Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Strange Eons: Magic Items

The Microlite 20 system is beautifully simplistic, with just enough complexity to keep you in the rhythm of the game, but loose enough to allow more of a storytelling environment. This open-endedness allows a world designer (me) to add in all kinds of tidbits for flavor.

Magic Items in Strange Eons
Magical devices are found thruought the worlds of Strange Eons, from simple talismans to the crowning achievements of the ancients and the weird sciences of the Xenogen. The creation of magic items is always accomplished during "off hours" and are the subject of long hours of study, with the creation of more powerful items being restricted to ancient mages or Xenogen.
Magic items should enhance the game, not overwhelm it. That said, gamemasters are advised to dole out such items only when it is important to the story. This is supposed to be a game about HEROES, not their toys.

Spellwrought Devices
These items carry a spell effect, drawing hit points from the user to power the effect. Some examples can be found below:

Ring of The Executioner
These grim rings are typically worn by mortal servants of evil beings who are put in command of undead monsters. There are many versions of these rings, each housing one or more spells from the school of necromancy. all of these rings at least possess the spell Detect Undead, and Command Undead with some possessing one or more of the following spells- Animate Dead, Desecrate, Ghoul Touch, Speak with Dead and Vampiric Touch. These spells are cast as though by a cleric of equal level to the wearers own level.

Skullcap of the Overlord: This close fitting skullcap is greatly prized by evil overlords from across the known worlds. This device, when worn allows the wearer to cast Detect Magic, Hypnotism, Detect Thoughts, Hold Person and Scrying as though the wearer were a Mage of equal level to her own.
These spells still drain the wearer of hit points as per a mage, and thus the trifty despot must be careful.

Blade of the Alien Hunter: A device created to cause great harm to Xenogen, delivering the effects of the Banishment spell upon a successful hit. This effect is cast as though the weilder were a Cleric of equal level to his own.

Devices that help or otherwise enhance the use of spellcasting in some way. Some examples can be found below:

Wizard Staff: Many wizards carry staffs, either as a weapon of last resort (as per a quarterstaff) or to help with travel as a walking stick. Still, the true Wizards Staff is a magical device in its own right, made from the wood of a magical tree such as a Treant or a Dryads Tree.
A Mage or Cleric in possession of a Wizards Staff may count one additional signature spell per level (see Magic in the Microlite 20 Core Rules for details). As each additional spell is gained, the staff twists, warps or otherwise changes somehow to reflect its magical nature. If the staff is lost or destroyed, the spellcaster no longer has access to those spells at a reduced price.

Hands of Doom: These devices are a favorite of those mages who specialize in touch attack spells, as the possessor of a hand may deliver touch spells (shocking grasp, vampiric touch, etc) through these items. Hands of Doom that are owned by a spellcaster act on the mage or clerics turn, and any spell cast through them draws spell energy (hit points) from the caster as-normal.
The Hands of Doom appear as floating hands with eyes and act more like creatures than items. Hands of Doom have the following statistics: HD1 (7hp), AC13, Natural +3 (1d8-5).

These are magical devices that always work, and draw no Hit Points for their use. All such devices are legendary in status, and cannot be created by player characters, being the creation of god-like beings, and possibly the result of terrible accidents of magical engineering or the body parts of vast supernatural beings. One examples can be found below:

Stargate: Portals that connect the different worlds. These magical wonders create permanent Gate effects between themselves and one or more other gates. Most known gates appear on the planets of the solar system, appearing as ornate "doorways" that once activated create a "tunnel" to another gate. One gate, located in orbit around the glacial world of Themis (Europa), and is large enough to cause tidal effects on the chill seas of Themis.

Intelligent Items
Any magical device may be intelligent, including Riding Golems and Vimanas. Such devices have Mind scores and levels in the Knowledge skill, the levels of which is up to the Gamemaster. Intelligent items are completely aware of their surroundings and can talk to the player characters. If the item itself has magic powers, the intelligence has access to them (draining hit points from the person holding the item to do so). Intelligent Items cannot normally self-animate.
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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan