In lieu of a Monster Analysis this week, we’d thought we’d instead talk about another “monster” that appeared in episode 36: a sentient blade. The stats on Craven Edge (aka Bacon) are closely guarded, protected by the most illiterate of Vox Machina. We know very little about it, though we are able to piece together some of its capabilities. However, since we don’t know its attributes, we instead are going to walk through the process of building our own Sentient Great Sword of Evil. Follow along in the DMG, page 214!
In order to build our own Blade of Craven Edge, we need to establish its attributes, its abilities, and its own name. Let’s start with its personality.
First, abilities. A sentient weapon has its own Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma modifiers. These are determined by rolling 4d6 and using the highest 3 of each roll, the same way a PC’s stats are determined. Our results: Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 12.
Second, a sentient weapon must have some means to communicate with its wielder, from transmitting its emotions to holding full telepathic conversations. We rolled 95 on the table, meaning our blade can read, speak, and understand Common and (rolls randomly) Fey, as well as share a telepathic link with its wielder.
Third, the weapon must be able to sense its surroundings. We hit jackpot on the table, rolling a 4. Our blade can hear and see out to 120 feet around it, including in dimly lit areas.
Fourth, our weapon must have an alignment. We rolled 43, which would make it chaotic good. However, for funsies, let’s just say it’s neutral evil (which is extremely difficult to roll for on the table, opposed to a good alignment).
Fifth, we’ll construct its personality. This includes the same traits that make one NPC diverse from another, such as its manner of speaking, its ideals, its flaws, its history, and so on. Rolling randomly on the NPC traits tables (DMG 90), we find that it frequently uses the wrong words in conversation, can be somewhat irritable, and lives to slaughter. Rolling randomly on the Special Features table (DMG 142), we find that it was created by dwarves (evil, we’ll say duergar) for an ancient arcane order, and can only be destroyed by very special means. The wielder is always extremely optimistic and blissful, and Disney-esque forest creatures frolic in its presence.
Finally, we’ll establish its special purpose. The wielder does not necessarily have to share the alignment of the weapon to use it, only agree to use the weapon in a manner that will help the weapon achieve its goals. That said, depending on the item’s goals, its user may move closer and closer to the weapon’s alignment as they assist the weapon in pursuing it. We rolled a 6, meaning our weapon craves destruction and goads its user to fight arbitrarily. Failure to use the weapon in this manner may result in a conflict between wielder and blade, meaning the sword could attempt to control its user…
Update: @yyrkoon66 on Twitter points out: “One note is given Matt’s history dating to early years of AD&D, it may have a drawback like on Blackrazor (and not said…)” Our sword is pretty broken, so let’s make the choice to use it a little more difficult: Failure to use within a week creates conflict, and the sword is more than happy to drain the strength from its wielder.
We know that attacks dealt by Craven Edge force its victims to make a Constitution Saving Throw (DC 12) or forfeit one point of their Strength to the wielder. Percy apparently regains his Strength after the battle (back to 12), so the effect only lasts for that round of combat.
Craven Blade also offered to encase Grog in the shadows to further enhance his rage, forcing his enemies to cower in fear. It’s unknown what that effect is, but we still want to add another ability to our sword. Using the properties suggested for the sentient Moonblade, we’ll borrow the ability to use an action to summon a Shadow to fight with us. This shadow follows the user’s will, and stays within 120 feet of them until it either drops to 0 HP or is dismissed. (We highly doubt Craven Edge is capable of this. We think it can do something else, but only time will tell.)
It being a Greatsword (our choice), it deals 2d6 damage, plus modifiers. We can also choose whether or not to increase its magical capabilities. We’ll make Blissy here a +2 Greatsword. (Warning to DMs: It’s a little broken, with the ability to gain strength for each successful hit as well as have an extra fighter. Play with the abilities as you see fit.)
Blade of Blissful Rage
Not the greatest name, but you get the idea. Using what we determined from the sword’s personality and abilities, we now have a fully-developed sentient weapon with which to create conflict within your party. That may or may not have given you an idea of how Craven Edge was constructed, or given you some ideas of its capabilities. And, if nothing else, have fun with your new toy!