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    Postfest IV: The Tongue of Kurell
    Posted on Mon, April 04, 2005 by Dongul
    wykthor writes "The mighty Tongue of Kurell is at long last revealed. Touched by the Vengeful Knave and extolled by his clergy, this weapon is a fearsome artifact.

    The Tongue of Kurell
    By: wykthor
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Description: A bastard sword 5 ft, 4 inches long with a dull gray blade that has a coppery tone along its sharp edges. The gem-studded, gold and platinum-filigreed, hilt and pommel gaudily clash with the sober appearance of the blade. It is an intelligent (14, Ego 19), chaotic neutral, +1 bastard sword of sharpness able to illuminate a circle of 5 ft. to 30 ft. radius, speak common (only), and is can detect gems, kind and number, in a 5 ft radius and precious metals, kind and amount, in a 20 ft radius [1]. Unfortunately, the Tongue of Kurell (it never reveals its name unless the owner is a follower of this god) has a temper and a behavior to match.

    Origin: This sword was created by joint efforts of a high-level cleric of Kurell, and an ambitious half-elf mage/thief, one of the great barons of Pomarj when the Principality of Ulek withdrew from Keoland2 in 461 CY but still controlled the petty baronies. The half-elf was one of the most vocal Pomarj nobles who denounced the “dwarven choke-hold on their sovereign lands” and tried to goad the other barons to revolt. The kurellian church was small, but had a reasonable amount of worshippers among the jealous and ambitious humans, and encouraged the rebellion. Prior to the independence of Pomarj two years later, the Tongue of Kurell was forged, in order to represent the aid and support of the church to the land and its baron. The sword turned to be far more powerful than originally conceived, some suggesting a blessing of the Vengeful Knave himself. When the local forces expelled the dwarven forces of Highport and consolidated their freedom from the Prince of Havenhill [2], it was a high day for the barony, its ruler and the Tongue of Kurell.

    However, all these achievements wasted away after the independence. By the urgings of the sword, the mage baron frequently bid for more power and influence in the land, which annoyed the other nobles and kept Pomarj from being unified by a more central government, becoming a bickering feudal region. The same independent streak acted when the Prince of Ulek approached the barons few decades later and asked for support against the orcs and goblinoids of the Lortmills, a conflict that would later be named The Hateful Wars. The human nobles rejected the petition, and many suspected a “demihuman move to re-annex our lands”. Unfortunately for them, Pomarj paid the price in full when the defeated humanoid horde turned to this land, invading it in 513 CY and conquering Highport during the Night of the Bloody Spear [3]. The human dominions were no more, the kurellian church was shattered, the half-elf baron was killed and the Tongue of Kurell became just a coveted prize among chieftains. For decades the sword exchanged hands between humanoids, sometimes possessing its owner and assuring a quick death, in other occasions refusing to reveal itself as an intelligent weapon, just assuming a façade of a powerful sword. Its release from nonhuman grasp only happened in CY 580 when a party of hobgoblins from Bluebottle tribe [4] was viciously murdered by a lone human named Turin Deathstalker, guildmaster of the City of Greyhawk’s Assassins, who journeyed to Pomarj to fulfill his humanoid killing urge he occasionally suffers due to his tormented past with humanoids [5]. The Tongue of Kurell exulted to be “avenged” by this mysterious killer and revealed itself, hoping to leave the Pomarj.


    Although Turin indeed brought the sword back home, it soon became clear to him that its quirks were as troublesome as the usefulness of its powers. The Tongue of Kurell shared many traits of that oeridian faith: self-centered demands, enviousness for the rich, and a greedy desire for wealth and power. Plus, the blades still had some prejudice against dwarves, blaming them for letting an entire horde escape and invade the land that once revolted against their “tyrannical rule”, probably an act of revenge for their loss. The guildmaster would have none of this, but he decided to discard the blade when the Tongue of Kurell humiliated in a social gathering Glodreddi Bakkanin, the city’s inspector of taxes, in very colorful phrases (an event remembered by both thieves and assassins guildsmen as one of the few occasions the current guildmaster of assassins and dwarven racist, Vesper Lafanel, laughed softly and publicly). In order to punish the weapon, make some money and offer an appeasement for the furious dwarf, Turin Deathstalker sold the sword to the Merchant Guildmaster, the half-elf Ren’o’the Star [6], who gladly paid a reasonable fee for such a powerful item.

    While the Tongue of Kurell was initially happy to be wielded by another half-elf, especially one who adorned its body with gems and metal filigree, its enjoyment soon gave in to displeasure when it realized that not only a wealthy and honest merchant but also one who did not suffered larceny and theft. Worse, it discovered the city’s political convenience between the guild of thieves and merchants, who paid protection and was left mostly alone in their mercantile business while the thieves who managed the city guaranteed its financial health by assuring nobody would steal too much from the merchants. This scheme was insufferable to the Tongue of Kurell and it regularly denounced the connivance of both guilds while Ren walked through the streets of Greyhawk (which was answered by weary condescendence by the half-elf and seen as a delusion or naïve idealism by the others). Without much result and unable to bend the strong willpower of the merchant guildmaster, the Tongue of Kurell decided to bid its time, while feigning a “sword-pecked friendship” toward Ren, as he defined his relationship to the blade.

    It didn’t take long to the sword discover the major weakness for Ren’o’the’Star: gambling at the Wheel of Gold [7] establishment. Though the half-elf was quite wealthy, slowly but assuredly his fortune was growing thin. So the Tongue of Kurell rationalized that if it encouraged this habit, the guildmaster would lose his hard-gained fortune even quicker, forcing him to become indebted and he would either need to sell the sword to someone hopefully easier of control or better yet, be assaulted by the very conniving thieves he dealt with. With the urgings of the Tongue of Kurell, it took three years for the half-elf owe so much gold to the gambling house that the Guild of Assassins was hired to dispatch the irresponsible oligarch. Ren’o’the Star was murdered in 583 CY, being substituted by Cariel Mansharn [8]. The killing was easier than expected due to Ren’s expectation and dependence on warning by his “trusted” blade, which didn’t enact a single sound until the assassin’s blow. With his job done, the assassin was surprised by the soft voice that echoed from the bastard sword, promising the hidden riches of Ren’s manor if he brought it along as well. Though he knew the reputation of the blade, it was a too tempting offer to ignore, and indeed the Tongue of Kurell revealed the location of some jewelry and coins cleverly stashed in the house. However, when the assassin finished collecting these unexpected bonuses, the sword possessed him and told “I will not abide this city anymore, where robbers and cheaters share bread with loan sharks and money-grabbers. You’ll take me to a place more to my liking”. In the same night, the assassin traveled then to Nyr Dyv, where he spent a few days until delivering the Tongue of Kurell to the head of the league of assassins, Felbon [9], who gratefully accepted the weapon as it could be used later against the Alliance [10], the local thieves’ guild which oppresses and dominates the League of Assassin and has a similar outlook (and a deadly feud) with the Greyhawk Guild. It has been eight years the blade is with Felbon and while it relishes the idea of a war against a “tainted” thieves’ guild like the Alliance, it’s patience is running low, so it’s quite possible to the Tongue of Kurell once again find another owner, this time someone willing to commit a truly thieving spree.

    References:
    [1] – Greyhawk Adventures pg. 42
    [2] – Living Greyhawk Gazetteer pg. 88
    [3] - Slavers pg. 89
    [4] – Slavers pg. 82
    [5] – Greyhawk Adventures pgs. 39-40
    [6] - Greyhawk Adventures pg. 40 and City of Greyhawk FFF pg. 35
    [7] – City of Greyhawk FFF pg. 62 and Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins pg. 83
    [8] - Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins pg. 64
    [9] – Slavers pg. 11
    [10] - Slavers pg.9

    "
     
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    Re: The Tongue of Kurell (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Wed, April 06, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Footnotes. You have footnotes. "You're a better man that I, Gunga Din." ;-) This is a very thoughtful piece with great use of material. Nicely done and very clever. I really like this one.



    Re: The Tongue of Kurell (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Wed, April 06, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Footnotes. You have footnotes. "You're a better man than I, Gunga Din." ;-) This is a very thoughtful piece with great use of material. Nicely done and very clever. I really like this one.



    Re: The Tongue of Kurell (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Thu, April 07, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I think this submission would of been more effective if you started with the Weapons history before revealing it's powers. However the story itself was good. Nice submission.



    Re: The Tongue of Kurell (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Fri, April 08, 2005
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    Excellent work wyk! I like the use of Kurell, who is not always a DM's first choice of deity and your tying it into many local GH personalities. Bravo.



    Re: The Tongue of Kurell (Score: 1)
    by cwslyclgh on Fri, April 08, 2005
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    I too realy liked this entry, good job wyk!



    Re: The Tongue of Kurell (Score: 1)
    by Wykthor on Sat, April 09, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Thanks for the compliments, everyone! I had to write this item in a hurry due to my schedule of the RPG book so it still needs some improvement. Also , I have to read all the submissions and vote. Where is Cyndor when you need him ?





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