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Monday, November 9, 2020

On Magic Weapons by Racial Background (more campaign design thoughts)

So, I've been working on tables to randomly generate magic weapons, because cookie-cutter magic is boring and not magical ;)

While working on the tables, it occurred to me that weapons created by dwarves would be enchanted via a different method than those of men, or elves.

  • Dwarven magic weapons would be made of mithral or adamantine, perhaps with precious metals added to the mix. Magic would be centered more on bonuses to damage, with other powers (rock breaking, goblin slaying, or the like) centered on what would be most useful in dwarven culture.
  • Elven magic weapons would be lighter and intricately embellished. Made of steel or specially enchanted ironwood, bonuses to hit would be the focus. Elven weapons often come enchanted with spell-like powers, such as flight, charm, or alter self.
  • Human magic weapons are almost crude compared to those of dwarves and elves. Focused. As the human life span is short compared to their longer-lived brethren, less time is spent in the creation and their abilities are often crude but effective (drain health from the target and give it to the wielder, but wielder no longer heals naturally). Powers usually come with an offsetting curse. Such is the way with those so shortsighted.
These basic assumptions are helping to flesh out the item generation lists, the first of which I hope to share with you tomorrow.

Note: artwork copyright John Buckley, used with permission.

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1 comment:

  1. Yep, I always thought each race's magic would play to its strengths.
    Dwarves, being miners, hit things. Finesse is secondary. Axes that retain the fire of the forge, hammers that cancel magic like an avalanche.

    Elves, being fey, are ethereal. Distraction certainly. Bows crafted with the last days of autumn, swords ensorcled with the bite of the first frost, and delicate chain armor that can hide the wearer in morning mist.

    Orcs are conquerors, slavers, so use blood magic and sacrifice to power their magic. So, not weapons, but their shamans will drink the blood of prisoners or supplicants to power the rage-magic.

    Humans take a middle road to all these.

    The hard part has been getting players to understand that these are different. "How can I use the elven bow? What's the bonus to hit?" I'm toying with the idea that the answer is "you're not an elf, you don't know." Dwarf magic works for dwarves, but not humans because they don't understand the soul of a mountain. Maybe orc magic works for humans, because why wouldn't it? Evil likes to spread, so a human learning the orc blood ritual and damning his own soul is perfectly fine.

    Fun things to play through, that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete

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