View Full Version : Would You Let Your Players Play THIS???

2011-05-09, 10:44 AM
During character creation for a recent 3.5 game a friend was running, I asked for permission to play an animated sword. Here is what I had in mind

Animated Bastard Sword (Xandar)
Concept: An ancient elven mage/smith wrought this blade with steel and spell, but botched the casting, trapping his soul in the steel. When loosed by its owner, the blade can interact with the world, until recalled by its master.

Size Small

Natural Armor +4

No constitution score. While not undead, this weapon is simply animated steel, and thus lacks a constitution score.

Levitation: Xandar can levitate up to 10 feet above the ground, and has a movement rate of 30.

Mage Hand: Xandar can use Mage Hand at will.

Partial Sunder Immunity: Effects that would shatter Xandar are not effective until all his HP is lost.

Special: When Xandar is reduced to 0 hp, his falls to the floor, inert. Xandar regains 1 HP per day, but cannot be restored to mobility until all HP are regained.

When Xandar is loosed, he can communicate via sound with anyone close enough to hear him. When Xandar is sheathed, he can communicate telepathically with anyone touching his hilt.

At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, Xandar gains a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls. This also grants Xandar +1 Natural Armor.


The character was going to be a Duskblade or a Warmage, but the DM nixed the idea because it was "too strange." Does anybody have a better reason for removing the character, or would this work in a campaign?

2011-05-09, 10:52 AM
So he wants to play an intelligent weapon.

As a DM, I don't think I'd allow it, but that's more because I don't think I could ever find a way to make a campaign setting realisticly react to an independent sword.

I definitely wouldn't allow any spellcasting with verbal or material components, nor would he really be able to carry anything.

2011-05-09, 11:06 AM
I'd possibly disallow it as is, mostly due to how awkward it would be to make npcs react to an animated sword.

Why not opt for a domination-esque route, where the sword essentially mind controls some peasant wielder (maybe by high ego or by a magical domninate effect). Also speaking through the host creature too, so you'd be able to get around with the interacting with npcs thing.
This would likely be an evil option though

2011-05-09, 11:16 AM
id probally disallow it while i am open to a small amount of homebrew something as extreem as that i probally wouldent allow. Also id probally disalow it for balance reasons its bizare enough that determining its la will not be straight forward. and alot of stuff like how it sees can it use magic items excetera are left unclear.

edit i second roleplaying concerns i can see a charecter like this either dominating any roleplaing encounters becuase in your standard setting magic flying talking swords are sufficently rare that you will be the focus of every interaction you have. or the sword is going to pretend to just be a sword when not fighting and then it gets no interaction at all.

2011-05-09, 11:22 AM
I wouldn't have a personal aversion to it. It depends on the setting and style of game though. Survival horror... not so much. Eberron? Sure.

2011-05-09, 11:25 AM
I'd be tempted to allow it in a high magic world. He has no body, so magic items or armor, and nobody can enchant him further. I'd probably change the "no con score but not an undead" to "Construct type" and give him VoP for free (sans exalted feats) instead of that weapon progression, fluffing it as the enchantments he was attempting to put into the sword in the first place. He could cast spells if he took the Somatic Weaponry feat, but he would have to find some way to hold material components (if the sword had a Hilt Hollow from Dungeonscape he could have someone else pack a few spell components inside).

I actually see this as being a little weak. No ranged attacks, outside of what you can cast as a duskblade (I'd nix the warmage, an animated sword gish makes sense, an animated sword caster doesn't), no magical gear, and you would be dependent on another player to do any shopping and interaction for you. I'd allow it.

Totally Guy
2011-05-09, 12:06 PM
I think think the character concept is a bit trite to be honest.

It's almost as if it's trite by trying too hard not to be trite.

I mean, think about live action tv shows. The best of them manage to create fleshed out characters with motivations and beliefs and most of those are completely constrained by lack of magic and total absence of other fantastic races.

2011-05-09, 12:34 PM
Why not? I've seen stranger things in Planescape. But it depends on the setting, relaly.

Now, how about he plays a really, really, really strongly reflavoured Warforged?

2011-05-09, 12:43 PM
I wouldn't. Not really because this is strange or anything, but because of many issues that would arise in the course of play. The race is a bit of a mess, frankly. Can you see ? If so, how and with what kind of vision ? Are you subject to dispel magic ? You seem to want to be a mage, but how can you cast spells without being able to move ?

I did actually allow this concept once though. The guy made a Binder/Fiend of Possession build that had been trapped in a sword for a few centuries, and now believed himself to be the sword. He worked pretty well together with the Crusader, shifting his magic weapon enhancements around to fit every kind of situation and adding some binder mojo to the mix.

2011-05-09, 12:47 PM
Depends on the setting.

Planescape: fine

Forgotten Realms: maybe

Eberron: maybe

Krynn: probably not

However it also depends on how you're working with the other players. if you came up with the idea with a friend and your friend is playing a character who owns the sword, its no more strange than a player buying an intelligent weapon at character creation. However you would have to roleplay it realistically and you would be constrained by what you are. Essentially you would have to stay in the fighters scabbard for most of the time. It would probably end up being boring to play. However it could end up pretty funny if you were personable enough to play with your friend enough that it appeared that the fighter argued with one of his swords most of the time. However playing it as a full time spellcaster might not work very well. I suppose still spell + enschew materials. Also, definitely construct type.

2011-05-09, 12:51 PM
I'd allow those mechanics. The character would depend on the game though. Not just the setting, but the tone of the game would matter. Yes, that sword fits in FR. I'd absolutely run it in a shenanigans game. In a serious or low power game I don't think it'd fit though.

2011-05-09, 12:51 PM
probably not just because I guess im kind of old school and it would just be silly/boring to me and I wouldnt want to work it into a campaign.

2011-05-09, 01:05 PM
I think as everyone else has stated, seeing an independent sword could cause problems. I personally would have him play as a sword which can talk telepathically to whoever holds him, but cannot actually move typically. As someone else stated, I would give him vow of poverty as a bonus feat and take away the bonus feats... And I'd give him ancestral weapon, with the weapon being him. He could "absorb" energy through destroying other valuable items, using them to boost his own power.

I would change that "mage" bit and replace it with "psion", so the sword could use powers without components. It would be able to use this power to move for short periods of time, but would for the most part rely on someone else to make him effective.

Of course, this would probably be less fun to play... But I like it more.

2011-05-09, 01:21 PM
I'm a little bit confused how you would play this.

Who is the 'master' you stated in stat description?

Is the master an NPC, another PC, or going to be controlled by you?

How would the sword itself communicate with the rest of the members in the party?

If it's another PC or an NPC that's holding your character during combat, you aren't really doing anything yourself at all. If you are going to roleplay the person using the sword, from a mechanical standpoint, you're asking your DM to give you for free a magical weapon that won't become obsolete as the campaign goes on. Note that this isn't in and of itself a bad thing, as it just means the DM doesn't need to worry about that sort of treasure for you, but unless you're doing a lot of roleplaying, the fact that your character is the sword itself sort of just becomes splitting hairs. Did you really need to 'be' the sword any more?

The one thing about this concept that I do have a problem with is the apparent fact that it's almost impossible (at low levels) for your character to die, which is a non-insignificant benefit in the early part of a campaign.

Bobby Archer
2011-05-09, 01:32 PM
It looks like there are two different rationales for rejecting this character: thematic and mechanical. It sounds like your DM's rejection is thematic, which likely means that no amount of tweaking the stats of your submission is going to make it fit. As many other posters have pointed out, if a floating, talking sword doesn't have a place in the setting or in the style of game the DM's running, than it doesn't fit. The DM has the right to reject a homebrewed creature. You'll just have to find something that works better in your DM's game.

Mechanically, I think it might be a better idea to work from the Animated Object entry in the Monster Manual to make up a base creature type for your animated sword, rather than just putting together a bunch of traits, sticking a LA on it and crossing your fingers. The particulars would have to be worked out between you and your DM.

2011-05-09, 01:36 PM
I wanted to play a character like that once (But my character in the campaign I wanted to do it in never died). Given that I'm the usual DM for my group now, I'd definitely allow it! It'd seem hypocritical to me if I didn't.

2011-05-09, 01:40 PM
Play a Fiend of Possession, possess a sword, get some rube to lug you around.

2011-05-09, 01:49 PM
Since you asked: No, I wouldn't.

Not that there's any problem with the implementation (because I didn't check that part), but in my campaigns, there's usually no place fur such highly unusual characters. I guess in some capaigns they might fit, but not mine.

2011-05-09, 01:58 PM
I'd possibly disallow it as is, mostly due to how awkward it would be to make npcs react to an animated sword.

Why not opt for a domination-esque route, where the sword essentially mind controls some peasant wielder (maybe by high ego or by a magical domninate effect). Also speaking through the host creature too, so you'd be able to get around with the interacting with npcs thing.
This would likely be an evil option though

I would definitely allow this.

2011-05-09, 02:15 PM
I can see most of the logic in this thread, and appreciate it greatly. I just chafe at reasonless "no." I also considered it a bit unjust as our party was heavy on +LA characters who didn't actually have to take the level adjustment -- hound archons and one of those crazy kobold combos that eventually ends in something pun-pun like.

But, as a whole, I can see the logic.

2011-05-09, 02:56 PM
Well I can see why people wouldn't allow this as a whole if you're set on making this character a while ago i found this post and it might be close (if not exactly) what you're looking to do if your DM is ok with the Psionics system.


2011-05-09, 03:01 PM
I'd allow the concept, but not the execution. I'm used to people wanting to play awakened animals, familiars, and other unusual character races like Centaurs and the like.

Of course, I don't believe D&D is the right game system for playing this kind of game. If I was forced to use a gear-head system where everything needs to be statted out, I'd go Hero or GURPs for this kind of thing. Otherwise, I'd go a rules-light system where advantages/disadvantages were more broadly defined.

2011-05-09, 03:09 PM
I'd be fine with this, in the right game and with the right restrictions. In a high magic/silly game it would fit pretty well and in a serious evil campaign it could also fit, if the sword dominated a peasant type to carry him and pretended to be the peasant. That could be a pretty cool concept, especially if he hid his true nature even from his companions. But in a low magic or serious game? I just don't think it would fit.

2011-05-09, 03:25 PM
I'd allow it. I love unusual characters myself, so when someone else brings one to the table, it's usually given the stamp of approval.

2011-05-09, 03:43 PM
I'd probably suggest a character who can turn into a sword instead, failing that, I'd allow it... probably presenting several of the ways I've designed characters of this type.

It's not really that odd of a character concept.

In fact, it's one of my suggested archetypes for a setting that I sometimes run.

2011-05-09, 03:54 PM
I probably wouldn't allow it as somebody's only character - there are simply a lot of situations in which an intelligent sword wouldn't be able to do terribly much (less situations in a roleplaying light game, but that's not the type I run). I might say they have to have it along with the wielder as a familiar/animal companion type deal.

If people were playing more than one character, then I'd allow it as a second character on its own, though all of this would depend somewhat on the level of the game. I'd be more likely to allow it in a higher level game, less likely in a lower level game.

2011-05-09, 04:09 PM
I wouldn't, just like I wouldn't allow any other weird/silly race. Way too often, such characters are taken by people who have to play something crazy, or else they feel their character is too boring and plain - and often the originality of their character ends on its race. Silly races are no substitute for good roleplaying.

2011-05-09, 04:50 PM
I'd allow it in the right game, but not in others. Most likely not at first level though.

In a 2E game I once had a PC get turned into an intelligent Helm. It wasn't too bad since he could be worn. The party even broke some serious criminal out of prison, and then feebleminded minded them, so that he could have a mount.

How did it happen?
Short Story: Very badly worded Wish, combined with a heavily modified re-written Deck of Many Things in a Wildzone.
The character was a Wild-mage, and He'd just pulled off one Wish made under exactly the same circumstances, and then He got over-confident.

2011-05-09, 05:46 PM
I wouldn't, just like I wouldn't allow any other weird/silly race. Way too often, such characters are taken by people who have to play something crazy, or else they feel their character is too boring and plain - and often the originality of their character ends on its race. Silly races are no substitute for good roleplaying.

As said by a Tengu? :smallbiggrin:

2011-05-09, 05:49 PM
I wouldn't allow it. Letting a PC declare himself an ancient corrupted bastard is always a mistake. Even if it is followed by swords.

2011-05-09, 05:55 PM
As said by a Tengu? :smallbiggrin:

Well, I'm not silly, or weird. I also never lie, even if it'd be funnier that way.

2011-05-10, 09:36 AM
I wouldn't allow it. Letting a PC declare himself an ancient corrupted bastard is always a mistake. Even if it is followed by swords.

Pffft, bastard swords are suboptimal. Make yourself a greatsword. :smallamused:

(Or maybe a guisarme...)

Y'know, why aren't animated axes/bows/polearms seen as often as animated swords? I for one think that animated bows, as little sense as they make, would be pretty cool.

2011-05-10, 09:46 AM
But it's not just a bastard sword. It's a masterwork bastard sword.
Those can cut through slabs of solid steel, you know.

2011-05-11, 01:18 PM
I'd allow it.

I'd rework the mechanics that you suggested, though.

2011-05-11, 02:55 PM
I'd allow it. I'd put together more detail on it as a "race" however, effectively making a +0 LA construct race. There'd be some restrictions as mentioned above, such as no somatic component magic and limited carrying capacity/magic item slots.

I'd also point out that Cure X Wounds wouldn't heal you, only Make Whole would (or Repair X Damage - I'd houserule it in if you can find someone to teach it to the party. Side quest!).

2011-05-12, 05:02 AM
I'd allow it. I'd rework the mechanics that you suggested, though.
I'd probably give it the stats of an animated object (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/animatedObject.htm) (mwk bastard sword) with all the advantages and disadvantages. 'cause Frankly, abilities like 'partial sunder immunity' and 'special' seem to indicate you want to play an animated sword, but don't want any of the disadvantages.
Also, because the character can't use much equipment (if any) I'd even allow it to be enchanted per the normal prices (2000 gp for +1, 8000 gp for +2 and so on).

Lonely Tylenol
2011-05-12, 07:08 AM
I wouldn't quite allow it as is, because of the practical limitations of being a sword (how do you fight? Do you defy gravity and float around? How? Why? Do you see? How? Why? How can you cast spells without verbal, somatic and material components? Why should you be given that right when I can't? How are people going to talk to a sword?).

What I'd suggest is something like this. The fluff is just something that I came up with based on the idea, and you don't need to take it, but it explains a lot.

Xandar was an evil Wizard/Sorcerer/Warlock/whatever caster class you'd like whose reign of terror stretched to all four corners of the land, and was such that the mere utterance of his name struck fear into the hearts of the mortal races. He reigned long and forcefully, falling to the powers of good only in his old age, when his body was too frail and weak to sport his defense. In a last act of desperation, he bound his soul to a finely crafted sword which lay upon a mantle in his bedchamber. The forces of good won the day, and the triumphant heroes canvased the place--eventually happening upon the bastard sword in which Xandar had housed his soul.

It was a charismatic young Paladin known as who first picked up the sword. As soon as he picked up the sword, a rush of evil energy rushed over him, and his mind was no longer his own. Fueled by the arcane energies of the sword, Xandar bent the unfortunate paladin to his will--and turned him on his comrades.

The wizard was the first to die. Arguably the most wizened and clever of the group, not even he could have foreseen his close friend's betrayal--so when the paragon of virtue ran the blade through his chest, the only thing that he could think to force from his lips was "why?" as he fell, dying, to the floor.

The rogue fell next. Unlike the wizard, he was ready to strike when the paladin rounded the corner--if for no better reason than he was planning on betraying the lot and making off with the loot anyway--but when the paladin raised Xandar's sword to strike back, the rogue knew he had lost the upper hand. Try as he might, he simply could not match the paladin's skill with a blade, and eventually he, too, would fall, leaving only the cleric, the paladin's lifelong friend, to slake Xandar's thirst for vengeance.

Fortunately, the cleric anticipated the strike, seeing the powerful aura of negative energy emanating from his childhood friend. After trying to reason with him, they eventually were forced to meet each other in a test of arms the likes of which neither had experienced. They fought for minutes on end, each one matching the other blow-for-blow, before the cleric was able to deal a crushing blow to the paladin's shoulder, dislocating his arm, after which he dispelled the hold Xandar had on his mind. The paladin, on bent knee, fallen from the grace of his gods and stricken with remorse over the fresh memory of the deeds he had just done flooding his mind, turned the sword on himself--and took his own life.

The cleric, wary of the unholy energy emanating from the sword, carefully transported the blade to his church without touching the blade himself, and then locked it in a vault, where it could corrupt the world no longer. There it remained for centuries, carefully protected from generation to generation; however, as old empires fell, and new ones rose to replace them, the memory of Xandar's blade faded from memory into legend, and then completely into obscurity. Eventually, a band of treasure hunters would happen upon the ruins of the great cleric's church, unwittingly releasing Xandar from his prison with their greed.

It took Xandar little effort to dominate one of the treasure hunters and make him his own. Xandar knew that his new vessel would never be able to help him raise his empire anew, but he could create a vessel worthy to hold him. Using his expansive knowledge of crafting and the arcane arts, he used his meat puppet to craft a hulking construct of clay to act as his "body"--after which he gave the sword to the construct, releasing his hold on his dungeon crawling meat puppet and gaining control of the construct--and then killed his former host in cold blood.

Now, Xandar roams the countryside in the hands of his hulking monstrosity, seeking to restore his empire once more and inspire fear in the hearts of a new era.

Xandar, CE Bastard Sword
Hit Die: D6
STR: +2
DEX: +0
CON: --
INT: +2
WIS: +0
CHA: -4

Skill Points: 2 + INT modifier
Class skills: Craft (INT), Decipher Script (INT), Knowledge (INT; all, taken individually), Listen (WIS), Sense Motive (WIS), Spot (WIS), Use Magic Device (CHA).

BAB: Special
Good Will save

Special abilities:
Mind Meld: When a living creature is holding or touching Xandar's sword, Xandar can, as a swift action, attempt to take control of the wielder and make them his host. The person touching Xandar must make a will save equal to 10 + 1/2 Xandar's HD + his INT modifier. If they do not succeed, they are controlled, as with the [I]Dominate Person spell. This ability remains in effect as long as the sword is touching the creature, who is unaware that they are being controlled, though they can reroll their Will save once per week. If the creature succeeds a save, they cannot be controlled by Xandar's Mind Meld ability again for at least a week. Xandar can only activate the Mind Meld ability on creatures with a discernible anatomy; it is a mind-affecting ability, but can be used on mindless creatures (which are not allowed a save).

While using the Mind Meld ability, Xandar's alignment takes over his host's. Xandar can use any class or racial abilities innate to the host, as long as Xandar's alignment does not interfere with the abilities. (As a result, Xandar cannot use the effects of a good-aligned Cleric or Paladin.) Xandar cannot make his own attacks, but while wielded by a creature, Xandar's BAB progression is treated as the host creature's BAB, as Xandar's level (so Xandar, at level 6, controlling a Rogue at level 2 gains 3/4 progression, for a total of +4 BAB). Xandar can use either the creature's ability scores or his own, whichever are higher.

Master Crafter: Xandar gains a competence bonus on all Craft checks equal to half his HD (rounded up, minimum +1).

Durable: Xandar has no Constitution score. Instead, Xandar uses his Strength modifier for the purposes of determining hit points for level advancement.

Bonus Feat: At fourth level, and every four levels after, Xandar gains an item creation feat as a bonus feat. These replace the normal feats gained by a Wizard during level progression, and half of the normal feats gained by a Fighter during level progression.

Xandar also begins play with a clay construct, which acts as his host. The clay construct is created as if with the Craft Construct feat, and has 1 HD. The construct does not advance in levels alongside Xandar.

2011-05-12, 08:22 AM
I ran an NPC psion once who had his psicrystal tucked away in the hilt of his sword, effectively making it a sentient sword. Maybe you can use the psicrystal rules (refluff as necessary) and make the sword a familiar/psicrystal-like sidekick of your actual character? That way, you'd be meeting your DM in the middle (so the speak) both fluff-wise and crunch-wise.