Friday, December 12, 2014

The Friday Grab Bag - Cursed Sword, an Alternate Reality Artifact

This post comprises my contribution to the RPG Carnival for December, 2014, "With a Twist."

Some years ago, a group of adventurers came upon an artifact, a cursed sword, in a tomb. The players had all given me elaborate backgrounds: one Human Thief PC wanted to be a great writer of her serious swashbuckling adventures, another invented a "zippy" (a take on the Zippo lighter) and wanted it to change the world, another strove to be a prominent Dwarven leader, yet another wanted to "invent dynamite," one Elf wished that Elves were the majority race in the campaign, and there were a couple others.

The cursed artifact sword pulled from its resting place by the would-be leader gave him great combat power but also altered the reality of their portion of the campaign world such that they all got a form of their desires which became apparent as they traveled forth. The "writer" found that she was the most popular author in the land, known far and wide for her trashy bodice-ripper romance novels. The inventor of the zippy had had his idea stolen and patented by a Gnomish guild which was indeed revolutionizing the use of fire, though no credit was given to the PC. The Elves were now the majority but enslaved by the Dwarves who ruled all in this previously Humanocentric campaign world. The would-be Dwarven leader, tenth in line for the throne, found that his family was being picked off by assassins all over the Kingdom and folks were beginning to suspect he was behind it all.

Black Hand Artwork by Tamás Baranya.

As they made their way to the palace of the Dwarves to clear his name, a fringe group (also behind the assassinations) who believed the would-be leader was a quasi-messiah had rigged the entire palace with the now-easily-obtained dynamite and a series of zippy-detonators. The inventors of the group, upon conferring, realized that there was so much of the stuff it would destroy the entire city and bring down the dam, further destroying the surrounding lowlands. They high-tailed it out of there, barely ahead of the explosion, a great fireball, cloud of smoke, and deafening screams behind them as they fled.

The remainder of the campaign was a very pro-active attempt to put the sword back in the tomb and restore their reality!

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