Cold Nights in Arcosa
Enchanted elven longsword
|Enchantment:||+ 3/+ 6 (see text)|
|Volume of Effect:||N/A|
Examination of this weapon reveals it to be, in all respects except one, of extraordinary elven quality, providing a +3 bonus against all non-human opponents. However, if the wielder becomes engaged in combat with a human, the sword immediately becomes a +6 weapon until he or she is no longer engaged with any human foe.
If the wielder of the Manslayer is engaged with multiple foes, some human and some not, he or she must direct attacks against the human foes whenever possible. If the wielder is confronted with a mixed group of enemies, but is not yet engaged with them, he or she is not forced to seek out and engage the humans in the group. The wielder is also not required to pursue fleeing humans once they break engagement.
In addition to, and superceding the rules above where applicable, the wielder of the Manslayer is subject to a modified form of Hacklust (HMPHB, 131). If the wielder strikes a human and causes either a critical hit, knockback, or failed Trauma check, he or she must save as described in the rules or become consumed by Hacklust, with these changes: if the wielder is driven to seek out another foe, as explained in the fourth paragraph, he or she must first attack the nearest human opponent. If there are no other human opponents, then the wielder will attack the nearest human ally or bystander. If there are no other humans present, then the character will pursue the nearest opponent, or possibly nearby ally, as per the normal rules for Hacklust.
The Manslayer is known as Si Slavmaerd in the elven tongue, and represents the dark side of a typically gentle and peaceful race. There are perhaps a dozen of these items left in existence, and all were forged on Kraelika during the reign of the As-Mordain. When Mordain came to power, he began an Empire-wide pogrom against the elder races, and elves were first mistreated, then banished, and finally killed on sight.
While most of the elves were content to slip deeper into the forests and let the humans fall further into madness and chaos, one tribe decided to match genocide with genocide. Prince Halidan of the Sinmani called his armorers and weaponsmiths to audience, and, in a wrath, ordered them to use all of their skill and enchantment to create weapons that would be a bane to humankind.
The elven smiths quenched the blades in human blood and sanded them down with bonemeal. They called spirits of spite and fury down to live in the metal. The grips they carved from men’s bones and wrapped them in men’s skin.
Prince Halidan distributed the Manslayers among his sons and most trusted warriors, and they formed a warband on Cold Iron Hill, swearing a terrible oath that they would drive every last human from Kraelika, or die in the attempt. For many months did the elves harry the Empire, raiding suppy wagons, outlying villages, and dignitaries traveling on business. The magical strength of the swords ensured that no soldiers could stand against them.
Eventually, the Sinmani warriors had wreaked such bloody ruin that even Emperor Mordain took heed. Mordain, never one to underestimate an enemy, performed magic of the blackest kind, and summoned up a band of devils from the Hell Under the World. The Sinmani met the devils in open battle upon Cold Iron Hill, where they had sworn their oath, and furious combat ensued. Although the elves fought like tigers, the enchantments that made their weapons so effective against humans were useless against the fiends, and soon they were overwhelmed.
Most of the Manslayers were lost or destroyed after the battle, but a few have survived down through the ages.
The Manslayer is a longsword; it has a straight, double-edged, flat blade with a straight crossbar hilt and a round pommel. A fuller has been forged and ground into the blade to lighten the weapon and give the blade flexibility. This sword has a full tang, hidden inside the leather-wrapped bone grip.
Etched into the blade itself is text in elven script. The words snake and curve up the blade in a sinuous flow. For those who can read the elven language, it says:
On Cold Iron Hill we swear
upon these blades, dark and fell,
that this burden now we bear
to send every man to hell.
There are no other adornments or embellishments.