Another rule with possible wide-ranging consequences. From Monsters & Treasure page 30:
…the origin of each sword is either Law, Neutrality, or Chaos, but some of these weapons are forged by more powerful forces for an express purpose… …a score of 91 or higher indicates the sword has a special mission. Swords with special purposes automatically have intelligence and ego categories moved to the maximum score…
One in ten magical swords thus has an ego of 12. Depending on your exact interpretation of the rules, such a sword will automatically gain control of any fighting-man of level 6 or less, and wins a contest of wills 75% of the time versus a fighting-man of up to level 10.
These swords will dominate those around them and use those human resources in pursuit of a special purpose. Such weapons surely become objects of fear and simultaneously sought-after sources of power. Such swords could produce:
- A Kingdom whose ruler is possessed by a neutral Sword +2, Charm Person Ability. The sword has built a charmed army of tens of thousands, biding time before moving in pursuit of its mysterious special purpose. All visitors to the Kingdom, including PCs, are immediately hauled into royal audience for charming.
- A bandit troop leader controlled by a lawful sword with the special purpose: steal from the rich and give to the poor.
- Hapless low-level fighting men possessed and relentlessly ridden to exhaustion or death in the pursuit of a sword’s special purpose (for instance forcing a hero to march in the direction of the sword’s chosen enemies non-stop for days until worn out, then passing the sword off to the next likely body…).
- A chaotic sword made for slaying clerics, whose preferred wielder is afflicted with mummy-rot or some other terrible disease but of course every time they go looking for a cure…
- Famous swords whose exploits are legend but whose owners are anonymous and even bards struggle to remember their names. “Harken to the story of the famous Durandal, held by Rolo, Rollie, no, that’s not it, um…”
- A lawful sword made for slaying fighting-men; its wielder is made to provoke duels of honor with any prominent hero they come in contact with, including the PCs.
- High-level lords, wizards, and patriarchs striving at any cost to collect and remove such blades from circulation.
In a world containing some of the above, PCs may be more squeamish about picking up magical blades. Or perhaps not…
(Please feel free to add your awesome ideas in comments)