Signature Items: The Huntsman’s Axe [Dresden Files RPG]

As anyone that has been a player in games that I have served as game master for can attest, one of my favorite things to do is make unique items tailored to the player characters. This is somewhat of a holdover from one of my earliest ttrpg experiences, a d20 Modern Campaign. Many of the items that myself and the other players in that game received were unique to the campaign and built with a specific character in mind, including a signature item that grew with us as we advanced. This helped me connect with the game and made me feel more attached to the game and my character.

Thanks to this experience, regardless of setting, genera, or system, unique player focused items are staples of my games. I feel that such items make players feel as if their characters, and by extension they themselves, are being individually paid attention to and that they are a distinct part of the world being woven around them. This type of attention can easily makes the experience of playing something unique and memorable.

Image by Felix Lichtenfeld
The item below was designed for a player who was playing a “pure mortal” police officer, but wanted a way to be more more effective at protecting himself and other mortals from being preyed upon by supernatural beings.

The Huntsman’s Axe [Refresh Cost -3]

Image by Pavlofox

Description: This humble axe was originally crafted for cutting down trees, but ultimately allowed a simple man to save a small girl and an old woman from a monster. The metal and wood of this axe remembers that act and it longs to repeat it. 

Musts: You must have an aspect related to your possession of this item.

Skills Affected: Weapons, Lore, Discipline, Conviction


[-0] Purpose. The Huntsman’s Axe may only be wielded in combat to support of the cause of protecting the innocent and vulnerable from harm and predation at the hands of beasts and monsters. Beasts and monsters can be literal or metaphorical. When wielded without such a cause the blow does not land (any attack roll automatically fails). If used in defense of a beast or monster any resulting blow does not land, the axe falls from the wielder’s hands, and the bond between axe and wielder is immediately broken until the wielder atones with an appropriate trial.

[-0] It Is What It Is. A study axe. Weapon 3.

[-0] Unbreakable. As an Item of Power, this item cannot be broken except with a magical ritual predicated upon perverting its purpose.

[+2] One-Time Discount. The Huntsman’s Axe is a large, heavy object and therefore not easy to conceal. 

[-1] Hew Magic. Functions as the Channeling power, earth evocation, limited to counterspells, limited to magic then can be physically attacked or touched by an axe (ex. ethereal chains, a fireball, or the magic animating a zombie). The axe also grants specialization (power bonus) in counterspells.  OR   [-1] The Sight. The wielder can see monsters for what they really are and disguises do not get in the way. This Functions as the Sight supernatural power.

[-1] True Aim. When swung in keeping with its purpose, the Huntsman’s Axe grants a +1 bonus to the wielder’s Weapons skill.

[-3] All Monsters Shall Be Cut Down. When facing an opponent, the wielder may spend a fate point to ignore that opponent’s defensive abilities, Toughness based ones primarily and any mundane armor the foe has, for the duration of the scene. In essence, the Huntsman’s Axe may take the place of whatever it is that a creature has a weakness to (i.e. “the Catch” of their Toughness powers) on demand, so long as the wielder can spend that fate point. Whatever abilities a creature may have, the function of the Huntsman’s Axe is to create a mostly even playing field, or something very much like it, between mortal and monster.

Note: The Dresden Files RPG, is based on the Fate system, and game very suited to signature items. One of the powers that players can select when building their characters or as they advance is called “Item of Power”. In short, this power allows for one, or more, other powers to be externalized in the form of a mystical item in exchange for a small discount on character construction cost. This power comes at a price, as items of power have to be assigned a “purpose” which defines why the item exists and how it can and can not be used.

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