I’ve always thought artifacts are interesting, as they provide some of the special feeling of owning something truly and uniquely magical, as opposed to the commonly magical and seemingly mass-produced enchanted equipment most adventurers bring to bear. There is an important and interesting story element inherent to artifacts, as they contain terrible power and aren’t easily destroyed. Too often, I think, this second element gets casually discarded by the normal player. After all, who would want to destroy something so powerful and interesting? Unless the game actually revolves around brining the ring to Mount Doom, not many players would happily give up their shiny artifact. While I am sure these new artifacts I am about to present you with will meet with the same covetous fate, each comes with a terrible price that must be paid for their power, which could lead some to wish to destroy the item, whether to save themselves or to save the lives of others.
BELL OF CALLING
Slot none; CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.
Aura strong conjuration
This ornate silver bell was first discovered in a stone chest deep in a fiery pit in the darkest hell. The chest’s origin and the story of how it came to be in the pit were both a mystery, even to the devils who dwelt there. Though the devils could not touch the bell, they could feel its raw magical power, and traded the item to a mortal wizard of terrible ambition in exchange for his mortal soul. It was only later, after the bargain was struck, that the bell’s power would be unleashed upon the mortal world. It would also be at this time that a terrible curse upon the bell would be discovered, and the life of the ambitious wizard would soon meet a swift and violent end.
This silver bell can only be handled by mortal creatures: humanoids, dragons, monstrous humanoids, aberrations, and magical beasts. Animals, oozes, and vermin can also safely handle the bell, but likely lack the intelligence to make use of it. Whenever an outsider, undead, or fey touches the bell, a terrible burning comes over them, dealing 60 points of damage per round the creature remains in contact with the item. When rung, the bell summons a single outsider, which serves the will of the one who rang the bell for 1 hour. The outsider called in this way can be of any type the wielder desires. If the wielder desires to call a specific outsider, he must name that creature, and that specified creature may attempt an opposed Charisma check to resist the calling. Deities and similar creatures can choose to refuse this summons. The summoned creature is bound by the magic of the bell to serve the character who rang it for 1 hour, after which time it returns from whence it came.
When the bell is rung, the call is heard by more than just the intended creature, however. Any time the bell is rung, an outsider whose alignment is opposite the wielder’s, and with no more Hit Dice than the called servitor, is also called into being somewhere else on the plane where the bell was rung. This enemy outsider called in this way can stay for as long as it wishes, and is free to act of its own accord, but has its starting attitude towards the bell’s wielder decreased by 2 steps. This enemy outsider is also made aware of the bell’s user’s location for 24 hours after its arrival. If the bell is destroyed, all outsiders called by it are immediately banished to their home plane, and are unable to return to the plane they had been summoned to for 1 year, unless subjected to a calling effect.
The bell can be used at will, but if it is ever rung more than 3 times per day, there is a 50% chance per additional use each day that the bell will vanish, reappearing somewhere far distant.
This enchanted bell can only be destroyed if subjected to the song of a lillend called by the bell. While the song is in effect, any evil-aligned outsider can shatter the bell using any blunt instrument.
CLOAK OF STARS
Slot shoulders; CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.
Aura strong conjuration
Thus fantastic cloak was actually harvested from the very night sky, having been cut by a demigod to impress a fairy princess. The cloak feels like the smoothest silk and contains the extraordinary beauty of the night sky on a cloudless night.
The wearer of the cloak sheds bright silvery light, which reveals invisible creatures and objects in a 30-foot radius. The wearer can suppress this ability as a move action. If she does, while outside at night, the wearer is rendered completely invisible, as with a greater invisibility spell. Additionally, while outside at night, the wearer can teleport, as the spell, across any distance, even to other planets, without chance of failure. She can take up to 6 other creatures with her when she uses this ability.
These gifts come at a price, however. Donning the cloak marks the wearer as a creature of the night for 1 year after the cloak is last worn, making her suffer terribly in the daytime. Each day at dawn, the wearer must make a Charisma check (DC 20) or become withered and feeble, suffering 1 point of damage to each of her ability scores. Destroying the cloak ends this curse, as does a wish or miracle spell.
The cloak of stars can only be destroyed with a sun blade at high noon on the summer solstice.
Slot none; CL 20th; Weight 1 lb.
Aura strong necromancy
Created from the first murder motivated by hate, this stout steel blade is a brilliant and lustrous crimson. When held by an evil creature, the blade pulses with black shadowy energy.
The red knife functions as a +1 bane of humanoids (humans) dagger, and for non-evil creatures, this is its only function. In the hands of an evil creature, however, the dagger is treated as a +3 unholy bane of humanoids (all subtypes) dagger. Additionally, whenever the wielder slays a humanoid creature with the red knife, that creature rises as a shadow under the wielder’s control. The shadow remains for 1 hour or until slain. Whenever a character who has taken a life with the red knife rests, if he not killed a creature since the last time he rested, he has terrible dreams and visions of the knife’s past victims haunting him. The character suffers the effects of a nightmare spell (no save) and suffers 1d4 points of Strength damage. Taking a life with the red knife ends this effect. Destroying the knife ensures that all of its former wielders are free from this curse.
A red knife can only be destroyed by the kiss of one who has never taken a life, bestowed on the blade out of love for someone who has killed with it.