Not a Good Day to Die, Pitch Perfect, and the Sacrifice of Life…

You can find the ever-growing list of “Better Than Nothing” items  over on the right. Read ’em, like ’em, share ’em, and comment.

The Martyr of Inx

His body told the story of a man the world had not yet stopped trying to murder.  Long gashes, short puckered grey scars, scabbed over cuts all crissed and crossed his tan skin.  Missing an ear.  Missing an eye.  To see him was to pity him and yet when he turned that lonely eye on you, a fear took hold of you deep.

The scarred man carried his spear as though it weighed as much as he did, the butt dragging in the dirt and his knuckles white in a heavy grip.  The locals didn’t know his name, though he’d lived in those parts for years.  He rarely spoke to anyone and when he came down from the hills; his time in town was always short.  Some of the old men hushed gossip that he was a mighty warrior, that they remembered him young and fine–not the ragged thing he was now.

Most knew, though, whoever he was–he was all that stood between them and the howling.

System: The Martyr is a long spear of smooth, hand-worn oak–as hard as iron and near as heavy.  The tip is a gleaming, well-oiled blade-point of silvery steel.  It was created by a god now dead, who once governed the safe harbor of innocents.

The spear counts as a +1 magic weapon, it is versatile, the tip does 1d8 (1d10 if two handed) piercing damage and the butt (if the tip is not used two handed) does 1d6 bludgeoning. The spear is considered to have reach, as well and one may perform a trip attack (opposed Athletics vs. Acrobatics) on anything the same size (neither smaller nor larger) than the spear-bearer, using an action.

So long as the weapon bearer is attuned to it he is divinely prohibited from taking the life of another creature–no matter how evil or vile, no matter if his life is on the line or not.  Should a creature the spear-bearer attacked die from an attack roll made by him or his allies, or from an ability check that directly led to its death (a shove off of a bridge, for example), the spear-bearer takes the damage instead and bears the scars of the trauma for life.  They can be removed only with divine intervention.

Note that undead do not count as being “alive”, in this case.

The Lesserie Lute

It gave Ponce dreadful headaches every time, but then again… why would the gods have given us wine if not for headaches?

Kendra charged forward, ancestral sword of whateveritwas held high.  The Tattler strode forward, book of thingsandsuch in front of him like it was a holy relic.  Shorty Shortpants–the name escaped Ponce for the time being–dug his heels into the dog he was riding and hollered the name of some place that was, no doubt, stupid and pointless.

Ponce, however, fiddled with the knobs of his lute and yawned his way forward, content to let the great and small do their whatever.  The giant, lumbering horror lurched forward–its skin blotched and rotting, its face a slack of unthinking hunger.  It even–oh, word–smelled horrid.  Still, however, while the group pressed on with the cutting and slashing and poking and screaming and lights and whatnot, Ponce just fiddled with his lute.


As the enormous undead monster rared up, groaning its rage against the scratches and nicks, Ponce grinned widely, raised his hand, and strummed a chord that blew its head clean apart.

System: The Lesserie Lute is a delicate, arcane wonder. A deep redwood bowl, a bright oiled birch neck, strings of several different kinds–platinum, silver, mithral, steel, brass, gut–and enchanted deeply by some of the finest collegian vanguards in the world.  It is a dangerous tool in the hands of the foolish.  One must attune to the lute, taking three days of plucking and learning the particulars of its design.

As an action, the lutist thereafter may prepare the instrument by untuning it and resetting its delicate mechanisms.  Such a resetting and preparation holds for 1 minute, after which the lute will need to be reset and prepared.  Once prepared, the lutist may spend a bonus action to focus on the sounds and noises either being made by or that might come from a creature of his choosing–doing so requires a DC 10 Investigation. On a success, he may take future actions and bonus actions as normal, though if the lute needs to be reset and prepped he will have to start over.

After that preparation, the lutist may use his reaction to duplicate the sounds–pitch and texture and timbre and flow–of either conversation (he doesn’t need to know the language), verbal spell casting, any kind of communication at all.  This can include screams and roaring–any sounds the creature makes intended to convey information in any way.

Duplicating this, musically, requires the DM roll 1d20 to set the “sound” and the lutist to roll 1d20 to match it.  The lutist may change the value of his roll by as much as his proficiency + spellcasting modifier either up or down, to match the “sound” roll number.

Should he match it, the lute rings true with the perfect chords and changes and skips and pitches and harmony that mimic the sound the creature made–startlingly so.  For the next round, the creature is vulnerable to Psychic damage.  If it is resistant to Psychic damage, it is now no longer resistant.  If it is immune, it is now only resistant. During this time, the lutist is considered also vulnerable to Psychic damage.

A new bonus action to listen and reaction to play is required to continue the effect for another round, so long as the lute need not be reset and prepped.

The Holy

Wat knelt in the middle of the chaos, the battle raging all around. He dropped to his knees, ran his fingers through the dirt, and prayed.  One of the hobgoblins hacked through the conscripts holding the line and charged the cleric–sword held high, determination on both of their faces.

As he ran his sword through Wat’s body, the cleric coughed blood onto the packed earth–the pain was great, but he continued his litany.  He felt the weapon withdraw and then plunge into his shoulder.  Still, he spat the words out and felt the world tumble to darkness.

His last breath spoke the name of his god.

System: The Holy is a soft craywood carving of the divine symbol of the Lifebringer–god of health and goodness. Most any cleric may call upon his power, with his Holy–as the Lifebringer believes in the redemption of even the wicked. The Holy is fragile, and though it is a magical item, any fire that does more than 5 damage to the bearer will consume it–even carried or worn–unless otherwise protected.

One does not need to attune to the Holy to use it.  One does, however, need to have true faith in the gods–be a follower and worshipper.  Being a cleric meets this criteria; otherwise some long-term RP will be necessary to achieve this status.

Any believer may use the Holy by falling to their knees in supplication to the Gods.  They will stay in this state for 1d10 rounds – their CHA modifier, and no external force (or will of their own) can take them from this state.  Prayers and holy words spill forth from them quietly as the will overtakes them.  They are considered both Grappled and Prone (conditions) during this time.  At the end of their final turn in this state, they may roll a Religion Check with a DC = 5x the number of rounds they spent in the state.  If they succeed, they are free of it.  If not, they remain and may attempt the check at the end of their next turn.

While in the state, they may spend their own Hit Dice or the Hit Dice of any of their allies to instantly heal anyone in the party.  They do not need to ask permission, as the Lifebringer empowers their choice.  They may use their action to spend their own Hit Dice (1 per action) and a bonus action to spend someone else’s (the origin of the dice need not be the same as the target).  They may make no reactions during the state.


2 thoughts on “Not a Good Day to Die, Pitch Perfect, and the Sacrifice of Life…

Add yours

  1. “At the end of their final turn in this state, they may roll a Religion Check with a DC = 5x the number of rounds they spent in the state. If they succeed, they are free of it. If not, they remain and may attempt the check at the end of their next turn.”
    It seems like adding 5 to the DC each time means it’s very easy to get permanently trapped in meditation? Or, if it doesn’t stack like that it’s still very possible to get an impossible DC and become stuck.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: