Full Item Description
A gleaming black semi-automatic pistol, Nightfall doesn’t quite identify with any known manufacture. Even the untrained eye can tell that this is both a weapon with a legacy and a weapon that has been cared for; numerous superficial marks scar the surface of the gunmetal, but not sharp edges protrude, each nick having been polished smooth over the years of handling and care. Each angle of the gun bears a fascinating geometric precision to it; each rounding a smooth and somehow sinister arc. Often, it lies within an old leather holster, the material worn and soft with age, but as well-tended as the weapon it holds. Stamped along one side of the holster is a single word, the name of this unique firearm: Nightfall.
Nightfall was crafted by a draftsman by the name of Johnathon Cooper, in the days when semi-automatic weapons were first being designed. Revolutionary though the design was, featuring an elegance and cold beauty far beyond a typical firearm, only one was ever made from the plans, as a weapon of vengeance. The woman Johnathon loved, a raven-haired beauty named Debbie Nesmith - or Lady Nightfall among the gossips for her hair and her habit of appearing only at night on someone’s arm - had been gunned down in a crossfire between the bodyguards of the gangster who had taken her as a mistress and a rival from another organization.
Johnathon poured his entire soul into the task of crafting the weapon, bent on avenging a woman who had never known he existed. It wasn’t until he loaded the weapon, however, that Nightfall was truly born - in that moment, the man known as Johnathon Cooper died, replaced solely by the living vengeance he had poured into Nightfall’s creation. His body moved, but there was no soul guiding it, only the terrible will of the weapon as he stalked the streets during the darkness, bringing a bloody end to every thug and bodyguard involved in the firefight, then slipping away in the darkness again.
The last one left on his quest, the gangster who had taken her as mistress, was killed before the eyes of his new mistress; paralyzed by fear, the young woman only watched as the soulless eyes turned to her, and Johnathon spoke his first words since picking the weapon up. 'Night falls, and my vengeance is done.' Then, guided still by the weapon, he shot himself.
Since then, the weapon has passed through many hands - some taking care of it, others less so. Those who respect Nightfall’s artistry and tend to it seem to be the fortunate ones, able to live after passing the gun on. The less fortunate, those seeing only a tool or another weapon, inevitably destroy themselves with it.
Still, tales float around, of the glistening black firearm with the terrible beauty, and how, for a price, it can gain vengeance for even the most terrible of crimes. Criminal kingpins and government leaders all dismiss it as nonsense, but a few have noticed them looking nervously around while doing so, as if expecting someone to step from the gathering shadows of dusk.
Nightfall is a weapon crafted out of a need for revenge; invested with the entire emotional force of a man grieving for a woman who had never even known he lived, it is a thing of cold fury, predatory rage, and grief, touched with a strange awareness as a unique weapon, without even a single imitator in the world.
If picked up by someone who has no need of revenge, Nightfall is merely an exquisitely crafted firearm, as long as care is taken to keep it well-tended. Those who do not give the firearm the respect it is due as something unique find that it seems to shift wherever it happens to be laying, such that it always points at them, muzzle-first. Many of these owners soon hurriedly pass it on; those that don’t find that the finely honed trigger is a little too much on the hair side, as a spontaneous bump causes it to go off - some even say without a round in the chamber, and almost always fatally, as the gun claims vengeance for the disrespect.
When picked up by someone in need of vengeance, however, Nightfall awakens to the purpose it was made for. The wielder becomes a creature of darkness, able to hide in almost any shadow and gifted with a near superhuman degree of stealth. The wielder gains the ability to track those who are guilty of the crimes that caused them to crave revenge in the first place, as acutely as a bloodhound tracking a wounded animal. Their ability with the weapon is masterful, each shot placed with terrible accuracy.
When the quest of vengeance is done, however, Nightfall demands a price - vengeance for each of those murdered by the wielder. Guided by the weapon’s will, each user almost inevitably claims his or her own life.
-Nightfall has been found by someone who feels slighted somehow by one of the PCs; can they stop the wielder of the gun before Nightfall claims the PC’s life?
-A rash of killings have begun; Nightfall has been found again, and this time it is held by a man who feels that everyone else is responsible for the misfortune in his life.
-The original plans for Nightfall have turned up; creating another weapon from these plans would destroy the weapon’s power as something unique, making it no more than an exquisitely crafted and well-tended firearm. Nightfall can sense this, and so compels the current owner to hunt down the person who has the firearm’s plans.
-Perhaps one of the PCs needs vengeance for something, when they come into to ownership of the gun. Can their friends prevent them from becoming a victim of the gun’s terrible design, another bloody mark in the weapon’s history of violence?
-Nightfall has fallen into the party’s hands, and they’ve been warned to destroy it before it destroys them. Can they do it without the gun killing them first? Will they pass it on to someone else and perpetuate the history of death and bloodshed, or will they try to truly rid the world of it?
What Makes a Weapon magic?
And for that matter, what makes any item magic?
What imbues our swords with supernatural cleaving abilities?
Who allows our maces to smash through stone?
Why do our spears hum with bloodlust?
Where does one find this wondrous font of MAGIC?
How exactly are these weapons created?
Well? Now we will find out! We invite you to join Strolen's Winter Quest! Each entry will be awarded an additional 10XP!
The winners will be chosen in the first weeks of the coming New Year. Be the first 'winner' of 2008! For easy reference and further detail see the What Makes a Weapon Magic submission by one of our esteemed authors, MichaelJotneSlayer. Good Luck to All!
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? Responses (19)
not a weapon to mistreat.
This I really like - though it reminds me superficially of the TV series Dead Man's Gun.
Still, it is more modern and the plots are good!
Nicely done Kassil!
I've never even *heard* of that series, though that's likely more the fact that I never watch TV and only rarely see movies more than any obscurity of the show in question.
Thanks; I saw a lack of modern entires to the Quest, and then what with it being OhGodHundred Hours in the morning, this bubbled up from a memory of a story I once read about a gun that kept pointing at the person who had murdered the gun's owner before eventually going off and killing him.
Well done indeed.
I think that there we find 'modern' magical items so rarely here is that because the items are familiar and close to us, and being near, they are not things of legend, the way we expect magics to be.
Yeah, this is true; but then I tend to have a skewed perception of time anyhow, so this may have been a simpler entry to devise on that count alone...
Today's urban tales are next millennium's myths.
This is a lovely item, the story is great and the idea very well executed.
I especially like the gun's uncanny ability to kill a careless owner, as if by chance.
Nice one Kassil!
The gun demands respect, as a thing unique to the world. And as a weapon of Vengeance, it made sense that it could claim vengeance when not given the respect it deserves. Glad you appreciated it.
Nothing to add.
Excellent! You have your very own Quest niche here
When the quest of vengeance is done, however, Nightfall demands a price - vengeance for each of those murdered by the wielder. Guided by the weapon's will, each user almost inevitably claims his or her own life
Very nice. Simple, brutal, and makes me want to use it (And I dont mean /use/ it. Well, you know what I mean) :)
I rather suspect that at least some of the people hunted down by each of Nightfall's wielders will feel that they were innocent, in some way, to whatever wrong the wielder desires vengeance for. I think that if each and every victim knew they were guilty and deserved this particular fate, Nightfall might let the wielder live - but then what of those who knew the victims, if they felt wronged by having the victims taken from them? It loops back to the need for vengeance, and so the legacy of self-destructive revenge continues...
Love it. Bringing magic into modernity is a huge plus for me. The whole post seems vaguely Frank Miller-ish, in a good way mind you. Big thumbs up.
I just don't have words....excellent sub!
This sub won the What Makes a Weapon Magic Quest.
The Strolenite Medal of Honour and 100XP goes to Kassil for this awesome quest submission!
This is a great item. It could be used for a Pulps or Supers game (SuperHeroes/ anti-heroes/ and so on). It works for a modern horror game, if the wrong person is touched by it. It is a total Urban Fantasy piece, magic touching the modern day. It just works.
I would throw all these freetexts on it, just so people could find it.
Updated: Added freetext and did a slight spelling correction.
Nothing much to add, except kudos for an excellent weapon.
Hmmmmm... I think i read this sometime in the past, but forgot to vote. Well, I have two words for you:
Excellent and BUMB!!!!!!
That's a bump, by the way. And a HoH.
I really like this. Modern but still rooted in a historical context, unbalanced creator, item with a personality. It all comes together perfectly. I find myself really wanting to throw this into a game...