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My current D&D 3.5 campaign is about aberrations and I want to give my low-level characters an advantage against aberrations. (They're level 2 at the moment). One of my players is playing a fighter that wields a greatsword, so I want to add a greatsword that is a normal +1 greatsword against all monsters, but for aberrations, it will be a +3 greatsword instead. I am hoping this will allow me to pit them against stronger aberrations without killing them, but still keep the higher-level aberrations an appropriate challenge. There are similar things like this for undead and lycanthropes.

My question is, Will the greatsword I described above allow my characters to fight stronger aberrations than normal, keep those same aberrations a challenge, and still keep the game balanced?

By unbalanced, I mean when characters cream through the other monsters like a flamethrower through butter. (This happened to me before and it basically killed the challenge to anything in my campaign).

I also plan I giving my other characters in the party similar weapons that give them an advantage against aberrations, so as to not make it seem like the fighter is better than everyone else.

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Why do you want to give them stronger weapons and stronger opposition? Characters in 3.5 are already more fragile than you probably need, and that would be an extra step in that direction. I think the sword, in itself, will not unbalance anything, but stronger opposition might. – Eugene Ryabtsev Mar 17 '13 at 12:20
@EugeneRyabtsev it's just that all the aberrations are moderately high in level, I don't intend to have my characters constantly fight monsters far above their level, I just like having a boss that fits the campaign theme, but most of them are moderately high in level. – Antonio Mar 17 '13 at 14:34
Check out the fihyr. Does the main sub-boss need to be an aberration or could they have an ally? – LitheOhm Mar 17 '13 at 19:31
The main sub-boss is a who is summoning a beholder guath, who is supposed to have secrets to give to the scorcerer who's name is kaladar – Antonio Mar 17 '13 at 19:58
Have you considered creating your own aberration to suit your needs? – Garan Mar 18 '13 at 0:27

It’s better than a +1 greatsword but a lot weaker than a +1 aberration-bane greatsword (which is a +2 equivalent). It’s probably worth around 4,000 gp, which is quite a lot for level 2. On the other hand, Aberrations typically have supernatural defenses that martial types will have a very hard time dealing with. Magic items are the way you allow mundane characters to deal with supernatural threats, so I think this is a pretty appropriate start.

However, I think better would be not to just simply give extra numbers against Aberrations, but rather special abilities to overcome the nastier things the Aberrations can do. Ignoring their damage reduction, perhaps, regardless of the material or alignment of the sword. Ignoring miss chances. Stuff like that would be more useful to the Fighter, while also avoiding the problem of number inflation – the Fighter typically has high enough numbers, his problem is all the cases in which he’s not allowed to apply them.

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+1 for "I think better would be not to just simply give extra numbers against Aberrations, but rather special abilities to overcome the nastier things the Aberrations can do." I did not think of that! – Antonio Mar 16 '13 at 18:17
KRyan, I thought Bane, as a +1 enhancement bonus was worth 2000GP. Add in 350GP for the mandatory "Masterwork" quality ontop of the greatsword base price of 50GP for a total of 2400GP. Still well over the 900GP the chart says a lvl 2 character should have but slightly under the 2700 a lvl 3 should. (Granted if they have much of anything else they'll be over but not too much) – Ben-Jamin Mar 16 '13 at 18:31
@Ben-Jamin: you can't put bane on a weapon that does not already have a +1 enhancement bonus, so it would have to be a +1 aberration bane (+2 total bonus equivalent) – Cthos Mar 16 '13 at 18:40
@cthos I thought the +1 requirement was met by the masterwork..r u saying it has to be a MW, then a +1 magic weapon before you can put a special enhancement on it? – Ben-Jamin Mar 16 '13 at 18:51

Compare with magebane from Complete Arcane. I think what you describe sounds even below that level, if not for the fact that you said your campaign is aberration-heavy. Magebane even adds damage in addition to the enhancement, much like bane. It's just usable against a lot more stuff.

If all you're adding is a specific enhancement bonus then no it won't tip the scales. If you want to add enhancement bonus as well as damage then you might be onto some trouble as a DM, especially if the other characters don't match the aberration-slaying greatsword's power level through gear of their own. Good that you already plan on gearing them up too.

In the long run it won't unbalance your game but in the short run, as long as you prepare the other party members, it shouldn't. Perhaps add some defensive abilities for the party so that it's on them to dish out enough damage to prevent some of the worse aberration-based abilities. Last game I stuck some first level characters in d20 Modern up against a CR3 deinonychus playing the "kill it before it gets to you/hits/kills you" game. Worked great, though I wouldn't tempt the odds by doing it too many more times.

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