Thursday, February 20, 2020

Greyhawk A-Z: Magic Swords

Greetings Greyhawkers! Coming off the heels of a very good Legends & Lore show with Joe Bloch from Greyhawk Grognard, I realized I'm behind on posting. This is mainly because I've been plugging away at a Sea Princes article for Oerth Journal. So let's do an easy one, one of my A-Z lists of named magic swords in Greyhawk! The setting has many, many named magic swords and surprisingly I can't find a sword to fit every letter of the alphabet. If I overlooked one, please correct me. In the meantime, I will fill the empty slots with honorable mentions. Let's get started:

Afterglow: The flaming sword of Lendor, god of Time. Not sure why he needs a sword if he can just stop time and stuff. Look at him though, a god of Time who can straight up strangle a chimera with his bare hands!

Blackrazor: The most dangerous, most iconic and THE most evil sword in all D&D. Plucked from White Plume Mountain, Blackrazor currently in use for my Greyhawk home campaign and may very well be the end of it too!

Crowdpleaser: This is the short sword of Nazarn hero-god of gladiators. It is not certain this is a magic sword, but given his ascension, it must be! Also, Nazarn, first seen in Living Greyhawk Journal #3. is the only half-orc deity that I can think of in any publication.

Dreamsinger: One of my favorites. This white-steel sword, tied to bards, is one of the five Blades of Corusk. It is also the one that sets off the adventure to gather them all in Five Shall Be One. In the original module I believe it's a broad sword, but in my own adaptation for 5E I decided to make it a rapier, given the popularity of that weapon in recent editions.

Edge: Speaking of Blades of Corusk, this is one of the five which when combined allegedly allows the owners to summon Vatun the Great-God of the North. *spoilers, it might not* Edge is an extremely sharp bastard sword that can fire daggers from its pommel. Whoever wrote Five Shall Be One must've been a fan of the movie Sword and the Sorceror

Fragarach: Known as "the Answerer", this sword from celtic legend, was dropped into Greyhawk lore by Gygax. It has ties to Prince Thrommel, Kelanen and has been copied several times. For more info, check out this comic I did way back on the subject.

Greenswathe: Another Blade of Corusk. I am partial to these swords, so you may see them all in this list. Greenswathe was very unique in that it is a scimitar, it is tied to druids and its a golden blade. It's rather out of place in a module that is about viking barbarians.

Harmonizer: Yes, that's right, another Blade of Corusk. Harmonizer is a confounding weapon though. It's a two-handed sword, but made for thieves/rogues. This is because it's very light. But before you jump for joy, Hamonizer likes to play fair, matching opponents skill. Very un-rogue-like. It's also a Defender blade, so yeah, it's probably my least favorite of the three, because it's a mess to DM.

Incarnadine: So this sword is new to me, I only discovered it in making this list. Incarnadine is from Return to the Tomb of Horrors (Bruce Cordell) and is one of a pair of dragon-slayer long swords that can be found in this sequel. The text says Incarnadine prefers to slay red dragons, which is interesting. I don't recall swords specifying type of dragon, but I kind of do recall arrows of dragon-slaying had to be specific. If anyone can clarify I'd like to know. Also interesting, the adventure says this sword may have additional powers or sentience at the DM discretion. Nice!

Just: because I can't find a "J" sword doesn't mean there isn't one in publication, so give me a comment if you know one. Just for fun I'm gonna name the nine Swords of Answering that are modeled off of Fragarach. Answerer, Rebutter, Concluder, Last-Quip, Replier, Retorter, Scather, Squelcher, Back-Talker. I believe you find these in AD&D Unearthed Arcana, but here is a link showing their alignments.

Kelmar: This is the two-handed blade of Kord, god of Strength. Kord likes to fight monsters so its fitting this is a dragon-slayer. It gets better...Kelmar is a vorpal dragon-slaying sword. Only versus dragons though. Yes even Tiamat! But not Bahamut, he is off limits. And if the wielder of Kelmar doesn't go after the dragon, well screw it, the sword jumps out of the sheath as a Dancing sword and kills on its own! Exciting stuff.

The Sword of Lyons: This magic short sword is from A3: Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords and as I've never ran the module before, it tickled me to discover how cool this blade would be to use in a campaign. It's just a plain +1 sword, but it is always invisible. When in its sheath and carried the owner is invisible. Thus when the blade is used the wielder becomes seen again, but the Sword of Lyons is always invisible. That's wild!

Muspelblindir: This weapon is one you won't see every day. Muspelblindir, possessed by a fire giant in Against the Giants: Liberation of Geoff, is a giant-sized sword of giant slaying. This giant has trust issues I guess? Muspelblindir is a cool name, clearly invoking Muspelheim from norse myth, the text says the sword, whose steel glows like hot coals, is translated to "who slays with fire." Yes indeed!

Nurbilac: Say what? Yeah I never remembered this one either until I did some research. The magic sword Nurbilac comes from an article in Dragon #256, A Treasure Trove of Tomes by my good friend, author and bibliophile, Scott Casper. The article is an original study on literature and historical texts from the World of Greyhawk. the entry on the Historical Reign of Ulek tells of Count Cartair of the County of Ulek and his exploits. In this text he possesses a magic blade named Nurbilac. What does the sword do? We don't find out. But a bard can inspire troops by invoking the story of Cartair and Nurbilac, so that has to count for something.

Omarannin the Laughing Blade: This sword belongs to the famous rogue Rakehell Chert and is featured in Dragon #299. What makes this short sword unique is every hit forces a saving throw or the target busts out laughing like the spell Tasha's Hideous Laughter. Yeah, this one sounds quite fun. I'm gonna bookmark that sword.

Pillars of Heaven: Are a set of swords mentioned in LGJ #3 regarding Kelanen along with his acquiring Fragarach from an alien god. I'm not sure of the context of these swords and if Fragarach is one of the Pillars, but the text says Kelanen found the resting place of three of the Pillars of Heaven, implying there are more than three of them! If so, what are the other swords? Was Sureguard and Swiftdoom two of the Pillars? Or, perhaps they are the Blades of Corusk? So many swords!!!

Q: Why does Quaal not have a sword named after him? Just tokens? Ah well here's an article I did on the Sword of Kas.

Red Light of Hades: This is the sword of Pyremius god of murder and fire. It might be the coolest sounding sword name in all Greyhawk. What does it do? Well first it sheds a reddish light, so it lives up to the name. Second, it's a +5 sword that only Pyremius can hold. Impressive. The best ability however is if it hits a paladin that character must make a saving throw of lose all their paladin powers. I repeat, lose all paladin powers. Worse yet, it takes a Wish and an Atonement spell to get the powers back. Man, Pyremius can murder your career too!

Sureguard & Swiftdoom: Mentioned earlier, I can't ever separate these two swords since they are my favorite sentient blades and best friends of Kelanen, hero-god of swords. One is a frost-brand, the other a flame-tongue. Kelanen and his swords used to be some of my favorite comics to do back in the day. Check it out.

Tensers Sword of Deadly Strikes:  Tenser is a wizard whose spell theme indicates he feels inferior to all the fighters he hangs out with. His named sword of Deadly Strikes is just one of MANY combat items created in the module Return of the Eight. This one is particularly potent for when the command word is spoken it deals maximum damage each first strike, for 1d6+3 rounds. That would be a nice one to convert from 2E to 5E.

Umbra: Remember Incarnadine from earlier? Well Umbra is the sister long sword of dragon-slaying from Return to the Tomb of Horrors. Umbra likes to kill black dragons though. Much like its mate, this sword may have additional powers. I may just skip this module and steal the pair of swords for my campaign!

Vilharian: Now this is a sword that somehow slipped past me over the years. Detailed in LGJ #4, Vilharian is an ancient Suel weapon that managed to find its way over to the Flanaess after the cataclysm and was lost in a duel versus Kelanen himself. Then it changed hands, once being lost in the swamp during the Siege of Westkeep and again lost in the sea Battle of Jetsom Island. This is an intelligent, wizard-bane +5 sword that also protects from fire and ice, and why not, controls the weather as well! Pretty powerful...

Xan Yae: the Lady of Perfection from the Baklunish pantheon, has a pair of falchions with no names, but a very strange set of properties. One, they are knife sized but can grow to 3-feet in length at her will. Also in keeping with her balance aspect in battle, one blade is +6 while the other is +1 then the modifiers gradually shift each round from +5 to +2 until they are +1/+6 and then all over again. Never mind that she has five bare hand attacks that do 6d6 damage. The falchions are for show. 

You: probably know a sword that starts with a "Y" but I'm not finding anything good. So instead let's finish off the five Blades of Corusk. One of my faves is Stalker, the long sword meant for rangers. This blade has many powers that make the PC stealthier and better at being a ranger, like handling canines. Oh yes, and the blade itself has a quirky shadowy aura when you stare at it too long. Fun!

Z: I'm out of gas at this point. If anyone has some swords they want to nominate feel free to use the comment section. This was fun when I started, but turned into quite an exercise. Until next time everyone! 


BenS said...

Did you really mean to push Blackrazor over the Sword of Kas as "most dangerous"? The latter is an artifact, after all. I guess "most iconic" is subjective, as is "most evil".

I remember your Kelanen comics fondly!

Mike Bridges said...

Ben: Lol maybe so. The Sword of Kas will definitely draw you into a web of evil Vecna drama and being an artifact, it's damn hard to destroy yes, but Blackrazor is more insidious. It will make you kill your enemies, your friends, even your pet. It is hard to be rid of bc you get addicted to the power. It IS Stormbringer.

Anonymous said...

Not strictly greyhawk but i've always had a soft spot for Fedifensor, the Holy Avenger sword from Roger Moore's article in Dragon on the Astral Plane.