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Takael's Vengeanceby Alex Benson
Stats: Two-Handed Sword 1d12 +3, +5 vs. vampires; acts as a wooden stake; psychic link to wielder; detect undead; protection from fear/charm/control attacks.
Takael's Vengeance is imbued with the lasting hatred, despair, and sacrifice of its original wielder, Takael. This power comes from his very soul being infused into the blade. In combat it acts as a sword +3. Against vampires is where its true power is shown, becoming a +5 weapon. The sword can be used to impale a vampire in its heart, essentially staking it. A vampire damaged down to 0 hit points dies.
Takael's presence within the blade is highly seen in the blade's use. He can establish a psychic link to the wielder, seeing things through the wielder's eyes and communicating with the wielder. Takael's knowledge of undead can be drawn upon. His intimate knowledge of the undead can spot there presence in a crowd, based on how they carry themselves, move, and aura. Given his presence, the wielder will find a reassuring presence in his head to counter fear, charm, and control based attacks. The psychic link overrides these. So strong is the psychic link that Takael can speak through the wielder.
Description: Takael's Vengeance is a two-handed sword. It has a 34 inch single-edged blade crafted from a dull featureless dark grey metal. The blade is about 3 inches wide and curves slightly. The hilt is crafted from a single piece of dull grey metal. The hand guard is in a simple S shape with a slight resemblance of a serpentine body. The hilt's pommel is a brass coloured knob. On the pommel is engraved the symbol of Razud. The handle's grip is covered in velvet and wrapped in gold twine. In many ways, the sword looks like a two-handed shamshir.
Historic Lore: Takael's Vengeance is a blade originally crafted by the warrior Takael. In life, the warrior was a infamous vampire slayer. He was resolute in the undead extermination, carrying out his assaults with an uncanny understanding of the vampiric mentality and physiology. This resolution and skill carried over into his blade, after his war versus the undead went against him.
Takael was born to a moderately wealthy family in the Alphatian Kingdom of Eadrin. As a boy, Takael had been witness to a vampire attack upon the family's home. Though he and his family escaped, several family servants and Takael's own nanny perished to the undead attackers. The event would have a lasting impression upon the lad, especially after it was discovered that the attack had been instigated by a rival of his father.
Like all his brothers and sisters, Takael's father groomed him to be a force to be reckoned with. However, it became evident that the lad lacked the ability to cast mage magic. Undaunted, he was enrolled into the Clergy of Alphatia where it was hoped he could master the clerical spells. In this he failed, the disciplined life of a cleric was not for him and the peaceful and artful edicts were not to his liking.
Takael was then sent to Randel for training in their military academies. It was here that he found a niche. The Randel allowed him to pursue his melee skills as fast as he could. Takael absorbed the Randel teachings, mastering the art of the sword and adapting them to his own physical abilities.
Among the Randel he was introduced to the Following of Razud. The Razud premise of self reliance appealed greatly to him. The clerics encouraged his sense of self reliance and purpose. He also found camaraderie among the clerics. Feeling that the Randel academies could teach him no more, he began to look for the means to extend his training.
Takael became an adventurer, doing well enough to become part of a Shiye raiding party. With them, he partook in several raids against the elven kingdom's neighbours. In one of these raids, he was faced again by his boyhood nemesis, the vampire. The raiding party fared badly in the matter and had to retreat back to safer lands.
Takael decided that he had once again found his purpose, the slaying of vampires. However he felt that his ignorance would get him killed. He turned to the clerics of Razud for training in his fight against the vampires. Their tutelage was complemented by his taking trips to study under the necromancer Jarynn. He even subdued his hatred of the creatures long enough to study under the vampire slaying nosferatu Hetteric. He even managed to become friends with Hetteric.
Being armed with knowledge is one thing, but vampire hunting also requires weaponry. Through the Razud clerics, his father financed the creation of an enchanted sword, good field plate armour, and a shield. Takael named the blade, Takael's Vengeance. Then, the sword was just a sword +3.
Armed with weapons and knowledge, Takael began his personal quest against the undead. For convenience and friendship, he often performed tasks for the Razud Clergy. Since most vampires could be considered aristocrats in Alphatia, it was good for a non-spellcaster to have friends in the clergy should the Law become involved.
For years, Takael waged his war against the undead. He became a warrior of great power and unmatched skill in dealing with the vampires. Takael's name was often cited as being a member of the secretive Brotherhood of Tahl. Though Takael did cooperate with the Brotherhood from time to time, he was never a member. He thought that the Tahl members preferred spending more time in their strongholds than actually fighting the undead.
Takael's aggressions did not go unaddressed. Without the fear of Tahl retribution, the vampires began to seriously address his increasing raids. Before long, several vampires moved against him in unison. They tried using the Law against him to no avail. Takael's allies within the Razud Clergy served him well. They tried several ambushes upon him and his adventuring bands.
It was the vampire Daganne that finally developed a plan to rid them of this threat. Daganne fed upon Takael's hatred for vampires to spur him into a battle of the vampire's choosing. Daganne pushed the right buttons and soon Takael had swallowed the bait. Accompanied by six fellow adventurers, their stormed the vampire's lair.
Daganne's trap was sprung, Takael's party became trapped inside an underground lair. The vampire's trap was perfect, on their grounds on prepared defences Takael's band was assaulted steadily by the undead forces. Wave after wave of undead assaulted their thinning ranks. Finally, the living were overcome by the undead.
Death would not be given to Takael. Daganne thought it more useful to use him as a minion. Takael awoke into vampirism. Through sheer force of will and the help of Razud, he broke his new master's hold and fled from the vampire's lair. He wandered the countryside, trying to avoid capture from Daganne's minions and trying to subdue his own cravings for blood.
Takael fled to a Temple of Razud where he recounted the battle and his undeath to the attending clerics. The clerics were horrified at his condition, many knew him as a friend and enemy of the vampires. The cruel irony of his present state was not lost to them. He pleaded with them for help, either for a cure or release. Takael was detained for his own safety, and that of the clerics. The clerics scoured their archives for a cure, consulted sages, and communed with Razud. In the end, they had no cure. Likewise, they feared for his soul should he be destroyed.
Razud intervened and put forth a harsh remedy. The vampirism could not be reversed, and if the clerics destroyed him his soul would go to the Sphere of Entropy. He proposed that Takael must kill his own self; that sacrifice combined with his past services would enable the Immortal to take charge of his soul.
The clerics informed Takael of the matter. Without hesitation, the warrior plunged his own blade into his chest. His corpse fell to the ground and turned to dust. Razud took the warrior's soul and transferred it to the sword, the blade responding by transforming from a normal enchanted sword into its current form.
The Razud Clergy took possession of Takael's Vengeance and his armour. They soon discovered that the weapon's power had increased dramatically. The sword became a powerful weapon for the Razud Clergy. However, the clerics were hard-pressed to find someone capable of wielding the weapon.
With a strange sense of irony, Takael's Vengeance has become the primary weapon of Hetteric, a nosferatu. The undead vampire slayer is currently undertaking his quest of redemption to reverse his own vampirism. Hetteric and Takael have become a team. Hetteric sees his blade bound ally as a stoic reminder of his cause, often getting him through the tough points where his bloodlust begins to surface.
Takael is fond of Hetteric in spite of his vampiric nature. His own brush with vampirism has made him feel that some vampires are victims. Takael has grasped a realistic perspective to the needs of Hetteric. He tries to turn a blind eye when Hetteric feeds on the blood of animals or criminal types. To handle this, he has developed a dark sense of humour about himself and his vampiric wielder. This dark humour is usually seen in his mental dialog that he and Hetteric share.
Takael is very loyal to his vampiric wielder. If lost or stolen, it is doubtful that he will be cooperative with the wielder. It won't take long for him to discover his wielder's goals and personality. Based on this opinion, he will limit the sword's powers. The DM should determine what the blade can and will do for the wielder. Likewise, the DM should engineer a means for Hetteric or the Following of Razud to track down and retrieve the blade. The sword is not really meant to be possessed by any PC for everyday game use.
DM Notes: Takael's Vengeance is a very powerful weapon. DMs should limit its use in any campaign. I entrusted it to Hettoric (due for NPC description and adventure) to severely limit the possibilities for PCs to get their hands upon it. Though Hettoric's stats are not listed here, I will say that he is not someone to mess with. He is solitary individual that travels the countryside. His power extends far beyond that of a nosferatu. An formidable warrior and competent spellcaster, he is a definitive force to be reckoned with. His most potent power is his motivation.