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The Stormbringer’s Pipes are an elegant thing to behold; crafted from what appears to be a polished ivory, their surface is etched with finely detailed depictions of cold, frost, and winter. Were it not for the effects that the pipes bring, they would doubtlessly be worth a fortune to a collector or the source of glorious music in the hands of the right musician.
Often, the pipes can be found in the ruins of a settlement where most, if not all, of the people have died, apparently having suffered a much harsher winter than they had expected; sometimes the instrument can even be found still clutched in the hands of the last one to play them, glistening with cold elegance amid the wreckage.
The Stormbringer’s Pipes were crafted by Soreen the Frostfell as one of his more subtle ploys to bring an unending winter to the whole of existence. While only a few pairs exist - crafting one of these is a lengthy task even for a Lord of the Nether - those that do are all too effective at their task. More than one wandering minstrel has found himself alone amid a sudden storm on a winter’s night, eventually passing out amid the howling snow and sleet with certain death awaiting, only to wake the next morning amid the chill snow with the Pipes resting in his hands.
So beautiful is the craftsmanship, the minstrel can hardly help but to play it to see if it sounds as lovely as it looks, and in so doing seals his fate, for to play the pipes is to give oneself to the thrall of Soreen. Driven by his fell power, the minstrel wanders, seeking towns and villages on the verge of spring, practicing the pipes as they go and bringing the harshest of winter storms with them.
Often they bring ruin to several towns before someone figures out that the winds rise as the pipe’s clear, beautiful notes do, and the snow falls heavier with the falling pitch of the music; knowing their doom, these unfortunate souls are the ones to at least temporarily halt the terrible power of the pipes by slaying their bearer, whose death fuels the final, catastrophic storm that engulfs the settlement.
-The Stormbringer’s Pipes summon winter storms when played; the howling winds and falling snow and sleet are eerily synchronized with the music played, which is often the first key to the cause of the unexpected storm.
-The bearer of the pipes may struggle to retain control of himself while playing the pipes; failure to do so renders the musician a thrall to Soreen’s will, little more than a wandering harbinger of the frigid storms. Those whose minds and/or spirits are already somewhat akin to the coldly aesthetic awareness of the Lord of Winter will find it harder to resist his will.
-The death of the musician, if still playing the pipes while under Soreen’s thrall, will consume the mortal aspects of his spirit to fuel a final cataclysmic storm that engulfs the area for scores of miles in all directions; the utter lethality of this does much to ensure that few will recognize the dangers of the pipes when first found. The remnants of the musician’s spirit go on to the Gloom to become the raw material of new demons of the wintry realm.
-News of a strange resurgence of winter’s storms reaches the party’s ears. Magic is suspected to be involved, but no witnesses have yet been found to tell of what happened as town after town is decimated by inexplicable storms of howling sleet.
-Amid the ancient wreckage of a long-forgotten town, the party’s most musically-inclined character finds a beautiful set of pipes resting amid a heap of bones. Can the character resist Soreen’s will when he tries the pipes out?
-The party is in a town when a minstrel with the Stormbringer’s Pipes comes to play. Can they recognize the danger in time to stop it? If they kill him and bring about the deadly storm fueled by the minstrel’s life, can they survive it, or perhaps lead the townsfolk to safety beyond the storm’s fringes?
A set of pale white panpipes, etched with images of the winter storms…
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