Sunday, August 30, 2020

D12 Flaming Swords

Jehovah bade His sword awake,
O Christ, it woke ’gainst Thee!
Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;
Thy heart its sheath must be
-O Christ, What Burdens Bow’d Thy Head

Flaming swords have a long history in D&D and myths. They're dramatic. Getting slashed by a flaming sword must hurt like fuck! Above and beyond a regular sword or fire on its own. Ouch! Here's twelve of them:

D12 Flaming Swords

1. Belisto: Resembles a large machete more than a proper sword. It's made of glossy black shell or chitin rather than metal. The blade is covered in spiracles, through which some shuddering organ can be glimpsed.

When activated by its wielder Belisto begins burning with a dank, dirty flame. This flame produces dark smoke which coalesces into an opaque, choking cloud if its wielder stands in one place for longer than a round while it's active. While its wielder is protected from its flame, they are not able to breathe or see through this smoke. Once coalesced the smoke lingers for one ten-minute turn.

2. Lambence: The arming sword of a banished lord of the Fair Folk. Lambence is forged from fool's gold and the summer sun's light reflected off the surface of a lake. Its crossguard is shaped like a heron's wings.

Every movement of Lambence produces a dramatic display of flames: a gout for a thrust, a sweeping wall for a swing, and so on. However these flames are illusory. Their heat can't burn, and their light can't illuminate anything its wielder doesn't know is there.

3. Nagareboshi: An odachi forged from some iridescent metal. Its blade dances with warm flickers. 

When swung, nagareboshi produces a rocket-like explosion. This propels its wielder 1d6x5 feet. This is also loud, and when used out of combat provokes a random encounter roll at the DM's discretion.

4. Ojak: A simple sabre, finely made but lacking ornamentation. Its blade is coated with ash that can never be wiped clean. Ojak smells like homely spices and lamb stew.

Normally Ojak is merely warm to the touch, and gives off the light of a large firefly. When planted tip-first in the ground however it erupts into a bonfire. The flames of this bonfire will not harm Ojak's bearer, and are always the perfect temperature for cooking and staying comfy in the cold. Pulling Ojak from the ground will immediately extinguish this bonfire, as well as any flames that spread from it.

5. Tandning: A Carolingian-style sword with grooves running up its blade to its tip. Its pommel is shaped like a wolf baring its teeth. A warm glow is emitted from within its throat. When battle is near its wielder can hear Tandning growl.

Tandning can ignite blood it's spilled. Blood on the blade can burn as a torch for one ten-minute turn per HP of damage it's dealt in a day. Pools and drops off the blade will ignite flammable material they're in contact with. Its wielder can also expend stored points of damage to project a blazing slash from the blade with a 30' range, doing 1d6 damage per 6 points expended, up to 3d6 max.

6. Red Yelena: A shashka with chipped red enameling. The sword is partially corroded, but the corrosion resembles necrosis more than rust.

The sword is potent yet cursed. Only its wielder can see its flames, or see by their light. Its wielder is warmed by these flames but never harmed by them, while others are invisibly burned by them. However its wielder becomes unable to see by any other light source, or be warmed by any other source of heat. If separated from it they will slowly freeze to death.

Red Yelena's curse can be broken by reuniting it with the corpse of the woman who shared its name in life, at which point it will become an ordinary though historically significant sword

7. Zenith: A rapier with a gilded sunburst-shaped guard. Its tip is a diamond that seems to capture light within it.

Zenith's power is tied to the sun:

  • At night it burns with the heat and light of a match
  • At dawn and dusk it burns with the heat and light of a torch
  • During the morning and afternoon it burns with the heat and light of a campfire
  • At noon it burns with the heat and light of a bonfire, and at the exact moment the sun is at its highest point it becomes hot enough to melt steel

After an hour without exposure to sunlight Zenith's power drops to its night level.

8. Salamander’s Scourge: A scorched steel flamberge. Its hilt is shaped like a salamander, the blade a tongue protruding from its mouth.

Salamander's Scourge is a disloyal blade. It provides no protection from its flames to its wielder. For the first hour in a day it's used, some wet rags wrapped around the hand or a similar precaution is enough to prevent damage to its wielder. Every hour after that Salamander's Scourge gets more aggressive and creative. Its sparks jump into clothing folds, its flames lick out at nearby allies, it heats up tongs used to hold it to intolerable temperatures, and so on.

9. Asapashan: An immense red oak suburito-like sword carved into a beastly roaring figure. The deepest lines of the carving reach to a hollow within the sword from which tiny flames lick out.

Asapashan's flames come from a being of living fire trapped within it. This being is prideful and moody. The first hour in a day it's used it works normally, but every hour after that its wielder must roll on the following reaction table:

2-: Asapashan goes to sleep and won't activate again that day
3-6: Asapashan refuses to work that hour, and won't activate again after until it receives an offering and an apology
7-11: Asapashan works normally that hour
12+: Asapashan is invigorated and burns twice as hot and bright that hour

The table has the following modifiers applied to it:
-2: Asapashan was used for something trivial and/or boring that hour
-2: You haven't been taking good care of Asapashan (laying it on a soft bed at night, polishing its wood, etc.)
+2: Asapashan was used for a suitably heroic deed that hour
+2: You bribe Asapashan with aromatic wood shavings, fine oils, or suchlike

You can also roll on the reaction table to convince Asapashan to perform some exceptional feat with its flames.

10. Damreveda: A blade forged from blemishless white metal. Its fullers are decorated with molded eyes.

While active, Damreveda's flames shine with a bright actinic glare. Its wielder is blinded by them, and anyone looking in their direction is blinded for 1d6 rounds.

11. Tumult: A broad-bladed cutlass. It is engraved with holly garlands. Its grip is wrapped with torn pages bearing revolutionary slogans.

Tumult's fire is the fire of rebellion. It will only ignite when Tumult is wielded in the following ways:

  • To free people from bondage (imprisonment, slavery, serfdom, etc.)
  • To burn property
  • To assassinate leaders

12. Karhozat: A bunch of rusty nails and flensing knives welded together in the shape of a claymore. Despite its bizarre appearance it can be wielded as easily as any two-handed sword. Karhozat's flames are a sickly yellowish-green. They spring forth from its points and edges with a sound of screams and a reek of sulphur.

The sword's flames are beyond agonizing. The first time someone is burned by the flames they must save or attempt to commit suicide. Anyone killed by it is sent to one of the hotter hells regardless of their faith or good works.

Karhozat is a malefic device of widespread infamy. Simply being seen with it will make decent people hostile to you. Becoming known as its wielder will bring holy men and angels down on your head, as well as demons and blackguards desiring it for themselves.


  1. These are really good. They cover a variety of sword styles and cultural inspirations, and have interesting quirks without being ostentatious. I actually was googling these at first because they were realized in a way which read like they must have come from pre-existing sources, but that does not appear to be the case.

    1. Thanks. I'd like to imagine there's still some creative space I can carve out under these archetypes, glad to see it's borne out in this case. Guess that's a significant part of the Archons March On mission statement.

  2. I'm adding this to my "best tables of OSR" list :)