Play That Deadly Music, Baby

So, today’s post comes from the depths of my idea file – the document where I scribble thoughts for topics that I’d like to write about, but hadn’t fleshed out at the time.

Today’s material covers musical weapons; weaponry with a musical instrument built into them. Of course, fans of a certain show will immediately recognize where this idea originally comes from…

…man I never get tired of hearing that! Seriously, there were other reasons that the Green Ranger was awesome, but having a dagger that was also a flute which could be played to summon and control a giant dragon-robot was a large part of it!

But beyond sheer fan-wankery, what’s the real value of a character having a weapon that also makes music? Well…in all honesty, not that much. The major benefit seems to be in conserving the actions necessary to sheathe a weapon and draw an instrument. Beyond that, there’s not really much to recommend it; after all, you can’t fight with a weapon that your playing, and if it’s damaged or destroyed then you’ve lost something with twice the functionality of a standard item of either type.

But just because it doesn’t grant any major plusses doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile! After all, even window dressing is important if it helps you to make the PC you want. As such, here are the rules for musical weapons, with three listed.

WEAPON-INSTRUMENT: A weapon-instrument is a weapon that is constructed to have some musical ability built into it. This function must be built into the weapon at the time of its creation; it cannot be added to an existing weapon (or instrument) after having been made.

A weapon-instrument costs 50 gp more than a weapon of the same type. For example, a daggerflute would cost 52 gp, while a masterwork daggerflute would cost 352 gp. A weapon-instrument is either masterwork or non-masterwork for both its weapon and instrument components.

In all other respects, a weapon-instrument functions normally as both the weapon and instrument of its type.

Axelute: This greataxe has a thicker haft than usual, allowing for six strings to be strung down its length. A small hollowed-out area between the axeheads allows for the necessary acoustics when the strings are plucked.

Bowharp: A favored item among elves, this is a longbow or a shortbow with several additional strings which can be played as a harp. While it doesn’t have the same draw as a traditional bow, the additional strings compensate for this.

Daggerflute: A daggerflute has a hollowed-out hilt with a mouthpiece on one end of the crossguard. Small fingerholes on the hilt allow for different melodies to be played when the mouthpiece is blown into.

Of course, reading these over it’s pretty obvious even to a layman like me that these would almost certainly never work if you tried to construct them in real life. But you know what, in a world filled with magic and monsters, gods and demons, dungeons and dragons, I think there’s room for suspending disbelief a little bit where a few unrealistic weapons are concerned.

Until next time, readers, may the Power protect you.

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