Full Item Description
The Iron Sorrow is a broadsword of iron, stuck in a block of solid lead, with a blade that glows a soft green in the dark and the royal seal of the Old Kings of Vallermoore’s distant past set in gold upon the hilt. It seems to give off an aura of power, but things are not as they seem. It does not carry it’s name for nothing.
King Harkon of Vallermoore was the kind of king who is written up as a “good king” in the history books but was not seen by many of his people to be a very good king at the time. He was disliked by the majority of his subjects because his taxes were thought to be too high, and most of this money was spent on ceaseless wars abroad that, whilst they enlarged his realm greatly, were resented by his people, who heartedly disliked having their sons conscripted and coming back years later in coffins. He was also known for his fear of assassination and his cruelty towards those he disliked, burial alive with a small flask of water being a common punishment for those convicted of treason.
Poisoning was not an option as all his food and drink was carefully tasted by others before it reached him. Stabbing him was not an option as only the most trusted of his royal guards were allowed to be armed around him and he himself carried a sword and knew how to use it well. There were various plans amongst those of the nobility who disliked him to murder him. One plan was that a martial artist should be brought in to kill him without weapons, but that was thought to be too risky. Another thought that he should be murdered in the middle of a battle, but others pointed out that not only did he have a solid screen of bodyguards at such times, but that if he fell then their own side could lose the battle and end up under foreign rule, and that was not what they desired at all.
One of the plotters, an alchemist, who’s wife had been buried alive for daring to complain about the king and who had lost both of his sons in one of the king’s wars decided to end the king’s life even if it was at the cost of his own, since he felt he had very little reason to live. He forged a sword with iron and the deadly mineral uranium to produce a weapon that glowed a soft green as if lit from within with magical power, and sheathed it in lead. He died a matter of days after making it in terrible pain.
The king was delighted when one of his court wizards presented him with his new *magical* sword and even happier when he used it in a major battle where a few of his attackers managed to penetrate his bodyguard screen as he charged into the enemy ranks. He scythed them down but got a small wound on his hand in return. The battle was won and soon afterwards the king began to feel tired. His wound swelled and blackened, his hair and teeth fell out and his skin erupted in itchy boils that burst when scratched. He died soon afterwards and the plotters spread the word that his enemies in the opposing army had used poisoned weapons and had one of their own crowned as the new king.
The new king gave the old king a magnificent burial in a royal barrow and praised him loudly. He had the sword encased in a solid block of lead and left in the tomb, and the tomb painters painted images of a king pulling the sword from the stone and being crowned. The new king had a special reason to hate tomb robbers as a few weeks before they had broken into his family tomb and thrown the bones of his ancestors around. If this sword was to be stolen, it would soon bring pain to the thieves.
To the untrained, unmagical eye, the Iron Sorrow is a classic magical sword that does the sort of things that a magical sword is *supposed* to do. It glows with a soft green light in the dark, the wounds it inflicts cause tremendous pain even to very powerful creatures like liches, and it has a good cutting edge. Most attackers will retreat away in fear.
A mage or witch would be able to guess at once that something is wrong-the sword radiates no magic at all and spells cast on it to see what magic it holds will reveal nothing.
In fact, the weapon is a deadly mixture of iron and uranium. The soft green glow is the deadly glow of radiation, and whilst the weapon is indeed very dangerous to attackers, it is also dangerous to the wielder and anybody near him or her. When sheathed in its scabbard of lead the risk is much reduced but is still present. Armour, magical spells and charms and sheer physical strength will help lower the damage, but anyone who is too close to this weapon for two long is going to be in serious danger of disease or death.
How deadly the blade is to its owner depends on how long it has been in the barrow, and what the GM wants to do with it. It can be a booby trap that kills almost at once, to deal with a *munchkin* type player who is spoiling it for all the others, or the effects can kick in over time, first tiring the user, then causing symptoms of radiation sickness that increase until the sword is discarded or the sword’s owner dies a very painful death.
The weapon is the only known way of dealing with the game’s Big Bad. Does anyone dare to take it, knowing that he or she only has a certain amount of time to deal with the Big Bad and not lose his or her life in the process?