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The Silver Tongue of Hosadus

by James Mishler

And when the Anointed One passed on to serve Bozdogan in His Celestial Palace, the mortal form that Hosadus left behind was touched by our Celestial Father and was transformed. Most of the body burned away into ashes through the might of He that touched it, but the Skull of Hosadus remained, and was transformed into purest gold. And lo, within that skull I did see the Tongue of Hosadus, blessed be all that it ever did speak, and through the power of Bozdogan it too was transformed into the purest silver...
Excerpt from the Hulean Book of Witnesses

The Silver Tongue of Hosadus is an ancient artifact that was used to good effect by the Hagiarchy long centuries ago. The Silver Tongue appears to be a man-sized tongue made of purest silver; the detail is exquisite, even down to taste buds. There are two ways to utilise the powers of the Silver Tongue. The first way to wield its' powers is by holding the Silver Tongue in hand and calling upon Bozdogan and Hosadus for their blessing; this method only allows the use of a few of the powers of the Silver Tongue. To utilise the full range of the Silver Tongue's powers one must actually cut out one's own tongue and place the Silver Tongue upon the remaining stump (within one turn of the severing of the tongue). The Silver Tongue will then graft itself onto the stump of the tongue and become, to all intents and purposes, the tongue of the wielder. The wielder will be able to speak and use the Silver Tongue as normal, without lisp or any loss of speech. The wielder will however forever after speak with a Hulean accent that cannot be covered up or otherwise negated by magic or linguistic talent (note that this confers no actual ability to SPEAK Hulean). Note that the Silver Tongue WILL retain its' silver coloration, though it will have a fleshy consistency, and the wielder will ever have the taste of silver in his mouth. When the Silver Tongue has been grafted on to a body the Silver Tongue may not be removed by any mortal means short of the death of the wielder, upon which the Silver Tongue will once again turn into solid silver and fall from the body.

History of the Silver Tongue

Whether the tale told in the Book of Witnesses is true or not is unknown; any Hulean legend, especially one of faith, must be taken with a grain of salt. What IS known is that the Silver Tongue is first mentioned in the records of the First Hulean Empire, and was apparently used to good effect by the Chaosarchs of that era in their wars against the Lawful Brotherhood. The Silver Tongue was apparently lost during the final battles of that period and no record or mention of it is found until the time of the Second Hulean Empire, some 600 years later. The Chaosarch Chomaniyon the Glib, who defeated and converted hordes of invading Yazak Beastmen around 100 AC, wielded the Silver Tongue during his rule. (Some say that the Silver Tongue was created by Bozdogan just prior to the meteoric rise of Chomaniyon to power, and that earlier references to the Silver Tongue were inserted by agents of the Chaosarch).

The Silver Tongue was then held by the Hagiarchy for several centuries, until it was stolen from the Great Temple of Huyule in the 6th century, during the period of barbarian invasions known as the Hundred Years War. Some say that a Paladin from the Lawful Brotherhood took it and secreted it in Far Galannor; while others claim that the Assassins of Orumjek stole it and have hidden it far away. There are even rumours that it was pawned to a merchant in Slagovich in order to help maintain the priests of the Great Temple of Huyule in their opulent style of living. The truth of the matter is that no one really knows where the Silver Tongue lies today; the Master is eager to get his hands on it, if only to be able to deny its use to anyone that would challenge his power. Several small groups of agents, including a few Diviners, are actively searching for the Silver Tongue. The latest rumours place the Silver Tongue in a hidden vault deep beneath an unnamed temple in the City of Plaktur.

The Golden Skull of Hosadus

Oddly enough (or perhaps not so oddly when one considers the nature of Hulean legends), there is no mention of the Golden Skull other than in the Book of Witnesses. Whether the Golden Skull ever truly existed save in the imagination of the author of the Book of Witnesses is unknown. There are legends of a powerful artifact of similar description throughout the Great Waste, but it is commonly held to be the Skull of Jammudaru, known to the Huleans as Karaskan, Lord of Vengeance.

Similar legends of another Golden Skull persist among the peasants of the Savage Baronies, though it is believed that the legend of the Golden Skull told in the taverns of the Savage Coast is actually a composite legend based on several similar magic items of ancient Oltec design. Powers

The Silver Tongue of Hosadus is a Major Artifact. It has 625 Power Points; it regenerates at a special rate only under special conditions (see Handicaps below). It has 13 powers, only 6 of which may be used when the Silver Tongue is simply held; all 13 powers are useable only by a being that has grafted the tongue on to his own body as detailed above. Abilities useable by those simply holding the Silver Tongue are marked with an asterisk (*).

Attacks (4)
· Charm Person (20)*
· Charm Monster (30)*
· Charm Plant (45)*
· Mass Charm (75)

Information & movement (3)
· Speak with the Dead (25)*
· Lie Detection (50)
· Speak with Monsters (60)

Transformations (3)
· Rulership (50)
· Gate (95)
· Wish (100)

Defences (3)
· Ventriloquism (10)*
· Confuse Alignment (15)*
· Undetectable Lie (50) (as Detect Lie, only reversed)

Handicaps (4)

· Alignment Change: The first time the Silver Tongue is used the wielder will change to Chaotic alignment if not there already. Note that this takes effect whether the Silver Tongue is held or grafted. If the wielder is a Cleric and was formerly a follower of a Lawful or Neutral Immortal one of the Immortals of the Temple of Chaos (most likely Bozdogan, though not necessarily) will accept the wielder as a convert and grant him full clerical abilities at his full level.

· Recharging Costs: The Silver Tongue recharges only when the wielder tells a lie (whether held or grafted makes no difference). The TP gained per lie depends on the nature of the lie, how many people believe it and the effect the lie has. Little white lies don't count, nor do minor omissions. Small lies told to a few people will be worth 5 TP, average lies told to a small group are worth 10 and whoppers told to a large crowd are worth 20 TP; DM's judgement in any case. The Silver Tongue will never regenerate more than 20 TP per turn under any conditions. Note that the people lied to must BELIEVE the lie to be true and, if necessary, ACT upon the lie.

· Attitude or Behaviour Change: The wielder will slowly begin to become unable to tell the truth under any circumstances, and will lie even when not necessary or when the truth would actually be preferable. Eventually even the wielder will not know whether he is lying or telling the truth. At the same time the wielder will begin to believe that things that others tell him are lies when they are true, and are truths when they are lies.

· Obsession (GRAFTED ONLY): The wielder that grafts the Silver Tongue onto his own body will become obsessed with conquering and/or ruling Hule, and will use every resource and power at hand to reach that goal. Once the wielder rules Hule his obsession will turn to conquest of surrounding nations and conversion of their inhabitants to the faith of the Temple of Chaos.

Penalties (8)

· Whenever the Confuse Alignment ability is used there is a 5% chance that the next ability of the Silver Tongue that the wielder attempts to use will fail spectacularly (though it will still use the TP required).

· Whenever the Charm Person ability is used there is a 10% chance that the ability will actually have the effect of instilling in the target the permanent, overwhelming desire to possess the Silver Tongue. The target will then use whatever resources it has available to slay the wielder and take possession of the artifact. The Charm Person ability of the Silver Tongue will NEVER work against a person so affected.

· Whenever the Speak with the Dead ability is used there is a 15% chance that the wielder will feel compelled to perform some service for the descendants of the deceased. The wielder will seek out the nearest living relative and ask them to request a single boon, which the wielder will then complete to the best of his ability.

· Whenever the Charm Monster ability is used there is a 20% chance that a similar number of monsters of the same type will be magically summoned to attack the wielder 1 to 6 turns after the Charm Monster ability is used. The Charm Monster ability of the Silver Tongue WILL NOT work against creatures thusly summoned.

· Whenever the Charm Plant ability is used there is a 35% chance that the plant will magically emit a cloud of gas 70' in diameter; the gas causes confusion as the spell, saving throw applies.

· (GRAFTED ONLY) Whenever the Rulership ability is used there is a 40% chance that the wielder will lose one point of Charisma permanently.

· (GRAFTED ONLY) Whenever the Speak with Monsters ability is used there is a 50% chance that the wielder will immediately polymorph into the type of monster spoken to; if multiple types of monsters are involved, then the wielder will polymorph into a mongrelman with various physical characteristics of all the involved monsters. A polymorph spell cast on the wielder expressly for the purpose will negate the effect until this penalty is again activated.

· (GRAFTED ONLY) Whenever the Wish ability is used there is a 90% chance that the wielder will be permanently drained of two experience levels as though he were struck by a vampire.

Permanent Destruction

There is no known, sure method of destroying the Silver Tongue of Hosadus, though several possible methods have been dreamed up in the past, and may be found in the various texts and grimoires that contain information on this artifact.

· It is believed that the artifact will be permanently destroyed if Bozdogan holds it while speaking the truth.

· Another text puts forth the theory that the Silver Tongue will be permanently banished when swallowed by Diamond, Immortal Ruler of Lawful Dragons.

· Galanese legends state that the Silver Tongue will be destroyed when it is once again in the mouth of the Master and the Master is slain by the Sword of Sul wielded by a Paladin of Sul (Ilsundal, Galanese patron of Paladins and the Sun).