10 Remarkable Maces

One-dimensional, unremarkable treasure is boring. Adding interesting descriptions to treasure adds depth, detail and verisimilitude to the GM’s campaign.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

 

Of course, a GM doesn’t have time to slavishly detail every piece of treasure in his campaign. That’s where the list below comes in handy.

The GM can use these descriptions to bring to life the weapon wrenched from the corpse of a defeated foe, as the basis for a magic weapon or even to depict a PC’s treasured heirloom possession. However they are used, the descriptions below are inherently more interesting that, “It’s a mace.”

Use the table below, to determine the mace’s appearance:

  1. Set upon a haft of stout oak, this mace’s oval shaped head is worn smooth on one wide.
  2. The iron pear-shaped head of this mace glistens as if it were wet. A leather loop is threaded through the weapon’s haft to make it harder to drop.
  3. Small holes are bored through the mace’s spherical head. When the mace is swung vigourously, the holes create a high-pitched whistling sound.
  4. This mace has a haft of iron and a small square pommel.
  5. The haft of this mace is of dull iron worn smooth through countless hours of use. Similarly the head is dented and chipped suggesting it has seen much combat.
  6. The head of this mace was forged to depict a snarling demon’s head. Dried blood covers the demon’s face and one of the demon’s horns has snapped off.
  7. The haft of this mace is engraved with lurid scenes of battle and death. Some of the carvings have been damaged—probably in combat.
  8. Atop this stout haft sits a grinning iron skull. The skull has been painted white to appear more “real” but the paint is faded and chipped. Thus, the skull has a mottled—almost diseased—look.
  9. When caught in bright light this mace’s circular head gleams like the sun.
  10. Mystical symbols—worn smooth by use and age—adorn the head and haft of this ornate flanged mace. The mace has four flanges—on each the mystical symbol for one of the elements appears prominently.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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6 thoughts on “10 Remarkable Maces

  1. REALLY??

    WASTE of writing. Filler items don’t have to be descriptive, your article centers around “Flavor” text. Most players only care about descriptive items if they are magical, or cursed.Hence detail is a “Great” thing, but too much “detail” to trivial things is a snooze. Now I had players that used to complain about detail back in the day, why? It gave the “Monty Haul” crowd that just wanted to go room to room a challenge, after awile they had to pay attention to things and then they got paranoid whenever something went a foul. Unless every thing is a Hook affect in a area by object-all they time. That level of detail just does not flow well, cause the flip side then they get disappointed when everything by detail is NOT a hook affect or plot of something coming from it out of the norm.

    • Sorry you didn’t like the list, Thomas. I’m not suggesting you’d want to describe every weapon the PCs come across in this detail. However, I do think this kind of detail is valuable (and jolly cool) for magic items and suchlike!

    • Did you actually read the list? “Of course, a GM doesn’t have time to slavishly detail every piece of treasure in his campaign. That’s where the list below comes in handy.

      The GM can use these descriptions to bring to life the weapon wrenched from the corpse of a defeated foe, as the basis for a magic weapon or even to depict a PC’s treasured heirloom possession. However they are used, the descriptions below are inherently more interesting that, “It’s a mace.”” He’s already pointed out that this list could/should apply to weapons that are of special note or particular importance to the character. Magic or not, If My character finally tracks down the leader of a demonic cult that has murdered his family, when I rip his mace from his dead hands as a trophy, I’d like to know what it looks like. I love these sorts of lists, and love sprinkling weapons with descriptions like this through my games.