Friday, 24 February 2012

Redwald Magic Items: Trueshot and The Coat of Leaves

Part 1: Sóþscot

Many years ago in the time when the barren treeless land the ‘ploughers’ call Eastlund Seax was still thick with forest there lived a beautiful Ælfcynn maiden named Wíðie for her spirit tree the Willow. Sweeter than the dappled sunlight through the forest leaves is how the hunters spoke of her, and fierce fought the spears of the Woodguard to win her heart, but all these she spurned. Her heart belonged to a young Spellsinger, an untried sapling of a youth by the name of Ábies.

Of all the peoples none are more skilled with the bow than the Ælfcynn, and of all the tribes no one was more skilled than Wíðie’s father Ácléaf. He did not care for Ábies or spellsingers and their magic. He set his heart on marrying his daughter to a great hunter. Wíðie was distraught, but no matter how much she pleaded he would not bend or sway.

Determined that they would be married Ábies challenged Wíðie’s father to an archery competition. If he won Ácléaf must agree to their marriage. If he lost Ábies would leave the forest forever. Ácléaf laughed at Ábies’s folly and agreed on condition he choose their target. Ábies agreed and like all such things they determined it would be settled when next the moon waxed full.

Wíðie was heartbroken, Ábies had never used a bow and only had until the next full moon to learn. Her father was gifted his first bow as soon as he could walk and was famed throughout the forest as the greatest of the Elfin shooters.

Ábies was not heartbroken, for he was cunning, brave, and willing to do anything, to give anything, to be with Wíðie.
He travelled deep into the forest where the Bréostsefa - the great moss-covered stone altar used in all the Ælfcynn holy rites - was guarded by the fiercest spearmen of each tribe.

With honeyed tongue and sweet song he beguiled them so that they argued amongst themselves over who was the greatest spear. While they bickered he lifted moss from the Bréostsefa, chipped away a needle sharp shard of flint, and hid his theft with the moss. He had his arrowhead.

As he made the his way home, he studied the birds of the wood and Ábies saw that off all the forest birds, non sang as sweet or flew as fast, or could turn so quick on the wing, as the crow. Singing almost as sweetly himself Ábies charmed a crow from the branches of the trees, watching with delight as the agile bird twisted, turned, rolled, and cavorted in the air before, gracefully, it landed on Ábies’s wrist. While the bird was thus charmed he plucked out five fine feathers from its wings.

The crow squawked in anger and flew away, but its flight was no longer filled with grace and wonder, it song no longer sweet, and to this day all crows croak and caw in anger flying everywhere plain and straight. Ábies did not care he had his flight feathers.

Finally, returning home to his spirit tree, Ábies broke the greatest of his people’s taboos, made the greatest sacrifice. From his own Spirit tree he cut a branch, cut his own self, his own sprit. He had his arrow.

With strands of Wíðie’s raven black hair, and a song of their love, he bound together wood, feather, and stone to make his arrow which he named Sóþscot. 

This arrow would never miss, no matter the target; even if it were hidden, ran swiftly, protected by magic, or armour. Sóþscot could twist in midair, fly around corners, through the narrowest gap, and strike any target true.

Sóþscot: Sóþscot, Trueshot, looks to be a very poorly crafted arrow with a thin shard of flint for an arrowhead, a crooked greenwood shaft and for flights it has large uncut crow feathers secured only by a few strands of black hair. Despite its shoddy appearance it flies true and will hit any target the archer can see or has seen before. No matter how far away, how well protected, and even if the archer does not have a direct line of sight to his target. This arrow will always find its mark. It does normal damage for the bow type used.

Current Location/Owner: Legend has it that the Sóþscot was last loosed at one of Redwald’s Dragons, but did not slay the beast. The dragon flew away with the arrow still in its hide.

When the moon was full the tribe gathered ready to witness Ábies’s humiliation . . .

5 comments:

  1. Excellent, one of the best magic item write-ups I've ever read. Weaving folktales into Redwald is a sound idea.

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    1. Cheers, Sean. Good to see you again. You're a bit like the guerilla of the OSR. You appear out of nowhere post some smashing blogs, then disappear again. Hope you're sticking around on the old blogoshpere, be cool if you were blogging again too. I was really into your 70's uk dungeon stuff.

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  2. Great!! Are you going to publish complete version of Redwald? I love your game :).

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    1. Cheers, MP. If you ferret about on this blog there's some links to the playtest version and bestiary. I'm still plugging away at a full version. Don't know about publication. I've approach two publishers. ONe wanted to change it to something more historical, the other hasn't got back to me, so I'll prolly but out a cheap, or free, Ashcan edition at some point. Just don't hold your breath. It's taking me a long time to get finished.

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  3. I do have playtest version, wish you luck with the other publisher:).

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