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The battle raged around Tiberius. The smoke from the fire, the screams like a low tide crashing over and over against distant rocks–everything about a battle was chaos and yet he knew where the order was.
His comrades surrounded him–shoulder to shoulder. The naive might have thought they were defending him, but the truth was only that they were hiding his actions from the soldiers (on both sides). Tiberius’s abilities were… unnerving to the ignorant. But, they had to know if the dark dancers were here, hidden themselves in the chaos and driving this battle to a bloody fury.
Tiberius knelt over the soldier’s body, squatting just above his pelvis, pulled his knife, and began cutting.
System: The dust comes from a hollow bone–as big around as an axe-handle but only five inches long. What part of what creature this came from, ages back, is lost. But the hollow cavity of the bone–when stoppered for a night–generates a ghostly white dust (in contrast to its yellowing bone container). When sprinkled over the splayed organs of a humanoid in a very orderly ritual-like fashion (this takes one action), the dust necrotizes the flesh in a pattern. As a bonus action, the ritualist may make an Arcane check DC 15 to read the pattern and divine the number of invisible, ethereal, or otherwise “hidden” creatures in a 60 foot radius. If the ritualist is a wizard of the Divination or Necromancy schools, the radius is 120 feet. Should the Arcane check be made with advantage (for any reason, including Inspiration), the pattern also indicates the sort of creature (type and CR) for the most dangerous of the hidden creatures (as defined by the DM).
“Duke Enaigria Ol Lorcciano,
I am pleased to report that our mission has gone splendidly. The townsfolk of Lesser Kensbro have been little difficulty. We had some bit of fortune in negotiating with the local mayor to ally himself with our growing forces in the north–rather than side with the inevitable losers of this war.
His ties to Duke Elsange are strong, but we convinced him in short order and managed to uncover some incriminating evidence of corrupt dealings to keep him in line should his loyalty fail in the coming months. The local thieves proved to be easily cowed and the merchants have accepted our offer of protection and taxation.
Altogether, my liege, it could not have gone better. Thank you for asking about my health, it continues to improve though I really am feeling more exhausted by our travel. Hoping to come home, soon, by your leave.
Your humble servant,
Alfonso of Pelachi, Court Diviner”
System: The Fatebox is a polished walnut and birch puzzle box, like one a noble’s child might play with–a pattern of cuts and tension keep the box together once you fit all the irregular wooden pieces in the proper way. Held in the hand, it feels solid and fits perfectly, but rested on a surface it falls apart. A common distraction.
However, the pieces of this box were enchanted by high arcanists pursuing the mysteries of fate. Their experiments led to several deaths, including their own.
Assembling the Fatebox requires a half hour of unbroken attention and an Int check DC 22. Once assembled, it must be held tightly–either wrapped in a cloth and kept tied tightly or held in one’s hand–or it will fall apart again in an instant. Transferring it from a container (mundane or magical) or wrap or from one hand to another requires an action and a Dex save DC 22–failure, it falls apart in an instant. One must be attuned (can be accomplished after a short rest), cast spells using Intelligence as their spellcasting ability, and have it assembled in hand to use its magical properties.
As a reaction, the holder may (after the result of a saving throw, made by any creature within sight, is determined) drop the puzzle box to the ground where it falls apart. As it falls apart, the air fills with glowing strands and weaves back and forth around objects and individuals loosely and chaotically before seemingly repositioning events that have already happened to happen differently.
The holder can choose a number of hit dice (from those unspent) and change the value of the dice rolled from that saving throw either up or down that much (i.e. a 15 was rolled as a saving throw for a monster, the monster’s total is 19 on a difficulty 16 and they save out of whatever the effect was; the holder may use their reaction, roll back time a fraction, change fate, and spend 4 of their unspent 5 hit dice to change the roll to an 11, which gives the monster a 15 total and fails now).
Once the holder does this, they take those hit dice spent and rolls them–the total equals an amount of necrotic damage they will take at the start of their next turn.
Fate, it seems, exacts its toll.
The Book of Names
“Are you ignoring me, you twat? Are you fuckin’ ignoring me, now?” the large (drunk) half-orc had gone from asking for a few coins for a drink to demanding, and now had assertively crossed the line into threatening while Tina ignored him and continued scribbling away in her book. The tavern had quieted, starting to take notice of the fight to come. His grey-green face was blushing a purple with rage.
She wrote about how the half-orc was tall, perhaps a hand taller than Ser Broadways, but had a brow twice as thick.
“Fancy bitch too good to listen, huh? How about I take that book and shove it right up your a–” his screaming was cut off by a gentle raise of her left hand as she continued with her right–tongue poking out a bit in concentration. Brow furrowed.
She wrote about the timbre of his voice, how it sounded like he was from somewhere east of Tokis, and had picked up some of the accents found in the villages in those hills.
“I will END YOU! DO YOU UN–” abruptly, Tina stood up smiling.
“Hello, you’re… is it Rey or Garoc? Which do you go by?” her voice was flat, but pleasant.
“…my… I mean, Rey. Nobody calls me Garoc since I was a child, though.” his demeanor changed in an instant. The purple cheeks were fading and he seemed uncertain as to why he’d been yelling in the first place.
“Rey, then. Rey, I’m really not going to buy you a drink, you should think about cutting down on that as well–it makes you angry and rude. I’m going to go visit with my friends now, goodnight.” she turned, and walked calmly out of the tavern to the disappointed groans of the crowd and the confusion of Rey.
System: There are only 100 pages in the Book of Names. Roll 10d10, and that many names are already filled in (one per page), the pages scrawled in notes from several different hands and languages–passed down over the years.
Any Diviner (wizard of the Divination School) or warlock of the Arch-Fey may use the book, it requires no attunement. By focusing on an individual in sight and writing in the book, the bookkeeper may let their instincts take over and begin scribbling obvious traits of their subject. The content is unimportant, it only needs to be specific to them. The first action they take to do this, they must succeed in an Int check DC 25–if they succeed they find they have written the name of the person they’d been focusing on and imbued it with some of the magic of their true name. Should they fail, they may continue writing–their second action continuing this prompts an Int check DC 20. Should they succeed, they manage to write the name at that time. Each failure and subsequent continuation of the writing lowers the DC by 5. On a DC 0, however, the name of the creature is impenetrable forever in this manner.
Having someone’s name will give the bookkeeper advantage on any Charisma checks for persuasion, deception, intimidation, or other social challenge and disadvantage the named creature similarly against the bookkeeper.