Stewart Stansfield

Spiritburned Artifacts


Centuries-old weapons and armour, typically manufactured from bronze in a Pelorian style. These items have been tarnished by time, and blackened or part-melted by dragonfire, but can be kept to a good edge or hardness by a competent redsmith.




Common; Famous (among ducks only); Few.


Towards the end of the Second Age, the dragonewts turned on the Wyrms Mind Collective and brought the last remnants of a mighty empire to ruin. Decades later, when the surrounding human realms grew covetous of Dragon Pass, the dragonewts resisted. The humans united into the Invincible Golden Horde and marched upon the Dragon’s Eye in an effort to destroy the dragonewt egg-wombs. The cosmos came to the aid of the dragonewts. True dragons descended from the stars and annihilated the invaders; thousands were slain by dragonfire.

This magical assault was terrible to behold. Death would not end the horror for those souls condemned to haunt the Ghost Hills, but others were even less fortunate. The heat of a true dragon’s breath was so great that it could sear the spirits of slain heroes into their weapons and armour, even as their bodies turned to ash. These spirits have remained trapped in their metal tombs for centuries.

Some of these artifacts were scavenged from the battlefields in the aftermath of the Dragonkill; others remain to be found hundreds of years later, whether among the foothills of Kero Fin (where the Red Dragon wrought its terror) or in the soil where the Stag Woods once grew. The ducks—who plundered the Horde’s dead with gleeful, squawking abandon—collected several of these items. They found them quite serviceable once they’d pried them from charred bone or brushed the ash off, and have retained many as nest treasures and heirlooms.


These weapons were created by the Dragonkill, which exterminated nearly all humans in Dragon Pass. While this act is theoretically repeatable, it’s a dangerous and not entirely controllable process.


Spiritburned artifacts have been weakened by age and the shock of the Dragonkill. Spiritburned weapons have 20% fewer AP and -1 damage; spiritburned armour has 1AP less protection per piece.

When a person first comes into physical contact with a spiritburned artifact, he or she is immediately engaged in spirit combat, as the spirit seeks to escape its prison and possess that person’s body. If the spirit is defeated, it henceforth functions as a bound magic spirit under the control of the wielder/wearer. The INT and POW of the spirit, and the spells it knows, are as follows:

Die roll (d6)Spirit’s statsSpells known by the spirit
1–4 INT 2D6+6
Spirit Magic: Ignite and Second Sight. The spirit also knows a number of points of additional spirit magic equal to its unused INT (i.e. a spirit with INT 14 would know a further ten points of spirit magic beyond Ignite [1] and Second Sight [3]). These spells may be picked by the GM or chosen at random
5–6 INT 2D6+6
POW 3D6+3
Spirit Magic: Ignite and Second Sight. The spirit also knows a number of points of additional spirit magic equal to its unused INT. These spells may be picked by the GM or chosen at random
Divine Magic: One divine magic spell (at 1D4 points per spell if stackable) picked by the GM

The wielder/wearer cannot release the spirit from the artifact voluntarily – only a Free Ghost spell (Gods of Glorantha, Cults Book, p. 26) will free the spirit and send it to the Underworld. If the artifact is destroyed, the spirit will be released from its prison but take the form of a ghost. The ghost will attempt to possess nearby beings, including an artifact’s former wielder/wearer.

The owner can communicate with the bound spirit when in contact with the artifact, as per an enchanted item. Unfortunately, this is not a good thing. The wielder/wearer is afflicted by a Demoralize spell whenever he or she touches the item, as the spirit rails endlessly against the horrors of its cursed existence in a bitter and argumentative manner. Ducks take this for normal conversation and are immune to this effect.


Few can tolerate the self-pitying misery of a spiritburned artifact for long. Ducks can, and will pay several hundred lunars for such weapons or armour small enough for them to use. Sometimes a spirit will escape its prison by possessing a duck, only to find its joy short-lived as it realises that being confined to a duck’s existence is not necessarily an improvement. Such possessed ducks are usually really angry.