Showing posts sorted by relevance for query 52 weeks of magic. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query 52 weeks of magic. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, January 5, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps

As a New Years resolution, I have decided to create a news column style post, entitled "52 Weeks of Magic".

These spells and items have played a prominent role in my various D&D campaigns over the years. They should be amendable to the various D&D editions available to all players, including retro games such as Labyrinth Lord and BlueHolme. I am uncertain about 4e or 5e as I do not play those sets... yet.

The first entry to the 52 Weeks of Magic is a basic magic spell employed in a way that was never really intended: Continual Light as magic item. Quite possibly, this was your first magic item. It was mine.

The spell creates a sphere of light with a 60' radius. It will move at the direction of the caster or it could be attached to a mobile or immobile object such as a rock. As an attack spell, it could be cast at a creature's eyes to cause blindness. Over the years, dispelling the globe of light was worded differently. It could be canceled by a Darkness spell, at will by the caster, Dispel Magic, and in the case of blinded creatures, Remove Curse.

Gee, that is a rather problematical spell on a couple of levels. It disappeared in 3.5e, replaced by Continual Flame which has a cost and is less effective. This was a stylistic change and probably for the better.

Down to the brass tacks. Or tube, as the case may be. Character's intelligent enough to realize the immediate benefit of the spell could cast this spell into a scroll tube. My character used a brass map tube, creating a brass lantern, ala Zork. One of my players cast the spell into a cut and blackened tube of bamboo and added a large glass bead for color and dubbed it the 'boo Torch. The color of the bead of glass was assigned to specific characters so they could identify each other over great distances. How ingenious.

This article is not about the spell, it's about the items created for the spell. The material cost can be very low in the case of the 'boo Torch. Or more likely, the spell would be cast on a high value item such as an ornate, custom-made tube or a standard votive candle.

The game breaking aspect of this spell and the items created by it are not the obvious ones. A Continual Flame spell in 3.5e carries a cost of 50 gp. Even at many times this rate, every village should have one or more lanterns powered by Continual Light. Dungeons should be lit all the time. Another consequence is lanterns should not exist at all or exist as a cheaper replacement to the magic lanterns being turned out by the player characters.

An interesting cultural twist on this type of item is whole cities being lit by these devices. Attackers would be well advised to make Dispel Magic and Darkness apart of their siege craft. Imagine the terror of having your defenses plunged into darkness the moment a besieging army arrived? Where are those lamps and torches, again? Defenders wouldn't have ready stocks of oil due to a lack of reliance on it for lighting.

Another aspect to considered for this infiltration of magic on a culture is the lack of heat by light sources. A permanently lit room is pretty chilly without a fire or stove. Some cities may require lamp and torch making materials on hand at all times after the "White Winter Death", a particular bad winter which exhausted all primary sources of fuel for heating and no reserve of burnable lighting materials existed. Sure, there was light but it was of little comfort from the cold. Other cities may not be able to handle tradition sources a light as they are walking fire hazards.

In general, if a culture has no reliance on oil for lighting, the need for oil is greatly reduced. This fact could reduce a nation's need for presses, ceramics, waxes, machines, crops like olives, the hunting for blubber bearing creatures, etc. Lighting is a critical aspect of a culture's style.

Limitations to this type of object could be simple. There is a desire to outdo other wizards, clerics and magic users by having the most ornate device imaginable. It isn't a material cost of the spell, it is the desire to have shinier kit than everyone else that drove the price.

Another limitation introduced by my characters was to voluntarily end the blinding effects after a period of time. This is an entirely different issue, but interesting because the players thought of it themselves. I liked it because I had forgotten about the poor blinded victim. He was never coming back into the story, but the good and lawful players decided that a day of blindness was more than enough "punishment". Can you say bonus role play experience?

The oddity of this was the "dispel at will" function never had a clear distance rule. This circles back to siegecraft, a wizard could be enticed to turn out the lights on an offending city.

I experimented with the "the birthday rule", where all magic spells ended on the caster's birthday if not supported by another energy source. A Resurrection spells continued past the birth date of the caster because the living person was the source of power for continuance, but poorly worded Wishes and Continual Light stopped on the caster's next birthday. I liked this story line as a one shot, as it put a single character at the center of an adventure, but it was impractical over time. This adventure corresponded to a player's birthday and I was unable to keep it going over the whole campaign.

I hope you enjoyed this essay. Next week's magic item is The Rat Bag. Please come back next Saturday evening for another unique essays on magic.

Navigation
WeekItemWeekItemWeekItemWeekItem
1 2 3Emulous Cursed Sword4
5 6 7The Symbol of Sol Invictus8
9 10 11Aemilla Carna12
13 14 15Shape of Memory16
17 18 19Staff of Eyes20
21 22 23Whispering Wings24
25 26
Coming Soon
27Coming Soon28
Coming Soon



Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 15 of 52 - The Shape of Memory

This weeks foray into magic is both a thing and a process.

The Shape of Memory is a ritual used by spell casters to better focus themselves to learn. The ritual invariably creates a small token of magic, "The Shape" but the actual item created is highly personal. This object, when consumed allows a spell caster to recast an orison, cantrip or first level spell as if it was on their memorized list of spells. It can be used immediately or saved for later. The spell must be currently on their list of known and memorized spells. The creation of the item does not cause the caster to lose the spell from their memory. The spell cannot be transferred from a scroll or book to "The Shape", it must be current in their mind.

Consumption is a qualified statement, the object may be eaten, drunk, burned, crushed, etc. The actual appearance of the object can be anything but tends towards care-free or whimsical items. Origami birds, a strange pattern inked on paper, a tint loaf of bread or muffin, a candy, a shaped wax candle, a tincture of herbs to drink, etc. In fact, the item produced will be as far away from the actual effect of the spell as possible, as if the caster was doodling mindlessly during the creation process.

The creation process usually takes all day as the magician makes choices about creation, but is not an all day process. The item has some worth, say a few coppers, but no one would call it art. The life time of such an object is usually 1 week unless special care is taken. Typically, the creator will have no more than 2 or three of these items available for use and sometimes the caster will use one to create a new one.

Any spell effect 1st level or under can put into the object, however most users will imbue the item with a knowledge based spell such a read magic or detect like spell. This is a practical consideration as usage requires an action which is best done while sitting or at least not looking at a target. The spells effect is immediate even if the consumption process takes longer. Usually such spells cannot be used in combat as the user is forced to make a non-combative action to activate it, but in rare instances it can be effective in combat. For example, throwing a paper token into a campfire can allow the user to immediately cast magic missile or light.

These items will NOT allow a different caster or non-spell caster to cast a spell but their use can cause confusion in this process. For example, a cleric who wishes to heal someone via this device may share a bite of a candy or loaf, but the target's action has nothing to do with the process. In fact, some people may find this action too weird to agree to, such as burning a token or eating a bit of candy. Only the caster's desire to do so is required.

This creation process is tied to the idea that there are many days where a caster will not utter a single prayer or spell and can save it for later.

Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death
Week 6 of 52 - Scimitar of Smiting
Week 7 of 52 - The Symbol of Sol Invictus
Week 8 of 52 - The Equi Phalera
Week 9 of 52 - Libertatem
Week 10 of 52 - Sorrow
Week 11 of 52 - Aemilla Carna
Week 12 of 52 - The Obice Cardeam
Week 13 of 52 - The Gnollish Rattlebone
Week 14 of 52 - The Bands of Roland
Week 15 of 52 - The Shape of Memory

Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 11 of 52 - Armilla Carna

My campaign setting is based off of the Roman Empire. The common tongue is spoken by all cultures and is the true lingua franca of the Peninsula of Plenty. It is rendered as modern English. Demi-humans each have their own language and humans speak Latin.

This week's Magic item is reflective of this. The Armilla Carna is a magic charm carried by followers of the goddess Carna, the embodiment of health and heart. These charms are not magical in and of themselves, but contain a magical concoctions prepared on the feast day of Carna. Most people will call them "heart lockets" or "Carna's Charms" in common. Priest of Carna always refer to them as "Armilla".  

The most common style of charm is a locket containing a tiny amount of beans and pork prepared on the feast day. This small portion of food imbues the charm with the ability to heal the wearer when their hit points are at 1 or less. When a character hits one hit point via any kind of damage, the charm will heal one point per hour to a maximum of 4 hit points. 

If, by some chance, a person dies while wearing one of these charms it will char. Not only won't it work again, it is considered to be very bad omen. Typically, this occurs when someone dies by murder, drowning and poison. The small charm is not able to overcome the damage done by these kinds of incidents. It is a tradition to create a new charm as a burial gift. Taking one of these gifts from a grave is common law crime and the punishment is stoning or exile.  

The discharge of magic from the locket's consumption of the food stuffs will cause the device to warm and glow faintly while working. When the healing is complete, the wearer will find the locket has been completely cleaned and appears new.  

Anyone can create one of these lockets, however it must be blessed by a priest or priestess of Carna. Once blessed, it can be filled by anyone on the feast day of Carna to regain it's power. A priest of Carna can recharge the items if they have preserved foodstuffs from the feast day. Temples to Carna will do this for a small donation, usually an amount necessary to put on a small, simple feast on the holy day. 

The charms tend to be very rustic and primitive in nature, being made of string and large hollowed out beans. Traditionally, family member will make one for their children, cousins, parents, etc. to celebrate their first attendance of the feast. 

These items are very popular with soldiers. Their lockets tend to be more ornate and sometimes very valuable. Manufactured charms tend to be metal copies of the simple string and bean construction of commoners, despite being made of higher quality materials.  

Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death
Week 6 of 52 - Scimitar of Smiting
Week 7 of 52 - The Symbol of Sol Invictus
Week 8 of 52 - The Equi Phalera
Week 9 of 52 - Libertatem
Week 10 of 52 - Sorrow
Week 11 of 52 - Aemilla Carna
Week 12 of 52 - The Obice Cardeam
Week 13 of 52 - The Gnollish Rattlebone

Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 44 - The Bountiful Pot of Perseverance

In this final post of the series, I have used the most recent
map of the peninsula to show how much things have evolved
over this series of posts. 
We are at the end of 52 Weeks of Magic. Due to the holiday, the posting of these items has been intermittent and out of order. I intended these two posts to occur on Christmas, which I managed to do, but they are not properly numbered because I believed that it would take me until December 31st to finish catching up with the series.

These last two items, The Bountiful Pot of Perseverance and The Spot of the Teapot are linked by a story from my campaign on the Peninsula of Plenty and real life events capturing the spirit of Magic and the Holidays.

Without further ado, here is the description of The Bountiful Pot of Perseverance. This magical pot, when placed on a fire will activate. Any scraps of food placed into the pot with water will be transformed into a hardy stew. Even the most meager scraps will magically be enough to feed a dozen people three meals a day.

How this device came to the Peninsula of Plenty is an elven legend. The first Elven colonies found the Peninsula to be very warm and snow to be a rarity even in winter, except for the mountains to the north. At that time, heating did not seem to be an issue and the elves naturally used magical lighting around their colony thus had little need for fuel.

In the third year after the establishment of the small port town, a blizzard swept down from the mountains and forced their ships to flee before the storm. All of the ships escaped home, but it was months before relief for the colony could be sent. As the Winter Solstice came and went, the food was nearly gone and the elves were trapped inside, with hardly any fuel for life sustaining fire. Exhausted and hopeless, the elves realized that survival was impossible. Cold and starvation is not fast and the elves could only wait for the end.

Three or four days after the solstice, the cold became unearthly. It was even too cold for snow. And as the dawn glinted off the Diamond Dust that hung in the air, the elves heard bells. And with the bells came a man. Or a dwarf or a woman. The only thing that the elves could agree on was this person was dressed in red, wore a fake beard and nose and carried several packages.

Their saintly benefactor gave to them many things, loaves of bread and teas and pots and earthen vessels and blankets. The survivors tried to thank their benefactor, but with a wink and a finger on the tip of his nose, he or she vanished into thin air.

The colony was saved and persevered through the harsh winter. To this day, the Colony is vigilant for foul weather, yet celebrates a great feast during the week of the Winter Solstice.

We are at the end of this series of wonder and magic.

I would like to dedicate this series to a friend, Gary, who was Santa for a great number years to many, many people. After his passing, his wife Katie took up his Santa hat and continued the tradition for many years until she awarded the mantle to their son, who continues the tradition for another generation. This series is dedicated to all people who place wonder and joy of others before their own needs, to create magic for others.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 43 - The Spot of the Teapot

I have used the oldest map I have of the Peninsula as a nod
to all the hours spent on creating this campaign. 
We are at the end of 52 Weeks of Magic. Due to the holiday, the posting of these items has been intermittent and out of order. I intended these two posts to occur on Christmas, which I managed to do, but they are not properly numbered because I believed that it would take me until December 31st to finish catching up with the series.

These two items are linked by a story from my campaign on the Peninsula of Plenty and real life events capturing the spirit of Magic and the Holidays. These stories will be a part of The Bountiful Pot of Perseverance post, which will be out later this morning.

The Spot of the Teapot is an unusual magic item. It has multiple parts that do many things. The Teapot has a basket, which when filled with bark, leaves or grasses will produce 8 gallons of savory and warming tea per day. Drinking the tea will fortify the drinker against cold for 8 hours.

The second half of this magic item is the fire ring which protects the teapot from the coals of the fire. This ring will cause any sized fire to warm the teapot and the area around it for 24 hours, after which more fuel must be added. This area is variable, but large enough to hold about 10-12 people.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 14 of 52 - Bands of Roland

Band of Roland
Price: 30,000 gp
Body Slot: None
Caster Level: 18
Aura: Incredible conjuration
Activation: None
Weight: 1 lbs
The Band of Roland is a strange magic device. The device comes in a leather bag about 18” around and 2” thick. Within the bag is a twisted band of white metal inscribed with the word “Roland”. The band is twisted in such a way that it forms three loops within the bag. When the loops are uncoiled, the band expands to 4 feet and is a permanent gate to a location underground. One side of the band is an entrance to the room underground while the back side turns opaque and impenetrable. The space is clearly carved into the bedrock somewhere on the prime material plane and has a source of clean air. It is 4 feet tall and wide and 12 feet deep.
The interior of the room is heavily warded against magic, especially scrying, so items placed within the room cannot be found by magical means, except when the band is uncoiled.
It is completely safe to enter the space so long as one does not manipulate the ring at the same time. If the band is placed face down the floor or recoiled, characters will be trapped inside the room until someone picks up the band. They will also notice that the opening will pull objects and people “down”, but only if in contact with that surface. If the band is coiled, the opening vanishes, as does all light inside the hole. The most dangerous mistake to make is to enter the room and pull the band in after one’s self. The white band only shows the interior of the room, so if the band is placed in the room no escape is possible without other magic.
If escape is necessary, please see the History section for the possibility of rescue. Escape is possible with any sort of magic similar to teleportation.
Uncoiling the band is a free action as it is spring loaded, closing it takes an action and placing it the bag is a full round action. The band seems to fight being put in the bag. When uncoiled, the band can be used two handed as a makeshift tower shield.
Characters who attempt to use knowledge skill checks or spells to identify the purpose of the band will only discover/remember that Roland was a tyrant who passed away about 50 years ago. No one misses him at all.
Incredible conjuration; CL 17; Craft Wondrous Item, gate, see History and Creation sections for other limitations on creation. Price: 30,000 gps, weight 1 lbs.
The History of Roland and his band:
Tyrant Roland had many sets of bands created. The white band is a “sending band”. These were distributed to his underlings as a means of paying tribute. The underling would place treasure within the space and Roland would collect it from time to time.
Roland installed a black “receiving band” mounted in the wall of his treasury, facing a hole dug into the wall. Black bands are not coil-able like the white bands and are always "open". At predetermined times, Roland’s men would remove the black band from the wall to collect tribute sent via the white band. At first, the black bands were placed on the floor, face down, to prevent his underlings from seeing who retrieved the treasure. Anyone who attempts to step though the band in this position will become “pinned” to the floor by gravity that is inconsistent with his or her local gravity. This is easy to escape by rolling along the surface and would only be harmful if someone ran or charged into it without looking. It is pretty obvious from looking at the opening in the white side band that there is a surface in the way. Probing or touching a surface in this fashion is possible and not remotely dangerous. 
A prince staged a coup by outfitting a squad of crossbow men inside the room to kill whoever took the treasure. This failed and Roland retaliated by having deep shaft dung into the floor of his vault. The black band was placed over the mouth of this shaft as a surprise for anyone attempted to enter the room before or after tribute times. 
Roland’s son was far less bloodthirsty than his father was and after disposing of Roland in the very trap he made, he ignored the bands for many years. On rare occasions, his men rescued people trapped within the rings. The new king used information from the trapped to collect information rather than tribute from his father’s former underlings.
The name of Roland’s son is lost to history, but his child, Roland the Reformer is well known. The Reformer has no interest in taking tribute using the bands, but is somewhat voyeuristic in his use of them. He had his father buried in the hole in the floor of the vault, and there is a large gold and wooden throne upon it, holding the unnamed king's crown as a tribute to family. (The Reformer is unwilling to wear a crown.) The royal vault holds the bodies of two kings now and Roland the Reformer is known to visit the vault to think. It is more of an office than a tomb or vault.

The Reformer is known for collecting coins and will “steal” from the band vault to add to his personal collection of coins. The Reformer will also rummage through possessions found room, in an effort to discover the whereabouts of the owners. He is more interested in single coins that are rare than coins in quantity. He will read journals, diaries and maps, but always returns them.

He attempts to locate the users using his own knowledge of geography. If he locates someone in harm's way, he will leave trinkets in with their possessions. Such items are under a 100 gps in value and often of dubious usefulness. Bottles of liquor and wine, and sometimes other small tokens of esteem. In the rare instance that two groups are using the space, he will draw a line between each users items and a series of glyphs. The glyphs usually translate to something indicative but odd such as: "Seaside Man" or "Desert Drifters". The users will be baffled by the King's division of property.

In this endeavor, he removes the black ring from the wall and turns it around so he will not become trapped inside or ambushed. The effect of this is, characters have a 1% chance per use of seeing the interior of Roland the Reformer’s vault. Invariably, Roland’s treasure is always bigger and more interesting than the characters treasure. The throne and crown are obviously burial markers and is often easily seen through the white ring. 
On Creation

If a player character attempts to create a Band of Roland and is unaware of the black band, he or she will be tapping into Roland’s collection of black bands and the item will work as described above. If the character is aware of the system, they can create their own pairs of bands for twice the cost. Once created, a pair of bands will link together permanently. Characters will be able to select the destination by the placement of black bands. Remember, the black bands cannot be coiled and when not in use they are an opaque barrier.

Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death
Week 6 of 52 - Scimitar of Smiting
Week 8 of 52 - The Equi Phalera
Week 9 of 52 - Libertatem
Week 10 of 52 - Sorrow
Week 11 of 52 - Aemilla Carna
Week 12 of 52 - The Obice Cardeam
Week 13 of 52 - The Gnollish Rattlebone
Week 14 of 52 - Bands of Roland

Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 28 - The Retort

Since my campaign seems to have died, it's time to get back to 52 Weeks of Magic. This week 40 and The Retort is item 28. Twelve more to catch up.

The Retort is a magical weapon, which initially appears as a leather wrapped handled, with no blade or guard.

The weapon counts as a +5 weapon, but has no bonuses to strike or damage. When the holder is threatened, The Retort will magically appear in the owners hand and ignite into a magical blade 4 feet long. If the user does not have a free hand, the weapon will appear between them and their opponent, waiting to be grasped. The weapon is usable by all classes.

The blade is a cracking field of energy which follows the form of a blade but writhes and twists towards the opponent or opponents. This amorphous form reduces the wielder's AC by 4, making them harder to hit because the energy causes fear. The blade is obviously dangerous. It's light will illuminate a 30 foot area to full daylight.

On a successful to hit roll, a living target must make a save vs. death. If successful, they take no damage. If failed, the target's hit points are reduced to one hit point and they are rendered unconscious for 1d6 turns. No matter how many times struck, the weapon will always leave one hit point. The Retort is not exactly cursed, but holding it will cause the wielder to deal with all threats with The Retort and not switch to another weapon. This obviously prevents the user from issuing a final blow to kill a target. 

If the target cannot be rendered unconscious (such as undead or a golem), they will be encased in a field of energy matching The Retort's blade and take 1d4 points damage for the next 3 rounds. Each hit will increase the duration of the field of energy by one round. While this field has some of the aspects of a flame, it is magical damage, not fire. 

The Retort allows the user to see invisible or astral creatures and will leap to the user's hand when confronted with such threats. Against otherworldly creatures such as demons or creatures summoned, the weapon will leap to the users hand and radiate a circle of protection for 10 feet. The wielder can lash out at these creatures with the blade so long as they are within 6 feet of the circle of protection. It is a one-way barrier to physical attacks, not magic or missiles.

If the wielder strikes themselves on purpose, they will be surrounded by a corona of flame which will will heal them to full hit points immediately. The owner must be under some sort of threat, such as eminent combat to use this power. People who have healed themselves in this fashion will feel numb and cold and the wound will burn with flames like The Retort's blade.

Once the immediate threat is ended, The Retort will try to extinguish itself. If the user wishes, they can force the blade to stay lit. The user will lose half their current hit points and will be unable to sleep, meditate, pray or study spells. The blade will remain lit for 24 hours, during which time, the holder cannot be healed by any means, except a wish. Wishing for healing will also extinguish the blade for a week, rendering it useless for that time.

If the wielder dies or is reduced to 0 hit points while the blade is lit, they cannot be revived, reincarnated or resurrected until they are physically separated from The Retort. If the weapon is taken up by another person, it will refuse to operate for the previous user. If the weapon is thrown away, it may return the prior owner. To prevent this from happening, the former user must save vs. magic.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 13 of 52 - Gnollish Rattlebone

The Gnollish Rattlebone is a +1 neolithic, magical mace. Constructed of wood, bone and slate, the Rattlebone makes an unnerving clattering sound when swung, as if the whole thing will come apart. Much of the magic in this mace is needed to merely hold the thing together. It weighs 10 to 15 lbs. and most non-gnoll characters will need to swing it 2 handed. It does 1d8+1 damage.

The item has additional properties. In the hands of anyone, swinging or shaking the mace will remove the fear caused by undead in a radius of 25". If held by a cleric, it improves their ability to turn undead by one level. In the hands of a gnoll, it will turn undead as if the wielder was a 3rd level cleric.

Navigation:
Week 1 of 52 - Magic Lamps
Week 2 of 52 - The Rat Bag
Week 3 of 52 - Emulous Cursed Sword
Week 4 of 52 - The Cloak of Peaceful Repose
Week 5 of 52  - The Cowl of Death
Week 6 of 52 - Scimitar of Smiting
Week 7 of 52 - The Symbol of Sol Invictus
Week 8 of 52 - The Equi Phalera
Week 9 of 52 - Libertatem
Week 10 of 52 - Sorrow
Week 11 of 52 - Aemilla Carna
Week 12 of 52 - The Obice Cardeam
Week 13 of 52 - The Gnollish Rattlebone

Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - 12 of 52 - The Obice Cardeam

This week's magic item comes in pairs. The Obice Cardeam are a pair of knuckledusters or as the Romans called them, cestus. The name Obice Cardeam means "Cardea's Barrier".

They come in three forms, one for warrior types, one for magic users and one for clerics. All three types count as +1 weapon, however only the warrior's cestus has a +1 bonus to hit or damage. Each one does 1d4 points of damage plus any other bonus.

The clerical version has a divination power, once per day they can identify a cardinal direction (any) or point the direction to the nearest holy site of Cardea. If used inside a shrine to Cardea, they will point to either the closest larger or closest smaller site and the wearer will be aware of which it is. In the picture, the device is shown to have points. These are not blades or sharp edges, so clerics can use them. 

The magic user type has the ability to cast Knock or Wizard Lock a door once per day. Note, wizardly types using these weapons will not be able to cast magic spells as they are iron and they restrict finger movement.

Fighting types can utilize all three kinds, but will not be able to access their magical abilities. They will find the lack of damage odd. If a cleric wears the magic user type or the other way around, the wear will know of the additional abilities, but will not be able to activate them.

All three types have a special power when defending a threshold - they grant the user regeneration at a rate of 1 hp per round. To trigger this effect, the user must be defending some sort of entryway with a clearly delineated threshold and must be within 50 feet of it. The threshold must be an item that has been constructed or refined to qualify. For example, the mouth of a cave would not count but if that opening was decorated or carved to show the difference between inside and outside, it would count. All doorways count, even if the door has been removed or destroyed, as do gates, portcullises, etc. Mere holes in walls do not count. Magical gateways, such as those generated by spells do not count due to the temporary status.

Monks may wear these items, however, they do not increase the damage done over their normal hand to hand damage. They merely convey the ability to strike creatures which require a magical weapon to hit. In the hands of a monk they are equal to a +3 weapon as monks have special knowledge of hand to hand weapons.

Navigation
WeekItemWeekItemWeekItemWeekItem
1 2 3Emulous Cursed Sword4
5 6 7The Symbol of Sol Invictus8
9 10 11Aemilla Carna12
13 14 15Shape of Memory16
17 18 19Staff of Eyes20
21 22 23Whispering Wings24
25 26
Coming Soon
27Coming Soon28
Coming Soon



Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Week 24 - Monk's Bane

This weapon is a dragonfly shaped dart made from wire and glass. When thrown at a target, it will strike once a round, every round until the target either strikes the dart with a weapon or makes a save vs. magic. No to hit roll is required as the dart can be avoided and neutralized with a saving throw. 

The dart strikes for 1 point of damage per round, but also foils one attack per round by the target. If the target strikes the dart without a weapon or tries to catch or deflect it, they suffer 3 points of damage, lose all attacks for that round, and the dart will still attack next round. This is why the dart is called Monk's Bane.

Any handheld object counts as a weapon, including gauntlets, sticks, brooms, shields, etc. 

If thrown at a magic user and the MU passes their saving throw, the dart will return to the thrower and explode for 1d6 points of damage. There is no saving throw. Illusionists who make a saving throw will take control of the dart. Again, there is no saving throw. All other character types that make a save cause the dart to return to the original thrower, where it will go inert for a day. Note: Characters have two opportunities to negate the dart; First the saving throw and second, an attempt to strike. 

Since the Bane is attempting to strike the target's face, the target suffers no penalty for striking it and can even use a shield to bat it down. However, other people suffer a -4 when striking at a dart pursuing someone else. Missile weapons are right out for this purpose (unless the archer is evil or doesn't care). 

Monk's Bane is usually found in groups of three, sometimes 6. Several of these darts can target one individual, but only the first will attempt to strike them. The rest will circle. If one is defeated, another will take its place in the next round. Most characters will need to make multiple attacks or multiple saves to escape. However magic users and illusionists require only one and this one save will either cause all of them to return home and explode or all fall under the control of the illusionist. 

When an illusionist takes control of the darts, the darts will land in his or her hand. The darts can only be thrown as fast as the character has attacks. Monk's Bane have the normal range of a dart, but once in flight can chase someone for miles. 

When a magic user repels these darts with saving throw, the darts will scream after their former owner and newest target with a vengeance and will usually strike by the end of the round, but can strike like a bolt from the blue after many days. It is a rather ignominious way to die. 

Magic users and illusionists generally understand the problems presented with these magic items and will use them with care.

Navigation
WeekItemWeekItemWeekItemWeekItem
1 2 3Emulous Cursed Sword4
5 6 7The Symbol of Sol Invictus8
9 10 11Aemilla Carna12
13 14 15Shape of Memory16
17 18 19Staff of Eyes20
21 22 23Whispering Wings24
25 25b 26Shield of Force27
Coming Soon



Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. Also on Drivethru is my custom character sheet for AD&D and Unearthed Arcana.

I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 


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.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Week 20 - Helm of Aware Airs

This weeks magic item is an unusual helm for arcane spell casters. The Helm of Aware Airs is made of tin, copper and iron. It reduces AC by 1, a magical effect. The helm has no opening at all, so the wearer is physically blinded, deafened, cannot smell or taste anything. It's purpose was to prevent the casting of spells by magic users. It will block spells cast by rangers, magic users, witches, sorcerers and illusionists. If the wearer is unrestrained, they can remove the helm easily. It was obviously meant to be used on someone who was restrained.

It does not prevent the casting of spells by clerics, bards, shamans and paladins. Some deities take considerable exception to people who place these items on their temporal proxies. The consequences of such displeasure is up to the DM in charge.

The helm has several useful side effects. First, the helmet will allow the user to see/sense every living creature within a 100 foot radius, though walls and barriers, even if the targets are hidden or invisible. Living creatures appear as glowing, ghost like shapes which become more indistinct over distance and intervening materials. Someone in the helm will sense barriers and walls a fogginess in front of living beings.

The wearer cannot be surprised by living creatures. This useful feature is mitigated by the fact that the user only has a hazy awareness of non-living objects, barriers or walls. They can sense enough to walk, hands out before them, but they have a -4 to strike or perform any task that requires the senses blocked by the helmet.  Without a living creature to orientate on, the wearer cannot sense walls and barriers. The helm does not impact the users ability to defend themselves from living things at melee ranges, the wear still receives an AC bonus for Dexterity. This does not apply when the attack comes from a non-living creature or a missile weapon.

If a potion is brought to the mouth area of the helmet, the wearer will know if the potion is magical, poisonous, or mundane and know if it is safe or unsafe to drink. The wearer will not know the purpose of the item. Alcohols register in a unique fashion due to the nature of the beverage.

The helm renders the wearer invisible to all undead but does not reveal the presence of undead. Intelligent undead can guess the wearer's presence, but have a hard time tracking the wearer if they stay motionless or move quietly.

The history of the helm is lost. The obviously usage is to force a magic user to wear the helm while restrained. The loss of sight and sound while remaining aware of living threats was probably a happy benefit when forcing confessions from witches and the like. Player characters will probably find other uses for it.

Navigation
WeekItemWeekItemWeekItemWeekItem
1 2 3Emulous Cursed Sword4
5 6 7The Symbol of Sol Invictus8
9 10 11Aemilla Carna12
13 14 15Shape of Memory16
17 18 19Staff of Eyes20
21 22 23Whispering Wings24
25 25b 26Shield of Force27
Coming Soon



Now, the commercial. I have a little book called Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners, over at DrivethruRPG. Also on Drivethru is my custom character sheet for AD&D and Unearthed Arcana.

I am obviously thinking of writing another and Gnolls might be the subject. Please let me know what you think in the comments. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 30 - Elven Firebeads

In my very first post for this series, Magic Lamps, I introduced the idea every day problems caused by magic. A magic lamp or a light spell doesn't throw heat. Back when we all lived in caves, we probably needed light more than heat. However, knowing you can make both is great.

This magic item is very common in the elven lands in the Peninsula of Plenty campaign. The first elves in the land were unwilling to cut down trees and as a consequence, used magic for lighting. This was not helpful when they were hit by particularly cool monsoons. The Peninsula doesn't often receive snow outside of the mountains, so when it started falling right after the cold monsoon season, the elves were in trouble. If they had wanted to collect wood, it was too late to identify the best wood and proper kindling. The first attempt at a colony on the Peninsula retreated across the sea because of the lack of fire.

Thus the need for Firebeads were born. Firebeads look very much like prayer beads. To make them function, the user pulls a bead off the end, cups it in their hands like an ember and blows on it. The bead will warm, then burn like kindling for two hours. The beads have an affinity for earth and ash. They will roll up to 3 feet towards earth and ash, even up hill. A typical set of firebeads will have 52 beads with one large bead or toggle at the end to serve as a handle.
Empire to the left, Elven lands to the right.

In the elven lands, every household and every traveler will have one of these sets. In the human lands, they are highly prized treasures as they have not found a way to reproduce the magic. Creating such an item requires both a magic user and a cleric working in tandem.

Firebeads are interesting in the fact that they are a magical consumer product. They can burn homes down and they can inflict a point of damage, but only in highly contrived scenarios. For the most part, they are totally safe.

While totally common in the elven lands, they are a novel and highly prized commodity in the Empire. Most Elven-Human treaties involve the trade of Firebeads for Verbena, a powerful healing herb. These products are used to seal deals because they cannot be used as a weapon.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Weeks of Updates!

Lately, updates have fallen by the wayside. This has happened for a couple of reasons. I have taken on some new responsibilities at work, I've begun working overnights in a group home in addition to filling in for a teacher out for training this week.

How does he know he lost anything?
His tent looks like his room.
My son has been working a camp in Wyoming county and managed to lose a whole backpack of critical supplies for his work week. Between stints at work, I've been ferrying camping supplies to him at random because he doesn't know what he lost until he needs it.

I am bone tired.

Let me give you the updates for the past couple of weeks.

In the middle of July, I put the 52 Weeks of Magic of series on hiatus. That will be back at the end of August. I have also decommissioned three other blogs and imported their data to These Old Games. I am still in the process of vetting data from that process, some posts will be completely deleted while others will be adapted for here.

To this end, should now see some new tabs above: Short Stories and Hardware. "Short Stories" is exactly as labeled, some fictional and some from real life. "Hardware" is comprised of a series of links to computer support issues that I have run across while maintaining old hardware, usually for this site.

On July 15th, I launched The Compass Rose Minisetting title on DriveThruRPG. On July 28th, I launched a similar title called Kobold's Folly. Based on the feedback I have received, I separated the maps from the books, causing me to relaunch Compass Rose to match the style of Kobold's Folly. These are ruleset agnostic titles and are merely maps and descriptions for quick plug and play into your campaign. Sort of like a travel guide for DMs.

Zero to Hero and the Character Sheet continue to do well on Drive Thru. Thank you for downloading them.

Compass Rose follows the lives of the von Landskeep family and I have always intended to expand this title and align it to D&D and AD&D. Look for that in late August. I intended Kobold's Folly to be a one shot with no expansion, but King Minwan and his sister Hermin are so interesting, it may receive the same treatment as Compass Rose. When? Not sure. Maybe September.

The final update was to the Tek Tab, with new data for July being added.

Upcoming changes to website are based off of my experience from this round of updates. Right now, the Gemstone IV tab, Maps tab and Pregenerated characters are all static pages. It is more logical to break them down by subject and recreate them as individual post. The tab feature can pull up a chronological list of posts by subject. This makes far more sense, as my web stats do not include static pages.

One last item is, it has recently come to my attention that I will be going to Disney in November.

Thank you for being so patience with all of these updates and changes as I get everything in order to present more content to all of you. I couldn't and wouldn't do it without you.