Grakkr led his gnoll troop into the clearing, laughing along with his warriors. The stinking human woodsman would be trapped against the cliff wall, and Grakkr and his clan would be eating well tonight.
Sure enough, there the fleabag was. His cloak was torn and his leggings were blood-stained, the stump of an arrow shaft still poking out of one thigh. Though breathing hard and obviously in great pain, the man gripped that damnable red sword of his in his hand, glaring at back at his pursuers defiantly.
That sword had already cost Grakkr four tough gnolls. “Arrows!” he hissed at his warrriors. With nowhere to run, the human would soon be a pincushion.
Seeing the hyena-headed troops pulling out their bows, the human straightened up and held the sword in front of him. Grakkr couldn’t help but laugh. What was he going to do? Deflect six arrows all at once?
The bows creaked and the deadly missiles flew toward their target, but at the last moment a glowing red sphere surrounded the man. Its brilliance made Grakkr shield his eyes. When he was able to look again, the man still stood and the glowing orb still pulsed around him. No arrows had struck the man.
“Again!” he ordered. Again the gnolls fired a volley, but the arrows all glanced off crazily into the trees. Grakkr wasn’t laughing any longer.
“Rukkah!” he ordered. The huge warrior gnoll, his best, charged the man within the sphere. As the humanoid reached the sphere, however, he gave a short yelp of pain and crumpled to the ground. Grakkr could see that he was dead. The remaining five warriors took an uncertain step back.
Seeing this, the human lowered his sword. As he did so, the glowing sphere vanished. Grakkr saw his chance and screamed a battle cry, rushing with his axe raised. Deftly, the man stepped up and swung a mighty blow at the charging gnoll, catching Grakkr in the mid-section. The gnoll captain was cloven in two, his upper half falling one way and his lower half the other.
Grakkr’s surviving gnolls didn’t hesitate. They turned and fled. There might not be human flesh to eat tonight, but at least one of them would be the new captain of the clan’s warriors…
This sword appears to be fashioned out of pure ruby. It functions as a magical +1 sword and has the added power of being able to, three times per day, surround the bearer with a sphere of red light similar to the red layer of a prismatic sphere. All missiles, including magic missile spells, are deflected and any creature touching the sphere suffers 12 points of damage (save for half). The sphere is immobile and has a maximum duration of three combat rounds.
Additionally, once per day the wielder may make an attack that will deal triple damage if it hits. This special attack must be declared before rolling to hit and gets the normal +1 bonus. If the attack misses, the special attack is lost for the day.
The ruby sword’s red sphere is negated by cold-based attacks.
I wrote this up with the intention of using it as the goal of a quest, but I never finished preparing the adventure and we never used the ruby sword in play. For two decades it’s been filed in my main folder, so I think it’s time it sees the light of day.
UPDATE: Ah. Reading through this I see I left out one thing and failed to consider another.
- The sphere is immobile.
- The sphere has a duration of three rounds maximum
I will edit these into the description. I also clarified that a triple-damage attack that misses expends the one use per day of the power and that a saving throw negates half of the damage caused by contacting the sphere.