Clever Wards, Low Weaponry, and the Mark of Weakness…

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


“He’s coming pretty fast, can you hurry up a little?”

“I said don’t rush me! It’s not like they wear signs around their neck about this sort of thing! This would be a lot easier if I could examine it closely for even a few minutes, Pravin.”

“He’s going to eat us alive! There is no ‘for a few minutes’! Just give me your best guess! Hurry!”

“Shshhh… alright… so… maybe 35 yard tip to tail, eight prominent horns arranged in a sapphire pattern, so it’s a… maybe a Svimozian variety…”


“It’s important, they grow large quickly, and can be deceptive! So, given its mass and speed and color… Maybe just over two-hundred years old?”

“Are you sure?!?”

“No! I am NOT sure. Oh… oh, it’s quite fast isn’t it?”

“Fine, be quiet. I need to concentrate. Two-hundred… 35 yards… horns… home… please let this work.”

System: The Corestaff was created by Willum of Oaths, an Abjurer from the young kingdoms of the northwest centuries ago. A long, knotted stretch of thick vine as hard as old oak, polished down by hand and use over the years. It stands as high as a tall man and has aged to a bleached light grey.

One must attune to it by expending 10 spell levels of Abjuration spells into it, after which is serves as a +0 magic weapon (two-handed, 1d6 bludgeoning, reach). Its primary function, however, was protection from those that would do Willum harm. The staff has 5 charges (replenishing 1d4 per day) and the staffbearer may expend 1 charge to call a special ward. The ward appears and must stay adjacent to the staffbearer

A creature, known so deeply as to know its soul and bones and mind, can be repelled and barred from approaching or harming the staffbearer by the ward.

The player must correctly guess the Type, then Alignment, then maximum hit points, and then name of the creature (the DM is encouraged to write these down on an index card and set it aside before they guess–to keep it fair). The first correct answer creates a 5ft wide by 10ft tall faintly wavering, but perfectly clear (like the surface of a pool of pure icy water) wall that is impassable to material and magical objects and effects. The exact dimensions of the wall are difficult (but not impossible) for creatures to perceive short of Truesight. Each additional correct answer doubles the size (1 additional correct answer means it is now twice as large–10×10; 2 correct means it is now 20×10; 3 correct is 40×10).

The staffbearer must spend a charge at the beginning of each turn to keep the ward up, and may move or shape it with a bonus action as they wish.

Gloves of Inx

Through the roar of the crowd and the snorting, angry demonstrations of violence from his soon-to-be opponent across the Callway, Soren was cold and quiet. The crowd did not love him, and he did not love them. They did not come to share his victories, but to see his death. He was not any more interested in giving them their wish this week than last or the week before that.

He slipped the fingerless leather gloves on, his boots, his mail… all while the booing and cheering and booing and cheering washed over him. The polier handed him the most useless halberd he’d ever seen. Dented, pin bent, rusted and pocked with misuse. The half even rattled the head. The Lord of Games must be getting very tired of his wins, indeed.

His opponent swung a vicious looking flail of gleaming (and was that glowing?) steel. He looked for all the world like a shaved bugbear–all skin and pink and oddly loose. His weapon was in stark contrast–shiny and new and sharp.

It didn’t matter, though. Broken halberd or not. Rusted sword. Crack handled mace. It never mattered. The shame, though, was the constant reminder that this was all, truly, he was good for.

System: In the Essence Wars, the great ages old and ongoing conflict between the major schools of magic (sometimes taking the form of friendly rivalry in some cultures and times, but sometimes the form of devastation and slaughter), the gloves were an answer by the Abjurers to the Conjurations of the Mages of Inx.

The footsoldiers of Inx (home of their grand Abjurer Mysteries) were given items such as this–The Gloves. There were many made, to outfit a small army.

Once attuned (after suitable practice and training with a different martial weapon each morning for a week), the fingerless leather and sailcloth gloves grant the wearer a greater lethality with whatever weapon they hold.

The damage dice for whatever non-magical (non-silvered) melee weapon the glove-wearer is using is increased by 1 type size (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, 2d8). They are similarly considered resistant to the type of damage their weapon does for as long as they are wielding it in combat.

Feranimus Joiners

The sounds of battle raged on and on. Broadways held the line against the creature, pestilent and reeking of abyssal corruption. While Gainsway’s comrades fought back its minions and the paladin kept the lord creature at bay, she was busy with her satchel and its precious contents.

Gainsway was scared, it was impossible to not be, of course–but still, she had faith in her friends and knew the secret to turning this tide would be found in the Box.

Laying it quickly upon the bortled and mottled ground, she flipped its lid open and felt a rush of warms behind her. Turning, she could see Broadways bathed in a flash of fire–he couldn’t handle another one of those, she knew.

Inside the box, neatly arranged on velvet rainers, side by side, were a series of carefully wrought iron wands–each with a ball on the end of heavy, flat metal. Her fingers danced over each–with a dozen to choose from–and she selected the third from the left.

Spinning around and sprinting toward the great beast, she murmured a word and the iron poker came alive in bright glowing fire.

System: In a quest for a more permanent solution to the problem of elemental power held by the reckless and natural mages of the wild lands, a conclave of wizards from Bet Kalamar came together to purge the sorcerers from the empire. One of their great inquisitorial tools in this purge were the Feranima.

Delicate tools, each about 15 inches of salt-water quenched iron with a branding head atop (depicting a different ward)–the Feranima operate almost as though cattle brands for warding arcane power.

There is a brand for each damage type (fire, cold, slashing, etc.). Applying the brand for a full round can reduce the damage immunity and resistance of a creature if it came by either naturally or as the result of “natural magic” (anything except spellbook-based arcane spell-casting). To use the brands, one must attune to them through careful study of each, taking an evening.

To activate the brand, one need only say the keyword, a free action. The brand comes to life in a visible and sometimes audible representation of the damage it represents (flames and sparks for fire, cold and icy mist, crackling electricity and ball lightning, the specter of slashing blades around the tip, etc.). The brand-wielder must make an opposed Athletics check (versus target’s Athletics or Acrobatics, their choice). A success means the brand touches the creature firmly and they reduce any resistance to that damage type to normal for the duration (and any immunity to resistant).

Unless grappled or otherwise movement 0, the target may move away from the brand with normal movement (removing the effect).

If the brand is held in place for 1 full turn, the effect becomes permanent. It may be removed with Greater Restoration or other sufficiently high magic.


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