Atlas Shrugging, A Place to Work, and Fine Stock…

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

Kel-Orien Surcoat

The Flyers had gotten away with a good score in the fading light over Flamekeep. As the sun dropped its face behind the horizon and the chill of an evening breeze blew across the faces of the gang, their leader–Mac Laeiee, king of scourges and scrounges–leaned against the chimney of the four-story corner building and caught his breath, panting puffs of mist with each grinning exhalation.

Foreigners were the bread and butter of the Flyers. Always moving to and fro with the best of their possessions, always sore thumbs sticking up from the locals. Breddert grabbed the little one’s purse and Gamthem–indelicately–tore the pack off the big fellow, tripping him in the process. A scramble around the building to the yells and threats of the outsiders to the ready ropes and a frantic climbing haul upward by the rest. By the time those bastards find a way up, the Flyers would be gone… easy as–

A groan from the south face of the tower turned into a hushed series of murmurs and whispers. Mac froze. The murmurs turned into the sound of swords being unsheathed. Then grunting. As he made his way cautiously over to the ledge (not wanting an arrow in the face), expecting to see angry foreigners sixty feet down, he was met with a sharp kick to the jaw as he saw a half-dozen armed and pissed off travellers awkwardly clinging to a red-faced, panting, sweating halfling yelling about his purse, hands dug into the stones of the tower. Hauling them up himself.

System: The Surcoat is a fine tewl and cotton blend light robe in a striking blue and gold cheque, one of the lesser known and used items of House Orien back during the time of Reedling Kel–an innovator of that line who thought to make new inroads in the mountainous passes of M’ror, where wagons had little place and travelers went on foot through hazardous terrain.

To attune to the Surcoat, one must pay a fee to the House where they will release it to your anima and unpack its properties.

While wearing the Surcoat, one’s encumbrance maximum and related limits are increased by 10x. In this way, one can carry massive amounts of weight, assuming one can hold or shoulder it. Keeping the weight centered requires a Dex Save at the end of every full movement and after every instance of damage taken (for any reason). Every 500lbs. of weight adds 5 to the save DC. (<500 lbs, DC 5; 501-1000, DC 10; 1001-1500, DC 15; 1501-2000, DC 20; etc.). Failure means the mass is dropped (possibly breaking or scattering items depending on how they were held together). Living things holding onto the wearer or things the wearer is carrying must make an Athletics Check with Dc equal to 1/2 the distance moved to hold on.

Rodings Bench

“Master Blakk, I assure you–this is our finest.” the pale-faced elven shopkeeper stood and bowed, seemingly at the same time, in a graceful display of respect and expectation. His grey hair still had a few shocks of yellow, and the large glasses he wore served to make him seem far younger than he likely way. Blakk appraised him as much as the box. The magewright had to be north of two-hundred–that said as much about the quality of his work, the longevity of his business, as the fine chest’s woodwork did.

It was three feet high, stained an almost purple-red with a hol-oil and walnut mix. Pinned in oak. The corners braced with bronze chaffing. It was beautiful, there wasn’t a doubt.

“And inside… while it will not replace a proper forge, foundry, and libricum–it will serve for most purposes.”

As the old elf unlocked the box, opening it like a flower to the sun in the morning–its hinges silently swinging wide and the unfolding of the shelves and levels quiet and smooth and certain–Blakk smiled. It was perfect.

System: A Rodings Bench is more than a portable tinker’s tools or woodcrafter’s table. Far more. A hard-laquered and beautiful box weighing never more than 100 lbs (with catchings and straps for ease of carrying either by two or even by one as a tall backpack) and measuring eighteen inches wide and deep and a full three feet tall–the container is stately and refined. Based on a two-hundred year old schema developed by the House Cannith and eventually copied and duplicated so often over the years that they have largely given up on prosecuting the matter, the bench is named after Hox Rodings–who made his living as an independent artificer in the camps during the Last War.

Once opened (a simple lock and key are provided), the interior unfolds mechanically with spring steel gears and tight, but oiled hinged into a workbench 6 feet wide and nearly 2 feet deep with numerous shelves and alcoves rising above the work surface. A tiny forge is set into the left alcove–the heat from it encased within its own Brentine field, allowing an aperture large enough to move an object into and out of it (provided its no larger than a grown man’s forearm), on the right is a series of clamps and vices over an adamantine plate shaped to the size of a small anvil-top, allowing one to hammer and bend and fix objects in place for brute manipulation or arcane infusion.

The shelves are lined with pillhide–providing a soft and secure grip on glass and clayware. The underdrawers are partitioned for reagents (liquid, solid, gaseous even).

The whole bench is a magnificent set of alchemist, poisoner, tinker, woodworker, arcanist, jewler, leatherworker, smithing, and general crafting tools as well as an enormous spell component pouch. It is magically durable (objects inside the bench, when stored, and the bench itself have 5x the hardness and durability they would have outside of it.

It takes thirty minutes to pack or unpack the bench (one must have their own seating or be content to hunch over it while standing). It’s real utility is in its ability to reduce the time needed to craft objects, once one is attuned to it. Attunement requires the creation of five different items using the various represented tools (something alchemical, something wooden, something with leather, etc.). Once done, the bench is attuned.

For the owner, then, the gold (and subsequently time) required to craft a magical or mundane item is reduced by 5gp per day (20%). It can only craft appropriately sized objects (the forge, mind, can only handle things roughly a foot and a half or two feet long and the bench couldn’t be made to build a suit of plate armor–for instance) and only up to Rare scarcity.

It cannot be placed within any magical hold or other-planar storage space.

Felsheet Quality Parchment

“Just say the words on the paper.” Meilla was tired and yet, there was no chance of making camp in this forgotten place. Her back ached and complained to her as she bent over her case and carefully drew rolled paper from it, setting them aside delicately one-by-one.

“Mei, I don’t like this.” Broadways was tired, too. The old paladin had at least one or two broken ribs still and there was still at least one mile–maybe two–to go before they were out from this dark hell. The mage was sorting through her scrolls and after a minute of careful discipline, she handed him one.

“Just say them, Brodie, that or we keep walking and Tuck won’t make it”, their tracker was throwing up every few minutes–the most ominous part of it all was that by now, an hour of this, he should be heaving dry–but more and more wattery phlegm came each time. He was aching and sallow, hollow-cheeked, and Meilla was certain whatever curse this was would kill him soon if they didn’t get out.

She’d given Broadways her best work, calmed Tuck enough to hand him his, walked them through the procedure and bit her nails as she watched them unfurl the scrolls…

System: High priced felsheet is a very narrow commodity. Very few people use it, often there’s no need. But, for the discerning and cautious and (decadent) individual, nothing is better for schema, schola, or spell scrolling than felsheet parchment. Made, painstakingly, by hand using the old methods but finished with very careful arcane technique, each sheet is perfectly blemish free and perfectly evenly weighted. The paper is exactly 30 lbs grade (30 lbs per 500 sheets of 20″ x 40″ parchment), with not a single irregularity across its bone white surface. It costs 100 gp per thicket (10 sheets) in most markets so refined as to even carry it. House Sivis’s establishments are the only certain place to find it in any city and even then are unlikely to carry more than one or two thickets.

It’s properties for schema and shola work–conventional writing and archives–are often unnecessary, but nice. The paper never rots, does not burn (short of prolonged exposure to intense flames like forges or the heart of a burning building, a raging inferno), is resistant to acids and arcane methods of decay or destruction, and is foul-tasting to virtually all animals and insects. Things written on felsheet are guaranteed to be preserved for a long, long time.

For spellwork, it is useless for making books as the parchment loses much of its quality on cutting or shaping. However, for scrolls it truly shines. Any scroll scribed onto felsheet completely ignores scroll misfire rules (found in the DMG, if your game uses it) as it is so well infused with the spell’s magic that it may fail, but it will never mishap.

In addition, there is a low percent chance that the scroll will not consume itself upon casting. On a natural roll of 20, to use the scroll, the spell is not consumed and may be reused as is. For every Hero Point/Action Point spent before the roll, that “crit range” is increased by 1 (spend 1 point, its on a 19-20; 2 points, it’s on an 18-20; etc.).

Felsheet is considered a mark of high status and distinction.

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