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D&D 5E Is This Legendary Sword Overpowered?

pontinyc

Explorer
I'd like to give the 9th level Vengeance paladin in my party a legendary sword that uses the Devour the Weak strength-stealing mechanic of Craven Edge, a homebrew item given to a player in Critical Role.

Craven Edge

It will be a +1 weapon for now.

However, as this is a good-aligned sentient weapon, I don't want the save-or-die mechanic of the curse involved. Does the item seem overpowered for a level 9 paladin who doesn't have a single magic weapon in his possession (but still hits like a mack truck when he smites)? The PC's current STR is 20. What if I lower the Strength cap from 25 to 22? Do I still add the extra 2d6 damage if it reaches the 22/25 STR cap? Does it need to be balanced by some sort of side effect?

If you think it does, can anyone think of any unusual/fun side effects that might balance out the strength of the weapon without putting off the player from using it? I'm thinking of things like "upon a missed attack in which the attacker's roll misses by five or more, the wielder is teleported thirty feet in a random direction" (however, it's late at night as I write this and that's lame. . . looking for more creative ideas). The blade's personality is rather distant but understanding of its role as an "efficient tool for retribution", if that helps. Sort of like Hal 9000 with a thirst for vengeance.

Many thanks for any input and let me know if more info is needed!
 

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Stalker0

Legend
So consider that a "standard" legendary weapon is +3. So at a +1 magic base, until you consume 4 points of strength you are not even breaking even with the standard sword stats... at least for attack and damage. And then the 2d6 extra damage is well within the mark for various bane type weapons, which are in the rare to very rare category. So no I don't think it is OP for a legendary weapon.

That said, the mechanics of stat stealing don't mesh well with 5e. Might I suggest an alteration that will make the weapon significantly easier for both the player and you to track.



On a critical hit, the target must make a DC 16 constitution saving throw (since crits are less often we are increasing the DC). On a success, you gain advantage on all strength checks, strength saving throws, and attacks made using strength. The opponent gains disadvantage on the same rolls. These benefits and penalties last until your next rest.

Every 5th time this occurs, the sword grows larger and more beautiful. In addition to the normal effect, the sword deals +2d6 radiant damage until your next rest.
 

pontinyc

Explorer
Genius. Elegant, simple, and in keeping with the 5e mechanics. Many thanks for the input, Stalker0, very much appreciated.

Just a couple of questions. . . is advantage on all melee attacks for this PC for a maybe two full combats too much, do you think?

Also, the chances of 5 crits between two short rests seems low enough that the +2d6 radiant damage would almost never activate (especially as I usually run a low number of combats per session). Any harm in lowering that criteria number to two, in your opinion?

Many thanks again, Stalker0, and I'd be grateful for any additional input from the community!
 

ccs

41st lv DM
I think that whether or not something is over powered depends a lot on the campaign it'll be used in.
And even if something is over powered, there's another important question that must be answered:
Will it add to the fun? (Both player & DM fun need to be considered here.)

So you're the DM, what do YOU think?
Is this something your campaign can handle?
Is this something that will increase the fun?
 

Stalker0

Legend
Genius. Elegant, simple, and in keeping with the 5e mechanics. Many thanks for the input, Stalker0, very much appreciated.

Just a couple of questions. . . is advantage on all melee attacks for this PC for a maybe two full combats too much, do you think?

Also, the chances of 5 crits between two short rests seems low enough that the +2d6 radiant damage would almost never activate (especially as I usually run a low number of combats per session). Any harm in lowering that criteria number to two, in your opinion?

Many thanks again, Stalker0, and I'd be grateful for any additional input from the community!
My assumption was that the 5 times mechanic did not reset on a rest, you tracked that until it occurred.
 

pontinyc

Explorer
Thanks for the clarification, Stalker0. So you track the crits until the bonus dmg occurs, then it lasts until the next short rest at which point the cycle begins again.

All good questions, ccs. In terms of fun, I think this would be a blast and that the PC would love it. That said, regarding balance I'm honestly not sure. I'm coming back to dm-ing after being away for decades and am finding that the pc's are barreling through a good deal of my content, even when I throw encounters at them that are 5-6 CR levels higher than the party. But that's something I just need to keep tweaking and the fun factor for this particular PC will be mighty high so it definitely seems worth it.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I'm coming back to dm-ing after being away for decades and am finding that the pc's are barreling through a good deal of my content, even when I throw encounters at them that are 5-6 CR levels higher than the party. But that's something I just need to keep tweaking and the fun factor for this particular PC will be mighty high so it definitely seems worth it.

For a 9th level party that is competent, honestly this is par for the course (I think you also mentioned you throw less encounters per day than average which increases the issue). My party also smashes encounters way above their paygrade (at one point my 11th level party took a CR 30 encounter with no casualties.....30!).

5e CRs seem to assume very newish players who have little understanding of tactics, so for a veteran group most CRs are just not great. Aka you aren't dming wrong, many of us have the same exact problem.....it is in fact my greatest issue with the system as a whole.
 

Thanks for the clarification, Stalker0. So you track the crits until the bonus dmg occurs, then it lasts until the next short rest at which point the cycle begins again.

All good questions, ccs. In terms of fun, I think this would be a blast and that the PC would love it. That said, regarding balance I'm honestly not sure. I'm coming back to dm-ing after being away for decades and am finding that the pc's are barreling through a good deal of my content, even when I throw encounters at them that are 5-6 CR levels higher than the party. But that's something I just need to keep tweaking and the fun factor for this particular PC will be mighty high so it definitely seems worth it.

In 5e you need to be mindful of short and long rest frequencies and thr number of encounters between rests.

The game is largely balanced around 6 or so encounters between long rests, with a short rest every 2 encounters or so.

Start there and everything else will fall into place.
 

TheSword

Legend
Supporter
Not sure it is elegant. It requires rolling a Con save for every hit (could be several per round) and requires tracking a varying resource (additional Str) that only lasts a relatively short time. Also involves the DM tracking the debuff on the foe. It seems pretty complicated - not that complexity is a vice.
 

As a legendary weapon with sentience I'd say yes. Per definition it should be.
Is it way overpowered?
This time no, probably not. I like the strength drain mechanic. It has a precendence in the shadow strength drain.
Instead of killing the attuned person after a short rest you could instead devour the strength of the attuned person. Maybe just drain it by 2d4 until the next long rest. By fighting again, you can go back up too.
 

On a successful critical hit with this weapon you have advantage on Str checks and saving throws, and attack rolls based on Strength for X (minutes? Hours?)
 

pontinyc

Explorer
In 5e you need to be mindful of short and long rest frequencies and thr number of encounters between rests.

The game is largely balanced around 6 or so encounters between long rests, with a short rest every 2 encounters or so.

Start there and everything else will fall into place.
This is great point, Flamestrike. Unfortunately my group and I can only play for a max of three hours, usually two, a week. This can make it tough to get enough encounters in to tax their resources so I wind up bumping the CR on the few encounters they do have. Not working great so far, admittedly.
 


the Jester

Legend
The two things I will comment on are the save DCs and the instant death mechanic.

First, save DCs for items are typically set by the item's rarity, with legendary items having a save DC of 19. If you deviated from this on purpose, cool; but if not, be aware that that is the default.

Second, the possible instant death thing- I do not like that. This is a matter of personal taste, but I'd change this to some kind of long term effect that gradually gets worse each time it would have come up- perhaps a lowering of maximum hps, maybe a drain of HD, whatever- that can't be recovered from until the wielder breaks attunement and receives a remove curse, with a further note that re-attuning will immediately institute some kind of whammy on the creature.
 

the Jester

Legend
This is great point, Flamestrike. Unfortunately my group and I can only play for a max of three hours, usually two, a week. This can make it tough to get enough encounters in to tax their resources so I wind up bumping the CR on the few encounters they do have. Not working great so far, admittedly.
There's no reason one game day can't take place over multiple sessions.
 

pontinyc

Explorer
There's no reason one game day can't take place over multiple sessions.
Excellent point. A bit off-topic for the thread but any suggestions on how to discourage shorts rests outside of having random encounters interrupt them? I think that's another issue. . . I'm letting them rest too often.
 

Excellent point. A bit off-topic for the thread but any suggestions on how to discourage shorts rests outside of having random encounters interrupt them? I think that's another issue. . . I'm letting them rest too often.

You shouldn't discourage them. Probably you should look into the alternate rest rules and use one that fits your game better.
I use a custom vatiant, but overall 1 night short rests and 1 week long rest is helpful in a game, where encounters are rare.
I do like to combine this variant with the healing surge variant. In this variant short rests heal 1/4 of your hit dice and as an action you can spend up to half your hit dice for healing.
 

This is great point, Flamestrike. Unfortunately my group and I can only play for a max of three hours, usually two, a week. This can make it tough to get enough encounters in to tax their resources so I wind up bumping the CR on the few encounters they do have. Not working great so far, admittedly.

Dude, what's your session length got to do with it?

They don't come in to each session fully rested mate.

At the end of each session, grant them short rest only. For thr first session each month grant them a long rest (if you must link resting and resource recovery to sessions ending).

Otherwise, at the end of each session record spell slots, HD and HP etc used. Get them to hand over character sheets if you have to
 

the Jester

Legend
Excellent point. A bit off-topic for the thread but any suggestions on how to discourage shorts rests outside of having random encounters interrupt them? I think that's another issue. . . I'm letting them rest too often.
Time is passing. Maybe that means nothing and they're free to rest. But maybe it means that the one pc who got bit by a vargouille is that much closer to dying, or they are likely to have another random encounter or five (unless they find a safe place to hole up!), or the guy they are trying to rescue is gonna get tortured or killed, or their rivals are that much closer to finding the hooptie both groups are after, or the water will be that much closer to rising and filling the dungeon, or the merchant who wants to hire them is going to have to leave town without them, or......
 

Excellent point. A bit off-topic for the thread but any suggestions on how to discourage shorts rests outside of having random encounters interrupt them? I think that's another issue. . . I'm letting them rest too often.

Doom clocks. Have them on a timer for the quest at hand

'Stop the Cultists from completing the ritual by midnight or else the captured townsfolk are sacrificed, a Demon is summoned, and you don't get paid'

You can also simply switch to the 'Gritty realism' rest variant. It makes Short rests an overnight affair, and Long rests take an entire Week.

There are plenty of options (mechanical, story etc) for you to use to police the Adventuring day.

You dont have to hit the [6 encounter/ 2 short rest] adventuring day every single adventuring day. Just aim for that as a median (with some days shorter, and some days longer)

'
 

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