Going back to Fight On! #2, I was reading Jacob “Badelaire” Boucher's article, "The Seven Swords," and found myself returning to one of my original intentions with Athanor: that magic items would be rare, but powerful. Rather than finding a Sword +1, players might find, for instance, one of the Five Swords of Aquila or one of the Six Weapons of the Witch Kings, each of which is powerful and tied to the history of the game world.
Five Swords of Aquila
The Ancient Aquilan Empire largely focused on the use of technology to further its ends, but its few powerful wizards did create a handful of weapons that were intended to help them defeat their sorcerous enemies, particularly the Witch-Kings of Ylum. Few weapons are even documented anymore. Javier Brujeria de Los Santos notes five powerful magical swords in his treatise, "On the Sorcerous Traditions of the Aquilan Empire":
The Broken Sword
The Broken Sword looks like a broadsword with a foot-long stump of broken-off blade. It is, however, still serviceable, and acts as a short sword +1. However, its real enchantment is in breaking inanimate objects. Against inanimate objects, magical contructs, robots, etc., the sword is +3 and does triple damage dice.
The Dancing Sword
The Dancing Sword acts as a sword +2. After one round of combat, the wielder may release the weapon, which will fight for 1d6+4 rounds on its own before sheathing itself or returning to a wielder's open hand.
The Gate is a curved cutting sword that looks to be made of silver with a matching pommel and guard. It acts as a +1 scimitar. When the proper cut is learned, the sword may be used to cut rents in the fabric of space, allowing the wielder to cut a brief pathway between objects. This effectively allows the user to spend his attack to dimension door instead.
The Peaceful Cut
This blunt longsword is enchanted to a +1 enchantment. Any creature struck by it takes no damage, but must save or be held as a hold person or hold creature spell for 2d6+6 rounds. Creatures struck by damaging attacks while so held take no damage, but the hold effect is immediately dissipated.
The Slayer of Shadows
This black flamberge was constructed to allow its user to defeat the power of The Shadows. It acts as a two-handed sword +2, but against shadows, the sword becomes a +4 weapon and does double damage dice. When drawn and held, the wielder may see invisible objects and creatures. However, this weapon is an object of fear and legend among the Shadows. A known wielder will become the target of the Shadows....
Six Weapons of the Witch Kings
The Witch-Kings of Ylum consorted with a large number of demons and spirits and created a wide variety of magical weapons, most of which are lost to time. The following six weapons are described by Lazarillo Marino in his treatise "Horrors of the Witch Kings."
Axe of Longing
The Axe of Longing is a +2 battle axe that looks as if it is made of bone and sinew, with a wickedly notched blade and deep blood gutters. The Axe will "drink" the blood of living creatures struck by it, healing 1 hit point of damage to the wielder for every 3 full hit points of damage it inflicts each strike. If it does not drink blood every day, the wielder will feel ill and weak. After two or more days, the wielder will suffer a -2 penalty to all rolls until the axe tastes blood again.
Cesti of Terror
These studded leather hand wrappings look like they are made of sinew and bone, and bury they dig into the flesh of the wielder. As a pair, they are a +2 weapon and allow the weilder to make a single attack with both fists doing 1d6 base damage. In addition, any creature struck by the wielder must save or flee in fear for 1d6 rounds.
Flail of Woe
Looking like a length of vertebrae topped by a skull impaled with nails, the Flail of Woe is a two-handed weapon. It acts as a +1 magic weapon. When swung, the flail begins to wail, causing all living creatures within 30 feet to suffer a -1 penalty to all die rolls (e.g., hit, damage, saves). The flail may be used to attack all creatures within five feet of the wielder, and when it strikes, the flail's toxic nature causes any target struck to save or suffer an additional 1d6 damage from the poisons that cover the nails driven through the skull.
Glaive of Sorrows
This wickedly spiked, ornately curved polearm acts as a +2 weapon. If the attack roll is even and the attack successfully strikes a living target, that creature must save or be poisoned. The poison of the Glaive of Sorrows does 1d6 damage and causes the victim to be debilitated by pain for one day, causing a -1 penalty to all die rolls. Victims poisoned more than once suffer additional damage, but not additional penalties.
Hammer of the Winds
This hammer has a large, square stone head, a bone haft, and is wrapped in pulsing sinews. It is a +2 weapon. When the Hammer strikes an opponent, it does normal damage and the target must save or be thrown 1d6x5 feet away from the wielder in a booming burst of energy.
Javelin of Lightning
This short spear acts as a normal weapon +1 until thrown. When thrown, the weapon transforms into a bolt of lightning that lances from the wielder, is a +2 weapon, and does 2d6+2 damage before returning to the user's hand.