At Nerdarchy, we get requests to D&D-ize characters from movies, TV, comics and literature fairly regularly. There’s a whole playlist on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel for D&D-ized fictional characters, which I’ve included for your convenience below. And my very first assignment as a contributing writer here on the site was to D&D-ize the Sword of Omens from the Thundercats mythos. (I’d written a few columns before but that was an assignment from Nerdarchist Dave.) I spent quite a few hours researching, referencing the Dungeon Master’s Guide for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, writing and refining that particular artifact. More recently, we had a request via the Nerdarchy Facebook page to D&D-ize another legendary cartoon weapon — the Power Sword from the Masters of the Universe mythology. This will be my fourth go around with D&D-izing something. I also have our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man under my belt, as well as collaborating with Professor Bill from Comic Book University on my two favorite comic book characters, Mister Miracle and Big Barda. So let’s get to it and create He-Man’s legendary weapon that makes him the most powerful man in the universe, for 5E D&D.
He-Man and the Power Sword
To get started, it’s worth mentioning that prior to the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon in the ’80s, the Power Sword was not in the possession of Prince Adam and used to transform into the most powerful man in the universe. It consisted of two halves, and Skeletor’s primary goal was obtaining them so HE could have all the power. In these stories, told in the comics which came with the toys, He-Man wielded different weapons like axes and shields.
But the Power Sword and iconic proclamation whereby Prince Adam got a magical tan introduced in the cartoon was the hook that captivated kids everywhere. There is a great documentary on Netflix called The Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that delves into the phenomena, illustrating how kids were absolutely enthralled by He-Man, whose underlying message gave young audiences a sense of empowerment — they, too, had the power!
“By the power of Grayskull, I have the power!”
Incidentally, it’s worth noting that Jim Davis from Web DM cites Masters of the Universe as one of his inspirations for the live stream Land Between Two Rivers campaign.
“It’s mostly an aesthetic appeal as I like the mix of magic and technology,” Jim explains. “It just screams adventure to me.”
Power Sword in 5E D&D
First off, the Power Sword is an artifact no doubt about it. There’s only one in the universe, and He-Man has it. However, the Power Sword does have a direct clone — the Sword of Protection held by Prince Adam’s twin sister Adora. Over on Etheria, Adora uses this blade to transform into She-Ra and battle the Evil Horde. I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power coming to Netflix on Nov. 16, 2018.
She-Ra’s Sword of Protection has several abilities that the Power Sword does not, but that’s a topic for a different post. So what does the Power Sword do?
Although not explicit in various iterations of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe lore, there’s some precedent for considering the Power Sword a sentient weapon. In the 2002 version of the animated series, King Grayskull was an ancient warrior who imbued his essence into the sword after a fatal encounter with Hordak. That being said, my memory and research don’t indicate the Power Sword displays any sort of personality of its own, unlike the Sword of Omens. So while it is most certainly an artifact in 5E D&D terms, we’ll leave the sentience off the table.
As an artifact, our Power Sword will have a few traits straight out of the DMG, which indicates up to 4 minor beneficial properties and 2 major beneficial properties along with up to 4 minor detrimental and 2 major detrimental properties.
Minor beneficial properties
- While attuned to the Power Sword, you gain proficiency in Acrobatics
- While attuned to the Power Sword, you gain proficiency in Athletics
- While attuned to the Power Sword, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class
- While attuned to the Power Sword, you can use an action to cast gust of wind from it. After you cast the spell, roll a d6. On a roll of 1–5, you can’t cast it again until the next dawn
Major beneficial properties
- While attuned to the Power Sword, your Strength increases by 2, to a maximum of 24
- While attuned to the Power Sword, you can’t be blinded, deafened, petrified, or stunned
Minor detrimental properties
- While attuned to the Power Sword, your appearance changes into a heavily muscled male human form with a blond pageboy haircut and tan skin
- While attuned to the Power Sword, your weight increases by 40 pounds
Major detrimental properties
- When you become attuned to the Power Sword, there is a 10 percent chance that you attract the attention of a god that sends an avatar to wrest it from you. The avatar has the same alignment as its creator and the statistics of an empyrean (see the Monster Manual). Once it obtains the Power Sword, the avatar vanishes.
- When you first attune to the Power Sword, it gives you a quest to oppose Skeletor no matter what. You must complete this quest as if affected by the geas spell.
With those properties settled on, let’s see what our 5E D&D Power Sword can do.
Weapon (longsword), artifact (requires attunement)
The original legend goes that the Council of Elders of Eternia, part of the court of King Grayskull, hid all their secrets, power and knowledge of the universe within the walls of Castle Grayskull. But to prevent those who would use the powers for evil to get into the castle they fashioned a key as well as a conduit source for the powers of Greyskull.
This was the Power Sword, and the sword’s power could only be used by a hero worthy of the power.
In addition to the beneficial and detrimental properties above, the Power Sword has the following properties:
The Power Sword is a magic longsword that grants a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it. It scores a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20, and deals an extra 2d10 slashing damage to aberrations and evil humanoids. The Power Sword also functions as a weapon of warning.
Deflection. As a reaction, you can deflect or redirect magical energy when you are the target of a spell attack. When you do so, the damage you take from the spell is reduced by 1d10 + your Dexterity modifier + your level. If you reduce the damage to 0, you can redirect the magical energy. If you redirect the magical energy in this way, you can make a ranged spell attack as part of the same reaction. You make this attack with proficiency, and the range is 30 feet.
The Power of Grayskull. While you are attuned to the Power Sword, as a bonus action you can make the proclamation “By the Power of Grayskull, I have the power!” Doing so imparts the effects of the Tenser’s transformation spell with the following exceptions: you can use the Power Sword’s gust of wind property, and no concentration is required. The transformation lasts until you choose to end it, or you start your turn with 0 hit points. For each additional 10 minutes you remain transformed, you gain an additional level of exhaustion from a failed DC 15 Constitution saving throw when the spell ends.
Siege Weapon. The Power Sword deals double damage to objects and structures.
Summon Battle Cat (1/day). As an action, the mystical powers of Grayskull allow you to summon a spirit that assumes the form of a loyal, majestic mount. The spirit appears in an unoccupied space within 30 feet, taking the form of a green and yellow striped saber-toothed tiger with the following changes, which increase its challenge rating to 8:
- It has 136 (13d10 + 65) hit points
- Its Strength and Constitution are 20 (+5)
- Its Intelligence is 6, and it gains the ability to understand one language of your choice that you speak
- It is immune to being charmed, frightened or paralyzed
- It has Armor Class 16 (barding)
You control Battle Cat in combat. While Battle Cat is within 1 mile of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. While mounted on it, you can make any spell you cast that targets only you also target Battle Cat.
Battle Cat disappears temporarily when it drops to 0 hit points or when you dismiss it as an action. Casting this spell again re-summons the bonded mount, with all its hit points restored and any conditions removed.
Whenever Battle Cat disappears, it leaves behind any objects it was wearing or carrying.
So there you have it. That’s my take on the Power Sword from the Masters of the Universe mythos. Truth be told, the sword itself doesn’t have a lot of obvious powers of its own, unlike the Sword of Omens. Primarily, it functions to transform Prince Adam into He-Man. But since He-Man can go toe-to-toe with Superman, lift incredibly heavy objects (like Castle Grayskull itself!), hold a spaceship from achieving lift-off, and push moons in and out of orbit, his powers go way beyond the scope of 5E D&D. He is, after all, the most powerful man in the universe.
What do you think? Will the Power Sword find its way into your 5E D&D games? Do you play in a campaign inspired by the Masters of the Universe, adventuring in Eternia, Etheria, Infinita and other locations throughout the MotU setting? Do you really want your character to have their own Battle Cat to ride into combat? Let me know down in the comments!
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Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, world building, or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy or his own blog The Long Shot, he’s a newspaper designer, copy editor and journalist. He loves advocating the RPG hobby and connecting with other nerds and gamers on social media and his site thelongshotist.com.