Monday, October 27, 2008

The Sixth Table part III

Continuing the Sixth Table theme, here's 76-77 The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz. ‘Kral Zoraz’, huh? Looks like some good old flavorful naming, but no hidden meaning as far as I can tell. Maybe I was too quick to assume that Mr. Kuntz had used a lot of wordplay devices with this collection of Artifacts, unless Rob Kuntz had a friend named Karl Razzo or something. Moving right along…here we go with part 3.

The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz

Disclaimer: The entire series of ‘Supreme Artifacts’ is based upon handwritten notes by Rob Kuntz. I take no credit for the table, title or names of any of these ‘Supreme Artifacts’. Mr. Kuntz’s creation, Table 6 Supreme Artifacts, serves as inspirational material and nothing more. The theme is indeed 'Supreme Artifacts', but individual Referees should feel free to adjust the relative power of any of the items presented here to fit their own campaign's needs.

In the time now known as The Dawn of Man, when the Fae still held sway over this world, there was a grim, bloody era which preceded The Sundering, that chaotic world altering event that would herald The Age of Man. By now, the dispassionate, heedless Fae had been compelled to take notice of Mankind and its ceaseless expansion throughout the Four Corners. The Young Magic of Mankind was spreading like a plague, stifling the natural order of the world, and loosening the very foundations of creation from its bond with Fae Magic.

This was not a period measured by years, decades or even centuries, but an epoch which was an interminable precursor to The Sundering. What would become of Man after The Sundering was not yet determined, but it was certain that the Fae descent into obscurity would be irreversible. In those days, in the now buried nation of Kesh’al, a prominent hero called Zoraz had risen through sheer force of will and determination to the rank of Warlord, or Kral, of the Clans.

Kral Zoraz commanded his advisors to commission a weapon worthy of his lofty station, a sword that, as it turned out, would become more legendary than the man himself. And so, to the far flung Elf Realms of the All-King was brought the plunder and spoils from many a campaign, a ransom in rare minerals and gems, enough to outfit ten armies in finely crafted manmade swords and cuirasses. The All-King refused the offering, and insisted that the Elf Realms would offer a gift to Kral Zoraz, a sword “fit for such a famous leader of Men”.

After many months the newly forged sword was born back to Kesh’al, and into the waiting hands of the Warlord. The Kral increased his army and nation five fold while carrying the Elf sword at his side. As Kesh’al continued to expand its borders, it began to impinge on the very edges of the Elf Realms, and it was only a matter of time before Kral Zoraz began his war with those Fae who had remained outside of the struggles of mortals. Legend tells us that as soon as Man first spilled Fae blood, a terrible curse upon humankind was unleashed in the form of the Hobgoblins, themselves a race of mortal Fae who would rise up and challenge Man in the ages to come. Whether this blood was spilt by the Elf sword is not known, but what happened when that finely crafted sword did fell an Elf is hinted at in the mythology of the time before The Sundering.

The All-King had foreseen the possibility of such a war with Kesh’al, and had placed a dormant Unseelie Spirit within the weapon, one which would awaken if the Elf sword ever tasted Fae blood. What is known is vague, but Kesh’al ultimately failed in its war with the Elves, and it is said that Kral Zoraz was dethroned in a bloody rebellion which led to the eventual collapse of the Clan nation. The sword, which came to be called The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz, has cropped up from time to time throughout history, but its name and story are little more than the stuff of tall tales and fanciful song.

The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz is older than any man can say, forged by ancient Fae in the age old bronze technique perfected by their kind before The Sundering. It is a heavy short sword, nearly two and a half feet in length, with a vaguely leaf shaped blade. The blade itself is of exquisite craftsmanship, faintly dark-grey with a green hue to the thick, razor sharp bronze. The hilt and small guard of the sword are of finely carved bone, and a large, heavy, round pommel of bronze tips off the unassuming weapon.

This Sword, +1 has a number of venerable Elf enchantments which might not be apparent at first. The sword acts as +5 for purposes of saving throws or determining whether it can penetrate special defenses. No non-magic force is capable of destroying the sword, and the amount and power of magic required to break the sword is rarely realized in this day and age.

While the sword deals a rather modest 1d6 damage, there is a chance that a special power will be triggered with each damage roll. On a roll of ‘5’ on the d6, the wielder throws an extra d6 for damage, and is healed by one half of the resulting roll on that extra d6 (1, 2 or 3 HP). On a roll of ‘6’ on the d6, the wielder throws two extra d6 for added damage, and is healed by one half that extra amount (1-6 HP). While the extra damage will be rolled against any target, the healing will only function when the extra damage is dealt to living targets.

The sword creates a dim green glow, shedding light in a radius of 10’. Any living being, other than the wielder, within this aura will be unable to heal wounds or damage, magically or naturally. Furthermore, once the sword has slain a target, the aura will visibly intensify for six rounds. During this time, any living being within the 10’ radius will lose 1 HP, and the sword bearer will be healed 1 HP. This life drain takes effect at the end of each of the six rounds, harming both friend and foe. This regenerative aura will never heal more than 1 HP per round for the sword’s wielder, and only functions when there is a living being other than the wielder within 10’.

The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz was created as a foil to the magic of Man, and its wielder will receive +4 on all saving throws vs. spells, wands, etc. On a natural roll to hit of 18 or higher, the strike of the sword will dampen any magic upon the target, effectively dispelling enchantments and rendering magic items ineffective for 1 full turn. The victim may not use any magic, nor be effected by any magic, including spells meant to help or harm. This magic deadening will not protect the target from any of the Fae powers of the Blood Sword, however.

The sword has no communicative traits or intellect until its dormant spirit is awakened.

Once the Blood Sword strikes a Fae (defined as an Elf, Dryad, Nixie, Centaur, Unicorn, etc; but not those of Goblin blood), it will awaken the sleeping Unseelie Spirit imprisoned in the blade. At this time the weapon will begin a ceaseless thirst for blood, finally revealing its Cursed nature.

Once awake, the Unseelie Spirit will insist on blood, blood and more blood. What the Spirit does not get from the victims of the sword, it will take from the wielder. How the sword controls its owner is determined by the Referee, but it will be difficult if at all possible to remove the sword from its owners white-knuckled grip.

After the Spirirt is awake, any roll to hit which misses its target will cause the wielder 1 damage.

The Spirit will demand three kills per day, and if this thirst is not quenched, it will attempt to control the wielder’s hand. Furthermore, if a full day passes without quenching the sword’s thirst, the wielder will sustain 1 damage per hour, and 3 damage on any roll to hit which misses, until the three kills are made.

In OD&D terms, The Blood Sword of Kral Zoraz looks like this:
Dormant state: non-aligned, 0 Intelligence, 0 Ego, no origin/purpose.
Awake state: chaotic, 10 Intelligence, 12 Ego (total Ego Rating: 26), purpose: described above.

If the awakened sword goes for 9 days with no kills, the Unseelie Spirirt will return to its dormant state.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

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