"During the childhood of mankind, while some colonies have only just discovered fire, others are already using technology, Inventor Akron discovers the 'radiating matter' which can be used to make earth a paradise or a hell. Soran, a strayed former pupil of Akron, steals his invention. Akron sends out his daughter to fetch the invincible Ator to fight Soran..."
-- so reads the descriptive blurb on the back of my DVD of Ator The Fighting Eagle. Only that's not the plot of Ator at all! But then the poster shown above is also rather misleading as Ator never uses a three-headed flail and his animal companion is a cute bear cub - not a sabretooth tiger!
This (unintentionally?) hilarious, cheesetastic film has Ator (Miles O'Keefe) on a mission to rescue his new bride, Sunya (Ritza Brown) - who he had believed was his sister until the moment his 'parents' gave their blessing to his wedding plans - from the Temple Of The Spider.
A mockbuster years before The Asylum made it an art and released to cash in on the original Conan movie, Ator has a by-the-numbers, Joseph Campbell "hero's journey"/Star Wars storyline, with the titular protagonist even picking up an Obi-Wan-style mentor, Griba (Edmund Purdom), and a money-driven Han Solo-ish female rogue Roon (Sabrina Siani) along the way to help him blow up the Death Star... er... destroy The Temple Of The Spider.
It's all tied-in to a very long - and highly detailed - prophecy about how Ator's true father, the legendary Tauren, was doomed in his quest to defeat the Spider Cult and so the destiny has passed to his son, Ator.
The main problem is Ator is rather a rubbish hero - frequently bested in combat, gullible and, frankly, not the sharpest tool in the box - he is constantly being rescued by Roon and the cute bear cub.
The fights are joyously lacklustre, which only adds to the humour, and a couple of times Ator simply abandons Roon during a fight when his attention is distracted by something else.
He only appears to be able to beat people if he catches them by surprise - or has an incredibly powerful magic shield of zapping to hand!
Couple this with incredibly stilted and corny dialogue, some wonderfully WTF "monsters" (the walking dead that simply disappear, the blind warriors, the shadow demon, the shapechanging sorceress, the giant spider etc) and all the elements combine to make Ator The Fighting Eagle an incredibly entertaining - and amusing - way to waste 90 minutes of your life.
That said, as Italian swords-and-sorcery films go, it's head and shoulders above Conquest, the scenery is surprisingly interesting - with strange statues dotted around the landscape - and some of the 'encounter' ideas aren't half-bad.
Griba's Powder - a magical white powder (like talc), carried in a small leather pouch (can contain enough for up to six uses). When rubbed onto a person's skin it can make a single distinguishing mark (such as a scar, birthmark, tattoo etc) disappear. The mark will stay magically concealed until a second dose of Griba's Powder is rubbed on it and it reappears. A detect magic spell cast on the person will, however, also reveal whatever has been hidden - but only for the duration of the spell.
The Shield Of Morn - a powerful artifact that, if not for the grips on its reverse, could easily be mistaken for a flat, circular, ornate mirror. That, and the fact that unless covered, it constantly emits a three foot wide beam of light that causes 4d8 damage (save vs magic to nullify) a round against members of The Spider Cult and their monstrous god if they are directly in its beam.
The light's range is about 250 feet and its magic only works if shone in a person (or monster's) eyes.
Anyone else caught in its beam will be temporarily blinded/distracted and suffer a -2 penalty on both their attack and defence (ie. rolls to hit and AC) while so befuddled.
It's also rather fragile and, although it grants a +3 defence bonus to whoever holds it (even when the mirror is covered), should he or she actually take damage from an attack, there is a one in six chance that the mirror will crack.
And it's rather like carrying a lighthouse lamp around with you, while uncovered, and doesn't really help when a party is trying to be subtle or go unnoticed in dark dungeons or creepy castles.
This is what Wizards Of The Coast would call a "story item" because its sole purpose is to defeat the Spider God (an enormous spider worshipped by the evil Spider Cult) and when the Spider God dies its death scream will shatter the shield and render it useless.
Legend has it that the Shield Of Morn is hidden beyond The Forest Of The Dead, in a cave complex used by 'The Blind Warriors' (sightless warriors and blacksmiths who fight by smell and sound) as a weapons' forge and guarded by a giant shadow demon.