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Black Blades of Wendar (the making)by John Hare
Here is a possibility of the history of the Black Blades. Comments are welcome. Note there is no price listed for these weapons, roughly take a magical weapon of equivalent value and triple the cost sounds about right. The Order of the Black Blade owns several of the lesser blades and a few of the wealthier commanders own greater blades.
The maker of the Black Blades is Galinith BlackOak, an elf lvl 15 (wizard). Born in the year 293 AC in a small northern settlement in Wendar. He was apprenticed as a wood carver and did quite well. He served a couple of stints in the rotating guard forces of his settlement. Around 500 AC he had established his own household and was becoming quite well known for his work. However in 563 AC the invasion by Nebunar arrived and devastated his home, killing his wife and their child. In grief and rage he set out on a mission to remove the threat of invasion by killing the invaders. He managed to kill quite a few of the invaders who settled in Denagoth, but after 50 years his luck ran out. He was badly wounded and barely made it back. The leg didn't heal properly but the desire for revenge was still there. He returned to his carving and made arrow shafts on the side. Slowly he found himself immersed into his carving and his pain eased. He had however carved several hundred unused arrow shafts, primarily because of the lack of metals for arrowheads. Considering this, he began experimenting with different woods and designs to see if a decent arrowhead could be made from wood. Along the way of his wood testing he used some wood protected by a group of druids. They had a few woods with him about cutting down rare trees and only using a part of it. In the discussion the druids showed him their solution for using wood, the spell oaksteel. Astonished by this revelation he began his own research, after agreeing to limit his use of the protected trees to supervised collection of dead branches. Eventually finding success he carved complete arrows and applied the spell to the entire arrow. Hunters and the guard both bought these.
It was shortly after this (circa 600 AC) that Galinith took on a couple of apprentices and turned his attention to carving swords. It took him several years to perfect his craft as carving swords needed different skills. He found that he preferred to carve from black oak and was soon referred to by that name by the shorter lived humans. He eventually planted himself an orchard of black oak so that he wouldn't have to wander far to find wood.
He eventually decided to stain his black oak swords with a stain of his own concoction. Primarily as a quick reference to blades that he had made. A discovery happened when a black sword was accidentally dropped into a fire. It burnt slightly but no where near what an unstained blade did. It was then that Galinith tampered with the properties of the stain. Apparently satisfied he returned to carving a couple of black swords but wouldn't tell anyone what he used in his stain. Currently his two apprentices are learning to carve swords, but are stained green to show that these blades aren't up to Galinith's expectations. There are several other blade carvers in Wendar, who have established their own blades and particular stains. However it is known that these other blades don't have the resistance to fire that the Black Blades are famous for.
Galinith can make a black blade in one month, and normally takes the next month off to work on other projects. Occasionally if the coin is right and he likes the supplicant (normally an elf) he'll agree to create a Greater Blade, which takes about 6 months of work.
The Lesser Black Blades
These weapons are at least +1 in value and sometimes +2. They also have the ability to cast Silence (2nd level elf spell from Gaz 5) on the user 3/day. Note these weapons do not glow, and do not radiate magic. They also resist fire at +2. It is believed the combination of superb craftsmanship and the stain bring out these properties. They are also treated with the Oaksteel spell (as presented earlier by Bruce Heard). These weapons however cannot be further enchanted or treated with weapon enhancing spells such as striking.
The Greater Black Blades
These weapons range in +3 to +5 depending on the coin offered and how well Galinith likes them (if he doesn't he won't make them a blade). They are created specifically for a given individual for an exact fit. The subject must be present during the carving and must sleep with the prospective blade. Galinith is forging a bond between the subject and the blade. They resist fire at +5. They also act as cloak and boots of elvenkind when held by the hilt by the bonded subject. The bond allows the subject to feel distance and direction of his blade if separated. The bonded person will prefer using it over all others.
The hilt of these weapons also incorporates an animal/monster head of some kind, which denotes a special ability that the sword contains and may be used once per day. All effects are at 15th level of ability.
Eagle: fly spell
Dragon: fear (as per wand)
Horse: longstride (elf spell, Gaz 5)
Dog: charm monster (i.e. loyalty)
Fish: water breathing
Snake: protection from poison
Note: A person other than the one whom is bonded to it treats it as a lesser blade. Also these weapons still require to be sharpened.
Warning: Buyer beware should a Greater Black Blade be destroyed the bonded individual loses 3-5 points from each attribute (depending on the plus of the weapon). These attributes are recovered at the rate of 1 per month after the destruction of the blade.