Banathar is a name this sword has carried for centuries, though its original owner did not refer to it as such.  The first owner of the magic sword Dosenrikkiel was the Vampire Prince Banathar.  The ranks of the undead are not empty of evil’s champions, but at the top of the hierarchy of the vampire lords was this Black Prince; a warlord and a sorcerer whose merciless sweep across nations left hundreds of thousands dead.  No priest could stand him at bay, no warrior was his match, no general set him to flight and towards the end of his epic tale it was said he could walk abroad in full sunlight.  It was then, at the height of his powers, that those who had supported him began to fear him, for vampires, being predatory, are by their very nature singular.  Those vampires he did not control he would not suffer long and his former allies contrived a plot to end the reign of the Black Prince.

None of the conspirators dared to face him in battle, for even together they doubted themselves his match.  But they hit upon a solution, which was not to destroy him, but to entrap him.  Patiently and secretly they wound spells around him for months until finally they struck, and in pillar of flame the unsuspecting Prince Banathar was trapped within Dosenrikkiel.  Without his leadership, despite their cunning, his former allies were unable to continue their assaults upon the living and soon fell to fighting amongst themselves.  The last of those traitors was destroyed a scant fifty years later, but Banathar, now a forgotten secret, endured in his prison of steel and magic.

In combat the long sword Banathar confers a +5 bonus to hit and damage.  When undead are nearby the booming voice of the Prince is heard, many have mistakenly thought this to be a warning to the sword bearer of the presence of the undead, in fact the voice of Banathar still retains the power to command the undead and Banathar attempts to exert that power whenever possible.  When the sword strikes any undead creature Banathar absorbs their essence, gaining a greater link to the negative material plane and weakening the spells that trap him.  The effect is often spectacular as the sword bursts into flame and causes the undead to explode – this is because the magic which holds him is formed from positive material energy and the meeting of the two is extremely dangerous.  The more powerful (levels or hit dice) the undead hit is the greater the explosion, with vampire or lich-slaying likely to cause the death of the wielder.  When fighting living opponents Banathar is malicious and whenever a hit is scored a random critical usually takes place, the sword will chop off noses, eyes and genitals or disembowel before it will kill.

At night Banathar will invade the mind of the sword bearer in dreams.  The strength of this invasion is determined by the number of undead Banathar has slain in the last month.  0-10HD: fitful sleep, >20HD: restless sleep – natural healing rate is halved, >50HD: vivid nightmares – no natural healing possible, >99HD: horrific, real-seaming visions – wielder loses 1hp per day due to lack of sleep.  If 100HD of undead are slain in any 30 day period Banathar has gained sufficient strength to invade the wielder’s mind and will take control of the body entirely and will seek out more undead to slay.  While this possession is in effect the wielder has the same immunities as a vampire, but none of the vulnerabilities.  Banathar can be forced back into the sword with a successful remove curse.

Banathar will be freed from the sword if one of two conditions is met.  Firstly, if 1000HD of undead are slain by Banathar the sword will shatter, killing the wielder instantly and the Black Prince will form.  Secondly, if the sword Banathar is ever picked up by a vampire, Banathar will destroy that vampire’s mind and form in its place.  The vampire will revert to mist form for one round then the Black Prince will reform.  In the second case the sword reverts to its old powers and becomes a long sword +3, +4 vs. living creatures.

Banathar should be considered a double maximum HD vampire with supra-genius intelligence, 22nd level necromancer powers and none of the standard vampire vulnerabilities.  Banathar cannot be turned and can assume any non-monstrous animal form at will.  He is chaotic evil in alignment, disinclined to make allies and very hungry.

(This item is from the world of Saas)

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