View Full Version : [Material/Weapon Enhancement] Black as the Night

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-08-21, 07:43 PM
Some more stuff from my files, again updated a bit.


Similar in some ways to mithral, black iron is even rarer. Its appearance and characteristics are much as normal iron, but it as black as coal. It can be refined into a matte-black, steel-like alloy appropriately called darksteel, which is just as strong but a bit lighter than true steel. Darksteel is most often used for armors, though it is often used in other objects for stylistic reasons. Most darksteel armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations. Heavy armors are treated as medium, and medium armors are treated as light, but light armors are still treated as light. Spell failure chances for armors and shields made from darksteel are decreased by 5%, maximum Dexterity bonus is increased by 1, and armor check penalties are lessened by 2 (to a minimum of 0). They also grant an inherent +4 equipment bonus to Hide checks.

An item made from darksteel weighs three-quarters as much as the same item made from other metals. In the case of weapons, this lighter weight does not change a weapon's size category or the ease with which it can be wielded (whether it is light, one-handed, or two-handed). Items not primarily of metal are not meaningfully affected by being partially made of darksteel. (A longsword can be a darksteel weapon, while a scythe cannot be.)
Weapons or armors fashioned from darksteel are always masterwork items as well; the masterwork cost is included in the prices given below.

Darksteel has 25 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 15.

Item Type
Cost Modifier

Light armor

Medium armor

Heavy armor


Other items
+750 gp/lb.



The blade of this weapon has been transformed into indistinct shadow, so dark it seems to devour light.

A shadowstuff weapon has its significant portion transformed into pure darkness, although this does not modify the itemís weight. It deadens light around it, granting a +2 bonus to Hide checks when drawn; if the weapon was originally made from darksteel, this bonus is +3.

A shadowstuff weapon ignores nonliving matter. Armor bonuses to AC (including any enhancement bonuses to that armor) do not count against it because the weapon passes through armor. (Dexterity, deflection, dodge, natural armor, and other such bonuses still apply.) A shadowstuff weapon cannot harm undead, constructs, and objects.

A shadowstuff weapon is most deadly in the hands of an assassin. Any character wielding a shadowstuff weapon who has a sneak attack or sudden strike ability gains the ability to make a death attack when attacking with the shadowstuff weapon. If the character studies her victim for 3 rounds and then makes a sneak attack with this weapon that would successfully deal damage, the target must instead make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + the wielder's Int modifier + the weapon's enhancement bonus) or die. If the target succeeds on the save, then resolve the sneak attack as normal. The wielder may use this ability a number of times per day equal to her Intelligence modifier; a use must be declared before the attack roll is made.

If the wielder already has a death attack ability (for example, she has taken the Assassin prestige class), then the Difficulty Class of her death attack increases by +1 when she uses a shadowstuff weapon to make a death attack. Additionally, the wielder may use the blade to reduce the number of rounds of study required to make a death attack. She can reduce the study time by an amount equal to her Intelligence modifier each day, to a minimum of one round of study. For example, an assassin with a modifier of +4 could choose to reduce the study time for two death attacks to one round each, or reduce one to one round and two others to two rounds each, or reduce four to two rounds each.

If a shadowstuff weapon is exposed to direct sunlight, its damage die is reduced by one step until it is removed from the sunlight and for one hour thereafter. While affected in this manner, the weapon no longer grants a death attack or improves an existing death attack. This property can only be applied to melee weapons, thrown weapons, and ammunition.

Strong transmutation; CL 16th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, gaseous form, darkness; Price +4 bonus.

2006-08-21, 08:31 PM
I like the idea of Darksteel, and the +4 to hide checks is a neat idea, but on the other hand, I've seen enough armors with reduced check penalties (possibly because I often go out and look for said armors, but my point stands, regardless). I dunno, maybe it's a good enough idea that it can be used over and over, but as the main properties of a material, that kind of thing is overused.

Shadowstuff is also a neat idea. I like the idea of it penetrating armor (I might have seen some other type of weapon that does that, but I'm not totally sure), and once again, I like the bonus to hide checks idea. And for it to become less effective in sunlight? That's pure genius, my friend. However, I think that should reduce the price more than it actually does; a +4 price seems too high to me. But I don't know, I'm not an expert.

2006-08-21, 08:57 PM
Shadowstuff looks like a downright inferior version of the Brilliant Energy enchantment (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#brilliantEnergy), which isn't such a good enchantment to begin with (IMO).
Not only is it almost completely useless against non-humanoids (who rarely if ever have actual armor rather than natural armor) and so quite circumstantial; it's also not a very good trade-off. Compare a +1 brilliant energy greatsword to a +5 greatsword; the latter does 4 more damage, bypasses DR and has a greater chance to hurt any opponent that is not wearing armor with a total bonus higher than +4. If you want to compensate for the +5 greatsword's damage with power attack, then you only break even against opponents with an armor bonus of +6.

I like the idea, but I'd lower the cost to a +3 bonus. Or maybe you could make it so it has an effect against natural armor too. :)

El Jaspero, the Pirate King
2006-08-21, 09:06 PM
I like the look of Darksteel; it's cool to see an item template that doesn't try to "one-up" the existing templates.

2006-08-21, 11:05 PM
One question: "A shadowstuff weapon ignores nonliving matter." What happens if you roll a critical miss and drop it? Does it fall through the floor? Or is this just a way of saying that it ignores AC bonuses from equipped armor?

2006-08-21, 11:39 PM
One question: "A shadowstuff weapon ignores nonliving matter." What happens if you roll a critical miss and drop it? Does it fall through the floor? Or is this just a way of saying that it ignores AC bonuses from equipped armor?I'm pretty sure that just the business end ignores nonliving matter.

Either way, how do you draw it? It'd just fall through a sheath.

2006-08-21, 11:53 PM
Since it seems based off the briliant blade property, I assume it's just the striking portion that's darkness. Following that, it probly would have a specialized sheath that locks into the hilt. The normal brilliant energy only works on command, meaning you can turn it off. Since I don't think it's too strong, and this has an extra limitation, I'd price it at +3, but that's probly too low. I don't think this version is inferior, actually it's better cause it won't give away your position in darkness. More stealth. But brilliant energy is a little overpriced IMO.

2006-08-22, 12:04 AM
It's just like Brilliant Energy, only it gives a +2 unnamed bonus to Hide checks, loses damage in broad daylight and heals undead rather than just being ineffective. I don't know if I'm being simple in assuming that you fight against undead rather than with undead, but if so, it's downright worse than Brilliant Energy.

A Shadowstuff weapon would be pretty nice for a necromancer though- just hit your minions with it until they're healed! Necromancer with a big, shadowstuff greatsword, mm-hmm. Probably not worth the 50k+ gp it would cost, though.

Gorbash Kazdar
2006-08-22, 10:59 AM
Changed how shadowstuff weapons work. I had envisioned them as assassination tools in the first place, and I think this modification makes them quite desirable for certain kinds of characters.

2006-08-22, 11:46 AM
I like the new effects of Shadowstuff. They fit perfectly with the concept. And Dark Steel is just a great idea.

2006-08-22, 07:02 PM
Thumbs up for the new Shadowstuff. Looks pretty cool. :)
Have you thought about having it increase the DC of an existing death attack by the enhancement bonus of the weapon rather than a fixed +1? The cost of increasing the enhancement bonus just from +1 to +2 is so high (22,000 gp) that it still won't be worth it, but it'd be a nice bonus for someone who really likes his shadowstuff weapon.

2006-08-22, 09:28 PM
Since it seems based off the briliant blade property, I assume it's just the striking portion that's darkness. Following that, it probly would have a specialized sheath that locks into the hilt.
Actually, I was envisioning a sheath of living tissue. Hmm, that necromancer with the shadowstuff greatsword just keeps looking better and better.

Anyway, I like the new changes. It seems to be the iconic assassin weapon now: adds to your stealth, and ignores armor so you can go straight for the vital organs. Sure it becomes weaker in daylight, but if you ever find yourself in broad daylight when you confront your mark, you're doing your job all wrong.

And Darksteel is the new Mithril. 8)