Moil Spelledge (major artifact weapon)
While not for sale, this treasure is on display in the Damn Good Shop of the Damned (see the post below), guarded by a wealth of traps and undead guardians
This +3 unholy vorpal (on a 18-20) large scythe is a feared remnant of the Moil necromancers. It may be wielded by a Medium creature with the Black Lore of Moil metamagic feat and proficieny in the use of martial scythes. In addition to its impressive combat prowess, the wicked edge of this weapon boasts powerful necromantic effects. The scythe also has a mind of its own, born from the dark powers that forged it. It is treated as an intelligent item (Wis 23, Int 23, Cha 10; has no communication or special abilities) and has an ego score of 32. It gives the wielder the overwhelming urge to kill any Good creature it comes across (Divine spellcasters and do-gooders are a priority), manifesting itself as if it were second nature to the wielder.
Any creature threatened by the wielder receives a -6 penalty on saves against fear effects. A creature struck by the scythe must make a Will save with DC equal to the damage dealt or else they become
Any creature cut down by the Moil Spelledge (without the Vorpal ability) has their soul bound to the blade of the scythe until the next victim's life is taken. The effect is as per Soul Bind, but with no save. While a soul is captured, the wielder receives a stacking profane bonus equal to the highest ability modifier of the captured soul to their own ability score (ex: an 18 Cha rogue provides a +4 profane bonus to Cha). A spellcaster using the scythe with a spellcaster's soul in the blade may use one of the trapped soul's spells (up to spell level 6) per day as a SLA (if they still have some left for the day), using the wielder's CL. Any XP costs are paid by the wielder and any costly materials cost 10 times the item price in XP. The wielder may take a negative level instead, to forego any focus/material/XP requirements and cast the spell as a free action. Even if two victims are trapped in a single day, only a single spell may be used in that day.
If the creature is killed by the scythe's vorpal ability, the creature's soul is destroyed. Only a wish or miracle may undo its destruction. The wielder must then succeed a DC 12+creature's HD Will save or lose 1d4 ability points split between their Wisdom, Intelligence, and/or Charisma scores (to a minimum of 5).
Attempting to let go or get rid of the Moil Spelledge requires a Will save against the scythe's Ego score (DC 32). It will allow itself to be released if necessary, but can sense whether or not the wielder intends to pick it up again. If the user does plan to abandon it, they must make the Will save after moving 10 feet away from it.
Good creatures who willing take up the scythe receive 6 negative levels. Neutral characters take 4 negative levels.
The Staff of Slaughter [Major Artifact]
This staff is always found sticking up from a pile of bodies and rubble. It's spikes and bladed edges make finding a place to hold the staff a difficult task. Across some of the larger blades are inscriptions, which if read off, power the staff's insidious effects. Rumors say that this devious creation is the work of demons, created for the Blood War. How such an artifact reached the Material Plane is still a mystery.
Command words (in Abyssal) must be read off the staff while held. So long as the staff is held, the wielder is immune to any damaging effect of the staff.
While held, the wielder is considered to be a demon for all effects and receives a +8 bonus to all Charisma-based checks when dealing with demons.
Using the staff turns the wielder Chaotic Evil, with immunity to the Atonement spell. They are automatically detected on the first round of using Detect Evil or Chaos, and by paladins with such abilities instantly (whether the paladin is using the ability already or not).
Whenever an effect of the Staff of Slaughter kills or destroys a creature, the staff gains a charge (to a maximum of 50).
- And So It Rained Blades (15 charges): Within a 40' radius around the staff, red clouds form 80' overhead. In the next moment, hundreds of blades fall from the cloud to impale those below it. Anyone within the radius of the effect must make a DC 23 Reflex save or receive 6d6 slashing damage. Once the blades have fallen, creatures move through the area as if there were caltrops (BAB is +10, instead of +0) for 2d3 rounds.
- Raze the Heavens (10 charges): Upon reading out the inscription and thrusting the staff into the ground, the staff emits a cloud of suffocating gas in a 80' high cylinder with a radius of 40'. Creatures who must breathe have to succeed a DC 23 Will save each round or begin to suffocate so long as the cloud is in effect. The cloud lasts 2d4 rounds and the wielder may half one dimension of the cloud to double the other once each round as a free action.
- Reap the Stars (15 charges): A meteor strikes a 30' radius within sight of the wielder. Anything in that area must make a DC 25 Reflex save to move outside but adjacent to the impact area. Failing the save kills the creature. Any creature within 30' of the impact zone (even those that pass the save) are knocked prone and take 2d6 bludgeoning damage.
- Let Loose the Inner Fury (15 charges): Within a 60' ray, all creatures must choose to become Chaotic Evil and suffer from Berserk for a year and a day, or resist the effect. If they choose to resist, they must pass a DC 25 Will save. If failed, each creature is rendered helpless for the next 1d4 rounds as their bodies convulse from some inner force. On the last round, a Vrock (HD is equal to the victim's) explodes from within them and serves the wielder for 1d3 day so long as they hold the staff) before going off on their own.
- Call Forth the Judgment (35 charges): The wielder must also speak the name of any Balor, if they wish. Throwing the staff into the air, it rockets into the sky and explodes in a flash of black and red lightning. The lightning reshapes itself and becomes the chosen Balor or a generic Balor at HD 20 for 1 hour. It knows no loyalties, and the wielder is at its mercy as the Staff of Slaughter is within the creature. After 1 hour or its destruction/death, the creature reforms back into the staff, which spears itself into a pile of bodies once more.
Chaotic Evil, Strong Evocation
The Mask of Amsh [Cursed Major Artifact]
Carved from the bone of a black dragon, this mask was forged into a masterpiece by a demilich known as Amsh. It proudly wore the mask throughout its many years of existence before the undead wizard was cut down by paladins. Since then, this delicate mask, polished down to an almost porcelain quality, has traveled the world, bringing the madness of its creator to others.
This simple but elegant white mask has almost no weight to it, as if it would float if dropped. Any attempt to discern its magical properties fails, as if it weren't magical, unless it is brought into contact with a lich or demilich. In such a case, the mask radiates a black energy from the eye sockets and has Overwhelming Necromancy and Overwhelming Chaotic Evil auras. The mask itself is an intelligent item: CE, Int 21, Wis 21, Cha 10. It seeks to wreak havoc upon the most people possible.
When worn, the wearer suffers the effects of Insanity if they fail a DC 27 Will save (even if the mask is removed). Attempting to remove the mask fails unless Remove Curse is cast upon it at CL 25 or higher. Every day at sunset, the mask tries to drain the wearer of their mind. The wearer takes 1d3 points of Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom damage (rolled independently). The mask's own ability scores are increased by 1 (improving its Ego score with which it can alter the wearer's mind). Once removed, the mask loses any ability score increases. If any of the wearer's mental ability scores goes to zero, the mask takes over their mind and no longer drains their scores. Removing the mask in this state leaves them to suffer from the zero ability score(s) as normal.
The Fist of Undeath, and Quest
Pivotal Artifact: The Fist of Undeath
The Fist of Undeath is a small orb, about 1 foot in diameter, and made of bone with a highly polished black surface. It levitates 5 feet off the ground at all times when at rest.
As a continous effect, the Fist is imbued with Unhallow at CL 20. Within the range of this effect, the Fist may cast Animate Dead (CL 20) as a ranged touch spell. This is cast on anyone who dies within the spell's radius (centered on the sphere) instantly. It may animate skeletons past 20 HD and zombies past 10 HD, unlike the actual spell. Roll a 1d2 to determine which is created. The resulting dead are under the control of this artifact, seeking to protect it from all intruders no matter what their intent may be.
The Fist may also cast Animate Dead (CL 20) on any remains within range once per round.
Its Animate Dead spell cannot penetrate more than 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, or up to 3 feet of wood or dirt. Its effects may pass freely through items or things associated with death: gravedirt, coffins, tomb walls, tombstones, altars to death gods, bones, etc. Its effects will radiate further than its normal 40 feet if placed within a place of death, taking up the entire tomb/crypt/mausoleum as long as it is not purposefully hidden from sight.
It may control up to 120 HD of undead minions. Undead bound to the Fist may not leave the range of its Animate Dead effect; if they are moved outside that range, they revert back to whatever remains spawned them.
If any undead are within the spell's radius but were not created by the Fist, the Fist makes a Rebuking attempt each turn (as a level 20 Cleric) to assume control of that creature (no matter how HD the creature has).
Any intelligent undead within range must make a Will Save or lose their intelligence for as long as they are within the Fist's range (the range of its Animate Dead effect, that is).
Any living creature that in willing contact with the Fist benefits from the spell Hide from Undead as a continous effect but also suffers from Bestow Curse (no Will save, 1d3 to determine either one of the three effects in the spell description). Neither of these effects can be removed until contact is broken or the Fist is destroyed
A Sunder attempt (or any other attack on the Fist) automatically fails, and results in the Fist casting Circle of Death (CL 20). Any attacker is made a priority of the Fist's minions.
Destroying the Fist releases any undead it commanded and instantly destroys all of its animate dead.
The Fist of Undeath cannot be moved by any means except by the will of the one who created it. Using a command word unlocks the Fist from its position and it moves as per the Floating Disc spell (5 feet from ground). Saying the command word again locks it into place.
The Quest Plot:
The Fist of Undeath is an artifact forged by a forgotten necromancer sect hundreds of years ago. The sphere is forged from the bones of a thousand executed necromancers, melted down into a molten liquid and cast in a mold formed from the skull of the sect's demilich leader. With the sphere formed, the necromancers sought extraplanar beings to assist them in enchanting the artifact that would grant them power beyond their wildest nightmares.
Aware of the Blood War between demons and devils (and preferring the trust the side they believed to be less treacherous and chaotic), the group contacted a devil by the name of Grygadorim. He, along with a devil from each of the Nine Hells of Baator, bestowed the sect with the knowledge and rituals required to imbue the orb with the dark powers they sought.
The group proceeded as planned, successfully creating the device as Grygadorim instructed. With the artifact at hand, they activated the Fist and its dark powers animated a horde of undead minions. But they had been deceived. The devil tricked them into building his phylactery*, and with its creation, he became a powerful lichfiend. His soul, encased within the sphere, controlled the dead for his own benefit and he killed off the necromancers. As the last few met their demises, he animated them as the first of his dark minions on the Material Plane. If victory in the Blood War was uncertain, he would take another plane for his own.
(*= If Grygadorim dies outside of the plane containing the Fist, he may reform his body from remains anywhere within 10 miles of an altar bound to the Fist, more on that later. He cannot reform from his phlactery unless he died in the plane containing the Fist, or there are no more altars remaining.)
Grygadorim, however, was betrayed as well. The demons learned of his new-found change and bought the secrets to his undoing from his nine devil allies. A demon messenger named Ivorak bound the secrets within a tome and plane shifted away to his masters, but he was ambushed while preparing the shift and dropped the tome. It was caught in the riptide of the spell and materialized in the Material Plane. Ivorak is still being tortured for his inability to deliver the secrets.
As per the instructions of the Tome, the Fist can only be destroyed as follows:
The Fist is bound to each plane of the Nine Hells, at nine altars rising up from the land (or anything that passes for land), by nine interplanar string (sort of like Astral Projection). Through these strings, the Fist draws its necromantic powers from the nine layers of Baator. These nine tethers to its fuel sources must be severed by destroying each altar. Only one from outside of the Nine Hells may see or interact with these altars (even True Seeing won't work for demons/devils, and a demon/devil blindly casting spells [even if they know where it is] won't work).
Once the Nine Threads of Death have been severed, the orb's death magic and necromancy effects cease to work. But the artifact is still empowered by its owner's soul. Only a single blow from Grygadorim's own hammer will destroy the remaining sphere of bone (and the demonic soul within). His phlactery is broken and he can no longer remain 'immortal' as a lich.
His soul will try to possess the nearest person (within 500 feet) as per Magic Jar (CL 20) (unless Soul Bind is cast on it, no save). Killing the possessed person allows the soul to jump to the next victim (within 150 feet). If successful, the 2d4 pieces of the sphere must have Atonement cast on them seperately to finally destroy Grygadorim's soul (and anyone it possesses is freed).
If his soul fails to possess someone either the first time or after the person he possessed was killed, the soul is destroyed.
In either case, once his soul is destroyed, Grygadorim may finally be killed once and for all (unless he is already dead and was waiting to be reformed) in a dramatic and vengeful battle.
The DM may give a reward of their choice (perhaps a Wish, granted by the thousands of souls displaced by the Fist's dark magic) when the remains of the sphere are picked up.
Sample Story Arcs:
-Ivorak escapes and wants to recapture the book.
-Killing the nine 'allies' of Gryagorim.