Campaign Components: 5 Flame Tongues Ready for Your Campaign

Flame tongue swords are among the most iconic weapons in the game. Swords of fire and flame, many have been wielded by brave adventurers in their battles against evil.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

 

Sadly, though, flame tongues are often described as nothing more than “a flame tongue,” when they fall into the PCs’ hands. This is a huge missed design opportunity. I’ve talked before about why you should design unique treasures for your campaign, and the same is doubly true for legendary items such as a flame tongue.

Thus, find presented below five flame tongues suitable for insertion in your campaign today. Use the descriptions below as a starting point; adapt and expand upon them as you see fit, so they add depth and flavour to your campaign.

Flame of Arndul

Tiny engraved images of leaping flames decorate this sword’s blade and its hilt is wrapped in some kind of well worn, ancient leather.

  • Wielded Power: Writhing flames coil and writhe about this sword’s blade when it is drawn.
  • Background: Remnant of a fallen kingdom, the Flame of Arndul has been wielded by kings and champions alike. It has been lost man times, but eventually it makes its way back into the hands of a hero of good.
  • Rumour: The blade has other unique powers and it could harbour the soul of a powerful servant of good.

Nightbane

This sword’s blade is of black steel. The subtle smell of cinders hangs in the air about the weapon.

  • Wielded Power: When wielded the sword’s blade bursts into leaping, incandescent flame and the faint sound of screams fills the air.
  • Background: Forged in the dark years of the orc incursions, Nightbane was ever in the vanguard of the fight. The orcs know it as the “Scalding Flame” and fear it. Carried by the hero Praen Sirett during the final battles it was buried with him after he succumbed to his wounds. Twenty years ago, his tomb was broken into and the sword stolen.
  • Rumour: Agents in the pay of an orc chieftain Narrel stole Nightbane, but they betrayed their patron and sold the blade to an unknown third party. The orcs yet search for the blade.  Narrel wants the sword so be can destroy it and in doing so forge an alliance with other tribes. Nightbane’s destruction could give Narrel the political power to trigger a new orc incursion.

Glimmerdoom

Twelve small rubies set in a spiral adorn the pommel of this slender longsword. Its blade sheds light as a candle.

  • Wielded Power: When it injures a foe, the sword’s light momentarily dims as the target is scorched and burnt by the sword’s fiery power.
  • Background: Glimmerdoom’s exact origin is lost in the depths of time, but its slender, subtly curved blade hints at an elven provenance.
  • Rumour: Glimmerdoom was forged by the ancient elves for use against their black-hearted cousins, the drow. It was carried for centuries by their champions before it was lost in battle. Since then, the elves have lamented the blade’s loss.

Night Terror

Etched with eldritch runes of Abyssal power, this dull gray blade seems to suck in the light from the surrounding area.

  • Wielded Power: Wreathed with invisible flames when drawn, an aura of heat surrounds Night Terror.
  • Background: Forged in the depths of the Abyss and gifted to many mortal champions of evil Night Terror has slain both celestial and mortal enemies. Currently wielded by the antipaladin Ekur Lagash, many good aligned faiths would like to see the sword either destroyed or reconsecreted as a weapon of good.
  • Rumour: Night Terror was forged in the Abyss and quenched in the blood of an angel. Only the willingly given heart blood of a demon can destroy the blade.

Wildfire

This sword comprises nothing more than a battered hilt and a stub of melted steel.

  • Wielded Power: When drawn in anger, the melted sword blade transforms into a blade of leaping, living flame.
  • Background: Named For its ability to incinerate its foes, Wildfire is famed as the weapon that slew the white wyrm Lothhlauth. Wielded by such heroes as Atro Laitnen and Viivi Varala, it hung for a while in the throne room of the frost giant jarl Hruthgar. When he was slain by a decade ago, Wildfire disappeared and has not been seen in the lands of men since.
  • Rumour: Legends cluster thickly about Wildfire. Many believe it was the personal weapon of some elemental or otherworldly being and that its creator’s power still lurks within its blade.

Submit Your Own Flame Tongue

Why not add to the list above by posting your own flame tongue in the comments below and help your fellow GMs add unique, flavoursome weapons to their campaign today!

 

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Campaign Components: 5 Flame Tongues Ready for Your Campaign

  1. The Unfinished Blade
    Wielded Power
    The metal blade of this weapon glows continuously as if it had never left the fires in which it was forged.

    Background
    This blade was never finished. The smith forging it was about to pull it from the forge one last time and quench it when he was interrupted. A Unremarkable man stepping into the smith’s forge with the head of the smiths wife, dripping blood, hanging in his hand. Enraged, the smith pulled the unfinished blade from his forge and quenched it in the cold heart of the murderer, where it incinerated the evil man, leaving only ashes behind.

    Rumor
    Those who hold The Unfinished Blade, never do so for long. It is almost like the blade itself takes action to quench the fire in it’s wielder’s heart by destroying their enemies. The wielder soon tires of battle and passes it on to the next fiery champion.

  2. Beobachten (modified)

    Wielded Power
    Steel red as a dragon’s scales and sharp as it’s teeth, with flame spurting and reaching out toward its enemies when it strikes.

    Background
    Beobachten is a sword with a dragon’s soul bound to it, providing its fiery power (and a great deal of unhappy attitude). Gidr Farneshame bound the dragon in order to neutralize it, so the region the dragon lived in could be settled.

    Rumor
    The dragon bound in the sword continues to exist, and wants its freedom. It will deal with whoever and whatever is needed in order to secure that freedom and achieve vengeance on Gidr Farneshame.

    (Beobachten, the Dragon Watching, was originally written up at http://www.kjd-imc.org/blog/fantastic-creation-beobachten-the-dragon-watching/ — though admittedly not as a flametongue weapon, but I’ve adapted it to fit here.)

    • hmm, possibly amend the description. The original has the dragon’s head as the pommel, but what if instead the head formed part of the guard, so when the sword flames it looks like the dragon ‘breathing flame’?

  3. Trollbane

    This ancient weapon has a simple hilt of cold steel. The blade itself is cold to the touch but glows ember orange with faint dwarven ruins glowing yellow upon the blade.

    Wielded Power

    In the presence of regenerators the blade becomes much brighter and creatures that regenerate cease to be able to when struck with this blade.

    Background

    When the world was young the dwarves fought for control of vast cave complexes when the land above was as primordial as that below. Trolls were prolific in the great caves below ground. Three of these swords were forged in the heart of the mountain by Forge Master Draal Beltiyr. These swords allowed battle lords to protect their strongholds and ensure the survival of their race. These swords are now only of myth their existence itself questioned!

    Rumour

    It’s is rumoured the swords having passed through dwarven hands through the ages became holy relics. Thus it is rumoured they may have been incorporated into statues in the old dwarven holds in the chapels of the dwarven people.

  4. Judgment
    The blade of this unornamented, simple-looking longsword appears scorched black, as if had been blasted by incredible heat and flame. Despite the apparent heat damage, the sword’s weighting is still true and the blade itself still perfectly sharp.

    Wielded Power
    At the wielders unspoken command the burnt black blade flares into brightness with an audible roar. This roaring sound continues as long as the blade stays lit, and when the sword is wielded in battle it actually increases in volume as the fight goes on, until eventually it drowns out the sound of the combat itself.
    Background
    A singularly greedy and impious man, Grout was a merchant who sold various medicinal, aphrodisiacal and narcotic herbs from a stall which he set up near the steps to the local sun temple. The sun priests disapproved of this trade outside their holy temple, but since Grout’s wares were technically legal (and since he paid a healthy bribe to the resident city guards to look after his interests), they could not force him to move. Grout for his part relished tweaking the noses of the sun priests, arriving early to harangue them as they passed his stall on the way to their temple, then spending the rest of the day convincing parishioners to solve their problems with his wares rather than the priest’s prayers. That all changed one morning a few years ago, at the crack of dawn, when residents near the temple were awakened by a thundering roar followed by a meteoric crash and a blinding flash of light. Grout’s spread-eagled, charred corpse was found by the temple steps, with his stall blasted to bits around him. The sword which would come to be known as Judgment had pierced his heart and pinned him to the blacked flagstones beneath him, as if hurled down by the Sun-god himself. Since then, the sun temple has loaned the sword out to crusaders and paladins on missions deemed worthy, so that other blasphemers and heretics would know its wraith.

    Rumours: The there are two types of rumours about the sword named Judgment. One set of rumours hold that the sword is in fact a mighty artifact containing a portion of the Sun-gods own essence. These rumours assert that, when the time is right, or when the sword is in the hands of a “chosen one” who proves herself or himself as being truly worthy, the full measure of the sword’s power will be revealed. Other rumours suggest that the sword is not what it appears to be at all- that the “smiting” of Grout was staged by unknown dark powers, and the sword itself is some sort of magical “Trojan horse” or trap, meant to turn on its wielder at the worst possible time, or to unleash some unknown doom when handled by a certain person or taken to a certain place. According to these darker rumours, the Sun priests themselves secretly question the sword’s true purpose, and their divinations having failed to discern the truth, they loan out the sword to faithful crusaders as a way to test the swords allegiance in the hands of less valuable members of the faith, before daring to bring it to their high priest or store it in their sacred vaults.