in rise of the runelords, we defeated Mukmorian and found his Runeslave Cauldron and had an argument about destroying it.
From a crossover adventure, the adventurers were given the instructions/recipe to destroy it. However, we were in a disagreement with a part of the process with regards to the good aligned giant who volunteers for it.
the part to activate/use it for it's intended purpose explicitly says that the giant must be freshly slain but it doesn't say that for the process of destruction.
my question: Specifically, for the destruction process, does the giant have to be dead or not ? It doesn't specify it Afterall.
Does it mean that once you make the broth and then dip the giant in it, the cauldron immediately cracks thus the giant may remain alive (with possible damage from the hot broth)?
also, tongue in cheek, could the broth be more of a gazpacho which means no fire damage? Brewing doesn't mean it has to be done with heat :-)
It’s vague but the ritual seems to imply requiring a corpse. I guess you could just try it with a living giant first and see what happens. At that level the fire damage is easy enough to counter with a spell, like resist energy.
Worst case you kill the giant just to revive him when the deed is done.
you'll need two things;
A) the information for your GM to read as he will have to set the DCs.
B) cast Identify and/or Legend Lore on the object then a PC to make several skill checks. It may take some time...
I'm sure there are notes about if someone was using the device (bonuses to the checks)...
AFAIK the target of the item or spell doesn't know the ritual or how to operate the device without the appropriate skill checks/knowledge. They are basically victims of the device.
Death tends to be a rather permanent condition in the game, with artifacts - who knows...
Lastly, if your PCs can't figure it out (Fail the checks) there's always encasing it in a wall of stone and burying it in a deep deep hole or some such where it's basically inoperable.
I don't feel that there is a clear RAW answer. Your GM should choose what seems more appropriate. Artifacts aren't run-of-the-mill items.
Based on what I think is the inspiration (Pair Dadeni), I would require the giant to be alive, and he would die in the process. As it is a minor artifact I would require a resurrection to revive the giant, and even impose some chance of failure.
The order of operations on the cauldron is different from listed in the template.
Runeslave Cauldron: ... Any giant placed in a cauldron and then slain is immediately resurrected as a runeslave—see page 424 for further details on these sadistic magic items.
The cauldron makes it sound more like they should be dead first.
Once the cauldron is filled with broth, one need only sacrifice a giant (the method of killing the giant is incidental) and then place the giant’s corpse wholly or partially within the cauldron’s bubbling contents.
So, maybe even the designers weren't sure how that was supposed to work.
It says, 'attempting to use the runeslave cauldron to transform a good-aligned giant who volunteers', so I'd read that as 'attempting to convert the good-aligned giant in the same manner as any other giant', thus they'd need to be dead.
It does say that 'the method of killing the giant is incidental', so you could figure out a humane way to finish them off.