Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Vampire's Blade

Another of the Dragonsfoot context entries

The Vampire's Blade

The Vampire's Blade is a simple-looking longsword +1, an elegant, dark blade, etched in silver. In addition to the standard benefits of a +1 blade, for every 3 points of damage inflicted by a hit, the wielder will "heal" 1 point of damage. However, these hit points are not those of a living creature; instead, they are the hit points of an undead monster. It radiates powerful necromantic magic. A character who has any undead hit points cannot divest themselves of the weapon without a Remove Curse spell, and must make a save vs. Death to use any weapon other than the Vampire's Blade. They must also make a save vs. Death to willingly submit themselves to a Remove Curse spell.

When damage is taken, the damage is first done to "natural" hit points. If a character has no undead hit points, they heal normally. While the character possesses any "undead" hit points, they cannot heal, naturally or magically. Natural healing causes undead hit points to be replaced with living hit points at the rate of 1 per day (leaving the total number of hit points unchanged, but slowly returning the character to life). Magical healing from necromantic/positive energy magics burn the character, purging undead hit points at a rate of 1:1, with any remainder being used for actual healing. Magical healing from other sources (such as healing from a Polymorph Self spell) will function normally, but hit points returned will be 50/50 normal and undead, so long as 1 undead hit point remains in the system. So long as undead hit points remain in their system, a character is detectable by a Detect Undead spell. If more than 50% of the character's normal maximum HP are Undead HP, he is vulnerable to Turning and Commanding as an undead of equal HD.

If a character ever completely replaces their natural hit points with undead hit points, and heals to their normal maximum in undead hit points, they become an undead monster within 1 turn, with abilities similar to a wight, but with their own Hit Dice, saves, and any abilities they may retain from their former class... but also beyond control as a player character.

For example, Frederico the Fourth Level Fighter has a normal maximum of 25 Hit Points. He takes 5 points of damage, and dishes out 13, so replaces 4 of his lost hit points with 4 "Undead" hit points. Overnight, he well lose one of the Undead Hit Points, and replace it with a living hit point, remaining at 24 Hit Points. If Frederico were subjected to a Cure Light Wounds spell with his 3 remaining hit points, the first 3 points of healing would purge those 3 undead hit points, reducing him to 21 HP, and any remainder would heal him. If, during the course of an adventuring day, Frederico reached 12 Undead Hit Points, he would be subject to Turn and Command Undead. Should he reach 25 Undead Hit Points, he becomes a 4 HD wight.

Notes: This is a pretty potent and useful item, but has some scary possible drawbacks. Using the blade greatly extends your endurance, but you consume far more magical healing (since your undead HP must be purged before you can be healed), and your most convenient form of healing is by causing damage. Lose track of where you are, and you become an undead. It's manageable, but dangerous.

Monthly Challenge: Curses!

Another entry from Dragonsfoot's monthly challenges, The Curse of the All-Seeing Eye.

A curse often laid by gynosphinxes on those who provide them with false information, the Curse of the All-Seeing Eye is sometimes useful, but often, insidiously, drives its recipient mad. This curse may also be cast as a spell; 5th level for wizards and druids, 4th level for Clerics and illusionists. Touch range and conditionally permanent, it allows a save to resist if laid by a mortal... not so if laid by a furious gynosphinx.

The character is cursed with the ability to see invisible creatures... however, they also suffer from delusions, which are indistinguishable (for them) from an invisible creature. Upon gaining the curse, roll 1d6; the character will see that many hallucinatory invisible creatures within three hours. Each day, they will also see 1d6 hallucinatory creatures. Every time they see a truly invisible creatures, however, add 1d4; they will see that many more hallucinations within the next 24 hours (in addition to the 1d6 each day). Each month the character suffers this curse, they must roll under their Wisdom on 3d6 or lose 1 point of Wisdom as their sanity degrades; Wisdom lost in this way recovers only with the application of Restoration (in Hackmaster, there is no way for a 20th level or lower character to cure this injury).

The curse can be broken in numerous ways. A standard remove curse is only effective 50% of the time. Any Gynosphinx (not just the one who laid it), however, can remove the curse at will... they will frequently demand several thousand gold worth of gems or jewelery, or some riddle they cannot solve (but do not regard as an evasion or otherwise unsolvable... they'll not free you because they cannot guess what is in your pocket!)