Artifacts are magical objects that are so powerful that they transcend the laws of other magic items. Each artifact has origins beyond mortal ken and a legend associated with its existence. Finding an artifact is a task of mythic proportions and an event of great historical impact. People who come to possess such objects leave behind a new chapter in the artifact’s story, for good or ill. A whole campaign or series of adventures could be based around an artifact. Hunting down the object’s location, collecting its components, or facing its current owner could all be part of the tale.
Artifacts have an item level of 20. However, they can’t be encountered in the course of a random encounter or crafted, and they can rarely be purchased at any price. Each seems to have a will of its own or a bizarre tie to fate, making the object show up at a significant moment. Similarly, artifacts can vanish unpredictably, carried away by a destiny larger than any one user. Artifacts are impossible to destroy by conventional means; each can be ended only by one specific method.
An artifact has incredible powers that can change a game in unpredictable ways. When you as a GM choose to use an artifact, consider its impact. How it shows up in, remains, and exits your game is up to you.
|Book of Unwritten Truths||SF:A|
Level 20; Price —; Bulk L
An Atrocite Sphere is a dull, dark globe 3 inches in diameter. Each of the several known Atrocite Spheres is thought to have spontaneously appeared from the void when an atrocite (a supernatural agent of the Devourer) emerged into the galaxy. The Atrocite Sphere must adjust to your soul by floating 3 inches above your head for 24 hours. If the sphere stops floating above you for more than 1 minute, it must readjust to you. The sphere can float above you while you’re prone or unconscious, but it stops doing so if you die. After it adjusts to you, the sphere exudes a slight pull, like gravity.
While the Atrocite Sphere floats above you, you gain DR 10/— and energy resistance 10 against all energy types. If you gain a higher value in one of these defenses from another source, that value increases by 2. When it blocks damage, the sphere briefly flashes with crimson light that resembles a black hole’s accretion disc.
When you take Hit Point damage from an attack or effect a foe created, as a reaction you can redirect some of the damage dealt to you. When you do so, the sphere flashes with crimson light and pulses with gravity, knocking you prone. Divide the damage dealt to you in half. If your attacker is within 330 feet of you, it takes this damage as force damage, is knocked prone, and suffers any critical effect the attack inflicted, but it suffers no other effects. The target can attempt a Will saving throw (DC = 20 + your Charisma modifier) to take half damage and avoid any critical effect. You take the remaining damage (though you get to apply your defenses to this damage normally).
After you redirect damage with the Atrocite Sphere, you go berserk. This compulsion is a mind-affecting effect, but it works on any creature the sphere has adapted to, even if that creature is normally immune to such effects. While you are berserk, you gain a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls and a +3 morale bonus to damage rolls and Strength checks. You also gain a number of temporary Hit Points equal to 3 times your level or CR, which remain only while you stay berserk. However, you take a –2 penalty to KAC and EAC. You can’t cast spells or use any skill or ability that requires concentration or patience. The only reactions you can take are attacks of opportunity. You consider no creature to be your ally, although you don’t consider erstwhile allies to be foes.
On each of your turns while you’re berserk, you attack the opponent closest to you, moving or charging only if you need to do so to attack. You make a full attack if you can, using abilities or weapon special properties that facilitate making numerous attacks. When you make a full attack, you reduce the penalties for doing so by 1. If multiple opponents are equally close to you, you divide your attacks among them or include as many as you can in a full attack such as automatic fire.
You cease being berserk if you lose consciousness or you’re aware of no other enemies. In addition, you can attempt a DC 25 Will saving throw each time you reduce a creature to 0 Hit Points, ending the berserking episode if you succeed. When the episode ends, you are fatigued for as long as you were berserk. If you fail to reduce a significant enemy to 0 Hit Points while you’re berserk, the Atrocite Sphere provides none of its benefits to you for 24 hours.
An Atrocite Sphere can be destroyed only by being tossed into a star, gas giant, black hole, or some equally massive gravitational phenomenon. Cultists of the Devourer say this annihilation is useless, since the spheres will continue to be born until reality itself dies.
Book of Unwritten Truths
Level 20; Price —; Bulk L
The Book of Unwritten Truths is a massive book of 528 metallic pages without images or words. According to legend, the book exists as a strange Material Plane connection to the Akashic Record, and information in the volume is presented through tactile means. However, the tome allows its readers to access information on only obscure topics. The axiomite curators of the library world of Athaeum have long sought this artifact as a capstone to their collection.
If you can touch the Book of Unwritten Truths, you can read it. While you touch the book, you can take 20 on any skill check to recall knowledge, provided the DC to recall that knowledge is higher than 20. If you roll the check rather than taking 20, you gain a +10 insight bonus to the check. You can read the book to recall knowledge using any skill, even if you are untrained in the associated skill. Once you gain information from the check, the book closes itself and can’t be used to gain knowledge using the same skill for 24 hours.
Once per day, the book allows you to cast vision. You must spend the 1 Resolve Point required for the spell, but you are considered to automatically succeed at the caster level check. The book, rather than a computer, imparts the information the spell accesses.
If you attempt to use the book to research the Gap, you gain 1 negative level. Each time you use the book thereafter, you must succeed at a DC 30 Will saving throw or gain 1 negative level. Someone who knows a secret lost to the Gap can write that truth in the Book of Unwritten Truths to convert it to a mundane tome with none of its powers.
Level 20; Price —; Bulk L
The Trafodi Paradox is an intricately carved orb of red stone or coral, a foot in diameter. The carving forms a multilayered lattice within the sphere. Despite its substance and size, the Trafodi Paradox is very light.
During the conquest of Vesk-2, the vesk invaders ignored the pleas of the planet’s natives and ransacked the ancient vault containing the Trafodi Paradox. The inhabitants of Vesk- 2 had no written records of the sphere—only an oral legend that it was brought from the sky and sealed away during the Gap. A vesk warlord kept the artifact on Vesk-2, where it stayed for several generations before it came to the attention of high-ranking members of the Veskarium. The artifact was loaded onto a Veskarian military transport to be taken to Vesk Prime for further study. Distress signals recorded shortly thereafter indicate that vessel ran afoul of the Swarm, and no one has seen that starship or the Trafodi Paradox since. Those who have studied the accounts of Veskarian mystics who examined the artifact speculate that it is a transportation device but that it is either malfunctioning or designed for a truly alien and magically gifted species.
As a full action that provokes attacks of opportunity, you can activate the Trafodi Paradox. The artifact darkens and shrinks as its internal lattice realigns. It activates just before the start of your next turn, provided you’re still conscious and holding the sphere. When you activate the Trafodi Paradox, it becomes a singularity in a square of your choice in your space or in a space adjacent to you. The singularity’s physical manifestation is tiny, but it is considered to occupy a 5-foot cube.
When the singularity appears, creatures within 1 mile of the singularity feel drawn to it. A creature must succeed at a DC 25 Will save or use all its actions to move as quickly as possible toward the singularity. Although this is a mindaffecting effect, creatures immune to such effects still feel the pull and might seek the source of this attraction despite no compulsion to do so.
Creatures within 120 feet of the singularity must succeed at a DC 25 Athletics check or a DC 20 Strength check to move farther from it, and even then does so at one-quarter its speed. Each round, at the start of your turn, the singularity performs a special combat maneuver with a +30 bonus to the attack roll. If a creature is within 120 feet of the singularity, compare the result of this attack roll to the creature’s KAC + 8. If the maneuver is successful, that creature moves 5 feet toward the singularity, plus 1 foot per point the singularity’s result exceeded the creature’s KAC + 8; round the distance up to the nearest 5 feet. Huge or smaller unattended objects move 30 feet toward the singularity at the start of each of your turns, moving an additional 10 feet per size category below Medium or 10 fewer feet per size category above Medium.
A creature or object that enters the singularity’s space is sucked into the void. While inside, a creature can take no actions other than a full action to escape, which requires a successful DC 30 Athletics check or DC 25 Strength check. A creature that ends its turn inside the singularity takes 5d10 force damage unless it succeeds at a DC 20 Will save to take half damage; if it succeeds by 5 or more, the creature negates the damage entirely. The creature that activated the artifact gains a +5 circumstance bonus to this saving throw. The amount of damage dealt by the void increases by 5d10 each round. If this damage reduces a creature to 0 Hit Points, the creature’s body is utterly destroyed.
A creature that succeeds at a Will save within the singularity senses a presence in the void. In myriad voices, one of which the listener can understand, the presence offers salvation from the crushing gravity. A creature that accepts this salvation leaves the void, transported to another location in the galaxy or among the planes. Upon escaping in this way, a creature regains half of the Hit Points it lost to the singularity. Escapees with strong emotional attachments to one another often arrive in the same location, while enemies rarely land in the same place.
The singularity created by the Trafodi Paradox lasts 13 minutes. When the singularity ends, the artifact disappears. Roll 1d20 as the control and 1d20 as the determiner. If the determiner is higher than the control, the Trafodi Paradox reappears in the possession of the creature that last activated it. Otherwise, the artifact could reappear anywhere in the galaxy. The creature that last activated the artifact can sense in which direction the artifact lies, provided the object isn’t sealed in an area lined with starmetal.
The Trafodi Paradox can be destroyed only if it consumes the last member of the species that created it.
Ungarato is one of the most powerful known relics, though even greater artifacts have occasionally appeared throughout history. Ungarato, also called the All-Consuming Killer or the Gun of Gluttony, is known to be one of the seven weapons of nearly divine magical power that were also referred to as the Seven Blades of Conviction or the Seven Swords of Sin. Although the fates of the other six weapons remain unknown, these epithets imply that Ungarato was once a sword of some kind, though when, how, and why this blade was reforged into a powerful machine gun with a bayonet is one of the relic’s greatest mysteries.
Ungarato has a distinct appearance that is unlike any other specific model of longarm. It has a misty, spectral quality, but the weapon is as solid as any other. Ungarato functions as a paragon X-gen gun, and its bayonet is a molecular rift dueling sword, both of which have the ghost killer fusion.
Two hands are required to wield Ungarato, and proficiency with basic melee weapons and heavy weapons is necessary to use the weapon without penalty for melee and ranged attacks, respectively.
Ungarato glows with a bright, sickly green color whenever there is a creature of the undead type within 50 feet of its wielder, though the weapon gives no indication of the direction or number of undead within that range. Each time its wielder suffers the full effects of a critical hit (when damage reduction, energy resistance, or some other effect does not reduce the damage dealt or prevent any critical hit effect), Ungarato gains 1 point of viciousness. Whenever Ungarato scores a critical hit, it automatically spends 1 point of viciousness (if it has any) and adds the severe wound critical hit effect to the critical damage dealt. Any unused points of viciousness fade at the rate of 1 per hour. Ungarato also restores 10 Hit Points to its wielder (functioning as per mystic cure) each time it scores a critical hit (whether or not it has any points of viciousness).
Ungarato is a unique artifact of extreme power and legendary reputation; as such, the weapon is effectively priceless and cannot simply be purchased. Indeed, its current owner and whereabouts are unknown, though Ungarato is widely believed to have resurfaced recently somewhere on Absalom Station. Legend claims that Ungarato was once sentient and held great powers that only functioned in the hands of a runelord, but there’s no modern evidence to support either claim. Similarly, it is believed that only the rightful Runelord of Gluttony can break the weapon; Ungarato is otherwise impervious to damage or destruction.