Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 25 - Favorite Magic Item (D&D 30 Day Challenge)

I'll stay away from the classics for this one. My favorite magic items are those that manage to establish a personal connection with the characters. Of the top of my head I'd go with the cursed halberd one of my players "created". It nearly made the "craziest moment" in the challenge, but it really was just funny as hell.

It all began with a fumble. The character was a level 1 fighter and they were exploring a cave of mutated goblins. Anyway, he rolled the "1" and at the time we still used the Arduin Fumble Tables. He rolled the d100 and came up with a 99:
Fun fact: The Arduin Grimoire was the first to introduce Critical Hits and Fumbles into D&D (the scan was found here).

He critted himself. With a halberd. Being level 1, he couldn't possibly survive it. And he rolled an immense amount of damage. What made us laugh so hard was the players look and his question: "But... how?!" We ever since try to explain how he'd managed to kill himself with a halberd. As of yet it's inconclusive...

But the weapon kept killing those using it.

I kid you not, the same player lost his next character with the same weapon and another (not so harsh, but it was enough...) fumble. The player didn't have the chance to make a third character (busy life and all that), but they carried it along and finally, another player started to use the weapon and (you're already seeing where this is headed) he killed himself with a fumble!

The weapon was cursed, they were sure of it. Nobody would touch it after that and they left it behind to kill someone else.

Does that count as a magic item? I'd say so and the players sure believed it, superstitious bunch they are.

After that we also stopped using the Arduin Tables.


  1. JD, this is just a fantastic cursed item! I just love that they determined it was cursed themselves.

    1. It also was a lot of fun to feed their wild assumptions. As soon as you have something like this going, you can't do much wrong in cranking it up as much as possible. At some point they feared a "Return of the Halberd" and they wouldn't use those weapons ever since because some of them believe it brings bad luck to the table!

      I guess it could be worth checking out further what aspect of the game that is (it ain't rules or mechanics...) and how a DM could use it to better effect...

  2. In my games whenever an item miraculously (or catastrophically in this case) does something special and unexpected it becomes magical and notable for its deeds. This would be a Cursed Halberd of Backbiting (however, that works!).

    1. I've experimented a bit with ideas like that a few months ago:

      How do you integrate it into the system?

    2. The system I use is listed here under "Update":

      Essentially if you slay enough wights and receive a blessing from a priest then you can look forward to a sword +1/+2 vs Undead. If you're career has your newfound-magic weapon destroying all manners of undead from every category it will eventually become a Disruption weapon. So instead of begging a magic-user to upgrade your weapon instead your weapon becomes magical on account of your actions and grows with your legend.

  3. eh....we have players who love critical miss and hit charts.
    Personally I just find them annoying and time consuming. I prefer the role playing part of the game more than getting a few giggles with criticals. Just a personal preference thing.
    The system Im working on doesnt include criticals of any sort, although critical injuries are inherent in the system itself, its not based on rolling a 1 on the die, but more a result of using a weapon/attack that can cause massive bleeding, stun, etc.

    Im not saying its impossible for a man to kill himself or saw off a finger, but as far as highly trained game characters go, it really should be rare enough that its not really even a consideration unless the whole game is more of a slapstick comedy routine sort of storyline to begin with.

    1. It is, of course, a matter of taste. Selfmutilation is somwthing that should be possible (especially with weapons ...), but I guess it is rare. As I wrote in the post, we stopped using the Arduin tables after that last incident and what I'm using right now is actually pretty similar to what you describe. As for the game being a slapstick routine, that was definitely part of the truth. No matter how serious our games start, it always ends up being an episode of the Venture Bros., so the Arduin chart didn't hurt.


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