Melee Weapons
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Comments: 12
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Rating: 3
Condition: Normal
ID: 605


January 16, 2007, 4:44 pm

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'Gift of the Gods'


An ancient sword, corroded yet sharp, which heightens all the worst qualities of its bearer (eg bloodlust, greed, no care for others). [Edited for more detail.]

A wizard named Demain, centuries ago, was experimenting with combining spells and potions to create a new weapon that could win any fight, think for itself - even anticipate blows to block them. However, though strong, Demain was not an experienced magic-user, and he found his mind-giving and magic-lending concoctions spiralling out of control: before he could work out how to null them, the sword he was experimenting on had developed a life and even a personality of its own. Demain could not bring himself to destroy the thing, which seemed strangely out-of-character for him (this was, in fact, evidence that the sword could affect the minds of its bearers to further its own survival): it seemed almost alive. And so he allowed it to develop, and this might have been a wonderful accident, akin to penicillin or the wheel, had not the sword accumulated a love of causing pain. That is, after all, what a sword is made for; and the sword learned from its maker, whose experiments were not always limited to inanimate objects or dead creatures.

It soon found that the easiest way to achieve its goal was to cause the darkest, most selfish desires of those around it to manifest themselves as main goals, forcing them into a long-term cycle of bad decisions and worse consequences. Its first victim, quite ironically, was Demain, whose greed for knowledge grew insatiable till he would do anything to accumulate all there was to know and more. But this had an un-looked-for side-effect. Demain lost interest in all other activities: trivialities such as food and sleep came second-place to his ravenous thirst for information. His hair and beard grew tangled and unheeded to the floor, whilst he grew pale for want of sun; bent-backed and weak-eyed from leaning over tiny print by candlelight every night; thin and gaunt as he wasted away from lack of food and exercise. His book collection was fabulously large, and would have been famous had anyone known of it. He swore an oath never to rest until he knew all there was to know.

When a young man called Hart son of Hamat came upon the lonely house of Demain the Wizard, all he found was a dry body - barely more than a skeleton - hunched over huge crackling tomes of ancient lore. Demain had starved to death. But his oath still bound him, and his ghost still haunts that area; it is most commonly seen in the library, trying in vain to take books from the shelves with withered, insubstantial hands.

Hart had come there, one of those at the head of a large following, after he and some others had split off from their already overpopulated home along with his admirers and struck off to found his own independent kingdom. He gave Demain’s body a decent burial, and then went through his house with his trusted co-leaders, wondering at the strange and ancient books in many languages and setting free the survivors of the wizard’s experiments (explaining some of the more fantastical creatures, such as griffins, that inhabit that area). But Hart found the sword, and Hart kept that for himself, telling no-one else of it - not even his friends.

Hart grew ruthless and cunning under the influence of the sword, seizing control of the kingdom they had built together and naming it Regal Hartfort, and ruling with the proverbial fist of iron and heart of steel. He would let no-one else touch it, naming it ‘Gift of the Gods’ and caring for it with more devotion than he did himself. He was not a popular ruler; and he must not have been very happy himself, for he fell on his own sword when he was only forty-two years old. He was buried hurriedly and without great ceremony in a shallow barrow, along with his sword and a few oddments to be carried into the afterlife; no mourners turned up to his funeral. His young son, Hamund, took his place, and after a slightly shaky start turned out as a much fairer and more popular ruler than his father. Hart’s barrow, built without care, has since collapsed, and all inside - including the sword - lies just beneath the surface, waiting to be uncovered by an unwitting traveller. The sword, in particular, is straining, willing, waiting for just this to happen.

Its power is to bring out all the worst characteristics of its bearer, whether it be laziness, greed or even bloodthirstiness. It gets a hold on the mind of its owner, and before long owns them, so that it cannot be given up or cast away unless it be as soon as it is found. And, because of some ancient enchantment, it is always strong and sharp, though it can be chipped, corroded or broken. Its pommel is rough, hard leather, scorched from the force of all the magic piled into it at its creation; but its blade is quite plain and unadorned, if rather scratched and chipped. People who spend a long time in the same room tend to get the uncomfortable feeling that it is watching them, perhaps sizing them up.

Magical Properties:

This sword brings out the worst characteristics of its bearer, and cannot be given up of free will - though it can, with difficulty, be stolen or broken. It increases significantly the fighting skill of its bearer: it always moves to block and parry with the speed of a striking adder, though any who stop and look closely might notice that the sword seems to be going first and dragging the arms behind it. This sword is always sharp and strong (no matter how chipped or corroded it gets).

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

March 2, 2005, 11:52
Okay, not a great item, but not a bad item.

Two things:
1) I would like you to click the items listing and search through for our five and four flame items. This will give you what "we" consider a good item.

2) While you beat all our normal hurdles (language and such) -Thank you for that by the way-, but the post is a bit short. A bit more description on the powers would be nice as we are going to have to do a lot of work to "fill in the gaps".

More importantly, it does not anticipate the questions a reader is going to have, such as "Is it still buried?", "When did it get free?", "If it is free, what has happened (in general terms) since then," "Why did the sorcerer make it?", "How did the King get it?", and so on.

As a first post goes, it is not bad. Unless you edit this piece a great deal, it will be very low ranked. So do no dispair, just make the next one even better.
Cheka Man
March 2, 2005, 12:01
1/5 Bland, the kind of thing that has been done before. Why did the mage make the sword? Did he want the king to lose all his friends? Did the king hire him to make the sword so that he could become a great war leader, but the mage had a grudge against the king, so he gave him a crused sword instead?

If it takes over the mind of it's owner,why did it choose to be buried in a royal barrow? The dark quiet inside of a tomb, next to a rotting royal body, seems a dreadfully dull place to spend one's days.

I didn't give it 1/5 because I hate the idea...I don't hate the idea.I made an item of that type,and got 4/5 for it.The idea is a very good one.The problem is that there is no proper backstory as to who made it for who,and why,and how it ended up in a barrow with the powers that it has.

Maybe another powerful mage found when the king died that the sword was cursed,and put it in the barrow so that it could do no more harm to the world??

As it is,1/5, but it has the potential to be a 4/5 item with a good enougth backstory. Re-write it,that's my advice, and the good votes will come flooding in.

March 2, 2005, 21:18
Double ditto- see the above posts.
I have nothing to add. (By the way, Cheka- nice critique!)
I'm giving you a 2/5 because, to me, 1/5 means no hope at all, and I'm sure that this item could get better.

March 3, 2005, 7:39
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions! I am editing it on Word at home to make it more detailed and interesting. So as soon as I get home I will finish it and put it in the description. One question: should I put down its history right to the present day? Only it kind of gets destroyed.
Dragon Lord
March 3, 2005, 9:31
Ditto to all the above - a good idea but needs fleshing out

Yes AgentTwiggy, include as much history as you can, up to and including the must recent - the more we know about it the better

BTW - don't destroy it - if it no longer exists, what's the point of posting it?

I'm going to hold off voting until you've finished editing it
Cheka Man
March 3, 2005, 20:24
Not bad. Much better then it once was. I assume the sword only wins over someone's mind once it has been held for more then a short time (more then a minite or two) and that's how it ended in the grave.I can *feel* how the sword must be longing to get out of the grave.

straining, willing, waiting for just this to happen? I can imagine it moving slightly, something it could not do before it was placed in the grave, but it's will to escape over the decades has given it that slight power.Perhaps it is slowly trying to pierce the surface of the soil, advancing a few milimeters a year.

Another thing I like is the wizard and how he was not directly harmed by the sword.I feel sorry for the wizard's ghost, unable to reach the books and stuck for all eternity. You have really made an effort here and turned a bland Sword of Wonder into a weapon that feels real and deadly and is as evil as my own Crown of Pier Point.

Imagine a ruler with both the Pier Point Crown and this sword!

3/5 for the updated item, plus 1 point more for effort. 4/5 I tried to vote again, but I doubt I can as I've already voted. But thank you so much for taking the trouble to update your item.I look forward to what else you will create. :)
March 3, 2005, 23:56
Now THAT is much improved.
Thumbs up.
While I'm not quite as impressed as Cheka is, but its worthy of a...

Dragon Lord
March 4, 2005, 9:48
Largely I agree with Capt

It's still a little unimaginative (magic sword with an ego, kind of a bog standard for the more powerful magical weapons) but the history does nicely explain how and why it was made being. Also I quite like the idea that it's real power came into being because the Demain's control of the enchanting rituals was less than perfect.

And Cheka: I also have a lot of sympathy for poor Demain's ghost and as for somebody having both this and the Crown of Pier Point, that's just too horrible to even think about

Finally, as promised I'll vote now - a pretty good implementation of a standard idea 3/5

Keep up the good work
March 4, 2005, 10:59
I voted a lot higher than I normally would, just to counter some of the low votes from the Pre-edit phase.

Nice re-edit. I am looking forward to your next few posts.
June 6, 2005, 2:52
An interesting thought occurred to me as I first read the description of this item, and it still holds true. What determines the worst qualities of the bearer? The sword's mind?

If so, what happens if someone who is naturally evil to the bone (a character in particular I'm thinking of, who was pure evil incarnate, and played quite well) gets ahold of this bad boy? Will it enhance the already bloodthirsty-ness? Or will it bring out what /he/ considers the worst parts of him, such as any vestige of love or kindness?

Take it with a grain of salt. 4/5
August 8, 2006, 5:12
A good item with nice properties.
I "ditto" a few of the points made above,(but then again i can't talk)like the question why was it buried with him?, and has it been found?
4/5 for the item,
3/5 for the background story.
Voted valadaar
December 5, 2006, 10:20
Interesting. Not having seen the original version, I can't comment on improvement, but its got a pretty good backstory.

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