The misty past holds many secrets. Great wizards and powerful clerics, not to mention the deities themselves, used spells and created items that are beyond the ken of modern knowledge. These items survive as artifacts, but their means of creation are long gone.
Artifacts are very powerful. Rather than magic equipment, they are the sorts of legendary relics that whole campaigns can be based around. Each could be the center of a whole set of adventures - a quest to recover it, a fight against a opponent wielding it, a mission to cause its destruction, and so on.
Minor artifacts are not necessarily unique items, Instead, they are magic items that no longer can be made, at least by common mortal means.
Described below is a selection of the most famous minor artifacts.
Only two of these potent gemstones exist. One of the gems is a massive sapphire, and the other is an equally massive ruby; to someone unaware of their magical powers, each is worth 20,000 gp.
Either gem can be magically implanted into the base of a creature's neck with a successful Heal check (DC 30); failure by 5 or more deals 2d6 points of Constitution damage to the recipient. Once implanted, the gem bonds with the creature's body and cannot be removed without killing the creature. The effects of each gem are similar.
A creature implanted with the ruby gains the fire subtype and can breathe out a 20-ft-long cone of fire as a standard action once every 2d4 rounds (but no more than five times a day).
A creature implanted with the sapphire gains the cold subtype and can breathe out a 20-ft-long cone of frost as a standard action once every 1d4 rounds (but no more than five times a day).
Whatever the damage type, each breath weapon inflicts 10d6 points of damage. A successful Reflex save (DC 10 + half the creature's Hit Dice + the creature's Constitution modifier) halves the damage done.
No more than one gem may be implanted on a single creature unless that creature has two or more heads.
Strong evocation [cold or fire]; CL 20th.
Book of Exalted Deeds
This holy book is sacred to divine spellcasters of good alignment (LG, NC, CC). Study of the work requires one week, but upon completion the good spellcaster gains a +1 inherent bonus to Wisdom and experience points sufficient to place him halfway into the next level of experience. Divine spellcasters neither good nor evil (LN, N, CN) lose 2d6x1,000 experience points for perusing the work. Evil divine spellcasters (LE, NE, CE) lose twice that amount. Furthermore, they have to atone (see the atonement spell) in order to gain further experience.
Nonspellcasters who handle or read the book are unaffected. Arcane spellcasters who read it have 1 point of Intelligence permanently drained and lose 1d6x1,000 experience points unless they make a Will save (DC 15).
Except as indicated above, the writing in a book of exalted deeds can't be distinguished from any other magic book, libram, tome, or so on until perused. Once read, the book vanishes, never to be seen again, nor can the same character ever benefit from reading a similar tome a second time.
Caster Level: 19th; Weight: 3 lb.
Book of Infinite Spells
This work bestows upon any character of any class the ability to use the spells within its pages. However, upon first reading the work, any character not already able to use spells gains one negative level for as long as the book is in her possession or while she uses its power. The book of infinite spells contains 1d8+22 pages. The nature of each page is determined by die roll:
If a spell is written on a page, determine the spell by using Infinite spells.
Once a page is turned, it can never be flipped back - paging through a book of infinite spells is a one-way trip. If the book is closed, it always opens again to the page it was on before the book was closed. When the last page is turned, the book vanishes.
Once per day the owner of the book can cast the spell to which the book is opened. If that spell happens to be one that is on the character's class spell list, she can cast it up to four times per day. The pages cannot be tipped out without destroying the book. Similarly, the spells cannot be cast as scroll spells, nor can they be copied into a spellbook - their magic is bound up permanently within the book itself.
The owner of the book need not have the book on her person in order to use its power. The book can be stored in a place of safety while the owner is adventuring and still allow its owner to cast spells by means of its power.
Each time a spell is cast, there is a chance that the energy connected with its use causes the page to magically turn despite all precautions. The owner knows this and may even benefit from the turning by gaining access to a new spell. The chance of a page turning is as follows:
|Condition||Chance of Page Turning|
|Spellcaster employing spells usable by own class and/or level||10%|
|Spellcaster using spells foreign to own class and/or level||20%|
|Nonspellcaster using divine spell||25%|
|Nonspellcaster using arcane spell||30%|
Treat each spell use as if a scroll were being employed, for purposes of determining casting time, spell failure, and soon.
Caster Level: 18th; weight: 3 lb.
Book of Vile Darkness
This is a work of ineffable evil - meat and drink to divine spellcasters of that alignment (LE, NE, CE). To fully consume the contents requires one week of study. Once this has been accomplished, the evil spellcaster gains a +1 inherent bonus to Wisdom and enough experience points to place him halfway into the next experience level.
Divine spellcasters neither good nor evil (LN, N, CN) who read the book either lose 2d6 x 1,000 XP (a 01-50 result on d%) or become evil without benefit from the book (51-100). Good divine spellcasters (LG, NG, CG) perusing the pages of the book of vile darkness have to make a Fortitude save (DC 16) or die. If they do not die, they must succeed on a Will save (DC 15) or become permanently insane.
In the latter event, even if the save is successful, the character loses 20,000 experience points, minus 1,000 for each point of Wisdom he has. (This calculation cannot result in an XP gain.)
Other characters of good alignment take 5d6 points of damage from just handling the tome.
If such a character looks inside, there is an 80% chance that an evil outsider attacks the character that night. Nonevil neutral characters take 5d4 points of damage from handling the book, and reading its pages causes them to become evil (Fortitude negates DC 13). Such converts immediately seek out an evil cleric to confirm their new alignment (with an atonement spell).
Caster Level: 19th; Weight: 3 lb.
First discovered in a Netherese mining camp over 4,000 years ago, chardalyns are naturally occurring black rocks that can contain a single spell. The spell is released by hurling the rock at a target. The rock is very brittle, pulverizing into a powdery substance when struck against a solid object. Netherese arcanists typically imbue chardalyns with offensive spells, such as fireball.
You can toss a chardalyn up to 100 feet with a range increment of 20 feet. A successful ranged touch attack roll is required to strike an intended target. The spell stored in the chardalyn is cast immediately when the rock strikes a hard surface, with the same effect as if the spell had been cast by the chardalyn's creator.
Tossing a chardalyn counts as an attack action. You can toss only one chardalyn at a time, but you can toss more than one each round if you have multiple attacks.
Deck of Many Things
A deck of many things (both beneficial and baneful) is usually found in a box or leather pouch. Each deck contains a number of cards or plaques made of ivory or vellum. Each is engraved with glyphs, characters, and sigils. As soon as one of these cards is drawn from the pack, its magic is bestowed upon the person who drew it, for better or worse.
The character with a deck of many things who wishes to draw a card must announce how many cards she will draw before she begins. Cards must be drawn within 1 hour of each other, and a character can never again draw from this deck any more cards than she has announced. If the character does not willingly draw her allotted number (or if she is somehow prevented from doing so), the cards flip out of the deck on their own. Exception: If a jester is drawn, the possessor of the deck may elect to draw two additional cards.
Each time a card is taken from the deck, it is replaced (making it possible to draw the same card twice) unless the draw is a jester or fool, in which case the card is discarded from the pack. A deck of many things contains 22 cards. To simulate the magic cards, you may want to use tarot cards, as indicated by the second column in the accompanying table. If no tarot deck is available substitute ordinary playing cards instead as indicated by the third column.
- Balance: As in "weighed in the balance and found wanting," the character must change to a radically different alignment. If the character fails to act according to the new alignment, she gains a negative level.
- Comet: The character must single-handedly defeat the next hostile monster or monsters encountered, or the benefit is lost. If successful, the character moves to the midpoint of the next experience level.
- Don jon: This signifies imprisonment - either by the imprisonment spell or by some powerful being, at the DM's option. All gear and spells are stripped from the victim in any case. Whether these items are recoverable is, likewise, up to the DM. Draw no more cards.
- Euryale: The medusalike visage of this card brings a curse that only the Fates card or a deific being can remove. The -1 penalty to all saving throws is otherwise permanent.
- Fates: This card enables the character to avoid even an instantaneous occurrence if so desired, for the fabric of reality is unraveled and respun. Note that it does not enable something to happen. It can only stop something from happening or reverse a past occurrence. The reversal is only for the character who drew the card; other party members may have to endure the confrontation.
- Flames: Hot anger, jealousy, and envy are but a few of the possible motivational forces for the enmity. The enmity of the outsider can't be ended until one of the parties has been slain. Determine the outsider randomly, and assume that it attacks the character (or plagues her life in some way) within 1d20 days.
- Fool: The payment of XP and the redraw are mandatory! This card is always discarded when drawn, unlike all others except the jester.
- Gem: This card indicates wealth. The jewelry is all gold set with gems, each piece worth 2,000 gp each, the gems all of 1,000 gp value each.
- Idiot: This card causes the loss of 1d4+1 points of Intelligence immediately. The additional draw is optional.
- Jester: This card is always discarded when drawn, unlike all others except the fool. The redraws are optional.
- Key: The magic weapon granted must be one usable by the character; use Random Weapon until a useful item is awarded. It suddenly appears out of nowhere in the character's hand.
- Knight: The fighter appears out of nowhere and serves loyally until death. He or she is a magic construct (not a real person) but appears to be of the same race (or kind) and gender as the character. He or she is equipped with the starting fighter package.
- Moon: This is sometimes represented by a moonstone gem with the appropriate number of wishes shown as gleams therein, sometimes by a moon with its phase indicating the number of wishes (full = four; gibbous = three; half= two; quarter 1). These wishes are the same as those granted by the 9th-level wizard spell and must be used in a number of minutes equal to the number received.
- Rogue: When this card is drawn, one of the character's NPC friends (preferably a cohort) is totally alienated and forever after hostile. If the character has no cohorts, the enmity of some powerful personage (or community, or religious order) can be substituted. The hatred is secret until the time is ripe for it to be revealed with devastating effect.
- Ruin: As implied, when this card is drawn every bit of money (including all gems, jewelry, treasure, and art objects) is lost (disintegrated). All land owned is struck by blight and forever ruined, buildings collapse into dust, etc.
- Skull: A minor death appears. Treat this minor death as an unturnable spectre with a ghost touch scythe that never misses and deals 2d8 points of damage. The character must fight it alone - if others help, they get minor deaths to fight as well. If the character is slain, she is slain forever and cannot be revived, even with a wish or a miracle.
- Star: The 2 points are added to any ability the character chooses. They cannot be divided among two abilities.
- Sun: Roll for a wondrous item until a useful item is indicated. The XP granted are immediately available.
- Talons: When this card is drawn, every magic item owned or possessed by the character is instantly and irrevocably gone (disintegrated).
- Throne: The character becomes a true leader in people's eyes. The castle gained appears in any open area she wishes (but the decision where to place it must be made immediately).
- Vizier: This card empowers the character drawing it with the one-time ability to call upon supernatural wisdom to solve any single problem or answer fully any question upon her request. Whether the information gained can be successfully acted upon is another question entirely.
- The Void: This black card spells instant disaster. The character's body continues to function, as though in a coma, but her psyche is trapped in a prison somewhere - in an object on a far plane or planet, possibly in the possession of an outsider. A wish or a miracle does not bring the character back, instead merely revealing the plane of entrapment. Draw no more cards.
Caster Level: 20th; Weight: --.
This tome, known as "Mysteries of the Dragon" in Common, is a legendary book of lore regarding dragonkind. Some claim it was written by the first high priest of the Cult of Ashardalon, but others call this assertion nothing but an idle boast, believing the book to be far older than that. Over the centuries, it has been studied, copied, lost, and found again by dozens if not hundreds of readers. Many lesser versions of this book are known to exist, but none share its power.
Reading Draco Mystere takes thirty consecutive 8-hour days of study If the reader misses even a single day during this time, he must start again from the beginning. Completion of the study gives the reader a +5 inherent bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks regarding dragons. The reader also gains low-light vision (if the character already has low-light vision, the effect is increased by one multiple, such as from double to triple) and immunity to magic sleep and paralysis effects.
In addition, a sorcerer who reads Draco Mystere gains 1 point of Charisma and sufficient XP to place him halfway into the next experience level (which must be used to increase his sorcerer level). Other characters who peruse the book do not receive these benefits.
Any individual can only receive the tome's benefits once in a lifetime.
Strong transmutation; CL 19th; Weight 3 lb.
The Fangs of Turaglas
Forged from ores that the Devourer himself consumed and regurgitated, and bound with foul magic, the Fangs of Turaglas are powerful and unholy blades inexorably linked with the demon prince. Thirteen of these weapons exist:
- bastard sword
- 1 dagger
- 1 greatsword
- heavy pick
- 3 longswords
- 3 short swords
- 2 shortspears
The Feeders of the Ebon Maw currently possess five of the Fangs the greatsword, two longswords, one short sword, and a shortspear. They are constantly hunting for the other eight, and any character who possesses one can expect no rest from their pursuit.
All of these weapons have the following abilities.
- Each is a +3 adamantine wounding weapon.
- Life Stealing: A Fang of Turaglas bestows one negative level whenever it scores a critical hit. The weapon wielder gains 1d6 temporary hit points each time a negative level is bestowed on another. These temporary hit points last for 24 hours. One day after being struck, subjects must make a DC 16 Fortitude save for each negative level or lose a character level.
These powers make the Fangs of Turaglas very potent weapons indeed. As demonic artifacts, however, they possess drawbacks that should make even the most evil characters hesitant to use them.
- Whenever a natural is rolled on the attack roll, the weapon bestows a negative level (as described above) on the wielder, except the wielder does not gain temporary hit points for negative levels bestowed in this way.
- Whenever the Fang's possessor enters combat, the weapon forces her to wield it. If she decides to draw any other weapon, she must first make a DC 25 Will save or draw the Fang instead.
- Once the Fang is wielded in battle, its wielder goes berserk (gaining all the benefits and drawbacks of the barbarian's rage ability). She attacks the nearest enemy and continues to fight until unconscious or dead, or until no enemy remains within 30 feet.
- Even if the bearer of a Fang manages to avoid wielding the weapon, she must still carry it and cannot give it away. She can only be free of the weapon through a carefully worded wish or miracle spell. The weapon can also be taken from her forcibly (she can still be disarmed normally).
The Fangs of Turaglas feed life force from their blows in battle directly to Turaglas, bringing the Devourer closer to fully awakening and shattering the shackles that bind him. This is the true purpose for which they were constructed. Every time a Fang delivers a negative level or a killing blow, the wielder has a 5 percent chance of receiving a mental image of the Devourer and a flash of insight into the weapon's purpose. Of course, even once the wielder knows, it's not easy to stop using the blade.
No precise number exists for how much life energy Turaglas needs to escape; the DM must determine the required number of lives taken and negative levels bestowed by the Fangs. Having the Devourer run loose in your campaign is a world-altering event, so exercise care when deciding under what circumstances - if any - to allow it. Should the Ebon Maw ever be freed, each life taken by one of the Fangs while he is manifested counts as a life consumed by Turaglas himself, allowing him to gain health (see his statistics below). Make certain any player whose character learns the truth of the weapons understands the looming danger they pose; even the most selfish and evil villain should realize he must rid himself of the cursed artifact.
There is no way to wield the Fangs of Turaglas without feeding power to Turaglas; they are linked with him on a primal level, and even a deity cannot sever that link. The only known way to destroy a Fang is for a good entity of divine rank to hammer it flat against an anvil constructed of stone or metal from Mechanus.
Strong conjuration, evocation, and necromancy; CL 20th.
Hammer of Thunderbolts
This appears to be an oversized, extra-heavy warhammer. A character smaller than Large finds it too unbalanced to wield properly in combat (-2 penalty to attack). However, a character of sufficient size finds that the hammer functions with a +3 enhancement bonus and deals double damage on any hit.
If the wielder (of any size) wears a belt of giant strength and gauntlets of ogre power and he knows that the hammer is a hammer of thunderbolts (not just a +3 warhammer), the weapon can be used to full effect: When swung or hurled, it gains a total +5 enhancement bonus, deals double damage, allows all girdle and gauntlet bonuses to stack (only when using this weapon), and strikes dead any giant upon whom it scores a hit (Fortitude save DC 16 to survive).
When hurled, on a successful bit the hammer emits a great noise, like a clap of thunder, stunning all creatures within 90 feet for 1 round (Fortitude save DC 12 to resist). The hammer's throwing range is 180 feet, and its range increment is 30 feet.
Caster Level: 20th.
Topped with the gold-plated skull of King Thorndaer of the Golden Helm, this scepter is fashioned of shadow wood and engraved with deep red silkstone, a faintly sparkling, fibrous variety of tiger eye, to create all manner of necromantic runes. The scepter was crafted by Myntharan the Magus, courtier of the Shoon Empire who seized the throne of Westgate in 452 DR. The device owes much of its design to processes developed by the Netherese. Orbakh retrieved the scepter from its resting place in a secret vault under the royal palace, where it had been consigned to be forgotten by the last mortal to hold it, King Blaervaer Lorndessar.
This +3 heavy mace bestows one negative level on its target whenever it deals damage. One day after being struck, subjects must make a Fortitude save (DC 23) for each negative level bestowed or lose a character level. Also, each time the Maguscepter deals damage to a foe, it stores some of the stolen life energy within its own reservoirs. The wielder of the Maguscepter can call on this stored energy any time that he is in direct physical contact with the scepter. All arcane spells that the wielder casts draw on the Maguscepter's reservoirs and are not lost from memory. One spell may be cast in this fashion for every negative level the weapon has bestowed in the last 24 hours. There is no limit to the number of negative levels this weapon can bestow in a given time period.
This rare and magic substance appears to be an ordinary, sooty piece of blackish rock. If the stone is broken open, a cavity is revealed at the stone's heart. This cavity is lined with a magical quicksilver that enables any wizard to transmute base metals (iron and lead) into silver and gold. A single philosopher's stone can turn from 500 to 5,000 pounds of iron into silver, or from 100 to 1,000 pounds of lead into gold.
However, the magical quicksilver becomes unstable once the stone is opened and sublimates within 24 hours, so all transmutations must take place within that period.
The quicksilver found in the center of the stone may also be put to another use. If mixed with any cure potion, it creates a special potion of life that acts as a true resurrection for any dead body it is sprinkled upon.
Caster Level: 20th; Weight: 3 lb.
Shield of the Hidden Lord
This origin of this wondrous item is unknown, though the sages and loremasters who are aware of its existence suspect that it might have been first used in a battle on the Fields of the Dead. Crafted from pure mithral, the shield is inlaid with hundreds of tiny diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires that form the shape of a snarling, bestial face. It is a + 4 large metal shield that gives its bearer two additional powers.
The bearer gains resistance to ranged weapons, exactly as if he were the target of protection from arrows cast by a 10th-level sorcerer; the bearer is also able to understand all languages, as if he were the recipient of tongues cast by a 10th-level sorcerer. In addition to its useful functions, the artifact has its pitfalls:
Gargauth may communicate directly through the shield with anyone within hearing distance of the object. He employs a snarling, cruel voice when doing so. Any words spoken within normal hearing range of the shield are heard by Gargauth.
While in direct physical contact with the shield, the bearer is subject to the whisperings of the Hidden Lord. For every round he remains in contact with the item, the bearer must make a Will save (DC 30) or be compelled to commit an act of cruelty or betrayal within the next 24 hours.
Sphere of Annihilation
A sphere of annihilation is a globe of absolute blackness, a ball of nothingness 2 feet in diameter. A sphere is actually a hole in the continuity of the multiverse. Any matter that comes in contact with a sphere is instantly sucked into the void, gone, and utterly destroyed. Only the direct intervention of a deity can restore an annihilated character.
A sphere of annihilation is static, resting in some spot as if it were a normal hole. It can be caused to move, however, by mental effort. The brain waves of the individual concentrating on moving it bend spatial fabrics, causing the hole to slide. The range of this control is 40 feet initially, then 40 feet +10 feet per character level once control is established. Control is based on the character's Intelligence and level of experience. (The higher his level, the greater his mental discipline.) The character adds his Intelligence bonus and character level and then applies the total to a 1d20 roll. To control the sphere, the DC is 30. The sphere's speed is 10 feet per round +1 foot for every point by which the control check result exceeds 30.
Any attempt to control the sphere causes it to move, but if control is not established, the sphere slides toward the character attempting to move it. It continues to move in the direction he wills it to (or toward the character, if the attempt failed) for 1d4 rounds or for as long as the character is within 30 feet, whichever is greater. Control must be checked each round.
If two or more wizards vie for control of a sphere of annihilation, the rolls are opposed. If none are successful, the sphere slips toward the one who rolled lowest.
Should a gate spell be cast upon a sphere of annihilation, there is a 50% chance (a 01-50 result on d%) that the spell destroys it, 35% chance (51-85) that the spell does nothing, and a 15% chance (86-100) that a gap is torn in the spatial fabric, catapulting everything within a 180-foot radius into another plane. If a rod of cancellation touches a sphere, they negate each other in a tremendous explosion. Everything within a 60-foot radius takes 2d6X10 points of damage. Dispel magic and Mordenkainen's disjunction have no effect on the sphere.
See also talisman of the sphere.
Caster Level: 20th; weight:-.
Silver Key of Portals
This silver skeleton key, a relic created by the god Dalt, functions like a chime of opening when it is touched to the bars, door, lock, lid, portal, or shackles to be opened. The key automatically dispels a hold portal or arcane lock with a caster level of less than 30th level. The wielder gains a +30 insight bonus on Escape Artist checks. The wielder can call on each of the following powers twice per day, at will: passwall, ethereal jaunt, word of recall.
If Mordenkainen loans this artifact to the PCs, he expects its return. PCs who think to abscond with it would do well to consider the repercussions.
Overwhelming transmutation; CL 30th; Weight 1 lb.
Staff of the Magi
A long wooden staff, shod in iron and inscribed with sigils and runes of all types, this potent artifact contains many spell powers and other functions. Some of its powers drain charges while others don't. The following powers do not drain charges:
- detect magic
- hold portal
- mage armor
- mage hand
The following powers drain 1 charge per usage:
- dispel magic
- fireball (10d6 points of damage, DC 13)
- ice storm
- lightning bolt (10d6 points of damage, DC 13)
- wall of fire
These powers drain 2 charges per usage:
- monster summoning IX
- plane shift
- telekinesis (400 pounds maximum weight)
The staff of the magi gives the wielder spell resistance 23. If this is willingly lowered, however, the staff can also be used to absorb arcane spell energy directed at its wielder exactly like a rod of absorption. The staff uses spell levels as charges, not as spell energy usable by a spellcaster. If the staff absorbs spell levels beyond its charge limit (50), it explodes as if a retributive strike had been made (see below). Note that the wielder has no idea how many spell levels are cast at her, for the staff does not communicate this knowledge as a rod of absorption does. Absorbing spells is risky, but absorption is the only way this staff can be recharged.
Retributive Strike: A staff of the magi can be broken for a retributive strike. Such an act must be purposeful and declared by the wielder. All charges in the staff are released in a 30-foot spread. All within 10 feet of the broken staff take hit points of damage equal to 8 times the number of charges in the staff, those between 11 feet and 20 feet away take points equal to 6 times the number of charges, and those 21 feet to 30 feet distant take 4 times the number of charges. Successful Reflex saving throws (DC 17) reduce damage by half.
The character breaking the staff has a 50% chance of traveling to another plane of existence, but if she does not, the explosive release of spell energy destroys her. Only specific items, including the staff of the magi and the staff of power, are capable of a retributive strike.
Caster Level: 20th; weight: 5 lb.
Staff of Shadow Maiming: This is an ironwood staff covered with ancient necromantic symbols. One end of the staff bears an ornate "Y" sigil, while the other bears a stylized glyph shaped like a gnoll's face. The Staff of Shadow Maiming is a +3 undead bane ghost touch quarterstaff both ends of the staff bear these qualities. The staff grants four additional effects to the one who carries it. First, the wielder gains a +2 deflection bonus to his Armor Class against undead. His mind is protected as if by protection from evil, preventing possession and mental commands. All necromancy spells cast by the wielder gain a +2 bonus to caster level. Finally, any shadow, slow shadow, or creature from the Plane of Shadow that is damaged by this weapon must make a successful Fortitude save (DC 15) or be slain (or destroyed, if the creature is not living).
Strong necromancy; CL 20th; 4 lb.
Perhaps two dozen of these ancient weapons, forged during Netheril's golden age, still exist in the City of Shade. The weapon is typically wielded only by members of the noble family or elite military officers who have earned the favor of the High Prince. This +3 shocking burst morningstar was a favorite weapon of the clergy of Targus. When not in use, it appears to be a normal morningstar, but when held it crackles with spectacular arcs of electricity. This electrical discharge does not harm the hand that holds the weapon. Additionally, the weapon allows the wielder to cast lightning bolt three times per day, and call lightning once per day.
Talisman of Pure Good
A good (LG, NG, CG) divine spellcaster who possesses this item can cause a flaming crack to open at the feet of an evil (LE, NE, CE) divine spellcaster who is up to 100 feet away. The intended victim is swallowed up forever and sent hurtling to the censer of the earth. The wielder of the talisman must be good, and if he is not exceptionally pure in thought and deed (DM's discretion), the evil character gains a Reflex saving throw (DC 19) to leap away from the crack. Obviously, the target must be standing on solid ground for this item to function. (In the air, in a high tower, or on a ship are all places of safety against this otherwise potent item.)
A talisman of pure good has 7 charges. If a neutral (LN, N, CN) divine spellcaster touches one of these stones, he takes 6d6 points of damage. If an evil divine spellcaster touches one, he takes 8d6 points of damage. All other characters are unaffected by the device.
Caster Level: 18th; weight:-.
Sword of the Ebon Flame
This potent weapon is a +4 flaming burst chaotic unholy longsword. Black flickering flames dance about its face and edge, although the weapon does not radiate warmth. In combat, the flames wreathe the entire sword but do not harm the wielder. A victim that takes fire damage from the Sword of the Ebon Flame catches fire if he fails a Will save (DC 15); the flames are as much a physical force as they are a spiritual force. They inflict 1d6 points of fire damage per round, and cannot be extinguished by water, wind, sand, or any other physical medium. The victim can make a new Will save each round (DC 15) as a move action to extinguish the fires; quench can also extinguish them, as can dispel magic. This magic fire is much less effective against creatures with the water subtype, and always deals minimum damage to such creatures. Water creatures cannot be ignited by the ebon flames.
The wielder of the Sword of the Ebon Flame gains darkvision to a rage of 60 feet; if he already possesses darkvision, its range increases by 60 feet. The sword also hones his senses, and grants the Alertness feet to the wielder as long as it is held.
It is thought that several varieties of this sword exist, one each for all combinations of alignments. Information is scarce and unreliable, indicating that the swords might be more likely found on other planes. Each of these swords also comes with a specific curse. This sword's curse causes it to be less effective when used against chaotic evil targets. Against such targets, the sword functions as a -3 longsword, and such creatures gain a +4 bonus on Listen and Spot checks made to notice the wielder.
Strong evocation [chaos, evil], CL 20th; 4 lb.
Talisman of Ultimate Evil
An evil (LE, NE, CE) divine spellcaster who possesses this item can cause a flaming crack to open at the feet of a good (LG, NG, CG) divine spellcaster who is up to 100 feet away The intended victim is swallowed up forever and sent hurtling to the center of the earth. The wielder of the talisman must be evil, and if she is not exceptionally foul and perverse in the sights of her evil deity (DMs discretion), the good character gains a Reflex saving throw (DC 19) to leap away from the crack. Obviously, the target must be standing on solid ground for this item to function. (In the air, in a high tower, or on a ship are all places of safety against this otherwise potent item.)
A talisman of ultimate evil has 6 charges. If a neutral (LN, N, CN) divine spellcaster touches one of these stones, she takes 6d6 points of damage. If a good divine spellcaster touches one, she takes 8d6 points of damage. All other characters are unaffected by the device.
Caster Level: 18th; weight:-.
Talisman of Zagy
A talisman of this sort appears the same as a stone of controlling earth elementals. Its powers are quite different, however, and dependent on the Charisma of the individual holding the talisman. Whenever a character touches a talisman of Zagy, he must make a Charisma check (DC 15).
If he fails, the device acts as a stone of weight. Discarding or destroying it results in 5d6 points of damage to the character and the disappearance of the talisman.
If he succeeds, the talisman remains with the character for 5d6 hours, or until a wish is made with it, whichever comes first. It then disappears.
If he rolls a natural 20, the character finds it impossible to be rid of the talisman for as many months as he has points of Charisma. In addition, the artifact grants him one wish for every 6 points of the character's Charisma. It also grows warm and throbs whenever its possessor comes within 20 feet of a mechanical or magic trap. (If the talisman is not held, its warning heat and pulses are of no avail.)
Regardless of which reaction results, the talisman disappears when its time period expires, leaving behind a 10,000 gp diamond in its stead.
Caster Level: 20th; weight: 1 lb.
Whip of Red Shadows
The Whip of Red Shadows is a +4 brilliant energy shocking burst whip. On a successful critical hit, it tears away the victim's shadow, leaving behind a weeping scarlet silhouette in its wake as the victim's actual shadow merges with the whip. Until the shadow is healed, the wielder of the whip gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls with the whip against that target, and inflicts 2 points of Wisdom drain with each successful hit. A torn shadow can be healed with a greater restoration, miracle, or wish spell; otherwise it must be allowed to heal naturally (which it does after the victim gets 8 hours of uninterrupted rest).
Strong necromancy; CL 20th; Weight 2 lb.
Major artifacts are unique items - only one of each such item exists. Each has a long history, and the tales told of them are fantastic and usually fraught with error and misconception. Major artifacts are secretive things, their current whereabouts unknown, waiting to be found and once again unleashed upon the world.
Never introduce a major artifact into a campaign without careful consideration. These are the most potent of magic items, capable of altering the balance of a campaign.
Unlike all other magic items, major artifacts are not easily destroyed. Each should have only a single, specific means of destruction, determined ahead of time by you. For example, a specific artifact might be undone by one of the following means:
- Throwing it into the volcano lair of the dragon Uthrax.
- Crushed under the heel of a demideity.
- Buried in the Rift of Corrosion in the Abyss.
- Disintegrated while placed at the base of the Infinite Staircase.
- Devoured by Talos, the triple iron golem.
- Immersed in the Fountain of light in the holy Halls of Heironeous himself.
Because the means of destruction of a major artifact are so difficult, such an item is often buried in a deep vault, thrown into the Astral Plane, or placed behind extremely powerful and untiring guardians by those without the power, knowledge, or wherewithal to destroy it.
The artifacts presented here are meant to be examples. Artifacts should be tailored to fit your individual campaign and its history, The discovery of a major artifact should be a campaign-defining moment. Feel free to change the powers given here in order to customize these artifacts to your campaign.
Eye of the Elder
The Eye of the Elder is an ancient and potent artifact that looks like a crystal ball. It exudes a greenish light that provides illumination equal to that of a candle. Its history is obscure and ancient indeed, and is said to be tied to gods that existed prior to those now worshiped in the World of Greyhawk.
The Eye of the Elder functions as a crystal ball with see invisibility, detect thoughts, telepathy, and true seeing. While its owner sleeps, a large white eye shot with yellow roams within its confines, stopping at times to look upon the sleeper if he is nearby. It disappears amongst the swirling green lights as the sleeper awakens or when someone approaches within 30 feet. The stare of this strange eye initiates dreams and visions in the owner's mind. The orb's owner must make a successful Will save (DC 25) each month or spend 1d4 days using the orb in a "forever search." During this search, the scryer has no idea of what he seeks, but the compulsion to scry upon things seemingly unrelated is so strong that he continues to use the Eye for the duration of these 1d4 days without sleep and without pausing to eat or drink.
Once per month, the owner may make a DC 27 Spellcraft check while using the Eye to scry. Success causes two arcane words to manifest in his mind; these are command words that can be used to activate two additional powers. After the word is used, it is lost and it must be regained in a month with another successful Spellcraft check.
- Maw (Form): The owner can use this command word to spontaneously cast any transmutation spell he knows. This does not use up a spell slot. The transmutation spell is enhanced by the Extend Spell feat.
- Kus (Power): The owner can use this command word to spontaneously enhance a spell he casts with any two metamagic feats from the Player's Handbook.
Strong divination; CL 20th; 7 lb.
The Hand and Eye of Vecna
The archlich Vecna may have been the most powerful wizard ever to have lived. He may also have been the most evil. Apparently risen now to deityhood, he left behind relics embodying remnants of his power - the mummified remains of his hand and his eye.
Powers of the Eye: In order to function, the Eye of Vecna must be placed in the empty socket of a character's skull. The bearer of the Eye loses two points of Charisma, and these points may never be restored. The Eye may not thereafter be removed without resulting in the death of its host. It grants the host continuous darkvision and true seeing. Three times per day each, the host can use the spell eyebite and domination. Once per day, the bearer of the Eye can call forth destruction and unhallow. A nonevil character must make a Will save each week (DC 17) to avoid becoming evil. All powers are at a caster level of 20th, and all DCs to resist their effects are 20.
Powers of the Hand: In order to function, the Hand of Vecna must be placed on the end of a left arm whose original hand has been severed. The bearer of the Hand loses two points of Dexterity that may never be regained. Removal of the hand thereafter always results in the death of the host. The touch of the Hand, once so placed, deals 1d10 points of cold damage to a target. Three times per day, its touch can permanently drain one ability score point (host's choice of ability) from a victim. The host gains the points drained for the rest of that day. (They last until the next sunrise.) Once per day, the bearer of the Hand can call upon blasphemy and unholy aura. A nonevil character must make a Will save each week (DC 17) to avoid becoming evil. All powers are at a caster level of 20th and all DCs to resist their effects are 20.
Powers with Both Artifacts: If a single character bears both the Hand of Vecna and the Eye of Vecna, all powers have a DC of 25 to resist. The host is granted +2 Strength and +2 Intelligence but suffers a -2 penalty to Wisdom. Further, she can call upon summon monster IX once per day (to summon evil outsiders only). A nonevil character must make a Will save each week (DC 23) to avoid becoming evil.
The Mace of Cuthbert
St. Cuthbert, tales say, once walked the earth as a man. When he did, he used a potent weapon to strike against the infidels and evil beings he encountered everywhere he went. Today, this relic appears to be a simple, well-used cudgel, but its simple appearance hides great power. The Mace of Cuthbert has a +5 enhancement bonus and functions as a holy, lawful, disruption weapon. Further, the wielder can project searing light from the mace at will, as 20th caster level.
The Moaning Diamond
Said to have been ripped from the ground in a ritual that tortured the earth itself, the Moaning Diamond appears to be an uncut diamond the size of a human fist. Ar all times, it gives forth a baleful moaning sound, as if in pain. Despite the noise, the Moaning Diamond is not evil (although it was birthed in torture). The wielder of the stone can, three times per day, call upon it to reshape earth and stone as if by the spell stone shape, affecting 5,000 cubic feet of material. Further, the Moaning Diamond can summon an elder earth elemental with maximum hit points that serves the caster until it is slain. Only one such elemental can be summoned at a time; if it is slain, a new creature cannot be summoned for 24 hours. Tales from the past tell of the Moaning Diamond creating stone structures, opening underground chambers where there had been none before, and collapsing entire castles.
The Orbs of Dragonkind
These fabled Orbs were created eons ago in order to master dragons in the great Dragon Wars. Each contains the essence and personality of an ancient dragon of a different variety (one for each of the major ten different chromatic and metallic dragons). The bearer of an Orb can dominate dragons of its particular variety within 500 feet (as dominate monster), the dragon being forced to make a Will save (DC 25) to resist. (Spell resistance has no power against this effect.) Each Orb of Dragonkind bestows upon the wielder the AC and saving throw bonuses of the dragon within (see the Monster Manual for details on each dragon variety). These values replace whatever values the character would otherwise have, regardless whether they are better or worse. These values cannot be modified by any means short of ridding the character of the Orb. Further, a character possessing an Orb of Dragonkind is immune to the breath weapon - but only the breath weapon - of the dragon variety keyed so the Orb. Thus, the possessor of the Red Dragon Orb of Dragonkind is immune to red dragon breath, but not fire of any other sort. Finally, a character possessing an Orb can herself use the breath weapon of the dragon in the Orb three times per day (see the Monster Manual).
All Orbs of Dragonkind can be used to communicate verbally and visually with the possessors of the other Orbs. The owner of an Orb knows whether there are dragons within ten miles at all times. For dragons of the Orb's particular variety, the range is one hundred miles. If within one mile of a dragon of the Orb's variety, the wielder can determine the exact location and age of the creature. The bearer of one of these Orbs earns the enmity forever of all dragonkind for profiting by the enslavement of one of their kin, even if she later loses the item.
Each Orb also has an individual power that can be invoked once per round at 10th caster level:
- Black Dragon Orb: fly.
- Blue Dragon Orb: haste.
- Brass Dragon Orb: teleport.
- Bronze Dragon Orb: scrying.
- Copper Dragon Orb: suggestion.
- Gold Dragon Orb: Special. The owner of the gold Orb can call upon any power possessed by one of the other orbs - including the dominate and breath weapon abilities but not AC, saves or breath weapon immunity - but can only use an individual power once per day. Further, she can dominate any other possessor of an Orb within one mile (DC 16).
- Green Dragon Orb: spectral force.
- Red Dragon Orb: wall of fire.
- Silver Dragon Orb: cure critical wounds.
- White Dragon Orb: protection from elements (cold only).
The wizard Malhavoc crafted this artifact centuries ago, weaving together the wispy strands of shadow itself into a twisted black staff. The Shadowstaff makes the wielder slightly shadowy and incorporeal, granting him a +4 bonus to AC and Reflex saves (stackable with any other bonuses). However, in bright light (such as that of the sun, but not a torch) or in absolute darkness, the wielder suffers a -2 penalty so all attack rolls, saves, and checks.
The Shadowstaff also has these powers:
- Summon Shadows: Three times per day the staff may summon 2d4 shadows. Immune to turning, they serve the wielder as if called by a summon monster V spell cast at 20th level.
- Summon Nightshade: Once per month, the staff can summon a nightcrawler nightshade that serves the wielder as if called by summon monster IX spell cast at 20th level.
- Shadow Form: Three times per day the wielder can become a living shadow, with all the movement powers granted by the gaseous form spell.
- Shadow Bolt: Three times per day the staff can project a ray attack that deals 10d6 points of cold damage to a single target. The shadow bolt has a range of 100 feet.
The Shield of Prator
A hero of old, the paladin Prator bore this relic in many a valiant battle. The Shield of Prator is said to have disappeared when Prator fell in the Battle of the Three Hells, although it has reportedly surfaced briefly from time to time since then. This +5 large shield, emblazoned with the symbol of the sun, allows the wielder to cast spells as if she were a 20th-level paladin with a Wisdom score of 20. The spells gained are cumulative with any existing spells per day that the character might have, even if she's already a paladin. The Shield of Prator also grants spell resistance 15 to irs wielder. Furthermore, it absorbs the first 10 points of damage each round from fire, cold, acid, electricity, and sonic attacks. (Each element has its own limit of 10 points of damage per round.) In return for all this, once per year the shield's owner must undertake a quest (no saving throw so avoid this) at the behest of a lawful good deity.
A character who is evil or chaotic (LE, NE, CE, CN, CG) gains four negative levels if she attempts to use this artifact. Although these levels never results in actual level loss, they remain as long as the shield is in hand and cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells). The negative levels disappear when the shield is stowed or leaves the wearer's possession.
The Sword of Kas
The vampire Kas was the dreaded lieutenant of Vecna. He used this mighty blade, created by his master, to betray and attack the archlich, cutting off his hand and eye in a terrible battle before Vecna destroyed him. Only his sword survived, and it is said so forever seek vengeance against Vecna. The Sword of Kas is a +6 unholy keen vorpal longsword. It grants the wielder a +10 enhancement bonus to Strength. The sword is intelligent (Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 16, Ego 34) and chaotic evil. It can be used to cast the following spells, once per day each: call lightning (10d6 points of damage, DC 14), blasphemy, and unhallow. Once per week it can be used to slay living.
Tome of the Black Heart
This book was written by several evil magi, whose time of existence upon Oerth is not recorded, save that they dwelt near the Valley of the Mage. The Tome was lost during those years when the Mage of the Valley brought down a great ruin upon these evil ones. The Tome slipped from the ways of dread for a time, only to be located by Tomorast in a curio shop in the city of Greyhawk! The legends do not tell how it came to be there, but it was truly lucky for Tomorast that he found it, for it contained what he had always sought: power and arcane knowledge to procure still more power. He has read extensively from this book, although he is forced to offer a sacrifice to Kerzit every time he peruses its worm-eaten pages.
Through the use of the Tome and his own baleful spells, Tomorast has created and brought to life many of the objects that reside on the dungeon levels beneath Maure Castle. His greatest artificing was performed, using the knowledge imparted by the Tome, in the creation of the iron golem that protects the Great Hall. Through the use of the Tome, he has summoned many evil and knowledgeable spirits to guide him in acquiring knowledge of other planes, and how to traverse this realm while remaining in his physical body.
The Tome of the Black Heart is written in Abyssal, and is comprised of many and varied powers and summonings. Each area covered is listed hereafter. Anyone who can cast 6th-level arcane spells can make use of the rituals contained in this book; a Use Magic Device check to emulate a class feature (DC 20) also allows use of the rituals.
Pages 1-12: These pages describe the calling of the guardian demon Kerzit. This conjuration requires 10,000 gp in crushed black opals, the sacrifice of an intelligent humanoid, and two weeks of preparation and meditation. Appropriate vestments must be worn, and the words, "Kerzit the Mighty, Kerzit the Strong, Kerzit the Guardian, Kerzit! Kerzit!! Kerzit!!" must be chanted. This chant protects the conjurer from Kerzit's attack. At the end of the ritual, which takes 10 minutes to perform, Kerzit appears in a blast of putrescent wind and black smoke. He is immediately affected by a binding spell cast at caster level 20, and gets no saving throw to resist the effects of the spell. Every time the Tome is used, a new sacrifice must be offered to the guardian demon, and the precise ritual must be repeated. Until this binding ritual is completed, the other rituals in the Tome do not function.
Pages 13-50: These pages contain the history of the Tome as recorded by its unknown authors. Tomorast's scrawl can be identified, as he keeps updating the Tome as he learns from it.
Pages 51-120: These pages describe the making of a special iron golem. These instructions grant a +5 competence bonus on skill checks made to craft the golem's body; assembling the body requires a DC 24 Craft (armorsmithing) check or a DC 24 Craft (weaponsmithing) check. The ritual holds the prerequisite spells needed for the golem, and effectively grants the builder use of the Craft Construct feat. The ritual can be performed once a year, and it supplies the required XP for creating the golem. The builder must still take six months of time and spend 200,000 gp in raw materials. The builder can incorporate two weapons of his choice into the building of the golem; doing so grants the golem Two-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat but binds the weapons to the golem so that they cannot be removed without destroying them.
Pages 121-200: These pages describe the construction of an item known as the Dagger Obelisk. This requires three months of preparation time and magical investigation and a 30,000-gp sacrifice to the deities Fharlanghn and Celestian.
The ritual itself provides the XP required to create the dagger. The components required for the creation of the dagger include 3 pounds of hornblende, a teleport spell, an extended plant growth spell, and a sapphire worth at least 5,000 gp (the sapphire must also be at least 95% flawless). Once complete, the Dagger Obelisk functions as a dagger. Its primary function, however, is much different.
If the Dagger Obelisk is thrust into fertile ground up to its hilt, a rumbling manifests and the ground parts to make way for a green, spiraling, 30-ft. by 8-ft. plant stalk that pushes up out of the ground and stops in front of the character. A grotto near the front of the stalk appears to be a passageway. This is, in fact, a portal to the Lost City of the Elders. The Dagger Obelisk is consumed when it creates this portal.
Pages 201-268: These pages cover the names of four spirits that can provide information about other planes, if conjured or summoned. The book itself does not grant the ability to contact the spirits, but if the book is used as a focus for any spells to contact, call, or summon these creatures, the caster gains a +4 bonus to his effective caster level. Spells that this can apply to include contact other plane and gate.
Rar-Turn is a spirit of the Elemental Planes. He appears as an admixture of fire, air, water, and earth.
Kesh-Gurh is a spirit of the Para-Elemental Planes, and appears as flowing dust particles filled with ice, heat, and vapor.
Sha-Duan, a spirit of the Plane of Shadow, appears as a 10-ft-high shadow, and talks in low, sonorous tones.
Mezzik is a spirit of the Demiplane of Knowledge Concerning the 666 Layers of the Abyss and the Layers of Carceri. He prefers to appear as a vrock with bright red skin and green feathers. In fact, he is actually an imp with the ability to shapechange into a vrock for one hour per day.
Strong conjuration [chaos, evil]; CL 20th; 5 lb.
The Blinding Claw
The Blinding Claw is Pazuzu's symbol of rulership, a mighty artifact consisting of a roc's talon that has been embossed with gold and studded with rubies the size of vulture's eggs. The Blinding Claw remains "fixed" in space, hanging unsupported in the air in a fashion similar to that of an immovable rod. The Blinding Claw can support 10 tons of weight before falling to the ground. If a creature pushes against the Blinding Claw, it must make a DC 45 Strength check to move the Claw up to 10 feet in a single round.
As long as Pazuzu lives, no other can command any of the Blinding Claw's powers without resorting to the Use Magic Device skill to deceive the Blinding Claw that the user is in fact the Prince of the Lower Aerial Kingdoms. This requires a DC 40 Use Magic Device check; failure indicates the Claw telepathically alerts Pazuzu to the intrusion, and the victim must make an immediate DC 25 Fortitude save to resist being transformed into a vrock demon. All character levels are lost with this transformation, as are the victim's memories and personality. He forevermore behaves as a vrock. A miracle or wish can reverse this effect, as can a successful break enchantment cast against a 29th-level effect.
As a full-round action, Pazuzu (or the Claw's current owner if Pazuzu is slain) can call the Claw to his side, transporting the artifact to his current location as if by a gate spell. Pazuzu often uses the Blinding Claw as a perch on which he may rest and look down upon the realms below.
The Blinding Claw can be used to cast the following spells at will, one at a time: enlarged blindness heightened to a 9th-level spell (DC 23), clairvoyance, prying eyes, and true seeing. Once per day, the Blinding Claw can be used to cast blasphemy, meteor swarm, and reverse gravity. The artifact may have other secret powers known only to Pazuzu. CL 29th; Weight 900 lb.
Black Blade of Aknar Ratalla
The Black Blade of Aknar Ratalla was a powerful weapon in the ancient warlord's time, but with his death, his soul fused with the weapon and granted it a terrible intelligence. The adamantine sword bears intricate silvery etchings that arc along the blade. The hilt is bone-white, its pommel spiked and stained with blood. When the sword is in use, the blood of its victims flows along the engraved blade, seeping from the spikes in the pommel and leaving a trail of blood behind its wielder.
The Black Blade is a +4 unholy wounding evil/good outsider bane adamantine bastard sword. It is also intelligent, with an Intelligence of 10, a Wisdom of 18, and a Charisma of 18. The sword is neutral evil, and wishes only to continue Aknar Ratalla's crusade against the divine. The sword can speak and use telepathy, possesses darkvision to 120 feet and can hear as well as a human. Its Ego is 30.
The Black Blade grants its wielder deathwatch as long as the blade is held. It can be used to generate a magic circle against good at will, and can cast darkness, locate object, and fear three times a day each. Its special purpose is to slay divine spellcasters and divine entities and minions; as long as the wielder is fighting a divine spellcaster or an outsider, he gains a +2 luck bonus on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks.
As a major artifact, the Black Blade is indestructible when faced with most attacks; the exact methods of its destruction are left to you to decide.
Overwhelming Transmutation; CL 20.
Codex of Dead Names (Minor Artifact)
Written by Elluvia Maure, this dense tome contains cramped but graceful handwritten pages that comprise a lengthy treatise on the history, physical descriptions, and cause of death of five hundred unique demons. Many of these demons had, in some way, crossed Elluvia's patron Malcanthet - those who weren't slain by Elluvia were most often slain by Malcanthet herself
The following spells are recorded in the Codex of Dead Names: alert bebilith, banishment, binding call dretch horde, dismissal, gate, greater planar binding, lesser planar binding, planar binding, plane shift, and trap the soul. A wizard can learn these spells in the same way she can learn spells from another wizard's spellbook. In addition, a character who spends 8 hours studying one of these spells and makes a successful Spellcraft check (DC = 10 plus the level of the spell) gains the ability to use that spell once per day as a spell-like ability for as long as she retains possession of this copy of the Codex. A character can gain only one of these spell-like abilities, but may switch spells by following the procedure outlined above. If anyone else claims ownership of the Codex (this includes anyone who uses the Codex to learn a spell or spell-like ability), this spell-like ability is lost.
Strong conjuration [chaos, evil]; CL 18th; 8 lb.
Spell Chisel (Minor Artifact)
This platinum contraption seems something like a hand-held drill with interchangeable bits. Each bit looks different, with a head more like that of a chisel than a drill. This potent device allows a spellcaster to implant a spell into an object, transforming that object into a magical item of sorts.
In order to implant a spell into an item, the item must be worth at least 1,000 gp per level of the spell to be implanted, and must not be a magic item itself. The user then attaches the appropriate bit to the spell chisel's head (see below) and spends one day per level of the spell to be implanted. If the spell requires an expensive material component or an XP component, that cost is paid at this time by the user of the spell chisel. At the end of this time, the spell embedded in the item can be accessed and cast as if it were being cast from a scroll. A single item can only contain one chiseled spell at a time.
When a spell is chiseled onto an object, the user must make a Spellcraft check to determine success. The DC is 20 + the level of the spell being chiseled. The DM makes this roll in secret - failure indicates that the resulting spell malfunctions when it is cast. Roll on the following table to determine how the spell misfires.
|01-30||Spell effect at half strength|
|31-60||Spell does not work.|
|61-75||The spell has a reverse effect upon the intended target (50%) or affects the wielder instead (50%).|
|76-90||Spell functions, but at half minimum possible power. Saving throws against the spell suffer a -4 penalty to their save DCs.|
|91-100||Spell fails; the item becomes nonmagical.|
The various bits that come with a spell chisel allow different levels of spells to be imbued. A spell chisel can always imbue 1st-,2nd-, and 3rd-level spells using the mithril head that remains attached at all times. In order to chisel 4th- or 5th-level spells, the user must implement a diamond-tipped head. Sixth-level spells require an adamantine head. Higher-level spells require correspondingly fantastic materials to inscribe a 7th-level spell requires a bit made of shadow. An 8th-level spell requires a bit made of elemental particles of air, earth, fire, and water, and a 9th-level spell requires a bit made of pure magical energy. When a spell chisel is found, it is typically accompanied by only 1d3 additional heads of various materials. A spell chisel bit functions only ten times before it shatters and must be replaced.
Although a spell chisel itself is a minor artifact, its chisel heads are standard magic items and can be created by a spellcaster with the Craft Wondrous Item feat who meets the bit's other prerequisites.
Items bearing uncast spells are worth the same as a scroll of the same name plus the base cost of the item.
Spell Chisel: Strong universal; CL 20th; Weight 6 lb.
Spell Chisel Bit Strong transmutation; CL variable; Craft Wondrous Item, creator must be able to cast spells of the spell level to be chiseled; Price 12,500 gp (diamond bit), 18,000 gp (adamantine bit), 24,500 gp (shadow bit), 32,000 gp (elemental bit), 40,500 gp (magic energy bit).
Rod Of Sanctity
Created by the ancient purifiers who learned at the feet of Kardol Erzai himself, the rod of sanctity is both a weapon and a shield against taint. It is unique to the organization not because they keep its construction secret - in fact, many purifiers would love to see the rod become more common - but because only a purifier of the Hallowed Doctrine can create one.
Rod of Sanctity: This rod, constructed of black iron inlaid with lapis lazuli, is a powerful tool against taint. It functions as a +2 bane light mace against any creature with a taint score; against all other creatures it functions as a masterwork light mace. It grants a +2 resistance bonus to any saves made to resist gaining taint. If wielded by a purifier of the Hallowed Doctrine, it adds +4 to his effective purifier level and +2 to his effective Charisma modifier for purposes of smiting tainted creatures or turning tainted creatures.
Strong abjuration; CL 11; Craft Wondrous Item, must be capable of channeling positive energy specifically against taint; Price 36,805 gp; Cost 18,250 + 1,460; Weight 8 lb.
Artifacts of Horror
Sometimes a villain is defined by an evil artifact that grants her great power, intensifies her evil nature, or corrupts her original innocence, turning what was once a hero into a black-hearted villain. The artifact itself can be a villain. Acererak's Robe and the Blade of Valgyr are new evil artifacts suited for use in horror games, while the Rod of Cas is a minor artifact that can prove very deadly in the wrong hands.
This horrific garment purportedly belonged to the most deceptive and pernicious lich who ever existed (although some legends attribute the robe's creation to Vecna rather than Acererak). The robe is worn and slightly tattered but still intact. It appears, to both mundane and mystical examination, to be a robe of the archmagi, with an alignment matching that of the individual studying it. Any observer with reason to doubt can attempt a DC 30 Will save to disbelieve. Success indicates that the character knows the robe is not a robe of the archmagi, but he still does not know the truth of the robe's nature.
Acererak's robe grants the wearer all the abilities normally associated with the robe of the archmagi, regardless of alignment. It also bestows the benefits of death ward on the wearer. Its most potent ability, however, is its control over life and death. Three times per day, the wearer can cast finger of death with a touch (not at range), as a 20th-level caster. Anyone slain in this manner instantly rises as a zombie, as per the animate dead spell, under the control of the robe's wearer. The wearer can control a number of Hit Dice of undead equal to 4 times his Hit Dice; this is calculated separately from any other ability he might have to control undead.
Unfortunately for the wearer, the robe has a will of its own when it comes to slaying and animating others. Anytime the wearer touches another living being, the robe might (10% chance) activate its finger of death ability on its own - even if the wielder has already voluntarily used finger of death three times that day. Further, the robe might (5% chance) cast finger of death at range anytime a living being spends more than 5 minutes within 20 feet of the wearer. Individuals slain under these circumstances also animate as zombies, but they are not under the control of the wearer of the robe. They do not attack him, although they will fight him in self-defense, but they follow him constantly and attack any other living beings they see.
Once donned, the robe can only be removed by a miracle or wish. Acererak's robe can only be destroyed if it is first coated in dust taken from a demilich - some legends maintain that it must be from Acererak himself - and then burned in holy fire, such as that produced by a flame strike spell, cast by a 20th-level caster.
Blade of Valgyr
This chaotic evil intelligent blade (Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 16, Ego 20) is a +4 keen, unholy, wounding bastard sword. It can cast detect magic at will and darkness three times per day. It has 10 ranks in Bluff, grants the bearer resistance 10 against fire and cold, and speaks Common, Abyssal, Celestial, and Draconic. The sword is a tainted object and requires the bearer to save against taint each day it remains in her possession. Each day it does not take the life of a lawful good being, the sword bestows a negative level on the wielder. Once the wielder has drawn the sword in battle, she can never draw another weapon, nor get rid of the sword. It appears in her hand at the start of any combat. Only a miracle or wish frees the bearer.
Exposure to the breath weapons of two dragon great wyrms - one metallic, one chromatic - within a 24-hour span is required to destroy the Blade of Valgyr.
Rod of Cas (Ebon Rod of Ill Will)
While it usually remains in the possession of Cas, the moose-headed demigod of spite, sometimes this minor artifact temporarily finds its way into the hands of mortals. This antler-headed scepter acts as a large +3 vicious heavy mace that deals both bludgeoning and piercing damage. As soon as an opponent has successfully dealt damage to the wielder, the ebon rod instantly acquires the bane weapon ability, with its power focused on the type of the creature in question. Thus, if a giant dealt even a single point of damage to the rod's wielder, the ebon rod would instantly acquire the giant bane ability for all future attacks at that giant. The weapon remembers all those who have struck its wielder and will instantly shift to whatever type of bane ability is required to match a given attacker.
The ebon rod can never be pulled from its wielder's hand without permission (making the wielder immune to attempts to disarm him of the ebon rod), until and unless the wielder's hand is cold and dead. Any enemy of the owner's who picks up the weapon immediately becomes the target of a phantasmal killer spell (DC 20 + owner's Cha modifier).
Any attempt to destroy the rod of Cas causes it to teleport instantly to Cas, while the person attempting to destroy it receives all the damage dealt to the ebon rod in its place.
Strong illusion, necromancy, and transmutation; CL 20th; Weight 16 lb.
The Apostolic Scrolls
This minor artifact of the cult of Kyuss consists of a 5-foot-long sheet of vellum sewn to a pair of darkwood rollers. Several copies of the scrolls are thought to exist, and all have the same purpose - providing the user with the ability to contact one of the "Apostles of Kyuss" so it can perform a mass sacrifice in honor of its master. The scrolls are written in Abyssal and contain a long and complex litany filled with horrific imagery and descriptions. Performing this ritual takes 24 hours, but it can be split into three 8-hour shifts over the course of three days.
Once activated, the scrolls transport an ulgurstasta from the Wormcrawl Fissure to a single point within 100 feet of the scrolls as directed by the reader. The scrolls create a special containment sphere to protect the ulgurstasta during its growth period. The sphere is a 20-foot radius sphere of force similar to a wall of force. The scrolls themselves are protected by temporal stasis, and the two are connected by a beam of writhing green light. Each day that passes, the ulgurstasta gains 1d8 hit points, up to the maximum allowed by its hit dice (204 hit points for a 17-HD specimen). This hit point gain is permanent. During this stage, anyone who touches the scrolls can "feel" the ulgurstasta's evil mind and can communicate with it telepathically. The ulgurstasta is ready to perform the final portion of the ritual once it reaches maximum hit points
The containment sphere is invisible, and feels like a cold, transparent barrier of rubbery material. The reader of the scrolls who created the sphere can touch it safely, but any other creature who touches it takes 12d6 points of damage from negative energy (DC 20 Fortitude save for half damage).
The reader of the Apostolic Scrolls can cause the sphere to vanish at any time as a standard action. The sphere can also be destroyed in one of the following ways.
- The sphere can be destroyed with a disintegrate, Mordenkainen's disjunction, rod of cancellation, miracle, wish, or a sphere of annihilation.
- The sphere can be destroyed by successful turn undead check. The cleric must make a DC 20 turn undead check, followed immediately by a DC 20 caster level check. Failure on either roll causes a backlash of negative energy that inflicts 1d4 negative levels on the character. Success on both rolls weakens the sphere enough that a successful dispel magic cast at it in the next 1d4 rounds against caster level 20th causes it to vanish.
- If the original reader of the scrolls is slain, the ulgurstasta ceases to gain hit points and instead loses 1d8 hit points per day until it reaches average hit points for a specimen of its size. At this point, the sphere vanishes and the ulgurstasta is released into the environs, likely in an extraordinarily foul mood.
- If the reader of the scrolls releases the ulgurstasta once it has reached maximum hit points, it shimmers with a green light and permanently gains the benefits of haste, shield of faith, and bull's strength (caster level 20th). Finally, an ulgurstasta enhanced in this manner now creates spawn of Kyuss rather than skeletons of any humanoid creature it swallows.
- Each copy of the Apostolic Scrolls works only once. When the sphere of containment is taken down and the ulgurstasta within is released, the scrolls become nonmagical. The lore within remains, however, and if consulted it grants a +4 bonus on any Knowledge (religion) checks made about Kyuss and his cult.
Strong necromancy [evil]; CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.
Rod of Seven Parts (Major Artifact)
This great artifact of Law was forged eons ago by the Wind Dukes for use in their war against the Queen of Chaos. It was sundered into seven parts during the battle of Pesh, and its fragments scattered across the multiverse. Over time, fragments of the Rod of Seven Parts have surfaced here and there, often in times of great need. Unfortunately, the Rod of Seven Parts remains unstable, and once its purpose is served it fragments anew, its components scattering, often returning to the site of Wind Duke tombs or ruins (as is the case of this fragment).
The fragment found in Icosiol's tomb comes from the tip of the original rod. The fragment measures 15 inches long, and it can be used to cast heal once per day.
A nonlawful character who possesses a single segment of the Rod must make a DC 17 Will save each week to avoid becoming lawful. A lawful character who holds a segment of the Rod and thinks of it as part of a larger item can determine in what direction the next-larger segment lies by making a successful DC 20 Concentration check. Unfortunately, this segment is the largest fragment of the rod, and so cannot be used to find the others.
The powers of the remaining fragments (as well as the resonating powers possessed by the reconstructed rod) can be found on page 154 of the Arms & Equipment Guide.
CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.
Seal of Law (Major Artifact)
Icosiol's personal glyph and seal is a disc of crystal about a foot in diameter, carved from a single large quartz crystal and polished to a glossy finish. One is engraved with three runes; a symbol representing Pesh, the Last Battlefield, the circular sign of the Wind Duke armies, and Icosiol's personal rune. These runes are in ancient Vaati - translated, they mean "Pesh," "Aaqa," and "Icosiol." The other side of the seal depicts a wind duke holding the Seal of Law up before a pair of massive black doors while standing on a floating disc of air about the same size as the seal itself
Any non-elemental creature touching the Seal without first speaking the three runes carved into it summons creatures from the Plane of Air to punish the transgressor. The first time in a day this occurs, the Seal summons 1d4 djinn. The second time, it summons 1d4 invisible stalkers. The third time, it summons 1d4 greater air elementals. Summoned monsters persist for 2 minutes, during which time they focus all their rage on the creature responsible for their summoning. Attempts to handle the Seal after the third summoning in a day are not met with reprisal.
The Seal's primary function is to serve as a key of sorts to allow safe entrance into Icosiol's Tomb. If taken far beyond the boundaries of Icosiol's Tomb, the Seal becomes dormant and nonmagic until it is returned to the tomb.
CL 20th; Weight 8 lb.
The power and force of truename magic is contained in several artifacts of incredible power
The Book of True Binds
The Book of True Binds is a legendary item coveted by those who practice truename binding.
Description: The Book of True Binds is a massive tome 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall. The book's binding appears to be of maroon leather, embedded with silver, cold iron, and adamantine runes depicting a variety of summoning circles. When held, the person touching the tome hears a susurration of telepathic whimpers, screams, and wails of despair.
This massive tome contains hundreds of pages of thick vellum, but most of them are blank. Only twenty pages still bear inscriptions. Each page contains the truename of an outsider or elemental of great power, even more potent than those summonable by a greater truename binding spell.
It is said that long ago every page of this book was filled with a creature's name and description, but as the creatures died, the corresponding pages about them went blank. Outsiders and elementals are eternal creatures that do not die natural deaths, so scholars speculate that they must have died in battle but a few wonder if being bound by the book might have caused more than one such creature to commit suicide.
Activation: A page from the Book of True Binds takes 10 minutes to read aloud.
Effect: Each of the twenty pages of the book contains the truename and description of a creature of CR 15 to CR 20. Reading a page aloud summons the creature as if by a truename binding spell. The reader can negotiate with the creature using either a Charisma check or a Truespeak check. If the reader rolls a 1, the creature will endeavor to take the book away or, failing that, kill the reader. If creature is killed either while bound or not, the page corresponding to that creature turns blank.
Aura/Caster Level: Strong conjuration. CL 20th. Weight: 30 lb.
Tome Of Truenaming
Several copies of the minor artifact known as the tome of truenaming are known to exist. The book enables the reader to learn and, if desired, change her own truename.
Description: Bound with azure blue cloth, a tome of truenaming is a small square book, measuring only a handspan in diameter with only a few pages made of fine, transparent onion-skin-fine paper. The paper appears to be filled with tiny script.
Activation: Despite its small size, a tome of truenaming takes one week to read.
Effect: To each reader, the book is a perfect biography of his life. The volume reveals to the reader the most personal and intimate details about him and recounts every major and many minor events of his life. The effect of this is to reveal to the reader his personal truename.
Aura/Caster Level: Strong abjuration. CL 18th. Weight: -.