Hello, everyone! Today’s article is a dossier for a new artifact, the Death Shroud of the First Paladin. The specifics behind the First Paladin and their adventures are left deliberately vague, doubling as both an opportunity for you to build your world as a GM and to emphasize that the true importance wasn’t the person but the deeds they inspired(and hopefully, that their artifact will continue to inspire).
Death Shroud of the First Paladin
Wondrous item, artifact (requires attunement)
There is little glory to be found in the tale of the First Paladin, and the Death Shroud serves as a physical token of the apology written in blood by the gods for their failure to answer the First Paladin’s pleas in a time of need. The legend goes that a once-peaceful land was ravaged by the forces of evil, until a youth, barely old enough to draw a blade, stood to oppose them. The youth did not care about the danger they would face – all they saw was the suffering that befell their people, and that was enough to warrant standing for righteousness. The youth’s deeds rallied friend and former foe alike to join their cause and that was their true power, rather than through spell or steel. This reputation spread across the land, and the youth became known as the First Paladin.
The First Paladin’s deeds resounded across the cosmos, until their dedication reached the ears of a powerful fiend. Wanting nothing more than to sow discord and paranoia, this fiend disguised themselves as a comrade in need of the Paladin’s help at the height of a terrible battle, only to slay them once their guard was lowered. This violent act brought the Paladin’s movement of peace to an end. Such sorrow washed over the battlefield that the battle came to a premature end, both sides too disheartened to continue their campaigns.
The First Paladin was buried at the site of their final battle, in a simple mausoleum that came to be known as the Apology, and the land about this tomb was left scarred and haunted by the wandering spirits of those who fought there. After their burial, a congregation of mourners remained. It is said that this was the last time that the gods met as equals, putting aside eons-long disputes to pay their respects to the First Paladin. Each one laid a blessing upon the Death Shroud of the First Paladin, a vow that their dedication would never again go unanswered.
The Death Shroud of the First Paladin has since appeared throughout history, a hooded cloak with a silver veil. When worn, the Death Shroud imbues the wearer’s actions with an air of inspiration.
Random Properties. The Death Shroud of the First Paladin has the following randomly determined properties:
- 4 minor beneficial properties
- 2 minor detrimental properties
Stalwart Aura. While attuned to the Death Shroud of the First Paladin, you and all friendly creatures within 30 feet of you gain a bonus to your Armor Class equal to your Charisma modifier (Minimum 1). This bonus ends when you take damage, make an attack roll, or cast a spell which requires a creature to make a saving throw. When this bonus ends, you can’t use this property again until the next dawn.
Voice of Unity. If you are wearing the Death Shroud of the First Paladin and attuned to it, you can use your action to stir your allies’ resolve. When you do so, you may choose up to 6 friendly creatures within 30 feet of you who can see or hear you. These creatures can gain temporary hit points equal to your level + your Charisma modifier. You can’t use this property again until you complete a short rest.
Aura of Martyrdom. If you are wearing the Death Shroud of the First Paladin and a creature within 30 feet of you fails a death saving throw, you may use your reaction to fail the death saving throw instead. The creature then regains hit points equal to your level.
Graceful Presence. While attuned to the Death Shroud of the First Paladin, when you cast a spell that has a range of touch on a friendly creature, that spell’s range is instead 30 feet. If you have the Lay on Hands class feature, you may also consider any friendly creature within 30 feet of you to be within your reach.
Destroying the Death Shroud. The Death Shroud of the First Paladin can only be destroyed by a paladin who has renounced their oath, in which case they can destroy it as they would any piece of clothing. Otherwise, it is unaffected by physical wear and tear, cannot be soiled, and cannot be destroyed by conventional magic.