The Demon Harp (Rune Harp):
Hatred ruled Liassa. She had tried to join the bardic guild but had been told that she simply did not have the skill to ever become a bard. She would show them. Fate must have decided to step in when she found the harp. She was by the side of the road out of the city when she found a skeleton with brambles wrapped around it. In the skeleton's arms was a black harp even though hard to tell in the darkness. The harp was like nothing she had ever seen before. It twisted and gnarled but played flawlessly. The notes came out dark but that fit her mood.
Liassa continued playing the instrument in the gathering gloom of nightfall. She did not know if it was her own inner thoughts or something outside her but a voice told her to play a song which would allow her to get revenge for all the mistreatment which had been heaped upon her. To be honest, she did not care where the voice came from. She wanted revenge. She followed the tune which the voice told her to play. The notes were jarring but somehow she managed to play them.
Her fingers were getting tired but she kept playing until a black glow appeared in front of her. It was a portal and out of the portal stepped a huge bronze skinned demon with bat like wings. It appeared to be surrounded by a red glow and its eyes glowed like burning embers. Her hatred still overwhelmed her fear. After a few moments of listening, the creature asked, "What is your command mistress?"
In a spiteful voice, she stated, "Kill them, kill them all." At the same time she gestured towards the city which the guild had its hall. The lights from the town could be seen. She added a few moments, "Kill the bardic guild, I want no one left alive."
With that, the creature bowed to her and responded, "You wish is my command." The creature flew into the darkness on its errand. With the creature flying off, she muted the strings of the instrument and just continued thinking her dark thoughts.
As she continued sitting them, still clutching the harp, suddenly a great glow erupted where the guild hall was. A towering inferno many stories high. It was then and only then that she realized what she had done. Her hatred and anger evaporated in seconds when she realized that she had murdered all of the teachers and students who called the hall home. Some of the students were her friends.
Liassa threw down the harp and went to hands and knees crying. She was not truly evil and she had just let hatred get the better of her. That was how the demon found her.
Best known are rune weapons but there are other rune items. Of these, rune books are the most famous but there are also a small number of rune magic fueled musical instruments. The instruments each have independent personalities and share many abilities with rune weapons and rune books. Most appear to be harps although there are other type of instruments. There are four harps enchanted with rune magic which are known collectively as the "Elemental Sisters." The Demon Harp is different.
The Demon Harp is made from some sort of black material, perhaps metal and perhaps no. The harp is twisted as if in agony itself. The strings, which are black as well, never need any kind of tuning. The harp itself is indestructible and stories tell of several times which individuals have tried to destroy the harp. When played, the music which comes from the harp is spooky and dark. Even if someone tries to play something light on the harp, it comes out dark somehow.
While the Demon Harp has several clerical abilities, this twisted instruments chief power is the ability to summon demons. One per day, the harp can be used to summon a lesser demon. Once a week, the harp can be played and the tune will summon a greater demon. Favorites among lesser demons are Nightmares but have liked to summon the Succubus and Incubus. Some have taken these creatures as lovers and have found out just how treacherous this can be. Of greater demons, the Balrog are the most common although Jinn are sometimes summoned as well. The Raksasha are very rarely summoned because they often have their own agendas which don't agree with the harp's goals. As well, many of the other greater elemental much as Demon Maggots are not all that intelligent and are little more than weapon which you point. As such, they are only summoned when simple wanton destruction is needed without any thought behind the destruction.
The harp must be played in order from the demon to be summoned and it takes about ten minutes of playing the instrument to summon a lesser demon and thirty minutes to summon a greater demon. The harp itself will tell the player the tune to summon the demon. A similar tune will allow the demon to be banished back to its realm. It only works on the demon which the player summoned. Of course how honest a musical instrument which summons demons is a good question. There are stories of the tune summoning the wrong creature and the nightmare which resulted. Of course if this is by accident or by the design of the harp is an open question.
Legend says that as long as the person who summoned the demon continues playing it, the demon cannot attack them. Control is similar to the way which a summoner controls the creature they summon. Of course many players of the instrument do not have the control of the master of circles and often demons will get out of their control. The harp cannot exert in its own will but if the task which the demon is summoned for is not one which the harp likes, it can make it harder for control to be established. Again, can one really trust a harp which was created to summon demons itself. As well, demons summoned for purposes which they agree with are less likely to fight the control at least initially. Even if control is established, the demon under control will try to often twist commands given to it. As well, it can continue fighting commands over and over again. Many possessors of this instrument have found themselves under the claws of the demon they summoned.
The Demon Harp is extremely evil. The legend is that the soul trapped inside of the twisted harp is that of a demon itself. The instrument is extremely crafty and is an expert in knowing how to take advantage of a possessor. As such, it can be extremely subtle and in some cases simply appears to be the voice of the person and whispers suggestions that method. On a lonely guy, the harp might suggest that the possessor summons a lover which just happens to be a Succubus. It delights in carnage and destruction. It has a dark sense of humor at times. While a possessor who agrees with the harp's love of carnage might have himself in harmony with the instrument, a person who tries to control the creatures which are summoned and limit their destruction finds the hard fighting them. Often the demons themselves will resist such commands and the fight to keep control of them is even harder than it would be otherwise. Those who are evil, diabolic or miscreant, are the only ones which the instrument will actually bond with. In some ways, the instrument seems to hate Aberrants as much as those who are actually good.
- Rune Instrument is completely indestructible
- Links to wielder (of Diabolic and Miscreant alignment only - Will not bind to those of other alignments) within 6 months of constant contact. Can sense each other presences within 4 miles (5.4 km).
- Gives wielder +1 on all saving throws.
- Can be used by most alignments (Will try to manipulate the possessor though various means) but of Miscreant alignment. See instrument's personality for more details. Cannot stop the player from using the special abilities of the instrument although can also trick the player.
- IQ: 16 Communicates with wielder through limited telepathy
Musical Instrument's Special Abilities:
- Gives base 60% "Play Musical Instrument" skill roll or +10% to those
who have the skill to play a harp. Tunes from Instrument will always come out
dark and haunting.
Those with the skill to play the instrument are considered to play at professional level.
- Healing Touch: Heals 2D6 Hit Points and 2D6 S.D.C. (or 2D6 M.D.C.
in M.D.C. worlds). healing can be performed six times in twenty four hours.
Curse/ Remove Curse: Can add a curse or remove a curse four times in a twenty four hour period . Adding a curse, use the spell minor curse and the target gets a normal saving throw. Use the normal skill of playing the instrument (-20% penalty) as chance of success.
Turn Dead: Can turn 4D6 (4-24) dead 4 times per twenty four hour period (4 hour duration.) Use the normal skill of playing the instrument (normal roll) as chance of success.
Animate/ Command Dead: can animate and control 2D6 (2-12) dead 4 times per twenty four hour period (4 hour duration.) Use the normal skill of playing the instrument (-15% penalty) as chance of success.
- Can summon a lesser demon one per day and a greater demon once per
week. Summoning a lesser demon takes ten minutes and summoning a greater
demon requires thirty minutes. In order for a successful summoning, the
player must roll a successful roll for "play musical instruments." If the
instrument decides to "fight" the player in the attempt of summoning, there
are no +10 bonuses to play and those without the skill to play the instrument
normally simply cannot do it. There is a -20% additional penalty to summon
lesser demons and a -40% to summon greater demons.
There is a 5% chance that the demon summoned will be the wrong one if the instrument is actively assisting the player and a 25% if the instrument is working against the player.
As long as the instrument is being played, the demon summoned (and only that demon) Control is similar to the way which a Summoner establishes control and the demon must roll above the ME of the player of the instrument in order to fight control with the best three out of five rolls. A roll of 20 always beats the control and the creature gets any ME bonuses to its rolls. As well, if the harp is going against the possessor of the instrument trying to control, there is a -8 penalty to get control. Similar fights may be required to continue control of the creature. Otherwise, treat the same way a demon summoned by a summoner is played. See the writeup of the Summoner OCC (Pages 140 to 144 of Palladium Fantasy second Edition) for full details including penalties.
The player can dismiss the creature to their home realm if desired by playing a simple tune as well.
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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2008, Kitsune. All rights reserved.