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I've always been a big fan of giving PCs in my games non-standard equipment, but now that I need to calculate their full GP cost (to calculate how much their equipment is worth) it's giving me nothing but headaches. So this is about a sword that a PC found in a pretty extreme situation that he barely survived.

+1 Wishformian Greatsword
Wishform: as a swift action this sword can transform into any weapon that was broken using it (mantaining the form of a medium-sized Greatsword, regardless what the original was), but you can't use this ability until after 2 rounds of having already transformed it (that is, you can only wishform once every two rounds)

This weapon was created specifically to destroy and absorb the Nine Swords with their legacy abilities fully unlocked; any alignment requirements of the swords will not need to apply for its wielder to unlock their legacy abilities, and when wishforming you can chose a form that combines any of the 9 swords already absorbed into a single form that combines their powers and penalties.
Effects that wouldn't stack normally do not stack for this form either. For example, if you combine Desert Wind and Faithful Avenger, their enhancement bonuses (+4 and +3, respectively) would not stack, therefore the resulting blade would be a +4 Flaming Burst (Un)Holy cold iron Greatsword. In case there are conflicting properties such as material, the wielder will have to chose at the moment of wishforming.

Aditionally, the sword's wishforming ability will improve depending on how many of the 9 swords it has absorbed:
1 sword absorbed: The sword can change its design. This is more of an aesthetic change, but it can also be used to change its size category, such as wishforming into a Large longsword or a Huge shortsword.
3 swords absorbed: The sword can change its size.
5 swords absorbed: The sword can change its weapon type (axe, spear, etc).
7 swords absorbed: The sword can change its shape completely.
9 swords absorbed: The sword can change its building material.

The sword needs to drink the blood of an innocent to be able to Wishform in a day, and two innocents for any weapon to be added to the Wishform list. If a weapon is broken when the sword hasn't killed a minimum of two innocents that day, the broken weapon doesn't count for Wishforming.

This sword is inteligent, and can permanently merge its mind with that of its wielder but only if he is willing to do it; In case the wielder dies, the sword becomes its own mind once again. The sword is aware that this fusion is the best scenario for it since its primary objective will be imprinted on its wielder, and will try to convince him in any way possible, including sabotage and friendly fire. Even then, it will always present itself as friendly and eager to help, always insisting that the fusion is the best possible idea.

Once merged, the wielder will start each day with -2 INT and -2 WIS until the Wishforming ability is activated by killing an innocent.

The sword will also grant two rituals to a merged wielder:

Ritual of Reincarnation:
Every 6 years, you can pass your consciousness to a new body. There are two ways for the ritual to work: either the victim stabs his chest with the blade willingly, or you must spend 8 hours in concentration, all the while the victim's status must remain as "dying".
After the ritual is completed, your original body dies immediately and the victim's body becomes your own.

Ritual of Uploading:
You can upload your consciousness to the sword, so that your merged personalities become the default personality of the sword.
You must spend 24 hours in concentration. Your body becomes an extension of the sword and it's not your main body anymore, but you're unable to act independently as a weapon without your body. You may communicate telepathically with anyone holding the blade, and can use the Ritual of Reincarnation even after your body is dead, but the trauma of tearing yourself apart from the blade again will result in penalties as if you had just been hit with a Resurrection spell.

Any idea how to price it?
Also my idea is to get a base cost for it and add it to the cost of every weapon absorbed in it. Would this be fair?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

The value is 0gp and one artifact

What you described is a major, plot driven artifact. It is neither purchasable nor controllable by the player as it may be nuked, changed, or develop a need for a smoothie at any time by the whim of the GM. While it is certainly dangerous and effective, the fact that it's a plot coupon means that it functionally is "free" (with sides of assassins, ninjas, and maybe pirates) to the player.

Given that it's a +1 sword, then price it as such. If it has magical morphin' sword ranger powers and the player has broken a normal magical sword of utility, then price it as such. But the artifact and all the plot problems come free.

Edit: Given that it is an epic level game, let the other players each also have one (lesser) artifact. Epic level heroes will generally be carting around a golf bag of them anyways, and this way you get them to define parts of their backstory where they quested for the artifact in question.

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Since I'm the DM, I can guarantee that the artifact in question may not be "nuked, changed, or develop a need for a smoothie at any time by the whim of the GM". What I'm trying to do is to even out the equipment worth of each PC to make a clean start on the epic portion of the game. Therefore this answer is useless, since the players with artifacts will have a clear advantage over those that don't. –  Yandros Feb 21 '12 at 4:39
    
Revised, better? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 21 '12 at 4:45
    
Much better, yes. –  Yandros Feb 21 '12 at 5:04

As far as valuation goes, I'd say that it really depends. One thing I'd suggest is that you should make sure that the weapons it absorbs from are lower power than average, that it only gains 50% the effect, or you could make it require multiple absorptions of similar enchantments (i.e. multiple +x enchantment bonus absorptions to get them, with +y (where y is lower than x) being unlocked when a +x value enchantment is increased to make things more interesting).

If the weapon absorbs from only weapons the character owns, that makes it even better; I'd apply some limitation on how long the weapon takes to switch out abilities or only allow it to take the most recent abilities of a certain form.

I don't know exactly where the other weapons in the campaign you're running are valued at, but I'd say it may even be fair to put everyone else first on magical loot checks for at least until they each get a similarly epic artifact, and allowing him only the cheapest stuff. At the least, I'd slap six-figures on that thing, and not in the lower end. Alternatively, make other people get the fuel to improve it, and use it as a source of drama and tension.

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The item in question already exists and has been used in a campaign for more than 6 months; I just need to calculate its value, and cannot change it in any way. That said, I forgot a couple of things, so I'll add them now. –  Yandros Feb 21 '12 at 4:17
    
In which case I'd say that the price could well be at anywhere from 250k to 750k gold pieces, though I may be inflation-happy. –  Kyle Willey Feb 21 '12 at 4:21
    
I think this is a bit like asking "what's the price of the Imperial State Crown". It may have a nominal value, but since it's never likely to be sold, any value you ascribe is pure guesswork. This is the sort of artifact people send out armies to try to acquire, not buy at the blacksmiths. –  DJClayworth Feb 21 '12 at 22:17
    
Exactly. I assumed that the reason a value was needed was for some sort of appraisal; I never assumed that it would be bartered away. –  Kyle Willey Feb 21 '12 at 22:18

When it comes to pricing items, the other way around is to figure out how it may have been forged.

A common rule is to consider that an item worth 40.000 GP by the RAW took 40 days to craft for the common crafter or even a mid level artificer (who would be paid 1000GP/day, work and materials included).

Now since you are the one that ploted this weapon, just ask yourself what its creation process could have been:

  • what materials have been required
  • who were the crafters, what level is required, etc
  • How much time did the whole process take
  • If the weapon is exactly what it was designed to be or if it was a failure, and in such case to what extent the unexpected results are valuable compared to their flaws.
  • If the weapons has required several attempts to be forged. Since it seems to be quite an evil weapon there might even have been some casualties.

I would say that the weapon is probably made from aurorum, that it took at least 3 monthes to craft, that it required at least one evil priest and three crafters (for being able to work 24 hours a day), and probably some sacrifice victims. For the sake of the evaluation I will assume that priest and crafters are all mercenaries, that victims were bought on the slave market and aurorum on standard market. I would say:

  • aurorum : 40k
  • crafters : 1k/day (normal price) x3 people x3 monthes = 300k
  • high level evil priest : 5k/day x3 monthes = 500k
  • victims : Lets say 1/day at 100gp each => 10k

Total = 850k. Probably higher since they would have to assure some logistic and security. Of course like other said it is very unlikely for the item to being sold and I would imagine that it may have been crafted by some fanatics that required no money for it. But price estimation is also a good way of comparing items.

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