12 years later, I invented like 4 magic swords for my fairy tale inspired Fate game.
1 year later, I invented a sword for my BFRPG campaign.
6 is a nice number so here they are.
- Frostbite- Herald of the Final Winter. Frostbite is a singularity of Absolute Zero temperature suspended in space a few inches from the hilt by the powerful magics woven into the hilt.
It also doesn't look remotely blue or cool. It looks like a very hard icicle.
It is to temperature what a Sphere of Annihilation is to space. The 'blade' is just frozen air acting as a containment for the singularity, and if it is shattered, it immediately reforms. If shattered underwater, it will reform as frozen liquid. If plunged into lava, it'll have a blade of frosted-over black stone. If broken in an absolute vacuum, the sword's full power will be unleashed long enough to make a single strike, freezing the wielder and target to a few decimals above absolute zero, draining all energy from the two victims and reforging the containment blade from their corpses. But most the time it's just a very cold blade- wounds struck by Frostbite cannot heal until they are thawed, and it chills and sunders enemy swords quite easily, forces fire elementals to save or die, can trace a path of ice to walk on over lakes, and so on. If a player asks 'can I freeze X' the answer is yes, so long as they can reach it.
Frostbite is pursued by the Polar Knights, a group of 6 or so assholes in ice armor with names like 'Glacier' or 'Hail' and so many icy powers one might wonder why they even need the sword.
The answer is, of course, to kill God/The Sun/The First Flame and bring about the heat death of the universe. Like I said, they're assholes. Did I mention they're immortal and can't die until the universe does? Probably has something to do with it.
They also have a titanic white scorpion that can flatten castles with its claws. This thing is too big to fit through portals to our dimension and you'll only see it if you take the fight to them on the Elemental Plane of Ice, but it gives an immediate visual indicator of the scale these guys play on.
- The Rose Blade- Long, long ago, the Queen of Faerie was called Flora, and she waged bitter war against Fauna and had a mind of roots and thorns and poisoned nectar. The rose blade is a delicate basket-hilt rapier, and the handle has thorns that pierce straight through the hand of its wielder, and once penetrated, they cannot release their grip.
It looks way cooler than this, trust me
Not that they would want to. For the poisoned sap of Flora's blandishments seeps into the blood, enslaving the animal who wields it just as bees are the slaves of flowers. The opium haze into which the wielder drifts is irrelevant, because the blade wields itself, jerking the drugged wielder around to pierce hearts and eyes and spill the hot blood of beasts onto the ground to feed the forest. The movements of the blade are faster than they eye can follow and quickly dislocate and shatter the wielders arm into uselessness, but the wielder feels nothing but pleasure flowing from the thorns into their veins. Eventually the wielder ceases bleeding blood from their wounds, instead leaking the sweet stuff, and this honey brings the beasts of the field to serve, licking and slurping the trail of blood and honey.
The Faerie Queen is greatly embarrassed by this reminder of the bad old days and stuck it into a treestump which is hidden away in a hedgemaze patrolled by the Wild Hunt, and she locked the hedgemaze up, and threw the key away into a pond guarded by 3 amorous frogs. Heroes who make their way to the blade and decide to leave it embedded in the stump earn her favor, but she has no desire to unlock this repressed facet of herself and will hunt any who take the blade to the ends of the earth.
But the Rose Blade can kill or enslave anything belonging to Animalia. It is something from the very beginning of time, before civilization, before sentience, before souls, and it is utterly unmoved by abstract thought and emotion, though it can mindlessly imitate both to manipulate animals such as yourself.
- The First Sword- A crude thing of antler and flint.The First Of Swords claimed First Of Kills/To The World Bringing First Grave's Chill/A Blade To End all Mortal Strife/By Ending that Immortal, Life
It acts as a -2 sword- it's unbalanced, not all that sharp, flint is obsolete compared to iron. But anything it hits saves or dies forever. Even immortal things. Especially them. They get no save at all... It was made with the intent to kill an immortal entity of spring, for selfish, angry, pointless reasons lost to history, and this story of anger, slaughter, regret, and inevitable death repeats endlessly through the ages.
- The Unfinished Sword- A hero sought to slay a dragon, and they were prepared to give up their future as payment to a witch-smith to forge such a thing.
But while forging the blade, the witch-smith was assassinated by a mistake from her past- a porcelain and clockwork doll. With her dying breath, the witch used her own crumbling future in the blade's creation, and the murderous doll returned the unsharpened, unfinished sword to the hero- after all, the doll had a sword of its own already. And so the hero sharpened their unfinished sword as best they could, and did their best to slay a dragon with it.
But the dragon did not die. It lost its form and identity and drifted away as a whispering cloud. The sword's slaying potential was disrupted along with the disrupted forging process, and now it could not bring endings- it could not punctuate the story of a life with 'They died, the end." In fact, it ends endings, shattering prophecies and adding blank space for continuations and transformations and sequels and afterwords. For every possibility it shatters, a hundred more potentialities fragment out from the sundered future.
In short, it forces a Save vs Plot Hook on every hit, but never reduces HP below 1. Villains reveal mixed motivations and possibilities for redemption. No-Name NPCs reveal themselves to be princes in disguise, or offer to lead the players to the City of Gold in exchange for their lives. Angels may fall and devils may cry real tears. The dead find their way back from the underworld and that which never lived gains a soul. Cosmic laws find their rules bent, eldritch abominations collapse into ontological instability and reform as animal mascots. The story of the world is not set in stone.
- Deathwish- In ancient times the true heir of Saresare wielded this blade. The Ifrit blood that mingled with the nobility helped control it, and nobles have wishes that can oft be granted with money and mundane power, so the temptation to draw the blade is further lessened.
The blade grants infinite wishes while drawn, but consumes the soul of its wielder with every wish. And the rate of consumption is such that the price to take or save even a single life is the soul of its wielder, consumed to fuel the fires of the dark blade. And yes, this includes the life of the wielder themselves, in a catch-22 that makes the wishing function practically useless for combat. Changing the outcome of a fight such that someone lives who should have died or vice versa will surely consume the wielder in a flash. Even with subtle wishes, it is impossibly difficult to make wishes that can change the wielders fate without consuming their life as the price, and fools who wield Deathwish are usually destroyed by the unforeseen consequences of their wishes in a matter of days, if that. For want of a nail, a horseshoe was lost. For want of a horseshoe, a horse was lost. For want of a horse, a king was lost. For want of a king, a kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a nail.
Apart from the allure of the inevitable doom brought by the life-draining wishes of the sword, it also flames brighter and hotter as the wielder comes closer to death. At <10% HP, the sword is a veritable bonfire that prevents any from drawing near and strikes with the combined fury of every soul consumed by the sword (Statistically it probably goes from +1 to +5 for each 10% step below 60% HP) but an unharmed individual who isn't on the verge of defeat feels only a faint warmth in the blackened blade.
Saresaren nobility seek to possess the sword as their rightful property, as do their cousins the Ifrits, as do the enemies of both.
And if, at the end of the day, the empire is a network of magical tendrils of control that all lead to a magic sword, rather than the wielder, who's to complain so long as the wielder gets treated to hot baths and good food? Good servants are rewarded, so why quibble over who's wielding who.