Dual Statted For Old School And New
Coloring The Text Like That Was a PITA. I Had To Select Each Letter.
I Wish I Knew More CSS.
I Don’t Like The Blue Background, But The Yellow Didn’t Show Up Otherwise, And After Experimentation, This Was The Best I Could Do.
Of Course, If I Really Knew CSS, I Could Make The Colors Cycle… So Maybe It’s Best That I Don’t. I Was The Master Of The Angry Fruit Salad Interface When The First Color Macs Came Out. In 1987. I Am Old.
Inspired by my own comment in this article, I have decided to write this up, served two ways: First, in the manner of AD&D 1e, but usable, with minor adjustments, for any game derived from the original pre-1980 branches of the D&D family tree, and second, in Pathfinder 2 format, with the caveat that it’s a new system whose paradigmatic language I am still learning. (But I did play the beta regularly for a year.)
It occurs to me, having written this article, that a similar shield ought to exist. This would work particularly well with Pathfinder 2e’s shield rules.
“For Use With Any Role Playing Game”
Which Always Meant “For Whatever Version of D&D Is Current”
Sword, Prismatic Weapon: If a Sword, Vorpal Weapon is rolled on the treasure tables, there is a 5% chance that it is this type of blade instead. Ignore the usual rules for determining the type of a sword. Instead, roll d%:
86-97 Bastard Sword
98-00 Two-handed Sword
(The DM may, of course, place such a weapon deliberately.)
A prismatic sword (sometimes called a prismatic blade, many-colored blade, rainbow sword, and so on) is a rare item indeed! Only a magic-user or illusionist which can cast either prismatic sphere or prismatic spray (as a memorized spell, not from a scroll, wand, or other magic item) can hope to forge one, and the final sealing of the spell requires a natural rainbow in the sky over the caster. It is a spectacular and instantly identifiable weapon: The blade seems to be forged entirely of striations of light, constantly changing hue in a whirling, clashing, frenzy of color. Creatures of 4HD or less, or light-sensitive creatures of 8HD or less, must save vs. spell or be blinded for 1d4 rounds when the blade is first drawn in their presence. (Certain cunning illusionists have tried to create false versions of this weapon via simple phantasm spells place on mundane blades, perhaps aided by magic aura, but such are easily detected by their inability to blind onlookers.)
Any being of fourth level or less trying to wield the blade in combat must save each round, as the constant motion of the weapon overwhelms them.
It acts normally as a +3 sword of its type, with the ability to cast light as a lantern (though the light will constantly change color). On any attack roll where the die shows 18+, and which is otherwise a hit (though if you roll an 18 while wielding a +3 sword and miss, perhaps you are very outmatched indeed), the blade discharges a burst of colored energy, as follows:
|Red, 10 damage
|Orange, 20 damage
|Yellow, 40 damage
|Green, poison, save vs. poison or die.
|Blue, save vs. petrifaction or turn to stone.
|Indigo, save vs. wand or go insane.
|Violet, save vs. magic or be sent to a random plane.
|Roll twice, the second effect targets the nearest enemy to the target, if there are no enemies, the nearest ally, if no allies, the wielder of the blade. So it goes.
After each such use, mark the color expended. Each color returns after a week. If a roll indicates an expended color, there is no effect, other than the normal sword damage. There is no visual change to the blade as colors are consumed; they still appear as part of the sword’s vibrant, ever-changing surface.
Rumor has it such blades were originally created by acolytes of the dragon queen, and she will send her agents — human, humanoid, and draconic — after anyone who wields such a weapon and is not sworn to her service.
XP Value: 15,000 GP Value: 60,000
For Pathfinder 2e
Price: 35,000 gp
Usage: Held in one hand, Bulk 1.
Few beings have seen the like of this +3 striking longsword. The blade is made of colored light, continuously shimmering and changing chaotically, hues spilling and racing after each other.
Activate: Reaction, command Trigger: You score a critical hit when striking with the blade. Frequency: 1/round and special, see below .
Effect: The target struck by your critical hit suffers the effects of a random color of a prismatic spray, as per the core rulebook.(DC 44) When a color has been used, make a note of it. If the same color is rolled again before the sword is re-invested, no effect occurs other than normal weapon damage.
Activate: Reaction, command, interact, visual: Trigger: You have rolled initiative. Frequency: 1/10 minutes. Effect: You draw the blade and speak a command. All beings within a 30′ radius of you (who can see the blade) must make a Fort save (DC 39) or be dazzled, or blinded on a critical failure, for 1d4 rounds. Regardless of the save, those affected have temporary immunity to this power for 24 hours. (Allies who know what’s coming get a +2 circumstance bonus to the save.)
Note: When wielded, it creates an area of bright light in 30′ burst centered on you. This will impact creatures with light blindness (and may make it harder for allies to hide).
- In the absence of hard rules for magic item design thus far, the values are approximations based on the handful of high-level weapons provided. The dazzling effect has a slightly lower DC to simulate it being mostly intended to affect lower level creatures. Drop the DC even more to make it mostly a way to awe the commoners but not be effective against level-appropriate foes, unless they roll very poorly.
- It’s likely I’ll be fiddling with this as I get more familiar with PF2.
- I’m following the pattern of the few existing items with requiring a reaction to activate the on-critical effect, but I’m not entirely sanguine about it. Not only does this mean giving up reactions which are often class-defining (for the Champion and Fighter, in particular), but it means that in the highly unlikely even of scoring two criticals in the same round, you “only” get the normal critical effects. Then again, that might be needed for balance, since criticals can be more common in PF2, especially against foes of slightly lower, but still arguably threatening, level. This is a case where I’ll need more play experience to judge, and until I get that, I’m trusting the designers. (It also means you can’t use this if the strike you made was itself a reaction, and, again, perhaps that’s a balance thing, too.)