Flame Tongueish

This promo image for the Hellboy reboot movie led me to think about a variant on that old D&D chestnut, the Flame Tongue magic sword.

Essentially, it would have a sort of Heat Metal effect on the blade, as in the Druidic spell. The longer it is wielded by its user, the hotter the blade becomes and the more heat damage it will inflict in addition to its sharpened-metal-bar damage. The heat damage would start out in the first round as an additional d3, then 2d3 in the second round, 3d3 in the 3rd, and tops out at +4d3 heat damage thereafter.

The twist (not much of a twist really) is that the heat will also gradually propagate through the grip, burning the hand of the wielder if they're not immune to that sort of damage. I'd run it on an increasing scale — say, no heat damage in the first round, then +1 point of damage per round (i.e. 1 point, then 2 points, then 3 points, an so on) until it's doing as much heat damage to its wielder as it could to a target (i.e. 12 points per round of burning). The wielder, in addition to taking the damage, would have to make a Will save at -1 per 2 points of heat damage, to not involuntarily drop the sword.

The sword cools when not being held at twice the rate it heats up.

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