D&d vorpal blade

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D&D 5E Vorpal weapon

Just a favor - could you tag this thread "5E" to clarify the edition? Our forum overlords have decided on a grand edition crossover in what used to be the 5E forum, and it's kind of confusing right now.

HawaiiSteveO said:

"The creature dies if it can't survive without the lost head."

So, not unconscious & making death saves, but DEAD?

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Yup. It's kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. It is an ex-monster.

Though note that "if it can't survive without the lost head" is an important caveat. A hydra, for example, can lose a head and keep right on going. It might also be possible for a construct or undead creature to survive the loss of its head. There is no rule specifying exactly which creatures can survive decapitation; that's up to the DM to decide.

HawaiiSteveO said:

This would be a case of specific beating general (?), and it's possible the target could have hit points and still be dead? Or headless = zero HP?

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Nothing says the target drops to 0 hit points; so, technically, it dies at positive hit points, and effects that trigger on reducing a creature to 0 hit points would not be triggered. However, I would probably house rule that being insta-killed counts as reducing to 0 hit points.

HawaiiSteveO said:

Cure wounds, revivify, heal all won't work, but resurrection would although head isn't missing (it's right over there!)?

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For revivifyand raise dead, you could read "missing body parts" in two ways. You could say that any severed/unattached body part is "missing," in which case a vorpal kill could not be undone by those spells; or you could say that a body part is only "missing" if it is not physically in contact with the rest of the body, in which case you could use revivifyor raise deadas long as you retrieve the head and hold it in contact with the neck.

I would probably favor the latter approach, but I would see either one as a legit interpretation that does not rise to the level of a house rule.

Vorpal is one of those things that is always going to require a fair bit of adjudication.

 

Sours: https://www.enworld.org/threads/vorpal-weapon.658421/

10 Strongest Legendary Weapons in Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons are filled with a vast array of magical treasures and items that players can obtain in their travels. As much as players enjoy finding valuable jewels and gold, nothing beats finding rare equipment that has practical applications. Of the magic items in D&D, few are valuable as legendary weapons.

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These named weapons are often in the possession of specific individuals that appear in campaign modules and are without a doubt some of the most difficult to acquire pieces of equipment in the game. Here are the strongest legendary weapons in D&D.

10 Defender

The defender is perhaps one of the most straightforward entries on this list but is still an excellent weapon, regardless. A sword that provides a +3 bonus on all attack and damaging rolls, the sword can flexibly convert any amount of this offensive buff into a defensive one each turn.

This allows this +3 offensive buff to be traded for a +3 AC buff until the wielder's next turn, or even +2 AC while maintaining +1 to attacks and damage. This can easily provide an already defensive character with an excessively high armor class.

9 Gurt's Greataxe

A massive axe that once belonged to a Frost Giant lord, Gurt's Greataxe is a massive weapon that weighs 325 pounds. Dealing an incredible 3D12 (plus an extra 2D12 if the target is human), this weapon is one of the most consistent sources of raw damage that can be found on a melee weapon.

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Additionally, as this axe's magical origins are of a Frost Giant, it has a uniquely chilling ability. Once per day, this axe allows its wielder to cast a variation of the spell, Heat Metal, that chills metal, causing it to deal cold damage rather than heating it.

8 Greater Silver Sword

While a Greater Silver Sword can only be attuned to by a creature with psionic abilities, the benefits it supplies are extraordinary. As long as a creature is attuned to this sword, they gain an advantage on all wisdom, intelligence, and charisma saving throws, greatly improving one's survivability. As if that weren't enough, this word provides its wielder with resistance to psychic damage and immunity to being charmed.

While more of a niche and less frequently applicable ability, if this sword is used to attack a being's astral body and lands a critical hit, the connection between this astral form and their physical form is severed.

7 Bookmark

Appearing in Tomb of Annihilation, Bookmark is a magical dagger that belongs to the character Artus Cimber. While the dagger can't do the most damage, it has an overwhelming amount of non-damaging applications.

Functioning as a compass, the Bookmark can create a light, can cast the spell Compulsion on beasts and spiders, or most notably, allow its wielder to cast the spell Dimension Door. As Dimension Door is one of the most useful teleportation spells in the game, it's no surprise that a weapon that allows it to be cast by non-magic party members would make it onto this list.

6 Holy Avenger

The Holy Avenger is a weapon that can distinctly only be attuned to by Paladins. Luckily, this weapon fits the traditional Paladin role and archetype to a T. Providing a +3 bonus to all attack and damage rolls, when the Holy Avenger is used to attack a fiend or an undead target, the target sustains an additional 2D10 of radiant damage.

Additionally, this sword helps a Paladin better serve as a party's protector, providing any ally within ten feet of the wielder to roll saving throws of magical attacks on advantage.

5 Hazirawn

A legendary greatsword, the Hazirawn can deal substantial amounts of necrotic damage over the course of an encounter, dealing 1D6 of necrotic damage on the first attack of a turn, and an additional 2D6 of necrotic damage if it's used to attack as a bonus action.

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In addition to its damaging capabilities, the Hazirwan is a perceptive player's dream, allowing the wielder to cast the spell's Detect Magic, Detect Good and Evil, and Detect Thoughts.

4 Rakdos Riteknife

Appearing in the Guildmaster's Guide To Ravnica, the Rakdos Riteknife is a magical weapon in possession of the Rakdos Cult. Though this dagger only deals 1D4 damage, whenever it is used to kill a creature, the creature's soul is trapped in the knife. This knife can store up to five souls in it at a time. This is relevant, as attacks with the knife deal an additional 1D4 damage for each soul in the knife, meaning it can hypothetically deal as much as 6D6 per hit.

As if this damage output wasn't useful enough, souls can be siphoned by the wielder to heal 1D10. Furthermore, this knife's Annihilation ability allows five souls to be exchanged for a powerful attack that can theoretically instantly kill a creature with under 75 remaining HP.

3 Vorpal Sword

A vorpal sword is without a doubt the most simple sword, but it easily one of the strongest. Gaining +3 on damage and attack rolls, if this sword is used to land a critical hit on a creature with a head, the creature is instantly decapitated, killing it instantly if it can't survive without its head.

It's hard to turn down a weapon that can instantly kill a foe instantly, just by landing a critical hit.

2 Moonblade

Though Moonblades can only be attuned to by elves and half-elves, they have the potential to be some of the most impressive weapons in the game. Swords passed down from generation to generation, a Moonblade gains more and more abilities based on how many previous owners it had.

These abilities can range from providing additional damage, providing the weapon with minor properties, or even providing the sword with the properties of a Defender or Vorpal Sword!

1 Luck Blade

Flexible and consistently fantastic, a Luck Blade is the most reliably useful Legendary Weapon in D&D. Allowing its wielder to reroll any one of their rolls each day, a Luck Blade notably comes with up to three charges.

While these charges can't be restored once used, they can be expended to cast the always useful Wish Spell. As Wish is by and large the most useful and flexible spell in the game, having access to additional wishes on an item that already provides another benefit is quite ideal.

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Paul DiSalvo (77 Articles Published)

Staff Writer, Paul DiSalvo is a writer, comic creator, animation lover, and game design enthusiast currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts. He has studied creative writing at The New Hampshire Institute of Art and Otis College of Art and Design, and currently writes for CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant, and TheGamer. In addition to writing, he directs and produces the podcast, "How Ya Dyin'?" He enjoys collecting comics, records, and wins in Samurai Shodown.

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Vorpal Sword

After several years of Magic: The Gathering crossing over into Dungeons & Dragons, the world’s biggest tabletop role-playing game will join forces with Magic for Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, the first crossover set in Magic’s history.

The two properties are both in the Wizards of the Coast family, making the cross over a natural transition. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is a main expansion that brings D&D mechanics and flavor to the card gam,e which started as a way for adventurers to pass time in between D&D sessions.

During today’s Weekly MTG stream on Twitch, Wizards showed off a handful of preview cards for the upcoming set, including Legendary Creature Tiamat. The official spoiler season for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms starts on June 29.

  • Mana Value: B
  • Type: Artifact Equipment
  • Rarity: Rare
  • First ability: Equipped Creature gets +2/+0 and has Deathtouch.
  • Second ability: 5BBB: Until end of turn, Vorpal Sword gains “Whenever equipped Creature deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game.”
  • Third ability: Equip: BB

This magical item came to D&D inspired by the vorpal blade from Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky. In D&D, Vorpal Sword can instantly kill a creature with at least one head on a perfect 20 roll. This instant kill property is translated into this card well. Vorpal Sword is a cheap equipment to cast and equip.

At its core, Vorpal Sword will make a Creature a devastating threat in combat. +2/+0 and Deathtouch are two strong abilities. This will force unfavorable blocks and could combo well with First Strike equipment like Maul of the Skyclaves.

The activated ability is literally game-winning. When a creature equipped with Vorpal Sword deals combat damage to a player they lose the game immediately. The threat of activation with this equipment is real, even if it takes eight mana to use. Evasive abilities like Trample, Menace, or Flying could lead to surprising victories.

  • Mana Value: W
  • Type: Artifact
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • First ability: When Portable Hole enters the battlefield, exile target nonland permanent an opponent controls with mana value two or less until Portable Hole leaves the battlefield.

A Portable Hole is a cloth that, when opened, creates an extradimensional hole that is 10 feet deep and can be used to hold, or trap, creatures and objects. Portable Hole is a one-mana Artifact that acts in a similar way to its D&D counterpart. Portable Hole can exile a nonland permanent with a mana value of two or less until it leaves the battlefield.

Portable Hole can be used to shut down key Creatures like Luminarch Aspirant or Fervent Champion in aggressive strategies. The card being able to hit any nonland permanent opens the door to take out an opponent’s key Artifact or Enchantment. Some early targets this hits is Improbable Alliance and Mazemind Tome.

  • Mana Value: 1B
  • Type: Instant
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • First ability: Destroy target non-Angel, non-Demon, non-Devil, non-Dragon Creature.

Power Word Kill is a 9th level spell that causes a Creature within range to instantly die if they have 100 or fewer Hit Points. There are a lot more limitations on the Magic card of the same name. Power Word Kill is a cheap, but conditional removal spell. There aren’t a ton of Angels, Demons, Devils, or Dragons running around Standard. However, there are enough to make Power World Kill an awkward fit into main decks.

This is compounded with the knowledge that Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will have a Dragon tribal theme.

Power Word Kill could show up in some sideboards. It is a good removal spell without some of the limitations of Heartless Act and Eliminate. This can hit Creatures with counters on them and high Mana Value threats.

  • Mana Value: 1G
  • Type: Creature Halfling Citizen
  • Rarity: Uncommon
  • Stats: 1/1
  • First ability: When Prosperous Innkeeper enters the battlefield, create a Treasure token.
  • Second ability: Whenever another Creature enters the battlefield under your control, you gain one life.

Innkeepers are a staple in almost every D&D campaign. They give quests, provide a place for adventurers to rest, and are generally delightful people. Prosperous Innkeeper is a strong utility Creature that should see plenty of play in Standard and Historic. The 1/1 Creature enters the battlefield with a treasure that helps you ramp.

The real value of the card comes with the second ability. Gaining life when other Creatures enter the battlefield is enough to recover against an early aggro onslaught or get out of Embercleave range. Prosperous Innkeeper will be strong in Historic Collected Company decks. In Standard, the Halfling Citizen could be a great two-drop in Winota, Joiner of Forces decks.

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms releases digitally on July 8 with a full tabletop release on July 23.

Sours: https://dotesports.com/mtg/news/vorpal-sword-power-word-kill-highlight-early-previews-for-mtg-adventures-in-the-forgotten-realms
What Your Favorite D\u0026D Weapon Says About You
For this week’s throwback I thought we would take a quick look at a quintessential favorite the vorpal sword. The term vorpal however does not find its roots in role playing games. It was author Lewis Carrollwho first coined the term in his 1871 publication Through the Looking-Glass. This was the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865).The term appears twice in a poem called Jabberwocky which Alice reads:

He took his vorpal sword in hand
And later,
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.


The vorpal sword as we know it in fantasy role playing first appeared in D&D Supplement 1: Greyhawk (1975).It was basically a sword of sharpness on steroids that would decapitate you! Since then there has been numerous iterations of vorpal swords across many editions of Dungeons & Dragons.

Greyhawk Page 47, 1975

In the current Playtest material of 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons the weapon is still deadly:

Property [Attuned]:The weapon’s bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls increases to +3. Attacks you make using this weapon ignore resistance to slashing damage.

When the number you roll on the d20 for your attack roll using this weapon is 20, make another attack roll against the same target. If you hit again, the target takes an additional 6d8 damage. If the second attack roll is also an unmodified 20 and the target has 150 hit points or fewer, you lop off its head, killing it instantly. If the creature doesn’t have a head, you instead chop the creature in half, with the same lethal result.


I think the former is a fair modern interpretation but I probably will not be using it in my home brew campaign. To me the vorpal sword is one of those boogieman weapons that should be truer to its 1975 form. Instead my home brew version will read as follows:

Whenever you roll an unmodified 20 and the target has 150 hit points or fewer, you lop off its head, killing it instantly. If the creature doesn’t have a head, you instead chop the creature in half, with the same lethal result. If the target has more than 150 hit points it takes an additional 6d8 damage instead.

I never actually have given a non-epic level character a vorpal sword in my campaigns over the past thirty years. Swords of sharpness made the rounds in AD&D a few times and were very prized items. Many DM’s stay away from vorpal weapons for fear the BBEG will die in one lucky roll of the d20. I personally feel that if a player finds a vorpal weapon it should be of artifact quality and yes every BBEG should be scared of it! Likewise every player should still worry about that wayward and very hungry rust monster…

So what is your take on vorpal weapons and the snicker-snack of a natural 20?

Vorpal Swords are no big deal!

Sours: https://www.ultanya.com/2014/06/throwback-thursday-vorpal-sword.html

Vorpal blade d&d

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A Vorpal Sword is a slashing weapon that decapitates on a critical hit. Even experienced Dungeon Masters are wary of allowing a Vorpal Swords in their game–probably because they have heads. Since Vorpal Swords are some of the most fun you can have with your scabbard on, let’s figure out how to make them work.

Vorpal Mechanics

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In AD&D 1st and 2nd Edition, a Vorpal Sword would sever an armored humanoid opponent’s head if you rolled a 20, after applying bonuses. So basically you were lopping off heads with 20% of your attacks. This was harder against larger creatures (18-20) and stone/metal creatures (19-20). Some creatures were unaffected (doppelgangers, elementals, golems). This gets pretty absurd when you realize that with three attacks, you’ve got a 48.8% chance to vorpalize an armored humanoid.

In 3rd Edition, “vorpal” was a weapon enchantment for slashing weapons that would decapitate on a critical hit. The player who rolled a natural 20 with a Vorpal Sword would roll again to “confirm” their critical hit before lopping off the heads of their foe. The confirmation reduces your vorpal per attack chance from 20% to less than 5%.

In 5th Edition, the Vorpal Sword was installed as a legendary item. With this change, the “confirm” roll was abandoned, instead allowing the player to decapitate their foe on a natural 20 attack roll. This is tempered by immunities granted to creatures who don’t have or need heads (obvious), are immune to slashing (even though the weapon ignores slashing resistance), has legendary actions, or is too big. Instead, these creatures take 6d8 damage.

Chance to Vorpalize an Armored Humanoid

Critical RangeAD&D3rd Edition5th Edition
Crit. on 200.25%-4.75%5%
Crit. on 19-200.25%-4.75%5%
Crit. on 18-200.25%-4.75%5%
Crit. on 17-2020%0.25%-4.75%5%

History of Vorpal Power

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

–Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky” 

While Alice never divined the true power of the vorpal blade (her progenitor Carroll writing “I am afraid I can’t explain ‘vorpal blade’ for you”), Gary Gygax gave the vorpal blade life in Dungeons & Dragons.

Gygax ran with Carroll’s decapitation flavor text and scattered Vorpal Swords throughout the realms in old school TSR products:

In 3rd Edition, the vorpal enchantment was the highest roll on the random Melee Weapon Special Abilities table (Major 77-80), with everything above being “roll twice” (81-00). At market, the cost of a vorpal enchantment was +5, the highest available modifier. In order to craft the vorpal enchantment, you’d need to have a feat to create magic items, a good weapon, and access to high-level Necromancy magic (i.e. Circle of Death).

In 5th Edition, the Vorpal Sword is a legendary item. While it’s not an artifact, the vorpal mechanic is not available to artifact weapons on the Artifact Properties tables (Dungeon Master’s Guide p. 219).

Historically, vorpal is the most powerful weapon mechanic in D&D. Keep that in mind when considering its mechanics.

5e Mechanics and Interactions

Reducing the vorpal trigger to a natural 20 was an elegant solution.

However, it seems that it was inelegantly implemented. In 5th Edition’s rush to return everything to its simplified roots, the Vorpal mechanic became the most complicated it’s ever been. Now you have to remember four different exceptions, in which case the Vorpal Sword does damage instead of the thing it does.

I preferred the AD&D treatment where it was harder to vorpalize bigger creatures, hardest to vorpalize stone/metal creatures, and impossible to vorpalize headless stuff. Because that still follows the flavor of doing the thing it does. However, this was previously accomplished by expanding the critical range–the very thing that made the Vorpal Sword overpowered in AD&D. Instead of implementing these myriad rules, I direct your attention to this 3rd Edition rule that is maybe the least 3e thing ever:

DM Calls.png

That’s right: make a call. Just use your head (if you still have one).

I’ve heard D&D players say that the reason Vorpal is so dangerous is due to interaction with other dice manipulation mechanics. Frankly, I believe these concerns are overblown. Let’s examine how much of an affect they have, and whether it’s something that needs to be addressed.

Lucky Feat

“When you make an attack roll…you can…roll an additional d20. You choose which of the d20s is used for the attack roll…”

First we must acknowledge that Lucky is the most maligned and powerful feat. As such, it should not be an indictment against a separate mechanic that interactions with Lucky render it broken. With that being said, let’s see how bad it is and what we can do to work around it.

You can only use Lucky once for each vorpal attack you make. This essentially lets you roll with advantage. While your chance to trigger Vorpal on a straight roll is 5%, Lucky adds 4.75%.

Assuming you attack three times and burn all three luck points, your odds of triggering a vorpal strike are 26.5%. That’s significant, but still much less than AD&D’s 48.8% on three attacks. Compare this with the 14.2% chance to trigger a vorpal strike without Lucky after three attacks. I’m comfortable with a feat that adds 12% to your chance to instakill. If that’s all it’s being used for, I’m convinced that other feats can have a greater impact on the battle.

% to Vorpalize5th EditionLucky Feat (5th)AD&D
One Attack5%9.75%20%
Three Attacks14.2%26.5%48.8%

Always keep in mind that bad guys can by lucky too: “If more than one creature spends a luck point to influence the outcome of a roll, the points cancel each other out; no additional dice are rolled.” To keep it balanced, I burn luck points as Legendary Resistances.

If this still bothers you, the problem is probably Lucky, not the Vorpal Sword.

Halfling Lucky Racial Trait

“When you roll a 1 on the d20 for an attack roll…you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.”

This ability adds a miniscule chance to vorpalize. Halfling Lucky only triggers when you roll a 1, and then you must roll a 20 after rolling that one to activate vorpal. The chance of activating a Vorpal Sword due to the Halfling Lucky racial trait is 0.25% (1-in-400).

Wizard School of Divination Portent 2nd-Level Ability

“When you finish a long rest, roll two d20s and record the numbers rolled. You can replace any attack roll…before the roll…only once per turn.”

Your chance of rolling at least one 20 on your portent dice at the beginning of the day is 9.75%. This does not bother me. By the time the party finds a Vorpal Sword, the Wizard probably has a few things in their bag of tricks that have a greater than 10% chance of killing the BBEG. On the chance the Wizard wakes up on the destined day of the BBEG scrum and rolls a 20, then perhaps fate has it in the cards that the Vorpal Sword will win the day. That still doesn’t make it easy.

If you sense yourself thinking that the players might cheese the Divination dice, don’t let them. If you aren’t comfortable telling a player straight up to “cut the nonsense” (which I recommend), then apply narrative pressure: “sure, you can wait until tomorrow to reroll your Portent dice, but the BBEG will have wiped out the militia that’s supposed to support your attack, leaving you virtually no chance of success.” If your BBEG is vulnerable to attack, the window should be limited.

The Fix: Confirmation Rolls

The best kept secret about the 3rd Edition vorpal confirmation mechanic is that even though you’re making it harder on the player to succeed with vorpal decapitation, you’re doing it by employing the two most fun things in D&D: suspense and rolling dice. Now, when the player rolls a critical hit, they’re not just amped about dealing double damage, they’ve won a golden ticket to the vorpal lottery!

There are several ways to build the vorpal confirmation mechanic:

  • Natural 20s Only. In the spirit of 5th Edition, you can require another natural 20 to confirm the critical hit. This will leave some pretty slim odds of decapitation.
  • Critical Confirmation. You can require a second critical roll to confirm decapitation. While this will function identically to the Natural 20s Only rule in most situations, it would be a boon for the Champion Fighter, which is notoriously underpowered. If this applies in your game, you can require the critical or the natural 20 on the attack roll or the vorpal confirmation roll–the odds are the same.
  • Hit Confirmation. In the spirit of 3rd Edition, if the player rolls a natural 20 with a vorpal weapon, make them roll another d20, adding their attack modifier against the opponent’s Armor Class (AC) to confirm the hit. This is a nice middle-ground that tempers the 5% vorpal success without straining the odds to 1% or less.
  • Damage Dice Confirmation. Stealing a little from 4th Edition’s bastardized vorpal mechanic, you can confirm a decapitation when your player rolls maximum damage dice on a critical hit. This has the odd effect of making larger weapons harder to confirm vorpal hits (especially greatsword at 2d6), but perhaps that works thematically for you due to the greater maneuverability of a smaller blade.

I recommend calling the confirmation the “vorpal roll” instead of an “attack roll.” This skirts nicely around all the funny business with the Lucky feat, the Halfling Lucky racial trait, and the Diviner’s Portent feature. While players may be able to manipulate the initial roll under certain circumstances, the vorpal roll will keep the dice honest.

Your campaign should be enjoying Victorian-levels of head rolling in no time.

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Sours: https://thinkdm.org/2018/03/24/vorpal-sword-mechanics/
What More of Your Favorite D\u0026D Races Say About You

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