Thursday, September 23, 2021

Ghosts, Swords, and Wyrms

This pic, by the amazing Johan Egerkrans, was posted on Facebook recently, and the poster asked what the sword and broach do, and how you'll defeat the ghost to get them.  Here was my suggestion:

You set the ghost's soul to rest by slaying the White Wyrm (actually a black dragon with achromasia) and its servants that have claimed the ruin of an ancient watchtower in the middle of the swamp.  However, you must do this without telling a lie or killing an innocent.

The servants of the Wyrm are the fallen descendants of the ghost, men and women without honor or scruples who've been engaging in illicit slave trading through the swamps.  The Wyrm was wounded by the warrior who is now the ghost, and delights in tormenting the old soul by corrupting his descendants.  

The broach and sword are both fashioned from bronze and set with stones of alexandrite.  The broach confers immunity to poison, but if the wearer ever uses poison to harm another sentient, they will prick themselves on the broach's pin and fall dead from an especially deadly toxin.

The sword rings like a bell when an untruth is knowingly told in its presence, and any attacks made with the sword on the speaker of the lie deal especially vicious wounds.  However, should the wielder of the sword every speak a lie, even a white one, the sword will sap some of their strength.  The lost strength can only be restored by an act of public penance (flogging, climbing a mountain barefoot, crawling across broken stones on your knees, etc.).

In D&D terms, the sword is +1 to hit and damage under normal circumstances.  Against a liar, it's +3 to hit and damage.  Telling a lie while being the swords wielder confers a penalty of -1 to the character's Strength score.  Setting the sword aside while telling the lie is no protection; as soon as the sword is taken up again, the character loses the point of Strength.   



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