(SR) Sentient Weapon IF

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Brickulos
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(SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#1 Postby Brickulos » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:06 am

So I've been thinking about how to make a Sentient Weapon as a playable character. It started with my wanting to use a sentient weapon as a recurring villain that always reappears no matter how often the host is killed. And as always, I wanted to conceptualize how I could make this an option for players as well.

Here's what I have so far:
The weapon was created for a specific purpose, reflected by taking a Major Vow, like slay all demons, protect elves, free kingdom Q, or destroy bloodline X.

The weapon bonds for life with its host. Should it ever be separated from its wielder, anyone who touches it will be compelled to return it.

The weapon takes full control of it's wielder, either devouring their personality or absorbing into the weapon's gestalt identity.

The host's race is taken into account during character generation.

The weapon grants boosts to physical attributes.

The weapon's personality will always be able to control the host's body, as long as they're on the same plane of reality.

The weapon itself is indestructible, but the host can die.

If the host does die, the weapon takes on new host by building a new character with the appropriate XP.

In general I was thinking that the Crazy If might be a good starting place. As in many ways, the weapon is simply enhancing the hosts physical abilities. The weapons itself could be a melee or ranged, or the concept could be adapted for non weapons too, like a ring or mask. What do you guys think?

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:51 am

As a villain, this is awesome and pretty easy to do. The core rules Liche has something similar, and the Fantasy Companion has a few critters with a similar theme.
Heck, many of the cursed and intelligent weapons in D&D are exactly the same trope. The Fantasy Companion has a couple of systems for the same kind of interactions.

As a player character, it sounds a lot cooler than it plays. Basically, the player character would be a cursed item with a meat puppet it drags around. That kind of sucks.

I think if I was going to do this, I'd make it more like the Ghost Blade monster from the FC. The "body" is a projected by the magical weapon; while the body is real and can interact with the world, it cannot be harmed because it's just a projection of the sword. The sword is absolutely real, can be harmed, and the body is negated if the sword is unconscious or Incapacitated. If you have access to the Fantasy Companion, check out the Ghost Blade on page 119.
Mechanically, I'd probably turn to the Combat Cyborg or Cyber Knight for a basis; this feels a bit too complex and powerful for a M.A.R.S. variant.


Honestly, your version sounds like the Trapping for "all my characters are the same".
Mechanically, the Juicer or Crazy is probably the right starting point, but being an indestructible, immortal magical weapon, always able to find a sucker strong enough to be useful but weak-willed enough to be possessed, is a pretty serious benefit
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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#3 Postby Brickulos » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:01 am

ValhallaGH wrote:As a villain, this is awesome and pretty easy to do. The core rules Liche has something similar, and the Fantasy Companion has a few critters with a similar theme.
Heck, many of the cursed and intelligent weapons in D&D are exactly the same trope. The Fantasy Companion has a couple of systems for the same kind of interactions.

As a player character, it sounds a lot cooler than it plays. Basically, the player character would be a cursed item with a meat puppet it drags around. That kind of sucks.

I think if I was going to do this, I'd make it more like the Ghost Blade monster from the FC. The "body" is a projected by the magical weapon; while the body is real and can interact with the world, it cannot be harmed because it's just a projection of the sword. The sword is absolutely real, can be harmed, and the body is negated if the sword is unconscious or Incapacitated. If you have access to the Fantasy Companion, check out the Ghost Blade on page 119.
Mechanically, I'd probably turn to the Combat Cyborg or Cyber Knight for a basis; this feels a bit too complex and powerful for a M.A.R.S. variant.


Honestly, your version sounds like the Trapping for "all my characters are the same".
Mechanically, the Juicer or Crazy is probably the right starting point, but being an indestructible, immortal magical weapon, always able to find a sucker strong enough to be useful but weak-willed enough to be possessed, is a pretty serious benefit


I'm not married to any specific way for this to shake out. Do you have any suggestions of how to make the weapon that possesses someone more interesting for a PC? I like the Ghost Blade concept too, so I'll explore that, but I haven't completely given up on the other yet.

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#4 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:14 am

Not really.
I once played in a supers campaign where one of the PCs was an AI gun, with many cool super-science abilities. Including the ability to control the wielder. We were in an adventure when a big Russian with a crazy machine gun kicks in the door and starts blasting at the bad guys. The Russian got hit by return fire and went down immediately (that system's version of an Extra), leaving the gun to try and figure out how to be relevant when it lacked motive ability of its own (there was a gravity grapple that it used to tug itself around, and some other craziness). The character was gone in less than three sessions.
Ever since then I've been thinking, off and on, about how to do that concept in a fun way. I still haven't worked it out, not for a player character. I can make it work for villains, for a novel or other narrative, but not in the free form group dynamic of a RPG. Not yet, if ever.
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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#5 Postby Brickulos » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:38 am

ValhallaGH wrote:Not really.
I once played in a supers campaign where one of the PCs was an AI gun, with many cool super-science abilities. Including the ability to control the wielder. We were in an adventure when a big Russian with a crazy machine gun kicks in the door and starts blasting at the bad guys. The Russian got hit by return fire and went down immediately (that system's version of an Extra), leaving the gun to try and figure out how to be relevant when it lacked motive ability of its own (there was a gravity grapple that it used to tug itself around, and some other craziness). The character was gone in less than three sessions.
Ever since then I've been thinking, off and on, about how to do that concept in a fun way. I still haven't worked it out, not for a player character. I can make it work for villains, for a novel or other narrative, but not in the free form group dynamic of a RPG. Not yet, if ever.


Maybe treat it more like a partnership? The weapon is sentient and grants boosts, but the host is still in the driver's seat. Definitely would involve some behavioral hindrances too.

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#6 Postby dentris » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:12 pm

What about going full Soul Eater style and having the weapon AND the weilder different characters. The weapon can take the Sidekick Edge, or just be grabbed by any other player characters.

Make it a construct (with Hard to Kill, that should, in itself, make it pretty much invincible) and give him limited flight and telekinesis (which replicates the effect of walking and hand manipulation), as well as reasonable damage when weilded and some hindrances and voila, you have a race.

Add an IF, preferably one that relies heavily on spells, tricks and tests of wills (because he wont be doing any attacks himself)
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;
Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"
--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#7 Postby Brickulos » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:16 pm

dentris wrote:What about going full Soul Eater style and having the weapon AND the weilder different characters. The weapon can take the Sidekick Edge, or just be grabbed by any other player characters.

Make it a construct (with Hard to Kill, that should, in itself, make it pretty much invincible) and give him limited flight and telekinesis (which replicates the effect of walking and hand manipulation), as well as reasonable damage when weilded and some hindrances and voila, you have a race.

Add an IF, preferably one that relies heavily on spells, tricks and tests of wills (because he wont be doing any attacks himself)


I considered that, but, I think(?), that would be even more complicated.

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#8 Postby Freemage » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:16 pm

Every time I've tried to come up with some sort of 'gestalt' character, it gets painful. My best suggestion--build a racial IF (similar to, but probably less powerful than, the Hatchling Dragon) for the Sentient Weapon. Include in that the Sidekick Edge; this is used for building the wielder (any restrictions on who can use the weapon get factored into limitations on the Sidekick build). If the wielder dies, they must be replaced, probably with a new Novice Sidekick (this replacement process is probably part of the Sentient Weapon IF's innate abilities). So there's a definite drawback to letting your wielder die, since the new one is another damn farmboy you've got to train up again; it may also result in lost time. (Maybe the weapon has to make a Spirit roll--modified by the circumstances in which you lost your prior wielder--to gain a new Sidekick, with the result determining how long it takes: Success with a Raise = one week or less; Success = 2d4 weeks; Failure = 2d4 months; Critical Failure = you lose d6+6 months, and the GM gets to build your new Sidekick as you accept the first loser to come along--the decision to try and get him killed quickly or to work with what you've got rather than risk another delay is part of the nature of the IF.)

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#9 Postby dentris » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:46 pm

Brickulos wrote:
dentris wrote:What about going full Soul Eater style and having the weapon AND the weilder different characters. The weapon can take the Sidekick Edge, or just be grabbed by any other player characters.

Make it a construct (with Hard to Kill, that should, in itself, make it pretty much invincible) and give him limited flight and telekinesis (which replicates the effect of walking and hand manipulation), as well as reasonable damage when weilded and some hindrances and voila, you have a race.

Add an IF, preferably one that relies heavily on spells, tricks and tests of wills (because he wont be doing any attacks himself)


I considered that, but, I think(?), that would be even more complicated.



Living Weapon (+2 race)

Construct (+8)
Cyber-Resistant (-1)
Distinctive D-Be (-1)
Non-Standard Physiology (-1)
Edge (Hard to Kill) (+2)
Small (-1)
You are made of unliving material. You can pass as a mundane item, but if you start talking or using special abilities, you are immediatly recognized as a magical being.

Attribute penalty (Strength -2) (-3)
Hindrance (Similar to One Arm) (-2)
You are able to use limited telekinesis. But it is clearly inferior to mundane hand manipulation

Slow (-1)
You are able to hover above ground slowly

Living Weapon (Special ability, similar to a HJ roll) (+2)
Select one weapon from the gear section. You are that weapon. Anyone wielding you is treated as wielding a a weapon of this type. You may be modified as normal by mods or Techno-Wizardry. You may not use weapon yourself, but being used doesn't count as an action for you. You may still use powers, tricks, tests of wills or other similar actions while being wielded by someone else.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#10 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:04 pm

That's a pretty solid race build. Nice job, dentris.
Grab an appropriate Framework (... Burster would be terrifying) and a Sidekick and go nuts.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#11 Postby Brickulos » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:11 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:That's a pretty solid race build. Nice job, dentris.
Grab an appropriate Framework (... Burster would be terrifying) and a Sidekick and go nuts.


A Burster wielding another Burster :D

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#12 Postby dentris » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:19 pm

Weird Thoughts:

Now, what happens if a Dragon in human form shapeshifts into dragon form while wielding it?

If the weapon falls unconscious, nothing prevents the wielder to continue using the weapon.

Ranged Weapons and Close Combat HJ rolls could be applied to the Living Weapon.


EDIT: Special rules consideration: When a weapon is weilded, fighting attacks against it must be made against the weilder's Parry. In addition, if an area effect attack allows for an Agility roll, the weapon doesn't roll by itself and must share the result of his wielder.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#13 Postby Freemage » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:42 pm

dentris wrote:Weird Thoughts:

Now, what happens if a Dragon in human form shapeshifts into dragon form while wielding it?

If the weapon falls unconscious, nothing prevents the wielder to continue using the weapon.

Ranged Weapons and Close Combat HJ rolls could be applied to the Living Weapon.


1: Nothing--sentient beings aren't able to be absorbed, so the dragon just drops it or has it clutched in a claw. I'd say the same of a palmtop containing a true AI.

2: When unconscious, the weapon simply cannot use its ability to hover or manipulate objects. And obviously, any active abilities it might have are a no-go.

3: For the appropriate weapon type, sure. Also, I see no reason that, whichever route you go for design, you couldn't also do the same for armor or 'adornments', which would be anything from jewelry and clothing to small objects that lack a combat purpose. I've got ideas relating to this, and the Racial Iconic Framework approach.

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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#14 Postby Hendell » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:30 am

Some of you may noticed that I do this kind of thing every now and again, but have you asked yourself the following question?

Is it important to the 'magic sword is the character' concept to have a significant system mechanical distinction from any other character in a way that impacts how the game is played?

By this I mean to say don't over complicate things. The sword is the boss, the brain is the boss, so what they both run the body.

If disarming the sword from the body matters or if you want the sword to frequently switch 'user/puppets' AND have that dramatically influence its stats then perhaps you need to build the character as two parts.

Otherwise just build the character however you like. Use a custom race and custom MARS IF and just go for it, then when you get to the NAME: field write in 'Magic Sword' and your done.

If bad stuff(TM) happens to your user/puppet that's ok, figure out how you get a new one, and if needed rebuild some of the parts of the character to represent that difference, if they are not importantly different user/puppets then don't do anything other than update the Character Description: field on the sheet. Again, move on.

This same procedure works if your a Trill like symbiot a classic puppet-master parasite, a mind control helmet, or even a digitally uploaded personality that can be stored off site and uploaded to a new host. These are all no more significantly different than trappings on any other Savage Worlds system mechanic, and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel in such a way that it makes playing out cool character concepts harder or less balanced.
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Re: (SR) Sentient Weapon IF

#15 Postby dentris » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:07 pm

I agree, but like I said, my built was for a character who can be wielded by other characters, whether they are a PCs, Sidekicks or NPCs.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954


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