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Tuesday Magic Item – Serpentsoul Dagger

18 February, 2020

Like this but wrap the hilt in snakeskinVoddick kicked the dagger away from the body of their attacker.  “Best to be sure.”

Gollain nodded, his sword still pointed at the still form.  “Who hates us enough to send a killer after us when we are relaxing?”

“Shall I make a list?  We may be here some time,” sighed Voddick.

“Truth.  We do end up annoying a considerable number of powerful people,” said Gollaon.  “But why now?  We have not been a thorn in anyone’s side in months.”

Voddick just shrugged.

Serpentsoul Dagger

These daggers have beautiful watered steel blades that shimmer like snake skin, their grips are always made of snake skin and usually their sheaths are too,  Held, it is a weapon that wants to be used, wants to strike.  Made in secret by members of a snake-demon cult, over the years some these weapons have fallen into the hands of outsiders.

It is a +2 keen dagger and the bearer gains a +2 enhancement bonus to Initiative rolls.

At the cost of gaining corruption, the bearer can do any of the following:

  • Act first in a round, regardless of initiative or surprise.  Gains five corruption, ten if it overrides surprise.
  • Coat the blade in poison for one strike (injury; save Fort DC 8 + 1/2 bearer’s level + Charisma Mod; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Con damage; cure 1 save) can be declared after the blade hits.  Gains two corruption.
  • Gain a +1 bonus to a Reflex or Will save, or a Fortitude against poison, this can be used after the save is rolled but before the effects are applied.  One point of corruption doubling for each point of bonus after the first (so a +2 gains two corruption, +3 four, +4 eight up to maximum bonus of +5 gaining sixteen corruption).
  • Gain a +1 bonus to a Armor Class against a single attack, this can be used after the attack is rolled but before damage is rolled.  One point of corruption doubling for each point of bonus after the first (so a +2 gains two corruption, +3 four, +4 eight up to maximum bonus of +5 gaining sixteen corruption).

Corruption Effects:

  • 20 points, the bearer’s eyes become slitted like a serpent, making some people nervous around them, and making them sensitive to bright light suffering a -3 racial penalty to resist being dazzled or blinded by light.
  • 40 points, the bearer’s begins to become cold-blooded, seeking warmth. The bearer starts to loose their hair.
  • 60 points, the bearer’s tongue becomes forked, causing a -4 penalty on Charisma-based skills (except Intimidation) rolls against those who notice it.  Small patches of scales start to appear on their skin.
  • 80 points, the bearer’s gains vulnerability to cold and finds them-self uncomfortable in temperatures less than 60 degrees F (16 C).  The bearer looses what hair they have left and their ears begin to shrink.
  • 100 points, the bearer’s skin becomes scaled like a snake, when the bearer is not wearing armor their AC equals 13 + Dexterity modifier, but the bearer can now only eat meat and eggs, preferably raw.
  • For each ten points after, the bearer must either commit his soul to the service of the snake-demon, if he does not, the snake-demon will possess their body for 1d4+1 hours when the bearer goes to sleep and use it to advance his nefarious ends (the possession only happens once for each ten points).

The effects linger, even if the dagger is lost, stolen, given away or destroyed.  The transformation usually can only be broken by the intercession of a power willing to grant the afflicted being absolution in some fashion.

Aura strong conjuration; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 55,301; Weight 1 lb
Construction Requirements
Craft Magic Arms and Armor, poison, summon planar ally; Cost 27,500 + 301 for the dagger

For D&D 5E:

Weapon (dagger), rare (requires attunement, cursed)

First paragraph as above.

It is a magic weapon, giving the user a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls as well as advantage on Initiative rolls.

At the cost of gaining corruption, the bearer can do any of the following:

  • Act first in a round, regardless of initiative or surprise.  Gains five corruption, ten if it overrides surprise.
  • Coat the blade in poison for one strike (3d6 poison damage, Constitution saving throw for half damage, DC 8 + Proficiency + Charisma Mod) can be declared after the blade hits.  Gains two corruption.
  • Gain a +1 bonus to a Dexterity, Wisdom or Charisma saving throw, or a Constitution saving throw against poison, this can be used after the save is rolled but before the effects are applied.  One point of corruption doubling for each point of bonus after the first (so a +2 gains two corruption, +3 four, +4 eight up to maximum bonus of +5 gaining sixteen corruption).
  • Gain a +1 bonus to a Armor Class against a single attack, this can be used after the attack is rolled but before damage is rolled.  One point of corruption doubling for each point of bonus after the first (so a +2 gains two corruption, +3 four, +4 eight up to maximum bonus of +5 gaining sixteen corruption).

Corruption Effects:

  • 20 points, the bearer’s eyes become slitted like a serpent, making some people nervous around them, and making them sensitive to bright light suffering disadvantage on saving throws to resist being blinded by light.
  • 40 points, the bearer’s begins to become cold-blooded, seeking warmth. The bearer starts to loose their hair.
  • 60 points, the bearer’s tongue becomes forked, causing them to suffer disadvantage on on Charisma rolls (except Intimidation) rolls against those who notice it.  Small patches of scales start to appear on their skin.
  • 80 points, the bearer’s gains vulnerability to cold and finds them-self uncomfortable in temperatures less than 60 degrees F (16 C).  The bearer looses what hair they have left and their ears begin to shrink.
  • 100 points, the bearer’s skin becomes scaled like a snake, providing +2 natural armor, but the bearer can now only eat meat and eggs, preferably raw.
  • For each ten points after, the bearer must either commit his soul to the service of the snake-demon, if he does not, the snake-demon will possess their body for 1d4+1 hours when the bearer goes to sleep and use it to advance his nefarious ends (the possession only happens once for each ten points).

The effects linger, even if the dagger is lost, stolen, given away or destroyed.  The transformation usually can only be broken by the intercession of a power willing to grant the afflicted being absolution in some fashion.

Notes: More mechanically complex than I would like, as the CH has to track the corruption as it is used and reveal each stage to the character wielding it but I like the theme and it makes a really good plot device.  The player should be informed about the effects of corruption in general terms so that they know what sort of devil’s bargain they are in for.

Photo Meteoric iron dagger of Emperor Jahangir, Mughal dynasty, 1621, India, watered steel blade with meteoric iron, iron hilt, and gold inlay – Freer Gallery of Art, found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

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