Random Encounters07/15/2002

"Shopping, darling ..." - Magic Weapons

Buying magic items in a large city is something every player character wants to do at one point or another. It's exciting when, after the party's first big take, the PCs can walk tall into town and demand the most expensive and exotic items.

Not all campaign settings have stores with magic items for sale, but if yours does, then these random encounters might add a little spice to an otherwise mundane experience.

Honest Goods

There are always plenty of weapons to choose from when you want to put the hurt on monsters and beasts. Sometimes, the trick becomes finding something that won't kill you.

Mr. Jeremiah Puck, an old halfling who is never seen out of doors without wearing the finest clothes with shining jeweled accessories, owns and operates Honest Goods, a store that specializes in magic items. The store isn't known for stocking anything in particular -- which is its appeal. One can never know what one will find inside and it's different one day to the next. Puck has been known to stock anything from mundane prestidigitation items to expensive, rare objects that aren't far from being called artifacts. Regardless of what's available, chances are that by the end of the day any one item will be either sold or Puck will have moved it out of inventory to make room for something exotic.

One day, Puck received a package from a trader he hadn't dealt with in decades. The bundle he received was wrapped in an ornate rug that had real gold woven into it in places. Inside the bundle were five weapons: two longswords, a trident, a dwarven waraxe, and a light flail. There was also a note attached, that read in part:

"Thanks for getting me out of that jam years back. These are magical and they are now yours in return."

It was signed Cliodhna. Puck didn't remember getting her out of a jam, but he wasn't about to overlook free merchandise. He unwrapped the weapons carefully and inspected each one. They were indeed magical. He didn't have time to analyze them properly, so he put them immediately on their appropriate racks. He priced them at 1,500 gp each and put a tag on each of them:

"Magic properties unknown."

Puck is willing to take the risk of selling something terribly powerful for such a low price. If Cliodhna really was giving him something, it surely wouldn't be all that valuable. Additional details of Puck's history with Cliodhna can be filled in by the DM.

The magical effect on the weapons is not a curse. In fact, it's a benefit: The weapons animate and attack anyone who touches them who is not also their owner. All the weapons act together and attack any individual who touches any one of them. While this can be a feature to protect weapons from being stolen, it's horrible if you're a store owner trying to sell them. The weapons recognize Puck as their owner, so they did not react when he received them. However, as soon as they are put on the rack, it is only a matter of time before someone other than Puck picks one up to inspect it….

Killer Weapons* (5): CR 2; Medium-size construct; HD 2d10; hp 11; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14; Atk +2 melee (1d6+1, slam); SQ construct traits, hardness 10; AL N; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will -5; Str 12, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 1, Cha 1.

Construct Traits: A killer weapon is immune to mind-influencing effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), and to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. It cannot heal damage, but it is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. It is not at risk of death from massive damage but is destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points or less. A killer weapon cannot be raised or resurrected. It has darkvision 60 ft.

* Please check out the Book of Challenges for an alternate way to set up animated weapons!


The light flail takes advantage of its superior disarming abilities (see the description for the light flail in the Player's Handbook, page 100) and tries to disarm anyone it attacks, leaving the defenseless person for the other weapons to take care of.

Bring the Parts Together

Although Random Encounters are usually strange events that happen for no reason, some DMs may wish to tie these four parts together into a simple plot that could lead to further adventures. Future parts of this Random Encounter will contain brief notes on how to tie them all together.

Coming in Part 2 of "Shopping, darling . . ."

Magic weapon stores aren't the only dangerous place in town. . . .

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About the Author

Eric Haddock is a technical writer living in Renton, Washington, with his wife, Julia Martin, and Oracle and Ororo, their two cats. Eric runs Abashima Press, which is an imprint for himself and fellow authors in the Seattle gaming community. Eric is a former assistant editor of DragonMagazine and a game content writer for Xbox and PC games for Microsoft. In his spare time, he wallows in his addiction to Civilization III and takes care to shop online and avoid any unnecessary incidents at the store. . . .

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