The Crown of Seven Swords
Fueled in large part by the Bearer's own will, this crown allows the right person to sit in judgement over other mortals.
A seven-pointed crown of platinum, with the Adelheim family crest set into the center of the forehead. Each point looks like a miniature sword that has been thrust upwards through the metal of the circlet. A ghostly fire will envelop the blade of each sword as each of the other Kings’ Items are found, making the bearer's head appear to be wreathed in flame.
The bearer of this crown can communicate telepathically with the owners of the other six artifacts, as long as they are allied with him. It also allows the bearer to pass seven different judgements on the guilty. After touching the appropriate point on his crown, a full-sized sword composed entirely of flame will leap into his hand. He must touch the victim with this sword in order to pass judgement on him/her. In order of appearance, the different judgements are:
- Blue flame - Atonement: This sword has the power to negate any of the other judgements passed by The Crown, and may be able to lift other negative effects (such as curses) from the victim.
- Green flame - Blessing: This flame bestows the King's favor on anyone so judged. Minor bonuses in luck, combat or social engagements are conferred to the recipient.
- Yellow flame - Silence: The victim becomes unable to speak in the presence of the King, or of anyone he/she has wronged. Can extend to a whole kingdom.
- Red flame - Branding: When touched by this sword, a red mark is seared into the victim's flesh. This mark causes pain when placed, and further pain if the victim attempts to repeat the action for which he was judged (e.g. if an accused thief attempts to steal again). The brand also serves as a permanent warning to others.
- Purple flame - Banishment: This judgment inflicts the victim with an uncontrollable urge to leave the area from which he or she has been banished (usually the kingdom). If the victim is somehow restrained and forced to stay in the area, he will fade away into nothingness within 24 hours.
- Black flame - Death: This terrible flame snuffs out a life with but a touch.
- White flame - Life: This sword can restore the breath of life to anyone who has crossed over the veil, as long as that soul wishes it.
It is arguably the most powerful of the artifacts, and carries with it the greatest responsibility. If the person with the crown ever betrays the purpose to which he has pledged himself, he will be judged in turn by the Crown. Drawing upon years of experience under Valenor, the Crown will choose the judgement that best fits the bearer's crime and administer it immediately. The effects can be reversed if the victim manages to atone himself to the group he betrayed.
Wielded by Valenor the Wise. During the reign of the Seven Kings, Valenor was entrusted with running the day-to-day affairs of Adelheim and to sit in judgement over the high court. Of keen mind and humble disposition, Valenor used the crown to tap into his brothers’ specialized experience and counsel, no matter where in the world they happened to be. If a matter called for a keen insight into the land and its beasts, for example, he would converse directly with Darren the Hunter before making a final decision. In this manner, the kingdom was ruled justly and profitted greatly over time.
The power of this crown is fueled by the bearer's own willpower. To pass judgement on an individual the bearer must engage in a contest of wills with the accused. If he loses, the bearer will suffer mental blowback that will tax his strength, the duration of the fatigue increasing with the power of the failed judgement. This was usually not a problem for Valenor, who was exceptionally strong-minded and had the full power of the law to back up his conviction, but the weak-willed should beware before taking up this crown.
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? Responses (8)
It seems that a lack of willpower would start a vicious cycle. Failing once might give the sovereign more trepidation the second time around, making it easier to fail. And so on. The reputation of the king would suffer publicly. I doubt such a ruler would last long on the throne with the strong-willed and power hungry about.
Of course, the reverse might also be true. A strong king, able to intimidate all law breakers would be perceived as unbreakable of spirit.
It's an amazing thing.
Another good item, keep it up!
I really like this item. I've been reading your series of the seven artifacts and found it really enjoyable, but this one is my favorite so far.
It's probably not something that I'd actually give to PCs, but it's a brilliant item. I really like the imagery of the flame wreathed crown, and having the judgement be a willpower contest is a wonderful idea.
I can see an entire campaign built around these seven artifacts, with a failing kingdom, and a band of adventurer tasked with finding all seven tokens and match them to seven worthy descendants of the original seven kings to restore the kingdom to its former glory.
Looking forward to the other artifacts.
I will admit that I wasn't really thinking about balance when designing these items -- it would indeed be foolhardy to give the party anything with this much power straight up. However, that's the whole point of the set really. Even if the party manages to recover 3-4 after years worth of effort, they still will not have access to the full powers of each artifact. Since most gaming groups have fewer than seven players, they would also have to find some trustworthy NPCs to wield the remainder if they ever wanted to unlock the full potential of the Seven.
On the other hand, a group which has collected several of these would be strongly motivated to cooperate. I *think* that the price of betrayal -- losing most of their item's power and suffering additional ill effects -- is high enough, but more penalties can always be added by the GM. I never considered that the party might be motivated to recover these for someone other than themselves, but I like really your campaign idea. Thank you for the constructive feedback, and I hope that you enjoy the last three artifacts as well. :)
Sadly, the maddest and most self-assured of egomaniacal villains are exceedingly difficult to judge by this artifact. But then, perhaps nothing else can stop a certain nefarious antagonist except the black sword of the crown?
I can think of something to add - a note of how the willpower "test" is affected by circumstances: so may the life-giving judgment be more difficult as time passes from the death of the one to be restored. The more powerful the life-force of a target, the more difficult it is to snuff out with the black flame. Etc.
Great stuff here - just the kind of thing your legendary high fantasy king could use.