Postfest IV: The Bloodshield of Hextor
Date: Mon, April 04, 2005
Topic: Arcana of Oerth

An object of unspeakable horror and power, made from the heart's blood of Hextor's vanquished foes, it is the unholy Bloodshield of Hextor. Read the vile detail of the origin and malefic powers of one of the most infamous artifacts of the former Great Kingdom.

The Bloodshield of Hextor
By: bdpenney
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

The Bloodshield of Hextor [Major Artifact]

Warning - Vile Content

The Bloodshield is a vile artifact created by Hextor during the Age of Great Sorrow. During this time evil began to openly stalk the lands of the Great Kingdom and strife flourished in all corners of the world. The Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom, splintered by the betrayal of Lord Kargoth, fought amongst themselves as old grudges and philosophical differences shattered the common purpose that had united their ranks for centuries. The conflict boiled into open warfare between the followers of Heironeous and Hextor, with neither side willing to see any kind middle ground during the troubled age.

This warfare culminated in a great battle that would decide the dominance of one side or the other within Aerdy for years to come. During this battle the shifting battlefront found the Vanguard of Heironeous; his six greatest paladins, cut off from their fellows and entirely surrounded by the followers of Hextor. The paladins were strong in their belief in honorable combat and managed to hold off their attackers while striking grievous wounds into Hextor’s followers. Time wore on and the bodies piled up around the Vanguard. The forces of Hextor were beginning to lose the day as their repeated attacks failed to bring down these paragons of good, thus demoralizing the followers of Hextor and emboldening those of Heironeous.

Sensing defeat, yet still fanatically loyal to his god, the Patriarch-General of Hextor’s forces called out to Hextor and offered himself body and soul to give him the strength to defeat the mighty paladins and to turn the tide of battle. Hextor granted his plea and accepted his priest’s sacrifice, consuming his worshiper from the inside out, possessing him and transforming him over a long and agonizing minute into a mighty avatar.

Howling a challenge, the avatar fell upon the paladins, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder in defiance of the dread presence. They did not stand long. In a whirlwind of death and blood the avatar of Hextor mercilessly cut down the defiant paladins in the most painful and brutal way possible. The forces of Heironeous, forced to watch the spectacle at a distance, felt their morale break as their champions fell one by one. They broke in a rout and were slaughtered by Hextor’s forces, driven into a bloodlust by their lord’s presence. At the end of the day, a lake of blood had been spilled and Hextor’s forces stood triumphant upon a field of carnage.

Hextor’s avatar, as a final act of violation against his fallen enemies, exerted his dread will to draw forth all the blood spilled upon the land by the slain Vanguard of Heironeous and condensed it into a single mass. Taking this mass he shaped it with his hands into the form of a shield, and placed upon it his symbol. With a carnal howl of victory, the avatar disappeared from the battlefield, leaving the Bloodshield in his wake. From that point forward the Bloodshield of Hextor has been a symbol of tyranny and triumph for the priesthood and a potent force for evil that continues to trouble an already unhappy world. From that point on, the priesthood of Heironeous never regained its standing with the dying lands of the Great Kingdom.

Appearance: This item is a rough, vaguely round large shield made of coagulated and blackened blood. The entire surface is rough and uneven. The shield’s face is decorated with a holy symbol of Hextor, six red arrows clutched by a black iron gauntlet. The shield’s interior handhold is made of cold iron and the leather arm straps are made of treated human flesh, now black with age. The shield continually gives off the wet iron smell of fresh blood. For game purposes, the Bloodshield of Hextor is treated as a large steel shield.

- Enhancement Bonus: +6
- Additional Magical Powers: The Bloodshield grants many dread powers and abilities upon its wielder. Some are constant, some require the spilling of blood, and some come from specific circumstances.
- Heavy Fortification: wielder is immune to Critical Hits and Sneak Attacks.
- Darksoul Protection: wielder takes only half damage from spells or effects that cause greater damage to evil creatures, such as a holy smite spell, the smite ability of a paladin, or the extra damage dealt by a holy weapon.
- Energy Resistance: 15 vs. acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic attacks.
- Blood Revel: If a sentient creature of good alignment is slain and its blood spilled over the Bloodshield (which is gradually absorbed, giving it a sickly sheen dotted with clotting blood), the wielder gains immunity to fear and a +4 profane bonus to Strength, Constitution, Armor Class, and to all saving throws for the next 8 hours.
- Slaying Arrows: Six times per day as a free action, one of the six arrows upon the shield’s face can be commanded to fly forth and attack a target designated by the shield’s owner. The arrows have a range increment of 100 ft. and use the wielder’s ranged attack bonus to hit. The arrow is treated as a +5 slaying arrow designated to destroy a foe type of the wielder’s choice. After an arrow is used (whether it hits or misses) it fades from existence. Used arrows are replaced at midnight the day after they are used.

Other Powers:

< I>The Bloodshield is a vile item that also serves as a magical catalyst that allows its wielder to interact with other evil magical items (such as the Screaming Column) and even to serve as a conduit for Hextor’s unholy power (such as when an Animus is created). The abilities available to the shield’s wielder are left to the DM’s discretion, giving flexibility and power to Hextor’s faithful to accomplish malevolent tasks within the structure of a campaign. Examples of these abilities include:

- The Bloodshield can spontaneously create a Blood Golem from the corpses of the slain. Doing this requires ten fresh corpses of sentient creatures and the expenditure of 1,000 experience points by the wielder. This power can be used once per month and takes a full-round action to complete.

- Channeling negative energy through the shield to activate the vile powers of the Screaming Column. Doing this requires the expenditure of four rebuke undead attempts with a single roll against a DC 20 required for success. This power can be used seven times each day and takes a full round action to complete.

- Channeling Hextor’s power to aid in creating an animus. Doing this requires the massive channeling of negative energy (expending six daily rebuke undead attempts) and the expenditure of two 9th-level spell slots. Hextor takes this energy and channels it directly through the priest, adding the divine catalyst to the arcane power and sacrificed souls used in creating an animus. The priest performing this is exhausted at the conclusion of the animus revivification process. This horrible power can be used once each month.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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