Fateful Encounter: A Fistful of Swords

Maxwell stopped giving his older sister that look, and pulled open the lid, before standing there gobsmacked by the contents. Inside, in a velvet-lined case, was a katana snug in its red scabbard.


“A Miyamoto brand X-B917 Execution Blade, just like you’ve pined after these past three years.”

He looked up at her, welling back tears. “But…”

“How did I get one when the factory’s been closed since the late 80s? One of them turned up in the op-shop, and you know Mr Welsh has an eye for quality. It’s been set aside for you for months.”

~Heaven Smiles, chapter 2

There isn’t a more quintessential and iconic weapon than the sword. From Elric’s Stormbringer to Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, swords have impregnated every genre in the hands of countless main characters. The Spellfire card game even had a specific card type, Magic Sword, because they were so numerous in Dungeons & Dragons lore.

It stands to reason that somebody in your party is going to get their hands on a sword at some point, even if you aren’t using the rules for weapon damage and armor. Every party has that guy who wants to be an exiled Elvan prince with a spell-singing sword.

I decided to try my hand at converting swords into Fate Core, as both aspect- and stunt-based Extras. Every weapon here has come from something I have worked directly upon, including my two books and countless roleplay sessions, but there are no double-ups. One of them hints at my next Fate conversion project, can you spot it?

Note: Each entry lists the amount of Refresh the weapon costs.

Caladbolg [1]

Aspect: Forged by Fairies
A weapon straight out of Celtic myths, this unassuming leaf-style blade was the real inspiration behind Excalibur via its Welsh name Caledfwlch. Legends speak of a blade that can slice the tops off hills and leaves rainbow arches in its wake, but this does not appear to be the same weapon. Instead, it is crafted by the enchantments of fairies, and has a hunger for the arcane magicks they so despise. It is unknown how it came to be wielded by Maxwell Turpentine, but it has become his signature weapon.

  • Short Sword: 1 Handed, Weapon:1
  • Spell Eater: You may use your Fighting skill instead of Athletics to defend against magical attacks of a physical nature, such as bolts of lightning or shimmering pillars of fire. On a successful defense Caladbolg has negated the spell by devouring it, and any secondary effects that would have been caused by the spell are prevented.

The Dawn Star [1]

Aspect: Always Travels True
A one-handed sword with ivory worked into the hilt, the powdered horn of a white unicorn was added to the iron ore used in its forging. This Fey taint gives the blade an unnatural power to always know the most direct path, whether that be to the doorstep of a long-lost love or through the cracks of an orc’s armor.

  • Short Sword: 1 Handed, Weapon:1.
  • Guide My Hands: You may set the Dawn Star down on the ground or other relatively flat surface and tell it a person, place, or object you wish to find. The blade will glow blue and point in that direction, like a lodestone towards the north. Doing so costs a point of Humanity.

The Drider’s Fang [1]

Aspect: Immaculate Cutting Treasure
For countless centuries the treasure of the cruel Spider Queen, this curved blade was ironically used by as assassin to take her life. Since then, it has led an even more sordid existence, until it has passed down to the hands of Drider ninja Spinobu. Impossibly sharp, it is said it can cut the moon out of the sky and remove people’s hearts without drawing blood.

  • Katana: 2 Handed, Weapon:2.
  • Iaijutsu: If the wielder’s first attack in a conflict with The Drider’s Fang is successful, can spend a Fate Point to force the opponent to take a physical consequence of the lowest available severity.

Flame Tongue [1]

Aspect: Perfectly Ordinary Long Sword
Forged in ages past by a powerful magician, this sword bears the ability to burst into flames on command. Many have since born it to great glories, or lost everything they loved to the uncaring flames.

  • Long Sword: 2 Handed, Weapon:2
  • Fire Release: May spend a Fate Point to say the activation phrase and set Flame Tongue’s blade alight, creating the aspect Flaming Sword Of Fire. May be used in overcome and advantage actions based on being on fire, such as cutting through wood or providing illumination. If sheathed, dropped, or dowsed in liquid the fire goes out.

Jow-Layûr, the Breaking Wave [2]

Aspect: The Singing Sword of Sem’yas
This legendary sword is said to contain a shard of Sem’yas, the water dragon patron of the sea elf clans. It resonates through the elemental realms of water and ice, and grants its wielder the power to commune with elemental spirits of said realms. It also likes to sing.

  • Elvan Sword: 1 handed, Weapon:1 OR 2 handed, Weapon:2.
  • Unbreakable: It cannot be damaged by mortal means.
  • Speaker of the Waters: You may spend a fate point to summon any nearby water elementals and communicate with them, provided you can justify water elementals being present. A waterfall or city fountain would make sense, however in the middle of a desert doesn’t.

I’ll blog again tomorrow, with some details of a fate setting I’m working on. It may be a fantasy, but it won’t be my final one.

Today’s Lesson: Swords are cool.