Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Into The Fire Game Session Report One - Eldritch Wizardry & The Sword of Kas

Deep in my heart, as in the hollow stone
And silence of some olden sepulcher,
Thy silver beauty lies, and shall not stir—
Forgotten, incorruptible, alone:
Though altars darken, and a wind be blown
From starless seas on beacon-fires that were—
Within thy tomb, with oils of balm and myrrh,
For ever burn the onyx lamps unknown.
And though the bleak Novembral gardens yield
Rose-dust and ivy-leaf, nor any flower
Be found through vermeil forest or wan field—
Still, still the asphodel and lotos lie
Around thy bed, and hour by silent hour,
Exhale immortal fragrance like a sigh.
Sepulchre  (1918)  by Clark Ashton Smith

If you've been keeping up with my Cha'alt/Godbound Las Vegas campaign then you might have found out that last week that my player's PC's got sucked from the campaign fantasy world into the vast alien desert right in the middle of the Cha'alt rift!

What no one realizes is that since I took a bit of time off I've been rereading my original Dungeons & Dragons collection. One of my favorite OD&D books is Eldritch Wizardry. The Original Dungeons & Dragon's Eldritch Wizardry rule book by Gary Gygax & Brian Blume which hit the book stands in 1976. This book has an amazing array of artifacts  &  these would later be republished in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. 

The player's PC's are about to run smack into a horde of zombies summoned by one of the factional villains of my game. The Sword of Kas has for its host a Godbound of dangerous aspect. The Sword itself has control of its host body. For those of you not familiar with the Sword of Kas here's the updated history of it from the Wiki entry;

"Kas the Bloody-Handed was the most trusted lieutenant of the despotic lich Vecna, and wielder of the Sword of Kas.
After many years of loyal service to Vecna, Kas eventually betrayed his master. It is said that the sword itself whispered to Kas, convincing him to slay his master and usurp his power. The battle destroyed Vecna's Rotting Tower, and cost the lich his left hand and eye. Kas himself was flung across the multiverse to Vecna's Citadel Cavitius on the Quasielemental Plane of Ash. The time he spent so close to the Negative Energy Plane changed him into a vampire, and he decided he would be called "Kas the Destroyer".
The first edition of Dungeon Master's Guide does not specifically state that Kas severed Vecna's hand and eye, only that they, and the Sword of Kas, were the only objects that survived the battle. Vecna: Hand of the Revenant depicts the lich losing his left hand and eye to destructive magic casts by priests of Pholtus (presumably to be restored at a future point in the story). Numerous third edition sources state with certainty that Vecna's hand and eye were severed by Kas's blade. Sources are also not in complete agreement as to when or how Kas became a vampire, as some state he gained his dark gift before his betrayal, while others state that he gained it after.
When Vecna was defeated during his bid for control of Oerth, Kas was freed from his centuries of imprisonment, only to find himself facing a shapeless wall of mist. When it cleared, he was master of the domain of Tovag, across the Burning Peaks from Vecna's domain of Cavitius. Kas waged an endless war of attrition with Vecna's forces in the hopes of retrieving the Sword of Kas from Vecna's citadel, where he erroneously believed Vecna held it.
The Burning Peaks cluster did not appear in the 3rd Edition Ravenloft Campaign Setting, because White Wolf Game Studio did not license characters that are explicitly tied to other D&D campaign settings.
When Vecna escaped from Cavitius, both realms were destroyed (explaining, in-fiction, their absence from 3rd edition). Kas was caught up in the destruction and very nearly obliterated; he survives only as a vestige, a soul outside time and space whose powers can be used by binders.
Kas is known to have authored Legendry of Great Arms and Fabulous Heroes.[83]
In the adventure Die, Vecna, Die!, a death knight calling himself "Kas the Bloody-Handed" serves Vecna in the deity's palace in Ravenloft. This death knight is not the true Kas, though he believes himself to be, and his real name is not given. This false Kas seeks to redeem himself for "his" betrayal of Vecna centuries ago."

The Sword of Kas has its own agenda & has been brought to Vegas because of the blood, violence, bloodshed, slaughter, & mythological divine battles. Let's also not mention the two Greyhawk quesi divinities walking around. Can Vecna or Orcus  be far behind?! There are rumors about the powers of the Sword of Kas & according to the Dungeons & Dragons fan wiki ; "In the World of Greyhawk campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the Sword of Kas was the mighty blade used by Kas the Bloody-Handed, the dreaded lieutenant of Vecna. It was by this blade, some say, that Vecna lost his Hand and Eye.
The sword, variously described as a short swordlongsword, or greatsword, was crafted by Vecna. The blade is said to have been magically honed to a razor's edge, enhanced the wielder's strength, and could be used to call down lightning bolts from any storm clouds that might be overhead. The sword itself is intelligent, possessing a vile and murderous spirit."
The sword has its own agenda & is in possession of a vile & murderous spirit plus its able to shape shift from short sword, to long sword, or great sword. If you've been paying attention then you know that I'm using 
Eldritch Wizardry which means that I can randomly fill in the powers of the Sword of Kas myself. 

The Sword of Kas is more then capable of slaying a godbound or god all on its own. The question is whom has the sword possessed & what evil agenda is the sword following? The Greyhawkery blog goes into a very solidly done & well researched blog entry on the various incarnations of the Sword of Kas. The fact is that I might crack open Vecna Lives by David Zeb Cook after the suggestion of the Greyhawkery blog.

What's so damn important about WGA4 Vecna Lives! a 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons box set from 1991? We have Vecna going from mysterious background lich to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition villain of renowned. The whole plot hinges on events in Greyhawk; "and so, after the Rain of Colorless Fire, the One-Named-In-Whispers ascended to the Spidered Throne. In the third year of his ascendancy, Burgred, King of the Mara, refused the tribute of heads the Whispered One demanded. The One-Named-In-Whispers took only himself and Kas, his evil counselor, and devastated the land of the Mara with his magic. Burgred paid with his own head.
Upon their return, Kas struck against his master, so that he might become the master of the Spidered Throne. In the end, both were slain and good people rejoiced.
It is said that not all of the evil Lich was destroyed. So great was his power that his Hand and Eye have lived on, working evil over the centuries....
For centuries, Vecna - archmage, despotic tyrant, the most fearsome of all liches - has been nothing but a fearful legend to the honest folk of Greyhawk. Once the supreme master of all undead sorcerers, even today his Hand and Eye are objects of immense power.
Now something evil is stirring in the lands around Greyhawk. The Hand and Eye of Vecna have been found - and Vecna wants them back."

The pot is just starting to be stirred now with the players in the cross hairs of the Sword & the undead hordes making their way across the desert. Yes this blog is back but because of work my blog entries are going to be sporadic at best for the next couple of months. 

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