Ages ago, Xzar was a powerful elemental of Earth. He commanded the fear and respect of the Elemental Courts of Stone, Metal, and Fire with his skillful oration and eloquent demeanor. Few could face the wise and ancient lord of Stone in debate or in battle. Then the unexpected happened, Xzar was slain.
Ma-O, the great demon of the ocean rose from his benthic realm and called Xzar out with a challenge. He sought to draw the venerable lord of Stone into a riddling contest, something that few among the courts can resist. Xzar went but was yet wary, the demons were fickle and could warp the truth around their lies. But the honor of defeating such a wise and evil foe in a contest of wits was more than Xzar could resist.
They met and it was the sound of ocean surf roaring against the land, and the deep rumble of rock grinding against rock. The contest lasted for three days, with the Demon of the Ocean twisting logic and truth the way it twisted its sinuous body. Each time, the riddle was met with solid logic, and analytical precision. But the entire contest was a ruse.
Kr%vK, whose name cannot be pronounced in human syllables, betrayed his sire at the beckoning of the leviathan of the deep. Poisoned words the demon had let drip into the Prince of Basalt’s ear. he promised the courts of Fire, and Metal, and Stone to the Prince if he would help destroy Xzar. The Prince agreed, and on the third day, Xzar was struck with a mighty blow.
The Lord of Stone was felled, and his corpse shook the land when it fell. For many leagues, the mountains drooped, and trembled and the meager houses of man toppled, and the Dwarven hold of Bvorax was collapsed. With a demon enchanted blade of ice, Kr%vk cut Xzar’s beryl heart out as a trophy of his victory. This victory was short lived as the Great Demon of the Ocean wrapped the Prince in his serpentine body and crushed the Prince of Basalt into gravel to litter the beach.
The Heart was left discarded on the beach. A great mound of stone, nearly 80 feet high and roughly eroded by the ocean shows the resting place of Xzar, and the beach is covered with a thick sheet of black sand, the remains of the great betrayer. Ma-O slunk back into the ocean to enjoy his terrible victory, leaving behind all but the blade of ice.
Some time later, a traveler along the beach discovered an emerald the size of three fists, and of exceptional quality…
The Gem of Xzar has a number of powerful abilities, most of which can be deduced by often dangerous trial and error by a sorcerer or wizard. It radiates strong elemental magic, and is as hard as a diamond, despite being an emerald. As a general rule, the Gem can only destroy now, it’s power to create mountains and raise the earth perished with it’s owner.
Earthquake - In the hands of a skilled magi, the stone can cause seismic tremors. The strength of the event depends on the skill of the user, as well as the ability to ‘aim’ the event. Causing a quake beyond line of sight signifigantly raises the difficulty.
Fissure - This power causes a sinkhole to open in the earth, swallowing buildings, people, armies and the like. It requires line of sight, and unlike the movies, the hole doesn’t snap shut. The depth of the sinkhole depends on the skill of the user, generally 10 foot of depth and diameter per success, or degree of success.
Avalanche - The easiest, and most uncontrollable power. With this the magi is able to make a mountain shake off it’s coat of snow. Without snow, the avalanche is a rock fall, or possibly even a major mudslide if used on a hill.
McGuffin to go, please - The PCs discover an evil wizard has the Gem of Xzar and must stop the villian before he collapses their home, the royal palace, whatever.
Restoration - The PCs find the Gem of Xzar and its powers, but later discover its tale and are compelled to return the gem to the Court of Stone, which has lost power in recent years, falling to the ocean. (increasing floods, beach erosion, that sort of thing) The PCs have to return it before their kingdom is reclaimed by the sea.
Spell Power - A good wizard hires the PCs to retrieve the stone for a powerful spell. The spell will stop the orcish hordes, defeat the evil stone giants, curtain the rampaging earth elementals, all that jazz.
Vengeful Princess - Jilted by one of the PCs, a local Princess accesses the Gem from the family treasury and uses it to vex the PCs until they come around to their senses. Will the king believe that the worlds greatest emerald, and symbol of his status should be given over to the money-grubbing PCs to stop the quakes? I think not.
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? Responses (8)
This is one of those items that actually does more for a campaign being a legend than actually being an item. The quest for, the possible threat of, rumors searching, and other lines can be spawned by the mere existance of this item.
Plus it adds a nice bit of flavor to the worlds mythic times.
Great myth - brilliant read - but it doesn't quite explain what the Gem is - was it part of Xzar or something he owned?
The Gem is a little munchkin-like for my taste. Let's face it you could level a city with thing, which is WAY too much power to put in the hands of any one person (PC or NPC).
It's not often that I find myself scoring low on one if Scrasamax's posts, but this time I feel I must. Basically this is just the fantasy equivalent of the H-bomb, with only the backstory raising it above the mediocre.
So - 3/5 (sorry Scras, you can't be perfect all the time)
The post specifies that it's his heart. (Emeralds are sometimes confused with beryls.)
I love the story(See MH's comments), but I think the McGuffin could be a little more interesting in and of it's own. Such a tremendous item might well be /heavily/ imprinted with its 'creators' meta-physical essence, and the emotion of the event - items like this need to be awesome reminders of what created them, in my opinion.
OK I misread that bit - the comment regarding its munchkin-like properties remains valid though
Dragon Lord, this is an item that is to be kept out of PC hands at all time. It is the threat that this item poses that is the motivator. If your PCs are the ones looking for this item for their own personal power... perhaps they are no longer the protagonists/ good guys of the story... and perhaps another group of adventurers will be hired to take them out and reclaim the item.
Very good as the aim of a campaign.
I agree with Moonhunter's assessment - I believe it would be a little to powerful for use in a conventional roleplay, but perhaps a mention in a myth could spur all sorts of side quests. If anything, i'd say it's a campaign starter.
A great mythic piece. As for the power of the item the description is suitably vague as to its effects as to render that argument somewhat overwrought - the GM can easily tune it.