New Magic Item – Sword of the Bandit King (for D&D5)

20 May, 2015

‘Red Teeth’ Wrack smiled his unpleasant smile as he picked up the sword, the pooling blood from his former leader’s slit throat did not slow him in the least.  “Now, I am the bandit king,” he whispered to himself.

Sword of the Bandit King

Weapon, very rare (requires attunement, but see below)

This slightly curved long sword is made of blued steel and shows signs if some hard use, but the blade remains in excellent condition.  The hilt has a distinctive hand-guard inlaid in silver with setting for gem, which may or may not be set depending on the fortunes of the wielder.  The grip is made up of multiple short lengths of cording in various color, one length for each former wielder.

For most, it is just a +1 long sword.  It desires to make its wielder the bandit king or queen, the most famous outlaw in the world.  It is not intelligent as such, but it does seek someone to make that desire, real.  As such, it provides its wielder with a variety of abilities:

  • Advantage on Charisma checks when dealing with bandits, pirates and similar such criminals and outlaws.
  • The sword’s enhancement bonus increase by one for each order of magnitude of followers, +2 with 10, +3 with 100 and so on up to +5 at 10,000 or more followers.
  • Once they have 10 or more followers, the wielder gains advantage to all saves against mind-effecting abilities.
  • Once a day, by proclaiming loudly, “I am the bandit queen!” (or as appropriate to the wielder and followers), all of her followers within line of sight or earshot gain advantage on their next attack roll and advantage on saves against fear for ten minutes per bonus of the sword.  The sword’s wielder gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls and saves and one temporary hit point per follower within 20′ per bonus of the sword (at the time the proclamation was made) for the same duration.

The sword wants to be in the hands of the most ambitious bandit leader it comes into contact with and it will send visions to those it wants to wield it, showing them what they could be . . . with the sword in hand.  Anyone who has dreamed of wielding the sword, instantly attunes it when they take it from its current owner.

Likely fate of those who embace the sword.

Notes: As requested, a D&D5 version, the Pathfinder version can be found here.  A brutal weapon for an ambitious criminal who will likely rise, and fall, spectacularly.

Image from Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.


Tuesday Magic Item – Sword of the Bandit King

19 May, 2015

A stylish leader of banditsThe young bandit lead the pair to the largest tent, “Sir, the two mercenaries to see you.”

“Show them in,” came the reply from inside.  The bandit opened the tent flap and the two venturers entered.  Seated on a camp stool was a well dressed man with a prominent scar running from under his left ear to the base of his throat.  Behind him were two rough looking fellows with crossbows.

The discussion ran the usual, fees for services, expected cut of plunder and such like and concluded quickly.  The two were dismissed and once alone, they began quietly talking among themselves.

“You recognized that sword?” asked Gollaon.

“How could I forget it?  That is the one Reckless Wilhelm used when he was the Prince of the Red Banner Band,” replied Voddick.  “The ones who almost killed us when were were serving as caravan guards and then got themselves slaughtered trying to take that tournament hostage at Westford.”

“And was owned by Vallia the Black Eagle when she united the coastal raiders, until they tried to capture Asterdahl and were sunk by the Republic’s navy,” added Gollaon.  “That sword is trouble, I say we part ways with it as soon as we safely can.”


Sword of the Bandit King

This slightly curved long sword is made of blued steel and shows signs if some hard use, but the blade remains in excellent condition.  The hilt has a distinctive hand-guard inlaid in silver with setting for gem, which may or may not be set depending on the fortunes of the wielder.  The grip is made up of multiple short lengths of cording in various color, one length for each former wielder.

Read the rest of this entry »


Random Bandit Gang generator

18 May, 2015

Thinking about my upcoming L5R adventure and bandits gangs made me throw this little random generator together.  It is pretty bare bones but useful, I hope.

Random Bandit Gang

Size, if near a Major Trade Route +1, if local Law Enforcement is lax +1, if a war was recently fought in the local area +1 (these modifiers are cumulative).

1 – 3-5 members
2-3 – 6-15 members
4-7 – 16-30 members
8-9 – 31-60 members
10+ – 60+ members


1-2 – Disgruntled Peasants
3-6 – Unemployed Ronin/Mercenaries
7- Broke Merchants/Smugglers
8-9 – Charismatic Leader
Roll again: 1-2 Peasant Agitator, 3-9 Ambitious Individual, 10 Religious
10 – Special, roll again:
    1-4 – Suppressed Religious Sect*
    5-6 – Secretly backed by political faction to use against enemies**
    7-9 – Front for a Dark Cult*
    10 – Operation of a Secret Society**

* Has a extra 50% chance to roll on the Magic table of the Tricks chart
** Roll twice on the Tricks Table

Base of Operations

1-5 – Isolated wilderness camp
6-7 – Mobile/Ship/Boats
8-9 – Cowed Village
10 – Special, roll again
 1-2 – Abandoned Fort
    3-7 – Forgotten Temple
    8-9 – Ghost Town
    10 – Noble’s Estate


1-3 – None
4-7 – Highly skilled champion or elite squad of fighters
8 – Special Weapons/Equipment
9 – Highly mobile (mounts/secret paths/great at forced marches/whatever)
10 – Magic, roll again
    1-4 – Hedge Wizard/Self-taught Sorcerer
    5-9 – Heretic Priest/Rogue Shugenja/Crazed Druid
    10 – Powerful Magic Item (may be the brains behind the operation)

Now, let us give it a spin.  The players have heard rumors of a bandit gang along the North Trade Road.  It is a well patrolled region, so no bonuses there but it is a major trade route and there was a recent war, so +2 to the size roll: 6 + 2 = 8, 31-60 bandits.  Origin 7, broke merchants.  Base 2, remote wilderness base.  Tricks, 9, highly mobile.

So, we have the remnants of a merchant company driven out of business by unscrupulous competitors but still mobile due to their wagons and mounts.  They prefer to attack the caravans of their former rivals but will do what they have to to survive. we will call them the “Rough Blade Company”.

Comments?  Suggestions?


You can register for GenCon events now!

17 May, 2015

It is the 17th and GenCon event registration is Open!

Go here to see the Legend of the Five Rings RPG games I am GMing there!

Hope to see some of you there!


Review – Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls

15 May, 2015

Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls provides a variety of useful and interesting options for those GM’s that wish to incorporate animated skulls in their campaign.  It is well worth taking a look at if you would like to amuse or annoy your players with an animated skull (or two or a dozen).

Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls is a short work on animated skulls (naturally) for use in the Pathfinder game.  Light on art but packed full of useful random tables to quickly generate, or just inspire ideas, for animated skulls in your campaign.

It is a very modular work with random tables to provide how an animated skull was created, how it is encounter, appearance, abilities and more.  Several basic “skull types” are provided to be used and modified but the other tables and one completely generated (and statted out) skull is provided as an example.  All very useful and filled with solid inspirations for a GM.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.


PinkCat: Running in the Shade “No Sex Please, its BTL” (A different sort of SR campaign report)

14 May, 2015

To understand what is going on here, you had best read the first PinkCat: Running in the Shade post, but short summary, this is a campaign report for our Shadowrun campaign set in NorCal through the filter of a cartoon made by one of the team members.

Better Than LifeEpisode Ten: No Sex Please, its BTL

Guest Starring: Clawz and Steel.

The group is enjoying a night out, attending a small music venue when they are approached by an acquaintance in tears who complains that her ex-boyfriend has stolen some cuddle-feelies that made together and is now selling them as chips.  The team agrees to help.  A quest through age-appropriated filtered red light district follows as they try to track the ex-boyfriend down.  Several chases by local baddies later.  They find the mini-fab making chips, trick two local gangs into a dance off for control of the block and sneak in and destroy the recording and the chips while everyone is distracted.  Friend is relieved and all is good with the world, for now.

What really happened:

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New Magic Item – Isabel’s Sword of Freedom

13 May, 2015

Strike for freedom!Voddick walked to the left and Gollaon to the right of the young woman with the silver sword.  The two friends were alert for danger as the young woman touched the shackled of the slaves with her sword tip and the bindings fell away.  In a matter of minutes, the compound full of people, once enchained, was freed.

“The slavers will be back with reinforcements any moment now,” said Voddick, gripping his crossbow tightly.

“Fear not,” said the woman, “these people have their freedom back and they will fight and die before they surrender it again!”  She raised her sword and the former slaves raised tools and chains to use as weapons.

“Leading an ill-armed force of rabble into battle, my favorite,” said Gollaon with a grin.  “Come on Voddick.  Immortality in a song awaits us.”

“As long as we live to hear it,” grumbled Voddick.

Isabel’s Sword of Freedom

This enchanted weapon has a guard worked in the pattern of a broken chain, the blade is silvery bright and etched with runes.  The blade reshapes itself into to a bladed weapon appropriate to its wielder’s preference, ranging is size from a dagger to a long sword, when it is first picked up.

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