The Swords Of Wayland, continued
This sword is a two-handed sword +2. It is made of a glittering gray metal that makes the sword look just like it was made of silver, although its' weight is no greater than a normal two-handed sword. Even so, the magical nature of the sword cannot be hidden, if someone undertakes the task of testing its strength. The handle also looks quite plain, although it is made of a green, leathery material that is in fact the hide of a troll. Other than that, the sword appears to be no different from any other unintelligent magical two-handed sword of +2
enchantment until its powers are awakened.
- There are two simple conditions that must be fulfilled before the powers of this sword are awakened. First, the owner must have been in possession of the weapon for at least two months. Second, he must use the sword to draw the blood of a troll, i.e., he must successfully attack a troll. The sword will not make a character aware that this must be done, although he will feel an urge (actually the urge of the sword) to slay any troll that he encounters. None of the powers described below can be used before the sword awakens.
- Once awakened, the sword becomes a bane to any troll. After awakening, the sword is thereafter a two-handed sword +4, +5 vs. trolls, and has a lawful neutral alignment, with an Ego of 17 and an Intelligence of 13.
While the sword may seem at first to have no particular strong powers against trolls (merely +5 instead of +4), it does have one extraordinary power (see below) which makes it extremely lethal to trolls.
- The owner suffers a -2 penalty to any saving throw vs. Breath Weapon. As with all the Curses, this takes effect on the owner from the moment the sword is awakened.
- Humanoid Detection:
- This sword will glow with a pale white light whenever a humanoid of the seven goblinoid races other than trolls
(bugbears, goblins, gnolls, hobgoblins, kobolds, ogres, orcs, or any subspecies) are within 40 feet of the sword. The owner can command the sword not to do so, although the power will then go
dormant until the owner orders it to function again.
- Specific Detection:
- Whenever this sword comes within 100 yards (300 feet) of a troll, it will immediately begin glowing with a gloomy green color, and the owner will hear a subtle whistle in his ears, although this sound cannot be heard by anybody else. These effects cannot be stopped unless the sword is taken beyond the range at which it can detect trolls.
- Extraordinary Powers:
- This sword has several potent powers. First, the damage that
this sword inflicts upon an opponent cannot be regenerated. Naturally, those opponents that have the ability to regenerate damage as a natural ability (trolls in particular, of course) will quickly realize this and fear the weapon, and the DM should therefore consider rolling a morale check with a -4 penalty
for such creatures as soon as they realize that they cannot regenerate the damage caused by this sword. If this is passed, however, the likely consequence is that these creatures will concentrate all of their attacks against the character wielding the feared weapon. The only way that damage done by this weapon may be healed is through magical healing.
Second, this sword also has the extraordinary ability to teleport to its owner's hand when its name, Lortl, is spoken. This power can be used only twice per day, but has no chance of error and can travel any distance (unless prevented by magic or
similar restrictions as determined by the DM). As soon as the owner speaks the sword's name and holds out his hands, the sword instantly teleports to his hands. However, if the sword has fallen into the hands of an individual who knows and has spoken its name and possessed the sword for more than three hours, it will not teleport to the original owner, though he may seek to retrieve it by conventional means before it goes dormant again after three full days. Note that if the owner drops
or loses his sword for some other reason, he can use this power to instantly return it to his hands. Retrieving the sword in this manner has an initiative penalty of only +1, which is cumulative with any other bonuses or penalties to initiative, and the owner can instantly attack with the sword. For
example, the owner of this sword could begin a combat round unarmed, speak the sword's name while holding out his hands, and then strike with it without affecting the number of attacks normally allowed to him with the weapon during the round.
Third, the sword lowers its speed factor by 2, cumulative with the bonuses from being magical. Since the sword is already +4 (awakened) this lowers the two-handed sword's Speed Factor of 10 to 6, but this power lowers it another 2 points to only 4 (a character using the sword tho-handed with the two-handed weapon style specialization (Combat & Tactics, p. 77) would lower this another 3 points to a speed factor of only 1).
- This sword also has the power to discover the whereabouts of Bilgon, the First Sword of Wayland. If Lortl senses that its owner wishes to find Bilgon, it will make him aware that he must first discover the name of the First Sword. Once this has been done, the owner must wait until midnight of the next full moon, at which time he must sacrifice some gift to Wayland. Wayland
will then give him a clue based on the value he considers the gift to have. Naturally, this can be done only once a month.
- The history of Lortl suggests that the sword has been taken all over the known world of Mystara. An old Traladaran tale of modern Karameikos claims that a sword similar to Lortl was used during the wars between the Traldar people (the bronze age ancestors of the Traladarans of Karameikos) and their Beastmen enemies around 1,000 BC. Later, it is said that the sword was used by humans from modern Sind against the hordes of orcs and other humanoid monsters that plagued the land in the first century AC. Little is then known of the sword, except that it is said that human settlers brought it with them to the lands
later known as Wendar and then used it against the hordes of orcs that raided into the lands from nearby Denagoth and then attacked the humans and elves that lived there.
A famous tale of the Northern Reaches claims that Lortl was wielded by Brynjolf Ragnarson who used the sword against
the numberless amounts of trolls in the eastern hills of what was later to be Vestland. This obviously quickly led him to discover its powers and the sword became famous and is known as "Trollbane" or "Trollfoe" in Vestland. When Vestland later became involved in a war for independence against Ostland, Brynjolf allied with Ottar the Just and fought by his side during the Battle of Bridenfjord in 614 AC when Vestland won their independence of Ostland. The sword is said to have been a
deciding factor in the victory of the Vestlanders. However, the sword was later lost when Brynjolf did not return from a raid.
A doubtful rumor also claims that a group of dwarves carried the sword with them into Glantri in search of gold around 800 AC, but this rumor is usually denied. Another rumor claims that a Hattian warrior named Dietmar Blofield brought the sword with him and then used it to help the Hattian invaders conquer the Heldann Freeholds, which are now called the Heldannic Territories. This rumor is considered far more likely by most scholars. Even so, some sages believe that Lortl is actually also the silver-sword of Sir Magnus, the famous and heroic
Thyatian knight. Unfortunately, this rumor cannot be confirmed either, owing to the well-known fact that Sir Magnus disappeared, and obviously died, mysteriously in 989 AC.
Rumors of the Swords
Here are a number of stories that are being told about the Swords of Wayland all over Mystara. If the swords are used in a campaign, the powerful archmages and high priests of the world will inevitably have heard about them, and it is even possible to encounter common folk who have heard some of the ghastly and wonderful stories that are being told about the swords.
The PCs can pick up on the following rumors just about anywhere, as desired by the DM:
- The swords are cursed. The curse of a sword takes effect once somebody has owned and wielded the sword for a month or so.
The power of such a curse is uncertain, but it is widely held that it depends on which sword the victim has acquired and what sort of a person he is. (True, though the Curse is really only a slight disadvantage).
- The swords are not actually all that powerful. This is because it was Wayland, an Alphatian wizard, not Wayland Smith, the great blacksmith of the Immortals, who constructed the
swords. The swords are therefore nothing more than normal magical swords of various types (short sword, long sword, etc.) and they are all of +1, +2, or perhaps even +3 enchantment with no additional powers or curses. Even so, they are, of course, still very useful weapons just the same (False).
- Each sword contains the evil intelligence and soul of a powerful demon. Wayland captured several demons of awesome powers, and decided that they were too dangerous to allow to remain free. He therefore created the swords and trapped the soul of a demon within each sword, so that they could no longer threaten any mortal or Immortal. Apparently this was done either because Wayland (and the other Immortals) were unwilling to destroy the demons or because they were simply too powerful to be destroyed. The prisons were given the form of magical swords with great powers, so that adventurers would find and keep them. That way, Wayland could be certain that if a demon managed to escape from its prison, there would always be useful (and expendable) adventurers at hand to deal with the problem. However, over the years the demons have taken control of their new prisons, and they now control the powers of the swords.
When an adventurer finds one of the swords, the demon within waits for a month or so until the powers of the sword
awaken. In truth, however, there is no such amount of time that must pass before the powers awaken - the demon can use them as soon as some foolish mortal discovers and claims the sword. Once
enough time has passed and it senses an opportunity, the demon will reach out and utterly annihilate the soul of the owner, then take possession of his body. This will not be immediately apparent to friends or adventuring companions of the owner, since the demon spent a lot of time (at least a month) studying and learning the characteristics of the former owner. In some cases, the demon has been known to wait for several years before it reached out to the destroy the owner's soul and possess his body. Many a time has the demon of a sword used this trick to lead the companions of the former owner onto quests that inevitably led them to their doom or the corruption of their souls. Of course, once this has happened the sword has no owner and the demon must wait until another foolish victim claims the sword.
The demons are said to try to use this tactic to unite the swords by making their possessed victims search Mystara for the other swords, for if the swords are ever united, they will be able to combine their powers and destroy their prisons (the swords). If this should happen, the demons would once again be free to wreak havoc and destruction all over Mystara.
The names of the swords are the names of the demons, but these are not, as it is widely held, anagrams of well known goblinoid races, but just the other way around - the names of the goblinoid races are anagrams of the demons' names. This is because it was each of these demons that originally created each of those goblinoid races, which is, of course, probably the main reason why Wayland undertook the task of punishing them for their evil deeds.
The threat that each sword represents to a particular goblinoid race is just another evil trick of the sword, as there is no such powers in truth. Either that, or Wayland put these powers onto the swords so that the creator of each of these destructive races would be cursed to be a bane to his own creations without being able to do anything about it (False, though it is true that the swords are linked to specific goblinoid races).
- If the swords are combined, a weaponsmith can easily forge them into a single weapon. He will not even need a furnace for this though he will require a hammer and an anvil, as the swords
themselves will become hot to the point of melting if this is desired, although their handles will remain just as cool and comfortable to touch as they have always been.
This unique power of the swords can occur only if they are all united for at least a day. If this is done and the swords are forged together, the resulting weapon is so powerful that it will immediately kill anyone it hits, even an Immortal in any form. This is why the power was split into several parts and scattered by Wayland, so that it would not threaten him or any other Immortal (Unknown).
- Anyone who succeeds in uniting the swords and performing a secret ritual that is written down on a like number of secret
scrolls hidden all over Mystara will be able to achieve Immortality without going through the quest and sponsorship usually required for Immortality. Anyone who succeeds in this will become Immortal, no matter what his race, level, class, alignment, or religious disposition.
Wayland created the swords at the request of another Immortal or group of Immortals who wanted to test the mortals by presenting this challenge to them. This was also meant as a test of fairness and the necessity of their own Immortal codes and laws, as well as a test between good and evil in the sense that the
Immortals are anxious to see whether the person or persons who succeed at finding and uniting the swords will be good or evil, i.e., will the selfishness and singularity of evil or the trust and cooperation of good be better suited at accomplishing such a goal (Probably false).
- If the followers of a particular Immortal can unite the swords, they will allow their Immortal to become more powerful than the other Immortals combined, even more powerful than an Old One. This Immortal could then destroy the other Immortals (and the Old Ones) and rule the entire multiverse (all planes of existence, including the Prime Material Plane and Mystara) anyway he were to see fit.
Although some Immortals (and Old Ones) are said to have tried, the power that allowed this was impossible for them destroy. Therefore, to prevent one Immortal from exploiting the strange power toward such an end, the power of the swords was split and then forged into the various swords, which were then scattered across Mystara. Wayland did not so much create the swords as he
assisted a concerned Old One in constructing them. The swords are known only as the Swords of Wayland, because this Old One does not wish to reveal his identity. (Hopefully false!).
The Legend of the Eighth Sword
Despite being denied by a number of archmages, persistent rumors would have it that there is in fact an eighth sword of Wayland, that has so far escaped the notice of the archmages of Mystara, and that this sword might enhance the powers of uniting the swords even further. This sword is said to be named Dolbok (kobold).
Of course, various archmages and some high priests have frequently used powerful magic to either confirm or deny the existence of such a sword, and as far as anyone knows, their research has apparently always revealed either nothing or that there is no such sword. However, the persistent rumors of the eighth sword seems to make them wonder just the same.
- One of the rumors of the eighth sword claims that Dolbok is
an intelligent sword created by a kobold witch doctor (half wizard, half priest), who then transferred his own spirit to the sword, and gave it vast powers so that it could unite and command the powers of the other swords, and thereby allow kobolds (which is a mostly harmless race at best) to obtain
vast powers and become one of the dominant races of Mystara.
However, this rumor is often rejected and even laughed at by scholars and sages alike, as the idea that kobolds could conceive, let alone perform, such a plan is apparently exceptionally unlikely, almost impossible, in their opinion.
But, of course, one can never be too sure about such things!
- One rumor of the eighth sword presumes that the Swords of Wayland are, in fact, the prisons of seven demons as claimed by one of the rumors of the Swords of Wayland described above. The eighth sword was, of course, the prison of an eighth demon, Dolbok, creator of the kobold race. The sword was just as evil as the other swords, but Dolbok was the least of the demons (as can be witnessed by observing the weak goblinoid race, the kobolds, that he created).
The sword was found by a great number of adventurers, possessing and destroying their bodies, until it was found by a female human paladin, who was currently questing for Immortality. Once the sword tried to destroy the soul of the paladin, it discovered her true powers. This paladin was Maat, later Immortal of paladins, and once she discovered the evil intelligence of the sword, she immediately sought to destroy it. Her success in destroying the baneful weapon is just one of the tasks she performed that allowed her to achieve Immortality.
- Another of the most persistent rumors of the eighth sword would have it that Dolbok is actually an intelligent sword that contains the evil spirit of Nekua, an ancient Alphatian
archmage who was once one of the original Followers of Fire (one of the two factions of the original Alphatian homeworld before its destruction, and who are the ancestors of the modern
day Flaems of Glantri). It is also said that Nekua was, and still is, a fanatic follower of the Immortal demon Alphaks, and was, in fact, an ally of Alphaks when he was an emperor of the Alphatians, and that he shares Alphaks's goals and aided him in his plans. This rumor apparently seems quite unsetteling to most scholars and sages, for it appears that nobody is laughing or joking about this rumor, as they do about some of the them.
It is also said that Nekua was so powerful that his soul could not die, even though his body was destroyed when Old Alphatia was annihilated. His soul then wandered the planes for millennia as he aided the surviving Followers of Flame (who are now
the Flaems of Glantri) in surviving during the years of their imprisonment in the planes. Eventually, the Flaems settled on Mystara, but then Nekua and the surviving Flaems discovered that descendants of their old enemies, the Followers of Air, had also survived and built a monstrous empire (the Alphatian Empire) based on magic on another continent to the east on the
same world during the years they had spent being imprisoned in the planes.
In order to be able to wage war on his old enemies again, however, Nekua had to acquire some sort of new material
vessel to contain his life force. When a fellow Flaemish Glantrian wizard created a new magical sword, he therefore intervened, destroyed the wizard, and infused the magical weapon with his own soul and then gave it awesome magical powers. It is said that Nekua thus seeks to unite the other swords so that he can rule their powers and use them to aid Alphaks in his desire to destroy the Alphatian Empire.
In truth, however, there is no eighth sword. The idea of an eighth sword (and its name) was thought up by Symdulym, one of the almost numberless Alphatian wizard apprentices who have at one time or another studied under Terari, the head-master of the University of Air Magics in Sundsvall, the Imperial Capital of Alphatia (naturally, before the destruction of Sundsvall, and later Alphatia itself, at the end of 1009 AC).
One day, Symdulym overheard Terari make a remark about the Seven Swords of Wayland to a fellow archmage interested in the topic, and then conducted his own research of the swords in the immense library of the University of Air Magics, where he worked as a clerk.
Eventually, he made up the joke (and name) of the Legend of the Eighth Sword. However, it would seem that the joke has turned against him somewhat. If Symdulym had ever heard some of the stories that are being told about the Eighth Sword, he would not have recognized his own joke! (Sadly, Symdulym was among the many people of Sundsvall who were killed when the city was utterly destroyed towards the end of 1009 AC).
Copyright (c) 2000, Jens Schnabel. Used by permission. All rights reserved.