Excalibur and its scabbard

"Which like you better, the sword or the scabbard?" ask Merlin.

"I like the sword!" cried Arthur.

"Then you are the more unwise," said Merlin gravely. "The scabbard is worth ten such swords: for while you wear that magic scabbard you shall lose but little blood, however sorely you are wounded."

So here is the puzzle for all the wise folks of this board -- how would you go about making Excalibur's Scabbard under the Ars Magica rules?

I was thinking that Excalibur itself might have some sort of PeTe effect (cuts a person as if there were no armour), but this is easy enough to work around by simply adding some extra damage.

The scabbard is more problematic? It might be construed as Chirurgeon's Healing Touch or even Incantation of the Body Made Whole, but probably only as long as the scabbard is worn.

How would you approach the problem? For that matter, would you approach it?

Consider this a thought experiment and a puzzle. :slight_smile:

Here is my take:

Both objects are of Fairy origin

Excalibur's Sword
PeCo 35 Inflic an Incapacitating wound
(Base 30, Touch +1, Mom +0, Ind; +10 unlimited charges; Can only be used by a mortal with Valor (Fairy effect))
If the user has valor the sword is swift & light, if not, it is heavy to a point where it is unusable.

Excalibur's Scabbard
CrCo +x to recovery
CrCo Bind the wounds
CrCo Incantation of the body made whole 1/day
Since all are of fairy origin, no vis is required. If a body part is cut off, bearer needs only to sleep one night in a fairy forest to fully recover.

ps. Since I am without the book, don't look too closely at the numbers.


The citation you put up looks more like supernatural fortitude on Arthur's part, than incredible healing ability, right?

Something along the lines of Gigft of the Bears Fortitude (MuCo) might be better IMO.

Plan B would be to make arthur work with an imbalance of humours: No blood in his body, so he gets the gift of the bears fortitude AND can work regularly and not die. As longas he wears the scabbard, that is. The scabbard should have a constant use )+14 levels for sun and constant) and be activated whenever it is carried.

About excalibur, make it PeTe(He), soit can come through shields as well with ease. Additionally, a nice damage bonus like an improv3d edge of the razor would be cool as well :slight_smile: If we are going for the truly mythical excalibur, make it a faerie item, making that vows taken on it cast a geas on you, so you get a curse on you if you break the bow. And insopure loyalty or something like that. it is the sword of a king after all :smiley:

I do not have the books here, so I cannot contrast effects. both would be major items for sure, though.



I dont think the power of Excalibur is to make wounds or to destroy anything, its indestructible ok but thats it. I think its more like one of the high rings of mankind from Lord of the Rings: the sword gives whisdom, mental strengh, an aura of authority, the power to "feel the needs of the land" and so on. Not a weapon of mass destruction.

I disagree with all of the above. I think the premise that the sword can feel the needs of the land is from the movies. I also think the idea that it's some kind of vorpal sword is also incorrect (though fun).

IF Excalibur is also the sword in the stone (sometimes it is-sometimes it isn't) then it can be broke. Remember that the sword was broke and reformed. For that reason I don't think it's indestructible.

Excalibur is known for breaking swords, but I don't remember anything about it having vorpal powers and cutting people. I would place a Perdo Terram effect on it giving it the power to break others swords.

All things considered this is a very effective power essentially robbing opponents of their weapon.

As for the scabbard, I agree some kind of fortitude raising spell like Gift of the Bears Fortitude seems more appropriate than an a constant healing spell.

IIRC Excalibur is usually matched to the sword of fire from Welsh mythology.


I thought it was lighting from Welsh mythology.

Well, we've varied from the scabbard to the sword, but that is good, too. :wink:

Several medieval versions of Excalibur (don't have my books handy, sorry, but I know at least in Malory and in some of the Vulgate tales) suggest that Excalibur can cleave through armour almost as if it were not there -- that was the origin point for my comment there. But in the end, Excalibur is a sword with at least some magical powers (no, I don't buy the "at one with the land" bit either -- I never cared for the Boorman movie or the writings of the Matthewses), probably combative.

Still, the scabbard is more interest to me as an intellectual puzzle. Of course, depending on how you read the stories (which are hopelessly contradictory, even in the Middle Ages) the Excalibur and the Scabbard could be construed as being of Divine, Magical, or Faerie origin. Lots of wiggle room, though. :slight_smile:


I'm blanking on which particular item, but I think in one of the old Four Seasons books they detail an item as being both divine and magical. Perhaps it was the Holy Grail. Any old timer out there remember?

Ars 5 sort of does this better than the older versions of the games, but mechanically speaking the game has always divided 'whatever' into a distinct "Realm of Power".

Item X is Divine OR Magical OR Infernal OR Fay.

Historically, a few items transcend this distinction and exist as items of more than one realm. I think Excalibur qualifies.

This is just speculation, but consider this:

IF Excalibur is the sword given by the Lady of the Lake, it could be Fay.
And IF Excalibur is the sword of Kings, it could be Divine
And If Excalibur is modified by Merlin or any number of Druids, it could be Magical.

I could imagine Excalibur having Perdo Terram effect that breaks swords and destroys armor. As the sword of Kings, perhaps it grants a King divine protection (I don't have the divine book so I'm totally clear how that works in Ars5). Finally as an item of 'fay' origin perhaps it allows the holder to see/communicate with fay and possibly cross Regio's easier?

Again I think the scabbard would have fortitude and strength enhancing qualities over healing. Mainly because this is easier to do in an item in the game.

Just some idears.

The scabbard (serf's parma):

ReCo 5-10
Range Touch +1, Duration Sun +2, Target Ind

Effect: Blood cannot pass the skin of the wearer...

Otherwise GotB (probably a bigger one...)


I'd prefer for the scarab. The scarab is much cooler than the sword itself.
And I kind of like the idea of Merlin itself. I found it so true especially when you do the debate about it.

(Found during Merlin's travels in Egypt, no doubt... ) :wink:

The game abstracts combat and damage, so the whole concept of "not losing blood" becomes largely lost in translation between color and game mechanics.

But since both sword and scabbard are more than mere "magic items", but something out of Legend, I'd have some effect that simply reduces Wound Levels taken - requiring a Heavy Wound to inflict the equivalent of a Light Wound, and rarely anything more serious than that - something in that direction. Maybe only vs. sharp weapons, but something along those lines.

Based on the description given I think I would also construe the scabbard as something like Incantation of the Body Made Whole, but with a Constant Duration.

Ohh that was so true. Cause in reality it is not a usual items that someone could have. Since it is a fictional items but if it is so true that would make anyone as powerful as the god he praise.

Something in that direction yeah.

Really? Last time I read a version of this, it seemed more like a Bind Wounds effect to me?

IMC, any wound you take while wearing the scabbard is Light, regardless of its strength, are not made worse by extertion, and such wounds always heal cleanly.

(In the stories, Arthur notices he's wearing a fake version because his hands start bleeding in combat, so there's some cosmetic damage not taken into account here.)

The sword is unbreakable: while you are using it you can't suffer due to a botch. Arthur doesn't use Excalibur much: he gives it to his nephew and takes it back only after Gawain dies. It's also not the sword in the stone, which he uses once and then puts on the altar in Cantebury and leaves it there.

I meant the description provided by the OP.

Just Bind Wounds seems a bit feeble, to me.