Edward Pierpoint, Commandant of the Grand City Police, was in his late sixties and on his last day on the job, when he fell to a hired killer armed with the feared dagger of the underworld Lawbane . Many criminals had been arrested tried and imprisoned and a score had gone to the gallows because of his police work throughout Grand City, and many others had been forced to flee the area. And it was one of these who sent a trusted killer, a veteran of the gang wars that used to plague the city, to get his revenge, armed with the magical and criminally-inclined weapon to increase his chance of success. Edward had heard many rumours and tales of this knife, from his informants within the criminal underworld and from the few victims and witnesses who both saw it in action and lived to tell the tale. But all attempts to capture and destroy it had failed, as the underworld guarded it jealously. Whilst they would bicker over it's possession, steal for it, kill their own for it, they were determined it would never fall into police hands. On the one time that it did as the result of a random stop and search, the two policemen who got it were slain before they could get back to their station. It seemed if confiscated by law enforcement, it could vector criminals to it and *rescue itself*. From this Edward guessed how it might work, perhaps the very soul of a criminal was inside the weapon?
Before he was so basely murdered he had made plans for his death. Not for his soul a Ring of Heaven to keep it safe. If Crime could have a soul-touched weapon, then why not the Law? And the soul would be his own, giving up on his chance of a heavenly afterlife, as he considered his desire to serve and protect to be more important. His soul was placed inside his police baton that he had been issued with on his first day at the police acadamy and kept through his whole career in the force. Since then it has been used to foil many a crime, and the underworld would destroy it if they could, but are no more able to then the police can destroy Lawbane. The two weapons once met in combat, and they hate each other.
The baton is sentinent. Although it cannot speak directly, it can place thoughts into the mind of it's holder, thoughts of protecting the weak, helping those in distress, enforcing the law. The policeman in a chase becomes that little bit faster, in a riot situation that little bit more commanding, perhaps heading off the riot before it really starts, when trying to talk a criminal into giving up or a witness into entering witness protection, that little bit more persuasive.
Where Lawbane projects an aura of intimidation, Lawboon projects an aura of lawful command. Those who are good will be inspired to acts of heroism.
Although only a baton, in the hands of certain owners it has had the striking powers of a quarterstaff, able to target wrists, bellies, knees with expert blows, only striking for the head in a life or death situation. Where it is possible, it prefers not to kill as even the worst criminals deserve a fair trial. It prefers to be in the hands of certified law enforcement, but will accept other owners as long as they are good if there are no police around, giving such an owner a sense that it needs to be handed in to the nearest police station.
Should it fall into the hands of a criminal who cannot be seduced by its promises and urgings, it will send out a soundless distress call. All nearby police patrols within many miles around will be alerted to it's location. Vigilantes acting in the name of Good, busybodies and informants will also feel the urge to act against the bearer. If used to commit an outright crime it will resist, pulling back from blows and the like, although some vigilantes and have a go heros can indeed use it's full powers if their intention is pure. It is harder to destroy by fire then it looks;it would take a human sized pyre and an hour or so in the flames to destroy it.
Many more powers have been attributed to it, although not all have been instantiated. Some believe that the wisdom of Edward Pierpoint will become theirs with possession of the baton, helping even the lowliest constable achieve a lot in fighting crime. Others believe it will point out a criminal of it's own accord.
The PCs have been sent by a crime boss to bring this to him, without being told what it is. Ignorant of it's true nature, they are beset upon by every police officer in the city as the unhappy, silent cry of the distressed baton echos around the law enforcement community