After finishing that "Knights in Orcus' Service" post and knocking around ideas for the other Chaos patrons in my setting, I realized I needed my own rules for demon weapons. Creating these items for my home game, I've been forced to cobble things together haphazardly. It's been rather annoying and nothing has felt quite right, so this is my attempt to streamline the rules for my home games - in whatever version of D&D I happen to be playing.
We will come back to it later.
The Metamorphica Revised - The 'Ficto-Technica' section has tables for magic items. The best table is the one on pg. 208, "Demon-Possessed Items":
This will come up later on.
AD&D DMG - Pages 166-168.
The standard to which all others are compared! Tables for personality and special goals are fantastic, but the whole system is pretty complicated and you have to flip back & forth. As usual, it could do with a bit of organizing.
I will be using the DMG as the baseline. From there I have attempted to streamline the mathematics and make things a little simpler while calibrating for my home setting.
Per the DMG - we begin with an existing magic item. It could be a standard book item or one of the DM's own devising. This system was originally for magic swords but could be applied to anything: other weapons, wands, rings, armour or whatever.
We begin with the base tables from the DMG to see if it has intelligence and a mode of communication, and determine starting EGO rating:
01-50: No intelligence. Stop here.
76-83: INT 12, EGO 1, semi-empathy
84-89: INT 13, EGO 2, empathy
90-94: INT 14, EGO 4, speech
95-97: INT 15, EGO 5, speech
98-99: INT 16, EGO 6, speech, read nonmagical languages/maps
00: INT 17, EGO 12, speech/telepathy, read magical writings
Or, if you are going to make an intelligent item anyway, use this chart expanded to the full percentage range to avoid a lot of rerolling:
01-31: INT 12, EGO 1, semi-empathy
32-56: INT 13, EGO 2, empathy
57-76: INT 14, EGO 3, speech
77-88: INT 15, EGO 4, speech
89-96: INT 16, EGO 5, speech, read nonmagical languages/maps
97-00: INT 17, EGO 11, speech/telepathy, read magical writings
If you use simple law/chaos alignment like I do, just ignore the good/evil component of the result.
Roll for abilities based on item's INT:
INT 12: 1 detection ability
INT 13-14: 2 detection abilities
INT 15-16: 3 detection abilities
INT 17: 3 detection abilities, 1 extraordinary power
Detection Ability (%)
01-08 - detect shifting rooms/walls/sloping passages 10'
55-66 - detect magic 10'
I rolled 03 - "detect shifting walls/rooms/sloping passages," and 71 - "detect secret doors." Not bad!
Every intelligent item should have a special purpose.
01-15: overthrow opposite alignment (or "maintain balance" if Neutral)
16-85: defeat or slay:
16-22: divine magic users (incl. divine entities, etc)
45-55: all non-human monsters
56-63: particular creature type (humanoids, undead, demons, etc)
64-71: particular race or kind of creature (elves, orcs, ghouls, etc)
72-78: servants of a specific deity
86-92: defend a particular race or kind of creature
It's assumed the item can understand its wielder in any case. This determines the number of languages the item can speak aloud, if it is able. Per the DMG:
# of languages (%)
71-85: Three (+1 EGO)
86-95: Four (+1 EGO)
96-99: Five (+2 EGO)
00: Six (+2 EGO)
What Language? (%)
1 - Begin with item's starting EGO score as per Step 1.
This is already getting long, and even more tables are coming up so let's quit while we're ahead. Rules for Demon Weapons coming up in the next installment!