The Dragonlance Nexus

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Quivalen's Harp

AD&D (1e/2e) Rules

by Matt

This golden harp originally belonged to Quivalen Sath, renowned elven bard and poet. Many rumors circulate about the harp, but these should not be taken with any more than a grain of salt. The true nature of the harp is known only to a select few who have immersed themselves in the study of this mystical artifact.

The Harp was given to Sath by the Speaker of the Stars, and unfortunately the Harp's original creator is unknown. However, since this person had the resources of Silvanesti's royal house behind him, he was able to forge a powerful artifact.

Sath carried the instrument wherever he went, which consequently, was most everywhere. He was warmly recieved at courts around Ansalon, never remaining in one place for an extended period of time. When the Harp was played, it seemed the room quieted instantly, and remained in that state while the song continued.

Whatever Quivalen Sath desired, he recieved, provided he requested it shortly after he was finished playing his instrument. Strangely, though, the audience could not remember the song, only the haunting beauty of it's melody.

On his dying day, Sath composed a final song rumored to contain the secrets of the Harp. The elf passed away later that night, a ghostly requiem echoing throughout his home in Northern Silvanesti. His manservant, a wilder elf, found his master the next morning in a permenant slumber, quill in hand, his final masterpiece complete. On another sheaf of papyrus, were inscribed the Bard's dying words.

This Harp of gold, of power untold,
Enchantments secret to all, but the learnèd.
It's strings shall remain silent in deed,
Lest the Keeper be noble, pure and true.
Until such time as the he sees true beauty,
And with quiet grace, sings a song of melancholy.

The finest poets attempted to play the harp, but to no avail. After many years, the memory of the Harp faded, and it passed into the river of time, forgotten, until the day it was discovered by Alim Fisard, a furrier in Balifor during one of his expiditions into the forests surrounding Silvanesti. Sensing something strange, Alim took The Harp to a local temple, where it mysteriously disappeared that same night. No trace of the harp has been found since.

When found, Quivalen's Harp will appear to be an old instrument of little value, but a character who is proficient in Dancing, Singing, or with a Musical Instrument (and passes a proficiency check, made secretly by the DM) will recognize the harp to be more valuable for some reason or other. A bard of less than 5th level is granted a +3 bonus to this initial check, and for bards of 6th level and higher, detection is automatic. If the character carries the Harp on him for one consecutive week, the wards of the Harp will begin to protect the new bearer.

The Harp grants a +2 bonus to any saving throw required by a magical attack of the Enchantment/Charm sort. Quivalen's Harp also grants the bearer immunity to the following spells: Cause fear, Charm person, Command, Friends, Hypnotism, Forget and Hold person. In addition, when the Harp is played, the harpist can automatically shift other creatures' reactions one category. Creatures hearing the music of the Harp (including the harpist's companions) must roll a saving throw vs. spell or be entranced by the music for one round longer than the Harp is played or 1d6+4 rounds.

What the musician can do after he finishes playing is dependent on how long he or she played. After 1 round of playing, he is allowed to make a hypnotic suggestion (see the 1st-level wizard spell Hypnotism) as a wizard of the same level. If the harp is played for 2 rounds, a Forget spell can be cast (again, as a wizard of the same level as the Bard). Finally, if the Harp is played for 3 or more rounds, a Suggestion spell may be cast.

If the Harp is played for a longer period of time, the effective level of the caster increases exponentially as a function of time (i.e. if played for 2 rounds, Forget can be cast as a wizard whose level is equal to that of the caster; if played for 4 rounds the effective level is twice that of the wielder; 6 rounds = Level x 3, etc.). However, even the power of the Harp has it's limits. The spell-like powers of the Harp require the full concentration of the bearer, therefore the character playing the Harp is unable to participate in any activity more strenuous than walking.

Since this artifact belonged to one of the greatest bards of all time, it slowly takes control of the character's psyche, causing him or her to lose interest in things that are non-musical. The character becomes obsessed with the Harp, keeping it on their person at all times, even while sleeping. Eventually, the bearer will become bored with even the music of the Harp, desiring more pleasant tones. This husk of a person eventually dwindles away and dies.

To destroy Quivalen's Harp, the notes of the Song of Doom must be played upon it, after which a cleric of Branchala must banish the Harp to the netherworld.

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