Magical Marvels 25: Raggi’s Rejects 5: The Trifold Parchment

Trifold Parchment

A thick, trifolded parchment. The exterior has been decorated with a colorful sketch of humans doing battle with a muscular demon holding a wickedly curved sword. The interior is scrawled with baffling tables and calculations. At the center of the parchment’s interior are the words “Reject what occurs. Defy the cosmos. Cry out. “That doesn’t happen!””

At any time, the players may use this phrase (“That doesn’t happen!”) to reject the most recent ruling of their referee. When they do this, the paper bursts into flame, and the character holding it must save v. breath or take 2d6 damage.

The referee is now obligated to change the call to which their players objected. They must, in good faith, change their ruling to one that is more favorable to the players. But the referee is under no compulsion to respond in any specific way that the player’s desire.

The trifold parchment cannot overturn the results of a die roll, even if the players did not see the roll. Only deliberate decisions made by the referee can be affected. So the players cannot, for example, reject which monster appears after the referee rolls on the encounter table.

Attempts to use the parchment incorrectly don’t destroy it, but they do occur in game.

Magical Marvels 24: Raggi’s Rejects 4: The Doll that Loves Every Child

smaller dollNOTE: The above art was provided by +Moreven Brushwood. She is available for commissions at surprisingly low rates given the quality of her work. You should hire her for your tabletop project, or other project that requires art for some reason.

-The Doll that Loves Every Child-

A ragged toy, so worn that it’s little more than a human-shaped bit of padded cloth. As long as a character possesses it, any children that character sees are marked by the doll. This can include anything from the character’s own children, to a child the character caught a glimpse of in a large crowd.

When the doll is thrown, one of the marked children randomly falls ill. Their bodies absorb all of the heat around them. They become too hot to touch, and their skin blackens and flakes. Meanwhile, everything around them becomes cold enough to frost over. During their illness, the children aren’t aware of their surroundings. They only mutter constantly. They repeat a physical description of the doll’s owner. Or, if they know it, the doll owner’s name. They blame the character for their illness, saying things like “The peg legged woman did it. Why is she hurting me?” This condition lasts for a full day, after which the child dies.

Wherever the doll lands, a child identical to the dying one will appear. The PC should recognize the child as one they’ve seen before, even if they don’t recall where. The duplicates have a child’s understanding and physical ability, but no personality or will of their own. They will perform any single task they are given, then fall down dead. The body is, in every discernible sense, identical to the body of the other child. Save for its lack of mutilation from illness.

Each child the character has a personal relationship with has a 1% chance to appear when the doll is thrown. If none of these children appear, assume the victim was only glanced in passing during the character’s travels. If a hireling sees the child appear after the doll is thrown, they have a cumulative 1-in-12 chance of remembering seeing the child themselves. They will interpret this as magical kidnapping, and their loyalty should be checked.

The referee should keep track of how frequently this item is used. When the player returns to a place they have visited before, the referee should check to see if anyone in town recognizes the player from the description muttered by a dying child. If they do, a lynch mob will form quickly.

Magical Marvels 23: Raggi’s Rejects 3: The Arm of Saint Lawrence

Arm of Saint LawrenceNOTE: The above art was provided by +Moreven Brushwood. She is available for commissions at surprisingly low rates given the quality of her work. You should hire her for your tabletop project, or other project that requires art for some reason.

-The Arm of Saint Lawrence-

While not actually the arm of the third century saint, this artifact was once used by a cult devoted to him. The church purged the heretical cult long ago, but this artifact escaped destruction. The arm is covered in the dark red splotches of a burn victim. The skin is well preserved, and held rigid by its original bones. It is filled with a viscous, smelly fluid which makes it appear bloated. The arm is mounted on the end of a four foot iron staff. It is extremely heavy, and if used as a weapon suffers a -2 to hit.

The wielder of the arm can touch people with the hand, and invoke a blessing to the saint. Those who experience this feel a vague, but pleasant, sense of serenity and connection to the divine. With this power, it would not take much effort to begin the cult anew, though the church would frown on such activity.

The staff’s wielder is immune to feelings of pain. They are aware of pain, and can interpret its severity, but they are not inhabilitated by it. They can act normally while their hit points are between 0 and -3. (Though, like any character, once they have reached -3 they will die in 1d10 minutes).

If the staff’s wielder falls below 1 hit point, any damage they take after that is divided evenly between themselves, and everyone they have blessed within the last 24 hours. The effect can occur even mid-damage roll. So, if the staff wielder has 2 hit points, and takes 4 damage, they take the first two damage normally, and are reduced to 0. The remaining two hit points are divided between them and the blessed.

If the damage does not divide evenly between the character and the blessed, determine randomly who takes damage. But keep track. No character should take a 2nd point of damage until every other has taken a 1st point.

When the staff’s wielder dies, they and each character they have blessed become powerful revenants with burning hands, which subsist on human ashes.

Death Touched

620x315xOSRToday-Fiction-Friday-620x315.png.pagespeed.ic.m8zwZ2iuCQI recently wrote a piece of short fiction about a magic user, a fighter, and a specialist who band together to go treasure hunting in a dungeon deep in the forgotten wilderness. OSR Today has graciously given my fiction a home, and for the last 5 weeks, one chapter of my story has been going up every Friday. As of today, the final chapter has been posted, and you can now read the story in full.

Death Touched Part 1.

Death Touched Part 2.

Death Touched Part 3.

Death Touched Part 4.

Death Touched Part 5.

 

It only now occurs to me that perhaps I ought to have been making blog posts about this the whole time. Self promotion doesn’t really come naturally to me. I’ll do better next time.

Magical Marvels 22: Raggi’s Rejects 2: The Scepter Prison of Thing No Thing

A magical whestone scepter based off the Sutton Hoo whetstone.

A 4-sided, 2′ long wheststone, shaped to serve as a scepter. It is capped with bronze at each end. A large ring at the top contains a lens, and standing atop the ring is a curly horned ram. At the base are four faces carved into the stone. They are plain, with hollow mouths and eyes, and no distinguishing features. The metalwork is detailed, but rough. Clearly this was crafted with much less advanced techniques than are used today.

Blades sharpened on the stone turn a slightly darker color. Anyone touching the blade feels a sharp pain, and wounds caused by the weapon are more painful than normal. This effect has no mechanical benefit. The primary target of the whetstone’s magic is the wielder of a sharpened weapon.

When someone picks up a sharpened weapon, one of the four faces on the whetstone will close its eyes and mouth. As long as they hold the weapon, they will be possessed by one of the four spirits within the whetstone. A scabrous mask will grow over their face, with the same hollow features that are carved in the stone. The character becomes a mute servant to whomever currently holds the whetstone. They retain all of their normal abilities, or gain the abilities of a 2nd level fighter, whichever is better.

Characters may sharpen as many blades as they want, but there are only four spirits. The spirits will automatically choose the strongest four people available to them. Characters who who have been vacated by the spirits recall only that they were possessed, but not what they were forced to do, or how long they were possessed for. The person who sharpened the blades is not immune to this possession. Only the person who currently has the whetstone in hand is able to hold a sharpened weapon without being possessed.

When a possessed character makes the killing blow against an intelligent creature, blood flies from their victim’s wounds, and into the mouth of the scabrous mask. The process of draining their victim of blood requires a full combat round, during which they will ignore any commands they are given. If the spirits perceive that they are intentionally being kept away from tasks that would allow them to kill intelligent creatures, they will return to the stone.

When a player finds the whetstone, the spirits are 2d12 kills away from their goal. If a character looks through the lens at the top of the stone, they will see the number of kills remaining scratched into every surface they look at. Once the possessed characters have killed enough, the whetstone will crumble to dust. Thing No Thing, a spirit of non existence, has been released from its imprisonment within the stone. It is invisible, but will gather the remains of the destroyed whetstone to create a similar mask for itself. The activity of intelligent minds is a maddening cacophony to Thing No Thing, which it seeks to end by the most expedient means available. Thing No Thing is able to create new servants for himself by making a successful attack. Save v. devices to resist.

Magical Marvels 21: Raggi’s Rejects 1: The Bonebarrow

Recently James Raggi held an open call for magic items for the upcoming LotFP Referee Book. I submitted 13 different items to him. Two of those were accepted. One of the others was based on a completely useless premise. Raggi was right to reject it. I’ve thrown it out.  Another one is essentially a perfect fit for a module I’m writing. So I’m going to keep that one in my pocket.

That leaves me with 9 of Raggi’s Rejects that I’m happy to share here. I’ll break them up into 9 posts over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy.

The Bonebarrow

WheelbarrowA wooden wheelbarrow, like those commonly used by workers digging a foundation. The sides have been crudely etched with images of skeletons. The scrawls represent only the most basic artistic talent.

If at least one full human skeleton worth of bones is placed in the wheelbarrow, then wherever those bones are dumped, they will animate. The skeletons will begin digging using the wheelbarrow, and any other available tools. They work at the same rate as a human man, as described under “Excavations” on page 33 of the Rules & Magic book. Their hole will be roughly circular, with a diameter of 1′ for every 3′ deep.

Any bodies uncovered by this process will animate and join in the work. Anything other than a body (such as underground structures, buried treasures, or veins of precious metal) will be destroyed by the digging. The skeletons work without stopping. However, each night (or other time when they are least likely to be observed) some of them will take the wheelbarrow to the nearest graveyard to gather more workers. If no graveyard is available, the skeletons will instead harvest fresh bones from nearby settlements. The number of workers will increase by 15-25% each day, with a minimum increase of 1 new worker.

The skeletons will not harm whomever first created them. And they don’t wish to be caught expanding their numbers, so it is often (though, not always) more convenient for them not to harvest their creator’s companions.

The skeletons have 1 hit die, +1 additional hit die for every day since the digging began. The skeletons will dig ever deeper until they are destroyed. Any attempt to stop their project will be met with lethal force. If their creator attempts to destroy them, the skeletons will capture, and imprison that person. If a hole goes deep enough, the referee must decide: do they break through to the core of the earth, or do they open the way to an inner-earth world?

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