More artifacts today.
THE AXE OF THE DWARVISH LORDS: Forged in a volcano by a long-forgotten dwarven king, this axe was passed down until it was lost about 1,000 years ago. It works like a Sword of Sharpness, and anyone who uses it gets the special abilities of a Dwarf (which always seemed weird to me, in that the special dwarven weapon grants more powers to non-dwarves than to dwarves). Not only that, but it makes the wielder resemble a dwarf as well. And since I'm firmly in the camp that says dwarven women have beards, this is a great one to spring on that guy who's always playing elven chicks.
Suggested powers: Teleport 2 times a day, Wish once a week, user takes double damage from attacks while wielding it, user must sacrifice a human being to the axe so it will function for 24 hours.
That last one gives a pretty good indication of what the dwarf king who forged this axe was like, and how he viewed humans. A sacred relic it might be, but it seems it was forged for nefarious purposes. Possibly during a particularly bloody war between men and dwarves.
THE WAND OF ORCUS: As described under the entry for Orcus himself, this is an obsidian rod topped by a skull. If someone other than Orcus gets his dirty mitts on it, it has a 50% chance to annihilate any creature struck (except for Demon Princes, High Devils, Saint and Godlings). Each time it is used the wielder is subject to a negative effect, with 2-24 points of damage being the suggested penalty. It's other suggested powers are move at double speed, cure light wounds once a day and speak with animals. Those last couple of abilities seem a bit incongruous, but who can fathom the mind of a Demon Prince?
THE ROD OF SEVEN PARTS: So iconic it has its own super-adventure. Basically, this is a rod that has been broken and scattered around the world. When the first part is found it will lead you to the second, and then the third, and so on, and each time a new section is added it gets a new power. Whenever a new power is gained it replaces the previous one. Once the rod has been assembled, it can't be broken by the user, but there's a 5% chance every time it's used that it will scatter again.
2nd part: User attacks anyone within 20 feet
3rd part: Move at double speed
4th part: Metal passes through user with no effect
5th part: Cast a 20-die lightning bolt once a day
6th part: User takes double damage from all attacks
7th part: Raises all ability scores to 18 (With (00) for Strength!)
So it looks like the quest for the Rod would be an interesting one, with the rod alternating between help and hindrance. Especially when you have the second part, and start hacking your way through everything that moves...
THE CODEX OF THE INFINITE PLANES: Woah, heaps of things to take note of here. First up is that the Isles of Woe upon the Lake of Unknown Depths were once ruled by a wizard-cleric who owned the Codex. I believe this lake is the Nyr Dyv, located pretty close to Greyhawk City? If so that's awesome, and it gives me yet another potential adventure site in that region. It should also be noted that this unnamed wizard-cleric is definitely breaking the rules - in OD&D, Wizards can't become Clerics and vice-versa. Things were obviously different in Ye Olden Days.
So eventually this guy's knowledge from the Codex caused his downfall, and the waters of the lake flooded his domain. The Codex survived, and made it into the hands of the Wizard Tzoonk, who left behind a mysterious scrap of paper before he disappeared. This is the infamous Tzoonk Fragment, and I'll reproduce the whole thing here:
"... and thereupon the voice belled forth in tones of hollow iron and spoke of the Coming of the City of the Gods. Such future events interested me not, so I gave the command: 'Answer in th ...' (here the fragment becomes entirely illegible) . . . so knowing both the secret and the spell which would unlock the Way to this horde of the Demon Prince Nql . . . (another break in the writing unfortunately occurs here). . . gathered the nine as required and proceeded forth. With me in addition were the dyoph servants necessary to transport the Codex, for I would not leave it behind on even so perilous a journey as this." (Here the entire fragment ends.)
Where to start? It seems that Tzoonk went off to face a Demon Prince (whose name begins with Nql), taking the Codex with him, and never returned. Which leads me to believe that the Codex now resides somewhere in the Abyss, under the generous eye of Nql himself. The other interesting tidbit here is the mention of the City of the Gods, and its coming in the future. This is a reference to a Blackmoor adventure run by Dave Arneson, which seems to be available as module DA3. I do know that Rob Kuntz adventured there, and has provided some details on his website.
Back to the Codex, it is said to be very large and difficult to transport. It is 99% likely to slay anyone who opens the book, and anyone under 10th level who even touches it will likewise be annihilated.
Suggested Powers: Clairvoyance, speak with plants, read magic, monster summoning once a day, user must sacrifice a human to the book for it to function, raise dead fully once a day, creatures of same alignment automatically serve wielder for 1-6 turns. After a set number of uses, the user is transformed into a minor demon or godling and is at the complete beck and call of a major demon or godling.
Next: I might just finish with the Artifacts.