As the Introduction states, we've all read the stories about (usually young) heroes who somehow acquire a legendary weapon and rise to fame and often fortune. Attempts have often been made to mirror this within rule mechanics, but none quite capture the spirit of the way in which both weapon and wielder grow and develop over time, particularly when - as you'd expect in a game with more than one 'star character' - due care is taken to ensure that the weapon-bearer does not overshadow other player-characters, by applying restrictions to balance out his weapon. So here are variant rules that ensure both balance and suitable development, both expressed in general terms applicable to any weapon and then applied to a selection of specimen weapons that you may choose to use in your game or treat as examples when designing your own.
The system is rather elegant. The weapon starts off as an exquisitly-balanced, beautiful specimen of its type with a +1 bonus. There is a set of conditions - such as proficiencies, alignment or base attack bonus capability - that the new user must meet: once he does, at least one special quality is unlocked as he becomes attuned to the weapon. Other things may manifest later as he rises in level, staged so that the weapon too is rising in level. A suggestion is made that such weapons are quite jealous, and once you've unlocked their powers are inclined to take offence if you use any other weapon... so there's an optional rule that imposes a penalty on the use of anything else.
And so on to a fine selection of 16 specimen weapons, each with background to explain their powers (neatly made generic enough that it can be tweaked to suit your campaign world). Not only are they interesting weapons, most of them could spawn an adventure if not a whole campaign; or at least provide a recurrent theme based around some aspect of the weapon's backstory.
The book rounds off with some miscellaneous rules, feats and spells relating to the sample weapons... and a spell to create a magic hat!
Overall, this is a measured approach to legendary weapons with a workable core mechanic and some fine examples of fully-developed weapons - and all the information you need to devise your own, completed embedded into your campaign world's history.
Return to Legendary Blades page.
Reviewed: 5 September 2010