Walking the Beat, The Fears of the Brave, and Single-Minded Focus…

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 Divider

“It looks like they’re all grouped together, Marius”. Something about the grizzled brawler made Brother Service uncomfortable. Where most of their group seemed to at least pay lip service to the True and the Way, or at least act with charity and mercy… hells, or at least not appear to enjoy the sometimes necessary slaughter they found on their way to the old keep…

…Marius was different. Boring and quiet and seemingly depressed most of the time, given to rant about the injustices of his brutish life on the roads back when he worked as a caravan guard and prone to drink more than a little, their brawler came alive and joyous at the idea of cinching his leathers tighter and bringing pain and death to others.

It was, to say the least, of questionable moral quality–that behavior.

But, times like this, looking down at the throngs and teeming horde of hobgoblins all close piked and ready to charge in seamless phallanx–well, the priest could appreciate the unique talents of a bastard such as Marius. He watched the old boy walk down into the path of the coming storm, gripping his weapon, ready to scatter them to the winds.

System: The Divider is a rod of heavy adamantine weighing nearly forty pounds and cunningly shaped all but perfectly cylindrical with a crisscross of shallow grooves that improved the grip on the otherwise impervious surface. Twenty inches of charcoal grey metal, as big around as an ogre’s thumb.

The Lord Marshall of Inx had his Master Smiths and Magewrights spend four years on its construction–intending it to be the central figure of his command and something he could pass it down to from office-bearer to office-bearer and (maybe one day) possibly a descendent might sit a throne with it. But, old arbiter that he was and not a stranger to the work on the streets of Yolost, he wanted it to be as useful as it was beautiful.

Attunement to the Divider requires the lawful apprehension of a dozen criminals using nothing more than the rod–as an improvised weapon. On the apprehension and incarceration of the last, the rod seems to shift its balance, magically, to the bearer–allowing its use as a +0 light mace.

In addition, on a successful attack–should the number on the d20 used to confirm the hit be even (2, 4, 18, 16, etc.) the target is knocked backward or sideways with preternatural force directly away from the incoming blow. The knock back distance for a medium-sized creature is 10 ft. For every size category larger, subtract 5 ft. For every size category smaller, add 5ft. On a critical hit, do not double the damage dice, instead double the distance. Should the knocked-back creature collide with any substantial terrain or object (something that does not “give”, they take 1d6 bludgeoning from the impact for every 10ft. of travel. For any creature knocked more than 10ft, they are also Prone.

Harrower’s Line

In the Summer of Holstace, brave Captain Culpa charged the breach at Manverwald. Despite the horrors of war, the almost impossible defense of the Kargi, the explosions and death all around–the day was won.

In the Fall of Shanth, fearless Captain Culpa rooted the dark arcanist Memnon from his tower, losing half his company in the ascent and personally dispatching a dozen vile creatures conjured from the secen hells to protect their evil master. As the mage was cast down from the very top, Culpa’s shortsword in his chest–the day was won.

In the Winter of Lingam, the unshakable Captain Culpa walked into the den of Helix, the winged fury and destroyer of the village of Demos. Alone, unaided, he hesitated not a bit as he made his way into the maw of the cavern and then made his way out with the beast’s sizzling head. And as he dropped it from the bridge–the day was won.

In the Spring of Aiden, the courageous Captain Culpa–in the midst of the battle of Fartown’s Grael against the rebel uprising there–knelt in the soft green grass and watched with dim and sad eyes the war rage around him. He saw the young soldier, no more than fourteen if a day, run at him screaming something… something… and closed his eyes as he let the youth stab him in the chest. his last thoughts were that he deserved it, and peace, followed by pity as he felt the boy pull a ring from his finger while darkness took him.

System: The Line was made from crudely forged together pieces of the Flaymaster’s own knife–the God of Pain and Murder. This was the knife that killed demigods and crippled great beings beyond the stars. The treacherous weapon of destiny that made the highest beings nervous. A fragment was taken by an Avataar of the Father of slaughter and beaten into a ring marked by sharp edges and viscious-looking barbs.

Attunement to the ring requires strangling something to death with one’s bare hands while wearing the ring.

Once attuned, though, the ring allows the wearer to automatically succeed in any save against being Frightened or Stunned (this does not effect anything that applies the condition without a save). The wearer is filled with purpose and martial surety–a supernatural calm and assertiveness that speaks to the raw strength of will the Lord of Murder instills in his chosen.

However, the ring-bearer’s dreams are haunted by the screams and pleas of countless victims across the centuries–those who have fallen to the god’s machinations and died at the hands of his servants and priests. These images are inconsistent, and do not come every night, but at least a few times every month. Prone to occasional nightmares is the bearer (there is a 5% chance during any long rest that the bearer cannot sleep because of this and gets no benefits of a long rest). In addition, Should the bearer be dropped to less than his character level in hit points, he falls to the ground in a depressed introspection of the horrors he’s seen and remains incapacitated with sorrow. Any action, by any individual or creature, against the bearer will snap them out of it after one round.

Visor of the Gladiator

The large man stalked Paolo around the ring. The smell of sweat and mud and money filled the air in the basement of the Four Horse Inn as dozens of gamblers and pimps and brutes all crowded the rail. Paulo knew the odds were hugely in his favor, the large man was lame with a pronounced limp and moved like he was a full 80 years old. He banged into the rail once or twice, following the numble Paulo around and around.

This was going to be easy. That visor on his helm, the large man’s helm, was simply a dumb idea. Paulo liked going into these bouts armored but lightly–speed was important in the underground brawls. This guy didn’t get the notice, though. The whole bronze visor seemed to obscure his vision too much–Paulo didn’t see why he didn’t rip it right off. It must be impossible to see more than a foot in front of you with that thing on.

Nevertheless, the large man stumbled left and right and followed the rogue about. Paulo started to bore of the chase and darted in suddenly–so fast the crowd didn’t even have time to react. But, as he swept low and leapt up into the thrust, the large man–even more quickly–put all three feet of his sword through Paulo’s neck… twisted… and then stumbled back, tripping over his own feet.

System: The Visor was made by Baron Hollock’s in his youth to rig gladiatorial contests–it wasn’t long, however, before the bookies and managers realized the ruse and banned such equipment. Ever since, even the most underground of the illegal fighting pits still has enough money to pay for the occasional mage to come and check for such things. Good business after all.

The visor may be attached to any helm, though doing so requires a crafting check with appropriate BlackSmith’s Tools, DC 20 to make the visor raisable, DC 15 to just forge it on tight. Much depends on whether one wants to remove the helmet every time they want to avoid its effects.

Attunement requires winning an honest, single-combat against a challenging opponent while wearing the visor. Winning is defined as being the only one of the two above 0 hp. After its been attuned, the visor’s properties come alive.

The wearer must visibly sight a target (no visor), target must be a creature and only one creature. Then, on dropping the visor over their eyes (or donning the helm), they are rendered Blind, but possessed of Blindsight against their target up to 120 feet. Their attacks and ability checks against their target are made at advantage. However, they cannot see anything else, including terrain features. They may use a bonus action to raise and lower the visor to see normally and an action if they must remove a helm to do so.

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