You can find the ever-growing list of “Better Than Nothing” items over on the right. Read ‘em, like ‘em, share ‘em, and comment.
“He’s over there…” Sabya called out, pointing with his larian-made sword toward the outcroppings overlooking the long valley. His comrades tensed. They did not like this place, nor did they like the things that crept and hid in the shadows around it.
While they made their way down the gully and watched the sun fade behind the peaks of the far end of the lost and lonely stretch, they gripped the leather-wrapped handles and noched their arrows and glanced nervously left and right and up and down—waiting for the ambush they knew would come.
All, save Sabya. He strolled and hopped down the face, lightly and without much care. Not that he was brave (he wasn’t) and not that he was unworried (he was), but he knew the things were still gathering. Their assault was only half-formed and this was poor ground to make their stand should it soon come.
He glanced upward as there more hovered and wavered by the phalrocks and boulders. They didn’t know he could see them, and that was the only advantage they had to press when the time came.
System: Corona Laffetr wrote all seventy volumes of her Survey of Things Unseen in the field, in the muck and mire and hazard of the world, over one hundred and eighty years ago. Dying an old woman, surrounded by grandchildren, she passed her eyepieces onto the College of Lore and from there they’ve found their way into the stories of dozens of would be successors to her legacy.
The Pince-Nez are a nose-bridge pinching set of spectacles made of a dull tin-looking material with lenses of bifocal clear and rose-tinted glass. Affixing them properly requires some skill and those who lack courtly, scholarly, or wealthy backgrounds (DMs are the final judge of that) must succeed in an Intelligence check DC 15 at disadvantage to do it properly (or there is a 50% chance with any attack, ability check, or save that they fall off).
Attunement requires careful cleaning and polishing of the lenses in a very specific manner, releasing some of the magic contained in them (Arcane check DC 20). While wearing the Pince-Nez, one is disadvantaged on one’s Passive Perception as well as on all attacks and ability checks where clear visual perception and targeting are necessary (ranged attacks, spell attacks, throwing things, investigating at some distance, leaping down from a ledge, etc.). The bifocal nature of the lenses simply impede one at a distance, making far objects tricky to properly see and judge.
However, while wearing them one is advantaged on Intelligence and Investigation checks or saves versus Illusions, may read any written language as though they had that language/proficiency while peering through the glasses (if they succeed at an Intelligence Check DC 10), and has Truesight equal to their proficiency bonus in feet. The wearer may spend one Inspiration point to multiple this range by 10 for one turn as a reaction.
Lignum of Aeg
Every morning, without fail, Pensi wakes with the dawn. Neither before it breaks the horizon, nor after it has woken the great and many faces of the flowers and grasses and leaves and vines in its full calling rays. And every morning, also without fail, she takes out her mother’s shorknife and crouches in her polite oilskin tent and carves familiar lettering and symbols on a handheld stick of verawood, smooth and straight and dark and blemishless.
And, with care and hours, ignoring the rousing and waking and grumbling and commotion of her companions out there in the camp, she turns the stick and carves the runes and phrases. And, with care and hours, she breathes in the mild perfume-like air that fills the tent as the oily wood is carved. The simplicity of the ritual is its power, and Pense had grown proficient in its practice.
And, as the familiar call of her friends broke through the end of the preparation—polite as ever (except for Nantan, as ever)—she tucked her whittling into her belt and opened the flaps of the tent to greet the day.
System: The Lignum of Aeg is a footlong shaft of pure verawood, harder than oak and naturally glossy brown. When the Last Valley was burned, only the verawood trees survived and they remembered the devastation and the monstrous things that caused it. It was there, from them, that the first Wanderer forged the first Lignum (archaic Brandobian for “calling wand”).
Of them, the Aeg (meaning “protection” or “salvation”, pending the usage) still survives in the world.
Attunement requires the careful carving of the original symbols and runes of power the Lignum was crafted with. Unless that information is directly shared by a Druid (who can see the ghostly images of where they were at a glance), a Nature check DC 20 is required while handling the Lignum to figure it out. The carving is not delicate work, but it is difficult as verawood is almost as hard as bronze. Carving requires either a Survival Check modified by Strength instead of Wisdom or an Engraving Tools check modified by Strength (apply proficiencies accordingly). The DC for either check is 20. An attempt takes one hour.
If the check is successful, the wand gains a number of charges equal to one’s proficiency bonus + 1d4. If a failure, the wand gains half of that total, rounded down.
With a reaction, the attuned wielder may expend a charge to conjure a 5ft square, 2 inch thick wall of verawood that comes bursting from the ground adjacent to the square the are occupying, any face of their choice. If conjured between themselves and an opponent, they are provided +5 cover if the wielder is medium size (one could “reach over” the wall with difficulty) or full cover if small. DM’s are encouraged to apply appropriate cover for other situations.
By expending an extra charge, the wielder may expand that section to an additional 5ft square by 2 inch thick growing from the original in any direction. The only restriction is the sections must be contiguous and as this is extreme, but natural, growth the panels cannot be made such as to create shapes or containers and cannot be made farther away than the wielder can reach.
Once the last charge is expended, the wand is once again smooth and blemishless and the wielder is no longer attuned. One may attune to the wand no more frequently than once every 24 hours.
Verawood has 10 hitpoints per inch and an AC of 10. One must be standing on natural ground or terrain to conjure the walls (unfinished stone, grass, even tundra or blighted landscapes are fine; polished stone, shaped and cut wood, etc. would not work).
The Dilansuite Regalia
Viscount Echeleon II, in splendid form and fashion, swirled gracefully around the ballroom–flitting one way and then another, parting and returning, twirling his partner so closely one could swoon at the daring and then heeling a stamped backturn and pacing away with such bravado that it was like watching a play in three acts.
All the very best people were here, the birthday of a peer was a time of careful courtly gamesmanship and everyone who was anyone was playing. Baroness Troot and her husband—didn’t you hear about the new commission he bought for their son? The entire Horwale family, with their signature emerald brooches and of course they had a son who was of an age to wed.
Echelon gripped his partner’s waist and bent him back to the floor, dipping him low enough for the young man’s hair to whisper swish the immaculate white floor. The music stopped, and the gentry clapped and the Viscount stood (dismissing the boy) and bowed. And with a flourishing and exceedingly precise and graceful bow, he burned the life from everyone within the Chateau with fire and screaming bright light and broke the manor in half with arcane devastation.
System: Lord Bauer, Marquis ir’Dilansuite of the Last Ghate—a city in northern Breland several centuries ago, was a forward thinking and innovative visionary. His wealth and status afforded him the luxury of finding, researching, and studying the near forgotten and sometimes lost arcane mysteries of houses and civilizations long dead. And, in his thirty-fourth year, he had fashioned a wardrobe of painstaking detail and magecraft.
Few pieces still exist from his frippery—but his Regalia in its entirety does. The Regalia is a set of clothes (exceedinly nice clothes of a style seen today as charmingly anachronistic in noble circles) including proper crosspatent shoes (not boots), baggy breeches of blue thilecloth chased in a braiding of silver, a short coat of navy and dyne with silver buttons and a pench collar, borded and layered with appropriate ribbon and hose and colia. The attire of a gentleman or noble on their way to a day’s coffee with the best class of peer.
Attunement requires an almost ceremonial donning of the Regalia while repeating the careful ritualistic words Dilansuite himself had woven into the garments. An afternoon of meditation and a successful Arcane check DC 20 can reveal these to the careful mind, so long as they have ever cast a spell of any kind before. For those that haven’t, the DC is 30.
Once attuned, the clothing serves as an arcane focus for the wearer and can be called upon to replace a material component with a gold cost (consumable or not, so long as its a gold cost to the spell) less than 5000 gp. If used in this way (replacing a material component with a cost), there is a cumulative 20% chance (each time) a slight tear can be found in some of the seams or threading of the attire. Should the garment be torn in this way, it ceases to work as an arcane focus until mended.
Mending requires 1d4+1 uses of the spell Mending (there are many small and non-contiguous tears and rips and weak seams) or that many hours with appropriate tailoring tools fixing the small and numerous rips.