This reflective, silver chakram has all eight phases of the moon etched symmetrically onto the circular blade. When the moon is full, the chakram sheds a faint silvery light.
The farthest reaches of a kingdom's domain, so far North that no enemy nation threatens the border, are often the least regarded among the king's problems. One small village in such a distant reach was plagued by the curse of lycanthropy. Every full moon, the villagers knew to look their doors and board their windows lest their bodies feed the cursed beasts or worse, contract the curse.
With monthly waves of pleas that went unregarded by the kingdom's defenses, with promises that the armies were busy protecting the kingdom from foreign conquest, the village began forging weapons of silver to defend themselves. Locus, mother of a lovely daughter and the only village silversmith, made arrows and spear heads with whatever silver the village had. The men of the village, farmers all, would hunt during all phases of the moon for the cursed outcasts who lived in the nearby forests or hills. They would hunt for weeks at a time until the approach of the full moon. With a shoddy fence and nightly patrols, the village did what it could to survive. The werewolves always attacked. Better equipped, the villagers often killed most of the beasts only to find out the following month that villagers bitten or scratched during the attack would bolster the thin ranks of the lycanthrops.
One full moon, the villagers crouched in their locked homes dreading the impending raid. Locus, in horror, watched as her young daughter, who had concealed a small bite, transformed by the light of the moon. Locus escaped her home and locked the child inside. After the full moon passed, the villagers demanded the the child be killed for the safety of the rest of them. Locus tentatively stayed their weapons by threatening to stop making weapons of silver if her daughter was harmed. Locus took the large silver crucifix from the church while asking her god for forgiveness and mercy. The village had silver and could also trade with nearby cities for silver; no one had desired to melt the crucifix that symbolized their faith. But still, no one seemed to be willing to stop Locus from doing so.
Working for three weeks, mumbling prayers without end, only sleeping when she would collapsed from fatigue, working as if she was possessed, Locus forged a perfect chakram that held secret and forgotten magic. Later, the village would tell stories of how an angel had possessed her to impart knowledge of forging magic within the silver. When she finished, she cut her daughter's hand with it, and the curse lifted. To this day, Locus has no memory of where the chakram came from.
The New Moon Chakram is constructed of pure silver and has three magical abilities:
- The chakram will shed silver light during the full moon.
- When thrown, the chakram always returns to the hand of the one who threw it.
- When the chakram cuts the flesh of a lycanthrop, shapechanger, or anything that has magically assumed a different physical form, the transformation unwinds and causes the creature to revert back to it's original form.
Whether time had faded the chakrams power or whether the power was only usable once, the chakram no longer removes the curse of lycanthropy. Instead, it only suppresses it for a time.
It is no surprise that many being fear and hate the Chakram of the New Moon. Not the least of which is a nest of Doppelgangers who wish to destroy the weapon lest it undermine their stolen positions of power. It is rumored that the chakram can be unmade through a lengthy ritual performed by five shapechangers and a vat of molten silver. The details of the ritual are uncertain.
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? Responses (9)
The PCs could be sent to unmask a high ranking shapechanger with this.
If I gave this item to the players in my campaign, they would cut everyone the saw just to be sure. I like the idea of introducing this item for a single mission to expose an impostor.
You could also give this item to someone who is using it to resist the curse by cutting himself during the full moon.
The item doesn’t need all this justification. If you have story with Lycanthropy in it, then a magical cure (permanent or temporary) is already justified simply by the nature of beasts. You say as much in your teaser. Nor is your story of its creation a novel one. A small isolated community beset by monsters and mother who loves her child so that much she is willing to risk the greater good to protect it are very old chestnuts. You use a lot of words to go through some very simple and familiar concepts.
These facts regarding the item are also sparse, vague and the will not help players to understand or use the items more efficiently. In your Mercurial Chain Sword (http://strolen.com/viewing/Mercurial_Chain_Sword) write up, which I thought was very good, the facts you give could help player to manipulate the item and understand its “physics”. In another excellent write up of an item, http://strolen.com/viewing/Gideons_Mercy, the backstory helps the characters and the GM to understand the items moral compass. It also justifies the existence of an item which unlike this Chakram, is not of necessarily intuitive. I found nothing wrong with this post, but nothing special about it either. Maybe I am missing something, I do that, Checka thought it was perfect.
I think you meant possessed by an “angel” not an “angle”. Don’t take that as condescension, I am mystified and impressed by anyone that get all the errors out of a piece of prose.
You certainly do make a good point. I spent too much time on the origin story when I could have written a paragraph or two on the details of the item's appearance. I also know that there is nothing too special about the origin. Some people appreciate more back story while others appreciate more tangible descriptions. More or less, I just had an idea and tossed it here to see what people would think of it. You are welcome to write an alternative back story (or even ignore it), but I believe that I will take your advice and try to shorten familiar concepts rather than over explain them.
I also corrected my spelling. Thanks for pointing it out.
I think this has just the right amount of backstory to justify it's existence. The origin myth is always a major part of any magic weapon, and as far as those go, this one is pretty good.
Second only to my love of speculative biology is geeking out the details and motivations of the genre. Why do magic items need back stories?
I think the need for a back story to justify the existence of magic weapon is relatively modern one. Excalibur did not have origin myth that I am aware of in the original Mort de Arthur or in the pre-Anglo poems. In native american mythology Little Man did not have a justification for his magic knife. These items were just part of their mythology.
Perhaps, and I am just throwing things out here, the need to justify the existence of things which are supernatural is linked to rise of christianity in the western world. In the christian system you had two sets of supernatural powers, a good one and evil one correct. Thus all supernatural item had to be justified as either good or evil. And for a long time Europe was obsessed with magic item (christian relics). In J. Phillips book 'The Forth Crusade' he has very interesting accounts about how many (not all certainly) of the crusaders were motivated by a desire to find relics and bring them home. Of course these relic had to have a good back story.
The goal of those back stories was to put those items and their reported powers into a proper moral context and weave the item into the larger body of christian mythology. So Chaosmark, aside for genre considerations, why do you think origin stories are major part of any magic items? Do items of obvious utility, healing potions, plus one daggers and so on require a back story?
Funny you should mention Excalibur, since it was one of my considerations when making that comment. 'Historia Regum Britanniae' (predating d'Arthur by ~3 centuries, and one of Malory's sources) does give some origin to Excalibur (it was forged in Avalon).
More importantly, every single mythic weapon I've read of has SOME backstory to it. A weapon found inside an 8-headed snake demon, a deity's weapon on-loan, the weapon of a famous hero that acquired similar characteristics, etc. The backstory gives it a place in the world, and in a number of cases explains the weapon itself. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and magic weapons are no different. Even if the players don't ever learn of the backstory, it still gives you ways to link it to your world.
Generic items of obvious utility do not require a backstory; one presumes that healing potions first came from some alchemist, and so on for items that see common use. But more unique items, those with truly special characteristics, such as anti-shapechanger chakram, require some sort of explanation for where their abilities came from.
If they don't, it feels too arbitrary, and harkens back to the old D&D magic item tables. I never much liked those, because they made the magic items feel detached from the surrounding setting. An origins myth of some kind negates that, and also gives extra tidbits to add to a world. 'Oh, those are the Sacred Chakram of the New Moon, blessed by the Moon Goddess herself! You must be holy warriors, to be graced with such a divine weapon.'
Yes! I agree with everything you said, you set things up perfectly. I think this backstory is fine but it doesn't give us that much information about the Chakram.
So let's break the back story by Chaosmark's own standards
1) "items of obvious utility do not require a backstory" I assert that this item has an obvious utlity. If you have a curse or disease then the means to cure those afflictions are immediately justified. But you are right this item isn't generic, it is unique Charkam. Why a Charkam? The silversmith was going to use this on a daughter she kept locked inside the house. Why note something a little more managable, like a needle? The back story does not justify the charkam.
2) "require some sort of explanation for where their abilities came from" We don't know where these abilities came from. It is possessed "by secret and forgotten magic" was it actually built by angel or is it because it was forged from a crucifix. We get a lot of vague hints but not answer. As I said this story is fine, if you are going to give vague hints then you don't as much back story. Also why did the abilities change, why does it return to the owners hand? Your own answer to this "Oh, those are the Sacred Chakram of the New Moon, blessed by the Moon Goddess herself! You must be holy warriors, to be graced with such a divine weapon." would be enough backstory I feel and provide as much relevant information as the above back story.
3) "also gives extra tidbits to add to a world." I would say this is the most enjoyable part of back story for me. And we do get some tibits about the world, but I felt they were pretty standard. We know that lycans are vunerable to silver, their bites or scratches recruit new lycans and they only show up once a month. All those facts come through in the write up but they are already genre standards. The isolated community also isn't much new nor is the mother protecting her child. There is a tribe of doppleganger that is looking for it to protect the power they have usurped; that is kind of cool.
4) Finally I'd like to add my own. In an RPG setting back story helps the players and GM to manipulate and understand the item. I think the two posts I referenced above do that wonderfully.
OmegaDraco, I don't mean to be too harsh on your post. I thought it was fine, it is a usuable item with a passable back story. But I think you could do everything here in 100 words.
Chaosmark, the Mort de Arthur may have an orgin for the sword, I don't remember and I didn't check. I was just trying to bait you in. But I could talk about the Arthur legends all day. Perhaps having a sword that was forged by the old religion and seeking the holy grail helped to cement arthur as a bridge between the celtic world and the christian world. The history of the kings of britian was a christian work wasn't it? Did the really early poems define the source of his dagger, spear and sword as Avalon?
I see nothing wrong with this item - choice of chakram could simply be for flavor and not be another boring sword or dagger.
Its funny the discussion greatly exceeds the wordcount of the submission....