Full Item Description
'The Fulminant' is a marvelous creation, a golem of dark blue steel, and decorated in golden spiral patterns. Atop its head sits a helm with wings made of finely crafted silver, covering the seams where the haunting face is attached, pale yet lifelike, smooth as polished marble, with the eyes replaced by (fake) sapphires that sparkle even when no light source is present.
Underneath the interlocking plates covering it, instruments meant to measure and direct the flows of energy are located, with the Shard in the center.
The joints are well articulated, so that the golem can move about as well as a human, yet most often this quality is unapparent, as its posture is quite stiff, and it walks with a slow and steady gait, with long steps.
What makes it outwardly different from other golems are the numerous antennae protruding from it, as well as fine nets of wires it can unfold between those appendages.
The Hall of High-Energy Magicks is nothing for wizards lacking in will and courage. Understandably so, for their topics of interest are everything else than safe using their crystalline thaumic turbines, they deal with the mightiest of spells: long-distance gates, strategic battle magic, and grand summonings. Accidents are frequent, and disastrous. Still, many driven and enthusiastic wizards gravitate towards the Halls of Nath-Manru, where the air tastes of power and crackles with energy.
J'murand Hamandur was one of those, an ardent student venturing to the Hall with naught but a bundle of belongings on his back, and great ambition. Yet, unlike many others, he was no fool, and the voice of reason was loud within him. He understood that care and safety were necessary if he was to live to see his elder days and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Many useful tools sprang from his mind, such as the ThaumAlarm, which detected dangerous levels of mana, or the Null-Cloak that was able to shield the wizard from the brunt of magical explosions and sudden surges. Still, the ultimate safety measure eluded him, and great was his fear, for any day a simple misspelling might reduce him to but a pile of cinders.
He needed a safety measure that could endure the hardships of his profession, be it snapping cold, crackling lightning or blazing flame, one that could be effortlessly transported and required no active use by the wizard himself, for all too easily, a miscast could incapacitate him.
Staves were ruled out, for they could be dropped, clothes also, for he could not enchant every set, and fabric wore out or burned too easily. Amulets and rings were a prime target for thieves.
Every day he shuddered with fear and anxiety when passing the Atlas Coil, the mightiest of the energy aggregates, and felt the power of chaos bubble up in its core. How he loathed shuddering before its gargantuan sparking majesty!
One day while watching a colleague's golem carry a huge crate of books for his master, J'murand delighted, for the solution was within reach.
Neither sleeping nor resting, kept awake by potions and coffee, he 'borrowed' and rebuilt a maintenance golem, a resistant yet compact statue usually sent to the most dangerous of places where no mechanic dared to step. Sigils and runes crept all over its body following his hand, as if they were vines, alive and thriving. Welding antennae and steel nets to the steel frame, he almost cried in joy as his fears were relieved, he caressed the crude features, whispering: 'You are my hope, my warden, my savior.'
A very content J'murand could be seen strolling along the corridors in the next days, closely followed by a patchwork golem who seemed to have known better days, much to the amusement of his colleagues. But he cared not, at least until the day when raiders stormed the Hall, regiments of unemployed mercenaries gone hungry after the last peace treaty. Fearing for his life and his creating, the wizard locked himself up in one of the workshops, barring the door with benches and machines.
From the outside, the clatter of swords, war cries and the screams of the dying could be heard in all clarity. What was he, a scholar, and his golem, but a skeleton clad in fragile apparatuses, supposed to do against trained killers?
The answer came as soon as J'murand noticed a plate mail standing in one corner, meant as decoration. Carefully, he welded the plates to the frame, and reinforced them with bolts and sheet metal, spikes and chains.
Soon, he emerged, tired, but backed up by a steel-clad construct, from the workshop, amongst the looting mercenaries. With little regret, he uttered: 'Smash' and watched his creation crush the life out of the foes, the spells of their mages fizzling as soon as they hit the iron carapace.
That night, J'murand polished his crude servant, and whispered: 'You are my warden, what would I do without you? You will lead me to greatness, indeed!'
Even though it proved useful, the wizard's colleagues had but mockery for the construct, or, walking junkyard, as they fondly called it. That was when J'murand grew white hot with anger, and proceeded to forge decorative armor of steel as blue as a stormy sky, adorned with fine gold wire. Every rune was drawn in his most beautiful calligraphic writing, and every nut polished 'till it shone. He even vent as far as pillaging the face from a dead peasant girl's corpse and attach it to his creation, preserved and animated through his sorcery. Hair was made of copper wire and bound with rings of silver. 'No-one will mock you, you understand?' J'murand said to his finest piece.
For moments, the colleagues were smitten indeed, yet their contempt only became envy after this. The worst of them, Konthe Knut, reminded his peers that this still originally was a maintenance golem, and as such, even though from the reserve, it could be called upon, which they promptly did, and forced the construct to trudge around the sewers and dungeons for almost a week.
When it at last returned, it was covered in sludge and rust, with weeds and junk lodged in its joints. Drops of slime and refuse trickled from it and stained the priceless carpets. The clamor and laughter of the mages filled all the halls with waves of malice, an ocean of spiteful glee.
Humiliated and furious, J'murand withdrew to his workshop, determined to save what could be saved from his creation. An arduous task it was, for all the sensitive apparatuses were clogged up with debris. The most difficult to remove was a sharp shard of metal jamming the hip joint. J'murand first tried to wrench it out with pincers, yet they slipped, and he stumbled to the ground. Cursing under his breath, he took the largest mallet he could find, and smashed against the metal splinter with all force. Leaving a trail of sparks behind, it sprang forth from the joint and buried itself in a pillar.
Only after prying it out and opening the trashcan to throw it away the wizard noticed its almost palpable aura of power through the veil of his frustration.
With a gasp of surprise he leapt up from his studies of the fragment: 'All the readings are off-scale! Its energy-conducting properties are immense! Oh, finally have I been rewarded by the very gods for my works!'
'You will lead me to greatness, won't you?' he whispered to the polished statue as he calibrated the joints and fine-tuned the machinery inside. Deep within its core, the metal scrap, forged into a well-balanced runic ring turning in a radiant field of crackling energy.
'The Fulminant I name thee, and you shall drown out the clamor of my foes.'
A robe-clad figure stood illuminated only by the pale glow of the atlas coil in the energy hall that night, laughing, with a motionless silhouette a step behind it, a silent witness.
The door to the hall of the Council of Nine sprang open, and there stood J'murand, an arrogant sneer on his lips: 'Move out, gentlemen, before anybody gets hurt.' He pointed to the door.
Maravil Jakand, called the Storm-Faced, chairman of the council, stood up, fury written into his every feature: 'How dare you, the lowliest of the lowly, speak thus? Begone!' his words given weight by a flurry of lightning strikes, which, much to his surprise, struck the decorative golem behind the offender, and dissipated harmlessly.
'Why, thank you for the power' J'murand chuckled, and unleashed blazing fire into the council chamber, searing priceless tomes and antique furniture along with flesh and bone. The council members pelted him with spells destructive and malevolent, yet with each futile strike, the retribution grew swifter and more definitive.
Crackling, the shield of the last council member broke down, and J'murand lifted him up with his sorcery, shoving him out of the window, and igniting him in the process. As the burning body plummeted down from the breathtaking height of the Phoenix Tower, he stood on the balcony and proclaimed, his voice booming: 'The age of Hamandur has begun!'
Soon Nath-Manru was firmly under his control, the wizard collective, leaderless, obeying the usurper rather than opposing him without a real chance at success.
J'murand, in the safety of his chambers, stroked the golem, caressing the brass hair, and mumbling: 'All this I owe to you. Indeed, the glory shall be mine.' As he laid himself down to sleep, the statue replied: 'Only the way to glory is open.'
From the heights of the Halls, the wizard collective began oppressing the surrounding lads, and J'murand had himself crowned king. All within a two-day ride belonged to him, the sorcerers of those who dared to oppose him powerless, and his might smiting the troops that stood in his way.
The most valuable treasures and most beautiful women of the conquered lands at his feet, J'murand finally found rest. He was safe, and neither the Atlas Coil nor any mortal agency scared him anymore. That night, his creation moved on its own volition, and kneeled before him. 'What are thy orders, my master?' it spoke, looking up with the sapphire eyes he gave it. 'None, I am content I have achieved all I want' was the wizard's reply. 'Rest now that you can.'
'I agree' the golem nodded. 'Good night, master.'
Yet, as soon as his eyelids closed, the statue stepped closer to the wizard, surprisingly silent for an automaton of its bulk, and laid its skillfully carved hands around his neck, snapping it like a twig.
Besides its strength and toughness, it has more to offer ' the capacity to act as an energy source of moderate power for wizards, as well as the ability to link to a greater power source and supply energy from there.
The most important quality is the ability to redirect energy, or to absorb it and store it. It can shield one person from the effects of most spells, and convey him the energy used to cast those spells ' a sorcerer can turn the very spells unleashed at him back at their originator.
During thunderstorms, the golem can convey even more power.
The drawbacks of the Fulminant are obvious when one cares to look: the safety and might in confers make the owner especially prone to hubris and arrogance, and power wants to be exercised.
If the owner should abandon his ambition, halt his quest for power, the statue will turn on him, because it desires power too, it wants to work, and when there is no need for it, it has no purpose. As I said, power wants to be used.
Some time ago, I posted up the Shards of the Storm. In essence, they are fragments of a goddess's essense, containing a piece of the driven fury of the concept of the Storm. Much of their purpose, from a GMing point of view, is to provide a common thread for items of power. So? So, so far I have only been able to come up with two not-weapon items to make out of these, and I'd like to see what better minds than mine can do with them.
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? Responses (11)-11
Now this takes robotics to a new level. 5/5
I don't know. This is just too powerful. It takes any common wizard and turns that wizard into somebody more powerful than an Archmage. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea, but this is just a little too broken for my tastes.
Even the drawback can be a one sided thing. While I like the Irony of the drawback, there is no limit when you finally encounter a wizard who has no limit to his desires. He would conquer the entire world in such a manner.
If this were less powerful, then I would give you a perfect five I think. As is, I think that I am going to have tolower the grade by half a point. Normally that would be a full point, but I really like the concept design.
The item has its limits - it acts, as written, as a MODERATE power source and makes the owner immune to magic as long as he stands close. The key to killing him is not to use ANY magic, and to disable a power source he might have linked to (in this case the Atlas Coil). Give me five competent swordsmen, and before the golem can smash them, the wizard is burger meat.
The limitations on the absorption will also have to be set by the DM, but as a whole, the ability to channel away direct magics isn't especially powerful. A magi who's capable beyond, 'I cast magic missile! On the darkness!' can bring this down too - For example, one of the most potent spells I've ever seen in combat was a simple 'I throw this stone. /really hard/.' The magic may have gotten there, but once launched, you can dispell it all you want, and it's still a stone going really fast.
Good work indeed.
This is a wonderfully imagined and presented concept! I particularly liked the names of the people, places, and things. Helps the entry come alive!
BUMPING my favorite Shard of the Storm Quest item :D
Definately a good Shard of the Storm Quest idea and implementation but what I need is how to use it.
I do, as well, think it is too powerful. And to say it is 'moderate' is arbitrary since he took down an entire wizard conclave with it.
We need some plot ideas to use it with to help me understand what to do with it. Awesome story, and great idea....but now what?
Creator gets killed and it is wandering the countryside complying with his last order? Walking through the countryside blowing stuff up?
Since it is wants power it precludes the thought that it would just be standing somewhere for the adventurers to stumble upon. And if it did find somebody else that has the want for power as it does, it would be a tough sell not killing it when an armored golem that just killed a half dozen bandits/guards is coming right towards you.
Need help using this!
Strolen, maybe the little blighter is wandering the countryside searching for a new master.
Second place in the The Shards of the Storm quest and 50XP.
I feel honored... my humble work has recieved laurels. Really makes a GM want to go on...
As for Strolen's comment - it will search for a new master, directly or by guile. A capable wizard of course. Not that some of the wizards of Jomurand's following would not want to claim it for themselves.
As for the power: he was able to take down the conclave because they kept casting spells at him, thus supplying more power. So, it is a jiu-jitsu thing. You want to blast him but he uses the power against you. An Earthquake spell on the area he stands in would be a different matter, as would a 'Create Piano above Wizard' spell.
What a pity that most mages react instinctively with 'Burn!'
My, this quest brought forth excellent entries!