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

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Most Egregious Kickstarter Promotion Ever

Author's Note: Sometimes, life kicks you in the balls. Sometimes it just doesn't stop. If you don't laugh some or all of it off, you'll go nuts. This post is in that laughing spirit. 

It pokes fun at my situation, skewers my reviews and pays homage to a spammer that used my 52 Weeks of Magic series to promote a consignment shop by implying items sold were possibly magical. It also promotes a kickstarter campaign by Todd Leback.  

Todd Leback's Basilisk Hills Compiled Hexcrawl Kickstarter

Last year Todd Leback used Kickstarter to publish his book, Into the Wild. Mr. Leback's project was very successful, having met many, if not all of the stretch goals. In getting this project off the ground, Mr. Leback offered a preview look at his book which I reviewed. Even in the rough form, it was excellent. 

I should be re-reviewing Into the Wild now that I have a physical copy. I haven't because real life intrudes. Back on July 19th, my house burned. I am meeting the the structural engineer this week to see what parts of the building can be saved. For the most part, the entire contents of the home were completely destroy, burned to ash. 

Well, not everything. 

Into the Wild survived, as did the contents of two boxes that the book sat on. It was something of a miracle. This on Print on Demand title survived 1000° C heat. Amazing. 

This book is incredible. It was printed on high quality paper, in full color. The artwork is great and the maps are excellent as they are informative. This title is 221 pages and covers everything you need to run a Hexcrawl campaign by expanding Mr. Leback's prior works: Classing up the Joint, Domain Building, Hexcrawl Basics, Random Weather Generation, OSR Expanded Classes, and Wealth by NPC level. 

And it's affords protection from normal fires, 5' radius. 

In all seriousness I am not trying to imply that if you back Mr. Leback's kickstarter for Basilisk Hills Compiled Hexcrawl that it will protect your home from fire. 


I am telling you, you need to back Mr. Leback's kickstarter at the $25.00 Ultimate POD and PDF level to receive protection from fire. 

I've been a gamer since the 1970s. I can assure you that lesser works by Gary Gygax, Monte Cook and Dennis Sustare are not even fire resistant and absolutely do not confer any sort of bonus to your gaming shelf like Into the Wild does. Back then, we had some clues that most books were not fireproof. The Satanic Panic proved that great piles of the Holmes Editions D&D Box Sets were not proof against fire. Now we all suffer from a paucity of mint condition copies and tragically high eBay prices on sets that don't even come with chits. Don't let the Panic back in with it's crazy book burning and over the top rants targeting gamers of all types.  

Only you can prevent book burning.  And buying a copy of each of Mr. Leback's products is a good start. 

If Basilisk Hills Compiled is 1/10 the book that Into the Wild was, it should be able to save your game shelf from this: 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

(Ab)Using What You Got

I like to use random ideas. Generally, I hate spam but spam comments have cause some of my better writing to come to the forefront. In this week's version, "a better life with Spam", I'll be posting images of artwork based on Artificial Intelligence. 

This was a project I started a few months ago. I like the unicorn but wasn't sure where the rest of it was going. 

Queue up the spam suggesting Artificial Intelligence to get things done more efficiently. Since I was lost on this image, I didn't know how to proceed. I upload it to and the results are wonderful. 

I've tried redoing this image in oil paint, but that seems wrong. I think I will try colored pencils, which isn't my favorite choice, but I think it could work. 

On a side note, I generally don't delete spam. Some of it is amusing, such as the guy at a consignment shop that tried to imply that his goods were magic items to tie into my 52 Weeks of Magic posts. Classic. 

Let me take a second to shout out Fat Goblin Games,, and Goblin Clan Miniatures. These 3d printed products came into my awareness via a spam link. They have suspended their affiliate program, but they so nice, I can't help but suggest them for your table.  

Having said that, I have noticed an uptick with tech themed spam which has been deleted. The problem with tech products and spam is they can do nasty stuff with your data. I will implementing a policy of report and kill from here on out. If you have noticed missing comments, that is why. 

My apologies, but I can't host something dangerous. 

As always, if you have a product or website you want promoted, post a link in the comments or hit me up at Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, Dice.Camp or Mastodon. I am always looking for new stuff and content for my site, I would love to do a write up on you. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

#RPGADAY2020 9. Light


I could post about actual light, but I already did that last year under my series on 52 weeks of magic

No, I won't rehash that. Instead, I will post on making light. Of play, of games. 

Sometimes, a one-liner or good joke can make or break or possibly both a good session. One of my favorite gags came at the expense of my whole campaign. And I wouldn't change how things played out for the world. 

The PC's got clobbered by my antagonists. Most of them died thrice over. However, a cleric survived through all of the bloodshed. I didn't pick up on the fact that he was leveling like crazy. 

As the rest of the party rolled up new characters for the third time, he was collecting new spells. One of them was Quest. 

Since I didn't expect that the party would would get to 9th level against this particular antagonist, that character was not protected against a 5th level spell. And when the cleric unloaded on him, the effect was spectacular as it was effective. 

"I charge thee with a quest to bring me the most perfect grilled cheese sandwich."

I was really sick of that particular antagonist, so I didn't mind this outcome. But it turned in to brick joke. The guy ran off to find that grilled cheese sandwich which put me on the spot to come up with some other plot line. As this new plot line developed, the poor victim kept returning with grilled cheese sandwiches. 

"Master, here is the most perfect grilled cheese sandwich." 
"How do you know it's perfect?"
"Chomp... It's so good." 
"The perfect cheese sandwich has been defiled by your bite." 
"I know...  I know, but it was so good!" 

The table erupted in laughter each time we landed the joke. Eventually, I had to turn the DM reins over to someone else because the joke was killing my adventures. And that too was "so good". 

While this is a story of making too much light, everyone should try to bring some levity and light to the table. It is play, a game after all.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Stop Being Crazy In There!

Chaos Star
As you can tell from the frequency of posts, I have a lot of insanity going on. Where to begin? 

I'm teaching online classes all this week while trying to get my classroom up to NYSED standards. Social distancing for special edu students and all that jazz. Plus there is a ventilation standard, which is wholly dependent on a building inspection that no one at the school has any control of. I don't know what kind of HVAC we have... But that's not all, we have a mandated break starting next Monday which lasts until the first day summer school could start. So, I might be doing a lot of work for not much benefit. And that's not all... We are taking in new students, who really want to be correctly placed in a quality school by summer session, which means no one is assured of that mandated break. No pressure! 

In more minor news, the screen door latch fell off my front door and there are no replacements anywhere in the City of Buffalo. WTH? I had to order one online. I'm now checking USPS tracking like an eBay fanatic. In the meantime, we can't use our front door, even to check the mail... 

Anyway, I just want to post a reiteration that if you would like a link, a review, or whatever, go ahead and contact me at phil<zot :)>viverito at gmail<dot>com or leave me a not in the comments or contact me via or facebook. I'm always happy to link share. 

At some point last week I had a spammer come in and drop a link. It doesn't happen that often but the person was an total asshat about it. What is really rotten about the whole thing is, he was promoting a product that pertains to my website and looks super cool. This isn't like the guy that tried to link his consignment store to my series called 52 Weeks of Magic, as if the items in his shop were real magic items. This product is actually way better than that and it is linked to another product I am ridiculously happy with. 

The name of the company is and like the name implies, they produce 3d printed miniatures. The designs are by Fat Goblin Games, who is a great content producer on DriveThruRPG among other places. I purchased some clipart from them but then found it didn't match my setting, so now it's hanging on my wall as a great D&D themed piece of art. Great stuff. 

Anyway, what about these minis? has a dozens of minis for sale. They look great for any D&D campaign. In perusing the link the spammer left, I though, "Gee, I haven't ordered figures in a while." $30 later, I have an order for 7 Lizardfolk Warriors, 7 Ranged Skeletons and 8 Melee Skeletons

But wait, that's not all! I set up my own affiliate account and if you use those links above, I get a 10% commission. 

And then it gets better. If you use the coupon code "TheseOldGames", you'll receive a 10% discount! I can't wait for my order to come in... Hmm... Damn it! I fell for the spam!. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The TEK - Februrary 2020

Sales lagged in February, no help for that. People are done buying stuff by now. The end of the year explosion carries people for at least a quarter before they come back for more. 

February 2020 Downloads via DriveThruRPG:
AD&D Character Sheet For Use with Unearthed Arcana - 1
Compass Rose Inn Minisetting - 3
Kobold Folly Minisetting - 2
Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners - 1
Swashbucklers Character Class - 5

Webstats were much better.

Webstats (Updated):
Google Analytics Pageviews - 1,270
Google Analytics Sessions - 800
Pageviews per Session - 1.59

Page views were also down 13.84%, which was to be expected with a short month and the end of my 52 Weeks of Magic series. Post Christmas lags through January and the dries up mid-month. I am not disappointed as I had some great feedback on my new series, Strictly (Duke) Springer.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The TEK - December 2019 Stats

December 2019 Downloads via DriveThruRPG:
AD&D Character Sheet For Use with Unearthed Arcana - 5
Compass Rose Inn Minisetting - 6
Kobold Folly Minisetting - 7
Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners - 4
Swashbucklers Character Class - 4

Google Analytics Pageviews - 1,345
Google Analytics Sessions - 884
Pageviews per Session - 1.52

Pageviews were up by 11.34% over last month. That is cool.

What did I do last month? I did an update to the Kobold Folly Minisetting. Oddly, downloads were way down. I checked with DriveThruRPG and found out there is no mechanism to see how many people downloaded an updated file. It sort of makes sense, so I hope you got your update if you previously downloaded. Just go to your library tab and the new files will be there.

I also caught up and completed my series called 52 Weeks of Magic, with 17 posts in a month. Behind the scenes, I started preloading posts for January. I had 13 schedule and the first 3 went off without a hitch. I like posting in advance, but I don't have a tool to post across social media, automatically. I need to look into a tool for that. 

This year, you can expect to see many, many more reviews. January already has 2 set to go. Other new changes are I've become a Rakuten affiliate which possibly means better ads. I also decided to continue with Amazon ads for another month. My DriveThruRPG ads are the only ones generating any revenue at the moment, so keep on clicking those links.

Best wishes in 2020.

UPDATE Jan. 12, 2020. I've decided to add some images of my Google Analytics to this post.

November 2019

December 2019

Strictly (Duke) Springer - Day 001

"Duke" Springer is a child of the future...
 of the children of the 80s. Nice shirt, "Duke" 
Happy New Year!

Having reviewed the game Star Smuggler, I wanted relive my past and play it. If you aren't familiar with the game, you can read the review here or download the whole game there.

Anyway, what I am doing for my 2020 series? Last year was 52 Weeks of Magic. 2020 brings Strictly (Duke) Springer. This series will be a day-by-day play through of the classic game Star Smuggler from the point of view of the fictional hero, "Duke". I'm not sure what his first name is, but it has to be better than the one in the quotation marks.

Here are the general rules for this series. "Strictly", means I won't flub rolls one way or another. Second, all commentary on the game itself will be in bold. Third, if Duke dies before all 52 weeks are up, I will simply carry on with a henchman designated as Duke's Heir. If there are no henchmen, I will start over.

Here we go.

Dear Diary,

It's day one of my criminal career. I'm not really good at this. I have an Antelope class starship, starship's guns, a 2 cubic unit status pod, a side arm, a ship's boat called a hopper, 15 fuel units and passion for trouble. I also have 750 secs, which is good because I owe 120,000 secs. for the ship. The interest only payment is 300 secs. A week. It was a better deal than college.

Obviously, I'm at the Spaceport, so I'm going to spend a few hours looking for hirelings... er, employees. My first four hours are wasted, but after that, I manage to hire a few people.

First, I hired on an Pilot/Navigator. I'm a pilot/navigator like her, but unlike her, I can fire the ship's guns. The two of us together can defend the ship. Her weekly pay is 25 secs., but she'll cut me a deal at 15 secs. because the cockpit is equipped with a status unit. She also needed a sign-on bonus of 20 secs., which wasn't too unreasonable. She... she... she...

"Are you looking at a book of baby names?" she asked.
"No, that would be totally demeaning... Emily?" I said.
"My name isn't Em... Ugh. Whatever, 'Duke'. "

With that all settled, I also hired an Engineer I named Ratchet and medic I'll be calling "Doc".

Doc looked sheepish. "I'm really not a doctor, I just have some battlefield experience..."
"Do you want the sign on bonus or what?" I asked. According to the rules, Medics don't get signing bonuses. Oops. 
"You're the boss," he said.

Ok. Having invested some good time with my new associates, I managed to waste most the rest of the day. I did purchase 25 repair units, which are instrumental to my plans. In the 9th hour, I made a 300 secs. interest payment on the ship early, so I don't have much to worry about for a while. The rules don't specify a specific payday except by the last day of week, so I accept early payment within the same week as acceptable. 

We take off and set course for the Ruins of Regari, just an hour away.

At the end of the 10 hour day, we're beat. Here are financials, crew status and assets at the end of day one:

1 Antelope starship,
1 Hopper with 15 units of fuel,
1 Stasis pod 2 CU in size,
25 Repair units,
and the ship is fully fueled with 6 hypercharges.

Emily, weekly pay 15 secs. Sign-on bonus of 20. Death pay to the family is 200. Let's not die, ok?
Ratchet, weekly pay 15 secs. Sign-on bonus of 15. Death pay is 120.
Doc, weekly pay 10. No bonus which feels weird and death payment to family is 80.

Designated Heir: None, but I know it'll be Emily.

Death payments are meant to be a money drain, but there are light consequences for not paying it. 

I still owe 120,000 secs. in principal on the ship, but paid 300 in interest early, which gives me almost 2 ten day weeks until the next payment. I have 350 secs in my pocket, which is only enough to cover basic expenses for another 29 days. At that point, the crew will walk unless I can use some cunning plus the ship will be up for repo. Cunning is a stat that only Duke has, it allows him to roll a die to trick people into doing things. I have a rating of 4 out of six, so I could theoretically keep the crew without pay so long as my luck holds out. 

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.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 51 - Amulet of Fortuna

The Amulet of Fortuna is a simple device that provides special luck to the wearer. If the wearer fails a saving, they are immediately entitled to a second saving throw.

The magic of this devices is peculiar. It will only allow a single successful reroll per day. However, if the reroll fails to bring luck to the wearer, it will afford another save to a completely different event later in that same day. This can happen over and over until the wearer gains a bit of luck.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 49 - Oakheart's Staff

Oakheart's Staff is a clerical weapon which confers a bonus of +1 to hit and to damage. The staff can also cast Shield and Protection from Evil, once per day, each.

The true power of the Staff is it's ability to remove status effects over a radius of 30 feet. Raising the Staff in this way will have the following effects:

1) Unconscious and sleeping characters will be awoken immediately.
2) All people in the area of effect will recover 1 hit point.
3) All manner of bonds, such as ropes and shackles, will fall off.
4) If someone is under the effects of poison, a spell like charm, or a curse, they will be allowed another saving throw.

All four of these effects happen simultaneously and affect friend and foe alike. This power may be used once a day and costs one charge. The staff has 50 charges.

This staff effects the casting of Create Food and Water. It will double the strength of these spells when used in the process of casting. This effect is unlimited and costs no charges.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 52 - Cloak of the Magi

The Cloak of the Magi is a dangerous defense for a character to wear. This is a leather cloak imbued with the essence of a demon. The demonic power contain within requires that the owner not wear other magical defenses such as rings, bracers or any other device that confers a bonus to AC.

In exchange for this sacrifice, the Cloak acts as AC 4 armor. Second, the demon will ask the wearer to cast a spell at it. The effect casting a spell into the cloak is to create a magic barrier between the wearer and damage. The barrier will have hit points equal to twice the level of the spell cast at the cloak.

Once empowered in this way, the demon can defend the wearer against critical damage. If struck by a natural 20 or maximum damage, the cloak will strike out at the attacker. The victim is entitled to a saving throw vs. magic spell. The attack does 1d6 hp per round and the cloak will attack until the target is killed or makes a saving throw.

If the victim passes the save, the Cloak will turn against it's wearer attacking for 1d6 points of damage unless they make a saving throw. The Cloak will only make one attempt on it's owner's life. Passed or failed, the wearer's saving throw or the death of either the wearer or his or her attacker will depower the cloak until another spell is cast into it.

Note, if the character is struck by an item for damage which has no obvious source, the cloak will trigger it's attack sequence on the wearer unless a saving throw is made. Examples of damage which will trigger an attack are: magic spells cast from beyond visual range, a dart trap, falling debris, etc. Damage that are natural consequences will not trigger an attack. For example, poison ingested, fire, and falling.

Empowering the cloak "charges" the cloak for 24 hours. The barrier against attacks is not an increase in the user's hit points, it is a distinct thing separate from the wearer and the cloak. Casting a new spell into the cloak to recharge it will cause the barrier's hit points to reset to the last spell level used. The cloak always has a AC of 4, whether it is charged or not. If the wearer refuses to remove other protective devices, the AC bonus of the Cloak is nullified.

While magic using characters benefit the most from this cloak, any class can wear it. The cloak will only accept a spell from the wearer, someone else cannot charge the cloak up for the wearer.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 50 - Flask of Dīs Pater

The Flask of Dīs Pater is an unusual curiosity. It appears to be empty under normal circumstances, but when shaken, it sounds like it is mostly full of a liquid.

The purpose of this item is preservation and rescue. If a character is reduced to one or less hit points, drinking from, or pouring the flask into the beleaguered character cause them to fall into a deep coma. The coma stops all reoccurring damage, such as poison. In the event that the person has less than 1 hit point, it will preserve the body at the edge of death. This property allows a cleric to cast a heal or cure spell on the person, even beyond the point where such a spell would be effective.

In the case of a character having a single hit point, they will recover from the coma in one hour, with one addition hit point.

There are limits to the flask's power. First, the coma only lasts 24 hours per sip or pour. Second, if the magical healing is not enough, the person will die immediately as the spell is cast. Magical healing is the only thing that will restore a character. Two or more clerics working together could cast two or more healing spells simultaneously in increase the odds of keeping the person alive.

The only way to see the liquid is to accidentally dribble it while drinking or pouring into a person with an actual need. It is crystal clear and smells strongly of honey and mint.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 48 - Bullet of Impedance

Bullets of Impedance are magical sling ammunition. They are usually found in groups of 5 or 6. They are +1 weapon weapon to hit, but impose a magical effect instead of damage.

When a target is struck by the Bullets of Impedance, a maelstrom of wind afflicts them for 1d4+1 rounds unless they save vs. magic. There are 3 effects to this magical force. All attack rolls are at a - 1. Second, any spell current being prepared is lost and any attempts to cast a spell are hampered by the blast of wind. The third effect is actually beneficial to the target, their AC is improved by one against melee attacks and by 2 for missile attacks.

If a spell caster attempts to prepare a spell under these conditions, they will find the task impossible. They will not "lose" the spell as they can't even start the process.

While described as a wind, it is more like ghostly hands pulling and pushing the victim around unpredictably. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 42 - The Law of Verbena

The herb named Verbena is a cultivated leafy herb from the city of Nace. In nature, Verbena is extremely hard to find and can only be harvested at night. The leaf can be dried for use later or used immediately to staunch bleeding and heal 1d4 points of damage per use. Applying or ingesting the leaf will purify the wound and sanctify the user. Each leaf is sufficient to heal 3 times or three different people.

When used dry, it is typical stored within an earthen vessel and each leaf is handled with a hilt-like device, which acts as both tweeters and handle.

The Law of Verbena comes from one of the side effects of the leaf's use. Typically, the leaf cannot be handled without healing the healer, even with the handle like tool. When healed by the herb, the user is marked with The Law of Verbena. They will glow with a soft light, they will radiate an aura of good and will repel evil 10' for three days after healing. These are the minor effects of Verbena.

The Law of Verbena will curse anyone who injuries the healed during the effects of healing. For this reason, all healing must occur in a temple and the healed and healer must remain within it's confines until the minor effects fade. Should that person be deliberately injured while sanctified, the attacker will suffer a powerful curse. They will lose 1d3 hit points and half of their constitution for 7 days.

This curse was anecdotal know from it's discovery, but not always believed. Under the cruel rule of the Emperor Asinusistic, an elven prisoner was tortured for information. Asinusistic healed the elf to keep the process going. He was immediately struck down the curse.

Over the next seven days, the Capital of 75,000 was stricken with the curse. Many people died outright and the city was thrown into chaos. Asinusistic survived the initial curse, but subsequently died when he was thrown from the palace rooftop. News of his death stopped the Elven incursion and it was another generation before hostilities started anew.

Monday, December 23, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 47 - The Scryer's Beads

Hermin, the King's sister holds a crystal ball
and is scrying a human court house.
The Scryer's Beads are a magical item used in conjuncture with a crystal ball. The device is rather simple in nature, if a bead is touched to crystal ball, the crystal ball will be able to "lock on" to that bead and allow for scrying by anyone using that particular ball. The beads confer the ability to use the crystal ball to anyone, regardless of magical ability. Typically the beads are found in groups of 12 on a chain. Each bead appears as an attractive trinket to be worn.

Anyone holding the crystal ball can switch from bead to be bead on command.

This item first appeared in The Kobold's Folly, which is a series of maps available on DriveThruRPG.

In that book, the Scryer's Beads were separated from the crystal ball and the kobolds do not have the ability to use the crystal ball effectively. The beads were taken from a horse thief in a small provincial town and are sitting on the bench of the local judge.

The Kobold King's sister, Hermin, is in possession of the crystal ball and frequently scries the court room. Hermin believes she is seeing the high court of a human king. Observations of the rural court house have caused the kobold tribe to believe a great number of strange things about human royalty and legal proceedings, which they seek to emulate. While this may be amusing, the tribe has developed a hatred of horse thieves, and perhaps a taste for them.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 46 - The King's Cold

One of Minwan's subjects holds the King's Cold.
The King's Cold is a magical item owned by the House of Minwan, a tribe of kobolds. It is one of two magical items found by the tribe in the Folly that they now live in. They do not understand the nature or purpose of this torc-like device and it serves as a crown to the kobold king.

King Minwan has observed that the torc will make him unnaturally cold, even on the hottest days on the savanna. This is one power of the device, but isn't it's true purpose. Minwan does not like to wear the torc as a crown due to this property, he is often seen fidgeting with it. On particularly hot days he uses it as a reward, passing it from kobold to kobold so they may gain relief from the heat. This closer to the device's true purpose.

Before the Empire came with it's roads and supply lines, the indigenous half-elves created many of these devices to support their construction efforts. Each crew was 11 workers under a supervisor. The supervisor was identified by his torc, a mark of office. As he gave out assignments, the workers would tap the torc on his arm. This conveyed 4 hours of immunity to the sunburn and proofed them against the heat. When the work was fully completed, the supervisor would often bury his torc as an offering. The kobold's digging in the Folly uncovered the device that is now known as The King's Cold.

There are variants which protect against cold as well as heat.

This item first appeared in The Kobold's Folly, which is a series of maps available on DriveThruRPG.

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, December 22, 2019

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 41 - The Empty Bouquet

The Empty Bouquet comes in a variety of shapes and forms. It most commonly appears as a mask that covers the eyes, nose and mouth, but sometimes only two of the three. Occasionally, the mask is merely a container that is held against the face. The Empty Bouquet is filled with a collection of spices, flowers and herbs to defend against disease. When the eyes, nose and mouth are completely covered, the device provides total immunity. When only two of the three are covered, the wearer receives a plus +4 to save.

Each packet of spices, herbs and flowers will function for 8 hours before being consumed by the device.

52 Weeks of Magic - Item 40 - The Baker's Vessel

The Baker's Vessel is another magical product found in the homes of the very rich. It is a large earthen jar which when filled with dough, will produce bread on it's own, without leavening agents or external heat source. Each Vessel will produce one loaf of bread per hour, typically enough per day to feed 10 or 12 people.

To function, the Vessel must be placed in a designated space. This is usually a counter top, but could be anywhere chosen by the owner. Multiple Vessels will not function in the same building or property, which is why this product is a household item and not a commercial or industrial product. For example, if one owned a house with a garden shed, placing a Vessel in each building would not work. Only the first placed and filled vessel would work. If somehow one contrived to place and fill two of them simultaneously in two different buildings on the same property, which one worked would be random. One exception is in apartment buildings. Each apartment's Vessel would function normally, so long as the renters are of different families and are separated by a door.  Many people have tried to make this work on an industrial level and these quirks prevent it. The Vessel somehow knows if someone is "gaming the system".

When in operation, the Baker's Vessel will turn red hot. This can be used to warm a room, but is not a fire hazard. Touching the vessel conveys the power of heat resistance, but curiously, people will find the vessel impossible to lift when in operation. It cannot be tipped, opened, or otherwise moved while working. When the bread is done, the vessel will cool to room temperature instantly, while the bread inside will remain hot until removed. This magic prevents decay and molding.

Some cultures have special Baker's Vessels which produce stacks of flat breads instead of loaves.