Mostly inspired by +Gus L's excellent page of +1 Sword Equivalents.
So here are some flavorful magic swords and other weapons. I envision them as +1 swords with a few more bonuses and penalties, but they would also work well as +0 swords with interesting abilities.
No attempt has been made to balance them. They're just interesting magic weapons. Most of them have some sort of drawback in addition to some sort of bonus.
Sword of White Wind
Hilt and scabbard of red bamboo. No cross guard. Blade is invisible when at rest, but takes on the appearance of milky fog when it is swung.
- Can "throw" wind, cutting things up to 30' away, though with a -1 penalty to the attack roll.
- Shatters on a natural 2. To restore it, you usually need to wave it through some fog or mist.
The Sword of White Wind is a travelling sword. After you accomplish some great deed with it, it will vanish, and you will never find it again. It is found in legends and myths around the world, in unrelated places and times. It's true origin is a mystery.
The Blacker Hand
Hilt of polished bone, ending with a monkey's paw, gripping an onyx sphere. Wide, rectangular scabbard is ebony hung with small gold chains. Blade is polished steel, with a distinctive squarish point.
- Everytime you crit with the Blacker Hand, it deals an additional 1d6 damage. If this was part of mortal combat, you also gain a point of the Black Hand.
- 1 point of the Black Hand = fingertips of sword arm permanently turned black, as if stained with ink or oil. 10 points of the Black Hand (maximum) = whole sword arm stained black. Other physical traits accompany it as well: pale skin, black veins, clammy skin, lank hair, poor posture, all breathing becomes hollow and empty-sounding panting.
- For every 2 points of the Black Hand, you get -1 vs disease and -1 to social reaction rolls. (Max -5.)
- If you ever get 10 points of the Black Hand, treat the sword as a sword +2.
- Points of the Black Hand can never be removed, but if you're given the sword up, you might be able to have the social reaction roll penalty temporarily suppressed.
If you ever see a man or woman slouching in some corner of the tavern, with a midnight hand gripping their cup of grog, know that their hand once touched true power, and then fell away.
The Mountain Sledge
Two-handed warhammer, forged from a single piece of cobalt. It is unadorned, except for a shallow-relief sculpture of an elephant's face on each side of the hammer's head. It's long haft is wrapped with a single strip of dragon leather. If the leather is unwrapped, runes on the haft tell the story of the weapon's forging, as well as the spell transmute rock to mud.
- If the leather is wrapped properly around the haft, according to the original knots and overlaps, the Mountain Sledge grants the wielder a +1 to AC.
- Once per day, it can cast a very dramatic version of knock by smashing open a door or portal.
- If it's bearer ever kills a dwarf or is complicit in the murder of a dwarf, it will increase it's weight to 5 tons, fall the ground, and refuse to allow itself to be picked up until either (a) the wielder atones for their crime, or (b) a dwarven earthpriest appeases it with apologetic rituals and sacrifices of gems.
When an adventurer finds the Mountain Sledge, odds are good that the leather won't be wrapped around the haft properly (although it might look impressive and orderly). It might be a whole second ordeal to find a dwarf who can teach you the proper way to wrap it.
The Fountain of Infinite Gore
Huge square greatsword, actually a giant's cleaver with the handle replaced. Heavy blade with a triangular cross-section. Red string is wound tightly around the tip of the handle, and a golden ring dangles at the end of a 6" length of string.
- If the target kills a creature, it immediately gets another attack against an adjacent enemy. If the wielder already has this ability (Cleave) and kills a creature, it makes its cleave attacks with a +2 bonus.
- Every time the wielder gets a killing blow on an enemy with this weapon, the wielder must eat a fist-sized piece of the creature before he/she goes to sleep. Failure to do so means that the weapon will forever be a +0 weapon in his/her hands unless the wielder atones by killing and eating one of their companions.
Currently in the possession of a mass murderer who lives in some capitol city. There is a tremendous bounty on his/her head.
One-handed mace made from some unknown alloy by some unknown means. Near the handle, it appears to me made of pure silver, but near the tip, it appears to be pure gold, with a blending of the two metals in between. The actual head of the mace, with its crushing flanges, is hardened steel.
- If dropped, the weapon will hover an inch off the ground. Dirt, grime, and blood will fall away from it. It is forever gleaming and clean.
- Sheds light twice as bright as any torch, but only when there is no other light source.
- If banged on the wall of a man-made building, the room will be filled with the sounds of hymns and chanting, as if the room itself were a bell extolling God's greatness.
- -4 penalty if used against an unarmed humanoid or a disarmed anything.
- -4 penalty if used in a surprise attack.
After Warlord Gutspill capturing the holy weapon, he exposed it to all sorts of humiliations, mostly involving squalor and the murder of innocents. He ceased that practice when he realized that he couldn't defile it permanently, and also it was giving him nightmares. Now it lays locked in a chest filled with feces on the lowest level of his dungeon, while he thinks of something better to do with it.
The Cup of Flesh
This is an ostentatious rapier. Intricate, organic sweepings of polished steel shield protect the wielder's hand. A round, pink tourmaline is set into the front of the crossbar. The scabbard is soft, pale leather decorated with a pattern of leaves. Examination reveals naked, dancing women among the leaves, along with vaguely phallic clusters of grapes.
- If plunged into the heart of a dying humanoid that it previously wounded, the victim will die and the sword will be "slurped" inside the victim's body. The two will combine into a full size humunculus of the humanoid.
- Treat the homunculus as a level 1 version of the original creature with 6 in all of its physical stats and 10 in all of its mental ones. Beneath it's (unscarred) skin it has no flesh nor blood, but rather a homogenous, pink paste. It looks exactly like the original humanoid, but is a middling actor at best.
- The homunculus cannot speak. The homunculus cannot stop smiling. The homunculus cannot disobey an order given to it by the wielder (the last person who wielded it).
- The homunculus will fall apart into an unrotted corpse and a sword after 1d20 days have passed. Alternatively, it can be ended earlier if the wielder reaches into the homunculus' chest and pulls out the sword. (Only the wielder can do this maneuver).
The Cup is currently in the collection of a noble dilettante, who has no notion of it's powers, but knows that it is extremely valuable. And yes, the homunculi are unsettling.
One-handed axe with a 6" spike on the backside of it. Made from alchemical lead, but with a polished cutting edge that feels like steel (though it's still lead). Much heavier than its size belies. Insignia on the side of a stylized fat man contemplating a skull.
- Whenever it gets a critical hit, it does an extra 1d6 damage and the wielder gains that many pounds.
- Counts as a +3 weapon against skeletons.
- Wielder sinks like a stone in any body of water unless they make a Str check. Curiously, other non-water liquids don't have the same effect.
Currently in possession of an obese ogre. Not a special ogre. Just an ogre on your random wandering monster table..
The blade of this longsword appears to be made of chalk, and is utterly weightless, although it still has mass. (Like, it carries momentum when you swing it, but if you put it on a scale it weighs nothing). The handle and cross guard are made from polished bronze, forged into deeply ridged rectangles. The scabbard is bronze-bound leather.
- While carrying Cloudstuff, the wielder becomes slightly sleepy (-4 penalty to save vs. sleep). If the wielder is an elf, they lose their elven resistance to sleep, and require as much sleep as a human. It also takes them an extra turn to wake up.
- While asleep the wielder is immune to harmful spells that target them specifically.
- Enemies struck by Cloudstuff grow sleepy (-4 penalty to save vs. sleep).
- Enemies that suffer critical hits by Cloudstuff fall asleep.
- If Cloudstuff is every buried up the hilt in soft white sand or powder (at least 60lbs) it will softly hum, and speak aloud the dreams of all nearby sleeping creatures in a woman's voice.
Thought to lost. If found, the Monastery of Dreamers has offered an immense reward for it's safe return. The 600 monks of the Monastery of Dreamers are all perpetually asleep, but if you return the blade, a dream will tell you where to find your reward.