The Rod of Ashirkelenge was crafted from the left humerus of the black wyrm Ashirkelenge, after that beast was slain by the ogre brothers Yinuz, Ayuz, and Ajel. The shaft of the rod is adorned with cramped runic script that details the slaying of the wyrm by the brothers three after it's desolation of their clan. The story is told in primitive and bombastic fashion, and there are quite a few grammatical and spelling errors, as the brothers were warriors and hunters first, and only Ajel the Man-Faced was able to write. The base (elbow end) of the bone is wrapped with braided leather, to keep a good grip on the rod as it is swung about. The head of the bone was badly damaged by the time the brothers passed away and lost the rod, during their ownership of the rod, they used it almost exclusively as a cudgel.
The wizard known only as the Necromaster took up the dragon arm bone, re-etched the runes and added more to the markings, though in script so small and fine that it is easily overlooked. The head of the humerus was in ragged shape, so the Necromaster tasked a gifted smith to create a metal cap for the bone to prevent any more weathering of the material. The smith outdid himself, and crafted a very fine cap for the bone made of a rare metal, and a precious adamas gemstone. This construction, along with the powers invested into the rod by the Necromaster slowly forged what was once a primitive cudgel into a powerful tool and weapon, one very strongly associated with the Necromaster, and greatly feared.
The Rod of Ashirkelenge is if nothing else, a magical weapon in the hands of the most unintelligent unskilled person or creature willing to swing it. It's metal head negates magical protection, ignores magical armors, and deals bonus amounts of damage against artificial constructs like golems, and zombies, as well as magical creatures such as elementals and manifested spirits.
Activated Ability: Power Word - Smash
By shouting the command incantation, FYN MAAK, the wielder of the Rod can deliver an irresistable crushing blow against a single foe. This attack has a major bonus to hit, and inflicts maximum possible damage. If used against a physical structure, it deals the normal amount of damage, but scaled up for damaging inanimate objects. If used against a human sized target, they are knocked back 10 feet and left prone on the ground. Larger foes can attempt to stand their ground, and avoid being knocked back OR being knocked prone. Can be used once per encounter.
The Rod is also a magical device, capable of storing energy/mana for casting more spells, or making existing spells more powerful. If the magical energy stored in the rod is drawn from sources associated with death, fire, or greed, the amount of power it can hold is doubled. Energy drawn from healing, celestial, or water associated sources reduces the amount that can be held by half.
Activated Ability: Fireball
By invoking the power word 'ONTSLAAN' the rod generates a small fireball that can be hurled at any foe within 50' of the caster. The damage is fire based, and can be powered by mana from the rod or from the caster and can be used as many times as the caster is able to fuel the power. While damaging, this isn't a fight ending move, but is good for starting fires, causing fear in creatures afraid of fire, and causing weak opponents to flinch in fear.
Activated Ability: Dragonflame
By invoking the power words 'AFVUUR ONSTLAAN' the Rod discharges a cone of flame from the diamond on the metal cap. This cone is 20 feet wide at the base, and 50 feet long. This power completely drains the rod, and deals a large amount of damage. The heat generated causes fires, and sustained damage checks for 3 combat rounds after being fired.
Activated Ability: Eyes of the Dragon
Activating the greater powers of the Rod takes more intense knowledge and magical understandings of dragons, and the history of the relic. When this power is activated, functionally draining a spell/equivalent mana from the caster, they are given a magical aura of power and authority, tinged with both respect and fear. If used against a single opponent, this power has the ability to cow even the mightiest foe, rendering them silent, even possibly forcing physical submission. If used on a larger group, it can sway the emotions of a crowd, force a group to flinch, or otherwise break the momentum of their emotional state. When used in a supportive fashion, this can rally minions, prevent routs, and send champions to greater levels of accomplishment.
The Rod of Ashirkelenge is a relic tainted by death, murder, necromancy, and the resonance of the wyrm Ashirkelenge, who in its lifetime was a vindictive beast that would go on regular rampages out of fits of boredom, and would demand horrible things from those unfortunate enough to live under its dominion. As such, there are certain flaws that come with being the owner of the Rod, aside from the usual problems of thieves trying to steal it and rival necromancers and dragon mages attempting to dispatch the owner to take it.
The most constant flaws are wrath and greed, as these are common to owning any relics made out of dragon corpse parts. The aspect of wrath manifests differently in different users, charismatic owners become sadistic, intelligent owners become tainted with hubris, lustful owners become depraved and so on. (Self control is lowered, and darker more animalistic emotions start sneaking out). Those who are reserved, become cold and cruel, this action need not evince itself in tantrums and screaming fits. The aspect of Greed sees the owner slowly move towards being first a hoarder of things they like, then valuable things, and then anything. Most dragons are like this, but given their simple tastes for gold and mayhem, they seldom move into the category of hoarding pets, food containers, or random garbage.
The rod itself is vampiric, drawing life force away from the caster. This is a gradual process and their hit points and other stats aren't removed, they are converted. Once more than 25% of their health has been converted from living to gray, being away from the Rod causes them emotional distress. After 50% have been converted, being separated from the Rod by more than a few feet causes them physical discomfort. At this point, if they are permanently separated from the Rod, they will start to recover their normal condition at half the rate it took to reach their devoured self. After the 50% mark, divine magics or natural healing magics are required to recover their life force.
At the 75% conversion rate, the owner has visible changed, their skin has taken on an ashen hue, and their extremities have a pronounced ashen color. In humans and other red blooded creatures, this is the blueing of the skin around the eyes and lips, and the fingertips. At this point, being removed from the Rod causes them constant ache, and they will start 'bleeding' hit points as their life force is tied to the Rod. At the 90% conversion, the owner must start making regular health/stamina/constitution checks. If they pass, they continue being converted by the rod, if they fail, their health falters and they die of apparent natural causes. Once the magic number of 100% is reached and the last check is made, the owner becomes a liche with it's entire existence tied to the Rod. Breaking the Rod will destroy them, and all other liches created by the relic.
The Liche form created from owners of the Rod do not have the innate magical abilities of the normal Liche. They retain the obvious and normal advantages and immunities from being undead, and can be turned by clerics, but they are treated as special undead and get a fitting bonus to resist. Having been created by a draconic relic, these liches are fire resistant, and quite strong physically. As no longer being alive, they are no longer attached to the Rod, but lacking life force, the Rod is useless to them, and they can no longer activate any of it's powers.
The Necromaster was the first to succumb to the wasting power of the Rod. Some theorize that this was the ultimate purpose of the Rod, to render the arch-necromancer a liche, but that its subsequent failure to work in his dead hands was unexpected. Since then, the rod has passed through many hands, leaving a trail of dead bodies, and a very small number of dragon born liches. The Rod has since vanished, and it is speculated that as it functions as the phylactery for at least half a dozen liches, they have gone through great effort to ensure that it remains hidden from those who would destroy it.