Input on Grand Tribunal "Enchanted Sword" competition entry

EDIT: Updated since last game session

First some background info. In our Saga the current year is 1319 and my Magus has decided to enter a competition at the Grand Tribunal of 1327 against other members of his House (Bonisagus) for creating the greatest enchanted sword. The judging is supposed to be based on how effective it can be used as a sword. Effects as a sword wielder are full points, effects related to a sword wielder are half points, and other effects are a quarter or tenth (somewhat or not related). The testing will be done by a blade master and lab text must be present for review. This is only one of a few dozen competitions going on, though it is the one that caught my eye (though I am also considering challenging for Archmagus). One of the other PCs is entering the same competition.

The sword itself is a compound invested item, made up of a pattern welded steel great sword (Large, Base Metal 4x5) of Excellent +3 quality, a silver ring (Tiny, Silver 1x6) at the top of the hilt were the grip meets the guard, a holly wood core to the grip (Tiny, Wood 1x2), lion hide and mane braided handle wrap (Tiny, Leather 1x2), and a piece of amber in the pommel (Tiny, SP Gem 1x12). This took it to the very limit he could open of 42 pawns (MT 18+2, specialty in Enchanting Items).

The S&P modifiers are: Block Single Attack +3, Harm Human & Animal Bodies +4, Move Self +2, Protect Self +4, Transform Self +4, Constant Effect +2, Terram +1, Intellego +2, Protect Spirits +3, general Lycanthropes +5, Harm Lycanthropes +10, Turn into Lion +7, Courage +5, Pride +5, Strength +5, Controlling Movement +3, Corpus +3, affect Living Wood +3, affect Dead Wood +4, Inflict Pain +2, and Inflict Wounds +2.

So far six Effects have been enchantd into the sword: The Mystic Knights Blade, Sword Like No Other, The All Sundering Edge, Effortless Defender, The Tireless Warrior, and Master's Phantom Move. They have used up 27 of the 42 capacity.

The Mystic Knights Blade
ReTe 75 (Base 70, Special, Constant [+5]), Base is combined Initiative +2 (10), Damage +5 (25), Attack +1 (5), Defense +1 (5), Strength Requirement -1 (5), and Load -2 (20).
This is an effect built using Parma Fabula (a HR in our Saga) which makes the sword feel virtually weightless in the hand, allowing it to be easier to weld and carry as well as more effective on attack and defense.

Sword Like No Other
MuTe 65 (Base 70, Special, Constant [+5], Base is combined Damage +6 (30) and Tough +3 (30).
Another effect built using Parma Fabula, this effect has transformed the blade to a material able to cut better than any other metal and extremely hard to damage. It never loses its edge.

The All Sundering Edge
PeTe(An, He) 30 (Base 3, T/M/I, Metal 2, Requirement 2, Unlimited Uses +10)
Upon activation an item made of metal, animal product, or wood touching the blade is destroyed. This allows it to cut through and destroy weapons, shields, armor, and nearly anything else it encounters.
This is an upgraded version of Sunder Warrior, MoH p.32.

Effortless Defender
Re(In)Te(He) 30 (Base 2, T/C/I, Metal 2, Requirement 1, Item Maintains Concentration +5, Unlimited Uses +10)
When active this allows the wielder to automatically “parry” incoming blows from weapons covered by Terram or Herbam. The wielder must be generally aware of the incoming attack, so he can still be stabbed in the back by an unknown adversary. However, in normal melee he can automatically “parry” any number of blows in a round. He may also "parry" single missile attacks (arrow cutting), though not a volley. All "parries" require a roll, but only to see if there is a botch.
This is an upgraded version of Defender Swords, TtA p.94.

The Tireless Warrior
Re(Cr)Co 28 (Base 10, T/C/I, Maintains Concentration +5, 6/Day Uses +3)
Upon activation, the wielder is flooded with seemingly endless energy. Their body seems to swell with power and their eyes gleam. They are unaffected by penalties from injuries and fatigue. Wounds are stabilized and do not worsen due to activity while under the effect, but also do not heal naturally. When the effect ends, they are affected instantly by all wounds and fatigue and must make any rolls previously ignored.
This is a version of Endurance of the Berserkers with Bind Wound .

Master's Phantom Move
Re(Cr)Co 30 (Base 15, T/M/I, Unlimited Uses +10)
Upon activation, the wielder burst into movement so fast they leave a blurring streak behind them. They can travel to any point within 50 paces of their start point within a heartbeat, even if it requires running up walls or leaping through the air. However they can only travel a path in which they could physically fit. Cosmetically the wielder appears to be moving this fast, as if their Quickness was increased ten fold.
This is hybrid of Gift of Frogs Legs and Seven League Stride , with CrCo cosmetic effects.

The current stat line for the sword is:
Initiative +4, Attack +9, Defense +6, Damage +20, Strength Req 0, Load 0, Attack Type S/P
It can only be damaged on a Quad Botch

That gets you all caught up to where I am right now with the sword. There are about seven years left before needing to get ready to head out to the Grand Tribunal. Right now I need to name the sword and figure out some other enchantments that should go into it.

While things like shooting balls of fire could be done, they are not part of using a sword as a sword and so are worth minimal points in the competition. However effects such as making the wielder a more effective leader are good (though not worth as much as straight use as a sword).

Some I am currently considering:

  • MuHe(Me) to awaken Cunning in the wood. This is part of the reason I included wood in the handle and am known for a Cr(Mu)He(Me) awaken living plants ritual breakthrough.
  • Jupiter's Resounding Blow, as a stun attack on strike (Low to High Points)
  • Circling Winds of Protection, most likely with a Diameter duration (Medium or High Points)
  • Eyes of the Bat, to allow effective blind fighting (Medium or High Points)
  • Eyes of the Cat, fighting in low light
  • Gift of the Bear's Fortitude, to make the wielder tougher
  • Shriek of the Impending Shafts, to improve defense against ranged attacks
  • Ward Against Heat & Flame, as a defense against Flambeaus
  • Aura of Ennobled Presence, to make the wielder a better leader
  • Aura of Rightful Authority, less valuable than the above, but a good companion to it
  • Wizard's Sidestep, another defense possibility. Cosmetic look the same as Master's Phantom Move.
  • A MuTe effect which would allow the sword to change into other weapons. This would require a high Penetration and thus be a high level effect.
  • PeVi spell cutting/disenchanting effect

EDIT: Yes the game is 5th Edition and for anyone wondering here is our HR thread, the stuff related to enchanting is at the end of it.

Parma Fabula... so this is a fourth edition game & item?

I've only in recent months come into the game, can you explain what Parma Fabula is, so I have a better idea what's going on? The only thing Google would tell me is that it's the storyteller's screen.

Parma Fabula had a booklet that came with 4th edition screen. Part of that booklet was enchanting weapons.

No it is not a 4th edition item, we have a HR that allows the enchanting a weapon part of that booklet to be used. My group is not unique in doing this and you can find a summery of the rules here and here.

I have no idea either what is Parma Fabula but here are a few ideas for would be effects:
Wielding hand cannot be mutilated.
Weapon cant be disarmed.
Wielder and the weapon will remain clean of blood and dirt.
Hits delivered by the weapon couse a satisfying sound.(could require lot of research into different sounds and what is considered satisfying, you want to avoid the uncanny valley)
If I understood you correctly then generally you should place an emphasis on the 'feel good' and quality of life enchantments, as the sword will be evaluated by a fallable human who ideally has priorities other than (but not necessarily excuding) being a munchkin.

The usual caveat with magical swords is that, if you've not thought of Penetration, you've created a wonderful grog-cleaving weapon, but an otherwise useless one for the purpose of mythic adventures, and my advice would be to start again. Then again, perhaps you've also thrown that rule out of the window, so what do I know.

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Part of the HR is the Continuous Parma Fabula effects don't have to penetrate, except for the "increase damage for specific target type" one which I did not include. Right now the sword could use its base stat line and the auto "parry" (it targets the wielder) against beings with MR, though not the sundering effect (which would target things held/worn by the being with MR). I seriously considered making the first two effects as powerful as I could with 8~10 seasons to instill each effect.

I have already used 64 pawns in game (along with 2 years) and done the stuff that deals with HRs, so really don't want to start over. You will notice that most of the effects I am considering do not need to penetrate and any that do I would of course include penetration in.

EDIT: As a sidenote, the Parma Fabula stuff is included in my Saga's HR thread. It was posted in June and the Parma Fabula stuff is the 4th from the bottom.

The rating of the evaluator are half of the total score, with the voting the other half. That voting should be based on similar criteria but when you are dealing with a bunch of Magi who knows. The varies Magi will get a chance to handle the swords though, so those quality of life enchantments will be noticeable to them as well.

That is why I lowered the required strength and load of the weapon, making it feel as if it had the weight of a feather. So when one of those Magi picks it up and gives it a few swings, they don't do something like spin around like a top or pull a muscle from hefting it. I also wanted my Str 0 Magus to be able to use it, though my Great Weapon skill is more for staffs.

What about using the "Items with Abilities" rules from the WG or WGRE to give the sword the ability to wield itself? Especially useful IMO if the main wielder is to be a magus, as the sword could defend him while he's busy casting.

An interesting suggestion, but despite using a small section of Parma Fabula our game is 5th edition. While I could discuss it with my group, the "Items with Abilities" seems extremely expensive. It would require 15 pawns of Vis to get space to potentially hold 75 XP and get Great Weapons to 5. Though I guess we might have to multiple the potential XP by 25 instead of 5 to take into account that Abilities in 5th edition are 5x as expensive as in 4th edition.

My group would also most likely consider that it would require an OR breakthrough and there is not enough time to conduct such research. I have at most about 18~21 seasons and that is every season I have not taken up by other things (like required Covenant duty to get my share of Vis). Sure I could drop the Covenant duty but that would only free up another 7 seasons and then I would not have any Vis income to offset the massive amount I am burning through.

If I wasn't under such a time crunch though I would seriously consider making it an area of research. Since the mind, and specifically awakening intelligence and cunning, is something my Magus is both best known for and focused on it would fit him perfectly. So thank you for the suggestion and I will add it to my short list even if I can't use it here.

Wow, I hadn't realized the XP needs were so much higher in 5th. Or that WGRE wasn't in widespread use in 5th ed. games.

5X the XP cost?? Now I know I'm sticking with 4th!

Characters in general gain more XP, so the actual difference in level of Abilities is not that great. The system for calculating how much you get is also much less complex.

Remember how you divide a lot of learning totals in 4th ed by 5? That doesn't happen in 5th. The results are (almost) the same, the math is just simpler.

Out of curiosity, what kind of spoil is your character expecting from the competition exactly? I mean, I do have players interested in prestige and stuff. But I can't even fathom what kind of rewards would warrant investing 20 seasons towards something.

I do not think it will be close to 20 seasons, that was only the potential if OR had to be done to use "Items with Abilities". Currently 7 have been used and depending on the size of effect the sword could be filled at 11 seasons. The currently 64 and potential 84 pawns of vis would normally be the cost people would call out more.

Do not discount the prestige of winning an Order wide challenge at a Grand Tribunal, especially if you are looking to challenge for Archmagus. That is the true goal and if Orthon wins then he will be challenging before leaving the Tribunal. Heck might do it if he places in the top three.

As for actual rewards, it is no where near worth what the effort put into competitions like this would require. In addition to the Order prestige, there is House acclaim (already a Dendrophori with well north of 200 acclaim), a few rooks of vis (less than spent), the right to pick a House assignment (such as Colens Arcanorum), a year of priority copying from the Library, and a House "favor". The attention would only help our book selling. Sticking it to some Verditius who think they are the only true enchanters.

Sure it would help at an eventual run at Primus, but that would be an end off/post Saga thing and outside of my Magus range of desires. As I mentioned in passing in other threads, the leadership of House Bonisagus has been shaping up to be the "true" big-bad of our Saga. At least as far as we can tell. So the PCs who are Bonisagus have all made an effort to have as much power and influence in our House as possible.

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Getting ready to head to the game in a couple of hours and have two effects designed, plus one I am considering. The two designed effects I can manage to squeeze out in one season thanks to the S&M bonuses and my Lab having a big bonus to Rego. Depending on how much time passes the first two effects will most likely be enchanted.

The Tireless Warrior
Re(Cr)Co 28 (Base 10, T/C/I, Maintains Concentration +5, 6/Day Uses +3)
Upon activation, the wielder is flooded with seemingly endless energy. Their body seems to swell with power and their eyes gleam. They are unaffected by penalties from injuries and fatigue. Wounds are stabilized and do not worsen due to activity while under the effect, but also do not heal naturally. When the effect ends, they are affected instantly by all wounds and fatigue and must make any rolls previously ignored.
This is a version of Endurance of the Berserkers with Bind Wound.

Master's Phantom Move
Re(Cr)Co 30 (Base 15, T/M/I, Unlimited Uses +10)
Upon activation, the wielder burst into movement so fast they leave a blurring streak behind them. They can travel to any point within 50 paces of their start point within a heartbeat, even if it requires running up walls or leaping through the air.
This is hybrid of Gift of Frogs Legs and Seven League Stride, with CrCo cosmetic effects.

.

The effect I am considering would be MuTe(An,He) which would allow the entire sword to be shifted to another edged great weapon (if not edged, it would lose the +6 damage from Sword Like No Other). So for example it could be shifted into a Long Spear or a Pole Axe. The issue is that this is an effect that would require Penetration so that it could be used against beings with Might. While a very "cool" effect, it would not really make the sword more effective (some minor changes in stats and possible uses) and would require a very high level to get a decent penetration.

Oh, if anyone is wondering why I am doing effects about the level I am, my group does not count +# modifiers (from Triggers, Uses/Day, Maintain Concentration, Penetration, etc) when calculating if an effect causes warping. So I can squeeze effects of slightly higher level and avoid warping the wielder. Considering how many effects this thing will have and be able to place on its wielder I figured it was for the best. It will easily be able to perform five or more effects in a single fight, which if they caused warping would rapidly be bad.

So I updated the first post with the most recent changes to the sword at the last game. I am still working on a name and here are a few I am considering.

Durendal, Almace, Precieuse, or Hauteclere (or any of the variation spellings). Orthon is of french blood and naming his "Legendary" sword after one of the blades from The Song of Roland feels appropriate.

Claíomh Solais or Claidheamh Soluis, from Gaelic. Means "Sword of Light". We spent a bunch of time in the area recently when attempting to get some Folk Witches for study and adding to our Covenant, though most of Orthon's exposure was through books rather than actual time there.

Hesperus or Eosphorus, looking at the Greek origin (or possible Roman variation). They (and their variations) can mean things like "Dawn Bringer", "Light Bringer", "Light Bearer", "Son of Dawn", "Bearer of Light", "Evening Star", "Morning Star", etc. We actually have a great many Greek text and all of the Magi read it.

Callondor, just because the series of books was one of my favorites even if it took longer than the original author lived to finish it. This is another "Sword of Light", also called "The Sword that is not a sword". While not the same effect as in the novels, I believe that tag would fit if it had the MuTe effect that allowed it to change into other weapons.

Skofnung is Danish, so a little outside of the area I would normally look. However it seems a good fit since it is renowned for supernatural sharpness and hardness, as well as for being imbued with the spirits of the king's berserker bodyguards.

Some of these names would require, or at least strongly suggest, an effect enchanted into the sword. So for many of them selecting as a name while still having time and space to put an effect in is important.