Monday, December 23, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 45 - The Rings of the One

Today, we have a jump in numbering. Items 43 and 44 will be a part of a story and will be posted when that story is complete.

The Rings of the One are a set of rings normally found in a ornate, locked box. They should be considered an artifact level magic item, however, they can be destroyed by mundane means, unlike other artifacts. Roll on the following table to determine the number of rings contained therein:

01 - One Ring
01-30 - 3 Rings
31-75 - 5 Rings
96-97 - 7 Rings
98 - 9 Rings
99 - 11 Rings
100 - 99 Rings

In order for the rings to work, the complete set must be used, one ring per person.

Each ring allows the wearer to add their Dexterity bonus to initiative rolls at the cost of their Dexterity bonus in combat. They are unlikely to loose initiative, but their reflexes are muted for the duration of the combat. Removing the ring does not remove this penalty for the duration of that combat. This is the cost of Rings.

If multiple rings are found and all are worn by different people, the extreme power of the rings becomes evident. If there are not enough willing people to don all of the rings in the box, then only the first power is in effect. In addition to the cost above, all wears gain many other powers at the cost of their will. This is not subject to a saving throw initially, each wearer must be a willing subject of the Ring's powers. Later, they may change their mind.

First, all hit points of all wears are combined into a single total. No individual will fall in combat so long as one hit point remains in the pool. If the pool is reduced to zero, all of the wearers fall down dead or unconscious. If a wearer has the ability to regenerate or heal, those points are added to the total hit point pool at the same rate they would normally be returned to the wearer. If the hit point pool was 11 and a wizard regenerated two points per round, the pool would be increased by 2 every round. The same goes for a healing spell, all points go to the pool. If one wearer of the ring is incapacitated somehow, they will continue to stand and fight even if they should be asleep or unconscious. Wearers are immune to powers of the mind and cannot be charmed, slept, paralyzed, etc. They can be poisoned, knocked down, tricked by an illusion, teleported away, etc. If one ring is completely destroyed or removed from a wearer, all abilities are lost for that person immediately and everyone else in the next round. In the case of destruction of any one ring, the whole set loses all powers, forever.

Second, one person is selected as the leader by vote. That character's abilities and skills are paramount. If the leader was a thief and the rest were fighters, everyone regardless of class would make all rolls as thieves. These rolls are made at the individual's level, not that of the leader. None of the abilities of fighters could be used because their personalities and knowledge are suppressed. Once this leader is selected, it cannot be changed except when the whole group removes all of the rings to restart the voting process.

The voting process is silent. Once the rings are on, no debate can occur. Players simply point at the person they wish was in charge. If no leader is selected, none of the rings powers are activated. A vote can be carried out every round before initiative is rolled.

Third, special abilities possessed by the lead character may be used by anyone in the group, but only to the extent of normal usage and limited by the level of the individual rather than the leader. In the above example of theft and fighters, one fighter could backstab as a thief while another could pick a lock. But two players could not backstab in the same round nor could every player pick a lock. One thief, one specific use of one ability per round. No player would be permitted more attacks per round as a fighter because the thief is in control. If a fighter was in charge and of high enough level, multiple attacks per round from each character would be permitted.

Fourth, magic works differently for this hive mind. A caster in the role of leader is still able to use spells, but the spells may originate from any person wearing a ring. This allows the use of spells from a more beneficial location. Only the magical abilities of the leader are available and are limited by the caster's ability. If a magic user was the leader, he could permit his magic missile spell to originate from a cleric who was also wearing a ring, but no one could use a clerical spell or ability because the magic user is in control. The ring wearers may not cast multiple spells per round, but could utilize spell like abilities of magic items, if the leader was also able to use that magic item.

Fifth, the weapon proficiency of the leader are extended to the rest of the group, while the lack of proficiency by the leader does not reduce other characters abilities. For example, a fighter under the control of a mage still remembers how to use a sword. A magic user under the control of a fighter can also use a sword.

However, moral limitations DO affect all in the group. A cleric in control of a fighter would not want the fighter to use a sword. If there was no blunt weapon available for the fighter, the fighter would use the flat of the blade or the hilt as a weapon. In the reverse situation, a cleric would be forced to remove the ring to avoid using a sword.

Sixth, there is a bonus to strike if more than one ring wearer attempts to strike a single target in the same round. Each subsequent attack in a round gains a plus one to hit. This is because the Rings allow coordinated attacks, so a miss might set up a later strike. This bonus resets to zero every round.

If one character, other than the leader, wished to cancel the effects of The Rings of the One, they must make a saving throw vs. magic to remove the ring. When this occurs, the powers of the Rings are canceled immediately for that one person and in the very next round for all others. The hive mind effect is canceled completely until that ring is put back on by a willing person. This save causes a noticeable but slight blanch or hesitation in all of the characters but doesn't effect them otherwise. The same happens if someone is disintegrated, turned astral, dispelled, etc.

Removing one ring could place specific characters in hazardous situations, such as a magic user leading an assault on a castle gate might lose some combat abilities at a critical moment.

Groups wearing the ring cause a special morale check in the second round of combat. There is a significant creep factor in seeing a group move as one entity which will cause fear.

The leader is not able to read the minds of others, only issue commands which must be followed. The other CAN read the mind of the leader.

When the powers of the rings are canceled, every character is healed for one hit point before the pool of hit points is divided evenly. All hit points divide are rounded down and must be awarded equally, meaning that all characters could end up with a single hit point and nothing more. Basically, taking the rings off cannot kill the wearer, but could leave them in dire straits.

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