The Gemini Blade
"It's a bit rusted... but I think with time, you'll find that this ol' thing is a worthy travelling companion. And for you, miss... just 90 sovereigns."
At first glance, the Gemini Blade looks like little more than a rusted broadsword in a battered old scabbard, with a bronze cross guard adorned only by what appears to be a closed eye in the center of the hilt. The edges aren't particularly sharp, though the blade feels heavy and powerful in the hand. The scabbard is made of leather, with bronze rivets holding it together, as the cowhide is creased and torn in many places. It seems to be an utterly unimpressive and unassuming weapon at first glance, and any seasoned warrior would be quick to call it useless and impractical for combat against a foe armed with any sort of decent weapon.
The sword is not called "The Gemini Sword" for naught. This sword has a twin side - some hidden potential that any warrior worth his weight in gold would kill for. When drawn and the words "Aperi tuos oculus" the eye on the cross guard splits open revealing a steely blue iris and a deep, pulsating pupil. The rust on the sword flies dramatically. The once-dull edges become lined with a silvery sheen and the faded bronze cross guard is illuminated by a series of glowing runic inscriptions. Lastly, a crystalline film runs down the grip of the sword, fusing to the wielder's hand and forearm, solidifying and hardening into a patch of glowing mineral-like extensions.
The sword from here becomes not only +5 and keen, but is also glued to the wielder's hand, much like a locked gauntlet. Additionally, parrying becomes much easier, as the crystalline film grants the wielder as +3 AC/Def bonus to all attacks directed at his/her sword arm/hand.
There are several caveats to "Awakening" the Gemini Sword. One, it's eye will not close until it's been bathed in blood. At first, the requisite amount of blood may be small. A prick of the hand might suffice. Or perhaps just a small cut across the body - nothing too elaborate. However, it's thirst grows with each awakening. Should the user fail to quench it's thirst, the crystalline film will continue to crawl up the arm, to the shoulder. Should the sword still not have it's fill of blood, the crystals will continue to traverse the body until the entire being is consumed. The amount of time this takes seems to be at the arbitrary will of the sword. Some have been swallowed up completely within hours, others within days. Many resort to petty murder to please the sword, though oft times, one body will not suffice.
If the wielder is consumed, the sword take his/her life as an acceptable end to their unspoken deal. The sword reverts to it's natural, rust-encrusted state, and always has a habit of finding itself back with the same mystery peddler who buys back the sword (from the players, who are usually more than willing to sell it back) for a nominal fee, before disappearing.
(Note: As the body becomes covered in crystal, it does offer up to a +5 Total AC bonus in three stages, each with it's own degree of movement impairment, it is up to the DM/GM to decide the quantitative or qualitative nature of these penalties are )
(Stage 1: +2 Total AC - minor hindrance)
(Stage 2: +3 Total AC - medium hindrance)
(Stage 3: +5 Total AC - completely hindered)
The Gemini Sword is actually the cremated remains of a Princess, hailing from a Magocratic Empire that ruled almost the entire planet eons ago. The Princess, with a severe case of schizophrenia, was both the shining beacon of humility and respect, and an uncontrollable wild-woman with a lust for blood. When she would get rambunctious, she would disappear for days, into the woods of the palace. Royal huntsmen would go missing, the King's deer would turn up gutted and gored, and tongueless peasant heads would show up in the castle moat. Bystanders would often describe seeing a ravenous, red-haired wild-woman, blood frothing and streaming from her mouth, tearing apart human or livestock. It would sometimes take entire parties of royal guards and wizards to bring her killing sprees to an end, at which time she would be brought home, drugged and put to sleep, sometimes for as long as a week. From these slumbers she would awaken, the perfect picture of a royal dignitary. However, she described these lulls as "dreams" and "true sleep" where she was imprisoned within her body, her ravenous desires suppressed only by the magical pharmaceuticals that she had been force fed.
One day, she went too far, showing up in her beastly visage at the castle, and assaulting her father, the king himself. Woefully, he slew her, and had her remains cremated. He fell into a depression and his magocratic empire fell shortly thereafter. The daughter's legacy was not forgotten as a mage-smith happened upon her urn during one of the many lootings of the King's castle. He smelted a sword of her ashes and imbued it with a magical spell. The Gemini Blade would embrace both of the sides of the Princess, the mundane and the murderous. Years went by, and the sword traded hands, but always landed back in the lap of the smith, who became richer and richer. Finally, the smith, both his name and his sword, vanished from the records. Though gone, allegedly the sword still shows itself from time to time, always finding itself in the hands of those who seek phenomenal power, but never for too long.
The sword can be used effectively in it's unawakened state, though it's edges are so dull, it functions as a bludgeoning weapon or blunted practice sword. If used in this way the eye may open from time to time, as if being temporarily roused from it's sleep and release a burst of power, calling the wielder to say those magic words that will awaken the sword.
In addition to this, the call to awaken the sword becomes stronger every time the sword is awakened, pulling at the wielder's desire to bring the sword's ravenous side to life once again. The awakening of the sword is ecstatic for the user, and becomes best described as an addiction, and may even grant the wearer a temporary, brisk bonus due to a "Combat High" (at GM's Discretion.)
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? Responses (8)
Update: This entry is intended for the Magic Items Quest.
Nice, I'm going to make some of these items one of these days.
I like the use of progressive condition weapons, just a little taste now, but you can have way more latter, you'll have to pay for it then.
I wanted to create a weapon that would fit any campaign (hence the use of very bland-high-fantasy back story) that would enable the wielder to have some serious firepower, but at an ethical cost. And it could certainly add some intrigue to any campaign - just how do I feed this sword? Will it be a rival PC, or will one have to resort to senseless murder of an NPC? When does enough become too much? Will the PC succumb to the sword's lust for violence? Will he end up as a crystal statue? Or will he/she sense that this sword asks too much, and abandon the blade?
Interesting. I would like to know how the PC is supposed to learn the passphrase to activate the sword, though. Perhaps it can be inscribed upon the blade? Or does the peddler mention this fact?
Good question. At your discretion, it may be imbued in the blade, or perhaps the PCs will delve into the forbidden lore of the sword in an epic sidequest, in the ruins of the mage-smith's tower.