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We hereby present you with an interesting twist on the 'intelligent magic sword'. The sword has it's origins in the Northern Reaches, but could just as easily be used elsewhere. Concept and description by Larry Lamb; history and revised/clarified powers by Jacob Skytte.
Sword of Vallmr the Ghost Wolfby Larry Lamb and Jacob Skytte
There once was a well-known jarl in the kingdom of Ostland. This jarl had only one son, but was very proud of him. When the boy turned 10, the jarl began to have frightening nightmares concerning his son. In these dreams his son was stalked by a great white wolf out in the woods. No matter how the jarl tried to warn him, his son never heard, and was attacked and killed by the wolf. The jarl became worried, and over-protective of the boy.
When winter came the howls of wolves were heard in the hills. The jarl still had frightening nightmares, and they became more vivid as the weather grew colder. Whenever the jarl woke in the night from terrible dreams, he heard the howls of the wolves out in the hills. In the mornings he would go with his men to check their traps for any wildlife. However, at each and every trap all that they found were bloody remains and the tracks of a huge wolf.
As the winter progressed, and the darkness became more oppressive, the jarl became convinced that his dreams were of a prophetic nature. His nightmares became more detailed, and he was certain that his son would die before the end of winter. He confided in the household godar (priest), and asked him for advice. The godar told him that such a recurring dream must surely be a prophetic one, and that the jarl would do well to seek aid if he would save the life of his son.
The jarl knew that in the nearby mountains of Graabjerge, there lived a clan of Modrigswerg dwarves. Since they knew dark magics, he felt that they were the only ones capable of saving his son from the fate the Norns had woven for him. He sought out the Modrigswerg, travelling with a small band of men carrying all the riches of his household, and offered them as gifts if only the Modrigswerg would help him save his son. The head of the clan took his gifts, inspected them, and replied that this was a good start; the Modrigswerg would help him, by forging a sword, but he needed more men to help work the bellows.
A few days later the jarl returned with all of his thralls and offered them to the head of the clan. The dwarf accepted, looked them over and said that this was all well and good, but he needed all the metal the jarl could muster, including his weapons, if the sword should be finished before the end of winter.
The following day, the jarl returned with all of the weapons and other metals of his household, including his wife's jewellery. The head of the clan took a look at them, and said that this would suffice. The jarl could return home, and wait for the Modrigswerg to finish work on the sword.
When the jarl came back to his household, he found that everybody was leaving. His warriors left since they had no weapons, and would receive no pay; his wife left since he hadn't touched her since the nightmares began, and he had taken all of her jewellery; and his thralls he had already given away to the Modrigswerg. Only his son remained with him in the empty house.
That night the howls of the wolves came ever closer to the house until the jarl felt that the wolves were at his very door. The following morning he looked outside and saw huge wolf prints all around the house. When night fell the wolves returned. The jarl and his son huddled at the fireplace as he heard the wolves clawing at the doors and shutters, and he feared that they would break through. He did not fall asleep until morning, and when he woke he inspected the house and found huge claw marks on every door, and in some places the wood was giving in.
Fearing for his son's life the jarl took the boy by his hand and started the journey to the Modrigswerg dwarves. By then it was late afternoon, and the shadows were lengthening. As darkness fell, the jarl picked up the pace, but it was still a long way to go. When the howling started, the jarl started running, carrying the boy, when he couldn't keep up the pace. He had reached the last part of the woods, when he heard footfalls behind him.
Looking back the jarl saw the huge white wolf of his dreams, easily following him through the woods. It was a magnificent beast, muscular, and with a fine coat. It's eyes seemed to be glowing faintly, and it's teeth seemed awfully dark. The jarl ran as fast as his legs could carry him, but he knew that he could not escape the wolf. As he felt the wolf almost reaching him, he tossed his son as far as he could, and dived forward, prepared to fight the wolf barehanded to buy time for his son.
The jarl hit the ground hard, and felt the air being pressed out of his lungs as the white wolf landed on his back pressing him into the snow. He tried grappling with the wolf, but it's great weight pinned him down, and he was unable to get a good grip. Just as he felt the wolf's jaws close around his throat, he heard a great howl and felt the wolf being torn away from him.
Disbelieving, he saw the wolf rolling in great pain, a sword of the blackest metal stuck through it's back. As the wolf thrashed around in the snow, it slowly lost it's strength. As the wolf died a mist of pure white formed above it. The mist slowly took on the form of the white wolf, and started to turn from the scene and leave. But as the body of the wolf finally lay still the mist started being drawn towards the black sword. Though the wolf spirit fought against it with all of it's might, there was nothing it could do. It was absorbed into the sword. The jarl's son was saved.
It is not certain what happened to the jarl afterwards, though persistent rumours tell of him wandering the land, a beggar stripped of all his possessions. His son, however, grew up to become a mighty warrior, wielding the sword in many a battle, and calling upon the spirit of the wolf to strike down many an opponent. Eventually, or so the tale goes, he returned to his home, and in the woods the wolf spirit possessed him and took his life, fulfilling the prophetic visions.
The sword is a 6-foot long two-handed sword. The pommel is fashioned as a wolf's head made of gold with rubies for the eyes. The blade is of a strange metal that is normally a pale white in colour, but when wetted turns black. Blood grooves line the blade. The guard is golden with a silver etching of the word "Vallmr" in runes on both sides. The handle is made of bone wrapped in white wolf fur with a silver chain.
The legends concerning the sword are well-known by most skalds, and they will recognise it on sight. Others from the Northern Reaches are likely to at least have heard of the sword, and may well recognise it, at least by it's name "Vallmr".
The two-handed sword is in itself a +3 weapon. Since it is possessed by the spirit of the white wolf it gains additional powers. It is considered an intelligent sword with an intelligence of 7 (12 in AD&D 2E terms) and an ego of 4. It can communicate with it's wielder through limited empathy, though it rarely does. It is of neutral alignment. It constantly Sees Invisible (20' range) and may or may not inform it's wielder of what it sees.
If the word Vallmr is spoken aloud by it's wielder, the spirit of the wolf will leave the sword, being a ghost in the shape of a dire wolf. Vallmr the ghost wolf has all the powers of an ordinary ghost (using whatever rules set you prefer). It will always attempt to use it's magic jar ability first, usually on an opposing character, but sometimes on an ally or on the wielder of the sword. Failing that Vallmr will usually semi-materialise and attack for a few rounds. It can return to the sword at will, and will be drawn automatically back to it after 10 rounds have passed, and will then be unable to leave the sword for another 10 rounds.
If Vallmr is Turned by a cleric while outside the sword, it will be forced back prematurely. If Turned while within the sword it will be rendered unable to act for 10 rounds. If Vallmr is Destroyed by a cleric while outside the sword it will be permanently destroyed. If Destroyed while in the sword, the sword will break, but Vallmr will still be trapped within it. The sword can likely only be mended by Modrigswerg smiths, and they will demand a high price for this service.