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Thorn's Chronicle: Shrike's Gambit

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

The crunch:
Radiant bolts are arrows or quarrels specially enchanted with a variant of the Shadow Elf Shaman’s Discharge Soul Power spell. Like that spell, it draws upon a number of demonic essences bound within the stone. The Shrike can time the number of “souls” primed, and can loose the arrow with a yield of anywhere from two to twelve “souls.”

The crystal lattice inverts the polarity of the demonic entities, converting them into the same substance that fuels the Nucleus of the Spheres, and then releasing that energy in a 5 yard radius burst per soul consumed, dealing 1d6 points of damage per soul. (As the shaman spell, all rolls of 1 on the die are rerolled.) Unlike the shaman spell, the blast deals double damage to organic material, "normal" damage to wood, and half damage to metal or stone.

The blast only lasts a fraction of a second, but burns hotter than the core of the Nucleus of the Spheres within the first ten feet of the radius of the blast. The explosion is multidimensional, causing temporary tears in between the Material, Astral, and Ethereal planes. The split-second exposure to the Astral shreds any immaterial life force within that same 10’ blast radius.

If loosed outside, a 200’ radius cloud of toxic fumes is released by the blast, and all those living within the cloud must Save vs. Poison immediately, and once for every turn they remain within the cloud.

Released within confined spaces, lingering Radiant energies are even more dangerous, requiring Saves vs. Poison each round within the chamber(s).

Whether the blast is indoors or out, the Save is modified as follows:

Radiant corruption sets in on a failed Saving Throw, with the affected body part beginning to weaken after three days, and withering after seven. The slow rot sets in shortly thereafter, reducing Charisma and Constitution by one point per month.*

Speed, Strength, or Dexterity will be permanently reduced depending on which parts of the body have withered, as adjudicated by the DM.

More powerful versions of this weapon exist, in the forms of javelins (up to 24 “souls” can be called upon, at 1d8 points of damage per soul). Rumors of siege-level variants have not been substantiated.

* see future posts for details of what happens to those who die of Radiance poisoning.....