Saturday 20 May 2023

Conversion Crawl Classes 10: AD&D 2e: Swamplight

During the late era of 1st edition AD&D, the Dragonlance adventures (and, to a lesser degree, adventures like Ravenloft) set the scene for a different kind of large-scale storytelling. Adventures prior to Dragons of Despair had back stories, of course, but Dragonlance brought the PCs along for a ride where large-scale events were going to happen regardless of what the players decided to do. Dragonlance provided the thrill of a larger narrative, where both the DM and the players were discovering “the story” as it was revealed with each module released, and I think that there will always be a place for adventures set up in this manner…but it did lead the next edition away from “Here is the situation; let’s find out what happens” far too deeply toward “Here is the situation, and here is what is supposed to happen.”

At the same time, Dragonlance taught TSR that there was a lot of money to be made in selling setting materials as well as adventures. The World of Greyhawk was, of course, the baseline setting for 1st edition, but there was an expectation that most DMs were going to create their own worlds. Modules tended to be more modular, in that they could be placed in any world with only minimal changes. By the time the new edition rolled out, adventures became more tied into setting lore – even when the setting didn’t tie directly to the adventure itself. Forging these ties sold more products, in the same way as comic cross-over events sell more comics.

Finally, the human-centric world of earlier D&D was giving way to a fantasy game where PCs might be not just humans and demi-humans, but a great many types of humanoids. One might argue that the minotaurs of Dragonlance were influential here as well, but having drow and duergar PCs in the original Unearthed Arcana opened that door for others to follow. While 2nd edition did not go as far down this road as subsequent editions, some of the weird fantasy vibe of the earlier game was lost to treating monsters as simply part of the fantasy milieu – subjects for natural histories and anthropological studies rather than creatures inimical to human (and demi-human) civilizations.

Consequently, while 2nd edition adventures are statically as easy to convert as 1st edition modules, the structure of the adventures themselves require more work. It is not that there is anything wrong with lizardmen being set up by other monsters, or with an adventure where lizardmen are relatively peaceful if left alone. An adventure where said lizardmen are set up by rakshasas, which punishes players failing to take the “correct” course of leaving the lizardmen alone, is a bit of a challenge once you step away from 2nd Edition assumptions.   

This era of the game is also, shall we say, a bit railroad-y. To wit:

It is up to the PCs whether they agree to aid Chala. If they appear indecisive, Vant suggests that Chala is only the beginning – other cities in the area will be visited by disaster as Tefnut’s rage grows. He says even adventurers such as themselves will not be safe. It is better to right the situation now.

Chalans come forth and plead with the PCs to help their cause, promising the player characters what wealth they have stored away in their homes.

Eventually, the PCs should agree. In the event they do not, the rakshasas may disguise themselves as lizard men and attack or kidnap the PCs.

It is up to the PCs. But, if they don't decide the way you want, decide for them. It is this sort of thing which led certain individuals to argue that even including a module perforce meant you would railroad your players.

Fixing the Story

There is great potential here, but first we have to fix the story. There is a mystery; we must make sure that the players have the chance to realize that things are not as they seem. Instead of trying to drive the narrative into “Heroic adventurers save the Chala and the lizardmen!” we can bring the adventure right back to the game’s Sword & Sorcery roots by making the idol of Tefnut the prize and being relatively indifferent to the fate of human city, lizardman village, and rakshasa encampment alike.

The first step might be to replace the lizardmen with more technologically primitive humans. Suddenly, the PCs have a motive to talk to them. More, if they are captured, the PCs will not be eaten in a lizardman feast, and might even get a chance to learn something before they escape. The idol becomes the prize – whether it remains in the “lizardman” village, is returned the Chala, or is taken by the PCs to melt down or sell as treasure becomes the players’ decision (if they can recover it). Stealth, magic, diplomacy, or brute force might be used.

The idea that a god pays attention to what occurs around their idol is great, and is certainly in keeping with Sword & Sorcery fiction, but let’s not be subtle about it. Instead of slowly debilitating characters, let’s go with something dramatic. Rains and flooding come directly to mind considering the god involved. There might be some loss of Luck involved because this is, after all, DCC.

Speaking of thematic appropriateness, let’s fix the inclusion of an Egyptian god, Indian demons, and generic lizardmen. You can go any way you want with this, but I think that the Egyptian theme fits in well with a great swamp. The “lizardmen” can then be human worshipers of Sobek (the Egyptian crocodile god), which both accept Tefnut (after the miraculous appearance of his idol) and Sobek. Captured PCs are to be ritualistically fed to the sacred crocodiles at the new moon (to give them time to escape in Tarzan- or Conanesque fashion). We’ll make the rakshasa demons of Set, which is a lot stronger thematically to my mind. That this means we can use a Lawful, a Neutral, and a Chaotic god our divine wrangling is icing on the cake!

Dealing With Treasure

As with earlier editions, we want to remove unnecessary and/or bland magic items. Some magic items appear only to make certain parts of the story possible – the rakshasa might need boots of varied tracks to leave misleading footprints; we can just give that ability to our demons of Set. Monetary rewards should be reduced to 10%. Gold becomes silver, silver becomes copper, and so on. We could choose to halve the value of Tefnut’s idol and it is still an amazingly rich prize!

Let’s go back to story considerations for a minute, because Chala should not be showing off this valuable chunk of metal to all and sundry. Nor should the Chalans be encouraging every ne’er-do-well with a sword to go after that idol. After all, there is no reason to believe they will return with it. Instead, let us create a few rival parties of Chalans to be seeking the idol. Let’s have the Chalans discourage the PCs from pursuing the idol as a local matter (although the judge makes sure the players know the idol’s value).


There are a number of hazards in the blackwater swamp which can be converted. It should be noted that a judge doesn’t need to use the same mechanics for quicksand or bogs in all adventures. Sometimes, a mechanic can be specific to the unique conditions of an adventure location. Lightning sand in the fire swamp does not have to follow the same rules as quicksand in blackwater swamp.

I mention this because there might be an impulse to scour DCC adventures, looking for the “correct” way to stat out a hazard. The goal here, unless you are being paid for your work, should be to convert without undue work. For instance, take this hazard from Swamplight:

Bogs in the swamp range from 4 to nine 9 feet deep (1d6+3). Characters who fall in a bog might or might not be submerged based on the depth of the bog. They must roll an Intelligence check at -3 on 1d20 (rangers pass this check automatically). Failure means the character has panicked and must be rescued. Characters who are successful with the saving throw can attempt to swim to safety at a -3 proficiency penalty because of the weeds and roots. Characters can be rescued with the methods suggested under “quicksand.” Characters who are submerged or who cannot swim can hold their breaths for one-half their Constitution score rounded up before they are considered drowned. Characters in heavy armor or who are heavily loaded down cannot swim in a bog.

In DCC terms, this might look like:

Bogs are 1d6+3’ deep. PCs who fall into a bog must attempt a DC 10 Intelligence check (characters without appropriate “outdoorsy” occupations roll on 1d10). Success allows a DC 10 Strength check to swim to safety (armor check penalty applies), but failure means the character must be rescued. If the bog is deep enough to submerge trapped characters, they suffer 1d3 temporary Stamina damage each round until rescued or they drown. This temporary damage is fully healed with 10 minutes of rest and unobstructed breathing.  


Most of the monsters in this adventure are already converted in the DCC core rulebook, which will make things easier when converting the adventure. The judge may wish to replace some creatures with more thematically appropriate (Egyptian) ones, or reskin existing monsters to make them fit better. Some of these monsters originated in the Fiend Folio. You can find conversions of the algoid and fog giant in this blog.  

Converting monsters from 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons is very similar to converting monsters from 1st edition. The biggest change is that 2nd edition monsters now include THAC0 in their statblock. THAC0 means “To Hit Armor Class 0”, which is equivalent to 20 in DCC. So, one can use 20 minus THAC0 to determine a monster’s base attack bonus.

For this module, the obvious monsters to convert are the rakshasas, which we are going to make into demons of Set. In Swamplight, they are given these stats:

Rakshasa (3): AL LE; AC -4; MV 15; HD 7; hp 35,38,42; THAC0 13; #AT 3; Dmg 1-3/1-3/2-5; SA Illusions, spells; SD +1 or better weapon to hit; ML 15; XP 4,000 each.

Rakshasa #1 wizard spells: enlarge, grease, protection from good, spider climb

Priest Spells: cure light wounds, entangle, faerie fire

Rakshasa #2 wizard spells: dancing lights, protection from good, spook, ventriloquism, detect invisibility, invisibility, whispering wind, fly

Priest spells: cure light wounds x2, invisibility to animals

Rakshasa #3 wizard spells: burning hands, color spray, detect magic, magic missile, blur, fog cloud, web, hold person, suggestion

Priest spells: entangle, pass without trace, protection from good

Before breaking this creature down into a DCC statblock, let’s jump over to the Purple Sorcerer Demon Generator and create 10 Type II demons. We are creating 10 because we want a 7 HD demon for a baseline (to match the rakshasa’s Hit Dice). What I came up with is:

Lion, Horse, Clay Demon (Type 2)

Init +2; Atk Constriction +7 melee (1d6+2) ; AC 14; HD 7d12 (37hp); MV 30'; Act 2d20; SP Drain ability score +6; Drain blood +6, Drain blood +6 Target Save 18, demon traits; SV Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +8, AL C.

Traits: Horns, Antennae

Standard Type 2 Demon Features

Communication: Speech, ESP (read minds but not converse)

Abilities: Infravision, darkness (+8 check)

Immunities: Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half-damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas

Projection: Can teleport back to native plane or any point on same plane, as long as not bound or otherwise summoned

Crit Threat Range: 19-20

I cannot overstate the value of using free tools like this. Even though we are looking for a very specific thing, it is incredibly useful to have a baseline creature to look at…especially when converting demons, dragons, and the like.

Now that we have some idea where we are coming from, we can look at the statblock in DCC terms:

Init: No Init bonuses are supplied in our original monster, so we will use the +2 from the sample demon.

Atk: Our rakshasas attack with two claws and a bite. From their THAC0, we know that the base attack bonus should be +7 (20 minus a THAC0 of 13). This is right in line with our sample demon, so we are good to say “claw +7 melee (1d3) or bite +7 melee (1d4+1) or spell.”

AC: 2nd edition D&D still uses descending AC, and the easiest conversion is still 20 subtract the given AC. In this case, we would get AC 24, and our sample demon is AC 14. I think it would be fair to use an average AC of 19.

HD: The listed HD is 7, which is indicated 7d8 in AD&D 2e. In DCC, this becomes 7d12.

Hp: 7d12 yields 7 to 84 hp, with an average of 42 hp. The original creatures have 35, 38, and 42 hp. 7d8 would have yielded an average of 28 hp, so our rakshasas were above average as originally presented. I am going to give each one +6 hp, so they are 41, 44, and 48 hp.

MV: The 15 MV in AD&D 2e is faster than a human’s speed of 12, so I will give our demons of Set a MV of 40’.

Act: The original had three attacks, so 3d20 seems appropriate.

SP: In addition to our standard demon traits, our demons can take on the appearance of other humanoid creatures (including individuals). Let’s say that they can shift appearance using an action die. They can also cast spells, so we need to think about that. The three original creatures had different spellcasting abilities, so we might as well make our demons of Set have variable spellcasting as well. Do we need to cast wizard and cleric spells? That seems like overkill to me, so we can just say “Casts spells as a level 1d4+1 wizard with an additional +2 bonus to the spell check”.

SV: The original creature doesn’t really help us here, but the sample demon has Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +8. We can swap Fort and Ref because our demons are a bit snake-like themselves.

AL: Rakshasas are Lawful Evil. In nine-alignment systems, it is easy to peg Lawful Good and Lawful Neutral as Lawful. It is easy to peg Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Evil as Chaotic. Neutral is, of course, Neutral. All other alignments have some wiggle room, and I am going to make our demons Chaotic. First off, that matches demons normally in the core rules. More importantly, it follows the Tefnut = Lawful, Sobek = Neutral, Set = Chaotic that I had pointed out before.

Crit: Following the table on page 385 of the core rulebook, we get a result of DN/1d8.

Put altogether, our DCC statblock looks like this:

Demons of Set (3): Init +2; Atk claw +7 melee (1d3) or bite +7 melee (1d4+1) or spell, AC 19; HD 7d12; hp 41, 44, 48; MV 40’; Act 3d20; SP demon traits (converse with ESP; infravision 90’; cast darkness with +8 spell check; immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half-damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas; can teleport back to native plane or any point on same plane unless bound or otherwise summoned; crit range 19-20), illusions (can use action die to appear as any humanoid, including individuals), spellcasting (as level 1d4+1 wizard with additional +2 bonus to spell check); SV Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +8; AL C; Crit DN/1d8.

Demon 1 (CL 3, +5 spell check): charm person, chill touch, mending, spider climb, patron bond/invoke patron (Set), and shatter.

Demon 2 (CL 2, +4 spell check): animal summoning, flaming hands, read magic, ropework, spider climb, and patron bond/invoke patron (Set).

Demon 3 (CL 2, +4 spell check): comprehend languages, Ekim's mystical mask, magic missile, sleep, and patron bond/invoke patron (Set).

I would use Set-Utekh the Destroyer from Angels, Daemons, & Beings Between as a reasonable stand-in for Set.


This is a 16-page adventure in 34 pages (including maps). This is not the fault of the author; like wearing an onion in your belt, it was the style of the time. Although it may seem that I am looking down on the adventure, I am not. This would be a great adventure converted well to DCC. The rallying cry of 3rd Edition (“Back to the dungeon!”) came about at least partly in response to the criticisms I have made here about 2nd Edition, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t strip any 2nd Edition module back to its core elements. It just takes a little more work.

Next: D&D 3rd Edition: The Forge of Fury

Yngwie Malmsteen: Trilogy

It’s been a while since I’ve done an album cover post, but the DCC RPG Rocks! group on Facebook has a post linking to an article about “The 50 most hilariously ugly rock and metal album covers ever”.  One of these is the cover for Yngwie Malmsteen’s album, Trilogy. There are, fittingly, three elements on the cover to stat up: the three-head dragon, the guitar, and the doomed hero. I am not certain whether or not the guitar is shooting flames, or merely acting as a shield against the dragon’s fiery breath. We will take these elements one at a time.

Polydor (Large three-headed dragon): Init +15; Atk Claw +16 melee (1d8 plus snatch), bite +16 melee (1d12), or tail slap +16 melee (1d20); AC 25; HD 15d12; hp 90 (30 hp per head); MV 60’ or fly 120’; Act 6d20 plus 1d20 (spells); SP see below; SV Fort +15, Ref +15, Will +15; AL C; Crit DR/2d16.

Breath Weapon: Line of fire 10’ wide and 3d6 x 10 long, 3/day, damage equal to Polydor’s current hp, Reflex save DC 25 for half.

Spells: 1d20+4 for spell check: Color spray.

Hypnotic Stare: Polydor can hypnotize targets with its gaze using an action die (Will DC 25 or stand stupefied as long as the dragon holds its gaze).

Snatch: On a successful claw attack, Polydor snatches a target, which takes 1d6 crushing damage each round thereafter. Polydor can fly with a snatched creature, and drop it from any height (1d6 per 10’ falling damage), but cannot attack with a claw used in the snatch attack. Snatched creatures can attempt to escape with a DC 25 Strength check.

Dive Bomb Attack: When fighting from the air, Polydor’s first round of claw and bite attacks receive an additional +4 attack bonus and +d8 damage.

Three-Headed: Polydor’s three heads can fight independently, and have their own hit point totals, as does a hydra. As a result, Polydor has three action dice for bite attacks.

Gust of Wind: Polydor can use her wings once per day to generate a powerful hurricane-strength wind, blowing in a single direction in cone shape up to 100’ wide at termination. Creatures must succeed in a DC 25 Strength check or be blown backward 150’, taking 15d4 damage.

The Instrument of Malmsteen: This artifact has taken many appearances throughout its long existence, and can manifest as a musical instrument of any type. It has the ability to rebound any one attack or spell on the attacker (or caster) once per round with a successful DC 10 Personality check. The Instrument of Malmsteen is indestructible, and can be used as a +1 weapon doing 1d7+1 damage whatever form it takes.

The Instrument of Malmsteen can only bond with one user at a time, and it takes 1 week of practice with it as a musical device, plus a successful DC 15 Personality check to bond with the Instrument. Once a user has bonded, if the owner allows another to bond with the Instrument, it will never again bond with them. However, once bonded, the owner can choose to gain warrior or wizard levels each time they reach the next XP requirement to level up (see Big Damn Heroes), essentially becoming a bard. The owner could have any class prior to bonding (including a race-class), thus allowing the owner to have three classes. Class levels gained in this way are not lost if the bond is broken, but the former owner can thereafter only progress in their original class. Manifestations of spells gained while bonded with the Instrument of Malmsteen always have a musical component.

The Doomed Hero (Thief 2, Warrior 1, Wizard 3): Init +2; Atk Instrument of Malmsteen +1d3+1 melee (1d7+1d3+1); AC 11; HD 2d6 + 1d12 + 3d4; hp 31; MV 30’; SP thief skills, 1d3 Deed Die, 1d4 Luck Die (12 Luck), spells; SV Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +3; AL L; Crit III/1d12.

Languages: Common, Thieves' Cant, Chaos, Eagle.

Thief Skills: Backstab +1, Sneak Silently +6, Hide In Shadows +4, Pick Pocket +6, Climb Sheer Surfaces +6, Pick Lock +4, Find Trap +4, Disable Trap +4, Forge Document +6, Disguise Self +0, Read Languages +2, Handle Poison +0, Cast Spell From Scroll (1d12+1 or as wizard)

Spells (+4 to Spell Check): Animal summoning, cantrip, chill touch, flaming hands, magic missile, mending, and forget.

The Doomed Hero bears the Instrument of Malmsteen and has a +1 bonus to Personality checks.

You can listen to the full album here.

Sunday 7 May 2023

Conversion Crawl Classes 9: AD&D: White Plume Mountain (3): Whelm, Wave, and Blackrazor

We’ve talked about the wilderness map, and we’ve talked about the adventure, but what people really remember about this module (apart from Dragotha) are the three magical weapons, Whelm, Wave, and especially Blackrazor. In Dungeon Crawl Classics, we are advised that every magic weapon is unique, so these three will fit right in. Or they will as soon as we convert them!

I think it might be a little advantageous to talk about why I am doing this series of posts. I own a lot of gaming material. I imagine many of you do as well, One of the questions I see come up consistently is "How do I convert X to Dungeon Crawl Classics?" It makes sense. DCC is a great game, but there have also be a lot of great adventures over the decades, both for various forms of Dungeons & Dragons and for other systems.

These posts are not intended to be me converting this material for you. Rather, they are intended to provide some reference points which allow you to convert anything you wish  as quickly and painlessly as possible.

There is also the possibility that you might be a publisher or writer looking at converting your own material. If this helps, at all, in creating a better conversion, then I will be rewarded by the result. Similarly, if a publisher does a substandard conversion, this material may help you, the reader, adjust that conversion to make the most out of the material presented.


Whelm is described in White Plume Mountain thusly:

Whelm, a lawful neutral hammer +3 (+5 for dwarves), intelligence 15, ego 18. Purpose: kill all trolls, giants and goblin-types (including bugbears and hobgoblins). It can be thrown and will return from up to 150' thrice per day (dwarves only). It also acts as a hammer of stunning: once per day, when struck upon the ground, it will send forth a shock wave stunning up to 45 hit points of enemies up to a distance of 60' for 1-4 rounds if they fail to save vs. spells. Whelm also detects gold, gems, and the presence of goblins. A drawback is that the bearer of this weapon will come under the influence of a severe case of agoraphobia (fear of wide, open places), and will fight at -2 when not inside a building, at night, or (best of all) underground. Whelm is obviously a dwarven weapon.

As we discussed in the previous post, Lawful Neutral translates to Lawful, Neutral translates to Neutral, and Chaotic Neutral translates to Chaotic. We can safely conclude that Whelm will be Lawful, and we conveniently have one weapon tied to each of the DCC alignments. That dwarves favor Law, and Whelm is a dwarven weapon, fits very nicely.

Overall, Whelm is not too powerful, but some of the hammer’s powers need to be reworked to mesh with DCC.

Whelm, +3 Lawful warhammer

Intelligence: 15

Communication: The original write-up doesn’t supply us with much information here, but Table 8-4 on page 367 of the core rulebook would suggest speech, telepathy, or both. In this case, I will go with  speech and telepathy to make Whelm consistent with Wave and Blackrazor.

Special Purpose: Kill trolls, giants, and goblinoids

Power 1: When wielded by a dwarf, Whelm gains an additional +2 to attack rolls and damage, and can be thrown up to 150’, returning to the dwarf’s hand immediately thereafter.

Power 2: Once per day, the wielder can strike the ground, sending out a shock wave that stuns all enemies within 60’, rendering them unable to for 1d4 rounds. Fort DC 15 negates.

Power 3: The wielder can smell gold and gems as a dwarf. The wielder also gains the ability to sense goblinoid creatures within 100’.

Curse: Wielder suffers severe agoraphobia, and has a -1d penalty to all attack rolls, spell checks, and skill checks when outside during daylight hours. This curse is not in effect when inside a building, at night, or (best of all) underground.


Wave, a neutral trident +3 which does 1-10 hit points of damage. 14 intelligence, 20 ego. Purpose: death or disfigurement to all who won't convert to the worship of Poseidon (or any similar sea-god you choose). Powers:

Functions as a trident of fish commanding (as the miscellaneous magic item in DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE)

Functions as a trident of warning (as the miscellaneous magic item in Dungeon Masters Guide)

Finds water

Confers water-breathing and underwater action abilities upon bearer

Confers cube of force ability (as the miscellaneous magic item in Dungeon Masters Guide)

Possesses speech and telepathy (in the common tongue as well as the languages of all sea creatures).

Dehydrates: On a natural roll of 20, in addition to its normal damage, Wave dehydrates its opponent, draining one-half of his or her remaining hit points (compute normal damage first).

This one is a bit stranger in that its cube of force power seems a bit off-theme. Nonetheless, it is easily enough converted to DCC terms. In this case, we also need to keep in mind the DCC magic system, and we will allow a spell check for force manipulation. Pelagia is the core neutral sea goddess, so we will replace Poseidon with her. Wave might look like this in DCC terms:

Wave, +3 Lawful trident (as polearm)

Intelligence: 14

Communication: Speech and telepathy (Common and languages of all sea creatures).

Special Purpose: Kill or disfigure all those refusing to convert to the worship of Pelagia.

Power 1: Wielder can breathe water indefinitely, and being in water causes no penalty to movement, attacks, spell checks, etc.

Power 2: Wielder can sense large amounts of water (at least 10 gallons) within 500’.

Power 3: Wielder cannot be surprised while holding the trident.

Power 4: Wielder can telepathically control up to 2d6 + level HD of fish or other marine creatures for 1d3 turns 3 times each day.

Power 5: Wielder can cast force manipulation through the trident using 1d20+4 for the spell check.

Power 6: When scoring a critical hit, in addition to all other effects (and after normal damage plus critical effects are resolved), Wave dehydrates its target to half its remaining hit points, rounded down.

Importantly, I did not crack open the Dungeon Master’s Guide to determine how to convert these powers. Instead, I used the existing text from White Plume Mountain to extrapolate a conversion that both captured a sense of the original, and was DCC-ified. This is going to be more important as we look at more esoteric conversions – you do not need the core rules for Traveller, MERP, or Twilight 2000 to convert an adventure. You need to understand the gist of what you are reading, and you need to understand DCC. Or even what you want to do in DCC.


Blackrazor, a chaotic neutral sword +3, intelligence 17, ego 16. Purpose: to suck souls. It is a black sword that shines like a piece of night sky filled with stars, and it is sheathed in a black scabbard decorated with pieces of cut obsidian. On a killing stroke, Blackrazor temporarily adds the number of levels of the dead foe to its bearer's levels (in terms of fighting ability). The bearer also temporarily gains the full hit points of the victim. All subsequent damage to the sword's wielder is removed from the added hit points first. The extra levels and hit points last a number of turns equal to the number of levels received. The souls of all entities killed by Blackrazor are sucked out and devoured; those killed by the black sword cannot be raised.

For every three days the sword remains “unfed”, its ego increases by one point, until it can compel its bearer to kill a human or humanoid being. Upon feeding, its ego returns to 16. The DM will note that Blackrazor is a negative-energy entity that exists by absorbing positive life energy levels from those it kills. However, if it even strikes a negative-energy being like an undead (except for ghouls and ghosts), it will work in reverse, transferring one level and corresponding hit points from the wielder to the creature attacked. lt will do this each time that it strikes. Under these conditions, the wielder can actually die and have his soul sucked out by his own sword. If the wielder survives, he will need a restoration spell or twice the usual number of levels received from positive “kills” to replace the lost levels. Those killed for replacement must be of the same race as the sword-wielder. Blackrazor (and you, the DM) may very well keep this little drawback a secret until the first time the sword bites into a wight or a vampire. The DM must remember that Blackrazor exists solely to feel power and souls coursing through itself, and sometimes it may not be too picky about where the energy is coming from.

In addition to the above, the sword has the following powers:

Speech and telepathy (common and whatever tongues its wielder knows, which it learns telepathically)

Detects living creatures (souls), 60' r.

Haste spell (bearer only, 10 rounds}, once per day

100% magic resistance to charm and fear (exact percentage chance of resistance will depend on the level of the opponent casting such a spell)

Blackrazor, +3 Chaotic longsword

Intelligence: 17

Communication: Speech and telepathy.

Special Purpose: Consume souls.

Power 1: Suck Souls: When a living opponent is slain by Blackrazor, the sword consumes that beings soul, adding the victim’s hit points to its wielder equal for 1d3 turns. During this time, any damage to the wielder is removed from the temporary hit points first. The souls of all entities killed by Blackrazor are devoured and forever gone; those killed by the black sword cannot be returned to life by any means. A creature reduced to 0 hp by this ability cannot be magically healed, and cannot be saved by recovering the body.

Power 2: The sword senses all living beings, including those which are hidden or invisible, within 60’, and can communicate their presence to its wielder.

Power 3: The wielder gains a +6 bonus to all mind-affecting spells and effects, except those caused by Blackrazor itself (see below).

Curse 1: If Blackrazor is not fed for three days, it will force its wielder to make a Will save or be dominated. If the save is failed, Blackrazor takes over the dominated wielder completely for 2d6 rounds, and it attempts to consume as many souls as possible during this time. The initial DC is 20, but this raises by +1 for each day that the sword has not consumed a soul, and the sword can attempt to dominate its wielder once every 1d3 days after the initial three-day period.

Curse 2: Whenever Blackrazor strikes an un-dead foe, it consumes part of its wielder’s soul and transfers it as energy to the target. The wielder suffers 1 HD damage (1d12 for a warrior, 1d6 for a thief, and so on), and the target gains the same number of hit points. If the wielder is reduced to 0 hp in this manner, their soul is devoured and they are forever dead with no chance of recovery.

The reader will note that I have toned down Blackrazor a bit, but not much. Adding a level of fighting ability in DCC is not only overkill, but it is a logistical nightmare…especially as DCC tops out at 10 levels. Even adding a +1 bonus per X HD killed would be a bit much, and what would this mean for a warrior or a dwarf? Does their Deed Die increase? I frankly decided that trying to answer these questions wasn’t worth the gain. Or, for that matter, the increased complexity that I would be handing the prospective judge using this material.

Next: AD&D 2nd Edition: Swamplight