Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:50 pm
The Five Blades of Corusk
These swords are great, thanks for sharing. I especially like your inclusion of the current owners - nice touch!
There are a couple of things that I noticed while reading that I think can be improved upon. Keep in mind I don't own the original adventures, so take my comments for what they are - a critique of your design choices intended to improve the items. In general I noticed a trend towards mixing 3rd edition design philosophy with the design philosophy of previous editions. If you were trying to bring an old school feel back to 3.5 then you succeeded, and you can pretty much ignore everything I have to say, which is pretty much trying to bring the swords more in line with other items from 3.5.
This blade has to be wielded by a Bard of the tribes, while the other swords simply have a class requirement (which is better). Likewise the dreaming effect of the sword should be more universal and have a Will save each day instead of a percentage chance. The penalties are good but can be unnamed (which stack), since I don't think there is a 'distraction' penalty. Half of the special attack is fire, what is the other half? This is important since if it is piercing damage, damage reduction would apply.
Again I'd leave the AC penalty unnamed. A better mechanic for the special attack would be to resolve a melee attack as a touch attack.
It should grant an enhancement bonus to stats not an insight bonus - also its strange to only add +1 since that might not result in any actual bonus to the modifier. I'd make it +2 to Wisdom, since that's a more important stat to Rangers. The bonus to skills should probably be a competence bonus and +10 is really high, I'd make it +5 (and +2 to Survival). I wouldn't have the bonus be to Charisma but to Charisma based skills and Wild Empathy checks when used on Canines (and be +2).
I assume this is actually a two-bladed sword and not a two-handed sword since you give it a +1/+1 bonus. The special power is also very strange and hard to translate into a mechanic - maybe granting a temporary negative level whenever the wielder attacks a creature with fewer hit dice? I'm not sure. The thing with the apparitions attacking whenever the weapon is put down is also very brutal. This seems less like a function of the sword and more like an encounter you would have to do in the adventure you found the sword in.
The shooting daggers are a little vague, what's their range? Do they all fire at the same target or different ones? There aren't any save or die poisons in 3.5, so I'd make the dagger poison like the spell poison and do 1d10 Con/1d10 Con - which if both saves are failed has a good chance of killing the target. The sundering thing is a little strange since you can't critical on a sunder (it is an object and immune to criticals). Also, you can't sunder armor other than shields. You might want to change this to a 1/day sunder that doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity that destroys the object it hits (Fort. DC 20 negates). The special power you might just have work as the spell locate object.
All of the caster levels for the effects are very high (20th level) - are these swords artifacts? (like I said I don't have the original adventures).
Please don't take my critique as harsh, it is definitely not meant to be. I thought these weapons were very cool, and wouldn't have commented if they hadn't grabbed my attention. It takes a lot to create something and put it up for the public to see, so I applaud you for that and hope I didn't come off as a naysayer (there are enough of those in the world). The truth is that magic item design is one of my personal weaknesses and my critique was as much a thought exercise to help myself as it was directed at you.
Once again, thank-you for sharing!
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