The Instruments of Zephyrion

Instruments of Zephyrion (Groundshaker, Windweaver, and Rainstrings)

The Instruments of Zephyrion are the last traces of the wind deity Zephyrion. Shortly before his departure, Zephyrion commissioned the construction of the Instruments by his most gifted followers. From the blacksmith Gangarl Frye came Groundshaker, the Drum of the Storm's Wrath. From the great explorer Bishnaenar came Windweaver, the Horn of Heaven's Song. Finally, from the mystic Samuel Ray Gamere came Rainstrings, the Zither of Life's Blessing.

The instruments produced a beautiful sound, but each was extremely complex. Bards from across the land flocked to Zephyrion's temple to test their skills on the Instruments, only to fail one after another. Zephyrion had actually planned this. Without informing anyone, he placed powerful enchantments on the Instruments. Each held one aspect of his power. A sufficiently skilled trio of musicians, playing together, could harness the power of the winds, storms and seas.

The Instruments were left in the temple while Zephyrion searched for his bride. Zephyrion returned from his travels without a wife, but he was accompanied by two young powers - Murmande and Xevan. Zephyrion never revealed the origin of the two, but he treated them as his sons. Each was given control over a small aspect of Zephyrion's domain. Xevan was given dominance over the mighty southwestern winds, while Murmande took control of the temperate northeastern winds.

Zephyrion, pleased by his legacy, rested in his temple, allowing his sons to explore their new powers and responsibilities. As he rested, the brothers met in secret. Xevan, unsatisfied with his domain, devised a plot to exile Zephyrion, leaving Murmande and him in control of the skies. Realizing the potential power to be gained by controlling a major aspect of mortal life, Murmande agreed to help Xevan.

That night, Murmande concealed himself outside the temple and called out for his father. Zephyrion, still tired from his quest, roused himself from slumber and headed outside to see what was amiss. Murmande lured the half-asleep deity farther and farther from the temple. Finally, they arrived at an isolated cliff overlooking the ocean. Zephyrion only caught a quick glance of his son before Xevan struck him from behind.

Acting quickly, the two bound Zephyrion and cast him into the prison of Carceri. Xevan and Murmande returned as conquerors. Xevan stayed up all night, drinking and laughing over the success of his plan. Murmande, however, was crestfallen. His guilt over what he had done to his father allowed him no rest.

The next morning, Murmande returned to the temple. Xevan sat in Zephyrion's throne, surrounded by the magical Instruments. Murmande pleaded with Xevan to allow their father to return. Xevan merely laughed. He sprung from the throne and was on Murmande in a flash, his spear pointed at his brother's throat. Unwilling to settle for just half of Zephyrion's power, Xevan now wanted Murmande's half as well. The two fought for hours, neither yielding an inch to the other.

Suddenly, a clamor could be heard outside the temple. The wind priests, sensing the unexpected departure of their patron power, were seeking access to the inner sanctum. The brothers, terrified over the prospect of the other gods learning of their plot, fled the temple. Xevan attempted to steal the instruments, but Murmande checked him. Panicking, Xevan grabbed Groundshaker and took flight. Worried that his brother might attempt to defeat him again, Murmande took Rainstrings and fled as well. When the wind priests finally broke down the great doors leading into the inner sanctum, there was no trace of Zephyrion or his sons - only Windweaver, sitting undisturbed in the empty chamber.

Since the time of their theft, the Instruments have been traded, stolen and hidden so often that few know of their origins and no one, mortal or power, knows where they are.

The Instruments of Zephyrion are huge, ornate musical instruments. They are extraordinarily difficult to play - no one with less than 20 ranks in the appropriate Perform skills (percussion, wind instruments and string instruments, respectively, for Groundshaker, Windweaver, and Rainstrings) has any chance of success. Individually the Instruments are powerful items, but they must be played together to draw out their true power. Each instrument weighs several hundred pounds, so carrying them around is not generally practical. Both the greater and lesser powers of the Instruments only function when they are outdoors in open terrain.

1.) Groundshaker, the Drums of the Storm's Wrath
Groundshaker is a timpani-like drum set consisting of four great drums of various sizes, covered with leather of unknown animals and played by a pair of gold and silver mallets. Due to the weight of the mallets and the size of the drums, a musician needs Strength 15 or more to play Groundshaker.

By itself, Groundshaker has the following powers (as cast by a 30th-level spellcaster):

· Acts as drums of panic
· Once per round, the player can cast a double strength sound burst (2d8 damage, stunned for 2 rounds, Fort save vs. DC 21 to resist the stun)
· If the weather is stormy, the player may cast call lightning (3d6 or 3d10 damage, depending on weather conditions; Reflex save vs. DC 22 for half damage) once per turn.
· Once per day, the player may summon a storm, as control weather

2.) Windweaver, the Horn of Heaven's Song
Windweaver is a giant bronze horn, standing almost 6' high. The horn spirals around near the base, ending with the mouthpiece pointing inward - the player sits inside the spirals to play the horn. Six finger holes run along the inside of the spiral. The horn is relatively easy to use, but the player must have a Constitution of 15 or greater to muster the lung strength necessary to play Windweaver.

By itself, Windweaver has the following powers (as cast by a 30th-level spellcaster):

· Acts as a horn of blasting five times a day
· Acts as a horn of fog that creates 50 feet of fog each round
· Can cast control winds once per day
· Summon a huge air elemental once per day

3.) Rainstrings, the Zither of Life's Blessing
Rainstrings is a great zither - an instrument consisting of forty strings stretched across a gold inlaid sound box, played with the strings facing upward. The instrument is nearly six feet across and is too heavy to be held in one's lap (originally it sat on an ivory pedestal). Due to its size and complexity, Rainstrings can only be played by a musician with Intelligence 15 or greater.

By itself, Rainstrings has the following powers (as cast by a 30th-level spellcaster):
· Summon a purifying rain that acts as a healing circle 3 (DC 23) times/day
· Cast control water (either version) once per day
· Once per day, the zither may calm a storm, as control weather
· Cast plant growth (enrichment effect only) once per day
· Once per day, the zither may attempt to rebuke water elementals as a priest with the Water domain. Use the performer's base Perform (stringed instruments) rank as his or her cleric level.

4.) The Collected Instruments of Zephyrion
The most powerful abilities of the Instruments can only be called upon when they are gathered and played at the same time. In order to call upon these abilities, the instruments must be arranged within 100 feet of each other, and the musicians playing them must be able to hear each other.

When the musicians begin, each must make a Perform check (DC 38). The greater abilities only function if each player passes this check. Additionally, certain greater abilities may require another check at the same DC. Note that the players may continue to use the lesser powers of their respective instruments, though no one may use a lesser power on the same round that a greater power is activated.

The greater powers are as follows (as cast by a 30th-level spellcaster):
· The musicians can use control weather to change the weather every 10 minutes. Unlike the spell, the changes caused by the Instruments can be very drastic and don't depend upon the season. Usually, this ability is used to summon a storm to facilitate the other greater powers. This ability doesn't require any further skill checks.
· After playing for 30 minutes, the musicians can summon a swarm of air elementals and (if sufficient water is nearby) a swarm of water elementals. This ability may be used once a day and requires a skill check.
· After playing for at least an hour, the musicians can cause catastrophic weather conditions to strike any area within ten miles of the instruments. The storm always affects an area of up to one square mile. The storm may manifest in the following ways:

º Hail Storm: This is the equivalent of ice storm (3d6 bludgeoning + 2d6 cold damage) but can cover an area of up to one square mile.
º Electrical Storm: Each round for thirty minutes, anyone out in the open within the area has a 30% chance of being struck by lightning (as call lightning, save DC 22). Anyone wearing metal armor or openly carrying a piece of metal larger than a long sword is struck every round instead.
º Tornado Swarm: Every minute for thirty minutes, a whirlwind (as the spell, save DC 25) appears somewhere within the radius and moves randomly until it expires.
º Torrential Rain/blizzard: Over the course of thirty minutes, up to three feet of rain or snow falls in the area.
This ability may be used up to three times per day, but is available no more often than once every thirty minutes and requires a skill check.