Save the Cheerleader, Righteous Spell Deflection, and Like “Frozen” But Scarier…

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

Keeper of Ravin

I’ve got ya’. I’ve got ya’. Breath—in and out—that’s it. And don’t move. You don’t want to know what that leg feels like when you try and move.” Crawss cradled the young captain’s head in one thick hand and put pressure on his chest with the other. All around them, the sounds of chaos and battle shrieked and clanked and screamed and groaned on.

Kwile was dying. Or had been. He wasn’t sure. He remembered the blow, remembered the moment the world when bright and painful white and then dropped into pure quiet darkness. He remembered the smell of saffron and had no idea why.

And then, like being born, the fork-beaded savage was holding him and looking at him with soft eyes of concern. And he wasn’t dead. And everything hurt. And he started crying, because he was afraid of dying here in the middle of nowhere fighting a war he had no interest or stake in. He sobbed, in anguish, he blubbered and lost control of all the worry and fear and anger.

And at the end, the dwarf patted him on the chest, like a mother burping a baby, “…right, then. How about we leave that last part out when we tell the fella’s tonight?”

System: The Keeper of Ravin was the last promise of the Storm Giants of the Raging Eastern Gale to the dwarves of the Waste. Their war against each other had lasted millenia, the battles regarded as folklore and epic clashes remembered in songs and poems told the night before battles in lesser, petty modern conflicts. The Peace that was brokered between the Furious and the Protector was hammered into place with years of negotiation, then pinned with the Keeper.

The staff, itself, is almost comically large. Almost as long as a spear, nearly eight feet of a sinuous and thick wood of unknown origin. A large man’s hand might come closer to surrounding three quarters of it, a smaller hand has no chance to. There are worn places along the side, three of them, showing the wear of the ages.

Attunement to the Keeper requires the slow, chanted devotional of the dwarvish savages of the Waste. A combination of Giant and Dwarvish in thick and aggressive rhythm, and those un-familiar with either language would have difficulty reciting it properly (Intelligence Check DC 15). Part of the devotional is the promise to keep and protect one’s people. In ages past, that meant whole kingdoms; today it means one.

With attunement, the wielder identifies one person they are now sworn to protect—it does not have to be a willing target. The wielder of the Keeper is now advantaged on all ability checks done to the assistance, protection, or preservation of the target (from an Athletics check to carry them up a cliffside to a Persuasion check to convince them not to steal something that might risk their safety).

In addition, the wielder may make a Survival check DC equal to the target’s CR or Character Level to bring them from 0 hp to 1 hp. This takes one action. The keeper also counts as a +0 magic weapon, two-handed and heavy, doing 2d6 bludgeoning on a successful hit.

Lassiter’s Convictus

For a man his size, Broadways was fast. Always was, it was an advantage he’d carefully cultivated for years and times like this reminded him of how lucky he was to have been born with fast feet. As he crossed the distance between the great stone doors and the raised dais on the far side of the chapel, he managed to cover a third of the stretch before the congregants had even noticed the clamor.

His friends stayed back, and wisely. They knew the drill. Raveller Thorpe had to be stopped and this dark ritual with him. The sallow faces in the crowd went from surprised, to annoyed, to furious in moments and the armored old paladin hurled himself up the processional. One hundred yards, maybe… keep going.

He felt the sting of some hex or curse tossed at him and still raced on. He knocked two thin-armed cultists out of the way—hearing a satisfying “crack” as he shattered one of their jaws with his shield. Seventy yards. And another sting. Fifty. Another. The pain was intense, but still he ran on.

And as Ravell looked in bewilderment at the large metal figure barrelling towards him, he croaked two words more glorious than any Broadways had heard in weeks…

“Aww… shit”.

System: The Convictus was found, not created. Lassiter was the old soldier of the Lost country—fabled hero that walked the hills and plains and forests of that cursed place bringing retribution and peace wherever he went. His death at the hands of the great winged death that was the Black Tyrant is a story told by old bards to somber men of righteous mein. A cautionary tale that the greatest of heroes die, that not all stories are bright.

A century after Lassiter died, it was said that a token of respect and honor carefully placed where he had fallen so long before. The Convictus is clearly and evidently not of this world at all. The half-plate armor is stunning, but unearthly. No seam, no mark, it looks like it was formed without ever having been touched by a smith or hammer. The pieces are not bolted or riveted together, they simply move and slide past each other without connection—never falling apart.

Attunement requires forswearing the tides of fortune entirely. An oath to the cosmos that one walks an orderly path. Once attuned, the wearer may not spend Inspriation for any reason. The only thing they can ever do with it is give it to another (represented by their giving an encouraging gesture of some kind). They may still earn Inspiration, and grant it to others in this way, but cannot spend it themselves.

Once attuned, the armor counts as +0 magical half-plate. The wearer is now advantaged on saves against magical effects—all such saves. The spirit of the old soldier steels them, body and soul, through the unearthly armor. All such spells, however, cause the wearer to take 1d4 psychic damage (regardless of the save) as the strain of resisting can be difficult. This damage die can explode (on a 4, roll again, add the total; continue until no other 4’s are rolled).

Gloves of the Winter Court

Londa stood nose to nose with the king’s champion. There, in the middle of the palace hall, her comrades fending off the guards still pouring into the chamber. His face was a vivid and bright impressionistic painting of rage and pain and fear. She wanted to vomit and run and laugh and dance. Most of the time, she felt in control, but the music was playing and the could feel the warm approval over her shoulder like a father’s love.

He squirmed and screamed as she stood there, listening to the clashing of swords and yelling of orders. She trusted the rest, they’d keep these two-penny soldiers from interrupting.

The large man raise, painfully, a mailed fist and drove it into the side of her face. She felt something crack, the world went spinning bright, but still she held on. She could feel his pulse. She wanted to scream out in agony, both from the savage blow and the loathing she felt at that moment for herself.

As he rained strike after strike upon her, he grew slow and clumsy, bleeding profusely, lips turning blue. And when he fell, and she with him, Londa was a motley of cuts and blood and bruises, teeth missing, part of her scalp torn away showing bone even.

And all the while, she felt love and heard music and wept through the shattered eye socket for how well she had done.

System: The Winter Court of the First Lord of the Saeling Talanal is a hidden palace in a hidden valley high in mountains no living intelligent creature dares go. The fey are mad, but those of the Saeling Talanal are a truly alien form of madness. The court is littered with the perfectly frozen, anguished faces of those who have fallen to the devoted of the Lord. A great garden and menagerie of excruciating pain forever preserved in perfect, icy beauty.

The Arch-Fey, herself, carved her kingdom from the rocks and peaks and is spoken of in hushed tones amongst the Fey themselves. She is Lord of the Court. And she tends her garden with cruelty. Her warlocks, in the world, are some of the most dangerous. The gloves were her own creation, sent to her loyalists to find her new and interesting pieces for her gallery.

Attunement to the gloves requires dying of exposure. One must reach exhaustion level 6 due to extreme cold and the elements, after which (should one survive that) the gloves are attuned and the Lord of the Court takes well notice.

The gloves allow the wearer to initiate a grapple with an eligible creature (they must be grapple-able to begin wtih) whereby the wearer’s hands (on a successful grapple) burst through their armor and skin and grab ahold of the creature from within—holding onto viscera and bones. At the start of the creature’s turn, if grappled in this fashion, they take 1d4 cold damage for each hand used in the grapple (this is independent of any damage from attack actions taken by the wearer on their own turn) and must make a Constitution Save DC equal to both dice results multiplied together or gain 1 exhaustion.

With 1 hand used to grapple, there is no Con save (the second dice is “0”), With 2 the range is from 1 to 16 (1d4 x 1d4). Should the creature die of exhaustion (6), their body vanishes and the Lord of the Court delights in her new trophy. If the wearer is a warlock, they gain their spells back as though with a short rest. If not, the wearer gets 1 inspiration. The Lord, however, is unimpressed by a constant stream of common things and may withold her favor for being sent yet another human commoner or goblin raider.

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