Search ye far and search ye near…
So begins the cryptic poem by the wicked sorcerer Keraptis—wizard, overlord, and thief of three highly-valued magical weapons with the cryptic names of Wave, Whelm, and Blackrazor in the 1st Edition adventure module S2: White Plume Mountain.
In a recent D&D Alumni, we took a brief look back at these three weapons, and also posed the challenge to you—could you recreate Blackrazor as a 4th Edition artifact?
Well, you met that challenge in admirable fashion! And while all participants are heartily thanks for their time, creativity, and efforts, we did select the following two versions of Blackrazor as the winners of this competition.
Congratulations to Zach S. and Christopher T.!
At first glance, Blackrazor is a magical sword of unique beauty. Its blade is not made of mere metal, but instead appears to be forged from the night sky. Stars sparkle along the length of its blade and its hilt is forged of the finest gold. Closer examination of the sword reveals that it radiates a frigid energy that chills both body and soul; merely touching the blade invites excruciating pain.
The origin of Blackrazor is dark indeed. Forged from the heart of the dead star Acamar, Blackrazor is a window from the Far Realm into our own. The stars that glitter along its blade are those unlucky enough to be near the corpse star. Slowly, inexorably, they are pulled into Acamar’s maw and consumed.
Exactly how Blackrazor was forged is a mystery; some say that the legendary wizard Keraptis is responsible for its creation, while others claim that the alien will of Acamar itself cast Blackrazor into the world. Whatever the case may be, the sword—like the corpse star—seems to serve one purpose: to consume all in its path.
Blackrazor is appropriate for paragon-level characters.
Blackrazor’s blade is as black as the night sky and sparkles with the stars of alien constellations. The chill of the endless void emanates from Blackrazor, and those who stare into its blade too long get the eerie feeling that the stars within are slowly drifting closer...
is a +3 magic fullblade
, pg 9) with the following properties and powers. Enhancement:
Attack rolls and damage rolls Critical:
+3d6 necrotic and cold damage, and you regain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge Property:
All damage dealt by Blackrazor
is necrotic and cold damage. Property: Blackrazor
functions as a warlock implement for star pact warlocks, adding its enhancement bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls for warlock powers that use implements. Property: Blackrazor
may not be used to subdue, only to kill. Upon delivering a killing blow (reducing the target to 0 hit points or less), the sword immediately consumes the essence of its victim. This prevents the slain from returning from the dead in any way, and bestows an effect upon the wielder which varies according to the nature of the victim. Although Blackrazor
enjoys consuming all life, only those of paragon level (non-minion) or higher are enough to trigger the effects listed below. Abberant:
You are overwhelmed by alien thoughts and instincts, and are dazed until the end of your next turn. Gain a +4 power bonus to Will until the end of the encounter. Immortal: Blackrazor
revels in the defeat of a proud and powerful foe. You gain resist 5 to all damage until the end of the encounter. Elemental: Blackrazor
blazes with energy; attacks made with it add 5 ongoing necrotic and cold damage (save ends) until the end of the encounter. Fey:
The vibrant fey essence energizes you; gain regeneration 5 until the end of the encounter. Natural: Blackrazor
’s favorite prey feeds your life with their own. Gain temporary hit points equal to the targets level. Shadow:
Disappointed at the lack of life energy, Blackrazor
feeds upon you instead. Loose a healing surge. If no surges remain, take necrotic damage equal to your healing surge value. Any creature with the undead type falls solely into this category, not into any other type that they might possess. Construct:
No effect. Any creature with the construct type falls solely into this category, not into any other type that they might possess.
Power (Encounter): Minor action. Burst 12; the wielder of Blackrazor is aware of the exact location and level of any living (non-undead or construct) creature within the area of effect until the end of the wielder’s next turn.
History DC 18:
Blackrazor is one of three artifact weapons hoarded by the legendary wizard Keraptis. Blackrazor was most deeply hidden and well guarded by the wizard, and is perhaps the most powerful.
Arcana DC 30:
Blackrazor was forged from the heart of Acamar, a dead star of utter nothingness that consumes other stars that it pulls in. It is theorized that this cursed star is a window to the Far Realm; a place so alien that to contemplate it only invites madness. Blackrazor acts as a portal to Acamar; the stars upon its blade are the ones being pulled into Acamar, and the souls it consumes feed the dead star as well.
Goals of Blackrazor
- To devour and consume all life.
Blackrazor communicates empathically with its wielder, expressing a constant feeling of hunger. The level of hunger varies with its level of concordance, ranging from a dull ache when Blackrazor is pleased, to a ravenous emptiness when the sword is angry. Blackrazor doesn’t care what or why it is fed, only that it is fed regularly. Adventurers can stay in Blackrazor’s favor for a time by feeding it a diet of evil monsters and villains, but eventually the insatiable appetite of the blade and its true nature will become apparent.
|Owner gains a level
|Owner uses Blackrazor to consume an opponent (maximum 1/day)
|Owner fails to use Blackrazor to consume an opponent within 1 week
"Blackrazor is the ultimate weapon in my hands; my enemies are no longer worthy of the name. They are merely food for my blade and fuel for my power."
Blackrazor is pleased with its steady diet of life essences, and grants its wielder the power to continue this rampage.
Blackrazor becomes a +4 magic fullblade
Critical: +4d6 necrotic and cold damage, and you regain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge.
Property: Gain a +4 bonus to all defenses and saving throws against charm and fear effects.
Power (Daily): Standard Action. Until the end of the encounter, you gain a +4 power bonus to speed. You gain an additional basic melee attack with Blackrazor during each of your turns. You must attack the nearest bloodied enemy with Blackrazor until the end of the encounter.
"The blade’s hunger is now my own, just a few more souls and we can rest…"
Blackrazor’s hunger has been whetted, but is still great. The blade grants its wielder the power to continue to feed this hunger.
Property: Gain a +2 bonus to all defenses and saving throws against charm and fear effects.
Power (Daily): Free action. Targets a creature that you just hit with Blackrazor. Target disappears into a starry realm and takes ongoing 15 necrotic and cold damage (save ends both). While in the starry realm, the target cannot take actions and cannot be targeted or interacted with in any way. On a save, it returns to any space adjacent to the wielder of Blackrazor. If that space is occupied, the target returns to the nearest unoccupied space of its choice. If the target dies from the ongoing damage, its corpse does not return and it is consumed by Blackrazor.
"What an amazing sword this is! Is anyone else starving?"
At first contact, Blackrazor has likely not been fed adequately for some time, and is eager to see its new owner capabilities. Blackrazor empathically projects its hunger onto the wielder. The new owner may not immediately realize what the hunger is for at first, but their first kill with Blackrazor will lay any doubts to rest.
"I only kill for a just reason, not at the whim of my weapon!"
Blackrazor has gone hungry too long and yearns for a more bloodthirsty owner. It begins to feed on the life essence of its unworthy wielder.
Blackrazor immediately drains 2 healing surges from you after any extended rest. Additionally you take a -2 penalty on any roll that does not include attacking with Blackrazor. These penalties occur regardless of whether or not you are in proximity with Blackrazor.
Angered (0 or lower)
"Blackrazor wants my soul now. It is consuming me. Slowly…"
Blackrazor is finished with the wielder. Before it moves on, it has but one more life to take.
Blackrazor immediately drains 4 healing surges from you after any extended rest. These penalties occur regardless of whether or not you are in proximity with Blackrazor. Touching Blackrazor at this point is deadly; each round of contact with the sword drains 1 healing surge from the wielder. If no surges remain, the wielder is killed and rises as a slaughter wight (MM pg 263).
"Praise the gods, I am finally free of that cursed sword!"
Blackrazor is never willingly departed from its wielder. Once it has tasted a soul it desires only to eventually consume it. Blackrazor is considered a cursed item in this respect. A Remove Affliction ritual is required to rid the wielder of Blackrazor. In addition, the wielder will be hunted by maws of Acamar (MM2 pg 196) along with sufficient undead at their command.
No matter how well hidden and guarded Blackrazor may be, eventually a new wielder will find a way to claim it. Because of this danger, adventurers may seek to destroy the blade. No conventional means are known to be successful, but there must be some way to rid the world of Blackrazor. Such a quest would be at the DM’s discretion and involve an undertaking of epic proportions.
Blackrazor is appropriate for paragon-level characters.
This greatsword is sheathed in a black scabbard decorated with pieces of cut obsidian. Its black blade shines like a piece of night sky filled with stars... too long looking into it, and a part of you despairs that it may never stop falling. But wielded properly, it is said to make its owner ruthless, fearless, and able to fight with unnatural speed.
Blackrazor is a +3 magic greatsword with the following properties and powers.
Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +3d6 necrotic damage, or +3d12 necrotic damage vs. bloodied foes
Property: You gain proficiency with greatswords.
Property: When you use Blackrazor to reduce a living creature to 0 HP or less, the creature is killed and Blackrazor devours its soul (meaning the creature cannot be restored to life or be the target of any power or ritual that requires it to have a soul). In addition, you immediately gain temporary hit points equal to the creature's bloodied value. Special: This property has no effect against non-living creatures (such as constructs or undead creatures).
Property: If you use Blackrazor to make a successful attack against an undead creature, in addition to the normal attack result you also lose hit points equal to your healing surge value, and the undead creature gains an equal amount of temporary hit points. You also lose 1 healing surge (if you have no healing surges to lose, you are weakened until you complete a short rest). If this effect drops you to 0 HP or below, you die and Blackrazor devours your soul. Special: This property has no effect if you are non-living.
Power (At-will): Minor action. Close burst 20. You know the position of all living creatures (souls) within the burst, including those invisible or concealed. Ignore all barriers; you can detect living creatures through walls, doors, etc.
Power (Daily): Free action. You may perform one standard action as a free action.
Arcana or Religion DC 22: When the primordials cast off the dark parts of creation that eventually formed the Shadowfell, a small shard fell back into the mortal world and became Blackrazor, a deadly greatsword that hungers for living souls. On a killing stroke, it channels life-energy into its owner, increasing his vitality.
Arcana or Religion DC 27: The only means to restore any consumed soul is to destroy Blackrazor. All of its souls, good and evil, would then be released into the Shadowfell, including that of the unknown master-smith who forged the weapon eons ago.
Arcana or Religion DC 33: Since the moment it fell back into the mortal world, Blackrazor has been an individual entity separate from the Shadowfell. If Blackrazor ever returns to the Shadowfell, it risks losing its autonomy to the whole. Perhaps within the Shadowfell lies a secret to its eventual destruction.
Goals of Blackrazor
- Seduce a champion to always wield it in battle.
- Devour souls.
- Remain independent from the Shadowfell.
Blackrazor speaks telepathically to the wielder. In addition to Primordial, it automatically learns any language the wielder knows through their telepathic connection.
On the surface, Blackrazor professes to be a willing partner eager to help the wielder thoroughly defeat (read slay) his enemies. But Blackrazor is a seducer by nature. It cheers the wielder's successes, and offers sympathy when the going gets tough. It extols how useful its current powers can be, and promises even greater powers if the wielder deals with his enemies as Blackrazor suggests. It plays on the wielder's desires in order to get what it really wants... the souls.
On the subject of the Shadowfell, Blackrazor's advice is to avoid it altogether, saying there is nothing of worth there… as well as having too few living souls for Blackrazor.
|Owner gains a level
|Owner is unaligned or any evil alignment
|Owner uses Blackrazor to devour a soul (maximum 1/day)
|Owner makes a melee attack with a weapon other than Blackrazor (maximum 1/encounter)
|Every three days Blackrazor does not devour a soul
|Owner takes Blackrazor into the Shadowfell
|Each day Blackrazor remains in the Shadowfell
|Owner is any good aligned member of a divine class
"I am the drinker of souls!"
Blackrazor and the wielder are a perfectly matched team dedicated to death without mercy.
Blackrazor's enhancement bonus increases to +4
Critical: +4d6 necrotic damage, or +4d12 necrotic damage vs. bloodied foes
Property: You gain a +4 item bonus to Will defense against charm and fear attacks, and you are immune from charm and fear effects.
Property: You gain a +4 item bonus to initiative.
Property: When Blackrazor devours a soul, in addition to the normal effect, you gain the use of one encounter or recharge power from the creature (DM's selection). This new power is usable only once, and is lost at the end of the encounter.
Power (Encounter): Free action. You may perform one standard action as a free action. Special: If Blackrazor devours a soul, you regain the use of this power.
Power (Daily): Minor action. Until the end of the encounter, you gain +4 speed.
"Watch my enemies tremble before my terrible powers."
Blackrazor is feeding regularly, funneling life energies into the wielder... energies that gradually transform him into a fearless warrior with deadly, unnatural speed.
Property: You gain a +2 item bonus to Will defense against charm and fear attacks, and to saving throws against charm and fear effects. Property: You gain a +2 item bonus to initiative.
Power (Encounter): Free action. You may perform one standard action as a free action. Power (Daily): Minor action. Until the end of the encounter, you gain +2 speed.
"This blade could lead to an invincible destiny. But only if I have the heart to follow it."
Blackrazor seeks to mold the wielder into a dealer of death.
"The blade hungers."
The wielder is not using Blackrazor nearly enough. If Blackrazor doesn't feed soon, it will take matters into its own hands.
Special: You lose the power to take a standard action as a free action.
Angered (0 or lower)
Blackrazor has tried to be cooperative, but the wielder has failed it. Blackrazor forces the issue, and the wielder either does what Blackrazor wants, or it will find someone who will.
Blackrazor's enhancement bonus decreases to +2
Critical: +2d6 necrotic damage, or +2d12 necrotic damage vs. bloodied foes
Special: Once per day, Blackrazor dominates you and commands you to use Blackrazor to attack the nearest target (save ends; save at -1 per consecutive day that Blackrazor attempts this domination). If you drop to 0 HP or below during this effect, you die and Blackrazor devours your soul. If Blackrazor devours any soul, its Concordance Score immediately returns to 5, and this effect ends.
"It's been fun. . . but I think I'm full."
In time, Blackrazor inevitably wishes to spread its corruption to another impressionable warrior. When the character next gains a level, Blackrazor is swallowed up into its own dark, unfathomable depths and reappears elsewhere in the world where foul-hearted men may pick up the thirsty blade.
If Blackrazor is at least satisfied, it leaves the character with a permanent +5 bonus to saving throws against charm and fear. There are very few things more fearsome or seductive than Blackrazor, and a successful bearer of the dark blade has been fully initiated in how to deal with them.
If Blackrazor is unsatisfied, it vanishes in the midst of battle, leeching away the character's bloodied value in hit points plus one healing surge as it goes.
In the event that Blackrazor has devoured the soul of its current bearer, of course it may move on if the DM wishes. Or, the DM may consider turning the event into a major quest for the party to rescue their fallen comrade by bearing Blackrazor deep within the Shadowfell and seeking out the means to destroy it.