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Blackrazor in it's third edition incarnation. Image copyright Wizards of the Coast.

Blackrazor in it's third edition incarnation. Image copyright Wizards of the Coast.

The most famous of the Black Swords of Kale is Blackrazor, a magic black sword that “shines like a piece of the night sky filled with stars”. It is definitely the most potent of these ancient blades, and the most well-known – sought after by many and one of the artifacts used to help found entire kingdoms.

The Black Swords of Kale were created by the Kale in a time long-lost, before the first rebellions by humans and their slave races against their empire. It is said by sages that the swords were not so much forged and crafted as they were enticed to this world from another. That in their own world the swords are living creatures of chaos that consume and destroy, and that their passage to this world and it’s laws has forced them into the forms of the revered black blades.

In total, seven of these swords are known to exist, including the fabled Blackrazor. Here are their stats for the classic Moldvay Basic / Expert rules set (and Labyrinth Lord).

Each of the six of Blackrazor’s kin are magic swords with vicious black blades, although none have the magical starfield appearance of Blackrazor itself. The blades are a strange, non-reflective black material that seems to absorb light and is always cold to the touch. All are somewhat longer than a typical sword of it’s make, and much lighter feeling (2/3 the normal encumbrance) when first drawn and used in combat, although they grow heavier the longer they are kept and not used (as described below).

  • Blackheart is a +3 short sword with the special purpose of slaying magic users. It can detect shifting walls and rooms within 10′, find traps within 10′ 3/day, and detect magic within 20′ three times per day. The wielder gains the ability to fly for three turns per day.
  • Direblade is a +3 sword with the special purpose of defeating law.  It can detect shifting walls and rooms within 10′,  detect metal of any type requested up to a range of 60′, and detect magic within 20′ three times per day. The wielder may move up to 2,000 coins of wieght by concentration alone as per the magic-user spell telekinesis.
  • Hellcut is a +2 short sword with the special purpose of slaying lycanthropes. It can detect shifting walls and rooms within 10′, detect evil intentions up to a range of 20′, and detect metal of any type requested up to a range of 60′. The wielder gains the ability to see 30′ through a wall and into the space beyond as per a ring of x-ray vision.
  • Hopecutter is a +2 sword with the special purpose of slaying fighters (including dwarves & halflings). It can detect any type of gems within a range of 60′ and will point in the direction of the gems, can detect traps of any type within 10′ three times per day, and detect magic within 20′ three times per day. The wielder may listen to any one living creature’s thoughts. The user must concentrate on one direction and can hear the thoughts of the first creature within 60′ unless blocked by lead.
  • Lament’s Song is a +2 two-handed sword with the special purpose of slaying clerics and the ability to cast charm person on command up to 3 times per week. It can locate all secret doors within 10′ range three times per day, and can see invisible and hidden objects within 20′. The wielder gains the power of telepathy, able to send thoughts to a creature as well as listen to any one living creature’s thoughts up to 60 feet away in one direction. Once per day, the wielder can teleport as the magic-user spell.
  • Onyx is a +1 flaming sword  (when flaming it gains a +2 bonus against trolls, pegasi, hipogriffs and rocs, and a +3 bonus against treants and undead) with the special purpose of defeating law. It can detect any type of gems within a range of 60′ and point in their direction, detect metal of any type requested up to a range of 60′, and detect sloping passages within a 10′ range. Once per day for 1d10 rounds, the user inflicts four times the normal damage for the weapon.

Each of these swords is intelligent, chaotic and bloodthirsty – creatures of chaos warped into these forms through the ancient laws of the Kale and forced to endure this form for thousands of years. Each blade has an Intelligence of 12, an Ego of 12. While most swords of this Intelligence can speak, none of the languages spoken by the blades is used to this day in our realm, instead their voices sing out like dark gospels and wailing demons in the night. However, the blades still have the ability to understand what is said around them, and can empathically share their needs and desires with their wielders.

If a lawful creature attempts to wield a Black Sword, then they suffer 2d6 damage per round of contact with the weapon. Neutral characters suffer 1d6 damage per round.

Each blade has it’s own special purpose, as detailed above. When used for its special purpose, the blades instantly slay their target if the target is of lawful alignment and fails a saving throw against poison or death ray. For every week that the blade fails to fulfill it’s special purpose (even killing non-lawful creatures of the appropriate type is enough to sate it), the encumberance value of the blade increases by 150cn and the blade makes a control check again.

(for a conversion of Blackrazor itself to the B/X rules set, check out this post from the appropriately named B/X Blackrazor Blog)

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