Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christine's Gem of Life Transference

It is said that there was an ancient ritual, time-consuming and difficult, that allowed a magic-user to transfer their life into an animal, and while their life was not in them, they could not be killed. The Empress Christine, impatient with the length and cost of the ritual, created this artifact to shorten the process.

This artifact is a small blue gem about the size of a plum. It allows the bearer to transfer their life to a vessel, either an animal or a specially made object. Inside, strange runes swirl around. When placed against the bearer's forehead, it takes one round to extract the life, after which there is a glowing ball in the middle of the gem, surrounded by the runes. If the owner then places the gem against the forehead of an animal or a specially made object, the runes form a tunnel, and the glowing ball appears to fall down the tunnel. The animal must be an ordinary animal and at least the size of a songbird.

If the bearer fails to transfer the life into a person or object within one minute, the glowing ball dissipates with no harm to the bearer. Once the life has been transferred, the bearer cannot be killed. Any attack which would reduce the bearer to zero hit points or less does zero damage, though other effects take place as if the bearer took damage, excepting any effect which would kill the bearer. If the vessel is killed, the life returns to the bearer, and the bearer may be killed normally.

It makes the bearer uncomfortable to be in the same room as the vessel, causing them to suffer disadvantage on all to hit rolls, skill checks, and saving throws.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Amanitore, Witch-Empress of Thyrania

Image of Amanitore playing Senet, an ancient board game
Amanitore, sometimes called Christine especially in Adrehamaic sources, was the daughter of Fayon and ascended to the throne of Thyrania after his apotheosis. She was the daughter of the Archmage of Glantri, and had no children. It is said she ruled for 900 years. After her death, the Wars of Succession resulted in the Fall of Thyrania and the dark ages.

During her reign, the Duchy of Adreham and Queendom of Hadethia became dependencies of Thyrania, and the elves and the dwarves paid tribute. Glantri was fully integrated into the empire, and order spread its domain nearly to the Shifting Mountains.

Amanitore's personal mastery of magic has not been surpassed since, and before her only Covellia was greater. It was her runecraft that allowed such Thyranian sites as survive to outlive the Demon Wars and remain to be explored even today. She was apparently the last person to use magic to significantly extend her lifetime. It is said she communed with beings from other worlds; it is known that it was she who bound the demon king Abraxas.

During her reign, the land was at peace. War was unknown, and banditry nearly so. It was during her reign that the so-called immortal bard Aloria was first seen. Elf and dwarf were known to work their crafts together, and trade even extended into the underdark. Large ships plied the travel lanes, and there are stories of trade with lands beyond the western sea. Justice was swift and sure, if sometimes harsh.

A story is told of two women who came to Amanitore for advice. They lived together with their two daughters, but one of the daughters had died in their sleep. They asked, "Tell us, oh wise Amanitore, tell us whose child this is that remains." Amanitore asked for a sword and cut the child in two, giving one half to each woman. "See, I have given you each a child. Now go, and trouble me no more with questions that require only ordinary wisdom and mercy to carry out." And the women were grieved.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Recently, I've been running a Princes of the Apocalypse campaign here in DC. It's been fun, but fairly unremarkable, so I haven't been posting much here. But I'm starting to toss around ideas for my next homebrew campaign.

Like most homebrew worlds, Arden Est is built off of a pastiche of various real world cultures. The last campaign, which sadly faded away rather than ending, was set in Morachi, or fake Eastern Europe. Just to the west of Morachi is Fogelon, or fake Germany. Fogelon is somewhat more settled than Morachi, but they're looking to expand. The last war with Morachi went poorly -- apparently some adventurers created an army of modified flesh golems. There's no way that's not going to go badly in the future, but that's not our problem now. South of Fogelon is Lyonia (fake France). Lyonia is far too strong for Fogelon to think about attacking, given that they escaped the brunt of the Second Demon War, not to mention their alliance with the Wemics. However, north, across the bay, is empty land, ripe for the taking. Two small towns have already been established, but the rest of the land is uninhabited. So the PCs have a writ from the crown to explore, colonize, and civilize the land.

I'm still noodling about the actual content of the campaign. I have a rough map of the area, which I'll post as soon as I can get my scanner working. I'm thinking about a cross between the Slavers series and the Rod of Seven Parts boxed set. We'll see how that looks in practice!