Full Item Description
It does not look all that special to the layman, a short golden staff with a long-dead monarch's face upon it, the face of Coloman the Horrible embossed in silver, with a ruby glittering where his mouth would be. And yet this staff has been responsible for as many deaths as any brigand or serial killer.
King Coloman the Horrible was one of those monarchs who truely earned his malevolent monkier. Even in a violent age, he was renowned for his nastiness, and it was only because he paid the army well and kept the families of the generals hostage that he escaped a speedy overthrow. Both rich and poor alike had plenty of reasons to detest him, but there were those who had their own reasons to keep him in power.
One such was a mage who had done well under his rule, mostly with a few well-placed denunciations. He decided to make the King a staff that could detect assassins before they could strike, knowing that such a thing would make him popular with the king. Shortly after getting it, the ruby glowed and it pointed out a courtier. The royal guards grabbed the man and found a concealed dagger in his boot, and he was put to the torture on the spot by the king's Red Hands, expert torturers.
He cracked after an hour and named names, and a general, a guard and five nobles joined him on the public gallows. A few months later it pointed out another, and he was found to be an assassin from Kuboloth, with a bag of darts and a vial of poison.He was hanged on the Kuboloth border as a warning.
It began after that to point out people more and more often, once every month, then once a week, then once a day, and unlike the other two whose guilt was clear and would have been proved without the need for torture, many were guilty of nothing more then disliking the king, and there was nothing to prove their guilt. Despite that the king did not stop executing them. Thankfully for his Court, he fell victim to another magical device. The Staff was ordered to be melted down, but those who were supposed to do it sold it to a jeweller to line their pockets.
If it is told to point out a would-be killer, the first time it will be totally accurate and the person it points out will indeed be guilty. The more it is used however, the more it absorbs the fears and prededuces of the holder. It starts to point out those that only wish the holder dead, then those who dislike the holder and finally the totally innocent. Having said that, a very good person such as a highly respected cleric can get more *uses* out of the staff before it goes evil, but only the first time is it totally infalible.
It can also let a blind person see through the staff, although as the staff moves he or she is likely to get very dizzy.
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? Responses (7)
I like it! Very twisted and great potential as an item or the focus of a plot. I might have to find a way to use this one.
Nice work. I suspect the staff's fondness for slaying so many supposed assassins, was inspired by the mage's desire to prove to the king that he was in ample need of protection.
It makes perfectly sense. In a world populated with magic items like this, magic will never be a simple ticket to powers uncounted. I like simple items of great usefulness, with great downsides as well. Good work!
A good idea lost in a less than wonderful post. I like the gimmick of the item and the 'cost' of its power. It has the making of a great one, myred in some odd wordage.
you sure know how to make a good twisted item ok.
neat idea, i like the way the staffs accuracy decreases and finaly turns against the innocent, nasty idea...
Nice job, every monarch would want this item, and if a major one got his hands on it, the consequences would be enormous.
Not bad, though it relies, as do many items, on magically naive royalty, which i would think would become a rarity over time.