Lionheart: Part 4 – Secrets

The Lion’s Heart

By Adam “Night Druid” Miller

New Artifacts

Lion’s Heart

The Lion’s Heart is a great multi-faceted gemstone over five feet across. It appears to be made of crimson-hued diamond, but is far harder than any known substance. The overall shape is circular, but it seems to pulse with a life all its own. The Heart emits a low, reddish glow and has a low, deep rhythmic sound resounding from it, as if it were a living, beating heart.

History

For thousands of years, the Elvish Imperial Fleet has protected the space lanes for elvish ships and traders. It has been the heart of elvish civilization in wildspace, the glue that has held elves across a hundred world together. The Lion’s Heart is the heart of the Fleet, the glue that holds hundreds of thousands of elves and thousands of ships together in a single, cohesive Fleet.

The Heart itself was created an eon ago, during the Godswar between the Seldarine and the Anti-Seldarine. Before the battle began, Araushnee (Lolth) enlisted the aide of the noble lion deity Hothagar (the sire of Nobanion, the lion lord of Gulthmere) through use of a magical spider that enwrapped itself about Hothagar’s heart. She had approached the lion on the plains of the Beastlands as a friend, using his friendship with her mate, Corellon, to get close. Hothagar was weary of the goddess, sensing the wickedness that gripped her heart, but his friendship with Corellon overrode his instincts. Araushnee offered the lion a golden brooch, which would enhance the beauty of his magnificent mane. When the dark goddess attached the brooch to the lion’s mane, however, it darkened and became a spider. Before Hothagar could act, it burrowed into his flesh and enwrapped around his noble heart. Thus, the noble lion became a slave of the dark elvish goddess, her pawn in the war to come. Though he fought against it, he was unable to defeat the evil goddess’ will.

When the Battle of the Gods began, Araushnee sent the noble Hothagar to battle at Corellon’s side. When the time was right, he would strike the elven god down and devour his body. Indeed, Hothagar fought with honor during the battle, slaying a kobold deity and destroying an immortal ogre. Yet, at the height of the battle, Araushnee’s signal came. Unable to resist, he leaped at the back of the elvish deity. Knowing his fate, Hothagar stayed his claw, merely hitting the deity with his club-like paws. In surprise, Corellon struck the lion a mortal blow with his blade before he knew his attacker. Swept away by the battle, it would only be later, after the battle had ended, that he learned who had attacked him. In grief, he knelt by his dying friend, who weakly apologized for his treachery. Corellon comforted his friend, but the noble lion made one final sacrifice. He offered his noble heart to Corellon to use in protecting his children, the elves, throughout the multiverse. Corellon complied, and took the still living heart from Hothagar’s lifeless body, removed Araushnee’s vile spider, and empowered it with the magic and power of Arvandor.

The Heart would become known to elves roughly twenty thousand years ago, when Araushnee’s influences began to corrupt the elves and turn them to drow. By this time, she was known as Lolth, and she sought to destroy everything that the Seldarine had built, including the elves. Wars were brewing on dozens of worlds, and it was becoming apparent that the elves would need to unite if they were to survive. To accomplish this, Corellon choose a brilliant elf, a spacefairer, who Corellon destined to unify the elvish spelljammers to fight against Lolth’s minions. To this destined leader, Corellon gave the Lion’s Heart, they symbol of his Mandate of Arvandor. For the next ten thousand years, a succession of leaders, all given the Lion’s Heart and the Mandate of Arvandor, and they diligently fought against the dark influences of the evil elves in a hundred spheres. Finally, after one hundred centuries of war, the fires of war died down, and peace finally settled across Known Space. While the wars had caused untold death and destruction to hundreds of elvish nations, it was the crucible that forged the Elvish Fleet. During the whole war, the Heart was always at the command of Corellon’s chosen champion. Even when the Fleet’s headquarters, Lionheart, was lost to traitors, the Heart returned to Corellon’s side so that he may choose a new champion.

Since the time of the drow wars, the Heart has been the symbol of the authority of the Grand Admiral. It is the Mandate that gives one individual the right to rule over the vast fleets of elvish ships and to dictate policies that protect elves from the many enemies of their race. Whenever it seems that the Heart is lost, it returns to the Fleet with a new chosen champion.

Campaign Use

The Heart is currently found in the bowels of Lionheart, protected by the will of the Grand Admiral. She has not displayed the Heart in years, but it remains at her call. She brings it out for special occasions, summoning by silent will. It is cared for by three balenorn that reside in the crypts at the center of Lionheart, who know its full history and pay it great honor. Unless a character is destined to become Corellon’s champion and the next Grand Admiral, it is unlikely they will encounter the Heart. In any case, the Heart is a very power artifact to introduce in any campaign.

Powers

Constant

The Heart is imbued with the power of Arvandor, and as such projects an aura of elvish magic around it. This aura of power enables elves to use High Magic at will, without the normal penalties of casting such magic. This power allows elves to use High Magic even in spheres where such magic is normally prohibited, at least in the area of one mile around the artifact.

Invoked

The heart can be used by the Grand Admiral to cast any High Magic spell at will. It also makes the casting of High Magic rituals easier. It provides Corellon’s champion will protect the Grand Admiral if attacked, enshrouding him or her with magical protection that grants an AC -8 (not augmented by magical armor, other protective magics, or high dexterity) and 50% magic resistance. Further, spells that are blocked by the magic resistance are actually absorbed and become available to the Grand Admiral for use against his or her foes!

Finally, when the Grand Admiral dies or retires, the Heart returns to Arvandor and Corellon’s throne, where it remains for seven days during which he chooses a new champion. Sometimes, this champion will be the chosen successor of the old Grand Admiral, but at others it is someone completely different.

Curse

When Hothagar died, part of his spirit entered the Heart. As a result, the Heart became sentient and will only serve a noble heart. It helps in the choosing process by informing Corellon if the candidate’s heart is noble or not. If a Grand Admiral becomes hopelessly corrupt, the Heart vanishes and the Mandate of Arvandor is revoked.

Suggested Means of Destruction

  • The fire of the Heart dies when the last elf in the Known Spheres dies.
  • The Heart cracks and is destroyed if Corellon is ever corrupted to evil.
  • The Heart looses all of its power if Arvandor is destroyed.

Staff of Celestian

A long staff of smoky black crystal, the Staff of Celestian is capped by a smooth, circular crystal that is constantly changing colors. The bottom of the staff is tapered and ends in a butt of mithral. Tiny motes of lights glow within the staff, constantly shifting and changing position, size, and color. It is trimmed with gold and platinum.

History

The Staff was carried by Celestian centuries ago when he departed Oerth to travel among the stars. The Staff was his guide in those early days, lighting his way and serving as the journal of his travels. Many wonderful tales and illusions that describe a countless number of spheres. The staff has also been taken by Celestian into the Astral plane, the inner planes, and even the outer planes.

Sometime during Celestian’s travels, he encountered a maiden of cosmic beauty. She was a being of incredible beauty and unimagined glory. A deity in her own right, she was of similar mindset to Celestian, but had many suitors, including many other, more powerful deities. In an effort to win her heart, he gave her the Staff as a symbol of his affection. What happened next is not talked about, but it slipped from her grasp and fell, unnoticed, into the Void.

The Staff resurfaced about a thousand years ago in the inventory of a dwarvish merchant. How he came into possession of the artifact is unknown, but he sold it to the Ogres of Red Eyes, who used it in a war against a rival nation of goblins. They used the Staff as an artifurnace to move their flagship, an ogre mammoth 1000 tons in size. The ogres were successful in their war against the goblins, but during the siege of the main goblin base, a team of elvish pirates managed to seal the artifact and spirit it away. Without the Staff to power the ogre mammoth, it crashed into the base, destroying both in a fiery explosion.

The elves did not long enjoy their booty, as they had a run-in with an Imperial Man-O-War. The pirates were slain or captured, and the Staff fell into the hands of the Fleet. They spent several years learning the full history and powers of the artifact, but when their research was complete, it was handed over to the Grand Admiral as a gift, and to serve as another symbol of the position of Grand Admiral.

The Staff saw service during the First Unhuman War, when the Grand Admiral used it to open portals to the Astral Plane to quickly move fleets across all of Known Space. It also was used to power the Lion’s Pride, an overgrown elvish Armada roughly 600’ long that was the Grand Admiral’s mobile base of operations during the war. It was used to escape the destruction of Phoenix Space when that system went nova during the Marauder Crisis, saving the lives of thousands of elves. It remained in the possession of the Grand Admiral throughout the remainder of the war and remains a symbol of the Grand Admiral’s position and office.

Campain Use

The Staff is in possession of the Grand Admiral, and the characters are unlikely to encounter it unless they meet that individual. It will probably be nothing more than dressing for the Grand Admiral’s office, but if battle breaks out between a fleet and Lionheart, they are likely to witness its effects. It proves power for Lionheart to act as a spelljammer and a mammoth of a battleship

Powers

Invoked

The Staff served as Celestian’s journal during much of his travels, and as such, has an almost infinite amount of information stored within it. It has the ability to project illusions of thousands of worlds, planes, and other wonders of the multiverse. Most of the illusions will be undoubtedly unknown to the user, and can be as wondrous or terrifying as the DM’s imagination dictates.

The most powerful function of the Staff is to act as an artifurnace, giving spelljamming power to objects smaller than small moons. The Staff can move any object up to a mile across with a ship’s rating of 5. However, it cannot provide spelljamming speeds to any objects over 1000 tons in size. The object powered by the Staff will never have a maneuver class of less than E.

Finally, the Staff can open a portal to the Astral Plane. This portal can be as large as the user dictates, with a practical maximum size of 1000’ in diameter. The Staff will provide the user protection from the ill effects of that plane, but not to anyone else. Those that join the user in the Astral Plane are on their own in terms of survival. This power cannot be accessed from the Phlogiston.

Curse

When a person first grips the Staff, he must first make a save vs. spell with a -4 penalty. If this save fails, the user is overwhelmed by the alien knowledge contained within the Staff and is driven insane. Only a full wish, properly worded, will restore the user to sanity. Whenever knowledge is extracted from the Staff, there is always a 10% non-cumulative chance that the images it projects will cause another save vs. spell with a -4 penalty for insanity.

Suggested Means of Destruction

  • The Staff will break if Celestian and his brother, Fharlanghn ever come to blows.
  • The Staff can be broken under the heel of a Star beast.
  • If every star in Greyspace is extinguished, the Staff losses all of its power.

Other Considerations

Other Lionheart-Type Stations

The greatest secret that the Elvish Fleet has is that Lionheart is not unique. In fact, they have another station of similar size and magical nature, Falconheart, and are in the process of constructing yet a third station. Both of the alternate stations fulfill different roles than Lionheart, however. Falconheart is the new Elvish Academy, where young recruits are sent for training. It has extensive facilities that include dozens of classrooms, gyms, obstacle courses, and the like. While only two centuries old, it is rapidly gaining a reputation as having the best teachers and tutors the elves have to offer. Most of the younger high ranking officers gain their training at Falconheart.

The other base, currently under construction, is to be the Fleet’s main shipyard. When completed, the elves expect to be able to construct several ships at a time there, in utter secrecy. The elves are still gathering the resources for it, but they do have plans for it complete and expect to have it up and running in less than a year. It remains unnamed.

Lionheart: the Battleship

The Staff of Celestan is a powerful magical artifact. In addition to its numerous powers involving planar travel, the Staff can also act as a helm. It is powerful enough to move Lionheart as a great spelljammer, but only at tactical speeds. The Staff cannot move Lionheart at spelljamming speed. When moving at tactical, Lionheart has a Ship’s Rating of 5 and has a Maneuver Rating of F. While the Grand Admiral could conceivably move the station about in this fashion, she will only use this power when the station is under attack. Combined with attacks from her defensive fleet, Lionheart is a deadly opponent in battle.

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