Monday, September 22, 2014

Six Very Special Shields, part 3, Hawkstone's Bulwark

Another installment of unique magical shields from The Forgotten Realms, from Dragon Magazine #89.

Hawkstone’s Bulwark
Unique magic armor (shield)
The ranger Hawkstone bore this shield in his war against the giants of the Great Glacier and the beast-men (ogres) of Thar.  Some time after his death, his grave was violated and all his treasures stolen, among them the blade Durelva and this shield, known in ballads as Hawkstone’s Bulwark.  It is generally believed that Hawkstone won this shield from the hoard of the black dragon Yrindoth. Its origin is as unknown as its present fate.

The shield is a single slab of 2-inch-thick, polished steel of a beautiful blue hue, a fine metal unique in its quality in the Realms. It has the usual two straps within, of black bullhide, and weighs no more than a wooden shield. It has the abilities of a +2 shield, and upon command the shield grows magically into a bridge. (The command word, known through lore but not written anywhere on the shield, is “Bulwark.”) The shield will disappear from the bearer’s possession and reappear at the start of the following round as a 5-inch-thick span of line steel, 2’ wide by 60’ long. Its length is not variable, and the change is not always automatic; if the command word is spoken when the Bulwark doesn’t have enough room to expand, the power will simply fail to function. The bridge will extend out in the direction the bearer of the shield is facing, beginning just in front of the bearer’s feet. Once placed, the bridge cannot be moved (although it can be shrunk back to a shield and re-expanded in a different location). It will support up to 5,000 pounds of weight at one time; exceeding that limit will cause it to collapse back into a normal shield (see below), leaving the creatures and objects upon it without any visible means of support.

If its weight capacity is not exceeded, the bridge will remain in that form for 33 days, or until the bearer of the shield holds onto one of the straps and utters the reverse-command word “Krawlub.”  (When it is in bridge form, the shield’s straps are located on the top surface of the bridge at either end.) The shrinking process works essentially the same as the expanding process: the bridge disappears upon utterance of the command word, and at the start of the following round the Bulwark reappears at the bearer’s feet in shield form.

No magic short of a wish will cause the bridge to shrink, shift, break, or otherwise move (although the ground on which it rests could well be affected by disintegrate, dig, or similar magic).  The bridge will conduct heat, electricity, and other similar forms of energy, and in such respects acts as normal metal does.



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