Appearance

A war horn with platinum mouthpiece.  There are seven prominent runes etched down the front of the horn, each lit with a heatless fire.  A platinum casting of a snarling wolf covers the mouth of the horn, and the Adelheim family crest is etched just below the mouthpiece.

Benefits

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:  Releasing this seal causes men to act with renewed courage in the face of horror.
  • Seal of Weakness:  A person with this seal lifted finds that he can continue fighting well past the point of physical exhaustion.  This may come with a price to his body later, however.  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:  Releasing this seal causes men to lose their self-control during battle.  At that point, most will either go berserk with rage or turn and flee in terror.
  • Seal of Mercy:  Releasing this seal allows a man to act without concern for the suffering or pain of others.  He will carry out his duties with brutal efficiency, completely free of conscious.
  • Seal of Pain:  The sensation of pain is entirely lifted from those who hear this call.  They will ignore even the most dire wounds, continuing to fight with broken bodies.
  • Seal of Fealty:  Releasing this seal breaks the bonds of loyalty that exist between individuals.  Those affected will often break formation, abandon their duties, lay down their weapons, or turn traitor.
  • Seal of Death:  Releasing this seal calls followers back from beyond the veil, to continue fighting even after death.  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.  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 call  increases with each of the other King's Items that are pledged to the same cause.  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.

Drawbacks

Recall that the Horn affects a group of people based on their fealty to the bearer or to the Cause.  This can present a problem if the Horn's bearer uses it on a group of people whose fealty he is unsure of.  Having several of your own men go berserk behind your lines can cause a huge disruption on the field, to say the least.  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.  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.  It takes a man of iron will to resist the Horn's call over long periods of time.

Lore

Chosen by Verin, the Warrior.  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.  During the reign of the Seven, there was a popular proverb about the futility of pursuing a ground war within Adelheim.  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.  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.  Over time, Verin's focus began to shift away from protecting the people of Adelheim to subjugating its neighbors.  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.  His soldiers, long unacustomed to feeling pain or fear on the battlefield soon faltered without the aid of the Horn.  The setback turned into a full rout, and Verin was trampled by his own soldiers as they fled.  What happened to the Horn afterwards is unknown.

Twist

A person exposed to the effects of this Horn for extended periods may become less inhibited over time.  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.  Personal conviction, societal disapproval -- even loyalty to ones own family can become inconvenient restrictions at times . . .

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? Quest

In association with Johnn Four, and all the fine folks subscribed to his Roleplaying Tips Weekly mailing list, we bring you our second collaborative Quest!

Here's the required stat block template to use for your entries:

* Awesome Name
* Appearance
* Benefit
* Drawback
* Lore
* Twist

For an awesome description and guide to these stat blocks, check out Johnn's post describing it.

There will be three sets of *random* prize draws: Nov 7, Nov 21 and Dec 5 -- XP awards per normal as well!)

All entries submitted before each date will be eligible for each random draw. So enter early and often.

Thanks to Gator Games for their prize sponsorship!

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Cheka Man