  Faeries are also sickened and weakened by the very presence of the blade.  When drawn, all faeries within 15 feet of the wielder suffer a -1 penalty to their attack rolls, saving throws and morale checks.

Fae-kind abhor the blade and will do anything, including fight to the death, to destroy anyone who brings the Faeblight onto their ancestral lands.

Depending on the campaign, the abilities of Faeblight may also affect elves as at the DM’s discretion.

Beaver Cleaver

Once upon a time, an evil wizard attempted to bring demonic servants from another world into our land, as evil wizards are wont to do. His summoning was flawed however, and the demons came through twisted and malformed. Oddly, they looked like ravenous beavers.

(The aquatic, wood-chewing, dam-building kind)

To combat this plague of tree-rending evil, the heroes of the land forged The Beaver Cleaver, a wide-bladed, dark brown long sword modeled in a style to resemble a beaver's tail.

Against demon beavers, the Cleaver acts as a +3 weapon, and banishes the creature back to hell on a critical hit. As a weird side-effect, the sword has identical effects against normal, dire and were- beavers, granting the additional bonus and disintegrating them on a critical hit.

When struck against a still pool of water, the Cleaver makes a resounding boom that summons all beavers (demonic or otherwise) in a 1-mile radius. They may or may not attack the wielder depending on their natural behaviour and alignment.  They will certainly be confused, as the sound generated by the strike is actually a beaver mating call.

Masuta Bokken

This thin, slightly curved wooden practice sword is surprisingly heavy - hidden inside the dark worn wood is a solid core of iron.

The weapon is so heavy that it grants a -2 penalty to hit, and in normal combat it deals damage as a club, though it is favoured by warriors as a strength-building tool.

The weapon was actually commissioned by mean-spirited swordmasters to teach harsh lessons to their students. Against an un-armoured opponent (such as a student in a training robe) the Bokken does twice the damage of a long sword (or katana, if such weapons are used in your campaign). Fortunately such damage is not lethal - a character reduced to 0 hp by the Bokken Masuta is merely knocked out, not killed.

Huo'ra Verimija

This leather scabbard, adorned with blood-red stones, is oddly warm to the touch though it has no other immediately obvious abilities.  A sword stored in this sheath for at least a week will unlock the rest of its powers.

Once per day, if the sword is returned to the scabbard with a trace of blood from a wounded foe, the wielder will regain 1d6 hit points. The next time the blade is drawn it will be perfectly clean.

If a day passes however when the scabbard doesn't taste the blood of an enemy, it will leech energy from its owner in the form of 1d6 damage.  This effect occurs even if the sword and/or scabbard is not immediately in the character’s possession.

If the wielder loses possession of the huo'ra for at least a week, the connection is broken and must be re-established.  If a different blade is stored in the huo'ra for seven days, it will create a new connection to this new master.

Art by Ethan Quin

The Laughing Edge of Effervescent Fate

This exquisitely-crafted katana was originally owned by a mad clown with a twisted sense of humour.  As he had no (legitimate) children, and no students who could last more than a lesson or two with him, the sword was not passed down to an heir as is usually the case with such weapons. Its location is currently unknown.  It seems to crop up from time to time when fancy takes it, and then vanishes just as unexpectedly.

The sword has a cross guard decorated with sobbing sparrows and laughing cats.  The handle is wrapped in intricately knotted pink silk cord, but the craftsman seems to have gotten bored part way through and the last half of the handle is just haphazardly wrapped and tied in a crude knot.  The pommel is shaped like a large smiling fish head, and a large pom-pom hangs off the hilt by a glittering red ribbon.

On a natural to-hit roll of “20,” The Laughing Edge has a 50% chance of inflicting triple damage and severing a limb as a sword of sharpness.  The other 50% of the time, it automatically misses and knocks its wielder off his feet, inflicting 1d6 damage to the wielder in the process.

On a natural to-hit roll of “14,” The Laughing Edge automatically misses, no matter what the target’s armor class.

On a natural to-hit roll of “7,” The Laughing Edge automatically hits and does double damage.

On a natural to-hit roll of “1,” roll % dice and consult the following table:
01-50 The Laughing Edge releases a brilliant flash of light and deafening cacophony of high-pitched laughter.  All creatures with 10 feet (including the wielder) must make 2 separate saves vs spell against blindness and deafness.  If the throws are failed, each effect lasts for one turn. 
51-99 The attack automatically hits and does half-damage.
00 The Laughing Edge vanishes, never to be seen by the wielder again.

So what do you think? If you like these weapons, let me know.  If you don't, then also let me know.  We'll have a good-old fashioned Internet flame-war.  Follow me on Twitter @CDGallantKing and we can continue our discussion over there.  Share this post with all your friends (using those handy buttons below) and get them to come gang up on me, too.  I don't care.  I'll take you all on!


  1. I like the scabbard.... But does it have to have the blood of an enemy, or just blood? Could I maybe cut one of my own party each day to punish them for killing a cat? Would that satisfy it?

    1. I had assumed it would be the blood of an enemy damaged in combat; the scabbard craves violence and death. But you could certainly rule that any blood would fulfill the requirement - as long as it doesn't belong to the wielder (you can't cut your own hand).

      Thanks for reading!

  2. I like the Caitiff's blade. There are players who almost never get into fair fights, and so the penalty will rarely apply to them. So that's interesting, I think.

    Clown samurai sword is also great flavor.

    1. That's the good thing about a cursed blade - it seems like a great deal, but eventually the penalties will come into play. If the players is cool with them though, it adds some great character-building flavour.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


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