Axe of Lovingkindness
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom at war. The king was a petty man, and the war was his plaything. He persecuted neighboring kingdoms for no other reason than to aggrandize himself. He cared little for the effects the war had upon his own subjects, and gloried in the death of his own soldiers – in the fact that they would march to their doom at his word.
He became a great unifier. Not, of course, in his own country (except for unifying his people in contempt and hopelessness), but in neighboring ones. An alliance formed against him, and its leader – in a daring move to end the war – called him out. The move was daring, for the king was known as a mighty warrior, near unstoppable in battle. Though he was mighty, he was also fearful. He enjoyed bloodshed, but only under his terms. He would not appear a coward, though, so he accepted the challenge to single combat.
As the one challenged, he had the right to choose the weapons. He commissioned a powerful wizard-smith to craft two of the finest magical axes ever created. The wizard knew that the king would win in an axe-duel, but he was clever and had the resources of a kingdom with which to work.
So he created Philas and Ahmis, the Axes of Lovingkindness. The axes were intelligent and loved all. They were designed to see past differences and into the hearts of those around them. They could speak to these hearts, and try to convince their weilder to befriend his enemies. While they were powerful weapons, they loathed to cause harm.
When the day of the duel arrived, the king and his foe chose their axes by lot. The king picked Philas, who immediately saw into the rotten core of his heart. Philas spoke to the king out of love. Shocked by the true feeling of the axe, the king could not commit butchery.
It would be a lie to say that the king became an ideal and just ruler that day, but he certainly turned over a new leaf. The kindness shown to him by Philas touched him, and – while it took a lot of practice – he began to try to show others kindness in return.
In 3.5 D&D terms, Philas is probably a neutral good, intelligent +3, Merciful Battleaxe with a special purpose to promote harmony and kindness, telepathy, and ranks in diplomacy and sense motive.
…So the king was redeemed, sort of, by random axe of kindness?
Brilliant. Though I’m kind of disappointed in myself — I got to the end of the post before properly understanding the title.
Ah, well. Beyond the conceptual coolness, the 3.5 version seems like it’d be a lot of fun to drop into a game. I’ve had a lot of fun with merciful weapons in the past. (“Hey!” the players say, “We could capture this guy!”)
The 3.5 version would be a cool plot device, yeah… though not terribly useful in combat.
I’m figuring an Ego score of at least 19 (which, incidentally, might shed some light on the story) and a special purpose that will cause it to want to avoid most combats.