You can find the ever-growing list of “Better Than Nothing” items over on the right. Read ‘em, like ‘em, share ‘em, and comment.
“Come on, now, Master Vacheck, surely you didn’t think I was going to simply let you and your band of petty thieves and murderers just walk into my Daima and sack it like common burglars in a jewelry shop?
“I’ve waited for this moment for weeks—you didn’t know that, did you? I was watching you when you crossed the Faetan Peaks, I sat in the grass and watched you sleep under that great oak. My creatures will take your friends, those still alive, down into the dark and play with them like dolphins might play with a baby floating in the sea.
“…so. Do your worst
“…well? Are you just going to stand there?
“…are you… slow?
“This is getting awkward.”
System: The Docker’s Shield, despite its bold and suggestive name, is a soft black and red headwrap—properly worn over the eyes, it seems a more regal-than-normal version of the common rags a blind beggar might wear in any given town.
But, its origins go back to the Wain’s Guild—a thieving outfit in the second Capitol of the Empire of Shadows, a great city ruled by the monsters and alien-things that perverted the land in the Years of Terror long ago. What’s an enterprising heavy to do when darkness pervades everything? In the years since, most of them are lost, though some are still sacred to certain monasteries of shadow in the North.
Attunement to the Shield requires wearing it for an uninterrupted week. Sitting in pitch and blind darkness (which is what it feels like, as it blocks all light from the eyes) can unnerve even the bold. Once attuned, however, the Shield grants the wearer deeper power than mere sight ever provided. Wearing the Shield render’s one blind, in a strange sense. One does not have the Blinded condition, though everything is dark. But a form of Truesight takes over in a 10ft. radius where one can make out forms and objects like a sonar ping. Beyond that, one’s own natural senses are needed.
When in the presence of eminent danger (enemies around, traps or hazards, reasons a man might be wary for more than just one’s imagination), the wearer may spend an entire round standing and/or dodging while listening to the movements of the air, the smells of sweat, the trembling on the ground, etc. At the start of one’s next turn, roll an Intelligence Check DC equal to 10 plus four times the number of Inspiration and Extra Inspiration Points. On a success, they gain either an Inspiration point (if they had none) or an Extra Inspiration point (if they already had an Inspiration Point, there is a limit to the number of Extra Inspiration one may have equal to one’s Proficiency bonus).
So, from no Inspiration one spends a round doing nothing but (maybe) dodging, no moving, then at the start of their next turn they attempt an Intelligence Check DC 10; if they spend another round, their next check is at DC 14. Then 18. Then 22. Etc.
Extra Inspiration is lost in one minute from the last one gained in a row.
Brother Service gripped the thin reed in his hand so firmly, his knuckles—bleeding and scraped—went white. The fury of judgement flowed through him and in its righteous power, he felt elation and pain. That he might die never crossed his mind, not because he was certain he would live, but because he had long given up the mortal concern of caring. He lived and died by his cause and his faith. And if he were to die here, then he would simply die here.
The rotted archmage’s tattered robes flapped and swirled with the gale of energy. It screamed, though Service couldn’t hear anything over the tin-scream in his ears. He saw Meilla charge in with incantations and Broadways charge with his greatsword held high, some small part of him not yet given over to his cause hoped they did survive. Hoped they would live long enough to see another dawn and see love and some happiness. But, it was a fleeting feeling.
The bright and dark typhoon that enveloped him was burning his flesh, rending his skin, tearing his clothes, breaking his body. He couldn’t quite breath. He only stared, teeth gritted together, and waited for either him or it to fall.
System: The Celestial Council, the great and powerful gods and demi-gods and goddesses of the universe violated (some under duress) their promises to the world to push a weapon of great destiny into it. Since the Formation and the Pact, all the gods were bound to the rules, and yet some did and still do test the boundaries of them.
The Baneslayer was given by a Deva of the Middle Order to deliver to a righteous individual. It chose Henletta, a novice priestess of the Fury, and chose her to bear the thing. Since then, it has been handed down from one righteous warrior to another for years and years.
The Baneslayer is a wand, not quite a foot long and made from light—pure and unhinderable light. When unattuned, when it is held, it emits daylight to a radius of the bearer’s Profiency bonus—and automatically negates any standing illusion or darkness within that range.
Attunement, however, requires making a blood-pledge to the Saints that have come before, Henletta and all who carried the Baneslayer. It is an oath not lightly made, a promise to great beings nobly fallen. Their mission was to eradicate the dark, arcane powers of the world that sought to subjugate and pervert it. And to the attuned wielder, they are charged with this as well. Defying this may come with appropriate DM-incurred curses or enmities.
Once attuned, the wand allows the wielder to grapple an opponent from a distance with divine energy and force of will. Held aloft and directed, with an action the wand can initiate a grapple on a creature up to 30ft away. The wielder uses a Religion check opposed by the target’s Arcane check. If the wielder uses their bonus action as well, they can be advantaged on the grapple (this is the only way to). If the wielder sacrifices their Reaction as well, they may attempt to impose the Restrained condition (though they are not advantaged to do that). If unsuccessful, though, on the attempt, the wielder takes a number of d4’s of half-radiant/half-necrotic damage equal to the different between the two checks.
The Shattered Standard of Wex
The glade was quiet, the air still and empty. Though overgrown and rich with life, there was something more than menacing about the way the vines hung from the trees. SOmething almost sinister about the color of the moss—not simply green, but a green that one saw and almost tasted in seeing it. The place was old, but the stones (weathered they might be) looked like pieces of broken pottery lost to the ages.
Halwayte had spent his entire adult life looking for this place. Where heroes fought monsters and both fell to the obscure ache of history, What injury they wrought here was healed, but healed perversely. It would be a surprise if anyone in a thousand leagues knew what it was or that it was here.
The shield lay on its side, worn and weathered, wood rotted, smelling like the green of the moss. The last thing Wex would remember was the horrific sweet rotting smell of a thing alive that shouldn’t have been and realizing it was everything.
System: In the time of Uday Vet’Verain, the high alcolyte of The Listener at the Door, during his reign of terror over the low lands of the Ballhaust Country, Four thousand years before the Exile Kings, his war against the Wayfarers ended up devastating the land and bringing an unholy and unspeakable touch of the other side to the world. The result was the instant screaming death of everyone in the surrounding countryside, everyone and everything. Such the horrific powers of the Old Ones.
The shield of Falan, the first to fall to the horror, lies in the glade that has grown around the forgotten site of that long forgotten battle. The power of the Wayfarers and that of the Elder Thing fused into a shattered metaphor.
The shield is a ruin, the wood petrified and blasted to pieces in the right corner. But in the last few millenia, resting in that place of power, it soaked up the energies and legends and had endured ever since.
The shield counts as a +1 magical shield, however given that it is broken irreparably and worn it only offers a shield bonus of 1 rather than the usual 2 (bringing the total shield bonus to +2 overall).
Attunement is required for its deeper mysteries. Attunement is achieved through an active, lethal encounter with a servant of a Great Old One or aberration in a pure place, a natural place (not a city or a place inhabited by intelligent creatures).
Once attuned, the shield provides the bearer with the ability to draw upon the horror of that fateful battle. Using their Reaction, they may empower the shield to form the rest of itself from the swirling, chaotic energies that broke it. The rest of the shield fills in with glowing, hard energy bringing the shield’s bonus to overall +3 (2 for a full shield, +1 for magic) and provides resistance to Necrotic and Poison damage for 1 round.