The Holy Avenger

On first glance, this sword is unassuming. It consists of a simple blade, scarred and dulled with age, attached to a plain, unornamented hilt. Yet worked into the hilt is a powerful holy relic, and, in the right hands, this weapon is a device of truly awesome power. Many legends tell of otherwise ordinary men bringing this weapon to bear against the darkest of demons and coming out victorious. This sword is named after the prized D&D weapon, but it draws inspiration from fictional examples such as Lightbringer (from A Song of Ice and Fire) and (especially mechanically) from the Swords of the Cross (from the Dresden Files)

The holy avenger provides a great boon to its wielder:
[li]The +1 Ob penalty from superficial wounds is negated
[/li][li]+3D to the Sword skill
[/li][li]Grants the wielder the Aura of Holiness trait
[/li][li]The sword itself is Grey shade, and uses the superior quality Long Sword stats
In addition, if the weilder is Faithful, the sword may grant an advantage die to Faith tests where thematically and narratively appropriate

Furthermore, the true enemies (this refers to the supernatural enemies, not heretics or apostates) of the faith cannot abide the touch of this sword. They take an additional pip of damage from the weapon, and suffer a superficial wound if they try to grasp the weapon. If appropriate, the sword counts as a spirit weapon against its enemies.

Finally, the weapon itself bears stigmata. This should be appropriate to the faith: the sword of a fire god will burn with holy fire, while that of a sun god might glow with a brilliant divine light. These stigmata are normally only present when in active combat, though the sword’s weilder can call upon them at will. Furthermore, these stigmate do not negatively affect the weilder in any way, though they may impose a penalty on others.

Though it has great power, the sword is also profoundly limited (though, a true believer would not see it as such). The bearer of the sword must in action be a paragon of virtue. Should the sword be used for an action (or inaction) that contravenes any of the core principles of the faith, its power is lost. Furthermore, in order to use the sword, the player must possess a belief that specifies how they will use the sword (i.e., for what goal, or to uphold what principles). Using the sword to contravene this belief also causes the power of the sword to fade. Once this happens, the sword loses all benefits associated with it until it is reaffirmed (see the below section). During this time, it counts as a black shade weapon, and enemies of the faith may touch it without consequence.

Should the belief powering the sword be lost, the bearer has put down the sword and moved on: he has fufilled his purpose in using it, and is passing it on to someone who needs it more. It is unlikely (though not impossible) that they will be called on to wield the sword again.

The particulars of what actions are permitted while using the sword are dependent on the faith in question, and should be discussed between the GM and players before it is introduced. A sword belonging to a Christianity-like faith would have similar, if not identical, restrictions as the Swords of the Cross from the Dresden Files (i.e., cannot be used against innocents, those who have surrendered, or in defense of sin). On the other hand, a sword belonging to an Aztec-like faith would likely require that it be used on innocents (i.e., human sacrifice) in order to function properly. Other requirements may be present as well: the sword for an Islam stand-in might require it’s bearer to bring the sword on the faith’s Hajj equivalent annually.

Reaffirming the Sword:
Though the power of the sword may be lost, all hope is not. Once any physical damage to the sword is repaired, a Minor Miracle may be invoked over the blade to return it to it’s former status. There is, however, an alternative path. A new swordbearer may simultaneously reaffirm the blade and find their calling as a paladin of the faith: by using the sword to fufill (i.e., receive Persona or Deeds points for) a Belief that would fufill the Belief requirements of the sword. Doing so instantly returns the blade to its former glory.

The Holy Avenger in-game
Narratively speaking, it’s unlikely that a Holy Avenger will find it’s way to a character who does not already possess a belief fit to allow it’s use. In a way, havng such a belief in a universe with a Holy Avenger is a way to signal the GM that you want the weapon to fall into your hands.

The easiest way to introduce a weapon is to have an NPC Paladin be killed, and hand off the blade to the player, or to place the blade in the possession of the enemies of the faith, and have the player reaffirm the blade in play. Either way, the Holy Avenger is a powerful artifact, and it should not be handed out lightly.

The Holy Avenger is kind of a silly artifact. It’s too good at what it does.

Negating the Ob penalty from superficial wounds is a huge benefit on its own, but I see it as somewhat thematically appropriate. I’d have it kick in only in fights that engage the driving Belief. If you’re jumped by bandits you’re on your own; if you’re fighting enemies of the faith, you’re good.

+3D to Sword is crazy. It will turn a peasant into a decent swordsman. It will turn a swordsman into a monster. Maybe the former is the point? If so, maybe have it give +3D up to a maximum of 4D total, so it gives a totally untrained clod 3D Sword, takes a zealous young squire from 2D to 4D, and doesn’t do anything for a mighty knight.

Gray shade weapons are instant death to mere mortals. Is that really necessary? Again, I’d have this only count against the true, supernatural enemies who can’t even safely touch the hilt. That turns this into something that lets a cleansing crusader take on daemons and the like with a chance of taking them on; it doesn’t mean she can mow through any foe not proscribed by her faith.

All of that is fair. I was already thinking of having the sword just bestow a B5 sword skill, that would probably be better anyhow. And yeah, I forgot that grey shade means grey shade damage to mortals.

Revised bonuses are:

When in a conflict that engages the driving Belief:
[li] The +1 Ob penalty from superficial wounds is negated
[/li][li] Bestows a B5 Sword skill to the user
[/li][li] Grants the wielder the Aura of Holiness trait

When fighting against the true enemies of the faith: all of the above plus the sword counts as Grey shade and a Spirit Weapon. Furthermore, they don’t take an extra pip of damage, but they still suffer a superficial wound if they touch the sword of their own volition (no free superficial wounds on a hit)

The thing I find about the sword is it’s connection to the player’s Beliefs. You have this awesome power at your disposal, but are frequently thrust into situations where you cannot use it, even though you may want to. Even better are situations where the driving Belief of the Paladin is at odds with the principles of the faith.

Rather than bestowing a B5 skill or add +3D, I’d recommend it allows the character to FoRK in Faith to their sword roll when doing “Holy Work” as decided by the sword. Keep those FoRK’ed in Faith dice a different color and allow the 6’s to explode.

Here’s my BWR take on the Holy Avenger from … 5?! years ago. Sheesh, time flies…

I was thinking along these lines as well only I was thinking of going the direction of the emotional stats where you could spend Artha to either add your Faith dice to a roll or substitute your Faith Stat for your Sword skill.

That could work. I like the ide of spending Artha on the sword, as it’s already designed to tie in to your Beliefs

Wow, that’s really something. Definately closer to the D&D weapon than mine is I did think about increasing the Power and VA of the sword, but thought that was a bit much for my concept (actually, I’m loving that whole thread)

You could just have the sword itself have dice for Song of the Sword for variable benefits (and risks of not getting them).

I was unafraid to go full-throttle in my version, as it is a singular, legendary artifact. Take this [url=]description[/url, for instance:

“Carsomyr is a weapon of legend, perhaps one of the most powerful blades ever forged on Faerûn, though its origin and history is thought purposefully forgotten, such that the sword itself never overshadow the importance of the struggles that must be fought today. It is infused with the very essence of virtue, and requires as much from any paladin that would hope to wield it. The evils of the Realms must truly stand aside when this weapon is brought to bear, their magic dispelled with a word, steadfastly resisted with ease. Carsomyr also harbors a special distaste for the forces of evil and chaos, and such creatures must fear additional damage from its touch in battle.”