D&D General need an idea for how to find a "celestial" weapon

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Hello everyone!
I was browsing the internet for "differences between gnomes and halflings", and I ended up on this forum. I've browsed it, read some threads, and decided to join!

Hoping I picked the right forum category, I'm writing this thread for a little advice on a customized D&D campaign I'm running.

In my campaign, infernal and celestial creatures are body-less energies, some of them not sentient and some of them very sentient but imperscrutable. Those who summon them in the Realms pretty much create a demonic, or celestial, possession. Demonic creature usually enter living beings like animals, and a particularly strong and smart demon can even enter a humanoid. Celestial creatures usually prefer to enter non-living things, like statues, paintings........ or wepons.

So, since my party is about to fight a summoned demon even though they don't know it's a summoned demon (all they see is a monstruous deformed rat)..... if they end up strolling in a particular corner of the map, I would like for them to see a will-o-wisp that's actually a simple little celestial being.
I'd like for the will-o-wisp to enter a sword, and we get a Fractal Sword (because celestial creatures = geometric and balanced fractals; demons = misshapen fleshy stuff), their very first magical weapon that's actually got a mute but "living" celestial in it.

.....Well, how do I make it happen? The will-o-wisp will want by its instinct to destroy the demon-possessed-rat and its posse of peasants turned into angry wererats who want to attack the rich and wealthy. So it may be looking for a "body" (the sword).


Added bonus, there's a friendly little old gnome witch that the party might be lucky enough to find. She's a seer and a summoner who's the one that spawned the will-o-wisp originally, and she probably knows someone has been summoning demons (it's actually the duchess of the city, although she thinks she can control that power as a weapon to defend the city - and herself).

I wonder how to go to the quest. A classic old abandoned temple were they find broken fragments of a sword?
 

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Dioltach

Legend
First, welcome to the boards!

Second, perhaps have the celestial follow them around until they confront the demon/rat. Then it tries to enter a sword, but the sword can't handle it and breaks (great fun if the players think they're going to win the fight, but the sword breaks on the first hit).

According to the friendly gnome witch, they'll need a sword forged from special material: "star stone", for instance. So either a quest for a legendary weapon that's buried with an ancient hero/heroine, or a search for a meteorite that's large enough to use.

As the party go up in level, the celestial could also gain XP so the sword gains added bonuses and/or powers (Protection from Evil, Light, Smite Evil, basically paladin stuff). Maybe you don't even tell your players when the celestial "levels up", just let them figure it out.
 

Sometimes a surprise can allow you some room to play with the story.

Years ago I played in a campaign where we were searching for the fabled Crook of Rao to rid the world of Fiends. The DM had a great backstory for the Crook that deviated from the original 2e module. The Crook was "lost" by the church of Rao in Veluna before the Greyhawk Wars. His backstory had the Crook stolen by cult assassins from the church. True evil couldn't wield the staff, and Fiends couldn't come near it. The cult assassins disappeared but were never heard of again. Fate claimed their lives before they could reach the Dark One. The Crook was at the bottom of a great crack in the earth. The entire area was teeming with Fiends but none could approach the staff. We didn't know all of this until we finally saw it. We thought we were sneaking into a cult temple but it was just an area that was smote by Rao years ago. The staff was encased in a Force Cage so we couldn't get to it. The Fiends waited until we approached the cage and then surrounded us, hoping we couldn't break the magic of the cage. We couldn't. We actually had to flee and come back later.

We thought the cult assassins made it back to their destination. A lot of skulking, spying, and detective work made it seem like this was the logical place for the fabled Crook, a dark fane deep in the earth. It was just a cursed hole in the ground. There "traps" were pitfalls, loose earth, avalanches, and the kind of things you'd find in the classic Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. The tunnels were more fitting for flyers than walkers. It was not a standard dungeon crawl. About 20 years later and I used that idea in my recent campaign and the players loved it. It's a fresh take on an old trope.

Perhaps this sword isn't just sitting on top of a tomb in an old temple. Maybe it's "sealing" something inside of the temple. When they remove the sword they release whatever is in there the sword was trapping and the sword cries out "NOOooooo!" They need the sword to defeat the summoned demon now, but they just released something much worse into the world, or maybe an army of demons is released and you have an Evil Dead situation.
 

Bright flashes in the sky as some unknown fiend and celestial battle it out high above the surface of the material plane. One especially bright flash, and two glowing dots fall to the surface. One lands near the party, and one seems to fall down about a mile away. The one near the party is the hilt of a magic (celestial) sword.
 


aco175

Legend
Unless you are forcing a story upon the players, I would stay away from the wisp just diving into the sword of a target PC. You should let the party choose which PC gets the item. This brings the cool idea of having the gnome tell a story about a magic place the binds spirits to weapons and- surprise it is just a day or two of travel to get there. Battle ensues with goblins or such that has taken over the abandoned temple. I really like the idea of a spirit holding back a bigger threat to the region and once the PCs take the spirit, the other threat can now break free from its prison. This is a bit of Keep on the Shadowfell adventure from 4e, but still cool to use. Heck, you could just use that map for the adventure.

You can also foreshadow a mean of trapping celestials to weapons for when the PCs are higher level and need a boost to their weapons. Of course, this brings into play a cult that seeks to free all 'enslaved' celestials, and they could be more good or more bad depending on your game and needs- heck, they could be both at the same time.
 

jgsugden

Legend
You have a lot of good story elements already. Connecting them can sometimes take a few beats, but I find that if you spend some time thinking about the situation, fun connection points in the story will occur to you.

To help the process along, I ask myself what other forces would be interested in the situation, the location where it happens, or the beings involved. I then expand out my circle of setting and NPCs (often in the direction of other established elements of the campaign) until I come to a solution that connects the dots. You want a weapon forged for the Will O'Wisp (you might want to look up Lantern Archons in older edition mythology - they might be a great fit here) to occupy. Is there a Blacksmith in the region? A tomb of a Fallen Hero? Could the weapon be the bone of a fallen critter with some Celestial tie? Those ideas all spawn a dozen potential pathways to your storyline to me. There are lots of ways to go that might tie together nicely.
 

Can't help but think of this...

Look, strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out
swords ... that's no basis for a system of government. Supreme
executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from
some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR
Be quiet!

DENNIS
You can't expect to wield supreme executive power
just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR
Shut up!

DENNIS
I mean, if I went around saying I was an Emperor because some
moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, people would
put me away!
 

I'd just put them in a Will-o-Wisp fight and have whatever weapon delivers a crit or a killing blow absorb the Will-o-Wisp, or if no appropriate melee weapon is used have it dive for the nearest one as its last gasp. It doesn't guarantee the specific magic weapon you are anticipating, but it makes the magic weapon a consequence of player action and hence more special.

I'd also make sure to have the next good arcane exposition opportunity reveal that this particular Will-o-Wisp must want to stay in this particular weapon and that they don't normally do that, or that it only worked because they happened to have fought that Wisp during a specific alignment of the stars that won't happen for another 4000 years, because otherwise I might get players wanting to go on more Wisp hunts for magic weapons. Or I might just let them go on more Wisp hunts for magic weapons.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Hello everyone!
I was browsing the internet for "differences between gnomes and halflings", and I ended up on this forum. I've browsed it, read some threads, and decided to join!

Hoping I picked the right forum category, I'm writing this thread for a little advice on a customized D&D campaign I'm running.

In my campaign, infernal and celestial creatures are body-less energies, some of them not sentient and some of them very sentient but imperscrutable. Those who summon them in the Realms pretty much create a demonic, or celestial, possession. Demonic creature usually enter living beings like animals, and a particularly strong and smart demon can even enter a humanoid. Celestial creatures usually prefer to enter non-living things, like statues, paintings........ or wepons.

So, since my party is about to fight a summoned demon even though they don't know it's a summoned demon (all they see is a monstruous deformed rat)..... if they end up strolling in a particular corner of the map, I would like for them to see a will-o-wisp that's actually a simple little celestial being.
I'd like for the will-o-wisp to enter a sword, and we get a Fractal Sword (because celestial creatures = geometric and balanced fractals; demons = misshapen fleshy stuff), their very first magical weapon that's actually got a mute but "living" celestial in it.

.....Well, how do I make it happen? The will-o-wisp will want by its instinct to destroy the demon-possessed-rat and its posse of peasants turned into angry wererats who want to attack the rich and wealthy. So it may be looking for a "body" (the sword).


Added bonus, there's a friendly little old gnome witch that the party might be lucky enough to find. She's a seer and a summoner who's the one that spawned the will-o-wisp originally, and she probably knows someone has been summoning demons (it's actually the duchess of the city, although she thinks she can control that power as a weapon to defend the city - and herself).

I wonder how to go to the quest. A classic old abandoned temple were they find broken fragments of a sword?
If this particular celestial wants to fight the rat demon, the player characters can see the celestial "enter" the sword, and maybe transform it in some way.

The celestial effectively changes the mundane sword into a sentient magic weapon. As normal, a player character can attempt to "attune" with the magic item during a short rest. At this point the character will understand the magical features of the sword ... but also be able to communicate with its celestial mind.
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
Thanks everyone!!

I really enjoyed the ideas provided here. In fact, I'm going to take'em all in one way or another, and put them to use.

The idea of a particular storm in the sky being a celestial battle of angelic and demonic shapeless energies is so cool. I will use it either for the will-o-wisp or for another demonic/angelic encounter; it will depend on the players actions (having them see a star fall from the sky will get them to move, if they don't find the area where the will-o-wisp is).

And.... I guess it's not a will-o-wisp but a lantern archon. Interesting, I didn't know or remember about that specific creature..... but it fits much better than the will-o-wisp (which my olde 2nd edition manual described as kind of evil anyway). A lantern archon, but the players believe it's a will-o-wisp.

The idea that when the archon enters the sword, the blade goes like SPROING and becomes some sort of odd fractal thing such as this


is awesome.

I'm gonna lay down a plan on this and see how it'll work.
 

Quartz

Hero
The idea that when the archon enters the sword, the blade goes like SPROING and becomes some sort of odd fractal thing such as this

https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/the-sword-a-fractal-abstract-ann-garrett.jpg
is awesome.

Not my cup of tea. Do have that form appear for a moment as the archon enters the weapon, and perhaps on special occasions but keep the everyday form of the weapon.

Something else you might like to hold in reserve: perhaps the PCs are fighting valiantly against the demon but are heading for defeat. So the archon heads for the PC most in danger of dying and merges with their armour, not their weapon. This provides a Sanctuary or Protection from Evil effect.
 

As far as Demons, there are two you should greatly consider for your campaign:
1) Dybbuk - incorporeal demons that possess humanoids
2) Maurezhi - demons that devour humanoids and steal their form and memories

Both are fantastic. I just remembered them. I used them both for an Evil Dead one-shot I ran on Halloween a few years back. Dybbuk are awesome! Their "violate corpse" ability is a lot of fun and offers up great opportunies for roleplaying. I modified the Dybbuk to make them a little more like the the movies. This is it here:

Infernal Wounds - unarmed strikes by the Dybbuk caused an additional +1d6 necrotic damage. The target creature's maximum hit points is reduced by this amount. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a short or long rest.

(Since most creatures don't have an unarmed attack I just have them make a Dex attack for 1d4+4 bludgeoning and +1d6 necrotic.)
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
I like these ideas too!
Yes, the archon might actually merge with an armour too..... that's pretty unique! I actually wonder why I didn't think about that option.
I'll let the rng decide, whoever is in the most danger will end up being the one with a magical weapon or armour. (.....Or maybe I'll have the archon merge with the gnome's beloved pipe, that'd be hilarious.)

As for then dibbuk and maurezhi.... I'm gonna keep those names in mind.
 

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