Anti-Flip-Flops, Who’s Your Daddy, and A Strange 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 Baxeae Rootgiant

The hulking figure of Ser Broadways of the Faithlight came racing out from the treeline and just as quickly lurched to a halt as the paladin saw the creature. Scales and gaping maw, its breath the smell of ozone burning and charred bodies. His rag-tag group had come all this way to stop it, but now… so close… he wondered how.

The dragon towered over him, and he a tall man, easily twice his height and its balful eye looked down on the golden armored threat. It spoke in waves of hate and the sound of continents moving.

“I… remember you. Yes, I remember. You were the one that felled Kharixax those years ago! You and–” her speech was cut short by the bellowing challenge shouted from behind the old soldier. From the form of a half-elf, stripped to the waist–and stripping yet more–marching without care toward the indigo monstrosity.

“Ho! Foul thing. Ho! You are not wanted! You are not wanted! I cast you out!” Seenlie was hoarsely calling out over and over, walking closer and closer, passing a dumbstruck Broadways and castigating the dragon.

“I will break you over my own knee and the knee of my mother and the wild will end what perversions you’ve done to this place. Face me! FACE ME, YOU MOTHERFUCKER!” and the mostly-naked unarmed half-elf charged.

System: The Baxeae are a pair of lorenwood bark sandals, they take several years to make for even the most gifted Child of the Green, as the lorenwood tree is rare and cannot be found in any place that has known the smell of men or monster. In the hidden places it grows, delicate and thin, and it takes special care to craft footware from them.

But, where the lorenwood trees are fragile (a moderate wind may break one), their roots are the purest magical connection to the earth itself in existence.

Attunement to the sandals requires making them one’s self (though one need not gather the bark one’s self). The crafting takes care and requires an unassisted (no tools) Dex check DC 15. Failure means the bark is ruined.

On a success, the sandals offer the wearer the ability to stand, unimpeded and unthrown from their spot on natural ground (raw earth, sand, even stone that is unpolished). When wearing the sandals, one cannot be knocked prone or shoved down or back or thrown or propelled away physically. Further, one grapples with advantage always–from this sure footing–even creatures much larger than they are (up to 3 size categories larger). Any attempts to break this grapple cannot be advantaged in any way, by the creature.

The caveat to this is that one must be carrying less than 4 lbs. of gear, arms, and/or equipment in order to use this ability. Unattuning to the baxeae causes them to fall apart, useless and unfixable.

Ash of Yesterday and Tomorrow

Diogenes knelt in the grass where he’d built his small fire as the others waited patiently. His ritual was small, but it was his and it was important to him. To know the ways of the world and hear the waves of reality crashing over the rocks (so one knows where they are), one must take delicate care to prepare delicate truths.

He took his hand to the fire and tamped it down, the burn was not severe and if it were he could heal that later with one of the leather pouches on his pack. But, it felt nice–it always did. The burn reminded him of what it was like to smoke back before he was what he is. When he had another name and did not know the truth of things. Useless thing he was.

The grey ash was warm as he tucked it into an envelope of raw, untreated owlskin. He mused on how hard it was to make leather from owlskin and how little any of his companions knew of it. He must have found people, like them, normal once–but now, they were just strange, blind, deaf things. If they didn’t share a common goal… well…

He slipped a pinch of the ash and rubbed it over his eyes until he felt sure they were dark and his eyelids were well covered. He took a breath, eyes clenched shut, and opened them again to see the way of things.

System: The pouch itself is a fine, delicate leather adorned with no symbols or markings. The leather is thin, almost gossamer-like, and a pale grey-pink color. Inside is fire-ash. The whole item is un-interesting aesthetically or artistically.

Any ash, though, tucked into the pouch and left for a day grants the wearer the ability to look on any natural creature and divine their lineage. The ash must be applied like eyeshadow thickly over the eyes and the bridge of one’s nose, and then faint images of people flicker and flit on the wind around folks when the ashmarked concentrates (counts as holding Concentration with regards to spells).

After the first round concentrating on the images, the ashmarked can make out the physical features and gender and general nature of the target’s parents. After the second round, maintaining concentration, they perceive any children the target has or has ever had. After the third round concentrating, they learn how healthy the subject is (DM may give them a general description of whether they’re likely to die of natural causes anytime soon due to age or infirmity, if they have low hit points relative to their max because they’re hurt, whether they’re hale and hearty, etc.). This can be used to ascertain the level of damage and/or fatigue a creature has and most conditions it may suffer from.

Springmail

When the dark knight put his lance through Wendel’s chest, it seemed as though all the joy of the world was gone. That there would be no great joy, and that this mad adventure would only haunt them all for the rest of their day.

The Prophet of Lindelwood, the Mad Walker of the Green. Wendel, what his parent’s named him. If anyone of them had deserved to see this out, it was him.

That’s what they thought, anyway. The lot of them gathered around his body, the knight lying dead in the rain by the clearing. They stood around as the skies soaked them and shook their heads grimly. Paulo wept.

As the druid’s body started changing, rotting away before them more quickly than possible–the sight of his teeth baring from drying and moldering lips horrified them, his body caved in and maggots and insects crawled out of orifices. His eyes shriveled in their sockets beneath the lids and even his bones appeared to fall apart into dirt and dust. Within moments, Wendel had decomposed into nothing and flowers began to grow.

As they stood, dumbstruck and horrified and confused, they heard movement from where the knight had fallen–all spun drawing weapons and ready for their vengeance only to find a naked Wendel, Prophet of Lindelwood, pulling off one of the knight’s boots.

He stopped for a moment, rain making his usually pale skin even pastier looking… “What…? They’re better than mine.”

System: The Springmail of the Farthest Reach, an artifact of the time when the Zeal Riders fought their Endless War with the Principalities of the Mad and the Feyland Court. The Wild was alive with great titanic conflict then, and then the world itself ended and few things survived the eons between then and the world as it is now.

The Springmail was what the Lord of the Black Deep would wear in battle, a shirt of chain mail made of immaculate and tiny looks of seamless charcoal grey stone. All interlinked impossibly perfectly.

Attuning to the Springmail requires burying it no deeper than a foot under loose soil and leaving it there, unguarded and unhidden, for a full turn of the moon. One cannot come, nor have anything else come, within a mile of it for this time. The Lords of old had a much easier time of this when the world was all wild space.

Once attuned, however, it counts as +0 chain mail (though made of stone) and weighs twice as much as normal chain mail. The first time the wearer is reduced below 0 hp (requiring death saves) their body begins to decompose entirely where it lay over the course of 2d4 rounds.

Roll 1d12 and then 1d10. Starting directly North (as a clockface) the d12 result is the direction and the d10 result is how many feet (take the d10 result and multiply by 5) away that a rootball starts growing over the same time as the body is decomposing.

Once fully grown (and the body fully decomposed), the rootball cracks open and the character comes spilling forth from it at 1 hp, removing all conditions they had before, with 1 exhaustion, and any missing body parts or scars or blemishes gone. They are covered in gelatinous slime and look almost as though they’ve emerged from a birth. Should they reach their own remains, they may take a full turn kneeling over them, thanking and blessing the generosity of the world, and recover half their maximum HP.

This only works once per day. Should the rootball resulting direction and distance be over a chasm or hole, it forms somewhere from the side of that as many feet down as uses the rest of the distance. DM’s are encouraged to be creative in this.

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