North Texas RPG ConSo, I’m going to this old-school D&D convention this weekend here in Irving, TX. My wife’s sick, so I can’t play tonight…but I’ll be able to join in a couple of games over the weekend. So, yeah, I’m geeking out like an old man!

Tonight’s game that I had to drop out of (6pm till midnight):
Ruins of Lindoran Short description : Centuries ago a civil war tore apart the Kingdom of the Elves. Before dying in battle the last King sealed artifacts of kingship in a Vault in the doomed capital city. The Elves are now in need of those artifacts, and have sent for hardy Adventurers to recover them…but who or what now lurks in the ruins of once-fair Lindoran? This adventure combines an above-ground section of the ruined city with a complex three-level dungeon featuring tricks and traps aplenty. This is a real thinking-Elf’s dungeon, not just hack-and-slash through it. This is an updated and expanded version of the 1981 JG module. Character levels are 4-7; some background and prep material will be provided prior to the game session. I still own the original 1981 Judge’s Guild version of this adventure module, so I was plenty stoked to revisist this one!

Friday night’s game (6pm till midnight):
Polar Expedition Short description : Your party was hired by a sage who was investigating conditions along the polar coastline. Although you were hired to serve as guards, there has not been much for you to do, and the sage’s research has now been concluded. You have been assured of your payment as guards. The ship is returning along the coast through a sea thick with chunks of ice. The Captain is quite concerned with the safety of the ship, and does not want to remain in these hazardous conditions any longer than possible. I’m looking forward to this one because of the hazards presented by the environment. Plus…there might be Yetis!

Saturday night’s game (6pm till midnight):
Keep of the Chaos Lord Short description: Your people have lived in the shadow of the ruined keep on the hill since time immemorial. But something has stirred the ancient mysteries, awakening aberrations that should never grace the sight of man. Now villages tremble in their homes fearing the night, and every new dawn reveals a new horror – victims of the keep’s ancient curse. Armed with only your wits, can you and your companions end this reign of terror, or will you become the latest victims of the Keep of the Chaos Lord? This is actually playtesting for a new old-school D&D retro-clone gaming system, so I HAD to get into this session!

Another wondrous creation using Wondrous Weapons!


Table 1: Weapon Types – I roll a 10 on d20 – that’s an Axe.

Sub-Table 1F: Axe – I roll a 5 on a d6 – that’s a Battle Axe.

Table 2: Special Properties – I roll a 14 on d20 – result is Purpose.

Sub-Table 2L: Purpose – I roll a 4 on d6: Destroy All Of Opposite Alignment.

Table 3: Construction – I roll a 9 on a d10, allowing me to reroll twice using a d6.
Reroll 1: 3 on d6 for Unusual Decoration.
Reroll 2: 1 on d6 for Unusual Material.

Sub-Table 3B: Unusual Decoration – I roll a 4 on a d6 for Geometric Patterns.

Sub-Table 3A: Unusual Material – I roll a 3 on a d20 for Bronze.

Clockwork Battle Axe

Clockwork Battle Axe

So, I’ve got a bronze battle axe covered in geometric patterns that was forged to destroy those of opposite alignment. Nothing jumps immediately to mind in the way of background, so I hit up Google image search and find a very cool clockwork axe. Eureka and huzzah!

A cleric, the sole survivor of a brutal Orc assault upon his home village, scavenged a few gears from the clock tower of his razed church. He set out to find a craftsman who could fashion the gears into a blessed weapon of pure lawfulness. After many years of searching and several failed forging attempts, the now-elderly cleric located the gnome forge-tinker, Ruko. Together with a local blacksmith, this master gnome clockmaker forged the Clockwork Battle Axe.

Soon after the forging, with the cleric now on his deathbed, the Clockwork Battle Axe was bequeathed to the local blacksmith’s son. This boy grew to be a paladin of some renown, wielding the axe to great effect before his death. The Clockwork Battle Axe found its way back to Ruko, with whom it was buried and never seen again.

Below are just a few ways to get the Clockwork Battle Axe into the hands of your PCs:

  • The PCs run afoul of a gang of tomb-robbers, the leader of which wields the Clockwork Battle Axe.
  • A has raised a small army of zombies from demi-human graves, including the animated corpse of Ruko wielding his creation.
  • To help repel an invasion by the forces of Chaos, the PCs journey to Ruko’s final resting place to engage in negotiations to exhume the gnome in order to retrieve the Clockwork Battle Axe for their use.

When wielded against enemies of Chaotic alignment, the Clockwork Battle Axe always inflicts the maximum damage of 8 points. Critical hits inflict twice the maximum damage, resulting in 16 points. These damage results do not include any bonuses due to high Strength.

Another wondrous creation using Wondrous Weapons!


Table 1: Weapon Types – d20 – I roll 20! That’s an Other.

Table 1N: Other – I roll a 2 on a d10 for a result of Net.

Table 2: Special Properties – I roll 18 on a d20 for an interesting result: Roll three times, using d6 for each roll. I roll a 3 (Special Damage), a 5 (To Hit Bonus), and a 1 (Extra Damage). Let’s handle these in an order that makes sense.

To Hit Bonus: 2 on a d10 for +1; Extra Damage: 5 on a d6 for +3; and Special Damage: 5 on a d6 for 1-6 points of STR transfer. Whoa!

Titan NetNow to find out what this net is made of. I roll a d20 for a result of 3 and consult Table 3: Construction. This turns out to be “Unusual Decoration” and sends me to another chart. On Sub Table 3B: Unusual Decoration I roll a 5 on a d6 for a result of Ornamental Patterns.

So, we have a magical net woven into ornamental patterns that is +1 to hit, +3 on damage, and transfers 1-6 Strength. Wondrous!

However, it needs a little help. Nets aren’t intended to inflict damage over and over like a sword, so that +3 damage bonus seems odd. Let’s say the net is studded throughout with tiny platinum hooks so that it causes 3 damage when entangling a target and on subsequent unsuccessful attempts at extrication.

The netting itself is a weave of Titan hair, twisted into an arcane pattern that drains strength from its target and transfers it to the wielder. That’ll work just fine!

The Titan’s Net would be an interesting item for a villain to wield. Perhaps he’s a former gladiator who has earned his freedom and used his notoriety to establish himself as the intimidating head of a no-questions-asked mercenary guild…a guild that has been contracted to take out the PCs!


By the power of Graysk--oops...


The final four pages  of Wondrous Weapons are filled with tables, many many many tables, allowing you to randomly generate your own completely unusual, totally badass, and possibly utterly useless weapons. In other words, it is sheer gamer heaven!

Follow along with me as I roll up a sample item.

Table 1: Weapon Types starts off the fun. Rolling a d20…I got 7. That’s a polearm of some sort (see Sub Table 1D).

Sub Table 1D: Polearm – Roll a d10…I got a 4. That’s a glaive.

Table 2: Special Properties. Here is where the real fun begins! Roll another d20…I got a 4. That’s a To Hit Bonus (see Sub Table 2C).

Sub Table 2C: To Hit Bonus – Roll a d10…I got a 4 (again!). That’s +2 to hit. Now it’s time to see what this bad boy is made of.

The Jade Talon

The Jade Talon

Table 3: Construction. Roll a d10…I got a (pleaseplease not another 4) 2. That’s an Unusual Material (see Sub Table 3A). Suck it, number 4! You can’t compete with 2. Don’t even try.

Sub Table 3A: Unusual Material has us rolling a d20…I got a 16. That’s jade.

So I rolled up a magical glaive with a blade carved from jade that is +2 to hit. Sweet! Now, I just need to come up with a bit of background info and maybe an unusual name…and presto! I have an interesting weapon to drop into the hands of a villain or bury in a dragon’s hoard. Wondrous, indeed!

This polearm is an example of the type of ceremonial weapon used by guards at a royal court in the far East. An emperor believed himself to be the reincarnation of a Jade Dragon. To emulate the beast’s sharp, unyielding grasp, the Dragon Emperor commissioned these weapons for his household guard, such that each man with a Jade Talon was like one of the great claws of his namesake.

One of these weapons recently turned up on the antiquities black market, having been stolen from a dig site that had unearthed the Dragon Emperor’s burial chamber.

I’ll generate a few more wondrous weapons every now and then, flesh them out a bit, and post them here.

“A Judges Guild Universal Fantasy Supplement”

The Walmart of Weaponry

The Walmart of Weaponry

That’s printed right on the bottom left of the front cover. And then, on the inside cover, at the bottom, is the classic line: “This product is a playing aid designed to be used with a set of Role Playing Game Rules.” And, boy, did I use it. I used the hell out of it. I totally used with my favorite set of Role Playing Game Rules.

Rules known simply as D&D.

The whole premise of this supplement from the magical year of 1982 is that your PCs deserve some really cool magic weapons. And it just so happens that the head of the local Armorer’s Guild, a dwarf “whose main passion is the collection of magical weapons of war,” is also the proprietor of a shop just waiting to be dropped into your campaign world.

The Wondrous Shop of Armerikus the Dwarf!

Now, why is this supplement worthy of my love? Even today, 27 years after its publication? Three reasons:

1) Variety. There are 120 weapons from all categories, including exotic types such as tulwars, throwing rings, and katars. And each item has 1/3- to 1/2-page write-up on its background/history.

2) Artwork. Each item is beautifully illustrated in black and white.

3) Weapon Creation Tables. I used this section more than anything else in this book. I’ll explain these tables in another post.



Some of the weapons I loved to use:

MUROCA – a battle axe that is +2 to hit, +3 vs Goblins – it glows when within 1 mile of Goblins – it has empathy with its wielder.

EASFIR – a light bow that senses Game in the immediate area – it has an effective distance three times that of a normal bow.

WRIFEARTH – a halbard that is +4 to hit +2 to damage – it shakes in the wielder’s hands when Undead approach – its Purpose: to alert wielder that Wights or Ghouls are within 5 feet.

SHULAR’S FANG – a bilbo sword (basically a rapier) that is +1 to hit and damage – it radiates light in a 10-foot diameter.

Wielding Wondrous Weapons

Wielding Wondrous Weapons

Now, why do I call this the worst RPG supplement? One reason:

1) Stupid Weapons. There are as many silly and/or game-breakingly bad ideas in here as there are good ideas. Many of the weapons in here are only “wondrous” in the sense that they make wonder what the author was smoking when he came up with them.

Some of the weapons I would never use to kill my worst enemy:

BLOOD CHASE – executioner’s axe that will never miss when striking the neck area – it will also scent out someone sentenced to die and follow him – should anyone defend the condemned quarry, Blood Chase will strike them for double damage. It doesn’t even need to be wielded! Blood Chase is really only usable as a villain: One of the PCs has been wrongly condemned, and Blood Chase (which is actually a demon trapped within a blade) is hot on his trail.

THE STAFF OF THE MASTER OF THE BRIDGE – quarterstaff that enables its wielder to make multiple attack/parries when defending a bridge – it can parry almost any weapon – it is indestructible. This is great for a badass NPC that the PCs need to get past; however, it is completely useless in a PC’s hands. Unless the party’s quest is to defend a bridge. Which, you know, is uber-exciting.

SNAKEWHIP and SNABULL – a pair of whips that can transform into cobras. <yawn>

SNAKAR – a bolas that entangles humanoids and charms them. You know, kinda like Wonder Woman’s lasso. Only Diana is much much hotter than this aboriginal hunting weapon.

DARK STAR – Chakram (throwing ring) that always strikes the jugular vein. The perfect gift for any PC who doesn’t enjoy a challenge.



But my absolute favorite is Moonpetal:

MOONPETAL – “The Moonpetal Tiara functions as a boomerang and when thrown, the center spike will stick into the opponent, draining one pint of blood every five minutes. Until the command word is spoken, the headpiece will continue to draw blood until the opponent is dead. Should the headpiece miss the opponent, it will return to the owner’s hands.” Wow. Just wow. Let that sink in…a vampiric throwing tiara. There are approximately 10.5 pints of blood in the average adult human body. So, should you ever find yourself attacked with Moonpetal, whatever you do…be certain not to leave this spiked throwing tiara stuck in your body for nearly an hour. I mean, you’re just begging for death if you don’t remove it immediately. That…and you’re probably rocking sub-5 INT and WIS.

But there is redemption to be found within the pages of Wondrous Weapons, friends.
Coming soon: the Weapon Creation Tables!