You can find the ever-growing list of “Better Than Nothing” items over on the right. Read ’em, like ’em, share ’em, and comment.
Viscount Ecchi’s Register
“Ain’t you gonna shiv ‘im, Bearl?” the brick-jawed brigand asked, mouth agape and still half drunk from this morning’s little bit of robbery.
“Yea, Bearl. Jus’ stick it in ‘im–go on. Or, fucks, I’ll do it mine own self, if yer want”, more suggestions from the gallery of idiots Bearl Webb had managed to gather in his five years of clean highway banditry.
Two of his mutton headed gumps held the still proud (even with twenty feet of shit covered road all over his fine breastplate), still handsome (even after Bearl let Duncan smack him around a little), still haughty (even after Bearl himself relieved him of most of his prized possessions).
Bearl looked him over, pulled out his little book–that brown and beaten miniature tomb–and flipped through it. After a pregnant and long-drawn out pause (during which Luncan and Duncan started quietly chatting over the paladin’s head about whether that armor would fit either of them), Bearl shook his head, slapping the folio shut.
“Nope. Let him go. I’ll kill him…”, he quickly flipped open the book, scanning the pages, “Ah, tomorrow. I’ll kill him tomorrow. Alright. Fuck off now. Go… wherever.”
System: Viscount Ecchi kept a stable of well-provisioned and well-honored wizards at his beck and call, advising him on state matters constantly, during his years of control over the vast lands of his forebears. One of their gifts to him for his generosity was the Register.
The book itself, a product of divination and years of careful measuring of the world and men, cannot burn or rot and goes on forever–a testament to well-practiced magickery.
Requiring no attunement, the reader must be literate in Ancient High Kalamaran (the language of the old empire’s elites) in order to make use of it–and must be so naturally, with no magical accompaniment. But, 1 minute of perusing the book’s many hundreds of thousands of names written in tiny script (PP must be greater than 15 or one must have appropriate magnifying glass or lenses to read it) while focusing on someone they can see clearly and in unimpeded detail, the book will show the ideal time or day to kill them.
Roll 1d12. On a 1 or 2, the ideal time will be in the next turn or with the very next action (within a few seconds of finding their name). On a 3 or 4, it will 1 minute from then (but no more than 2 minutes). On a 5 or 6, it will be any time within the next hour (after the current one). On a 7, it will be tomorrow. On a 8 it will be next week. On a 9 it will be next month. On a 10 it will be next year. On an 11 it will be ten years from now (but less than twenty). On a 12, it will be some time in the next century.
Attacks, by the reader only, during the ideal time to kill them do maximum damage. Attacks, by the reader only, before or after that time do no damage at all.
They walked along the road, Kakri Mung and The Teller, and tried to forget the ambush. It wasn’t the first time they had been robbed–sometimes, shit just happens.
Teller (or THE Teller, pending who you talked to) had been one of the fiercest warriors in the north before coming to these warm lands–and she hardly new what to make of some of the inhabitants. Kakri Mung was the biggest, greenest orc bastard she had ever met–and yet, his speech and manner and interests… stranger than strange.
“So, my dear, how it works is you tell me what you want and then I tell you what you have to do and then you get it. Simple, elementary… my lord The shimmering Veil of the Lost Second Farsight is generous and wonderful in his gifts.” the half-orc mused, smiling into the blue sky with a joy anyone might think was madness.
Teller frowned. Stranger than strange, indeed.
System: The Xandergrapheis is a book, clad in mirror polished mithral and lined in translucent emerald bordering. A gift from a mad Arch-Fey of the distant Aegian Spalls to their most loyal warlocks.
Attuning to the book requires being lost with it and does not count toward the maximum number of items one can attune to. Truly lost in an unknown place. A difficult task for anyone.
Once attuned, however, one may–one per day–broker an agreement between the Arch-Fey and a willing and interested mortal. The arrangement is simple, the willing mortal may ask for anything–anything at all–and then the reader may open the book and look up–from the list of many thousands all written in a mad and otherwise indecipherable fey-like language–a task that needs to be accomplished. The reader may relate that to the willing mortal and if they agree to it, then the deal is struck.
If they do their assignment, they may get whatever it is they wanted. How much time they have to do it is open-ended, the manner in which the do it is open-ended. They must, of course, do it themselves.
The DM is encouraged to write down the tasks on notecards and hand them to the reader for any given request. A given mortal may have only one such agreement at a time and they do not have to fulfill it.
Examples are “I want 100000 gold”… and they must marry and have a child. Or, “I want a very particular sword from legends”… and they must learn to fly under their own power. Or, “I want to know the layout of that dungeon” and they must win an election for governor of a distant city-state. The DM is encouraged to make the tasks completable, seemingly un-related, and in need of some effort.
The Lord of Stories
Hensie Flashwood didn’t fear death. Mostly because he would never, ever taste it. He thought that’s what he wanted–at least it was what he said he wanted all those years ago. Immortality is attractive for those who think mortal concerns are the only ones.
This world was dusty and old and smelled of paper. It was dark and cold and was nothing like the fanciful place he imagined it to be. Hell, it describes itself as a paradise–itself. It’s a liar. And maybe in the end, all stories are.
Hensie lay down, back against the rough wood, staring up at the ceiling of white and brown and black above him. Waiting and waiting for some liars to tell some lies.
System: The Lord of Stories is a well-worn book with careful leather work depicting a grand oration by a powerfully well dressed speaker on the cover–faded a bit with time.
Attunement requires writing down a high quality and adventurous story of one’s own deeds (they must be only vaguely true). The book promises, and delivers, immortality for those who have been immortalized within.
(Players and DM’s are encouraged to draft the last words of the story written into the book for reference later. One or two sentences at the most, as though the last words of the tale.)
Once attuned, the writer will never die–not truly. Their soul cannot be removed from their body and their body ceases to age. They can still be hurt, knocked unconscious, even brutally mangled, but they’ll heal (albeit, with scars maybe or missing limbs), and live.
If brought below 0 HP for any reason or under the effect of anything that causes death, they are transported into the book–or rather, the plane the book represents. It is a lonely, isolated, empty place… an infinite expanse that seems, from the writer’s perspective, to be what a flea might see were it to stand on the page of a continent sized book. Below, fibers and paper; above, distantly up there is another page. It is always twilight dark. Anyone reading the book will not find the writer (as the book only represents the plane).
Returning from the book requires someone to tell the story the writer wrote and with some passion, as well… Performance DC 20. And after the last lines of the story (taking 1 hour for the full tale), the writer appears with 1 hp.
One may tear out the pages of the book where one’s story is written, doing so reduces their maximum HP by 1d10 permanently.