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I don't have the exact AD&D 2nd edition Dungeon Master's Guide quote, but there is an item, Helm of Brilliance, which, among other things, allows the wearer to turn any sword to a sword of flame.

What is "a sword of flame" here, and more importantly where in the official rule books is it described?

If it isn't actually described anywhere, is there any less official source on what this power of the Helm actually does? I'm looking for something to show to my DM.

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I ran into this problem many years ago in AD&D1e, which has the same wording. Since there is no Sword of Flame, the group I played with concluded it must have been intended to mean Sword +1, Flame Tongue. That's the only weapon in the DMG that's reasonably describable as a "Sword of Flame" and any other conclusion required making up some new magic sword.

AD&D 1e and 2e weren't nearly as careful as modern editions about consistent naming: some interpretation was always required.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you look at page 133 of 1e DMG, there is another mention of a "+1 sword of flame" under one of the possible use cases of a "Rod of Lordly Might": > +1 sword of flame when button #1 is pushed - a blade springs forth from the ball, which becomes the hilt, while the handle shortens the weapon to an overall length of 3' \$\endgroup\$ – ZwiQ Nov 20 '17 at 16:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ZwiQ nice catch, that might make a nice, concise answer? :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 20 '17 at 18:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think that the root of this overlap came from OD&D Greyhawk and Monster/Treasure tables, where on the same table you had Sword, Flaming: +1 +2 vs. Trolls (Pegasi, Hippogriffs, & Rocs) +3 vs. Undead (Ents) as well as Sword, of Cold: +3 +5 vs. Fire Using/Dwelling Creatures the switch to 1e/2e Flametongue and Frostbrand respectively, seems not to have reached all of the authors and editors. :) I suspect that like "sword of cold" the "sword of flame" was in some drafts that never made the final cut. Nice answer. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 20 '17 at 18:30
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One possibility is as follows: On page 133 of the 1e DMG, there is another mention of a "+1 sword of flame" under one of the possible use cases of a Rod of Lordly Might:

+1 sword of flame when button #1 is pushed - a blade springs forth from the ball, which becomes the hilt, while the handle shortens the weapon to an overall length of 3'

On the other hand, if you want a semi-official interpretation, here is a quote from the "Sage Advice" column (AD&D 1e) by Skip Williams in Dragon magazine issue 147 (July 1989):

A nonmagical sword becomes the equivalent of a flame tongue sword. Magical swords gain the powers of a flame tongue sword in addition to their own.

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