Zombie Magic

I have often wondered exactly how magic items entered D&D. There may be some old-timer recollections about the genesis of them somewhere on the ‘net, but I haven’t seen them. The origin of rust monsters and polyhedral dice have been well documented, but what was the first +1 sword? The influences are obvious — Excalibur, the One Ring, the Eyes of the Overworld — but I wonder if there was a mechanical antecedent, some wargaming equivalent that got translated, or if Gary or Dave just said "This sword is just better than a normal sword, it’s like being one level higher on the attack table", or whatever. By the time OD&D was published, there idea of magic items coming in a thousand flavors ("Sword +1", "Sword +1, +2 vs. Reptiles", etc) was well established, and it’s been a huge part of Dungeons & Dragons (and roleplaying in general) tradition since then. In MMORPGs, it’s all about the phat l3wt; your character is almost entirely defined by his bling. (Assuming I’m using "bling" correctly; I’m a 44 year old middle class white nerd, and for all I know, "bling" actually means "a small, slightly greenish fruit with a smooth hide, often enjoyed in South America during the summer moneths". But I digress.)

All of which brings us to Zombie Magic! No, these aren’t spells cast by Zombie Wizards (that would be just silly!), but magic items with a zombie theme. My original idea was something like "Zombie killing items", but unless your campaign is all zombies, all the time, they’d be of little use, or they’d end up in the golf bag of magic swords. ("Hmmm…. looks like a Shambling Eyechomper. Sword caddy, hand me my Sword +2, +4 against zombies.")

So I revised my concept. (For best effect, read this in the voice of Koloth taunting Scottie in "Trouble With Tribbles"). These are not items for fighting zombies, there are items made from zombies. (You can stop imitating Koloth now.)

You know the drill. Read on for the Wand Of The Writhing Appendage, the Bow Of The Bloody Tendon, the Orb of the Still Seeing Eyes, and the Blade of Undying Assault!

 


 Zombie Magic Items

Wand Of The Writhing Appendage

At the tip of this slim rod of dark wood is a mummified finger… which you realize is still moving….

 Wand of the Writhing Appendage
Lvl 3 +1  680 gp  Lvl 18 +4 85,000 gp
Lvl 8 +2  3,400 gp  Lvl 23 +5  425,000 gp 
Lvl 14 +3  17,000 gp  Lvl 28 +6  2,125,000 gp

 

 (Gods, I either need to learn more CSS so I can make purtier tables, or I need a (sigh) better WYSIWYG editor for this blog, or something.)

Implement: Wand

Enhancement: Attack and damage rolls.

Critical: +1d8 Necrotic damage per plus.

Property: Gain a +1 item bonus to damage when you use this wand with any power which has the Necrotic and Implement keywords. This bonus increases to +2 at item level 14 and +3 at item level 23.

Power (At-Will, Minor, Arcane): Expend a healing surge. All damage from the next attack power you perform using this wand is Necrotic.

Power (Daily * Arcane, Implement, Necrotic): Standard Action — as the Warlock’s Darkworm Feast.


Bow Of The Bloody Tendon

The string of this bow is… odd. It is made of sinew, which is not all that uncommon, but the sinew always quivers and twitches, even when the bow is set down for the night. Further, if you try to unstring the bow, the bowstring lashes at you violently, drawing blood…

Bow Of The Bloody Tendon
 Lvl 1 +1  1,000 gp  Lvl 20 +4 125,000 gp
Lvl 10 +2  5,000 gp  Lvl 25 +5  625,000 gp 
Lvl 15 +3  25,000 gp  Lvl 30 +6   3,125,000 gp

Weapon: Any bow.

Enhancement: Attack and damage rolls.

Critical: +1d8 necrotic per plus

Property: All damage dealth by this weapon is necrotic. This may not be changed by the wielder.

Power (Encounter, Minor): You may target any hidden or invisible foe you have seen at least once since the start of the encounter as if they were not hidden. You must have line of effect to the target. If you use this power and you do not have line of effect, the power is not expended although the action is lost.


Orb Of The Still-Seeing Eyes

This small glass sphere contains a clear liquid, and within the liquid float two eyes, still partially covered with skin and muscle. One winks at you.

Orb Of The Still-Seeing Eyes
Lvl 5 +1  1,000 gp  Lvl 20 +4 125,000 gp
Lvl 10 +2  5,000 gp  Lvl 25 +5  625,000 gp 
Lvl 15 +3  25,000 gp  Lvl 30 +6   3,125,000 gp

Implement (Orb)

Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls.

Critical: +1d6 necrotic damage per plus.

Property: Any creature in a zone you have created, or adjacent to a conjuration you have created, cannot become hidden from you.

Power (Daily): Minor action. Burst 10, target: One creature in burst. Effect: That creature cannot become hidden from you(save ends).


Blade Of Undying Assault

This blade is carved of bone, and the grip is a withered hand.. which grips your wrist as tightly as your grip it, drawing blood.

Blade Of Undying Assault
Lvl 5 +1  1,000 gp  Lvl 20 +4 125,000 gp
Lvl 10 +2  5,000 gp  Lvl 25 +5  625,000 gp 
Lvl 15 +3  25,000 gp  Lvl 30 +6   3,125,000 gp

Weapon: Light Blade, Heavy Blade

Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls.

Critical: +1d6 Necrotic damage per plus.

Power (Daily) Immediate Reaction. Trigger: You are reduced to 0 hit points. Effect: You are still dying, except that you are considered to be dazed instead of unconscious. You must still make death saves as normal so long as you are under 0 hit points. The only actions you may take are melee attacks using this weapon, which you may not drop. You may also charge, if you end the charge with an attack using this weapon. You must attack if there is any possible legal target, though you may choose which target to attack. You may use at-will, encounter, or daily powers as usual, provided that an attack with this weapon is included as part of the power’s use.

Design Note: The original draft of this just made you dazed, but I decided that was perhaps too powerful, even for a Daily. The above better models what I’m going for — the sword itself is using you as a puppet. I had also thought of requiring the expenditure of a healing surge to activate this power, but I thought that might be too much a catch-22… you may end up just setting yourself up for a second death if you reduce your most valuable in-game resource. Someone who is reduced to 0 hit points is probably low on healing surges to begin with, so he might not even have any left just when this power would be most useful and most cool.


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