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Tuesday Magic Item – Knife of Letterlocking

20 November, 2018

Cuts paper and more

Gollaon toyed with the slender blade. “Well, are we committed to resigning?”

Voddick sighed heavily and nodded.  “This is not the war for us.”

“And the other thing?”  Gollaon tapped the knife on the letter.

“Yes, send it.  The Queen needs to know what is being done in her name.”

“As long as we both agree.  As it will likely lead to trouble for both of us.”

Voddick nodded again.  “Sometime even we must do the right thing.”

Knife of Letterlocking

These knives are usually slender and easy to pack away (or to conceal) but their primary purpose is not combat but to aid their owner in securing their letters from molestation.  Their blade are made of fine razor edged steel and ofttimes have a highly decorated hilt.

In combat, it is a masterwork dagger that has the Bane quality against paper (not the most power bane).  Used as a tool, it provides a +4 competence bonus to Craft checks involving paper.

When used to make a letterlock for a paper letter, the knife insures that any attempt to open the letter will be revealed and anyone who opens it without permission must make a Reflex or Will save (DC 17), whichever is worse, or take 1d4 points of bleeding damage and ruin the letter.

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 7th
Slot – ; Price 5,000; Weight .5 lb
Construction Requirements
Craft Arms and Armor or Craft Wondrous Item, arcane lock, cat’s grace, fox’s cunning, keen edge; Cost 2,500

For D&D 5E:

weapon (dagger), rare

First paragraph as above.

In combat, it is a normal dagger, except again paper then it has a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made and inflicts an additional 1d6 points of magical slashing damage.  Used as a tool, it provides a advantage on tool use rolls involving paper.

When used to make a letterlock for a paper letter, the knife insures that any attempt to open the letter will be revealed and anyone who opens it without permission must make a Dexterity or Intelligence saving throw (DC 14), whichever is worse, or take 1d4 points from bleeding at the start of each of its turns unless it receives magical healing or a successfully Wisdom (Medicine) roll (DC 15) and the letter is ruined.

Notes: Letterlocking is a relatively new field of study (detailed here) which looks at how people secured their letters before envelopes came along.  It is quite fascinating.  Also in this theme look at the Agent’s Seal and Gambara’s Desk and Seals.

Photo of a Fairnburn-Sykes Commando Knife by MikeΜολὼν λαβέ found on Wikimedia Commonsis made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

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4 comments

  1. Long ago (pre-3.5, even) I changed the enchantment rules to allow armor/weapon qualities to be applied without an enhancement bonus.

    I see this dagger is ‘masterwork with the bane quality’, and no +1 enhancement bonus. Is this unique to this weapon, an oversight, or did you make that change in your game as well?


    • Well, it did not make sense for the weapon to be particularly useful in combat except against paper critters. But in general I have no problem with specialized enchantments on items even one that technically should not be able to have them (like this one).


      • That was more or less my original reasoning. I was originally sparked by the idea of a place where many weapons had the ghost touch weapon quality, even if they had nothing else.


        • That makes sense. For the Sea of Stars, I went with materials with innate ghost touch.



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