Friday, May 13, 2022

OSR: 6 Magical Knives

Twilight Huntsman:
Damage: 1d6 magical sharp

A large hunting knife with a steel hilt wrapped in aged leather.  The blade is notched, but well-maintained and bears a faint etching of a pawprint.  Any experienced outdoorsman will recognize the paw print of belonging to a wolf. 

Twilight Huntsman is named after the man who used to own it, one Johar, Son of Yeli.  Johar was one of the best bounty hunters his village had ever seen, not a huge feat known for the small town near the borders of the Great Pine Sea.  Yet he was not just known there, but all across the region.  All who knew of him spoke of his cleverness and skill.  He never let a quarry escape, no matter how swift.

His greatest feat was probably the capturing of the Cutpurse King, a highwayman who amassed a vast horde of thieves that menaced travelers, merchants and anyone with coin for ten long years.  The King's thieves would spring upon unprotected targets, but they melted away in the face of armies.  So no effort by the elders of the people produced any results.  So Johar laid a trap- disguising a companion as a noble woman and giving her an escort of guards and servants.  Then he placed her in a carriage and loaded her down with jewelry and finery donated by those who wished the Cutpurse King captured. 

Sure enough, the King took the bait, arriving in person with over 100 thieves to take the jewels.  But Johar was there, hiding in the carriage.  When the Cutpurse King mockingly invited his companion to come out so he could make her acquaintance, Johar leaped from out of his hiding spot and slashed the King across the chest.  The King survived, but he was so surprised that he immediately retreated, fearing an ambush.  His men, panicked, retreated when Johar pretended like he had more men nearby, calling out for them to 'round up these others'.  The bandit legion broke apart into small groups which scattered into the woods. 

The Cutpurse King himself slipped away and shed his uniform, which was one of the few ways he could be identified.  He figured he had made a clean break after disguising himself as a peddler, retreating to a hidden wagon loaded with goods that he used for just such purposes.  But when the King went to his wagon, a hand shot out from underneath, carrying a glittering blade.  This blade hamstrung him and dropped him to the ground.  From beneath the wagon, Johar appeared and apprehended the King.  Three days later, the King was turned over into the hands of the authorities, who tried him for his many, many crimes.  Ultimately, since they could not prove he did much of what he said he did, with most witnesses only able to identify their attacker as 'The Cutpurse King', they simply hung him for one of his first crimes, the theft of a horse.

As for Johar himself, he received relatively little recognition for this act, though he was amply compensated.  He later died at the age of 77, surrounded by his five children and twelve grand-children.  His knife was passed down to his eldest son and remained in the family for four generations, before it was sold to an adventurer to help the family get through a particularly bad year. 


- If a creature is injured by Twilight Huntsman, the wielder of the knife can track that creature no matter where they go.  They will always be able to find signs of that creature's presence, such as broken twigs, foot-prints, etc.  Even if the injured creature uses magic to conceal these traces, they will still appear.  This lasts until the injured creature dies or the wound that was made with Twilight Huntsman heals. 
- 1/Day, the wielder of Twilight Huntsman may scry the creature who was injured by the blade.  This works as per the normal Scrying rules, with the knife functioning as a crystal ball.  The image of the creature appears on the blade.

Twilight Huntsman is currently in the hands of a thief who is using it to rob noblemen by injuring them, then using the scrying abilities to map the interiors of their mansions.  Ominously, he is being called the Successor to the Cutpurse King.

Damage: 1d6 magical sharp

A beautiful dirk, hilted in ivory and wrapped in red silk, embroidered with gold thread.  The dagger is either found with a glove made of cloth-of-gold, wrapped in fabric or in the hands of a golden statue. 

Once there was a man who desired nothing more than to be wealthy.  All he cared for was gold, his only thought was how he could acquire more wealth.  So he sought out a Genie, who he beseech for a way to quickly obtain treasure.  The Genie who he found, a bored Marid, interrogated the man about what he sought.  After some conversation, it became clear to the Marid that the man was obsessed with wealth, something the Marid found immensely distasteful.  So it lied to the man and offered him a wish, anything his heart should desire.  The man was overjoyed and asked that anything he touched with his belt knife would turn to gold. 

The Marid granted the man his wish, but then when he touched his belt knife to see if it worked, he found his skin started transforming into gold.  And since he couldn't let go, as his hand was now gold, he slowly transformed into a statue of gold, frozen into an expression of horror for all eternity. 

This is a story often told by parents to their children, as a warning against greed.  What most don't know is that this story is actually true (sort of). 


- Any creature who touches Glitterthorn has the outside layer of whatever part of their body touch the dirk turn to gold.  This does not transform all the flesh and tissue, only the skin.  This does 1d4 DEX damage to that creature.  For the creature, they can still move the part of their body that turned partially to gold, but with reduced precision.  This creature also gains a vulnerability to lightning damage. 
- If this reduces a creature's DEX by 1/4, he gains Natural Armor equal to +1d3 FS.  This Armor does not apply if they are wearing regular Armor that protects more than it.  If a creature's DEX is reduced by 1/2, he gains +1d3 more points of Natural Armor.  If a creature's DEX is reduced by 3/4, that creature gains an additional +1d3 points of Natural Armor.  If reduced to 0 DEX, the creature's skin totally turns to gold and the creature is immobilized.  The creature will also suffocate shortly after this occurs, or if they do not need oxygen, die of dehydration or starvation. 

A Stone to Flesh spell can reverse this transformation. 

Glitterthorn is currently in a cave, held in the hands of a golden statue, it's face one of horror, a hand wrapped around it's throat, as if the statue was trying to choke itself.  Any damage to the statue will reveal that underneath a thin skin of gold is a freshly preserved corpse.  The dirk was found by a group of tomb-robbers who, after one of their members turned to gold, abandoned it and him, running for the hills.  They are currently telling wild tales about Glitterthorn in a tavern.  No one believes them, of course.

by wyllora

Violet Ray:
Damage: 1d6 magical sharp

A long, straight dagger with an amethyst set in the hilt and a handle of steel, wrapped in leather.  Touching the dagger will make your hair stand on end and a tiny shock run up your arm.  It smells of ozone, especially after it's used.

Violet Ray once belonged to a famous Wolfman swordswoman by the name of Luza Flash-hand.  Luza was known for two things: her great skill and her blinding speed.  Her feats are numerous, but one of her most famous is the time she was challenged to a duel by a rival.  She accepted and touched blades with her opponent, then a kerchief was thrown into the air and when it landed on the ground, the duel would start.  The second it touched the ground, Luza's sword blurred and her oppoent's sword hand went flying in a spray of crimson.  She asked that the duel by stopped after that.  When her opponent refused, she beheaded him. 

Her opponent's supporters tried to claim that Luza cheated, as she must have attacked before the kerchief hit the ground.  But because it would have been impossible to cut off the sword hand without damaging the body unless her opponent was already drawing his sword, the issue was dropped. 

Another feat of Luza's is that when she and her companions were arrested by the Dwarf Lord Castilo the Vigorous of Vitrossi, also known as Castilo the Tyrannical, they resisted arrest and fled up the tower of the Dwarf Lord, as the way down was blocked.  When the Lord ordered his archers on the walls to fire into the tower when they passed by the tower's balconies, Luza prevented her allies from being hurt by striking the arrows out of the air with whatever she had on her.  Some she even caught with her bare hands.

Eventually though, Luza's career as a swordswoman came to an end when she lost a leg after an ill-fated expedition into the Fangs of Tarraq.  After that, she wisely decided to retire.  She ended up getting married to Vixor Slowtongue, a Wolfman from another tribe who she had known as a child.  It is not known what she saw in him, as Vixor was known for being the most inelegant speaker one could imagine and his martial feats weren't nearly impressive enough to make up for it, or so her other suitors claimed.  Clearly they loved each other, however, as they ended up having 10 children together, spread over three litters.

- 3/Day, the wielder can teleport to the current location of the dagger, appearing in the nearest unoccupied space.  You cannot teleport inside an object, but you can teleport into a space too small to get out of or into a dangerous place, such as if the nearest unoccupied space is off the edge of a cliff.  Whenever a creature uses this to teleport, there is a small booming sound and a flash of violent light. 

Violet Ray is currently in the hands of one of Luza's great-great-great grandchildren, who is a well-meaning but most useless noble who wants to be a hero and will probably get himself killed trying to do that.  He doesn't know what this dagger does, other then it was a family heirloom and that it's magic.  If you save him, something he'll almost certainly need, he might give you the dagger as a gesture of his good-will. 


Damage: 1d6 magical sharp

A blade of clear glass, with a handle of steel wrapped in vines of silver filigree.  There is also a clear diamond the size of a man's thumbnail set into the hilt.  The blade can be seen through but does not have any of the other qualities of light.  It does not sparkle in the sun, nor does it reflect anything in it like glass usually does. 

Magi are rare among the Dwarves, who are a people that trust only in known quantities- the strength of stone, iron and blood.  These things can be quantified and measured.  The fickleness of sorcery does not appeal to them.  This is also a fact compounded by the fact that Dwarves do not have many among their ranks who possess magical talent, meaning that they must often rely on hired outsiders if they wish to utilize it.  The only caste among the Dwarves where magical talent is common is fond among their royalty, but even Dwarven princes are too rare and valuable to waste on something as untrustworthy as magic. 

As such, the Dwarven nobility and their bureaucratic handlers are always on the lookout for new counters to the Magi commanded by their rivals.  This was the case for the Queendom of Shiar, a small nation ruled by an imperious Queen and her obsequieous sons.  One day, one of their artisans, Yoto the Mad of Shiarota, created a magical knife.  He presented this to the Queen's viziers, who at first found the knife to be only a curiosity.  But when Yoto explained the true purpose of his knife, he was not believed.  So in response, he asked for permission to have the Court Magi, an outsider, swear an oath while holding the knife.  The Magus agreed, but when he swore to only obey Yoto, he found he was suddenly compelled to obey Yoto.  Yoto ordered him to slaughter the Viziers.  The Magus did so.  After the Viziers were dead, Yoto asked them what they thought of his creation. 

The Viziers were dead, but Yoto insisted they were very impressed with what he had done.  So Yoto took over governing duties as Prime Vizier and had more knives manufactured, using them to enslave those with magical talent and turn them into living weapons.  He used these weapons to great effectiveness, using them to launch wars of conquest against Shiar's neighbors, all at the behest of his brother Viziers, whose corpses continued to occupy their seats of judgement, even after their flesh had rotted away, leaving nothing but yellowed bone. 

And unfortunately for all involved, Yoto was not only an inventor of superb skill, but he proved an able general, winning battle after battle.  He might have been able to conquer the entire Rejikari Plains, if he had not been stopped by the Hoba hero Nimble Dick Okrim, who disguised himself as a peddler seeking to sell fine devilweed to the Viziers.  But when he met Yoto, he told Yoto that he was actually his brother, Slippery Jon.  Yoto was somehow convinced of this and told everyone that he was actually this new Slippery Jon.  This, however, had the side effect of breaking the control Yoto had over his Maga-slaves, as they had sworn only to obey Yoto.  And due to some clever arguing, Nimble Dick convinced them that they didn't have to obey anymore, and after stealing one of the magical knifes, had them renounce their oaths. 

He then took his "brother" away and the fledgling empire collapsed overnight, Shiar declining but managing to survive thanks to the negotiations conducted by Nimble Dick's allies, including the Dwarf Hero and honorary Prince, Garoz the Magnanimous of Hijol.    

While most of them were destroyed, at least 9 Magaslaves are said to still exist in the world.  They all have the same name and the same origin, though none have ever been able to repair or recreate them since Nimble Dick and "Slippery Jon" disappeared into the pages of history.  

- If you look through the glass blade at a creature, if that creature can cast spells or use magic, that creature will be bathed in an aura of light.  Non-spellcasters do not have auras around them.  Referee's Discretion applies on what counts as magical. 
- If a spellcaster is within 100' of the blade, the diamond on the hilt glows pale blue. 
- If a spellcaster makes a promise, vow or oath while touching any part of the blade, hilt or any other part of Magaslave, that oath becomes binding to the spellcaster, who finds it impossible to break his oath.  This only applies to the explicit wording of the oath and as long as the spellcaster could interpret an action as being within the letter of the oath, then he may make this action. 
- A spellcaster who is touching any part of the blade, hilt or any part of Magaslave may also remove any oath they have sworn using Magaslave or one of it's sisters.  

A criminal in a nearby city has stumbled upon a Magaslave he found while panning for gold and used it to enslave a Magi's apprentice, who was out looking for rare mushrooms.  He is currently using this fairly unimpressive caster to butcher his way to the top of the criminal underworld.  No one knows why this Magi is following this former nobody, but many people are eager to find out.  Some will even pay handsomely for it.

by wakey

Crimson Bride:
Damage: 1d8 magical sharp

A large skinning knife, with a knotched blade and a weathered handle.  The blade doesn't appear special in any way, except for the aura of malice it seems to exude.  Just seeing the blade is enough to spread goosebumps down the back of most people's necks.  Touching it will send shivers up their spine.  Having it wielded against them will not inflict a fear effect, but it is still unnerving, especially if they know what the knife does. 

The Demoness Vicala was known for her cruelty and wrath, though such things are common among creatures like her.  She was often summoned to our world to slay specific targets or perform other services.  She was especially skilled at causing mass death and sowing chaos.  But one Magi, a Chaos Sorcerer by the name of Telek fell in love with her.  He wanted to possess her, but knew she would never look at him the way he did.  So he chose to do something risky, but in his mind, this was the only way he could get the Demoness to notice him. 

So Telek summoned Vicala and then, while she was trapped, sealed her inside a knife he had specifically prepared.  This trapped her in the material world and, Telek hoped, would force her to acknowledge him.  And at first, it seemed to work.  She raged at him, demanding to be released, promising great rewards if he freed her or terrible punishments if he refused.  Telek was satisfied with this at first, because even being hated is better than being ignored.  But then Vicala went silent.  Telek took this as another tactic as first.  But then the silence continued.  For days, then weeks, then months, Telek heard nothing.  She would not hear him.  He began to despair and fell into a malaise.

Eventually, in his desperation, Telek gave the blade to someone else, in the hopes that new company might provoke a response from Vicala.  And it did.  The new holder of the knife, Telek's apprentice, began to feel things he had never felt before.  He became murderously obsessed with one of the serving girls at the tavern he often frequented, so much so that he took to stalking her.  Eventually, his obsession grew to the point where he kidnapped and murdered her, using the blade to cut her down.  He was swiftly caught and hung, but not before the authorities discovered the fact that the weapon Telek had made radiated foul energy. 

Telek soon found himself arrested and was tried for 'creation of an instrument of red murder'.  Telek denied the charge all the way to the gallows, claiming he did everything he did for love.  Soon after he was hung, plans were made to dispose of the magical knife Telek had created.  When those charged with such a duty searched for the knife, they found it had disappeared from the safe it had been stored in, leaving no trace that it had ever been there.  Since then, the blade has often appeared in the hands of murderers and hired killers, who have used it to great effectiveness.  It's reputation is dark and just being known as the wielder of the blade can provoke fear in some.                    


- If the user wishes, after injuring someone with Crimson Bride, the wielder can make that creature's wounds spray out a shower of blood which transforms into a storm of bloody needles that force all creatures within 30' to save.  On a failed save, those creatures take 1d6+X damage, where X is that creature's HD.  A successful save halves the damage.  If a creature is carrying a shield, that grants advantage on the save.  The wielder of Crimson Bride and the creature injured by the attack take no damage from this ability.
- 3/Day, the user can, after injuring a creature with Crimson Bride, cause that creature to take 1d8 necrotic damage and regain that much HP.  This cannot reduce a creature below 0 HP, nor be used in conjunction with
- Every time the wielder kills a creature with Crimson Bride or uses one of the above ability, there is an X-in-20 chance that the Crimson Bride shows up.  This chance starts at 1-in-20 and increases by 1 per creature killed by the knife or each time one of the above abilities is used.  For example, if the wielder kills two creatures and uses an ability once, then that creature must make a d20 roll with no modifiers.  If the creature rolls a 3 or below on a d20, then the Crimson Bride arrives. 

Vicala, The Crimson Bride is a powerful Demoness with the following abilities:
- She can create a body of blood and water and cannot be hurt by non-magical items or anything that could not harm a being mostly composed of water.  She is still affected by holy and magical things. 
- She can blast high pressure blasts of water or blood at creatures that can be strong enough to cut through metal and stone or just strong enough to blast creatures backwards
- She can flow through small spaces such as pipes or under doors, anywhere water could pour through. 
- She can heal herself by drinking spilled blood or ripping it out of living things, CON save to resist 
- She will remain until she has killed everything intelligent reach or for 1d10 minutes.  For each intelligent creature she kills she can stay for 1 more minute.

Crimson Bride is currently in the hands of an assassin by the name of Samar the Merciful, a man whose professionalism and competence is only matched by his cruelty.  Samar kills for money when he needs it, but his true passion is for young, beautiful boys who he kills and skins.  The players don't know it, but he is where they are and is preparing for his next kill.      

Damage: 1d6 magical sharp

A blade made of heavy lead with a small, pale stone set into the hilt.  The handle is wrapped in plain, worn leather.  It is a plain, unassuming weapon.  When in moonlight, it transforms, the blade turning dark as night with a diamond bright edge, the pale stone glowing faintly, pulsing like a baleful eye.  The leather becomes a pale, silver-white cloth that is impossibly soft and fine, yet far stronger than even the thickest silk.

The story of the Emperor of Great Sorrow, the 79th Orzanian Emperor, is a great tragedy.  It details a story of how a powerful, influential and kind man was ultimately destroyed by misfortune and suffering, leading to him taking his own life out of grief.  Most use this story as an explanation of the lot of man in life, and how they are mere puppets of fate and the Gods and how even the mightiest have little control over destiny.  Imperial historians love to write about him and embellish about his life, the greatest of his household and the Empire as a whole, then lavish tragedy and woe upon the Emperor.  The truth, however, is much less clean and in some ways, more tragic. 

The true story begins as the false one does- the Emperor is taking tea in his garden when he is approached by three women, one wearing a peasant's smock, one dressed as a maid and one dressed as a Queen of an unknown land.  These women then asked him a series of questions.  In the fictional accounts, they each ask him a riddle, but he fails to answer each one, as each one is impossible to know.  For example, "How many hairs are on the head of the babe that was born three months ago in the small town of Kibeth, beneath a plum tree?"  But in truth, it was one question, albeit one that was far more impossible to answer.  The questions were "Who is most beautiful among us?" and "Who is most deserving of your affections?"  This was a difficult question to answer, and not because of the women's varying statuses.  Or perhaps, it was. 

For the Emperor of Great Sorrow, then known as the Emperor of Golden Plenty, was gifted with the ability to see beyond the Veil.  As such, he could see he was not faced with three ordinary women, but with Lady Tezika, one of his own Goddesses, a Noble Fire Elemental from the Solar Court and Mab, Faerie Queen of Winter, Air and Darkness.  So he tried to assuage them, praising them all and claiming he was unworthy of each of them.  To prove they did desire him, the three women plied him with gifts. 

Lady Tezika gave him a golden cup that if he wished it, would fill with any beverage he sought, no matter how impossible.  She also promised him that she was the most capable lover of the ones that had come before, lavish galas thrown in his honor and abundance for his people.  The Fire Noble gave him a suit of mail forged of star-metal that could heal itself and enhance his physical prowess and promised him that the Sun would look favorably upon him all the days of his life, never burning him, nor abandoning him during winter.  Mab gave him a knife made of lead and wood, saying it would enable him to reach any enemy and escape their notice as long as he was within her domain.  She made no further promises, but swore that she would win. 

The Emperor refused these gifts, knowing that to accept was foolish.  So the women left their gifts behind and left in a rage.  The next year, there was an incident at every party or ceremony that the Emperor attended, nearly killing him each time.  The year after that brought a severe drought and lack of rain, leading to great suffering among the Emperor's people.  The year after that, a horrible winter froze many in their homes and wolves and the Folk drew closer then they had in a generation. 

Each time he was beset by a crisis, the Emperor attempted to apologize.  Each time, the woman responsible refused to hear him.  So finally, after the three years, the Emperor was approached by the three women again, each one bearing a more lavish gift than before.  They asked him for an answer to their questions and in reply, the Emperor told them he would answer them in the morning.  For the time being, he must rest and consider, as well as inform the rest of his wives.  The women retreated to give him his space. 

The next day, gongs were rung and sacrifices were made.  The Emperor was dead!  Rumors of assassins and conspiracy swirled for years to come, but they were never true.  The Emperor had taken his own life, just as the courtiers and his successor said.  No one knows what the three women thought of this turn of events.  But it is said that while Lady Tezika was reluctant to bless anything in the capital for almost two decades and the summers that followed for almost five years were unseasonably hot, an ice sculpture of the Emperor of Great Sorrows was found in the garden next winter.  It had the words "Well Played" carved into it's chest.     

- Moonrazor's abilities only work if it is bathed in moonlight or has been within the last hour.  It's abilities also don't work when the sun is up or in a place where moonlight cannot reach.  Magical items or substances that create light indistinguishable to the moon (such as Mondmilch from Veins) also work to activate Moonrazor.  When it has been bathed in moonlight within the last hour, Moonrazor's state is referred to as 'Empowered'.
- When empowered, the user of Moonrazor can turn invisible as a free action.  They turn visible if they make a strenuous action (requiring a check equal to more than half of one of their ability scores), making an attack or if exposed to sunlight, including sunlight created by spells or magic items. 
- When empowered, the user of Moonrazor can, as an action, squeeze through any space too small for his body to ordinarily fit through, as long as it is big enough for that creature to fit the blade of Moonrazor into the gap.  This can include such things as under a door, through a keyhole, between prison bars, etc.

The gifts of the three women were stored in a vault beneath the Imperial Palace until after a particularly lean year, they were sold to pay for some of the Throne's expenditures.  The dagger, named Moonrazor, ended up in the hands of a wealthy adventurer who is currently hunting for the strongest villain harassing the party at the moment.

by u/shrcat on Reddit

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