A demon lord typically has no use for such a puny weapon. However, this Demon Lord’s dagger was far from an ordinary piece of steel. The Dagger of the Demon Lord is enchanted with the power to cast a set of spells that are useful for commanding or subjugating some of the more iron-willed creatures that cross the demon lord’s path.
Purpose of the item
The Dagger of the Demon Lord could be used as a weapon. It’s definitely more powerful than a standard dagger.
However, the true power of the Dagger of the Demon Lord lies in its ability to manipulate creatures just like you’d imagine a Demon Lord would. I chose 3 low-level spells to help give the dagger some flavors that aligned with this goal.
Command is a versatile 1st-level spell that gives the caster the ability to bark a one-word order at a creature to perform a simple task. If the saving throw is failed, they will follow the command.
Enthrall forces a creature to turn their focus towards the caster if they fail a saving throw. This can be useful for intimidating a creature or distracting them so that your allies can reposition themselves.
Detect Thoughts is a spell that allows you to learn the surface thoughts of a creature. However, you can use an Action to further probe deeper into the creature’s mind. If they fail a saving throw you can learn more intricate details about the target. This is obviously useful for interrogation or even intimidation, both of which a Demon Lord would relish.
This is a weapon that has uses both in and out of combat for those that seek power over lesser creatures.
How it’s Balanced
A +1 weapon is considered to be uncommon in rarity. I opted for this just so that it’s at its core better than a typical dagger. That way you could give this to a rogue and they would still get plenty of mileage out of it even if they didn’t use the spellcasting portion of the item as much.
Items that can cast spells typically have 7 charges in them and can cast anywhere between 1-5 spells. A lot of uncommon wands that have this property are typically 7 charge items that can cast a single 1st or 2nd-level spell. Instead of this, I wanted to give the user a variety of spells to choose from.
This, in my opinion, should come with a sacrifice. I reduced the number of charges that the Dagger of the Demon Lord could have from 7 to 5 and made the 2nd-level spells cost 2 charges instead of the 1 charge for casting Command. I believe this is balanced enough to be considered an uncommon item.
A saving throw DC of 15 is standard for Rare and Uncommon magical items and I felt no reason to stray from this precedent.
Generally, I find that each “tier” of item rarity is worth about 2 of the previous rarity. So in this case, 2 properties that could make for separate uncommon magical items could be combined to create a single rare magical item.
The Inspiration for the Item
I love magical items that do a bit more than give a simple numerical bonus. Don’t get me wrong, those are powerful items to have, but they’re not particularly interesting or memorable. My regular adventuring party is also getting up there in levels and they need more “loot”. Fun magical items that they can choose to use or sell as they wish.
This particular item was part of the treasure hoard of a group of demonic gnolls. I wanted something flavorful, but also sensible. These gnolls were probably given trinkets or lesser magical items from the demon that they worship, so it should be something small.
A dagger came to mind. But powerful demons wouldn’t typically use such a tiny weapon. However, they would if it helped them do what they love most: terrorize underlings and would-be heroes. So, I made a simple +1 dagger that could cast one 1st-level spell and two 2nd-level spells that do just that.
Something minor, but fun to use for a demon lord’s chosen disciple that typically wouldn’t have access to these magical spells.