Unwords, Forever Changing, and Where Legends Come From…

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

Voca Caparison

Mad Hanz stared at the goblet—finewiss crystal cupped at the base by a twisting silver stem. The cup was worth more than the entirety of Hanz’s earthly possessions. Even serving him a drink with it, as tattered and unkempt as he usually appeared, was an extraordinary act of either inattention or manipulation.

Given that the Duke was not known for foolish or careless error, Mad Hanz figured it was the latter.

The man was no friend of the free powers and had a reputation for brutality against the green mages, the wild seers, even the less orthodox of the priests here in Gaw. That Mad Hanz of the River would be invited to discuss urgent matters meant he was next—at least, that was what the moon had said. And the fish had shown him in their dances the same.

He took a drink, and another, the conversation light and uninteresting. And as his body slowed and starched, as the muscles hardened and his fingers froze, the Duke started cackling his victory and brilliance. He would raise the power of the Academy high, he would crush the free powers of the world.

Hanz sat, unblinking, and let him have his joy—then, unmoving, expressed a word made of unsounding utterance and set the man on fire.

System: The Voca Caparison, the clothes worn by the last son of the Flowmaster in his travels throughout the world, seeding the essence of magic in peoples from the far east to the distant west, are a powerful and rare artifact. They represent how the burden of the arcane in the world used to be on those of will and breeding, rather than those of study and engineering.

The style is old, to say the least, overlarge trousers and shirt, intended to be cinched with belts and ropes—a truly primitive form of clothing made for durable utility. The cloth itself, though resembling a thick sackweave, is actually made from the echoes of power made physical form in the world.

Attunement to the clothing requires spending as many months as ones proficiency bonus in silence. Saying nothing. No intentional or unintentional verbage at all.

When complete, the clothes when worn may speak from the mind of and will of the wearer in a somewhat haunting unknown tongue of the supernal realms—words laced with power and ancient beyond time. While one could speak in this tongue without ever using one’s mouth, it is incomprehensible for others. The only modern use, it appears, is it allows the wearer to count as having used Verbal components to spells even if Stunned or Paralyzed, and while within an area of magical Silence.

Solace of Continuum

The hob soldier put two feet of strong Dakar steel through Belladonna’s head and Sir Broadways felt anger, horror, fear, and panic wash over him as he saw her body fall to the ground and the soldier move fluidly past and into the next melee on the hill.

The magus was cryptic and strange, but she’d saved his life a dozen times—to die so quickly, so damn meaninglessly… Broadways shoved his opponent off of his shield, cut his throat and charged up the slope to the bastard who killed Bell.

And as the large man crashed into the yellow-skinned warrior, roaring his rage and frustration over the sound of armor scraping and clashing. As Broadways held him down in the mud, screaming his curses and raising his shield to bring the rim crashing down into the shocked face looking up. As the moment hung. As the battle raged on…

The hob put his hands up in front of him, laying on his back under the hulking golden armored man and said—in a choked and gutterally uncertain voice—“Brodie… Brodie… it’s ok. Just… it’s me. Help me get to my body.”

System: The Solace is a short staff, little more than a walking stick really, the sort an old man might use taking his rounds in the forest. Four feet high, it’s too tall to use as a cane, but too short to use as a true staff—the Solace is an odd stick of coppery metal as bg around as a woman’s wrist at the head and pinky small at the bottom.

The surface is covered in what appear to be fingerprints pressed physically into the metal itself. Hundreds.

Attunement requires reaching a state of supernal acceptance that is beyond most people. One must fail an Intelligence Check DC 5 after a week of meditation and reflection. And then must succeed in a Charisma Check DC 25 as one communes with the rivers of power in the universe to accept the truth of the higher realities and the falsity of this earthly and bodily one. If one succeeds in the Intelligence check, one finds themselves unable to move beyond the rational congress of their mind to get to the base state needed and must start over, all subsequent Intelligence checks to attune at advantage (decreasing the likelihood of the needed failure). If one fails the Charisma check, one must start over and the next Charisma checks to attune are made at Disadvantage.

But, once attuned, while wielding the staff (which counts as an improvised +0 magic weapon, 1d4 + Str), one ceases to be bound to their own mortal or spiritual coil and becomes one with their supernal, arcane essence–the fingerprint of their magical DNA in the stars themselves.

Should the wielder of the Solace be reduced to 0 HP, their arcane being—the philosophical and metaphysical essence of their being—moves into the last creature to touch them (defined metaphysically as last attack, targeted effect, or targeted physical ability check, either directly or indirectly).

Upon moving into the body, the character is a passenger in the new form for a number of rounds equal to the new body’s Intelligence modifier (if 0, they are not stunned; if negative, they are advantaged on their action the first round)–they retain their original (the character, not target) initiative when no longer merely a passenger.

Once active and no longer a passenger, every action, bonus, and reaction the body (whether controlled by the character or original host) attempts is made with an ability modifier equal to the average (round down) of the original host and their own. Additionally, every action chosen (declare, before rolling) has a 50% chance of being an action, bonus, or reaction the original body wants

Should the host die before it can wield or touch the Solace, both the host and the character die. Should the character manage to grasp/possess the Solace before then, they can assert their will over the host forever after that–their original body becomes unrevivable. The character may not be resurrected from their new body as they are not dead in the least.

They have the HP of the new body and may add to it with new levels (but not retroactively add to HP for any reason). Their ability scores are an average of the old body’s and new rounded down, but for 1 inspiration spent they may choose to keep one of their original scores. They have the racial abilities of the new form. They benefits from no class features, however (nor monsterous special actions). This will, occasionally, require DM fiat.

They may only heal, ever, by use of spending Hit Dice (magical healing does not have any effect) or resting.

The wielders of the Solace have many many names, live many lives, and are as fluid and changing and chaotic and natural as the flowing magical power of wild magic itself.

The Pattern of Eternity

“I knew what I was. I think I always knew, in some way, Daxa. I can remember the dreams I had when I used to dream. I can remember the visions from the greater World and the flashes of Truth warned me over and over that to Be—to really and truly Be—I would have to touch that state.”

“I fought it, the temptation to Be. That gave way to curiosity and the everpresent drive and desire to try. It is in us, those that can feel and hear the currents of the River, to want to join it. Do you know that feeling, when standing on a ledge far above something? That feeling of urge and want? As though something deeper than yourself is reminding you that all you are is the fall and an almost overpowering urge to leap? That’s the feeling, except it is bolder and more true and more right than anything.”

“I don’t regret the leap, Daxa. I love Being. I don’t really miss much of what I was before. I don’t think or dwell on it. That is love. Sometime, though, when all is quiet and still, I try to remember the taste of a wine I had in the Winter of ’24. More and more I seem to forget it. All I recall now is that it tasted like blueberries. I think… I think I liked blueberries.”

System: The Pattern is a wand, a foot long of rocky purple crystal that glows faintly of this color and that in evershifting hues—a shard of ice from the most concretely frozen parts of the great River, the flowing current of pure magic that runs this way and that through the world. It is older than time or space, and its brothers and sisters have been the cause of tragedy and triumph throughout history.

Unattuned, it acts as an arcane focus of the highest order.

Attunement requires bringing about (intentionally or not) a Wild Magic surge. And once attuned, the wielder is opened to the greater mysteries of the cosmos and the knowledge that the artifacts of power in the world are actually other sorcerers and sorceresses and beings of magical purity made material and eternal.

The attuned wielder has a number of Artifact Points equal to their proficiency bonus. These points can be used to become an object, body and mind and soul, congruent with the a pattern the River intended for them.

The wielder must choose a simple object to turn into (a weapon, armor, a tool, clothing, jewelry, a book, etc.–anything without moving parts, anything mundane itself that is no larger than their original form). Spending an action and an Artifact Point, they may turn into a perfectly mundane version of that object. Changing back requires another action and another point. Each additional point spent beyond the first may up the magical rarity category of the item by one (one extra point spent = Common, two = Uncommon, etc.) and the DM is encouraged to add properties (+1, +2, extra d4’s of damage, resistances, spell-like effects) as appropriate.

As one levels higher and higher, one’s true being becomes more and more powerful as it becomes more and more true in the world. One’s destiny is to be one of the great artifacts of power in the world.

While in object-state, one may communicate with a creature touching them freely. They may use the senses of the creature touching it, if allowed willingly (otherwise one has blindsight at 30 ft.). One’s durability is no greater than the object’s own and in the event of being damaged to total ruin or otherwise suffers being destroyed, one dies (although on can spend an Artifact Point to undo the damage that would result in ruin).  DMs are encouraged to tailor the experience as needed.

One dreams of what they may Become, there being no one clear certain version… the comfort of this allows the wielder of the Pattern to remove 2 exhaustion with a long rest instead of the normal 1.

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