You can find the ever-growing list of “Better Than Nothing” items over on the right. Read ’em, like ’em, share ’em, and comment.
Sandals of Path
Sun Ko walked through the marketplace, ignoring the hustle and din of the hundreds of people, animals, and excitement as he made his way towards the old Shaw building at the far North corner. People, unwittingly, parted–avoiding his gaze and going about their day of buying and selling and yelling and clamor as though he were not there.
Cutpurses and thieves all moved past him, like water around a stone. Merchants and barkers turned their attention to others. Horses stepped aside.
As he approached the shambled building, long ago turned to a privileged haunt of the underground parasites of this bazaar, even the heavies stationed casually about the perimeter found this or that more interesting than Ko–and it wasn’t until he stood there, before the Grim Shaw himself and his retinue, that anyone thought to protest the interloper’s presence.
“Grim…”, Ko addressed the old dwarf softly, “…it’s over.”
System: The Sandals of Path, a low artifact of the distant East–once worn by courtiers and diplomats in service to the Great Skychild Emperor, were made from the leather of the Tinuk and aged and tanned over a lifetime. Intended to grant the wearer with the dignity of passage through the unclean and unwashed of the world.
Attunement requires the wearer sit amongst a great crowd for a full day (sunrise to set) and quietly and unresponsively sit in contemplation of the needs and greed and want and will of living creatures around it. Observing their nature, meditating on their behavior. The wearer must not react to any of their abuses or questions–pressing for peace and silence inside themselves.
Afterward, the sandals allow the wearer to move through crowds of people without molestation, barely noticed.
Anyone not actively aggressing (violently) or pursuing (for base purpose) the wearer within 15ft. simply move aside, unwittingly, captivated by or distracted by other events. Spending an Inspiration makes one immune to this effect for a day. The effect is maintained so long as the wearer is moving no faster than a walk, aggressing against nobody, and saying nothing. It is not the same as Stealth, as all are aware of and see the wearer–they just regard him or her as another face in the crowd and go about their business normally.
Monocle of Vice
“My Lord Gaw, this is very fine wine–have I not said so?” Barris Channen, Baron of Underwood, sipped from his cup demurely, the smoke from the Duke’s pipe hanging in the air above the finely wrought bellwood desk, smelling of lemons and grass. The whole affair richly intoxicating to the eye and taste.
“You have, Barris, and I will pass your compliments to Stevris–he had some delivered from the shores last winter and I rarely get so fine a company as yours to enjoy it. Another?”
“Oh, no… no, no. I’ll lose myself and end up flashing my arse to the crowds from your balcony, I’m afraid.” they both chuckled. A fine evening’s distraction.
Barris adjusted his eyepiece, in fashion these days for those of means and peerage, and spent a half-a-heartbeat quiet while he sipped again. Ah… well, that’s interesting.
Clearing his through the most barest touch, he leaned forward conspiratorially.
“Have you ever thought about–and forgive me if this is forward–new leadership on the council?”
Duke Gaw raised a hint of an eyebrow and drank deeply, buying a moment to consider this unexpected turn in the conversation.
“Again, no offense to Lord Boht, but it seems you are the stronger hand when the council meets. I only thought that you might have interest in a change…”
System: The Monocle is a devlishly clever invention, passed from one trusted member of the Commitee to another–a secret society amongst some of the foreign nobility in GreyGhast. Created by the master spellcrafts of Count Jorn Brackenback several years ago, it allows the wearer to see the strands of desire and fate that twist around the hearts of men.
Attunement requires an evening of study and adjustment to perfect the fit and unlock its potential.
Once attuned, the monocle allows the wearer to learn the hidden desire of an intelligent subject (INT>12) after an hour of conversation. The wearer must roll an Insight Check against a DC equal to the Intelligence Score of the subject + their intelligence modifier (i.e. a 14 intelligence means a DC of 16).
On a success, the wearer gets a brief flash, from the subject’s imagination, of them having accomplished the thing they most want. This says nothing of the reasons, only an image of them triumphant in whatever manner makes the most sense to the subject.
On a failure, the subject is immune to all such future attempts to use the Monocle on them and is advantaged on any mundane or magical saves or checks versus the wearer thereafter. It is common, amongst the Committee, to pass the monocle about after several such failures–often by inducting new members to wear the Monocle to further their collective ends.
It had taken most of the night, but the whole set was finished. A week’s take went into the new threading and hem, those cuffs had been a huge bother of course–but now? Perfect. More than that, the whole thing just felt “right”.
Leigh shook the garments out, knocking bits of this and that off of the splendid cloth and admiring his handiwork. He was anxious to get started, tomorrow was going to be cleverly done.
All that was left was a good night’s sleep and a bit of preparation and he was going to walk right up to the Archduke at the gala tonight–him, Leigh of Wetside, son of a failed brewer and king of the useless people of the streets of the low town. He’d walk right through the door and drink the fine wines and then put fourteen inches of steel in the old Archduke’s neck and get away scot-free.
System: The Mael actually came from several strides of fabric commissioned by a king in the old empire a century ago, intended to provide his tailors and seamstresses with the highest quality material possible to create the most wonderous clothes they could imagine. Ultimately, the enchanted cloth was not particularly exciting once turned into a set of clothes (breeches, hose, doublet, etc.) and it was tossed away into a chest and left.
When the empire fell to the invading hobgoblins of the younger kingdoms, the chest was taken and the boring and seemingly useless clothes were trades, lost, sold and transported all over the continent. It wasn’t until a young sorcerer bought them on sight from a fripperer in Greyghast twenty years ago that anyone discovered their hidden properties.
The clothes were made from stretches of fabric from fate itself, blessed to be close to those threads no matter what.
When expertly re-tailored or refashioned into new clothing (taking care to rip seams and re-stitch the cloth), they draw into themselves the intended and imagined being relative to what they resemble.
Attunement requires re-tailoring the clothes expertly (DC 25) into the perfect facsimile of the clothes the sort of person the wearer wants to emulate would wear. This will often require sewing and fastening accessories to create the perfect representation (a noble lord’s cloths might need additional belts and brooches and gold threading; an assassin’s might require new pockets and an accompanying cloak, etc.)
Once created (using the appropriate crafting rules, mostly taking at least one full day of effort and the check), the wearer may select one new proficiency (a save, check, weapon, armor, skill, etc.–just one) that corresponds to the proficiencies of the sort of person that would wear that garment and are advantaged on Deception and Performance checks to maintain their facade while wearing the clothes.
Once removed, the clothes must be attuned again. Failing the tailoring check by more than 10 results in damaged clothes and cloth that cannot be repaired short of exceptional magical means determined by the DM.
Once attuned, the monocle allows the wearer to learn the hidden desire of an intelligent subject (INT>12) after an hour of conversation. The wearer must roll an Insight Check against a DC equal to the Intelligence Score of the subject + their intelligence modifier (i.e. a 14 intelligence means a DC of 16). On a success, the wearer gets a brief flash, from the subject’s imagination, of them having accomplished the thing they most want. This says nothing of the reasons, only an image of them triumphant in whatever manner makes the most sense to the subject.
I’d agree for PCs, but for NPCs I feel it might require too much formalization.