Spear Of Destiny
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Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

JON19: 31-37 NIV

Basic Information

The Spear of Destiny (aka. the Spear of Longinus, the Holy Lance etc.) is an important artifact from Christian legend, being the spear with which a Roman soldier pierced the side of Christ as He hung on The Cross to confirm that He was, as they suspected, already dead (as per the flavour text). The soldier in question is customarily known as Longinus - although there appears to no reference for this earlier than the 4th Century AD.

Such close contact with the divine - and a role in such a pivotal event - are suspected to have endowed what was previously a pretty ordinary spear with significant powers … although no-one is entirely sure what those might be, or even of their character (since at least one source considers the spear controlled by some powerful, malevolent force). The lance is meant to have been instrumental in breaking the siege of Antioch in 1098, but whether that can be ascribed to anything other than the morale boosting effects of a powerful relic is open to debate. Traditionally Adolph Hitler was said to be obsessed with the Lance but again, with no real indication as to what he aimed to do with it.

There are currently two real rivals for the position of "actual spear of destiny" - one in the Vatican and one in Vienna, although the Viennese one appears not to be old enough. Some sources speculate that the Viennese lance is a fake, replacing an original which was never recovered from the Nazis who took possession of it in WW2, whilst the Church of Rome makes no official claim about the authenticity or otherwise of their version. There is also said to be a lance in Krakow, Poland which is one of two copies made with fragments of the original.

In a DC Comics retcon, the Spear of Destiny was used as an explanation for why the Justice Society didn't just fly over to Germany and beat the snot out of the Axis. Hitler had used the artifact to cast a powerful spell preventing any super-powered beings from operating in German-held territory

Sources

At "the other wiki"

Bibliography
1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Useful for plot hooks at almost any point from the Crucifixion to the Last Judgement - WW2 is an obvious marker (perhaps the Nazi high water mark in 1942 was the result of losing the lance to some daring thief?), as are the various sacks of Jerusalem and possibly Constantinople in which it may or may not have been involved.
  • The GM can also assign pretty much any powers he likes, given the paucity of historical ideas.
  • Perhaps none of the alleged lances is the original, and the true lance is somewhere else altogether (one semi-comic treatment had it being used as the flagpole with which the Apollo mission raised the US flag on the moon).
  • What about the two copies - the Polish one and the one given to the Hungarians that seems to have vanished? Do they do anything special?
  • Good for fantasy expys of Christianity as well.
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