The party rescues a demon from captivity.

The party rescues a demon from captivity.

The party rescues a demon from captivity.  In “gratitude”, he enchants one of their weapons (by impaling one of his imps on it, then using the imp’s lifeforce to power the enchantment).  The weapon now slowly drips blood when drawn, and has a move associated with it.

I’m trying to decide on what the move should be – I want it to be something double-edged, to reflect the questionable source of the enchantment.  Some ideas:

When you draw blood with this blade, deal +1 damage, but take 1 damage in return (ignoring armor).

When you let this blade taste your blood, hold 1.  When you deal damage with it, you can choose to spend your hold to deal +1d6 damage but take 1d4 damage (ignoring armor) in return.


26 thoughts on “The party rescues a demon from captivity.”

  1. That imagery of how the demon enchants the blade is on point. That is fantastic. That needs to be so much more epic then a +1 mechanic, in my opinion. I would perhaps tie it to one of the Demon’s own moves. Perhaps something along the lines of:

    When this blade draws blood on a 10+ roll from Hack & Slash, instead of choosing the additional option to deal more damage, you may choose one, but beware that this gives the GM one hold against you with ties to the Demon’s influence:

    – Your next attack becomes Messy and Forceful

    – You redirect this target’s attacks to focus on only you

    – Bind your blood to the target’s to direct its next action

    Not the best choices, but I would need to know more about the character that gained the ability to choose better ones.

  2. Everyone struck by this blade will die. Once drawn the blade needs to be used to kill someone nearby or it will start to draw on the soul of the user until they become a demon themselves. The sword has pull on the users mind and wants to be drawn.

    When you are surprised, threatened or angry, roll+WIS.

    On a 10+ you resist the demonic urge if you want to.

    On a 7-9 it takes all your concentration to not draw your blade; an escalation of the situation will make you lose that concentration.

  3. Damian Jankowski I’m not sure which character will end up with the weapon yet, but there’s a good chance it will be the Barbarian, in which case there’s a lot of overlap between your proposed moves and his class moves.

    One idea I had to give the weapon an epic feel was to have a chance for the demon arrive and claim the soul of anyone slain with the weapon.  After a while, the wielder would start to dream of their suffering.

    Tim Franzke I like the idea of the sword slowly turning the user into a demon, but I’m not sure how to handle “everyone struck by this blade will die”.  If they die immediately, that might trivialize a lot of encounters; if they die eventually, well, who doesn’t?  Unless the blade can make immortal creatures mortal…hmm….

  4. You damage them they die! 

    Don’t worry about encounters being interesting because you can kill things faster. That is not what interesting encounters are about. 

  5. shaydwyrm Definitely a great idea with the demon coming to collect souls. Could you imagine the impact that would have if Death realized the barbarian was helping this Demon to do it? The Barbarian might not even know he is doing it but gain more information each time the Demon comes.

    Perhaps as this unravels, the Barbarian will eventually understand what is happening and will choose to continue and accept what he is doing and deal with the consequences later, or choose not to and save himself.

    It all depends how enticing the power is in that blade I bet… you could even treat it as the Barbarian receiving a reward from the Demon for each kill.

  6. Tim Franzke I love that sentiment!  I also don’t want to hijack this because it’s a really intriguing post.  But if you’re ever looking for something to extrapolate more on (since you’re a pretty reliable source of wonderful information) I’d love to hear more about what you find makes an interesting encounter!

  7. How about the blade can kill anything that lives if it is wielded by someone who killed their one true love with it?

    Too grim?

    Maybe introduce a Tarasque level monster and put the players in a real moral quandry?

  8. I would think the blade would be imbued with the imps power (as that was the life force used to enchant the blade). What type of imp was it?

    If it could kill any creature by striking it, I think it would need a stronger sacrifice than an imp. If you want to go that way, the sword could act as having some sort of poison, or the sword increasingly grows stronger as it kills even more.

    1. Maybe the sword has a way of creating imp servants and/or controlling them from the creatures that the sword kills? (Just Brainstorming).

    2. Or on the thought of claiming of the sword. The sword could be imprinted with the mind of whatever kills it, but can only be accessed from some sort of ritual or sacrifice.

    3. The sword bleeds, so maybe it is very powerful, but only lasts for a limited time, as it is bleeding to death. Killing with it rejuvenates the sword for a few more days.

    Just a couple of thoughts at the moment.

  9. Tim Franzke Maybe, but I’d feel a bit annoyed if I were the Fighter and all my extra damage moves (arguably, my entire wheelhouse) were suddenly pointless. The trigger is great, but I don’t really like the effect from a character-coolness-preservation standpoint.

    If it were limited to a certain type of enemy–say, people who caused you to draw your blade in anger?–I might feel different about it.

    Besides, sometimes a long struggle is what makes an encounter interesting. Some people find that interesting regardless. Different strokes, as they say.

  10. I am fully with you on not stepping on extra damage moves on the fighter. If you have someone with a lot of such moves in the group then don’t make such a sword. 

    I would disagree with the “can only kill these types” trigger because the fun is when you draw your sword and there are no enemies nearby. What do you do then? That’s why I wrote the move above like that so that there are situations when you draw your sword without wanting to. 

  11. Also “it instakills” is shorthand for something like “It will suck out their soul and send it to hell” or “it will infuse their body with demonblood that will kill them from the inside” or similar nasty things. 

  12. Maybe the sword has the imp’s essence in it and the demon is using it to monitor the heroes?

    Maybe when you wield it you are constantly assaulted by the voice of the imp urging you to do evil or telling it’s 101 big dumb fighter jokes?

    Maybe it shrieks in the presence of the divine?

  13. Tim Franzke See, that’s why I like the suggestion I gave, that it only insta-kills people who cause you to draw the sword in anger. In addition to still causing the problems you wanted it to, it gives the wielder a risk/reward mechanism; do you keep this sword in the scabbard at the beginning of combat, leaving yourself defenseless until your enemy provokes you into drawing it, or do you draw it with a level head without gaining the benefit of its hellish power?

    The kills-everything approach would work, too, if you approached and framed it appropriately as you discuss.

  14. When you Hack&Slash, you can decide to deal +1d6 damage. If you do, the GM hold 1.

    At any time when the weapon is in your possession, the GM can spend 1 to propose you an ugly course of action.

    If you decide to do it, gain XP. If not, Defy Danger.

  15. It should whisper to the user, always urging them to do bad things. It should allow them to speak with demons in their own tongue, It should be able to sense the innocent (and urge you to hurt them) being able to kill immortals is interesting, but I don’t think it fits with the level of demon that was killed for it, but it clearly should allow you to hurt things normally not hurt by weapons. Maybe allows you to travel to hell if you feed it properly.

    If you decide to give it mechanically abilities like a lot of these suggestions posted so far, it should NEVER do it without getting something in return FIRST.

    Sure I’ll heal you, the sword whispers in your mind, after all we are great friends… but first you need to kill that barmaid/priest/child/etc, cause friends do things for each other.

    also word of this sword will travel… the player will become a threat and target for sure of many powerful players in the world.

  16. also would be cooler to introduce those things slowly… maybe heal them for free a couple of times and then when he really needs it require something from them…

    like a crack dealer.

  17. Mortal armor offers no protection from The Gory Blade, and it even penetrates the defenses of magical creatures such as dragon scales, demon hide, wizard force fields, etc. The mere sight of the naked weapon incites uncontrolled violence in the weak willed. However, the wielder can sacrifice 1d6 (ignores armor) worth of blood to exclude specific individuals from the bloodlust.

  18. Thanks for all the ideas!  For once the PCs did almost what I expected, and the Barbarian is definitely starting to get a little creeped out by his “new and improved” weapon 😀

  19. The Bard talked the demon into actually accompanying them on part of their quest, so I didn’t want to do anything too overt (it’s not 100% clear that it’s a demon yet…sadly I had to tone down the enchantment scene somewhat too).  For now the Barbarian gets a little rush of energy/healing each time he kills something that is not clearly evil.  But when the party rests, he dreams of his victims’ suffering.  The plan is to increase its power, but also its hold on him, as he uses it more, so that the effect becomes sort of addictive.  Each time he kills the demon becomes visibly stronger as well – maybe they’ll have to fight it at some point?  I haven’t decided yet.  On misses the sword can overcome his will to make him attack things he might not attack otherwise.

  20. Is it too late to contribute?

    When you slay someone who completely trusts you and calls you friend with the Sword of Impish Vileness (or whatever), gain three hold, up to five.

    You may spend your hold, one-for-one, to do any of the following :

    – Heal yourself of as much damage as you inflict with the next swing of the sword.

    – Stare through someone’s eyes and into their core, learning their most pressing motivations or concerns.

    – Make your words drip with poison honey.  Treat a 7-9 on a Parley roll as a 10+

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