Weapons of Legend in the Summerlands

Weapons of Legend

The Summerlands started as an idea for the (now long over) June RPG Blog Carnival, hosted by Tales of a DM, and Weapons of Legend is the July Carnival, hosted by Of Dice and Dragons (what can I say – I like writing prompts).

Since the sea kin in my Summerlands setting are based (loosely) on the Mauri, it seemed appropriate to write about a pair of weapons from their stories. This is also an opportunity to play with the 5e Legacy Weapon idea that I wrote about some time ago. These two weapons use the same format, but apply it in different ways, and both of them come from the mythology of the Polynesian islands.

Jawbone of Maui

The Trickster god Maui is one of the most important gods in Polynesian mythology, and tales of his exploits can be found on every island in the South Pacific. In one of the most commonly told tales, Maui tricks his grandmother, Muri-ranga-whenua, into giving him her jawbone to use as a weapon.

When Maui notices that the sun is moving too quickly through the sky, and leaving people too little time to fish and farm, he and his brothers trap the sun, and with the mighty jawbone, he beats the sun until it agrees to move more slowly.

Later, he uses the jawbone as a fish-hook, and pulls an enormous fish out of the sea. The fish’s body becomes the North Island of New Zealand (its Mauri name is Te Ika-a-Māui, or The Fish of Maui).

This seems like a great legendary weapon for a D&D game, and one that hasn’t been detailed over and over, in various editions. With that in mind, the build below uses the legacy weapon rules I’m playing with for 5th Edition.

hongihika-jadeclubJawbone of Maui

Weapon (mere), Legacy (requires attunement)

This mere (one-handed stone club) has a jagged edge on one side, with sharp edges that look like human teeth. On close examination, it looks like nothing so much as half of a jaw. The jawbone feels smooth, as though made of jade, but looks like bleached human bone and is always cold to the touch. When first encountered, it seems like nothing more than a particularly gruesome, and particularly deadly, mere. When it is used by a particularly ambitious adventurer, however, the Jawbone of Maui grows from a minor magical tool into a weapon of legendary power.

You always feel more self-assured while you wield this weapon, as though nothing bad can ever befall you. This weapon deals piercing, as well as bludgeoning, damage. In addition, this weapon is unbreakable. It can only be destroyed by washing it in the sea until it, and its wielder, are devoured by fish. As you gain additional levels, the Jawbone of Maui gains the following additional properties.

     Great are My Speed and Cunning. When you reach 4th level, you gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with the Jawbone of Maui. In addition, you are unnaturally quick to act. While the jawbone is on your person, you have advantage on initiative rolls.

     I Will Trap the Sun. When you reach 8th level, you gain resistance to fire damage while you hold the Jawbone of Maui in your hand. 

     I am No Coward. When you reach 13th level, you gain a +2 to your attack and damage rolls made with the Jawbone of Maui, instead of a +1 bonus. In addition, while the Jawbone of Maui is on your person, you have advantage on any saving throw against fear.

     I Slay Giants. When you reach 17th level, when you hit a creature that is at least two size categories larger than you are with the Jawbone of Maui, that creature takes an additional 3d6 damage. In order to resist this damage, the creature must be resistant to bludgeoning, piercing, and fire damage. In addition, if you are swallowed by a creature, your first attack each round is considered a critical hit, if it hits.


Tokotoko-tai (Longstaff of the Sea)

Created by the Samoan priest and weapon-smith Taunga, the spear originally called Tokotoko-tai (or Longstaff of the Sea) was built for the great Samoan chief Tu-Taurangi, and was said to have been so powerful and bloodthirsty that it shook in a most terrifying manner of its own accord. Before Taunga would deliver the weapon, however, it was stolen by Tu, the god of war, who coveted its power, and who had renamed it Nionio-roroa (The Long Way Around, or the Tall Defender in Circles). Furious, Tu-Taurangi sent his greatest warrior, Kuru, to retrieve it. Though Tu’s four children, two sons and two daughters, tried to stop Kuru from taking the weapon, the slew them with it, and then went on a killing spree across the countryside with the weapon, which he had renamed Taitai-pakoko (The Sea Dries Up). Eventually, Kuru sought to kill the god of war Maru-maomao, but the god conspired with the sun to trick Kuru, kill him, and take the weapon. Maru-maomao, in turn, gave the weapon to his warrior Te Akamatua-o-te-po (Akumata of the Night), who named it Paii-enua (I Am The Earth). The two had many adventures, and the weapon passed into legend, never to return to the mighty war-chief, Tu-Taurangi.

The story of Tokotoko-tai (my favorite of the weapon’s many names) is a long a complicated one (much, much longer than this), and it is never specific about what the weapon is. It might be a cane or a spear, but it might also be something in between the two. Either way, it is one of the most famous weapons created by Taunga, the legendary weapon-maker. Still, it was used by mortals (like Kuru) to slay gods (such as the children of Tu, and many others), and that, to me, makes it the perfect weapon for a player character. In this version, I’m going to use the Maori weapon the taiaha, because it’s a beautiful weapon that is hard to properly represent in D&D stats. It is primarily a long-hafted club, but the haft has a sharp point. The Maori rarely used the point as a weapon, considering it sacred, but could use it when pressed (as in this, anecdotal but lovely, story). It takes more skill than power to use properly, and is 5-6 feet long.

In my stats for it, below, I decided to give it both the reach and finesse properties, to represent its size and the dexterity it takes to wield properly, in addition to the obvious two-handed property. If 5th Edition offered something like it, I would have given it a bonus to combat maneuvers, but I couldn’t work out how to make that work, without a major rules re-write. Maybe later.

TaiahaTokotoko-tai (Longstaff of the Sea)

Weapon (taiaha), Legacy (requires attunement)

When this weapon was wielded by the legendary warrior Kuru, all of its abilities were available to him. With it, he slew gods, and drove his enemies before him. In the time since then, however, its abilities have faded. They must be re-awakened by a worthy, and suitably bloodthirsty, warrior.

This mighty taiaha lusts for battle. When not being held, it shakes fearsomely, and creatures within 30 feet of it must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be frightened by Tokotoko-tai. This effect does not function while the weapon is being held, however, its wielder has advantage on all Charisma (Intimidate) checks while holding Tokotoko-tai. As you gain additional levels, the Tokotoko-tai gains the following additional properties.

     The Tall Defender: Tokotoko-tai is a most unusual weapon. When you reach 3rd level, Tokotoko-tai’s attacks are treated as slashing, as well as bludgeoning, damage. In addition, while you wield Tokotoko-tai, you gain a +2 bonus to your armor class, as though using a shield.

     The Long Way Around: When you reach 7th level, Tokotoko-tai‘s magic makes your strikes more effective. You gain a +1 to attack and damage rolls made with Tokotoko-tai.

     Longstaff of the Sea: As its power grows, Tokotoko-tai becomes increasingly bloodthirsty. When you reach 11th level, your attack rolls made with Tokotoko-tai score a critical hit on a roll of 19-20, and on a critical hit you may re-roll any number of your damage dice. You must use the result of the second roll, and you may only reroll your damage dice once. When you have used this power, you may not use it again until after you have finished a short or long rest.

    The Sea Dries Up When you reach 18th level, Tokotoko-tai‘s hunger for the heads of it enemies awakens. You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with Tokotoko-tai. In addition, the weapon ignores resistance to slashing and bludgeoning damage.
When you attack a creature that has at least one head and score a critical hit, you cut off one of the creature’s heads. The creature dies if it can’t survive without the lost head. A creature is immune to this effect if it is immune to slashing damage, doesn’t have or need a head, has legendary actions, or the DM decides that the creature is too big for its head to be cut off with this weapon. Such a creature instead takes an extra 6d8 slashing damage from the hit.

     The Sea Dries Up: When you reach 20th level, Tokotoko-tai‘s destiny is made manifest. When you hit a celestial creature with Tokotoko-tai, the creature takes an additional 6d8 slashing damage. In addition, your attack rolls made against celestial creatures with Tokotoko-tai score a critical hit on a roll of 18-20.

New Weapons

Name Cost Damage Weight Properties
Simple Melee Weapon
Mere 2 gp 1d6 bludgeoning and piercing 2 lb. Light
Martial Melee Weapon
Taiaha 10 gp 1d10 bludgeoning 5 lb. Finesse, reach, two-handed

Next Time: Adventuring in the Summerlands! A wildren druid-mage goes too far and produces some simian antagonists! 

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2 responses to “Weapons of Legend in the Summerlands

  1. Pingback: July 2015 Blog Carnival: Sheathing the Weapons | of Dice and Dragons

  2. Pingback: Summerlands Recap and New Directions | Dungeon Hacking

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