Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Swerda

They look like slim knights with well covered heads.  They smell like perfume and--faintly--weirdly tainted meat.

They are swords that control corpses when they are jammed down the neckhole following a beheading.  They fight with swords, and they are really good at fighting with swords.

They really like swords.

I normally start with culture and biology, but this time I think I'll just start with their stat block.

Sverd I Fjell
a monument in Norway
HD 4  AC chain Sword 1d8
Move 12  Int 10  Mor 8

Parry - When a sword man is attempting to defend himself against a weapon attack (i.e when he's not unaware or tied up), he gets +4 AC.  Yes, this often means that it is more beneficial to attack him with things that aren't weapons.

Counterattack - Whenever a sword man is missed by a weapon attack, he can make a free counter attack against the opponent.  This counterattack is made with a -4 point penalty to the attack roll.

Exposed Hilt - When a sword man is bloodied, or when he is hit with a bludgeoning weapon, there is a 50% chance that his helmet will be knocked off, revealing the truth: that he is just a naked sword stuck down the neckhole of a headless corpse.  A swordsman with an exposed head will try to regain his helmet if it is not too dangerous.

If an exposed hilt is pulled out of a sword man, the body will collapse and you'll be left holding a +0 sword. (Still magic, just no bonus to hit/damage.)

Makin' Babies - Vanguished foes will have their heads cut off and a new swerda inserted into their necks.  (They can do this is 2 rounds if rushed.)  They cannot animate anything except human-sized and human-shaped corpses.  This is just using swerda that they are carrying on their backs, mind you.

The process of making new swerda can only occur in the "cold forges" of their hidden city, Swordopolis.

I mean, it has a real name in Swerda that sounds less stupid, but it doesn't translate well.

Languages Known: Swerda, a language composed entirely of bodily movements, mostly swordfighting maneuvers.  They do not speak common (and in fact, most of them don't understand that noises can carry significance at all).

They're actually mostly deaf, except for really loud noises nearby.  They regard the human hearing sensitivity as somewhat supernatural, like Lassie knowing when it's going to rain.

Humans tend to think they're being threatened, when in fact it is just the swerda saying hello

Each swerda carries:

  • 1d6+2 mundane swords.  In scabbards, on their back.
  • 1d4-1 (min 0) other swerda.  In scabbards, on their back.  (These may be relatives.)
  • 1d6 silver needles stuck into a potato, each worth 100gp.  (This is their currency.)

Roll a d6 for each sword man:

  1. Carries a pennant.  This swerda is a knight, and is appropriately valiant and noble.  Rides a horse.  The horse has 2d6 more swords strapped on it.
  2. Nothing special, but is extra friendly and tries very hard to communicate.  50% chance of having an extremely inaccurate Swerda-English dictionary.  Like, it'll cause offense and confusion each time you use it, but it illustrates the sword swishery = words concept.
  3. Nothing special, but this swerda is accompanied by a man named Bospit, who will try to get you to wager some money and then duel the swerda in a sword fight.  In truth, Bospit is a con man who has learned a little of the swerda language, and is leading the naive swerda on a wild goose chase.  The swerda's name is thrust-parry-circle parry, and he just wants to find a famous blacksmith and buy a sword from him.  Bospit is his only "friend" and Bospit lies to him constantly.
  4. Accompanied by 1d6 sentient arrows.  One will fire itself each round.  They tend to stick into the objects they hit, and must be pulled free.  (Otherwise, they just sit there, struggling to get out.)  You can tame them as easily as you could tame a bird of prey.
  5. Accompanied by a dancing sword (the swerda's spouse).  HD 2  AC plate  Sword 1d8  Fly 12  Int 10  Mor 10, only damaged by bludgeoning.
  6. Is actually a 5 HD swordsmaster, accompanied by a 3 HD apprentice and a halflings translater named Snobby.  Will trade training for magic swords; capable of teaching you the counterattack ability that he has.

from Berserk

How They Eat

They smash up food and put it in their bellybutton, which is threaded with string so that it can be cinched closed with a string, like your dice bag.  They are not undead.

Bonus Monster: Sword Dragon

Stats as a dragon, except that it has a sword impaled in each of its eyes.  (These are two "twin" swerda, possessing the thing.)

The sword dragon doesn't breathe fire.  It breathes swords.  Change the damage type to piercing.  It leaves 3d6+20 swords stabbed into the battlefield each time it breathes swords.

These swords come from an internal reservoir of swords.  (It's actually capable of eating metal and forging swords internally; that's why the swerda are so fond of it.)  It holds 445 swords.  Once all of those swords are expended, it cannot use its breath attack any more until it eats more metal and forges new ones in its guts.


  1. this is the creepiest thing I've read in a while

  2. Do their "hosts" rot around them? Which came first, the swerda or the human shaped corpses? Do they resent being weilded when defeated?

    In all seriousness this is awesome.

    1. No, their hosts stay alive. They need fresh-killed corpses because those aren't dead. (Brain death occurs in minutes, but some of the body's tissues can take days to become non-functional.)

      The Swerda are manufactured by an old dude they call Master Grandfather.

      They fucking hate being wielded by anyone less than a trusted friend. That's a good way to earn an eternal vendetta.

  3. Found what happens when Twin Swerda end up in a Void Monk