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Real Steel: Contest Finalists

Real Steel: Contest Finalists

Cthulhu 19Arr! And ia ia!

It’s that day on Real Steel when we announce the finalists to our contest.


The five finalists—Blade of Ancient Visions, Cutlass of the Eldritch Deeps, Cutlass of the Shattered Mind, Eye of the Deep One, and R’lyeh’s Gaze—are listed below. Please, vote for your favorite in the poll at the end. Polls close on May 23, 2016.

1. Blade of Ancient Vision by Anthony Jennings

Weapon (cutlass), legendary (requires attunement)

This finely crafted, adamantine cutlass (use the stats for a scimitar) has an eye motif etched into the blade. While you possess this weapon, you are afflicted with the flaw: “I feel like someone is watching me, waiting for me to make a mistake.” No magic or other effect can cure this flaw so long as the Blade of Ancient Visions is in your possession. This flaw vanishes 24 hours after you rid yourself of the weapon and complete a long rest.

Once attuned, you gain a +2 to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon and the blade starts to secrete strange, viscous oil. Any creature wounded by the blade must succeed on a Constitution saving throw DC 18 or be poisoned.

While you hold the drawn blade, you can use a bonus action to gain the effects of true sight. This functions as per the spell, but you sense the presence of strange beings looming just outside your peripheral vision. You can never directly see them, but you know they are watching you and waiting for something.

Any creature attuned to the Blade of Ancient Visions and has used the true sight ability permanently gains the following flaw: “They are coming for you. They have replaced your companions, your friends, even your family. They are going to kill you, unless you kill them first.”

Since an expedition discovered the Blade of Ancient Visions in the ruins of the city of Vunigothu, every creature that has possessed this cutlass has died horribly, including Lady Erin du Martigues, the fallen paladin responsible for the halfling genocide a decade ago. Many committed suicide, but others were executed for the gruesome murders of their friends and families.

2. Cutlass of the Eldritch Deeps by Jeff Lee

Weapon (scimitar), legendary (requires attunement)

The leather cup guard of this blade is made of some strange, squamous hide, and emblazoned with a copper disk sporting a monstrous, tentacled head. A similar head is attached to one side of the dark-stained wooden scabbard, while the other side is set with a monstrous, yellow glass eye. Both blade and scabbard have a dank, briny smell about them.

You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this weapon. The blade of the cutlass appears pitted and corroded, but is immune to corrosion, such as acid or a rust monster’s Rust Metal trait. When you hit a creature of lawful alignment with this magic weapon, that creature takes an extra 2d6 necrotic damage.

Once per day, you can command the glass eye upon the scabbard to become a glaring, viscid thing that turns its terrible gaze upon your enemies. Each creature of your choice in a 20-foot cone must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or suffer a random short-term madness for 1 minute.

Quirk. If you remain in a region for more than a day, the weather turns gloomy. This does not bring violent weather, just unseasonable drops in temperature, fog, clouds, light rain, and similar dreary weather.

Curse. This cutlass is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the cutlass, keeping it within reach at all times. The weapon attracts the attention of evil, aquatic creatures. The chances for random encounters with such creatures are doubled. In encounters, such creatures will attack you in preference to other targets and will attempt to take the cutlass for themselves if they are able.

3. Cutlass of the  Shattered Mind by Jude Coulter-Pultz

Weapon (cutlass or scimitar), very rare (requires attunement)

This cutlass was forged from an alien alloy engineered to absorb psychic energy. The heated psychic metal was then quenched in the ichor of an elder entity of the Far Realm, infusing the blade with a trace of the being’s incomprehensible power. Untold centuries later, the cutlass was bought off of a deranged sailor who claimed he found it in the ruins of a city sleeping on the ocean floor. Perhaps other wonders lay hidden there, or perhaps the old sailor simply imagined the city in a fit of delirium.
You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this weapon.

Exsanguinated Whispers. Any creature you hit with this weapon must make a DC 13 Charisma saving throw. If the creature fails, you may access a specified snippet of information from the creature’s mind. If the save is successful, you access a random thought, memory, or impression instead.

Curse. Whenever you are holding the unsheathed cutlass, the GM can have you roll a d20, but not more than once per hour. If you roll a 1, glimpses of the horrifically alien Far Realm haunt you for 1d4 minutes. You are stunned for the duration. When the effect ends, you must make a DC 17 Charisma saving throw or become permanently insane (the GM can assign an affliction or roll on the “Indefinite Madness” table of the Dungeon Master’s Guide). It is possible to gain more than one affliction in this manner. The madness can only be healed by a greater restoration spell or comparably potent magic.

4. Eye of the Deep One by Yiou Michael Zhang

Weapon (scimitar), legendary (requires attunement by a creature of non-lawful alignment)

This cutlass was once the prized blade of an infamous pirate whose ship sank under the Sea of Madness. The sword spent centuries buried under the waves, engulfed in the seeping chaotic energies of the beings that lurk in those waters. No one knows how it found its way back to civilization, but now it moves from wielder to wielder, driving its bearers insane even as it serves as a herald of the Deep One’s return.

You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

When you take a long rest, you may sprout up to five tentacles from your body, which last until your next long rest. For each tentacle you have, your Wisdom and Charisma scores are reduced by 2 until your next long rest. These ability reductions can’t be recovered by any other means as long as you have tentacles. If your Wisdom or Charisma score falls to 0 or lower, you become permanently insane and turn into an NPC under the DM’s control.

A tentacle is a natural melee weapon with 10 ft reach which deals 1d4 magical bludgeoning damage. You are proficient with your own tentacles and may add your Strength or Dexterity modifier to their attack and damage. You can use tentacles as limbs to grapple, shove, or pick up objects (within reason). However, they cannot be used for actions that require fine motor control, such as writing or bearing weapons or shields.

When you take the Attack action on your turn to attack with Eye of the Deep One, you may also attack with all of your tentacles as part of that same action.

5. R’lyeh’s Gaze by August Hahn

Wondrous item, Unique (forces attunement)

“It had been an ugly business, hunting down the madman and his cult, but we had no choice. Imagine my fury, my panic when we searched their bodies afterwards and the blade was nowhere to be found! I came to understand later, after the fever dreams and the visions of that baleful eye, that while I had not laid claim to the terrible weapon, it had most assuredly laid claim to me…”

Curse. R’lyeh’s Gaze is often mistaken as an enchanted weapon, but the truth is far more insidious. It is a spiritual corruption, a curse transferred upon death to the nearest sentient being (typically the victim’s slayer). It takes time to bear its full effect and as it does, R’lyeh’s Gaze manifests its changes upon the victim’s favorite weapon. The corruption comes in stages, starting with transference.

Transference. (Wisdom DC 18) Upon contracting R’lyeh’s Gaze, the victim loses the ability to sleep peacefully for four nights. During this time, any attempt to sleep brings horrific nightmares and paranoia. The victim suffers a cumulative penalty of -1 to all Wisdom saving throws per night.

Manifestation. On the last night, the victim will hallucinate a great red eye appearing in every shadow. These will all vanish with the next dawn. The victim will feel cured, but the malady has simply moved to the favored weapon. It now bears the scarlet eye on its surface or its scabbard, has become attuned, and bears the following abilities in addition to its own (if any):

Weapon, Legendary (varies, attuned)
You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
While holding this weapon, you are immune to mind-affecting spells and effects.
If you die, this weapon rots away into nothingness.


[poll id=”12″]

1 thought on “Real Steel: Contest Finalists”

  1. Blade of Ancient Visions is an excellent example of narrative use of the mechanics. While the drawbacks for using this powerful artifact may not be immediately tangible, it will leave a scar on the character that promises a lifetime of Lovecraftian terror.

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