Friday, 19 November 2010

Hyperborian Age Magic: Weapons and Armour

As I'm sure anyone who knows the setting will agree, the Hyborian Age is not so much "magic-poor" as "magic-rare" ( a term I learned from Evan over at Hugely Ruined Pile). Demons, Curses, Magic and Enchanted Items abound in the setting, but not to the same extent as in other fantasy settings, but when they are found, they tend to be far more powerful (on average) than in other campaign worlds.

To reflect this, I'm going to rule that magical items that come with a "+" or a "-" (but nothing else) aren't actually magical items at all. They're just particularly well made, but otherwise non-magical, crafted items - particularly those made of steel, bronze that's be carbonated in bird-shit, especially pure iron and so forth. Such weapons will retain their ability to harm demons and other creatures immune to "non-magical items", which helps stay true to the spirit of the Age as well. Conan, after all, was particularly adept at putting down demons and other magical beasts without the aid of magical weapons.

I'm thinking that a "Sword +3, Protection from Evil" would be magical because it protected the bearer from evil. Not because of the +3. In this case, the enchantment just happens to have been applied to an especially well-made sword of, say, Cimmerian Blue Steel.

As I ponder the matter further, I'll probably come up with more magic-item house rules that retain the flavour of the Hyborian Age. I'm very conscious of the fact that Old School gaming tends to assume that characters of a given play level possess a certain quantity of magical items. So I'll attempt to find a way to balance the "magic-rare" qualities of the Hyborian Age with the "magic-item debt" of the OSRIC rules.

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