Magic Items

Swords Plus One

The first and most massively important thing to be said about magic items is this. There is no such thing as a magic item. There are swords carved out of the bones of dragons, talismans made from the chains worn by the first of the Cloistered Brethren of Chains during the Binding War and flutes made from reeds cut from the banks of the River of Whispers and anointed with the tears of blind men, but there are no “magic items”. Magic items are unique, each and every one. They are also rare, most people go their entire lives without seeing one. Player Characters will probably be luckier in that regard, but nevertheless the creation, location and use of magical items is not a trivial thing.

Making Magical Items

To make a magical item, you need one of three skills: Magic (to rank 3, in a power that has something to do with the item you want to make), Alchemy (to rank 4, one of the potions should have something to do with the item) or Ordained (with Rites at least 3, and would you believe it, the thing you're ordained to would need to have some sort of connection with the item you're making). You must also have an appropriate Arcane Lore. You also need to be able to afford the raw materials, as if making a Superior Item of the appropriate type. Making magical items is a five step process, which begins here….

On an OOC basis, magic item ideas must be run past the larpo/head GM.


The conceptualisation of a magical item has two steps, which can be carried out in either order. One is to work out what the item will do, the other is to work out how it's made. These can be worked out in either order because it's up to you whether you think “Hey, I wonder what a blade forged in dragonfire and cooled in the River of Shadows will do?” or “Hmm, I wonder how I'd make a talisman to protect me from the Vitriarchs…”.

The most important thing to remember in the Conceptualisation stage is that there must be an intimate connection between the effects of the item, the nature of the maker, and the process of creating the item. Once you've worked out what you want to do and how you want to do it you can go on to…


The first step in making a magic item - finding - is to choose and find a suitable material or materials to make your item from. The material should be suitable both to the magical effect you're after and the form the artifact is to take. When it comes to working out the final power of the artifact, you'll total points gleaned from all three stages of construction. Points from the finding stage are based on the material and are as follows:

0 Points: Mundane materials; steel, wood and the like.

1 Point: Prepared mundane materials. Alchemically purified steel, ritually blessed wood. Bone and blood.

3 Points: Significant materials. The wood of a tree struck three times by lightning, the bones of a necromancer, the blood of a noble man born of humble roots.

7 Points: Extremely significant materials. The wood of the oldest tree in the Western Forest. The blood of a dragon.

13 points: Truly unique materials. The wood of the First Tree. The heart of a dragon. The eye of a god.

If there is more than one material involved in the construction of an item then you add the total value of the most significant item and half the value of the second most significant item (round up). An item of human bone and dragon's blood, for example, would be worth 8 points.

Any item worth 3 points or more must have been found on a larp.


Or whittling, weaving, or whatever. In fact, the actual shaping of stuff isn't enormously dramatic, therefore for the purposes of Stuff What Will Happen on a Larp, Forging takes the form of additional 'fixing' type steps that are carried out on individual components of the object, before it is completed (eg sharpening the blade of a sword on the first rays of morning, thank you T.Pratchett). See below.

You add the total value of the most significant forging and half the value of the second most significant(round up).

You can also pick up points for the following:

Binding Up Within the Item A Great Part Of Your Power: If you're a Sorceror you can get +3 points for every level of Magic you tie up in the item - these levels of magic become unavailable to you if the item is destroyed or you lose possession of it. To the surprise of literally no-one, your enemies will tend to find out about this sort of thing in visions and divinations.

Using Significant Tools: Can give you a +1 or a +2, depending on the nature of the tools.


The final stage in the creation of a magical item is the fixing, finishing the thing off and binding both of the previous steps together. Points from fixing come from the significance of the action used to fix the artifact. The fixing is the coda to the whole thing and symbolically marks the beginning of the life of the artifact. The nature of the fixing will touch the entire nature of the artifact. Once more, only the highest bonus applies. Remember, the fixing sets the fate of the item in a big way. If you kill somebody with it you've got a terrible and baleful thing, if you use it to feed the hungry you have something benevolent.

0 Points: No significant fixing. The item is forged normally, tidied up and used.

1 Point: The item is anointed with tears or with blood. The item is prayed over or alchemically treated.

3 Points: The item is cooled in one of the Rivers of the North or in human tears. The item is taken to the Burned Realm and buried in the ash. The item is used to kill a man.

7 Points: The item is cooled in the tears of a God. The item is taken to the Glass Tower and used to catch the reflection of a Vitriarch. The item is taken by another man and used to kill its creator.


An item, once found, forged and fixed, will have somewhere between 0 and (potentially) forty-something points invested in it. Items come in roughly five levels of power::

0-10 points: items of this level mostly do flavour stuff or give very minor advantages, along 'superior item' lines or slightly better.

10-20 points: okay, now it'll be noticablely quite useful. Bonuses along the lines of a couple of the lower ranks of a skill are quite in order, or an alchemical potion-like effect that manifests once per encounter.

20-30 points: items at this level will be useful on a regular basis, providing effects similar to mid-level (2-3) level spells, at least once per encounter, or equivalent effects.

30-40 points: At this level, you get into seriously puissant “owning this thing will change your life” territory. Permanant alterations to skills and abilities are the order of the day.

40-50 Points: At this level, it's the One Ring.

For Example...

Peter Howell, the “Scholar of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know” and sample PC, decides that he wants to make an artifact that will allow him to deal with people who find out that he's a worshipper of the Vitriarchs. He decides that the item will take the shape of a mirror, because that's a good Vitriarch-y item to make. First, he picks his materials. It so happens that an adventuring party is setting off for the Isle of the Broken Moon to investigate the affairs of the D'Artois family . Peter hooks up with them, hoping to find some suitable materials. Much to his delight they run across a powerful ancient construct of glass and he is able to snaffle the fragments of its glass heart once it is defeated.

The next step is to forge the damn thing. He decides to do this only by moonlight (there is some weak association between the moon and the Vitriarchs, since they are both tied to madness) while only looking at what he's doing in a mirror. Many cuts to the hands later he has a decent mirror ready for fixing. Finally he finds a party who are heading off on an expedition to the Peak of Memory. Peter joins the party and sets off North. He fixes the mirror by immersing it in the source of the River of Echoes. The mirror is now complete.

Peter's player and the LARP Organiser tot up the number of points the mirror has accumulated. It works out as 13 (7 for the glass construct's heart-shards, 3 for the forging in a mirror by moonlight, 3 for bathing it in the source of the River of Echoes). Not powerful enough for Peter's liking- in agreement with the GM his player decides that 3 ranks of Peter's Glass Magic skill will be bound up in the mirror. That gives the item an extra 9 points taking the total to 22- an artifact of no small power. Between them Peter's player and the GM work out that Peter can immediately tell if anybody he looks at in the mirror is aware of his dubious affiliations and can use the mirror to engage people in Psychic Combat. The LARP Organiser also points out that there had better be no glass whatsoever in the phys-rep that Peter's player uses for this mirror, since that wouldn't be safe.

Examples: Noted Artifacts Extant in the White City

Ash-Blessed Swords - 5 point items

Many of the Priests of the Temple of Ashes forge their own weaponry dedicated to the cause of the Burned Lords. These weapons tend to be relatively minor artifacts, counting as superior quality and sometimes inflicting +1 damage against the undead or against necromancers.

The Seven Shard-Knives - 20 point items

The Seven Shard-Knives were made from slivers of glass found in the Shattered Plain and were constructed in that place by a Glass sorcerer of ill repute. They were once held by the personal guard of Lemuel D'Artois; where they are now is unclear, though some may be inside the Ducal Palace. The Shard-Knives count as superior quality daggers for combat purposes and Vitrify those they wound.

Vengeance - 35 point item

This was a particularly baleful weapon created some hundred years ago by a Blood sorcerer whose village was put to the sword by a noble, of a line now extinct for relatively obvious reasons. The sword is said to have been steeped in blood at every stage of its creation, finally fixed when it was driven into the heart of the youngest daughter of the noble in question. It is said that this sword killed all but one of the offending line of nobility, and that the last in that line took up the sword to seek revenge for the death of his family. So the cycle began and so it continues. Anybody who takes up the sword becomes a potent instrument for vengeance, implacable, indefatigable and near unstoppable. However, as an eye for an eye leaves the world blind, those who bear the sword inevitably fall to it.

system/magic_items.txt · Last modified: 2011/03/15 22:32 by osj01
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