Fingers and Lutes.

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Ring of The Gray

Wyatt squatted in a lonely alley in the dry, arid city of Al-Shaffa. He’d pawned his sword that morning–notched and loosely-rattling thing that it was. The clay bottle was heavy, the liquor inside of it strong, and the hand that clasped its neck dirty… a three-fingered, sand wracked, yellow-nailed gnarl of a hand.

As he tipped the bottle to his lips to escape the memory of what he had and what he lost, lingered on his butchered hand and what it was only good for now. He looked down at his other, hissing one finger itself (the fore). He thought about the ring in his pocket as the wind scalded him and the sun punished him and the liquor fought its way down and threatened to come back up and slap the pavement. His head swam. He was flat broke, but he still had a few fingers by the gods… and odds on him in the fighting pits would be long, indeed…

System: The ring is a band of beaten copper, a hint of green oxidation marks it as unremarkable, but its history goes back long ago. A druidic curse was placed on the ring, that all who wear it may come to learn that steel and stone and bow and blade are all fine and well, but relying on tools as though they were your own body is folly.

Attuning to the ring takes 1 day. Removing the ring requires a dispel magic (for the arcane attachment) and an Escape Artist check DC15 (per scene). When worn, and immediately after rolling a natural 20 on any attack roll, the PC must choose one of two things (must choose then and within a standing three count, out loud):

  • A – Reserve the right to reroll the damage from their damage dice on that attack, after rolling damage, one time.
  • B – Do maximum damage

There is no “C” option.

If selecting “A”, the ring constricts tightly around the finger, raising the Escape Artist DC +5

If selecting “B”, the ring constricts severely around the finger, raising the Escape Artist DC +10

If at any point, due to any combination of selections, the DC for the Escape Artist check reaches 30; the ring pinches off the finger it is on. PC takes 1d4 damage, finger and ring hit the ground. The damage can be healed, but the finger cannot be regrown short of a wish or other miraculous event.

DM’s are encouraged to consider at what point or in what circumstances attacks are disadvantaged or weapons are unwieldy due to missing fingers (pinkies? maybe not a big deal for most; more or other fingers or other weapons may start having disadvantage).


The Scorpion Lute 

As the hobgoblin warcaptain howled and pointed… as his men charged, weapons oiled and gleaming… as the sheer enormity of being cornered at last dawned on Silvertongue Songsteven of Scarlet-town (a name he’d come up with himself, of course), he nearly broke himself in half with laughter. This couldn’t have been better. Four weeks tweaking noses in hob country and the best he’d managed was a bar brawl and some minor thank yous from some commoners… this though! This was perfect. And he hadn’t been trying! The hobby wench was willing and he was drunk–and her father clearly was a powerful man prone to revenges. Two score of soldiers worth of revenge it seems!

Songsteven unpacked his fine and polished walnut lute–tuned it briefly while watching the horde race at him a few hundred yards off. He looked behind him at the crevasse and the river below. At least a couple of hundred feet. Rocks. Certain death.

His comrades looked shaken. The Wizard was flipping madly through her book…

Songsteven plucked the first note of a song, a long and wavering note begging for another and while his hand hung in the air, and they eyes of the party turned to see where this was going with that note humming away moment by moment, the bard pivoted and leapt off the cliff.

As the wind whipped his hair and cloak back magnificently, he could almost make out the shock of his (former?) comrades as they yelled… he smiled. He hoped they made it through this one–the story would travel so much better if there were a few witnesses to this daring leap.

He held the lute under him as he fell, laughing madly all the way down.

System: The lute has only one real property (and this is to DM’s discretion how to interpret it). Once attuned to the owner (through song, not just possession), the Lute represents a miraculous oddity choked up by the great laughing god Risk himself. In part, placed in the world to tempt the adventurous; and in part, placed in the world because the deity wanted to see how many would die using it.

The lute cannot be destroyed. It’s preserved by divine favor, arcane luck, and tightly woven pacts with the skies and the earth. If you hit it with a sword, it is the sword that runs the risk of damage (the lute doesn’t injure back, it simply cannot be injured). If hit a rock wall with it, the lute is intact without a scratch. It is ornate and beautifully sculpted. Many former owners have discovered perverse but useful properties to the lute stemming from this favor…

The lute necessarily floats in any water or water based environment–it cannot sink (which says nothing about the holder being strong enough to hold onto it while they are sinking). When something harmful is incoming, it simply doesn’t happen and reality wraps back around that fact.

The lute, then, when held flat and one tucks tightly behind it, is +2 cover (though not a shield). An inferno on one side of it is simply room temperature directly behind it. If you were to stand on it and fall 100ft., you would hit will all the speed appropriate, but the lute immediately negates the force on impact (and no force means no damage for you). However, if you simply held it close while falling, whatever part of you hits the ground would not be “airbagged” by the lute (though the part of your body above it would).

It cannot be transformed. It cannot be altered. It counts as a magic weapon (though still an improvised weapon). One could hold up a city’s multi-ton gate of iron if you propped the lute under it.

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