Major artifacts are unique items—only one of each such item exists, and the creation of them is beyond all mortal means.
Bottle of the Bound
Aura strong abjuration; CL 20th
Slot none; Weight 4 lbs.
The Bottle of the Bound is an ancient brass bottle with a narrow neck and a rounded belly, slightly flattened on the bottom so it stands upright when resting on a table. The bottle's tight-fitting stopper is engraved with sigils of binding and sealed with lead. Legends say a wizard of tremendous power and wisdom enchanted a fiendish army and trapped it within the bottle for all time. The Legion of the Bound may be called forth from the bottle by its wielder and forced to serve, as they were once commanded to build a fantastic ancient city, long since buried beneath the dust of the ages. But the bottle endures, its inhabitants still bound.
A would-be wielder of the Bottle of the Bound must know three secret commands: the Word of Opening, to unseal the bottle so the stopper can be removed; the Word of Binding, to call forth and command its denizens; and the Word of Banishment, to return the Bound Ones to the bottle. A holder who knows the words may use the bottle like a summon monster IX spell at will, except only creatures of the evil subtype can be summoned. The summoned creatures remain until the sun next rises or sets, and no new creatures can be summoned from the bottle until the initial summoned creatures' destruction or return.
No known force can open the bottle without the Word of Opening. If the bottle is opened without the use of the Word of Binding, its 666 inhabitants are freed, one each minute starting from 1st-level creatures and moving on to higher-level ones, until they all escape. If one of the Bound is called forth and commanded without the Word of Banishment being uttered, it is free after it performs the task for which it was summoned. The Words to use the Bottle of the Bound have been lost for uncounted years, although some sages believe they know at least one or two of them.
The Bottle of the Bound can only be destroyed if every creature bound within is slain or banished, and the empty container is then smashed with a holy weapon.
Cloud Castle Of The Storm King
Aura strong (all schools); CL 20th
Slot none; Weight —
Once the fortress of a legendary tyrant known only as the Storm King, this castle now wanders the known universe, sometimes at the whim of its master, but often as a drifting and aimless haunt of powerful monsters, ignorant of—or unable to tap into—its fantastic power.
This grand and opulent castle is held aloft and propelled by a foundation of storm clouds constantly rumbling with thunder and crackling with electrical storms. Atop the massive storm cloud, the castle is shaped like a square, with 80-foot guard towers at each corner. At its center is a 140-foot tower with seven levels and more than 30 chambers. The central tower is well appointed with many halls, living chambers, suites, privies, kitchens (with pantries that magically replenish food stores every fortnight), and laboratories suitable for arcane and alchemical study. Each guard tower has living chambers and barracks for up to 25 guards, and one tower has an adjoining stable that can hold up to a dozen griffons, hippogriffs, pegasi, or even terrestrial mounts. In all, the tower can comfortably support a population of 300 Medium creatures.
Though created by the legendary Storm King millennia ago, the cloud castle has had several masters since he mysteriously disappeared over a thousand years ago. Many believe the Storm King ascended to godhood, while others believe he was captured and imprisoned by a rival, a demon lord, or even a deity wishing to remove a threat, which may mean that the Storm King will one day return to reclaim his castle.
In order to fully take control of the castle, a creature must be at least 17th level, and must have the Leadership feat and 17 ranks in Knowledge (arcana). If the castle already has a master, that master must be defeated before another can take her place. The castle's movement is controlled by way of a control chamber located at the heart (a central chamber on its 4th floor). There, a font of pure elemental water serves as a scrying device for the castle's master, though it can only view places inside the castle or within 100 feet of it. The master (or a person she designates) can direct the castle's motion from within the chamber. It has a fly speed of 250 feet (clumsy) and uses the Fly skill modifier of the person controlling its motion; the castle can hover without needing to make a Fly check and never risks falling due to a failed check. When not being controlled, the castle moves randomly, sometimes changing direction every minute, sometimes holding the same course for days at a time, but always avoiding the ground or other hazards. It has been known to travel to other planes, though no master other than the Storm King is known to have invoked this power. The master of the castle gains the following spell-like abilities:
• Call lightning storm 1/day. The master must be in the control chamber or one of the towers to use this ability.
The Cloud Castle of the Storm King can only be destroyed if it is dissipated by suitably strong winds; the only winds that can dissipate it are found only in the most turbulent reaches of the Plane of Air (of course, as nobody knows how to make it travel between planes, those wishing to destroy it must find it on the Plane of Air to have any chance to do so). Any other attacks may cause walls to collapse or even side towers to break loose, but the central chamber and the floors beneath it will continue to exist in a ruined form over a smaller storm cloud as long as this destruction condition is not met.
Fork of the Forgotten One
Aura strong transmutation; CL 20th
Slot none; Weight 12 lbs.
This +5 flaming wounding unholy ranseur was once the weapon of a powerful archdevil who they say controlled an entire layer of Hell. When he attempted to defy the Prince of Darkness, he was overthrown and banished into some cold and remote prison at the edge of the multiverse. Still bearing some infernal vestige of the forgotten fiend's power, the fork grants the bearer a +10 bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks and the power to use scorching ray three times per day.
Any nonevil creature who touches the Fork of the Forgotten One is given a choice: become lawful evil immediately, or die. Those who choose death are instantly slain (Fortitude DC 30 negates). Those who choose to become lawful evil change alignment immediately (no saving throw) and are subject to a demand spell (Will DC 25) requiring that they find the Forgotten One and free him from his icy prison—presumably thereafter he will press them into service for his plans of revenge against those who imprisoned him.
The Fork of the Forgotten One is destroyed when a paladin of 19th level or higher touches it and chooses death rather than becoming lawful evil. This sacrifice still kills the paladin, though she can be raised from the dead.
The Moaning Diamond
Aura overwhelming transmutation; CL 20th
Slot none; Weight 4 lbs.
The Moaning Diamond appears to be an uncut diamond the size of a human fist. At all times, it gives forth a baleful moaning, as if wailing in pain. Despite the disturbing noise, the Moaning Diamond is not evil. Three times per day, the bearer can call upon its power to reshape earth and stone as if by the spell stone shape, affecting 5,000 cubic feet of material. Once per day the Moaning Diamond can also summon an elder earth elemental with maximum hit points that serves the caster until it is slain; only one such elemental can be summoned at a time.
The Moaning Diamond can be smashed by the combined power of three elemental princes, one each from the Planes of Air, Fire, and Water. Even then, the dust must be cast into a place where it will never fall upon stone.
The Shield of the Sun
Aura strong abjuration; CL 20th
Slot none; Weight 2 lbs.
This +5 large shield, emblazoned with the symbol of the sun, allows the wielder to cast spells as if she were a 20th-level paladin with a Charisma of 20. The spells gained are cumulative with any existing spells per day the character might have, even from paladin class levels. The Shield of the Sun also grants its wielder spell resistance 15. It absorbs the first 10 points of damage from any energy attack (fire, cold, acid, electricity, or sonic). In return for all this, once per year the shield's owner must undertake a quest at the behest of a lawful good deity (no saving throw to avoid).
A chaotic or evil character gains four negative levels when wielding the Shield of the Sun. The negative levels persist as long as the shield is in hand and cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells). The negative levels disappear when the shield is stowed or leaves the wearer's possession.
The Shield of the Sun may be destroyed if a good-aligned character casts it into the Well of Eternal Night, its light fading into the inky depths before it finally disappears. If a nongood character does the deed, the shield is not destroyed, merely lost, and a quest to the Plane of Shadow may recover it.