I like B/X D&D because of the simplicity. But that doesn't tell the whole story. The truth is that I like the simplicity because it allows me to add in my own style of complexity, which generally consists of good ideas stolen from other people.
Sometimes I can quickly get out of hand with this, so the strategy I'm going to try with my B/X game is to leave the core game alone as much as possible, and add the fun fiddly bits through items, special training manuals, etc. This way these things can be added in a piecemeal fashion, and it should be easier to adjust things than it would be if say I wanted to change something about how a class works and there's some dude that's already been playing that class for a while.
Let's face it, the old +1 sword is kinda lame, even if it's "+3 versus lycanthropes". Thanks to DCC and these funny dice I have, we can do a few things to add a bit of freshness to these more or less mundane magical items.
First, it should be noted that I am using Akrasia's class-based weapon damage rules. Keeping that in mind, we always have the option to "key" a magic weapon to a particular class, in order to keep the fighters happy.
In the beginning, magic weapons are going to fall into one of three basic categories: improved attack, improved damage, or special effects.
Improved Attack: This one is very simple. You get to attack using a d24 with this weapon rather than a d20 (averages out to a +2 to attack rolls). That's it. But this is very nice to have because let's face it, missing sucks balls.
Improved Damage: There are a few ways to do this. The simplest is just to increase the size of the damage die by one step. Thus, a d4 becomes d5, d6 becomes d7, d8 becomes d10, d10 becomes d12. If you want to make a "bane" style weapon, such as a human-slayer, you can just say it works like a normal weapon, but add an additional d3 damage against humans. A traditional flaming sword would be +d3 fire damage, etc.
Special Effects: The sky is the limit. Here are a few ideas, both magical and mundane, to get your brain churning:
- Staff with a small oil reservoir. A button on the staff will spray the oil out in classic Spy Hunter fashion to aid in escape.
- Thunder nunchucks. Whenever these suckers hit their target and the required attack roll is exceeded by 5 (or 3 or whatever you like), a loud BOOM goes off, and the victim is stunned for d6 rounds. Also triggers a wandering monster check.
- Pointy weapon that will point to the nearest treasure hoard once per day on command.
- Electric whip and/or net. You know you want one. Go hunt down some slavers because those guys usually have them. Also, D&D needs more nets.
- Vicious blade. Crits on a 19 or 20 (fighters only).
- Rusty knife. Save vs. poison or get space tetanus, or something like that.
- Space Sword. Retracts like a switch blade. Owner can will the thing to his hand from up to 50' away.
- Wavy Sorcery Knife. Good for sacrifices. Each time a helpless victim is coup de graced with this thing, it gets a charge. The charge allows the wielder to try to cast an extra spell beyond their normal capability. Roll 2d6: 1 = oh shit, corruption; 2-5 = standard failure. nothing happens; 6-7 = spell can be cast, but it takes a full round and could potentially be interrupted if the monster notices you casting and stabs you; 8-11 = nice work! you cast that spell like a badass magic guy!; 12 = spell goes off instantly and with double the normal effect, to be determined by the referee.
- Batarang. Metal boomerang shaped like a bat. If you hit a guy with it, it will turn into a bat for 2d6 rounds and fly around that guy's face, making doing things like casting or making ranged attacks very difficult. If the bat is killed, sorry, that's that.