The Hurt Locker: Totem Blade

To help push (and celebrate!) the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Games Magic Items 2 kickstarter I’m going to release 1 new or converted magic item per day until the kickstarter closes. Here is the fifth and final one: yet another artifact from my Aersalus campaign setting.

Totem Blade

Power Item: 20 FP

Suggested Origins: Magical, Materials, or Spirit.

Totem Blades are often gifts directly from the spirit of the associated animal, but can be made using ancient techniques dating back thousands of years. The blade itself appears to be made from animal bone, skin, hide, etc., but is as sharp and durable as metal and balanced perfectly (and capable of affecting spirits!). Carved in primitive runes and glyphs are tribalistic markings of the animal the blade is sealed to. Whenever any of its powers are invoked, these glyphs glow (any color is possible, but blue is typical).

Bearers of Totem Blades are highly in tune with their perspective animal and capable of casting spells related to them through the blade even if they were normally incapable of spellcasting. Moreover, bearing a blade gives access to certain abilities associated with the totem animal.


• Affect Insubstantial: The blade does its usual damage to insubstantial targets or beings.
• Animal Bond: The Totem Blade is tied to the primordial essence of the animal it embodies. This gives the bearer a +4 on all rolls pertaining to it (e.g., Animal Handling or Beast-Soother), the benefits of Animal Empathy, allows the bearer to ignore the -5 to rolls for non-domesticated animals, and allows the caster to speak with them as if he had Speak with Animals (p. B00). Those who have Animal Empathy gain a further +2 on rolls pertaining to their totem animal.
• Blade Quality: Treat a Totem Blade as a very fine balanced long knife for all purposes (+1 to skill, +2 to damage, and -2 to breakage). The owner can wield it offensively and defensively like any other blade of that size. The blade is always made of bone, teeth, or other natural materials, but has the hardness and edge of a steel weapon.
• Spellcasting: The following spells can be cast at skill 20: (Animal) Control (for totem animal), Beast-Soother, Beast-Rouser, Beast Summoning, Master, Protect Animal, and Shapeshifting (totem animal). FP to fuel these spells can come from the blade if it has been designated as a power item (which it can be even if the bearer could not normally have a power item; treat it as a druidic item in this case).
• Totem Power: Each blade has three additional abilities: one that’s always on, one that must be invoked to be used, and another that is either always on or invokable. Invoked abilities require a certain number of FP (which can come from the blade if it’s been designated as a power item) to work and a Ready maneuver. Passive abilities require the blade be held, worn, or otherwise within one foot of the bearer. Each power varies depending on the animal whose essence the blade contains. An example might be:

Wolf: Increase the bearer’s Basic Move by one and add the Team Player (Power-Ups, p. 11) power-up while in possession of the blade; if the bearer already has the Team Player power-up the effects stack! Once per game session, by spending 2 FP, the bearer can increase his Basic Speed by one and add 1d levels of Striking ST for the next hour.

Different animals might provide different abilities. In all such cases, passive abilities shouldn’t be worth more than 10 points, while invokable abilities shouldn’t be worth more than 40-45 points

Weight: 1.5 lbs.


Totem Swords, Totem Axes, and so on are all possible variations. As long as it’s a weapon, Totem Blades might take any shape! The GM may decide the listed benefits are not enough or decide there are “lesser” and “greater” blades. In such cases, increasing the traits granted by Totem Power is probably the easiest – doubling or tripling passive abilities wouldn’t break anything. Increasing uses of invokable totem powers to two or three times per session also wouldn’t break anything.

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