Lifting the heavy slab of stone, the tired adventurers could see the withered petals of flowers still scattered over the ancient bones of the hero interred beneath. In his skeletal grasp, a blade of gleaming pale-grey flint was visible.
Sir Wortham threw aside the cumbersome stone slab, crying aloud, “What stuff is this? Did we venture forth to this distant cavern, forsaken by both men and gods, to find a mere stone trinket?” As he reached down and tugged the blade from the antediluvian tomb, a strange expression came over his features, one of mixed fear and fierce joy. “This stone blade! I can feel its power coursing through me!”
An Earlier Age: In the Shadow of the Great Glacier
Crouched near the stream that ran from beneath the great wall of ice, at the northern verge of the Land of the Hunters, the old man sang the song of the Bear Spirit Tordun as he patiently chipped at the flint in his hand. The wisest of his tribe, the leathery-skinned elder had seen over 40 summers. He had mastered the skill of flint knapping many summers before, taught by the wisest of the Basket People, the tribe to the south.
As he worked, he wondered if he would someday find an apprentice patient enough to craft blades as he did. Perhaps his people would all be food for the spirits first, slain by the Serpent Folk that hunted them. The thought distracted him for a moment, and the blade flaked at the wrong angle, ruined.
The patient craftsman picked up another chunk of stone and began again. Perhaps this would be the one, the weapon of chieftains, a spear to guard his people in their desperate defense against the Serpent Folk.
The ancient craftsman’s quest paid off in the end, producing a spear blade of unparalleled grace and strength, into which he summoned the strength of Tordun the Bear Spirit, the cunning of Makt the Wolf Spirit, and the agility of Velen, Spirit of the Otter. Nearly 6” long, this blade of pale grey flint brought all these gifts to its destined bearer, the chieftain chosen by fate to battle the Serpent Folk.
The Blade of the Chieftains
The ancient craftsman addressed the warriors of his tribe. “In the past, we have faced the Serpent Folk and have been defeated, but we will now find victory!” He held aloft the brightly decorated spear, its decorative feathers and shell-bedecked thongs flapping in the breeze, its point of translucent flint gleaming in the sunlight. “This weapon gives its wielder the strength of the spirits! They will aid him in his battle against the Serpent Folk! I have made it as a gift to our chieftain, that we may now prevail!”
Looking upon the old flint knapper’s shining face, the warriors of the tribe could sense the great totem spirits moving within him, called to defend their people.
This ancient blade still retains the powers it was given by the totem spirits, potentially giving its wielder increased strength, agility, and cunning in battle. When the full power of the Blade is unleashed, it can increase its wielder’s strength to match that of a cave bear, give him an intuitive sense of his enemies’ weaknesses comparable with a dire wolf’s ability to judge its prey, and given him the reaction times and agility of an otter. These abilities are not constant; instead, they are given by the weapon when it feels they are needed.
While these abilities could make the weapon epic in its power, it will only unleash them fully for one that is the chieftain of the tribe it was crafted to preserve. In order to gain the weapon’s full benefits, the wielder must be deemed worthy by the tribe’s totem spirits and he must be willing to bear the blade alone into battle, with no other weapons. He must be dauntless, and relentlessly seek to slay all enemies of the Hunting People tribe. He must defeat any other challenger that seeks to claim his chieftainship.
In its essence, the blade is the heart of a spear created to protect the Hunting People tribe from its enemies. It will only release its true power for one who is acting as the tribe’s leader and its champion. As the Hunting People tribe has been dead for thousands of years, along with the Serpent Folk that battled them, any modern wielder of this blade will find it extremely difficult to get it to release its power. The blade does not communicate through words, only through an empathic sense, giving vague feelings and intuitions. It is not able to readily guide its wielder’s actions, so just figuring out what the blade’s purpose is will be a challenge. The wielder can sense its great power, but even discovering that it is supposed to be a spear tip will be beyond the capabilities of many heroes.
The other disadvantage to the weapon is that it’s a flint blade. It is stronger than an ordinary weapon of its type, but it is not invulnerable. A warrior that meets its demand that he bear no other weapons may find himself at a disadvantage when he faces a foe in modern plate armor that he dares not strike for fear of shattering his spear tip.
In a medieval setting, the weapon is an ancient relic, a weapon rendered irrelevant by progress. While it still has the potential to bring forth awesome power within its wielder, it expects its wielder to champion a tribe that no longer exists. An adventure could be built around discovering or recreating a ritual to convince the weapon into accepting a group in the campaign as the heirs of the ancient tribe that it was built to protect.