Friday, September 20, 2019

OSR Thoughts & Ideas On The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o From The Book of Artifacts

If there's one metaphor in life its that one mess takes care of another, & I hate getting blindsided by players or dungeon masters at my table. Happens all of the time as my lovely wife is so fond of reminding me of. Such as today when while working on my Tegel Manor campaign. I've been today that there's been the sighting of  The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o. on the plane where the manor has appeared.  
"The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o is a towering automaton of jet black metal, shadowy crystal, and several mysterious fibrous materials. The device stands over nine feet tall, is nearly five feet wide, and some six feet deep. It is rounded and might remind one of a cross between an overly stout (if gigantic) dwarf and a lumbering beetle. The servant has two stocky legs, on which it walks with a curious swaying motion, and a pair of dangling arms.
An internal compartment is configured to seat two man-sized creatures comfortably. Externally, as many as five others might perch safely upon the servant when it is in motion. As might be expected, this dreadful thing is quite heavy, weighing nearly two tons, and is hideously noisy when in operation."

"The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o made its 
appearance in the the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide as well as  he Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Book of Artifacts. Further research on the FATAL & Friends site shows the dangerous nature of this artifact; "The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o’s powers are written with what I think are rules for large-scale battles, so it makes sense that the book suggests that giving this artifact to an antagonist so the players have to raise an army to stop him or her. While the book says the artifact isn’t something that should be left with players for long because of its curse, it also says that adventures can be made for finding out how to use the Mighty Servant’s powers"

The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o has 60 hit points and -6 AC. It can only be struck by +2 weapons or better. Bludgeoning weapons do only 1 point of damage against it, while edged weapons only cause half their normal damage, rounded down. It has 90% Magic Resistance, and is utterly immune to acid, cold, heat, normal fire, vacuum and water. Lightning, electricity and magical fire inflict 20% normal damage, assuming the attack gets through the MR. If damaged, the Mighty Servant regenerates 2 hp/round. Anyone inside the Mighty Servant is fully protected from outside attacks. Given all these defenses, it is possible to destroy the Mighty Servant by reducing its hp to zero.

The interior of the Mighty Servant is akin to a modern cockpit, and anyone trying to use its active powers needs either to consult sages or tomes or experiment through trial and error. At least the DM is told to just abstract this learning process. The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o has a movement of 3, and can only be active for 12 hours at a time. After-which the machine must be inactive for an hour to recharge its energies. The Mighty Servant “strikes as a 10-HD creature” (does that mean it uses the default THAC0? Why not just give the THAC0? Damnit, TSR!). It can attack once a round (or at least that’s my reading) and each blow does 1d6 x 10 points of damage. The Mighty Servant is strong enough to destroy castles. If used as a siege engine, it does the same damage as a screw or ram. If used in a BattleSystem game, its stats are AD d12+d8, AR 4, HD 10, Hits 5, MV 3. For random powers, the Mighty Servant gets 6 Offensive Powers, 6 Major SLP, and 2 Healing Powers that apply to any one creature inside the interior compartment. Using any of these abilities drains one hour of continuous usage.

Major SLP: 24, 7, 50, 46, 65, 99
  • 4-7: Cast animate dead 1/day
  • 24-26: Cast destruction 1/week
  • 44-46: Cast magic jar 1/day
  • 47-50: Cast mindshatter 1/week
  • 96-100: cast wither 1/week

Offensive Powers: 1, 2, 18, 1, 18, 8
  • 1: Cast age creature 1/day
  • 2: Cast Bibgy’s crushing hand 1/day
  • 8: Cast disintigrate 1/week
  • 18: Cast suffocate 1/week

Healing: 20, 19
  • 19: Cause all healing spells applied to the user to be doubly effective
  • 20: Erase scars and other disfigurements caused by battle (at will)

The Mighty Servant’s curse has both a short- and long-term component. First, every time the operator uses a power, he must make a save vs spell or goes into a battle frenzy for 24 hours. “During that time, the artifact is used in a rampage of destruction to any and all within reach.” Considering that the Mighty Servant has to take an hour break every 12 hours, it seems that might be difficult. Second, the character using the Mighty Servant risks Artifact Transformation. “Those affected by this power gradually have their alignment shifted to chaotic neutral”. That-that’s not what Artifact Transformation is used for. 

Besides hitting it a lot, there are two other means of destruction suggested
  • A self-destruct command phrase. This causes an explosion-no specifics beyond “very big”
One of the powers of the Machine of Lum the Mad is to destroy the machine. If Lum knew that such a power existed, he never used it."

The fact is that its an artifact with lots of secrets & intercate histories tied into it. I'd venture to guess that its another example of Darkmoor technology from the fleet that came with the Warden. This time it had fallen on Greyhawk.  Why do I say Greyhawk? Because the 'Mechanism of Lum the Mad' appeared first appeared in Eldritch Wizardry for original Dungeons & Dragons. 

But this gets into a theory I've got about much of the S3 Expediation to the Barrier Peaks By Gary Gygax  technologies, artifacts, etc. are essentially all cursed in one way or another. These battles between kingdoms, warlord activity, battles of the gods, etc. This might help to explain the constant cycle of these artifacts being uncovered & then contiuing the cycle. 

This gets into the heart of the cycle of constant warfare but could there be something in the background feeding upon the violence, degredation, & warfare. Time & again I keep finding myself going back to the Egg of Coot here. The Egg has not only the capacity but the motive to keep this cycle of death & destruction going. All of that power is centered on it as well & given all of these I keep thinking that the Egg is motivated to keep the wheel going gaining power as things continue their cycle. I was reading   'The Return of the Egg' article on The Vaults of Pandius site
by Giuliano Michelon from Threshold Magazine issue 12. Its got me thinking about the Egg's continuing influence on both Greyhawk & my own campaigns. 

In terms of the Godbound rpg 'The Mighty Servant of Leuk-o' would be a prize found someplace on some back end of the Road of Night. This artifact would have fought in many wars perhaps even in the Wars of Hell & the minor Heavens. The mecha could teach priest technologists the hidden means of some of the secrets of making its style of mecha. But would a party of adventurers survive its wrath?! This might be an adventure unto itself down the line. Possibly a raid on a wizard's tower or other ruin where the last party of adventurers tried to find it & met their demise at its claws.

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