One of the toughest challenges facing a DM (and I can only assume that everyone reading this either is, or wants to be, a DM) is keeping his game sessions fresh and exciting.
Those of us who produce new material for the AD&D game as a whole have a more or less similar task, although on a larger scale. We are constantly searching for ways to make adventures and game accessories unique, or at least original and distinctive. Like Sir Isaac Newton, we’ve learned from experience that when faced with multiple choices, the simplest alternative is often the best.
Hence the book you hold in your hands...
So begins the foreword written by Steve Winter—discussing the latest release of the 2nd Edition, soon appearing once more in premium format on May 21.
In today's excerpt for the 2nd Edition Premium Dungeon Master Guide, we look at various details and advice offered through the book. First, we consider the mundane: the quality of equipment, including horses and locks (yes, the DMG covered quite a wide range of discussions). Next, the magical: specifically, the possible powers and personalities of intelligent weapons!
Quality of Equipment
Most of the equipment a character buys is assumed to be of average quality—neither too cheaply made nor too elaborate. Thus, weapons are serviceable with stout hafts and sturdy blades. The metal is not so poorly tempered as to make the blade hopelessly brittle. The blade is not elaborately etched and the hilt is not encrusted with gold. Other items are of everyday make, usefulness and function superseding artistic needs.
However, quality can vary from item to item. For some items it is important to know the quality, since this affects a game ability. The three items where quality is most significant are locks, horses, and weapons. In other instances, quality becomes important only if you or one of your players wants an item of exceptional beauty or of exceptionally shoddy construction.
Tables 113 through 119 should be used to determine the properties of an intelligent weapon: the number of powers, unusual properties, alignment, and special purpose of the item (if any). Such weapons are useful to give higher-level fighters some additional tactical options and limited-use special abilities.
The DM is encouraged to design unusual magical weapons along special themes and for specific campaign purposes, using the tables as guidelines and for inspiration. Just because a power is rolled doesn’t mean it must be given out. If the DM feels a combination is too bizarre or powerful, he can simply change or ignore it.
Bart Carroll has been a part of Wizards of the Coast since 2004, and a D&D player since 1980 (and has fond memories of coloring the illustrations in his 1st Edition Monster Manual). He currently works as producer for the D&D website. You can find him on Twitter (@bart_carroll) and at bartjcarroll.com.