Greater Sun Rod of Ustalav

Unlike their namesake, which are much weaker and serves only to act as a source of light, a Greater Sun Rod of Ustalav is a formidable weapon that traces its origin back to the darkest days of the war to dispose the Whispering Tyrant.

Only five Rods were manufactured and of these, only one was ever used in combat. A Greater Sun Rod is three feet long, 6 inches wide and made of a black metal, which is not only extremely light but does not rust. There are no markings on the Rods, expect for a small arrow painted on in red at one end and a short description beneath, reading “point away from hands, face and small fluffy animals.” At one end of the Rod, a small cover secures the lightning ball inside. The cover is secured by a small bolt.

Firing the weapon involves pointing the indicated end at the target (or its vague location) and pulling the bolt down quickly, releasing the projectile. No incantations are required to use the Rod but those trained in its use would often shout “das Loch hat es in Brand!” which translated roughly means “the hole has fire in it”.

Because the Rods were prototypes and wholly dependant on the quality of the projectile, the effectiveness of each Rod varied wildly. Some were merely gave those caught in the blast a minor case of sunburn while others may have been capable of searing flesh from bone.

After the war, there was some discussion what do to with the remaining Greater Sun Rods. Fearful of a new arms race, the victors decided to destroy them, lest they fell into the wrong hands. The location chosen for the small band of soldiers to dispose of the Rods remains a carefully-guarded secret but rumours persist that in fact the Rods were not destroyed, instead being hidden away to be used in Ustalav’s darkest hour and even then only by trained personnel.

After all, who would be so stupid as to use an item without training…?

Rules: A Sun Rod weighs 1lb each and counts as a ranged weapon. Both hands must be used to hold the weapon while firing and it requires one full turn to prepare. Anyone attacked while using a Sun Rod loses any bonuses their Dexterity or shield may offer.

Once activated, a ball of brilliant light travels out from the tip at many thousands of feet per second in a straight line. If the attack roll fails, the ball of light continues in a straight line until either it hits something (like a wall) or it reaches the extent of its range – in which case, it plummets to the ground and explodes.

The maximum range of a Rod is 400ft and once the target is reached, a sphere 80ft wide deals 6d6 damage to all creatures inside, except for undead creatures which receive an additional d6 damage.

However, because the projectile is pure light, damage can be avoided by hiding behind a solid object or being completely enclosed in armour. Any creature wearing armour that fully covers their body (allowing no light in) or is behind any sizable cover at least 1 foot thick (such as a stone wall) may make a Reflex save. Success means that creature only takes half damage. Additionally, those caught within the blast suffers 1d8 turns of blindness and receive -8 to all sight-based rolls.

Each Sun Rod contains only one shot and while they would be no-doubt extremely valuable, only a merchant truly knowledgeable about either the War or military history would have any idea what the objects were.

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