Aura necromancy; CL 20th; Slot none; Weight 6 lb.
Legend holds that the axe of blood was lost on a quest to another plane of existence. The axe itself is rather nondescript, being made of dull iron. Only the large, strange rune carved into the side of its double–bladed head gives any immediate indication that the axe may be more than it seems. The rune is one of lesser life stealing, carved on it long ago by a sect of evil sorcerers. This is, in fact, the only remaining copy of that particular rune, thus making the axe a valuable item. Further inspection reveals another strange characteristic: the entire length of the axe’s long haft of darkwood is wrapped in a thick leather thong stained black from years of being soaked in blood and sticky to the touch. When held, the axe feels strangely heavy but well balanced, and it possesses a keenly sharp blade.
At first blush, the axe appears to be no more than a +1 keen battleaxe and until activated, the axe is just that. The wielder must consult legend lore or some other similar source of information to learn the ritual required to feed the axe. Despite the gruesome ritual required to power the axe, the weapon is not evil but is instead neutral. Bound inside it is a rather savage earth spirit. The axe draws power from its wielder in order to become a mighty magic weapon. Each day, the wielder of the axe can choose to “feed” the axe, sacrificing some of his blood in a strange ritual. This ritual takes 30 minutes and must be done at dawn.
Using the axe, the wielder opens a wound on his person (dealing 1d6 points of damage) and feeds the axe with his own blood. In this ritual, the wielder sacrifices Constitution to the axe. For each point of Constitution sacrificed, the wielder gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls (maximum of +5 on each) with the axe. Constitution points sacrificed to the axe cannot be healed magically, but heal at the rate of 1 point per day. Similarly, the damage caused by the opening of the wound may not be healed by any means until the sacrificed Constitution is regained. Note that the axe retains its keen quality when powered.
If the axe is powered to an amount less than the full +5 during the morning ritual and the wielder subsequently wishes that day to power the axe further, he may again wound himself (a full-round action dealing 1d6 points of damage) to sacrifice additional Constitution. In this instance where such a “second feeding” is done, the wielder must sacrifice 2 points of Constitution per additional +1 on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls (up to the same maximum of +5).
There is a chance that the Constitution sacrificed to the axe is lost permanently. If the wielder always skips a day in between powering the axe and always powers the axe with the morning ritual, there is no chance of permanent loss. If, however, the axe is fed on consecutive days or powered in a second feeding, there is a 1% chance plus a 1% cumulative chance per consecutive day the axe is powered that Constitution sacrificed to the axe on that day is actually permanent ability drain. This check must be made for each point of Constitution sacrificed to the axe that day. If reduced to Constitution 0 as a result of feeding the axe, the wielder becomes a bleeding horror.
Note: An undead creature can use its Charisma ability score (since it doesn’t have a Con score) to power the axe. Charisma damage heals at the rate of 1 point per day. An undead that reduces its Cha to 0 is destroyed.
If a wielder of the axe with the lawful or chaotic subtype and 20 or more Hit Dice willingly uses it to reduce himself to Constitution 0, the axe is destroyed and the slain wielder does not rise as a bleeding horror.
Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Clark Peterson and Scott Greene.