Dwarven Magic Items for High-Level Campaigns

Copyright Phillip A. Ellis © 2009

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"In short, the items should be earned not the reward of a random encounter"

The following magic items are rare, usually only owned by mighty Dwarven holy warriors and their heirs. Each set of complete items is given to a mighty Dwarven paladin, in recognition of his prowess and his courage and valour in battle. Only the mightiest Dwarves are ever given a set, and fewer than a dozen sets are rumoured to have been bestowed in the last century.

Normally, only the mightiest of Dwarven paladins receive these items when embarking on a crusade against the Orcish tribes. As a result, there has come to be an association between the items and the Orcs, such that all of the items' special abilities apply against Orcs. Thus the ancient enmity between Orcs and Dwarves is preserved, and, ironically enough, the Orcs in turn lust after these items as items to be captured and, if possible, destroyed.

Normally, there are four items in a complete set: a suit of chainmail, a full shield, a handaxe, and a helmet. However, if scattered, or captured by others, the items are usually split up, so that at most one or (at best) two items will be found.

These items may be introduced into a campaign in a number of ways. They may be the reward given to a high-level Dwarven paladin. Or they may be the subject of a mission to rescue the items from enemies. They may even be handed down by a family member who, dying, sets tasks so that the intended recipient can prove their valour. Whatever way that you intend to introduce these items, please remember that, as high-powered items, they may prove unbalancing to the game, so, if they do appear in your campaign, they should do so sparingly.

The character(s) who receive these items should earn them, preferably after a long and arduous campaign against the Orcish races, on the Dwarves' behalf. Even if the items are found, they should be found after a long and difficult adventure, and handed out piecemeal. Furthermore, the players should make the effort of locating said items, rather than coming upon the relevant information or items by accident. In short, the items should be earned—not the reward of a random encounter.

Of course, one likely danger is that the new owner's fame will be bruited abroad. Over time, the owner will find the greatest and strongest of Orcs and their evil allies turning their attentions to the new owner. This, perhaps, could become more than enough to bring woe to the character involved.

The Warrior's Defense

This is a full set of chainmail, lovingly crafted from white alloy, and enchanted to a +25 bonus versus attacks from Orcs. It has also been cunningly made, and subject to mighty dweomers that cause it to encumber far less than unenchanted equivalents, so that, when worn by mighty warriors, it seems that they wear no armor whatsoever.

In addition, once a day, the wearer may walk along any stone surface up to 60 degrees as if it were level ground, for a maximum of five minutes.

AT 16 (+15 DB/+25 DB vs attacks by Orcs)

Min move penalty = 0 Max move penalty = -41

1/day walk on stone surfaces up to 60 degrees as if level stone, for 5 minutes

The Bane of Orcs

The Bane of Orcs is a full shield carefully crafted out of white alloy. Stretched upon the outer edge, though, is the skinned face of a mighty and much-feared Orcish warrior that has been crafted to strike fear in the heart of Orcish attackers facing the shield's wielder.

Base total DB bonus = +25 DB Bonus versus Orcs = +40

The Bringer of Death

The bringer of death is a handaxe that has been enchanted to slay all Orcs. It is also covered in runes that glow red when within 100 feet of Orcs. Also, at the end of a round that it is thrown, the Bringer of Death will return to the thrower's hand using Long Door I.

+15 handaxe, +25 versus all Orcs

Detects Orcs within 100 feet

Throwing ranges: 1'-25': -15; 26'-50': -30; 51'-75': -45

The Face of Stone

This visored helm is both extremely light and extremely imposing, the visor having been fashioned into the grim and fearsome visage of a scowling Dwarf warrior. Whilst worn, it reduces all criticals to the head and neck by four levels.

In addition, the mask acts as a Word of Fear spell to all Orcs when they first see it.

+15 DB, +25 DB vs Orcs