The Holy Avenger: Carsomyr

A legendary weapon in Baldur's Gate II.

"Carsomyr is a weapon of legend, perhaps one of the most powerful blades ever forged on Faerûn, though its origin and history is thought purposefully forgotten, such that the sword itself never overshadow the importance of the struggles that must be fought today. It is infused with the very essence of virtue, and requires as much from any paladin that would hope to wield it. The evils of the Realms must truly stand aside when this weapon is brought to bear, their magic dispelled with a word, steadfastly resisted with ease. Carsomyr also harbors a special distaste for the forces of evil and chaos, and such creatures must fear additional damage from its touch in battle."

The two-handed sword Carsomyr is in the possession of the great red dragon Firkraag. It can be retrieved by killing him.

STATISTICS:

EQUIPPED ABILITIES:

  • 50 % Magic Resistance
  • Dispel magic 3 times per day

COMBAT ABILITIES:

  • +5 damage to chaotic evil opponents in addition to other bonuses.
  • Dispels magic whenever the sword strikes an opponent.

  • THAC0: +5 bonus
  • Damage: 1D12 +5


+5 Holy Avengers go right back to the original AD&D 1st edition DMG. They're exceedingly buff weapons, and tend to be +2 or thereabouts in the hand of a non-paladin. Unearthed Arcana introduced a +6 Holy Avenger, which is just about the most obscenely broken standard magical weapon the game has ever seen. Holy Avengers are back to +5 only in the second and third editions. One feature of the Holy Avenger which is sometimes missed is that it is a holy sword, thus activating the Paladin special power involving such items. The Complete Paladin's Handbook includes a number of other holy swords.

According to 3rd Edition rules, an ordinary Holy Avenger has the following properties:

  • Holy descriptor (add 2d6 bonus damage to evil creatures; this damage is considered holy)
  • Spell resistance 15, 5-foot radius (incoming spell must roll higher than 15 on 1d20 + caster's level + caster's spell-driving ability modifier or the spell fails)
  • Cast dispel magic, 5-foot radius, once per round as standard action (does not target any spell in particular)
  • +5 bonus to attack and damage
  • The sword is by definition made of cold iron, which allows it to more easily penetrate the defenses of demons (also fey, though the Chaotic Evil demons are clearly the primary intended target).

For any nonpaladin, this works only as a plain +2 longsword.

The 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook introduces an even more absurdly powerful weapon, the Holy Devastator. In the hands of nonpaladins, this works as a +3 holy longsword (yes, it keeps the holy descriptor). Give it to a paladin, though, and watch the fur fly:

  • Increase bonus to +7 (this isn't even allowed by standard game rules)
  • Replace holy descriptor with Holy Power descriptor (+3d6 bonus holy damage and inflict one negative level on evil creatures; both these are affected by critical hits)
  • User gets +5 bonus on all saves against spells with Evil descriptor, or all spells cast by evil characters)
  • A paladin using the smite evil ability with this weapon adds double his/her paladin level to the damage (normally adds just paladin levels).

The market price is over 4.5 million GP for a reason, folks. To be fair, this same handbook also offered the Unholy Despoiler, a version of the Holy Devastator for blackguards (anti-paladins). However, there is nothning analogous to the Holy Avenger for these characters yet.


Thanks to Jay Digital for correcting me: Holy weapons deal 2d6 extra holy damage to evil creatures, not 1d6.

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