So I tells him straight up that this here alley is private property, protected by laws and all, and the only way he's getting out safe-like is to pay the toll. He stutters and he sputters, tries to back out of it; says he can go at it a different way, sorry to bother. But his dumb ass has already trespassed, so in this dream I grabs him by his frilly shirt and tells him it'll cost twice as much to go back the way he came in, on account of wasting my valuable time and all.
He's sweatin' and whinin' and puttin' up such a fuss about it. Says he's shopping for his poor mum or something, 'though I'd betcha he's really off to pay for a poke and a brew, and ain't no reason I shouldn't have a piece of tax on *that*. But he's makin' such a racket that I finally lose it. Pushed to my limits with all this. So I uses my dagger on 'im, slits his throat nice and proper, and he didn't even haves coin enough to cover the double toll. I don't knows what kind of piss-poor ale and diseased-ridden poke he thought he could get for so little. Ah, well.
Now the dream's not over yet. I realizes, this is my first one. Every other times I've been out with my boys, all older and thems doin' all the fun stuff. I looks at my dagger, this here very one, and I realize, this is special. This dagger *means* somethin', and I'll keep it with me as long as I lives, and maybe even after. The blood's stained into it here, ya see, and been there ever since.
I know, I know. You're wonderin' what that's got to do with the price of bread, and I suppose nothin' at all. I just wanted you ta know that there's some serious mojo in this here weapon and some serious histories, and I hopes that's some kind of comfort to ya in the next world; that ye've been kilt by John Noble's own prize knife. The one called Lawbane..."
-- Fringald, petty crook (deceased)
John Noble, whose vision led to the creation of The Regulators, worked his way up from street thug to crime boss. He kept his prize dagger at his side every day of his career as both a reminder of his beginnings (he used it in his very first solo robbery and murder, a scene which plays out in the dreams of each new owner) and as a lucky charm. Upon his death bed, eighty-three years old and fearing an eternity of paying for his earthly crimes, he paid to have his soul trapped within the steel of the weapon. Not for him a Ring of Heaven; he wished to carry on breaking the law long after death. The mage John hired did as he was paid handsomely to do, sucking the soul from the dying body and placing it within the blade. The old rusty patch deepened into a darker red as if freshly covered in blood. For many years his old organization used the blade in their murders, robberies, and extortion schemes until one night the blade was stolen. Since then it has seen many hands, mostly those of criminals; the few honest people who held it for a time either turned to crime themselves or had it stolen in turn from them.
The dagger itself is roughly 12" in length, broad-bladed, and made from cheap steel. There is a spot of rust, the color of dried blood, upon the blade. The size of the stain changes based upon the power held within the artifact. The more its powers are used, the smaller the stain becomes. It may be recharged, but only by the cold-blooded murder of an innocent, a direct rival, or a snitch.
The story of Lawbane is well-known among the criminal world and the weapon is sought after by anyone aspiring to power and notoriety. Which is to say, pretty much all career criminals. It changes hands often, as each prospective owner schemes, connives, or murders to get it for their own glory. The spirit of John Noble revels in this. Lawbane *wants* to be stolen.
The blade is sentient. Although it cannot speak directly, it can place ideas into the mind of its owner as if the bearer's own; thoughts of stealing, of robbery, brawling, and murder. To those who carry out crimes it can help. The thief on the run from the law becomes that little bit faster, the brawler or murderer better in combat, the mugger more terrifying. They all experience the rush of that first kill, feeding off of the terror of that first victim in that alley long ago. These powers and strong emotions drive the wielder on to greater and bolder crimes.
The dagger projects an aura of intimidation, affecting all but the bearer. Those of evil intent will also be inspired to greater cravings of power.
Should it fall into the hands of an honest soul who cannot be seduced by its promises and urgings, it will send out a soundless distress call. Thieves and murderers will be drawn to it like a beacon. Criminals will feel a powerful urge to mug or otherwise steal from the person. If abandoned or left unprotected, passing burglars will have the urge to break into wherever it sits.
Though only a dagger, certain owners have been as dangerous in combat as if carrying much deadlier weapons, so good has their knife work been.
One of Lawbane's most sought after powers, and one which not every bearer is able to use, is the ability to point out an informant. This requires that it be freshly rejuvenated and will mostly drain all of its power. Of course, successfully finding an informant will likely mean fresh blood for the dagger.
Many more powers have been attributed to it, although not all have been instantiated. Some believe that the wisdom of John Noble will become theirs with possession of the blade, helping even the lowliest street thug achieve great power and notoriety. Others believe it will make them silent as a cat and able to blend into the shadows so well that even the keenest eye will pass by.
The greatest fear John Noble's soul experiences is that the dagger will eventually be destroyed. If that happens, he knows he will find himself in hell.
The PCs are supposed to take this weapon to be melted down. Ignorant of its true nature, they are beset upon by every robber in the city as the unhappy, silent cry of the distressed dagger echos around the underworld.
An up-to-now honest PC has got this, will he or she be able to resist its siren song, or will the hero become the villain?