A war horn with platinum mouthpiece.Â There are seven prominent runes etched down the front of the horn, each lit with a heatless fire.Â A platinum casting of a snarling wolf covers the mouth of the horn, and the Adelheim family crest is etched just below the mouthpiece.
By running his finger over the appropriate rune before blowing the Horn, the bearer of this item can release one of the inate inhibitions (or seals) that exists within the targets.
- Seal of Fear:Â Releasing this seal causes men to act with renewed courage in the face of horror.
- Seal of Weakness:Â A person with this seal lifted finds that he can continue fighting well past the point of physical exhaustion.Â This may come with a price to his body later, however.Â A man who has fought for hours past his physical limitations may drop into a coma when his energy reserves completely dry up.
- Seal of Discipline:Â Releasing this seal causes men to lose their self-control during battle.Â At that point, most will either go berserk with rage or turn and flee in terror.
- Seal of Mercy:Â Releasing this seal allows a man to act without concern for the suffering or pain of others.Â He will carry out his duties with brutal efficiency, completely free of conscious.
- Seal of Pain:Â The sensation of pain is entirely lifted from those who hear this call.Â They will ignore even the most dire wounds, continuing to fight with broken bodies.
- Seal of Fealty:Â Releasing this seal breaks the bonds of loyalty that exist between individuals.Â Those affected will often break formation, abandon their duties, lay down their weapons, or turn traitor.
- Seal of Death:Â Releasing this seal calls followers back from beyond the veil, to continue fighting even after death.Â They will expire again once the Horn's effect has ended.
Notes: The battleground is divided into two groups, as far as the Horn is concerned -- those who have sworn fealty to the same cause as the Horn (or alternatively, to the Horn's bearer), and those who have not.Â Therefore, the bearer of the Horn must indicate clearly which group is to be affected by the call of the Horn.
The number of people who can be affected by the Horn's callÂ increases with each of the other King's Items that are pledged to the same cause.Â If the Horn is by itself, it will affect 2-4 other people; if all Seven are working together, it can change the course of an entire battle.
Recall that the Horn affects a group of people based on their fealty to the bearer or to the Cause.Â This can present a problem if the Horn's bearer uses it on a group of people whose fealty he is unsure of.Â Having several of your own men go berserk behind your lines can cause a huge disruption on the field, to say the least.Â It can also pose a problem if there are covert traitors on either side, or if the bearer is working with mercenaries or conscripts.
As with the other King's Items, it will lose all but one of its abilities if the bearer ever betrays the group, and the other members will be notified of the loss immediately.Â Also, a traitor will find that he is becoming increasingly susceptible to the Horn's effects, no matter which targets he intends to use it on.Â It takes a man of iron will to resist the Horn's call over long periods of time.
Chosen by Verin, the Warrior.Â A sound tactician and brilliant swordsman, Verin commanded absolute fealty from all of his forces, and used this Horn to spur them to near-superhuman feats on the battlefield.Â During the reign of the Seven, there was a popular proverb about the futility of pursuing a ground war within Adelheim.Â He was often supported on the field by Roland the Arcanist, who could heal his troops' bodies even as they fought on without pain.
Eventually this supernatural protection led to overconfidence.Â Verin's ranks swelled with recruits eager to join his unstoppable army and Verin began to expand Adelheim's territories, often over the protests of his brothers.Â Over time, Verin's focus began to shift away from protecting the people of Adelheim to subjugating its neighbors.Â He was far afield when the Horn sensed that Verin had abandoned the original cause to which it had been sworn and refused to function.Â His soldiers, long unacustomed to feeling pain or fear on the battlefield soon faltered without the aid of the Horn.Â The setback turned into a full rout, and Verin was trampled by his own soldiers as they fled.Â What happened to the Horn afterwards is unknown.
A person exposed to the effects of this Horn for extended periods may become less inhibited over time.Â After all, if the barriers to one's effectiveness in battle are lifted on a regular basis, he may find that other barriers placed on himself are easier to ignore or work around.Â Personal conviction, societal disapproval -- even loyalty to ones own family can become inconvenient restrictions at times . . .
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? Responses (11)
Just one more to go after this. I know that I didn't get them done in time for the Quest, but I still want to use the same format to keep them all consistent.
Dossta, thanks for keeping up with this collection. Each item alone is a great sub, but taken together they are exceptional. I really like the concept and the execution.
This horn is formidable, and I particularly like the subtle twist that could easily be the downfall of the horn's wielder, as he erodes away the inhibitions of his own men, slowly ebbing their humanity away. So far, the darkest of the seven item. I like!
Thanks for that -- it's always great to get positive feedback on something I'm working on. :)
I could use a little help, though, with choosing an appropriate name for the set. 'Kings' Items' or 'Artifacts' was never intended to be the final name, but I had to get something on paper. If you or anyone else has a good suggestion, please let me know!
- Adelheim's Seven Favours
- King Mosanggar's favours/tokens/gifts
- Adelheim's Aegis (with the implication that all the items are only facets of the aegis)
- The Steward's Prizes
- The Seven Sentinels
- The Seven Keys to Adelheim
- Mosanggar's Seven Legacies
- The Princes' Birthright
- Mosanggar's Wards (as in, protective spells)
- Mosanggar's Binding
- The Prince's Circle
- The Princes' Chain (a chain is only strong as...)
- The Stars of Adelheim
- The Adelheimian Unity
- The Princes' Pledges
Well, it seems Verrin was hard on the path towards blackguard, so that might be a suitable curse on future users. This horn seems to be ideal for defending armies, not for conquerors, unless the Horn can be convinced the landgrab is justified. Maybe it sticks to the borders at the moment of its crafting. A Leonidas might use it justly, but an Alexander not.
Which leads me to the following question: was Verrin the only one of the brothers to misuse his item, or just the first?
Funny you should ask that. I'm developing the history of Adelheim as I go along, and so far I believe that he was the second. I'll cover that a little more in the last item, if I decide to go in that direction.
One note: the Kings' Items aren't inherently good or evil; they can be pledged to any cause under the sun. In the original case, the brothers had pledged to 'protect the people of Adelheim' when they first received the items, but they could just as easily have pledged to 'find a path to immortality' or 'destroy the Royal House of Kremika and reclaim their ancestral lands.' The GM should therefore use discretion when allowing the players to pick their cause -- it shouldn't be too broad that the players could never be tempted to go back on their word. Ideally, it will be a quest related to the overarching campaign.
And also, aside from the Skald, none of the items are really sentient. They just have a general sense of whether they are being used for the Cause, and whether or not any of the other Kings' Items have been pledged to that same Cause. It's very possible to have two (or more) competing groups who have each claimed several of the items, and desire to find the others in order to unlock their full powers.
A great item - this is quite interesting and has a lot of possibilities.
A very useful item to have in a battle but not overpowered by itself.