Quicker Knives, A Man With No Name, and the Irresistible Arc of Heaven…

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

Zephyr Spines

Rita leaned back against the straw, the wind howling outside made the inside of the old barn almost peacefully quiet by comparison. She’d outlived the Far Wars (robbing the weary refugees blind in the hills), stood her own against countless bounty-hunters and trackers. She liked to boast, when half-drunk with her gang, that there wasn’t a man fast enough to put a knife to her. As she slumped back, the smell of wet hay choking around her, she could hardly believe she’d been so wrong.

“Just who the hell are you, mister?”

The thick shouldered thing just stood over her as she bled out into the dirt and dust. In the dim light of the lantern, clenched in a white knuckled hand and shaking, his skin—scaly and brown–almost seemed to shine.

“Natsu.”

Rita blinked away the confusion between the pain in her side and the conflicting estimations in her mind.

“I… I thought you was dead.”

The dragonborn took a careless step forward into the light.

“Not hardly.”

System: The gods of the wind and storm, the Corners, the Fey Court of the Skies… all came together in the old time to murder the Great Father Wind, the being that ruled the Plane of Air. The treacherous murder took eons to plot and execute and the details of it are long lost to whatever passes for history in the stars.

But to keep him from coming back, they rended his body to pieces and spread them out over a thousand thousand domains in the heavens. And from one of these fragments, the Spines of Zephyr were created four hundred years ago in the distant eastern lads past the Bay.

There are two, each a fifteen inch length of polished white bone, as big around as a finger, lighter than there is any noticeable reason for. The surface is etched in a flowing, fluid pattern from end to end. Each end is brought to a sharp point.

Attunement requires a leap (from something high) and fall (for at least 100 ft.) unassisted by any magic. To minimize the potential damage, it was common in those days to leap into a lake or river.

Once attuned, the Zypher Spires count as +0 magic daggers that pre-empt any Reactions. After a Reaction is declared by any other player or the DM for a creature in response to something in the combat, the Spines wielder may pre-empt that Reaction with one of their own. This pre-empted Reaction must employ the use of the Spines in some way (either an opportunity attack or appropriate feat, racial, or feature ability).

Obscurant Vane

“You’re damned, you know that, right?”

Wexel Don Specci held his crossbow level at the approaching figure. The same one he’d seen around down the last few weeks. The same one that made a bloodbath out of the mercenaries he sent to get rid of the guy. The same one who came here to revenge himself on the killing Wexel had paid for down in the villages of the Marshes.

Chickens were coming home to roost, but Wexel—coward he might be—wasn’t going to let this stranger have the last laugh.

“I’ll… I’ll pay you! Yes? Look, how much would it really take—you’re unarmed and I may not be much of a soldier but I’m a good enough shot to put this bolt through you”, Wex was rambling. He cursed himself silently, this man wasn’t going to be scared of a bumbling aristocrat.

“You better aim for the heart, then. You do it. Or I’ll never stop coming for you”, the stranger replied—never missing a pace or a step as he came closer and closer.

Wexel experienced three great revelations before the darkness took him. First, that it was his own greed that had brought him to this place. Second, that the world was full of strangers and one never knows who is bringing one’s death with them. Third, that some of those strangers, it would seem, cannot die.

System: The last Emperor of Ave Cro, nestled undisturbed amongst the peaks of the Lowiron Mountains lived for seven hundred and thirty years–longer than all of his progeny and long enough to guide the course of his corner of civilization to advancements other nations saw as miraculous and awe-inspiring. He served as counselor to his descendents’ reigns–building a future one year at a time. He was only known for those centuries as “the old emperor”, all record of his name erased from history (and even to this day).

The Vane is a seamless jade box, clouded and rich–the only indication it is any kind of box at all rather than just a egg-sized block is the subtle rattle inside of something in the hollow within. The Vane is attached to a braided hoop of some stoud, black fibers that defy natural origin.

Attunement to the Vane requires a day and a night, alone, telling it all one’s secrets and all of one’s failures and all of one’s hopes. None can overhear, or it does not take. But, once attuned, the Vane knows one’s name (their truest name, writ on the heavens) and keeps it safe.

So long as its worn and attuned, and so long as one’s name is unknown to another, that creature or individual is disadvantaged in using magic against the wearer. Magical attacks are disadvantaged. Effects requiring saves have a DC to resist or ignore (appropriate to the spell) -5 (disadvantaged). Magic-based bonus damage (+x damage from magical source) is halved.

Against anyone that does know one’s name, they are advantaged in the use of magic against the wearer. Attacks are made at advantage, DC’s are +5 harder, magical bonus damage is always max rolled amount (before any exploding dice effects or other effects).

Meteor Hammer

Whooooooooooooooooooommmmmmm

The sphere orbited Wyla in slow, deliberate rotations–the hum and growing bass note from it growing louder and louder with each turn.

Whoooooooooooooooooooommmmmmm

Most of the creatures stood back—looking nervously at the swinging stone with a combination of calculation and worry. With each pass, they’d lean in as though to judge whether to rush; with each coming return, they’d lean back, shoving against each other to back away.

Whoooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmm

It might have stayed that way for more than a tense few moments, had it not been for the bugbear who led them, angry and quickly seeing his ambush dissolve, roar his disapproval at the cowardly lot, roll his shoulders, check his spiked club, and charge.

The impact was the sound of a wagonload of melons falling off a sheer cliff soundlessly, then meeting the smooth stone floor below. Wet. The faint sound of shattering things. The creature exploded apart into gallons of blood and viscera, heaps of shattered limbs and broken parts, the club skittering to a stop twenty feet away in two pieces.

The surrender was made with great speed and enthusiasm.

System: The Meteor Hammer is a perfect sphere of red granite, polished smooth and unblemished save for a bold brass ring jutting out from it where a long, brass chain is attached. The weapon weighs very nearly two hundred pounds and cannot be wielded by anyone with a strength less than 17. It was wielded by a demi-god, to teach the planets to move in concert with each other.

Attunement requires a laborious exercise with it, swinging it around and around for nearly an hour (Con Save DC 15 at the thirty minute mark, Con Save DC 20 at the hour mark—failing either requires starting over). The low hum of the device becomes more and more audible, though never rises above a murmur light conversation in a crowd.

Once attuned, the wielder may use the Hammer as a powerfully lethal weapon. It takes one full turn to get the hammer in rotation and orbit around one’s self (5ft radius). Once in rotation, one may choose to use it at 10ft or at 15ft radius as one swings the ball more furiously.

At 10ft, creatures within 5ft or at least 15ft away have advantage on their attacks (standing still is easy to hit). But one may swing the sphere against opponents 10ft away, doing 2d10 + Strength magical bludgeoning damage (the attack is Strength based and may include proficiency).

At 15ft, creatures 10ft or closer, or 20ft. or farther away have advantage to attack the wielder; and the sphere, swung in attack against targets 15ft away, does 3d10 + Strength in magical bludgeoning damage.

On a roll of a 1, the balance of the attack is thrown off, and one must start over. One may not Move while swinging the sphere; though one may use their Bonus Action to step 5ft in any direction unless otherwise restrained.

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