Here’s an example of how I used A Legendary Artifact from Issue 2 of Session Zero. I picked Spelleater (page 16) out of a hat and we started a new campaign using it Saturday night.
Here are the answers my players gave to the Spelleater questions:
Who was the King?
King of the Elves, Elithil. King of all elves and the Dolathan Forest.
Did the King have heirs?
No… his wife was barren.
Who was the Sorcerer?
Unbeknownst to the all the land and all the King’s court, the sorcerer and the King were one and the same. Unable to produce on heir in proper fashion, King Elithil turned to a dark source of power in an attempt to “create” an heir.
Did the King defeat the Sorcerer?
Being one and the same, the King lead his strongest warriors and sorcerers into his lair and there slaughtered them all. The shield was never meant to be protection against “the sorcerer”, he had it crafted to protect him against his own spell casters.
Where was the Sorcerer’s lair?
Preferring the comfort of trees over a musty cave, Elithil layered himself deep in a smoldering swamp, seated directly over a place of power.
What is the Shield made of?
The shield was made of a swamp wood that, once becoming petrified, actually turns into a hard but malleable metal. In that form alone it wouldn’t grant spell-diffusing qualities, but a fungus native to the swamp is known to have magic-draining effects. A tree with such fungus growing on it before petrification plus the magic of Elvish smithing gave Spelleater the diffusing property.
Who was the smith?
Tomiea was the greatest smith in the Elven forest-kingdom. He descended from a long line of smith’s with abilities substantially greater than the greatest smith’s of Man and Dwarf. It is said that Spelleater could not have been nearly as effective had it not been forged by Tomiea’s hand!
What happened to the smith?
After the shield’s completion Elithil corrupted Tomiea’s mind. Tomiea, completely unrecognizable, became the Warrior of Dark and was defeated by the King’s men early in the expedition to slay the sorcerer.
What happened to Spelleater?
After slaying all of his men, Elithil destroyed Spelleater so that it may never be used against him.
In what book did you learn of Spelleater?
This Rise and Fall of the Wood Elves of Dolathan – Volume III
Corrupted by the dark magic, Elithil went on to destroy his kingdom and create several “offspring” that are said to still roam the swamp today. Few have dared enter The Smoldering Swamp, and thus none know if Elithil, the once-mightiest of Elven Kings, still exists in it today.