I like magical items that are complicated. A bracelet that gives you +3 Strength is neat, as is a mace(+2). But a bracelet that only gives you the bonus to Strength a limited number of times per day is better, and one that only does so under certain conditions is best. Those items are not just “perma buffs” that a player notes on the character sheet. These are elements of the game that a player thinks about and actively deals with, like a player does with any other responding, living part of the game world. You really start to play with something if it responds to what you do in some way. With this proem I present to you 10 Mighty Magical Weapons for your OSR fantasy RPG.
01#Moonray: a sabre-like weapon with a curved blade, a crescent shaped hilt and a handle wrapped in dark leather. The metal it is made of is light gray and a tiny moonstone was embedded in the center of the hilt. In clear nights with a full moon, Moonray becomes a +4 magical weapon.
02#Dragonslayer: a bihander with a gilded knob sculpted in the likeness of a dragon´s head, with a wide open maw and bloodstone splinters for eyes. The bihander counts as a magical +4 weapon against dragons, wyrms and other draco-creatures.
03#Flamedrinker: a shortsword with a flame like blade and a hilt of tarnished copper. The weapon becomes a magical +2 shortsword for six turns if the blade is heated in a flame for one minute.
04#Stargift: a longsword with a triangular tip and a wide blade the color of amber. Every other element of the weapon is jet-black and looks like polished glass but feels like steel to the touch (and is as durable). If the wearer lifts the weapon high above her head and intones “Gods of the stars and beyond, lend me your power!” a lightning will be seen in the sky and the blade turns into a +4 weapon for one turn. The power of the weapon can only be invoked once per lunar month.
05#Balegloom: a falchion with a thick blade and five different runes carved into both sides of it. When under the earth the blade begins to gloom in a ghastly, unsteady yellow light and it becomes a +3 magic weapon. If a spell is cast within or targeted at something with 30 yards of the weapon, it loses its power for six turns (and stops to glow).
06# Spellswallower: a warhammer with a screaming, bearded face sculpted into both sides of its head. It grants its wearer one re-roll on any Saving Throw vs Magic. If the wearer passes such a Saving Throw, the Spellswallower becomes a +3 weapon for one turn. If a magic-user picks up the Spellswallower, the character must pass a Saving Throw vs Magic each time she wants to cast a spell or will be unable to do so until she puts away the warhammer.
07# Skulltaker: a single-bladed battle ax with a knob of ivory that was sculpted into the likeness of a skull. The Skulltaker becomes a +3 magical weapon for one turn if its wearer uses it to behead somebody or to sever the head of an opponent she killed herself within the last five combat rounds.
08# Soulshield: a finely crafted broadsword with a hilt in the likeness of spread wings and a prayer (or mantra) scrimshawed into its blade. It counts as a magical weapon +1, and if the bearer of the weapon spends one turn in prayer (in meditation) with the swords hilt held against the forehead the character gains a total of three re-rolls for Saving Throws vs. Magic. These must be used within the next twelve turns or they expire.
09# Wrathreaper: a simple iron mace with a an emerald as knob. If the wielder dies in battle, she will immediately turn into an undead and fight on without even falling to the ground. The hit dice of the creature are equal to the hit dice (or level) it had before and in its hands the Wrathreaper turns into a +4 weapon. If the hit points are reduced to zero or if an effect that destroys undead is brought to bear against the character or if there are no more enemies in sight, the undead is destroyed.
10# The Heartwood Staff: a +1 quarterstaff made of gnarled looking, ebony-like wood. If the weapon is used inside a (living/healthy) wood or forest it becomes a +3 quarterstaff.