The island city-state of Golden Sands was famed for the quality of the gold and jewels in it's mines and for the quality of life of it's people. The neighbouring rulers were deeply jealous of it and were determined to gather their forces together and wipe it from the face of the world.Duke William's army, the Golden Guard, was composed of willing and dedicated volunteers, but it was outnumbered by five to one. When the Duke's spies brought the news of what was happening to him, he called his Ducal Council together to decide what to do.
The navy was far too small even with fireships to win a sea battle against an armada of the size that faced it, and hunkering down behind their walls and hoping that the menace would go away was not an option, as they were well equipped with battering rams, siege towers and fearsome catapaults.Assassinations were considered but even killing the leaders would not break up this horde and might even make things worse.
A wizard named Felonious, who had been sentenced to a long prison term for raising undead to break a strike in a mine, somehow managed to get a message out to the Council promising to make an item that would deal with the threat if he could gain his freedom as a reward.The Council agreed and gave him the best materials and he created a golden staff with a mouth engraved at the top of it and cast many dark and normally highly illegal magics upon it.
When the vast army landed from it's ships and began forming slowly into it's feared battle-creasent formation, Felonious rode as near as he dared and spoke the spell.
A silence spread across the army and nobody could speak. The officers and NCO's were helpless to give commands or raise morale, the battle-mages could not utter a single spell, and the morale of the army was destroyed. Quickly the Duke took advantage, first using the few battle-mages that he had, then his longbowmen, and finally sending his army charging in at the double.
Caught out of formation, unable to organize and with their morale destroyed, the silent army was cut to pieces or forced to retreat, their cries of pain inaudible.Half died and the other half only just managed to escape in time. But the spell cost Felonious his voice, for he was never able to speak again.Those who escaped from that army were unable to speak for ten years until the spell wore off,which prevented them from returning or even plotting.
It also used up most of the power of the Staff of Silence.
Although it was used a few times to quell riots, it lasted for only a short time.The caster was unable to speak for a far longer time, so using it was not popular as noone wanted to speak the spell. Finally it's magic appeared to fail and when Duke William died it was one of a few treasures that was buried with him. A few years later someone robbed the tomb and it was stolen with the other treasures.
The staff, being almost pure gold, looks as new as it was when it was minted.After a few decades in the tomb it had recharged slightly. It can be used now once every 24 hours and works for five minites at a time, long enough to murder or kiddnap someone, fight with gate guards ect.The caster loses his voice for an hour-such is the price of casting the spell.Although the victim/s are muffled those on the caster's side can make noise as normal.
Being gold a few blows with a sword or axe will cut in in two,so it is no good as a hand-to-hand weapon.
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? Responses (6)
This is a solid item. The backstory is good, and the powers are nebulous enough to be adapted to anyone's game system. I also like the balance of power between the cost and effect of the staff. If I were the mercenary type to come across this magic item, I think I might hack it to pieces and sell it for the gold while the party Mage and Cleric cursed me for wasting such a valuable piece of magecraft and antiquity, but hey, I'm just that kind of merc.
Very logical and fitting.
The only thing to add is that it is NOT cursed - it extracts its price, sure, but it is the basic function, no malignant curse.
But still, a very good item and a lesson of history that would not be forgotten - hence other ways of signalling and commanding an army were devised, flags, smoke, etc. No general would want to be surprised this way and see his army routed before his eyes...
Btw, I also like the theme of a potent item loosing power... not all legendary items need to end as mighty artifacts.
Love the backstory - nicely explains why the staff was made
Perhaps a little too powerful in its original form (routing an entire army with a single spell is a little too much for my worlds), but not a major problem - it's not that powerful now and this can be passed off as legend
Very good - 4/5
Nice item with a good backstory that really sets it up well.
A neat item - good backstory as said. Couple of things stuck out for me:
'Wizard named Felonious, who had been sentenced to a long prison term' Felonious?
Inconsistent/non-existing spaces after periods.