The Arbiter - Two-Bladed Sword
The two gently-humming, crystal-studded blades are semi-transparent and sharpened to a deadly razor edge. The haft between the blades is decorated with brilliant multi-colored crystals. The balance and craftsmanship are perfect. You feel that these trusty blades will never fail you.
In time now forgotten, Devdan-an elder wizard and artificer-formed an alliance with Veysara-an ancient crystal dragon-to combat a great corruption that threatened to enslave their world. The self-proclaimed Destroyer or the Realms, Lord Brax, tempted mortals to their own demise and used dark magic to harvest their souls to strengthen his undead armies. Seeing that Devdan and Veysara were not powerful enough to withstand his corrupting forces, Lord Brax tempted them with a challenge: if Devdan and Vaysara could best him in battle, he would retire his forces and rest for 1,000 years, leaving the realm in peace for now.
Lord Brax was a powerful necromancer, but even more renowned was his martial skills with a scythe. His scythe was enchanted to cut through the thickest of armor and inflict a terrible death curse. Knowing they could not beat him in battle, Devdan and Veysara sought help. Being a devoted man, Devdan prayed to his deity for deliverance. Being a dragon that cared neither for Good nor Evil but only for Order and Justice, Veysara altruistically sought a demonic pact to offer his eternal soul in exchange for the power to defeat Lord Brax.
Having accepted the challenge of Lord Brax, Devdan prepared for the coming battle. Blessed by his deity, Devdan discovered a miraculous spell that would help him create a powerful artifact in time for the confrontation with Lord Brax. He left to share this news with Veysara.
Having agreed to fight by Devdan's side against Lord Brax, Veysara conjured old and forbidden magic. Veysara summoned a demonic figure of great power and sought the power to defeat Lord Brax. Driving a hard bargain, the demon's prize would be Veysara's eternal soul after his death in exchange for power, strength, endurance, and knowledge that (with Devdan's help) would end Lord Brax forever. After the deal was sealed, a veil was lifted off of the demon to reveal the shadowy image of Lord Brax. Having secured Veysara's soul in the bargain, Lord Brax attacked the crystal dragon. Veysara, caught off guard, was struck by the Destroyer's wicked scythe. Even as the painful curse ate at Veysara's flesh, the dragon fought Lord Brax for nearly an hour. Without Devdan's help and with the curse consuming his body, Veysara finally fell in defeat. Lord Brax left the dying dragon in agonizing despair, knowing that the dragon's soul would soon be his to command.
Devdan arrived to find the Veysara's broken, curse-ridden body with only a wisp of life remaining. Veysara spoke quickly and told Devdan what had transpired. Thinking quickly, Devdan used his powerful spell to turn Veysara into a staff with a mighty crystal sword at each end. The two-bladed sword gently hummed confirming that the spell had successfully captured Veysara's living essence in the weapon. Thus, Veysara would live as long as the sword was unbroken, and the wielder would have the power to defeat the Destroyer of the Realms.
The battle raged for an entire week between the powerful wizards when they finally became too mentally exhausted to sling another spell. The battle closed to martial skills where all knew that Lord Brax would easily best Devdan. With the Arbiter in hand, Devdan found himself effortlessly deflecting every blow from the cursed scythe. Sensing that Devdan was his equal, Lord Brax began to fear that while he was tiring, Devdan was only becoming more proficient with his graceful weapon. Pushing himself to his limits, the Destroyer executed a flawless attack that only nicked Devdan's finger. It was enough. The curse hit Devdan like an anvil in the chest. In moments, Lord Brax gained the upper hand. Devdan's strength failed, and Lord Brax charged for the killing blow. With a gust of magic from the Arbiter, Devdan suddenly screamed with such force that Lord Brax was knocked off his feet into the air. Landing roughly with hundreds of lacerations from the force of the wind, Lord Brax recovered to see ... As Devdan held the Arbiter, he became aware that Veysara was ready to use his greatest power. The crystal sword melded with Devdan. His flesh turned into brilliant transparent crystal. He sprouted giant, crystal, draconic wings. His limbs lengthened, and his mouth filled with fangs. Lord Brax was no longer looking at Devdan, the man; he was looking at Devdan, the crystal dragon.
Fighting for his life, Lord Brax took massive blows and scratches that would kill any lesser man. After several minutes of barely surviving, the curse finally caught up with Devdan. Just before Devdan crushed the destroyer beneath his claws, the curse reached his heart. Devdan roared in pain and fell to the ground. His body began reverting back to human form. Lord Brax, with a broken arm, limped over to Devdan's dying body.
The Destroyer taunted Devdan, urged Devdan to try harder, and laughed at Devdan's broken body. Devdan, clinging the Arbiter, knew he would die, but at least he tried.
Veysara whispered to Devdan, "Let go." Devdan released the Arbiter. The sword spun and flew towards the sky! Lord Brax raised a hand to shield his eyes from the morning sun. He spotted the Arbiter as is dove towards him. The Destroyer was too blinded by the sun to react in time, too weak to dodge aside, too broken to raise his scythe in defense. The Arbiter ran him through, pinning him to the ground. The Destroyer of the Realms, compelled by his own magic oath, was banished for 1000 years.
Devdan was buried with the Arbiter. No one knew that they had buried the living spirit of Veysara with him.
The Arbiter grants the wielder the skill to gracefully use it in combat. It also bestows several crystal dragon abilities on the wielder. The wielder can charge his lungs with energy flowing from the blades to issue a devestating sonic shout. The wielder can also communicate empathetically with the trapped spirit of Veysara. If the wielder should fall in combat, the Arbiter will fly and continue the fight on its own. The most powerful ability is that Veysara can possess the wielder, polymorphing turning her into a crystal dragon.
The Lore of this item opens up a number of possible plot lines. Here are a few that I can think of:
1,000 years is up and the Destroyer has returned. Players must find Devdan's tomb and recover the Arbiter to fight Lord Brax.
Followers of Lord Brax have recovered the Arbiter and are attempting to destroy it. You must stop them to prevent future generations from enslavement (or you must try to destroy the Arbiter for an evil campaign)
Players find and must destroy the evil scythe (or they might need to recover it for an evil campaign).
Players must find the Arbiter and return Veysara home where other crystal dragons can restore his body.
The players are trying to recover the spell that Devdan discovered.
Here are the specific game mechanics of the Arbiter using the Pathfinder Role Playing game system.
(Please note that these stats were designed specifically for a Pathfinder game. Feel free to edit for your game and power level)
The Arbiter functions as a +3 Thundering Axiomatic two-bladed sword (both blades carry the same enhancements). Any lawful character wielding the Arbiter is automatically proficient with it. A spellcraft check (DC 24) will reveal the following abilities; a spellcraft check (DC 29) will reveal that the item is intelligent and lawful-neutral and will reveal the item's powers (but not its dedicated powers). A non-lawful creature will suffer 3 negative levels while wielding this weapon, and a chaotic creature will suffer 5 negative levels.
Brilliant Wall (Ex): The wielder gains the Two Weapon Defense feat.
Crystal Grace (Ex): If the wielder is lawful, he gains 5' enhancement bonus to his base speed, and he may take one additional 5' step at the end of his turn (that doesn't provoke an Attack of Opportunity) provided this doesn't exceed his total movement (this would allow a character to take two successive 5' steps without provoking Attacks of Opportunity or move, attack, and then take a 5' step).
Glassteel (Ex): The Arbiter is made of a mixture of crystal and metal that gives the blades a semi-transparent look, but the blades count as adamantine for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
INTELLIGENT ITEM STATS:
(Please note that these stats were designed specifically for a Pathfinder game. Feel free to edit for your game and power level)
Alignment: Lawful neutral
Intelligence: 14; Wisdom: 18; Charisma: 14
Languages: Celestial, Common, Draconic
Senses (60ft.): Sight/sound, Blindsense; Communication: Empathy; Caster Level: 20th
Item Power: (These are the powers that the wielder can use) Item can fly, as per the spell, at a speed of 30 feet; Magic Circle Against Chaos 3/day; Dragon's Breath 1/day (Crystal dragon: 30' cone of sonic)
Special Purpose: Defeat chaotic creatures (The Arbiter will only use its Dedicated Powers to fulfill its Special Purpose. The wielder cannot access these powers; the Arbiter decides when and how to use them.)
Dedicated Powers: Item can detect any chaotic foes within 60 feet; Wielder gets +2 luck bonus on attacks, saves, and checks; Cast Mark of Justice at will; Cast Form of the Dragon II at will (Crystal dragon: 40' cone of sonic, resist sonic 30, burrow 30 ft., climb 30 ft.)
Arbiter's Total Value: 523,200gp
Guardian (Su): If the wielder is reduced to 0 or fewer hp, the Arbiter gains the Dancing enhancement and is considered loosed by the wielder for 4 rounds.
The Arbiter can only be damaged by a roll of a natural 20 on a sunder attempt with a Vorpal weapon. Even then, the Arbiter has a hardness of 25 and 50 hp. It cannot be repaired be any means.
Not Registered Yet? No problem.
Do you want Strolenati super powers? Registering. That's how you get super powers! These are just a couple powers you receive with more to come as you participate.
- Upvote and give XP to encourage useful comments.
- Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
- Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities (super powers).
- You should register. All your friends are doing it!
? Responses (24)
Too many stats but an ok idea. Please rework and then I'll vote.
I disagree totally and completely with Cheka's aversion to having the stats included at the end. As a DM, I enjoy seeing the implementation of mechanics, and there's a great deal of information to be found within the mechanics you've provided. I don't run pathfinder, but the information is still useful and completes my understanding of the item. I suspect you'll encounter a great deal of hostility from most of the citadel- you might want to throw them a bone and generalize some of the information in a less mechanical light by making a section that discusses the weapon in a system-free way.
Cheka Man, thank you for your input. I understand your point of view; too many system-specific details can detract from reading. Perhaps I should have left only the item's description and placed my system-specific stats into a comment or idea. To compromise, I have added a system agnostic description of the item's magical properties, but I have left the Pathfinder-specific stats for interested GMs. I hope this is a sufficient compromise.
Infested-jerk, thank you for the enabling and the advice. Being a GM from many systems, I always like to see specific stats to complete my understanding. This is my first post, and I appreciate the insight for making my subs more Citadel-friendly :)
Welcome to the Citadel.
No matter what desire you have, our knowledge will help.
A good first submission, very impressed.
The only thing stopping me from making it a 4 are the stats. So have a 3.5 ;)
Thanks Kassy. I look forward to frequently using the Citadel to enhance my game. While I do appreciate the vote, I value opinions higher. I feel that stats make an item most useful to a GM (even if they have to be converted to a different system), but I can also understand the value of not restricting an item to stats. It's the artist vs. engineer debate. This is my first submission, and I would love to hear if you have any suggestions for improvement.
This is a well written sub. The item has a backstory and a purpose, a reason for being, and a very evocitive description so that you 'see' the weapon in use. Excellent writing all around!
I do hold one point with Cheka Man. As strolens is not a system specific website, we try to avoid stats when we can. If you want to provide them, I would recommend putting them in a reply to your own sub to help keep them seperate. Another personal point, this thing definately is an artifact level item, its valued at over half a milltion gold! Once cost get up that high, I usually dont attach price tags to them, that's a lot of gold!
Thank you Agar. It's always nice to hear when a description paints a good visual image. Also, thanks for the suggestion on the stats. I'd hate to deny stats to those who may benefit from them, but at the same time, I'm beginning to feel like I've offended the Citadel by posting more info than necessary. I've moved my stats down to a comment. Thanks for the recommendation. On your final note, you're right. It is the exact cost using the available rules, but it's so much that it's a little silly.
I think this is a fairly common move for new users, and I'm pretty sure you haven't offended anyone here, especially being a new user.
From my own personal viewpoint, I want a sub to bring the content alive in my imagination. I want to be inspired, not just by the sub itself but by the world it paints. I can always create my own stats, but the ideas and how they are presented are key. When I'm reading a really cool back story or description and then come across game stats, I find it jarring. Kind of like looking at an interesting painting and then finding notes by the artist on what colors he used in his palette. It breaks the spell.
Thanks MysticMoon. This is the clearest (and friendliest) presentation of the Citidel's preference for avoiding stats that I have yet seen. For future submissions, I will be sure to leave the stats out of the item descriptions and (if I have any) put all stats into an idea or comment. Thanks again for the masterful clarification.
Update: I am moving the system-specific details into a comment by popular request
Welcome, OmegaDraco, and congratulations on your first submission. I personally found the item stats to be a useful addition, but agree that the comments section is the best place for them on this site. It's a very flavorful item, and I definitely give you full marks for the backstory and the descriptive writing.
However, I'm always a little leery of uber powerful items like this one. If I were going to use this in my campaign, I would either take out its ability to transform the user into a crystal dragon (except under very special circumstances), or find a way for the Arbiter to leave the player's possession after awhile.
Summary: this is a good, solid submission (3.0) + 0.5 for the added stats.
Thank you for the compliments. I tend to share your caution about uber powerful items. I created it for a high-level game that is currently in progress. I expect the players to find it within the next couple sessions. I was particularly proud of this item because it is intelligent and can therefore refuse to turn its wielder into a dragon except in the most dire circumstances. In fact, if you use this item, feel free to have it attack the wielder every time she allows a crime to be committed. That will make the players think twice about using it. However, like I told EchoMirage, I should have worked in more of the item's drawbacks into the sub instead of making them obscure and hiding the drawbacks in the stat block.
You have a good point there, one that I missed because I haven't used an intelligent item in game yet. I must say, the idea of a sword turning on the wielder because of a disagreement in ethics just makes me smile. I'd be sorely tempted to give this sword a bit of a . . . caustic personality as well, one that makes the player almost relieved when they part company after the big bad is dealt with.
Does anyone else think that an Intelligent Items quest would be a good idea? I'm perversely interested to see what deviousness the rest of the Citadel would come up with.
An excellent first sub. The back story really pulls me in. There's some good potential here for world-changing campaigns.
I look forward to seeing more of your ideas.
Uber item. I, like several others have already stated, dislike Uber Items IN GENERAL, nothing against yours at all.
Well written, good physical description, excellent lore.
I have no opinion, good or bad, on the usage of stats. This is a site for resources, and in some manner I think that stats are certainly a good resource to have when running a game. You gave me enough information that, if the need arose and I had to adapt this from say, Pathfinder, to another game I could do it easily, which is an accomplishment.
Welcome to the Citadel.
(I'm not so new anymore!)
Thanks for the comments and compliments, hylandpad. While I don't dislike uber items, I certainly understand the caution against them. In the campaign I'm currently running, Form of the Dragon is a 7th level spell and my players will soon reach that point. On average though, this item can insanely unbalance a campaign.
I was aiming for cross-system conversion capability, so this is very good to hear :). Thanks again, hylandpad.
This is "so DnD" - the lore is decently written, but the whole "weapon made to stop the greatest foe" approach has been used too often and is made only slightly better by having been made by two working in unison.
Also, it's a sword. With a dragon inside. That turns you into a dragon. I know Dungeons and Dragons is supposed to be about as much about dragons as it is about dungeons, but overdoing it with the dragons may lead to diluting their dragony awesomeness and making them less special (been there, done it).
This said, the sword can be a good McGuffin; I'd have included a limiting clause though or some sort of drawback which makes players less inclined to keep it after they down the Big Nasty.
Another note: the bargain Lord Brax struck with the dragon could have actually borne the seeds of his demise - you write he had the power to claim the soul of the dragon - so the dragon in turn should possess the "power, strength, endurance, and knowledge" to defeat him, in turn. Hence, the dragon-turned-blade could indeed be fed a stream of thought betraying the villain's plans or next strike in that battle (knowledge), drain him of vigor feeding its weilder and striking true as defensive enchantments woven by Lord Brax fail miserably to deflect this one weapon.
Also, welcome to the citadel.
Thanks for the detailed comment. I'm always fascinated by intelligent items, and how they can break the balance of the game. Unlike normal artifacts, an intelligent item can choose to suppress its powers, avoid attacking, turn on the wielder, and in rare cases even possess the wielder. Unfortunately, it was the stats and rules that say that the wielder cannot turn herself into a dragon. The Arbiter must do that, and it will only do so in rare circumstances. While the Arbiter could easily unbalance a campaign, a clever GM could hide the item's true powers and potential or (as Dossta suggested) have the item leave the player's possession for a while.
A limiting clause would have been very helpful for the item's lore, but alas, I put the limiting clause in the rules. I will be mindful to more adequately describe special abilities like that in the future.
Finally, I was hard-pressed to find the proper wording throughout the lore to describe that Veysara asked for the power to defeat Lord Brax, but through hard bargaining was instead granted the power that-with Devdan's help-could defeat Lord Brax. Again, my poor attention to detail had scattered that fact across the lore instead of stating it clearly. Thanks for the input and the greetings.
Ah, the vote.
Interesting read, reiterate basic comments above about diluted dragons, and stats in posts blah blah blah. The stats dont bother me in the slightest, and I think putting them in the ideas section is brilliant. Well done. The story and characters are engaging and the weapon is well thought out in my limited opinion (I don't actively game any more)
Welcome and keep up the good work.
Thanks for the comments and compliments. I will attempt to maintain a high level of item lore for items that deserve one. I don't think an item should be powerful unless it has a powerful story.
Good stories and introductions to some great legendary figures. I like these for legends of the land and justifications for symbology used in the current playing world.
This is an excellent epic level weapon, with good lore. I'm a bit put off by the harshness of the reaction to stats though I am only seeing the updated version.
I think this is exactly how stats should be presented if they are included. The sub should be able to stand alone without them, and their inclusion should be an added bonus.