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I've spent some time working on npcs and bosses but I have significantly less experience and therefore confidence in creating magic items. I've already fallen into traps of making things too weak as well as poorly wording effects of magic items. So with that, as I move into making high level magic items I want to first bring up one to the community to ensure I'm not missing anything. So the question is:

Is this homebrew artifact written properly as an artifact and are its abilities balanced as an artifact?

Primarily I'm concerned about it being written well because artifacts have a very broad spectrum of power levels. However, I want to make sure that I'm not going too light on this artifact because of my own cautiousness. Nevertheless, the Artifact in question.


Ich'Thar'ys

Weapon (glaive), artifact (requires attunement)

The scythe is a magic glaive that grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it. In the hands of one attuned to it, the wielder is considered proficient with it even if they lack proficiency with martial weapons.

Random Properties

Ich'Thar'ys has the following random properties:

  • 3 minor beneficial properties
  • 2 major beneficial properties
  • 1 minor detrimental property

A Blade to Cut Through Fate

Created with specific intent, Ich'Thar'ys has the ability to remain unaffected by magic altering affects. This weapon is unaffected by spells such as antimagic field or other magic cancelling affects. Additionally, when you attack a creature with this weapon and roll a 20 on the attack roll, you can choose to cut it from the Weave of Fate. A creature that is severed from the Weave of Fate1 dies and can be restored to life only by a wish spell. A creature is immune to this effect if it is immune to slashing damage, doesn't have or need a soul to survive, or has legendary actions.

Spells

While the scythe is on your person, you can use an action to cast one of the following spells (save DC 18) from it: disintegrate, fear, or spirit shroud (necrotic only). Once you use the scythe to cast a spell, you can’t cast that spell again from it until the next dawn.

Curse

The scythe bears a curse that affects anyone that becomes attuned to it. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the scythe, keeping it within reach at all times. You also have disadvantage on attack rolls with weapons other than this one, unless no foe is within 60 feet of you that you can see or hear.

Whenever a hostile creature damages you with fire damage you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. While frightened, you must spend your action to move as your speed allows away from the creature that damaged you. At the end of your turn, you can repeat the saving throw ending the effect on a success.

Destroying the Scythe

Ich'Thar'ys can be destroyed by journeying to The Weaver's domain atop the Diamond Spire of the Astral Plane and weaving it into fate over the course of 1 year.

For some additional information, this artifact was created by a rival god to the god of fate with the intention of breaking fate and killing those who are chosen by fate. The entire idea of the artifact is based off a certain currently running media property involving a spider and the curse represents that spider's disdain for fire.


1I'm using a homebrew world with different lore than the Forgotten Realms. Magic does not come from The Weave. The Weave of Fate controls all things that were, are, and may be in my world. Cutting someone from The Weave is removing their thread, which is why they die. The scythe also ignores magic cancelling effects because the Chosen of Fate often use magic to prevent their demise through nullifying magic items, or spells. All this to say, I'm not using the Forgotten Realms lore and The Weave does not refer to the FR thing

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just curious; does a Remove Curse spell enable you to end your attunement, or is the only method of ending attunement destroying the Scythe(or dying)? \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Pain VanZant Apr 27 at 3:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could simplify the proficiency bit by just saying "a creature that is attuned to Ich'Thar'ys is always proficient with it" or something like that. I wouldn't include the 'even if' part -- there are other ways to be proficient with a martial weapon besides having general martial proficiency (for example, elves and dwarves are proficient with a few specific martial weapons). \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Apr 28 at 13:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why would cutting from the weave kill? I mean, in Forgotten Realms weave is just a field of magical energy and being separated from it does not kill you. If you meant some other weave, be sure to elaborate to avoid confusion. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Apr 28 at 15:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Molot I'm using a homebrew world with different lore than the Forgotten Realms. Magic does not come from The Weave. The Weave of Fate controls all things that were, are, and may be in my world. So cutting someone from The Weave is removing their thread, which is why they die. The scythe also ignores magic effects because the chosen of fate often use magic to prevent their demise through nullifying magic items or spells. All this to say, I'm not using the Forgotten Realms lore and the Weave does not refer to the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ – GuidingOlive Apr 28 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I took that comment and inserted your explicit term so that answerers are not confused with the FR thing and the 'source of magic' thing from PHB Chapter 10. (The Weave) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 28 at 18:06
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It seems sufficiently balanced, at least to me.

Along with the grain of salt that as the DM, your word is law. It doesn't seem overly powerful, and the specific strengths and limitations of it are both thematic and potent. It offers considerable power, with a considerable drawback.

I will say, this is a fine template to put out for anyone, but personally, I wouldn't roll for random properties on an item like this; rather, specifically choose the ones that fit its theme. If it's an artifact, it's one of a kind, so realistically it shouldn't have random properties(at least in my mind). Especially for something like this, you can add some additional depth to the item by choosing effects that make it thematically more interesting.

But that's a hot take. I like it as it is, and instantly considered giving it as a reward to one of my players with a thing for Glaives. I'm sure she'd be ecstatic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For note, I already rolled the random properties of this weapon just in case someone would be unfavorable toward them. As follows, 3 minor properties (can cast Web (DC18) then roll a d6 on a 6 you can cast it again that day, Resistance to damage (necrotic imo), and immunity to charm or frighten (kinda ruins the point of the curse)) 2 major properties (On a hit deal 2d6 extra necrotic damage) and 1 minor detrimental property (other creatures cannot gain the benefits of rest while you are within 300 feet of them (from all the spiders that crawl about near you)). \$\endgroup\$ – GuidingOlive Apr 27 at 4:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast A comment does not allow for the full wording of the rule as generated in the Random Beneficial Properties section of the DMG. And I was tight on space as it was. The full rule is "While attuned to the artifact, you can use an action to cast Web from it. After you cast the spell, roll a d6. On a roll of 1-5 you can't cast it again until the next dawn." I only truncated it for the comment as I did with all the other properties. \$\endgroup\$ – GuidingOlive Apr 28 at 16:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Well, yes, but also no. It's distinct from Recharge, because Recharge means you roll a d6 at the start of each turn, whereas this effect is a one-time roll, and occurs on the same turn. On any result of a 1-5, you make no additional rolls, and are unable to use it again until the next day. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Pain VanZant Apr 28 at 21:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GuidingOlive I must say, I really love the additional powers as far as the theming goes. I do think you're right, immunity to charm and frighten definitely ruins the curse, so I'm inclined towards a different property for that one, specifically. Otherwise, as far as artifacts go, it's pretty on-par for power level. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Pain VanZant Apr 28 at 21:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I misunderstood, but how you parsed it makes way more sense than how I did \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 29 at 0:48
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Seems well balanced to me.

A couple improvement points:

Created with specific intent, Ich'Thar'ys has the ability to remain unaffected by magic altering affects. This weapon is unaffected by spells such as antimagic field or other magic cancelling affects.

Usually there's no need to specify that the artifact is not affected by antimagic field spell because they already aren't by the spell's description.

While frightened, you must spend your action to move as your speed allows away from the creature that damaged you.

Unless you want that to be possible you should specify if the user will move as far away as possible at cost of harm (passing through fire, jumping in a 500 ft. deep crater, etc.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In this case, it might be trying to indicate that the weapon's spellcasting features still function even in an antimagic field. I think that would be a good point to elaborate further on though, as it makes me wonder if the weapon's spells are also immune to counterspelling or being dispelled after cast. \$\endgroup\$ – IronWilliam Apr 29 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IronWilliam Before specifying types of magical effects that are suppressed in the antimagic field, the spell has a section that specifically calls out that spells and magical effects created by artifacts or deities are not suppressed. I basically never saw this rule up till now. But it does mean that the artifact just ignores antimagic field as a spell. Also I wouldn't be so cruel as to make a disintegrate non-counterspellable. \$\endgroup\$ – GuidingOlive May 1 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GuidingOlive Then you probably need to clarify the 'other magic cancelling effects' phrase. \$\endgroup\$ – IronWilliam May 2 at 17:46
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I think that it has a huge detrimental effect on an ongoing quest. The inability to leave it aside and the weakness to any fire damage make a lot of quests and combat scenarios very hard. This weapon is more of a burden to get rid of than a weapon you want to keep because it has a direct affect on many actions you might want to do like use other weapons, do anything that requires not carrying any weapon.

I assume that there is no way to alter its appearance with magic so if you meant to make a cursed weapon that makes a party drop everything it's doing and go to destroy it, call it success but I'd be careful when do I interduce it to my game as if your party must stop an active quest for one player it might be a chore and not feel epic for them.

  • I'd allow for willpower check to let go of the weapon, maybe with aid from party members. Thus allowing for more flexibility.
  • I'd change the fear from any fire attack to allow to attack or run, otherwise a very weak creature might cause a very strong character to flee for no good reason. This might be disparaging to a player.
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    \$\begingroup\$ While these are all valid how to fold an artifact into play concerns, what the question seem to be asking is compared to other artifacts, how well does this fit with what's in published material (like in the DMG) - that is a different concern than what impact will this artifact have on play at my table which is the answer that you did offer. 😁 \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 28 at 15:41

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