by Timothy Toner (22 Sep 92) again. This time, something you can actually give a player, if you really feel like hosing him... The big three, once again, apply (Comments/criticisms/compliments)

Once, long ago, the sword was a sign of strength and skill, for those who strapped it to their side made a claim that they were ready to use it, and proper deference was given to those of great skill, lest his wrath boil forth and strike down the calumner.

Now in this dark, modern age, that has been forgotten. The steel has been reforged into cold, unwieldy, disgraceful items, that take no skill to exercise lethally, and that inspires false confidence in their holders, that a lucky shot will give them an edge.

However, those who hunt in the shadows have not yet forgotten the power and majesty of a sword, even in the face of modern weaponry. Most would say that taking a sword to a gunfight is a foolhardy gesture, but beware: the wielder is merely stating that no matter how lucky the shooter is, he will be sliced to bits in seconds before the superior nature of the swordsman. Thus, it is to these dark ones, that I address this missive, for only these could appreciate such a weapon as I bring unto them.

It is said that of all the swordmakers in the world, the Japanese are the best. This is not so. The katana of Nippon may indeed be the strongest, lightest, and deadliest, but there is an inherent flaw in the thinking of these masters, that makes their weapons pale in comparison to the blades forged in Damascus, oh so long ago.

The weapons were forged, taken out, and while still steaming, shoved through as many slaves as neccessary to take the heat off the sword. I have been told by modern mettalurgists that this process added nitrogen to the metal, thus making them harder. Bah. We must remember that these are the same that build the guns with such reverence. They have no respect for the grace of a sword. Indeed, how many of these benighted fools have actaully _asked_ the weapon why it is so sharp? Their "scientific" theory tells them to go to the source for the solution, so why not ask the sword, as I have? Perhaps they would be too greatly disturbed by what they hear.

As the Toreador with their Auspex know, whatever we touch carried a bit of us away, stored in a spiritual stain. Especially is this true of items a person was touching at the time of "spiritual release." In effect, the Damascans knew of this phenomena, and engendered their swords with certain alloys intended to catch the fleeting spirits of the dead. Modern science scoffs at this assertion, but I must disagree, as do those trapped within the magics of the blade. Their very souls are chained to the sword, to make it strike better, harder, and swifter. They do not curse their fate, since the maigics employd in the forging of these blades twist their souls to take nourishment from violence.

There are many such blades still in existence, and a variety are mouldering in museums, gathering dust, their spirits crying out for a patron to wield the weapon in an orgy of blood. Of one I know for sure: it is locked away in the Art Institute of Chicago, in plain sight.

This was crafted for the loyal servant of a Kindred Brujah. The brujah at times wished to abstain from feeding after sunset, during Ramadan as was the custom of his faith, but this slow, pious starvation would render him into an animal, an even worse abomination in the eyes of his god. Thus, he ordered the craftsmen to make a blade with a core and hilt of rarest hematite, and to sprinkle hematite in the iron. When the blade was forged, magi from miles around, owing favores to the Brujah, cast powerful magicks to strengthen the sword, so that it would never break or lose its edge.

The brujah then wrapped the hilt in goatskin, and presented it to his follower, instructing him to go forth, and draw blood in his name. When the retainer returned, the sword was stained a blood red, despite repeated attempts by the follower to wipe the stain from the blade. The master gripped the hilt, took off the goatskin, and allowed the blood to flow. This practice was continued until the follower met his match at the hands of an Assamite, who took the sword as spoils.

The spirits speak with great relish about the time they spent at the hands of the Assamite, when their gullets were always filled with warm blood. However, this random assassin also fell, this time at the hands of a Crusader, wh put the weapon into his own collection, where it remained unused until this day, passing from collector to collector, until reaching the museum.

I have asked the blade if their forging was unique. They state that, no, the Brujah was working on a set of daggers, which performed a similar function. However, the whereabouts of this item is unknown.

From what I was able to gather, the more one kills (and it must be a death) the better the blade performs. It also has the unique feature of being able to draw blood into itself, and conferring it through the skin of the wielder. If this is so, then the blade is the perfect weapon in the hands of a ghoul cast off without a ready source of blood.

When I am able to locate more information concerning these other weapons, I will pass it on, in this manner.

Your Humble Servant


Game Stats:

Ghulblade is a sword measuring one meter in length, with a .1m hilt. The blade is always polished, leading many metallurgists to wonder whether or not the metal oxidizes at all. Close examination shows the blade is actually porous.

When the blade is wielded "dry" (after it has not fed in quite some time) it performs as a standard sword. However, as time goes by, and more death is wrought by its hand, its performance increases. For every five deaths caused _directly_ by the blade, the difficulty of the weapon decreases by one. For every ten deaths, the damage difficulty decreases by one. For every thirty, the wielder is considered under the influence of celerity 1. However, the blade must be constantly fed, or else bonuses decrease at the rate of 1 per week.

By no means is the sword "intelligent." It will not impel the user to kill, nor can it "speak." It merely subconsciously rewards the user for killing by becoming more and more useful, thus becoming his preferred weapon.

The sword does standard damage, non-aggravated. However, what it does do, upon command (a mental trigger "Draw") is absorb blood from the target to the sword. Instead of a wound level, the attacker may opt to take a blood point instead. _This cannot be soaked!_ The sword can store up to five, before it is sated. Upon another command ("Feed") if the wielder is touching the bare hematite handle, the blood flows into him, through the skin, painlessly.

Nominally, this item is most useful in the hands of a ghoul in search of kindred blood. However, some form of glove or wrap must be worn, as hematite gets slippery when coated in human sweat (diff +2). Kindred, who do not sweat, need not fear this problem. THose who wear a glove are unable to use the blood transfer powers of the sword. Regardless, it effectlively extends a kindred's blood pool by five. The nature of the transfer prevents the stored blood from being used in a blood bond, or to Embrace another person. If it was vitae, it becomes generic vitae, stripped of all attributes, and not subject to Tremere blood magicks.

Realize that all this bears a heavy price. For every person snuffed by the sword, a humanity check must be made, no matter how just the deed. Difficulty is 4 + (Number killed / 10, rounded up). Inevitably, the sword will subconsciously lead the wielder down the path of darkness.

The daggers (12 in all) react similarly, except that only 2 points can be stored.