Full Item Description

A stone bottle (about 1' high by 8' in diameter) with two metal prongs (Mithral and Adamantite). When not in use, these are covered by a thick, clay stopper.

History

In some ways, the Dwarves of Urek were ahead of their time. Masters of metallurgy and alchemy, they had numerous technologies the human kingdoms were unaware of.

The Dwarven Lightning bottles are rare, rather unusual items that date back to when the Kashaar Dwarven Kingdom still held the Urek Mountains and the Forge of Woe. Once those lands fell from their hands (The full story detailed in the Forge of Woe entry), the dwarves lost their source of Mithral and Adamantite, making construction of these items impossible.

At their height, the best lightning bottles were constructed with the aid of the dwarven priest Tharken and his Hands of the Master who carefully crafted the hard stone bottles used as vessels.

After the fall of Kashaar, substitute materials were used, such as common metals, and also Artificial Dragons Blood (which caused several fatal explosions). None provided results anywhere near the capabilities of the original materials and so the construction ceased, and the secret of their construction was lost to time.

The Dwarves used the lightning bottles primarily for weapons of war - they did not discover that they could power machinery with the power they generated, and they were not known for the skill of their sorcerers. The scarcity of Dragons' blood served to curb any experimentation in those lines.

The bottles were often used to power Dwarven Lightning Throwers and as the energy source for electrical boobytraps.
The most spectacular of these boobytraps was the Lightning Thrower. This device was capable of sending an electical charge up to 10 feet away sufficent to kill most beings. Being rather indiscriminate in nature, it was rarely used.

The bottles themselves could be used directly as a weapon, by bringing the contacts against a foe.

Magic/Cursed Properties

The Dwarven Lightning bottle is a carefully crafted magical battery with a Mithral Anode, an Adamantite Cathode and Dragon's Blood for the electrolyte.

Due to the immense latent magic found in it's materials, the energy created can be used either as high current electricity, or as pure mana to be directed into spells. Both modes are difficult as the bottle has no intensity settings - it functions at 0%(when stoppered) or 100% (when opened). Only the very strongest sorcerers can use the batteries power without injury.

Use of the power gradually diminishes the dragon's blood contained within the device, and the device can be renewed with fresh blood. The electrodes do not degrade significantly with use - none has ever been found with either pole eroded beyond usability.

When unstoppered, anything remotely conductive placed across the terminals of the battery will receive a massive jolt of magical lightning, sufficient to destroy most known materials. When used in such a manner, between 10-20% of the dragon's blood contained is expended.

If a conductive material of sufficient strength to withstand the current is placed across the terminals, then the entire bottle will heat up and eventually shatter, discharging great amounts of magical energy, lightning and fragments. The effect can be obtained should the terminals somehow be brought into direct contact with each other.

Plot Hooks

It's Alive! - The Medieval Prometheus

A local spellcaster by the name of Waleran has been researching methods for creating life using lightning and corpses. Now, he had found legends describing the lightning bottles and decided that this would be an excellent source of power to energize his creation.

Waleran sponsors the PC's to find one of these bottles - for he has some information from his research they can use.

Should they prove successful in obtaining the bottle, and probably a source of fresh Dragon's blood to power it, then the caster will construct his monster. Now, since the PC's know too much they are an obvious first 'target' for the monster.

Dreadnought!

Unlike the ancient dwarves, King Varamon and his visionary court magician Salidahn have discovered a different means to use the power of the Bottles.

Having uncovered an ancient tomb that had been boobytrapped by several of the devices (the traps failed, as the dragon's blood had long since lost it's potency) the King now had a small supply of the Bottles.

These bottles were harnessed into providing the motive power for a new, sail-less warship that would make King Varamon's navy the greatest in the world! The hull was plated with bronze to prevent damage and fire.The masts served only as places to mount siege weapons and archers.

To provide the necessary Dragon's Blood to power his new warship the King has commissioned many adventures and groups of soldiers to capture any Dragons which may be found.

Several plot lines suggest themselves:

1. The PC's are hired by a rival nation to either discover the secrets of Varamon's Dreadnought or failing that, destroy it.

2. The PC's could easily sign on as Dragon Hunters to provide the blood.

3. The PC's could be hired on as crew of the ship, and engage in naval battle with the King's enemies or vengeful Dragons!

4. Several hundred years pass, after the Dreadnought is lost in a storm with all hands. Now, on a strange island, the PC's find an ancient bronze-hulled ship with no masts...

5. The PC's are sent to find more of the bottles, either to construct new ships, or to power some new weapons the King is planning to mount on the current one.

Notes:

Based on the possibility of the first battery being an ancient discovery:

http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/sciencemedicine/qt/1stBattery.htm

The scarcity of the materials and difficulty of construction is the main limiting factor of this device.

Obviously, the PC's could try and construct less powerful versions of the device with normal metals and acids once the concept has been released into the world, and so this item could be a 'slippery slope' item, the same way gunpowder and steam engines are.

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