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Wand of Hrugesh-K'ha:

by Geoff Gander

The wand of Hrugesh-K'ha measures roughly one foot long, and appears to be made of some kind of black metal, which, when touched, seems to pulse gently. The wand is also oddly shaped, being gnarled, with many sharp protrusions along its length at irregular intervals - not unlike a thorny branch.

Created by the now-deceased Carnifex wizard, Hrugesh, in BC 5200, this wand is among the newer magic items dedicated to the service of the Outer Beings. Hrugesh was not a denizen of Y'hog, but of a now-lost colony of that realm which escaped the notice of the Immortals in the era following the sinking of Lhomarr. This colony, Orzhekh, was located in a fertile valley, now buried by the Sind Desert. Hrugesh was the mightiest wizard of that realm, though both he and Orzhekh were destroyed in a tremendous earthquake circa BC 5100. Before that time, however, the wand found itself in the possession of many other people, though never long enough to grant them ultimate power. Obscure tales of mighty wizards throughout history allude to the presence of the wand, but nowhere is it explicitly written that it was in their possession. Its current whereabouts is unknown.

When wielded, the wand gives the user certain abilities that convey great advantages in battle. When first picked up, it immediately conveys the message that it can store spells; any spell cast at the wand is stored within it - up to 100 spell levels may be stored in this manner. If the user is of lawful alignment, the wand functions only in this manner; it does not reveal its other functions. It will also seek to obtain a user of a different alignment, sending telepathic suggestions up to two miles away in search of a magic user of neutral or chaotic alignment who seeks power. If the non-lawful magic user comes within 20 feet of the wand, he or she must make a save vs. Spells at +1 or be compelled to attack the wielder in order to obtain the wand.

If the user is of neutral alignment, the wand functions as a spell-storer, but it also plants suggestions in the user's subconscious to surrender him- or herself to the wand's power, and be made unbeatable. To aid in convincing the user to do so, it enhances the user's casting power, such that all damage, areas of effect, and ranges are increased by 10%. Each week, the user must make a save vs. Spells at -1 or fall under the power of the wand. If this happens, the user's alignment becomes chaotic, and the wand proceeds to convert the user for its own purposes.

If the user is of chaotic alignment, the wand provides the above functions, but it also sends subliminal messages to the user, telling him or her about the power of the Outer Beings, and how by converting to their worship, the user may gain ultimate power. The wand implants in the user's mind the command words for activating other powers, including:

1. Summon lesser servitor three times per day.
2. Contact Outer Being three times per day.
3. The ability to speak, read, and write the Carnifex language for a period of one day.

Once all three of these abilities have been used once, the user becomes known to the Outer Beings. They are able to contact him or her whenever they wish, and during a full moon they manifest images of themselves in his or her imagination. If this does not drive the wielder insane, the revelation of what the Outer Beings intend to do with the user certainly will. The wand serves as a lure for the most susceptible, powerful wizards. Once fully under the control of the Outer Beings, the spellcaster becomes their tool, through the wand. He or she cannot part with it under any circumstances except death, and even then his or her spirit will serve the Outer Beings for eternity. Any thought of disobedience is punished through the worst nightmares.

While in possession of the wand, the user is forced to carry out quests for his or her new masters, seeking items of power to help them escape their prisons, and freeing various avatars that might be imprisoned on Mystara. The user may also be ordered to eliminate anyone who might threaten the Outer Beings' plans. All the while, part of the user's mind is left free of the Outer Beings' control, enough to be aware of what is happening, and enough to know what horrors await after death - as a slave, and as a means of helping them achieve their goals.