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Malevolent Special Abilities
Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons ® Player’s Handbook
Athenaeum Arcane:
A Score of Malevolent Special Abilities
In the end, no matter how benev-
olent a weapon’s special abilities
seem, all are intended for a single
purpose: aiding the weapon’s owner
in the destruction of his enemies.
That said, there are certain special
abilities which are much more
vicious, more destructive, and yes,
more outright evil than others. The
dozen new special abilities intro-
duced here definitely fall within that
latter category. Not all of the abili-
ties introduced here are evil, though
some most definitely are, but all
twelve of these new special abilities
are uniformly vicious and palpably,
viscerally destructive.
The new special abilities presented here
are useful for any campaign, and will serve to
add a grim, somewhat savage tone to combat.
While very few of these new abilities are
specifically designed for evil weapons and
their wielders, all are especially well suited
for villains and anti-heroes, and will give
them a powerful edge in combat, as well as
provide you with the means to put a little bit
of fear into the player’s, and their character’s,
Armor and shield
Special abilities
Corrupted ichor armor transforms the
wearer’s blood to pure, boiling acid when
worn, punishing all those who would dare
strike him with a rain of corrosive fluid.
Each time the wearer is struck by a melee
attack that inflicts piercing or slashing dam-
age, an eruption of acid sprays out from the
wound. The being who wounded the cor-
rupted ichor armor’s wearer is automatical-
ly struck, suffering acid damage equal to _
the amount of damage his attack inflicted;
with a successful Reflex save against DC
13, the damage is reduced to _. The acid
spray has a maximum range of 10 ft., mean-
ing attackers outside that range suffer no
damage. The magic of the corrupted ichor
spray is such that it avoids cover entirely, so
only those outside its range are safe from
danger. Creatures that are immune to acid
are likewise immune to the effects of cor-
rupted ichor.
Moderate transmutation; CL 10 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, acid arrow ; Price
+3 bonus.
Armor augmented with this exceptional-
ly dangerous special ability is painful to its
wielder and lethal to his enemies. On com-
mand, as a free action, the armor can be
commanded to erupt forth with thick, iron
spikes. The spikes, which are needle sharp
and long as a dagger, pierce both the inside
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Athenaeum Arcane:
A Score of Malevolent Special Abilities
and outside of the armor; the wearer suffers
1d4 points of damage from the spikes,
while any being in direct contact with him
– such as those attempting to grapple him,
or those constricting him – suffer 2d4 + the
armor’s enhancement bonus points of dam-
age. The spikes extend and retract in the
blink of an eye, and may be used once each
Faint transmutation; CL 8 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, greater magic
weapon ; Price +2 bonus.
melee attacks to a range of 10 feet as easily
as he attacks adjacent squares. Spider arm’s
armor can extend the wearer’s arms for a
total of 10 rounds each day – these rounds
need not be consecutive, and the armor can
be activated and deactivated as a free
Moderate transmutation; CL 10 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, polymorph ; Price
+2 bonus.
Armor with this special ability is espe-
cially dangerous in close combat, for it
grants its wearer great prowess in the art of
grappling. When engaged in a grapple, the
wearer gains a bonus to all grapple checks
equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus,
and can inflict lethal unarmed damage dur-
ing a grapple without the normal –4 penal-
ty. In addition, when dealing unarmed dam-
age, the wearer gains a bonus to damage
equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus.
This bonus applies only to unarmed attacks
dealing lethal damage, as the armor hungers
for the pleasure of the kill.
Faint transmutation; CL 8 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, bull’s strength;
Price +1 bonus.
When an owner of ooze sheath armor
dons his suit, his body undergoes a horrific
transformation, becoming a writhing,
clumping mass of gelatinous ooze. While
so transformed, he gains damage reduction
2/- against bludgeoning attacks and a bonus
equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus to
Escape Artist checks to break free of a grap-
ple. In addition, for a total of 10 rounds
each day, he can take on a purely gelatinous
form, allowing him to ooze through even
the tiniest cracks as though by the gaseous
form spell. While so transformed, the bonus
to Escape Artist skill checks granted by
ooze sheath is doubled. The wearer can
transform his body as a free action, and
need not use the ooze form on consecutive
Strong transmutation; CL 15 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, polymorph,
gaseous form ; Price +4 bonus.
A shield augmented by this special abil-
ity appears as an infinite black void, shot
through with motes of greasy light, like
stars seen through a greasy lens. Those who
dare approach the shield can hear a faint
howling issuing forth, like the cry of a dis-
tant, terrified child, or perhaps the whisper
of artic air skimming glacial mountains.
When the shield is grasped firmly, it
becomes a portal to a distant plane. When
an attack directed at the wielder misses by
a number equal to, or less than the shield’s
Armor with this powerful special ability
can be commanded to extend the wearer’s
limbs, twisting and sculpting them into
spindly arms grotesquely reminiscent of a
spider’s. While extended, the wielder is
considered to have reach, and can make
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Athenaeum Arcane:
A Score of Malevolent Special Abilities
enhancement bonus, the void yawns open
and sucks the weapon used in the attack
into its endless depths. Non-magical
weapons are absorbed with no chance of a
saving throw, while magic weapons gain a
save against a DC equal to 12 + the shield’s
enhancement bonus; the weapon gains a +1
bonus to the save for every point of magical
enhancement it possesses. Magic weapons
that fail to save are sucked into the void and
lost, while those that successfully save fall
to the ground, if they are ranged weapons,
or remain in their wielder’s hand if they are
not. Items equal in power to an artifact can-
not be lost to a void shield.
The power of a void shield is such that it
can also damage those who strike it while
making unarmed attacks, or when using
natural weapons. When such an attack
misses as described above, the attacker
takes 1d6 + the shield’s enhancement bonus
in cold damage. Creatures that are immune
to cold or negative energy do not suffer
damage when striking a void shield.
Strong conjuration; CL 16 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, teleport object ;
Price +5 bonus.
Special abilities
A weapon with this deadly special abili-
ty thirsts for the taste of blood, and is driv-
en into frenzy when immersed in its crim-
son flow. When a blood berserker weapon
inflicts a successful critical hit, it attunes
itself to the victim’s body, increasing its
critical multiplier by one step in the follow-
ing round, from x2 to x3 for example, but
only if the weapon is used against the same
target. If another critical hit is inflicted
against the attuned being during the follow-
ing round, the critical multiplier increases
by another step; increases to the critical
multiplier are cumulative, but all increases
disappearing if the weapon does not inflict
a critical hit on the specified target creature
in the subsequent round. Critical multiplier
increases also disappear when the targeted
creature is slain, or otherwise leaves the
combat. Once a blood berserker weapon
becomes attuned to a specific target, it
remains attuned until the victim is slain, or
until it is flees the combat –the weapon is
considered attuned even if its critical multi-
plier is not currently increased.
Once a blood berserker has tasted a vic-
tim’s blood, it is loathe to attack other tar-
gets until the attuned victim is slain, and
resentful of its wielder if forced to do so.
While attuned to a specific target, the
weapon’s critical multiplier is reduced to x1
when used to attack another being.
Creatures that are immune to critical
hits, or those which do not bleed, such as
constructs, oozes and plants, cannot be the
subject of a blood berserker’s attunement,
and may be attacked while the weapon is
attuned to another target without penalty.
Only weapons that inflict slashing or
piercing damage can be augmented with
this special ability.
Moderate transmutation; CL 8 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, rage ; Price +1
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Athenaeum Arcane:
A Score of Malevolent Special Abilities
Bone breaker weapons strike with the
force of a thunderbolt, splintering and snap-
ping bone with the ease of a child snapping
a twig. On a successful critical hit, a
weapon with this special ability forces the
victim to succeed at a Fortitude save
against DC 15; if the save succeeds, dam-
age is inflicted as normal, but if the save is
failed, bones shatter and the victim suffers
penalties as though disabled. He retains his
hit points, minus those inflicted by the crit-
ical hit, but is restricted to either a move
action or standard action each round, and
suffers 1 point of damage each time he per-
forms a standard action. The victim remains
effectively disabled until, through natural
or magical healing, he regains hit points
equal to the damage inflicted by the critical
Only weapons that inflict bludgeoning
damage can be augmented with the bone
breaker special ability.
Strong necromancy; CL 14 th ; Craft
Magic Arms and Armor, harm; Price +3
A weapon with this sinister special abil-
ity has a ferocious appetite for dead flesh,
and when allowed to gorge itself, it floods
its wielder’s spirit with power. If the wield-
er plunges the corpse eater into the flesh of
a dead being for one full round, the weapon
absorbs the corpse’s lingering soul energy
and redirects it, granting the wielder 1d8 hit
points, as by the death knell spell. If the
dead being was directly slain by the corpse
eater weapon, then the wielder also gains a
+2 temporary bonus to his strength, as by
the death knell spell, and the weapon’s
hardness is temporarily increased by 2
points as well. Bonuses to strength and
weapon hardness are not cumulative, and
the wielder cannot use the corpse eater to
gain additional temporary hit points until
the originals have faded, or have been oth-
erwise lost. A corpse eater can only feed on
a single body once, and it cannot be used to
draw soul energy from undead, or from
non-living creatures, such as constructs.
Only melee weapons can be augmented
with the corpse eater special ability.
Faint necromancy; CL 8 th ; Craft Magic
Arms and Armor, death knell ; Price +1
Once a victim’s bones have been shat-
tered by this weapon special ability, he need
not attempt further saves against subse-
quent critical hits, unless he is healed.
However, if reduced to 0 hit points or less
while his bones are shattered, he is auto-
matically slain.
Creatures without bones, such as crea-
tures of the plant type or ooze type, or cer-
tain other monsters, are immune to the
effects of this special ability. When used
against constructs, skeletons, or other, sim-
ilar undead, roll to confirm critical hits as
normal; on a successful hit, the being must
attempt a Fortitude save as above, or be
destroyed instantly. Note that the roll to
confirm the critical is made only to see
whether the being must save versus
destruction, and that the bone breaker abil-
ity does not confer the ability to inflict crit-
ical hits on beings that are normally
immune to them.
Weapons with this deadly special ability
are much favored by assassins, for they
inflict immense harm on the unwary. A
death dealer weapon can be used to per-
form a coup de grace against a helpless
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