Of Dwarven Swords & Elven Mail

The Rhinegold & the Valkyrie, Arthur Rackham (1910)

Hello friends!

Luke and I have been tossing around some ideas to give dwarven/elven weapons and armor a bit more character. Right now there’s just a little footnote to the Gear table on page 145. We wanted to give them just a bit more love.

These items are not “magic.” That’s why they show up on the Gear table and not the Magic table. At the same time, they are meant to be items of special potence that add depth to your world.

Here’s what we’ve come up with. Please let us know what you think, especially if you use these ideas in a game!

Dwarven or Elven Weapons

Dwarven and elven weapons each have a unique name. They are forged with such craft and care that the wisdom of the ancient maker resonates through the weapon itself. These weapons are each imbued with a specific wise. Typically, a monster-wise like orc-wise, giant-wise or spider-wise. Creative smiths have been know to instill more esoteric knowledge into their blades like moonwise, gold-wise or truth-wise. The creature named in the wise cannot wield the weapon; they drop it with a yelp of pain if they grasp it.

The weapon confers its wise to the wielder while held and the wielder may use the wise as if it were their own. This wise does not count against the character’s maximum of four wises.


This broad-bladed, damascened sword was the work of the dwarven mastersmith Regin and was quenched in the heart’s blood of the dragon, Frænir. Having consumed the dragon’s spirit, it has become Dragon-wise.


This slim, wickedly sharp dagger has a hilt made from polished antler of a pure white hart. The elf bladesinger Hulda is believed to have crafted the dagger in utter darkness. It is Shadow-wise.

Dwarven or Elven Armor

These protective devices are crafted with skill beyond the ken of mortals. If the GM gives the bearer the Dead condition as the result of violence (from a conflict or a twist), the armor will absorb the blow. The armor can only serve this purpose once. It will absorb a death blow even if the armor itself was damaged during a conflict. In addition, the quality of the armor allows the bearer to reroll the armor die once. The bearer must abide by the result of the second roll.


Replica of the helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship-burial 1, England, from the collection of the British Museum 

Gullhjalmr is a mighty helm of steel and beaten gold that was recovered from the hoard of the dragon Frænir.

The treasure was the work of Ai, one of the ancient dwarf-kings of Nidavellir.

Notable Replies

  1. I absolutely love both of these. I’ve tried tweaking the rules for Dwarven/ Elven Weapons, but this is a perfect approach.

  2. Avatar for Thor Thor says:


    And for those who might be wondering how this would look in a game: Orcrist, Glamdring and Sting from The Hobbit/LOTRO would be Orc-wise (OK, Goblin-wise in The Hobbit).

  3. I dig it.

    I’m assuming the re-roll would be once ever. Not like per conflict or anything like that?

  4. Super dig it!

  5. Avatar for luke luke says:

    Once means once in this case!

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