The Widow Harun
Artifact of the Nomads
A Spirit Banner, called a Sulde in the Tuigan language, is a sacred item considered to be the repository of a great leader’s soul after his death.
Any individual can create a Sulde for himself by meeting the appropriate conditions. First, the creator must collect tail hairs from his finest stallions. This requires hairs from at least ten different stallions that the creator personally owns. The hairs, which must be uniformly white or black, are woven together into a tuft and attached to the shaft of a masterwork adamantine lance just below its blade. The lance must then receive a pair of blessings from the gods of earth and sky. First, it is taken to a mountaintop and planted blade-up into the earth, where it must be left for 24 hours. Then it is taken to a lowland stream and immersed in the waters, again for 24 hours. Prior to each blessing, the creator must complete the two-week Ritual of Purity found in DMG II on page 234. At the end of this period, the lance has become a +1 weapon if its creator is 5th level or below, +2 if between 6th and 10th, +3 if between 11th and 15th, +4 if between 16th and 20th, or +5 if the creator is epic at the time.
The Sulde has additional powers based on the status of the creator. If the creator is the khan of his own ordu, it is called a Least Sulde. The Least Sulde functions as a Standard of Courage from Complete Warrior page 136. It can be used by the creator’s companions to cast Raise Dead for him on one occasion.
If the creator is the khan of a larger group such as several ordus, a military unit, or some kind of political unit like a single tribe or nation, it is called a Lesser Sulde. The Lesser Sulde is both a Standard of Courage and a Standard of Heroism. It can cast Raise Dead twice for the creator, or Resurrection once, but not both.
If the creator is a duly elected Great Khan, is is called a Greater Sulde. The Greater Sulde is simultaneously a Standard of Courage, a Standard of Heroism, and a Standard of No Retreat. For its creator, it will cast Raise Dead three times, or Resurrection twice, or True Resurrection once.
The life-restoring powers of any Sulde can be used only on the creator. The Sulde itself functions as the remains. No matter how much of the creator’s remains may be required, only the Sulde need be present to cast the spell. The material component must still be paid.
The Sulde does not improve along with its creator. Its abilities are fixed once created. When its creator advances in status, if he wishes to carry a more powerful Sulde he must enhance the old one by repeating the process of creating it, discarding the tuft and using the original Sulde as the lance.
A Sulde can be either black or white, depending on the color of the tail-hairs used to create it. The decision is an important one. A black Sulde can use its life-restoring powers only when the creator has died in combat, not just by violence. He must be in melee, ranged, or spell combat at the time. A white Sulde, by contrast, can only raise its creator if he has died outside of combat (killed by a sneak attack, by a trap, by disease, old age, murder or an accident).
Only three Greater Sulde are known to exist. That of Yamun Khahan is now housed in The Shankh Monastery in The Ejen Horo, where it tended by the lamas. That of his son Hubadai is carried by Timur, and that of Jebe Khan resides at the ogre monastery called Begter, deep inside the valley behind The Demonblood Dam.
The owners of these Sulde are not willing to allow adventurers to go around raising their long-dead Khans. Timur, for example, has no particular desire to resurrect his father-in-law Hubadai. The lamas of the monasteries view their Sulde as sacred relics and are glad to die to defend them.