Thursday, May 21, 2020

D20 Magic Rings

The ring is the ideal vessel for enchantment. Consider its form, and its function.

It is bounded yet eternal, endlessly renewed through its cycles. The ring is like the seasons, like the generations of living creatures, like the archons' march across the sky.

It defines an interior and an exterior: what is permissible and what is excluded, order within and chaos without.

The ring is for marriage and for royalty, a thing that binds. Kiss the bride, kiss the ring, unity and authority.

From its centre all boundaries are equidistant. It is Jerusalem at the heart of all things. Bear the ring on your finger and you hold the universe in your hand.

The ring is infinity, and the ring is null (the serpent devours its own tail until nothing is left; or: turn the ring on its side). Solomon was given a ring for his dominion because in the ring is the truer image of the Lord.

Sauron, Alan Lee

D20 Magic Rings

1. Ring of Endless Vigilance: Made of braided knots of steel wires, impossible to extricate. Swear an oath on the ring to guard a threshold (a doorway, a bridge, the edge of a campfire's light, etc.) and so long as you uphold the oath you can't be moved or knocked down against your will, don't need to sleep, and won't age.

2. Signet Ring of Certain Communication: Golden, shaped like a tiny crown studded with minuscule jewels, topped with a signet bearing a mind-boggling sigil. A letter sealed by the signet ring will (by some twists of fate) always be delivered to its intended recipient, though the delivery will be much slower if the letter is dropped on a dungeon floor rather than given to a courier. The seal is also recognized as a sign of great importance by fairies, demons, wizards, and the like.

3. Toadflesh Ring: An iron ring bearing the head of a toad with an amethyst in its forehead. Your skin becomes warty and you smell and taste revolting while wearing it. If you are bitten or swallowed, your attacker must save or be stunned for a round retching (vomiting you out if you've been swallowed).

4. Hurricane Palm Ring: Whittled from pale, bluish wood, and engraved with a prayer to the spirits of the middle air. When you strike something about as big as you (or smaller) with the hand bearing the ring, it's knocked back five feet for every point of damage you deal. If the thing's much bigger than you, you're instead knocked back by the same amount.

5. Malediction Sink Ring: Forged from thick lead banded with white stone. The lead is corroded, and the corrosion patterns pareidolialy suggest moaning faces. The purpose of the ring is to absorb and contain fell magic. If you're sick, you're not contagious. If you're possessed, the possessing spirit can't leave your body of its own volition. If multiple people (including you) are affected by a spell at once, you can take what would be the effect on others onto yourself. If you touch someone or something that's cursed, you can take on the curse yourself to relieve them, though removing the ring returns the curse.

6.  Deferred Gravity Ring: Thin, dull lead, inscribed with astrological symbols. When activated your momentum is cancelled out and are unaffected by gravity. After the ring is deactivated your speed is halved and your encumbrance is doubled for as many rounds as the ring was active as you struggle under the deferred gravity.

7. Ring of Radiant Health: Made of white gold, inlaid with cross-shaped rubies. You appear to be in the prime of health at all times, and gain advantage on saves vs. death and necromantic magic.

8. Unicorn Horn Ring: Carved from lustrous, spiraling alicorn. The next time the wearer would be afflicted by a poison or disease, it is instead neutralized and the ring tarnishes to a sickly green. The ring can then be dissolved in water, and whoever drinks the water must save or be affected by the poison or disease that tarnished it.

9. Ring of the Stolen Wheel: A bronze ring with stylized spokes around its rim. While you're on or within a vessel or vehicle you can control it as if you were driving it. If the vehicle is intelligent or magical, it or its driver can contest you for control.

10. Ring of Adamantine Grip: Blue crystal carved in geometric patterns. When activated it locks the hand it's on into stasis. While it's active the hand is invulnerable but paralyzed.

11. Ring of Manual Vengeance: Bulky, dark steel, shaped like a phalange. When you die your hand pops off and seeks vengeance against your killer. Your hand is as smart as you were and can lie in wait until its target falls asleep to strangle them. When its target is dead, or if vengeance is impossible, the hand deanimates.

12. Uncoiling Serpents Ring: A jade ring shaped like the ouroboros. Three times a day you can pull a venomous snake from the ring. The snakes have no particular loyalty or affection towards you. The first snake is of normal size. The second snake is large enough that it would take two hands to toss. The third snake is too big for a single person to throw.

13. Sacrificial Chalice Ring: A jet ring adorned with thorns. The wearer can draw their own blood with the ring (taking 1 damage) to cast Purify Food and Drink on whatever that blood touches as a magic-user of their level.

14. Perfect Poise Ring: A gold ring in the shape of a stretching cat. While wearing the ring your balance is perfect. You could walk across a greased rope without wobbling.

15. Ostiary Ring: A plain copper ring decorated with the image of smiling doorkeepers opening a gate. Once a day you can knock on a door to speak with it. Doors have knowledge of their immediate surroundings and anything that's passed through them, but little else. By performing a favour for a door (oiling its hinges, removing a termite infestation, etc.) you can convince it to obey an order from you.

16. Big Hand Ring: A copper ring shaped like a broad hand encircling the finger it's on. You can make the hand bearing the ring ten times larger than normal at will.

17. Ring of the Lingering Touch: Forged from brass in the shape of a chain of arms clasping arms. By touching an object with the hand bearing the ring you can leave a glowing handprint on it. You can then expend the handprint to manipulate the object as if you were holding it for up to a round (change the trajectory of a projectile, swing a sword, pull a lever, etc.). Only one handprint can exist at a time.

18. Deathpoke Ring: Jaggedly carved from blackened bone. A living target touched by the finger wearing the ring must save vs. death or immediately rot away. Whether the target makes their save or not the finger wearing the ring rots away too, and can never be restored by any means.

19. Ring of Hypervisibility: Made of stained glass that changes colours in hypnotic patterns. Once per day you can emit a flash from the ring. Anything looking at you when the ring flashes must save or become unable to see anything but you for 2d6 rounds.

20. Ring of the Ironmonger: A hefty, soot-stained iron ring. Bears a tiny model anvil on top. Three times per day you can mold a object made of iron or steel (or a collection of such objects) no bigger than ten feet on any side by hand as if they were clay. While you're wearing the ring metal rejects you for your presumption, and you cannot wear or wield armour or weapons that are mostly made of metal (e.g. spears are fine, swords are not).

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Build a Witch Challenge: Miss Mulberry

The Challenge

Throne of Salt's witch

Alone in the Labyrinth's witch

What’s her name?

Miss Mulberry to acquaintances, Lady Ninlillah IV of the Mulberry House formally.

What kind of witch is she?

"Witch" is a nasty thing to call someone. By using it you are declaring that in any righteous society the person you're calling witch should be burned alive.

Miss Mulberry is the kind of witch who it would be deeply impolitic to call a witch. Instead she is known as a couturiere, a purveyor of the finest textiles, an uplifter of the destitute. There are whispers, of course, that her most wondrous silks don't come from worms, that she trafficks with disreputable sorts, that she poisoned her parents, but who would act on them? She's the most desirable bachelorette in town after all.

Where does she live?

The eponymous Mulberry House, a once-stately manor on a hill near the court whose elder dignity is overwhelmed by the bustling industry that's overtaken it.

Its garden is full of mulberry trees, and above those flit moths and bats. Servants with poles and nets fight a constant, futile battle against the bats. Many of the town's widows and orphans are employed to collect silkworms and spin silk. The bulk of the weaving is left to Miss Mulberry and her handmaidens.

The first floor and cellar are filled with looms, hurrying servants, storefront displays, and storage. The second floor on up are Miss Mulberry's private residence. She's never seen taking visitors up there, but sometimes she seems to be entertaining guests nevertheless.

What does she look like?

Beautiful, her suitors will tell you, beautiful and delicate, which is why she must wear a veil at all times. In truth nobody human and still living could tell you. She wears a different, fabulous outfit for every outing.

What kind of wand does she use?

Miss Mulberry takes care to be seen carrying an ebony spindle. This is a misdirection.

Her true wand is a lead scepter topped with prying fingers: the emblem of her office as president of the Squirming Mass. They convene by the flooded quarry west of town on the first night of the new moon.

What’s in her cauldron?

Cocoons in boiling water. Not all of them are silkworm cocoons.

Spinning cocoons is not a trait unique to caterpillars. They just have the easiest time of it, on account of their soft and hideous bodies. Any animal could do it under the right circumstances. What it takes is a pre-adolescent creature with the right mix of self-perceived weakness, self-loathing, and a consuming desire for beautiful transformation. Miss Mulberry is an expert in finding that mix.

Puppy-silk is intoxicatingly soft. Bird-silk is lighter than a feather. Demons treasure child-silk.

What kind of familiar does she have?

A demon of bindings and strictures, of the sort that tie abused to abuser or lead good people to doing evil.

It can take the form of a white tree, a great pale worm, or twin albino children. Miss Mulberry often keeps it hidden and protected in one of her tapestries.
1d8 things the witch is doing when the PCs meet her

1 - Taking a patrician woman's measurements
2 - Showing some children how to spin silk
3 - Frying pupae for a snack
4 - Arguing with representatives from the weavers' guild
5 - Lighting a stick of incense for her parents
6 - Weaving a new outfit
7 - Joking with her handmaidens
8 - Reading a book of poetry

1d6 potions magic items the witch can sell to the PCs

You'll only find out this stuff's on offer if you get on Miss Mulberry's good side, and the price is going to be less agreeable than coin.
1 - Supremely Stylish Robe - Perfect fit, very comfy, always fashionable. A fitting outfit for the highest halls of power, and once per day you can make yourself instantly forgiven for any non-criminal breach of etiquette (i.e. no theft or murder).
2 - Prehensile Rope - Sticky silk rope. Whoever's holding it can control it like an extension of their body. Keep out of direct sunlight.
3 - Festival of the Silkworm-Child Lantern - A yellow ovoid silk lantern painted with scenes of people and people-sized caterpillars dancing together. Summons an exponentially increasing number of giant moths every ten-minute turn it's lit (e.g. one the first turn, two the second, four the third, and so on). The moths will attempt to carry the lantern and whoever's holding it to the Mummified Isle, and will fight anyone who gets in their way for as long as it takes to reach their goal.
4 - Perjurious Worms - A handful of black worms. When spread on a page they'll eat words and excrete a perfect forgery of whatever you whisper to them. Single-use, after eating they'll pupate.
5 - Mothform Cloak - A silk cloak. Once per day you can wrap it around yourself to transform into a giant moth for up to 6 ten-minute turns. If you're exposed to light brighter than a torch while you're a moth, save or be entranced by it.
6 - Sovereign Stitching - A needle and thread with can pass through any material. When used to stitch two things together acts as sovereign glue. A single spool contains enough thread for 5 uses.

1d6 rumors about the witch

1 - She's actually married, and keeps her husband locked away in the Mulberry House's attic (false, but Miss Mulberry does keep her witchiest stuff in the attic)
2 - Seeing her uncovered face prevents her from working her magic on you (true, but also risks falling into terrified catatonia)
3 - Miss Mulberry has a vicious feud going on with the Lord Bluestone (true, they are rival members of the Squirming Mass)
4 - The Mulberry House has secret tunnels where guests pass through for Miss Mulberry's private parties (true)
5 - Miss Mulberry is haunted by her parents' ghosts (half-true, she's trying to bring them back on a more permanent basis)
6 - Miss Mulberry would pay exquisitely for someone to investigate what interrupted her latest dye shipment (true)

1d4 spells known only to the witch

1 - Strip Bare - Vomit a cone of moths that eat the top layer off everything they pass: clothes, bags, exposed skin, etc.
2 -Hybrid Metamorphosis - Wrap two creatures, living or dead, in silk. They'll emerge as a hybrid creature with traits picked from each. Over the course of a month the hybrid will waste away. Hybrids waste away faster the more component creatures are in them.
3 - Vorpal Noose - Tie and hang a noose made from your own hair. The noose will tighten around and sever anything caught in it.
4 - Spoil Bond - Inverts the positive emotions between two people: loyalty to treachery, love to hate, and so on.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Republic of Beards

Self-acclaimed as the only true democracy in the world, where every man gets a vote and everyone becomes a man when it's time to vote. It's a fragile thing, a flower of what some would call progress built upon expedience and tenuous astral exegesis, caught in a moment when its enemies may wither it or it might fruit into empire.

Ryan Phair
Formally the Unrivaled Republic of Gherriot (though not even its citizens call it that these days), the city-state leans from the sheer cliffs on the western lip of the Bay of Shades' mouth. Sprawling around it are terraces, fields of sunflowers and melons. At its feet are the rubble-stacked platforms of the winch-docks and press-ganged work crews straining in the stifling heat to haul up galleys. Its buildings are pasted with stark white stucco, often stained with wine or blood, mosaics laid beneath to be revealed by damage. Scars and blemishes are an appreciated aesthetic in the Republic.

The Republic is rich, and its richness is based in sacrilege - a theological aside: the Exarchate, who interpret the will of the heavenly archons and advise earthly leaders on matters of Fate, have possessed a divinely ordained monopoly on usury since the Second Conjunction. This has made them very wealthy. Out of envy of their counterparts in Marlo across the trackless waters of the Bay, the Republic's merchant families sough to get a piece of that pie. They found it in the dissident exarch Horopelius, who had been shamed and exiled for his claim that the current age was not meant to be administered by counsel but by mass action. The merchant families touted Horopelius as the bringer of a great awakening. With the legitimacy of the Exarchate and their monopoly brought into question, they promptly set up their own banks, and more reluctantly ceded to some of the democratic reforms Horopelius demanded.

The Prime Exarch of Marlo, with the blessing of the Exarchate as a whole, raised an army and besieged the Republic. Horopelius met the Prime Exarch at the gate. The two have been locked in debate there ever since.

Hans Langseth, longest beard in history
Beards of course are fashionable among the Bearders, even if you didn't grow it yourself. After all what better way is there of proving you're a man? (Stabbing anyone who doubts your manhood in the face is the better way in the Republic). Beards are worn in loops, in coils around the shoulders, bushy, long, waxed into ornate forms - as with all aspects of manliness, loudness (though not crassness) is favoured. Singing ability is the most attractive trait a man can possess.

Women by contrast are expected to be demure, and to content themselves with gentle things like philosophy and engineering. It's boasted that the women of the Republic are the most womanly in the world, as they get all the manliness out of their system during voting season.

Voting season isn't any particular time of year, it's called as a matter of popular consensus. This might make it sound tamer than it actually is. Voting season is a feedback loop of machismo that leads to astounding street violence, where members of rival voting blocs might beat each other unconscious, get pulled out of the brawl for a hit of akarra paste from their fellows, then go right back to the fray. The prominent merchant families can buy a fair amount of support for their agendas each voting season, but the Republic's citizens are proud of their sincere civic engagement (and the bruises, broken teeth, severed fingers, and so on they suffer as a result).

Bearder cuisine is simple and portable. Using cutlery makes you look clueless or foreign. Flatbreads, oily meats, and roasted vegetables are common. Delicacies are things that can be spread: tapenade, melon jam, sweet bean paste, caviar. The heads of wealthy families pay athletes enormous sums to dine off their sculpted bodies.

Three families wield the greatest shares of influence in the Republic of Beards:

The Cicirins are opportunists. They don't tend to keep fixed positions, steadfast allies, or grudges. When the Exarchate siege of the city slipped into its third year they were able to take advantage of the besieging soldiers' fatigue, recruiting them as mercenaries. Given the length of the siege this was successfully argued as temporary leave rather than desertion. The army's camp too has been built up into a de facto suburb. The Eagles of Cicirin company quickly gained a reputation across the Thin Sea for innovative tactics and frightening retribution.

The Voroves took Horopelius' disputation of Exarchate doctrine to heart. They are rumoured to convene with sorcerers, seek forbidden lore, even worship the Burning One. Their young head Dorodo sheds his family's dark reputation like water off a duck through generous patronage and alms-giving.

The Ingrazers own the largest fleet of any family, and count the most feared admirals among their number. The Republic's much-vaunted egalitarianism extends only as far as its walls. Beyond that is the sea, legally speaking, where admiralty law applies and the admirals are unquestionable authorities aboard their craft. The Ingrazers are involved in piracy and slaving, and have colonial holdings from Baxmeo to the Shitholes. They'd be less popular if they weren't such ardent patriots.

Olive Grove - Orange Sky
The outright war between the Republic of Beards and the Exarchate might have stalled, but they squabble nevertheless. The families' banks fight over investments and potential debtors. Popular uprisings are funded in the other's territory and squashed in their own. Espionage, double crosses, privateering, and industrial sabotage are commonplace. One could find quick money or a quicker death in the crossfire.

Horopelius and the Prime Exarch are both getting very old now, getting slow. The citizenry is certain that the end of their debate is coming any day now. They'd be desperate, if it were tolerable for men to express such a dull sentiment. They seek unusual alliances, sail into terra indomina where none dared tread before, hunt for weapons lost and accursed. If someone could provide them the edge they need, they'd win the immense support of the Republic, and cause a lasting break in the power of the Exarchate.

Monday, May 4, 2020




It is by the proclamation of the archons and the dutiful ministry of their exarchs upon the earth that there are birds in the air, beasts in the field, and fish in the sea. This is Order as the world-rulers have seen fit to define it for this age.

Yet there are ostriches that stride in the fields, and penguins that flaunt their plunging in the sea. Birds are deviants from Order. Birds are agents of Chaos. When a bird stares with its glassy and impassive eyes, TH-R-ZD-N sees through them.


1. Occipere: Also called the Gutstrewer or Old Man of the Tower, a thickly-bearded great carrion bird which builds its nests from tangled intestines. Bestiaries claim that its eggshells are so thick that they must be passed through these intestines and partially digested before the chicks within can hatch. Wild populations of occiperes are rare. They are coveted and feuded over by the boneless necromancers of Nulit, whose mythology credits the bird with teaching them their art, and by the Green Lion School alchemists, who manufacture occiperes' nests into transmutative apparatuses.

2.Tonguenabber: The peramorphotic form of the bird species which lays Farspeech Pills, developing in the rare instance when such a Pill is unable to acquire a host. It resembles an oversized red hummingbird with a hooked beak. Once they grow to full size tonguenabbers become frenzied and fecund creatures, living solely to pry open the mouths of large animals to lay their eggs within (since a tonguenabber has never been observed to mate, it is commonly believed that the males' semen is spread through the air from the mouths of rumour-mongers). They die of exhaustion a few days after their laying spree begins.

3. Goldguide: A bright yellow-and-white scavenger that is known to lead people to gold. What is less known is that the bird is trying to get whoever follows it to die trying to get to the gold so that it can eat their eyeballs. By whatever treacherous animal cunning it can muster it will seek out haunted barrows, trap-festooned ruins, and the like to fulfill its mission.

4. Cryptographic Wren: A lifelong pair-bonding species domesticated as an ultra-secure communication method. The birds encrypt information they see or hear into their songs (specially-made prisms which can refract the hypnotic colour potreze are used to ensure a wren encrypts a particular bit of information), which can then only be decrypted by their mate, and then transcribed to a human-legible format by a trained amanuensis. The birds are often invoked by poets as a symbol for the mysteries of love.

5. Condoler: A tiny black thrush which avoids predators waiting at salt licks by supping its required minerals from tears. It is a folk belief in the Republic of Beards that the condoler will only drink genuine tears, and so releasing some at a funeral is common practice to prove the mourners' sincerity. The practice has spread to the other city-states of the Thin Sea, along with extraction of the condoler's narcotic-laced saliva which brings feelings of catharsis (as well as a flood of delicious tears).

6. Avernian Swiftlet: Found only in caves that lead to an opening to the underworld. Colonies cooperate to build humanoid nests from their spittle which catch descending souls and force the unfortunate revenants to animate the nests. They're bound to protect the swiftlets, collect food, and deliver new souls when it's time to build a new nest.

7. Avalanche Shrike: Builds enormous nests from thorny branches and vines on precarious ledges. When tempting prey pass beneath it rolls them over with the nest, and lets its young feed on the impaled corpses.

8. Megatherion Heron: A heron of truly titanic proportions which strides across the surface of the ocean on barge-broad feet, snatching sharks and whales. For centuries the megatherion heron was held to be a singular apocalyptic omen, as the only human encounter with one was when a confused individual stumbled into a Bebahidarite fishing village and devoured most of its population. In recent years the existence of other individuals on the open ocean has been confirmed by transcontinental expeditions.

9. Tumourkey: Resembles a turkey, though its whole body is covered in meaty wattles. Several breeds are raised for food along the Silvertine Coast, in the foothills of the Headless Mountain, and in Irem. The tumourkey's wattles may be severed without lasting damage to the bird itself, and will eventually regrow. While the meat is offensive to more refined palates, the bird's valued for its ability to survive off fodder that would be toxic for anything else, and for concentrating ingested toxins away from its wattles.

10. Temporo-Capsular Bird: A remnant of advanced society from the First, or perhaps the Second Bird Age. Within the nigh-invulnerable enclosure of its adamantine wings, there exists a pocket of pure Bird Age biosphere. Inside it everything is birds. Everything. No one has attempted to crack one open since Garpulio the Maddeningly Sane did and created the Isle of Flocks in a regional avianification event (RAE).

11.Pepperpecker: A delicacy in the Shitholes. Often far too spicy for foreigners to enjoy. There's a particular sort of pepper that grows out in the desert, one which is next to impossible for the pepperpecker to distinguish from others. This sort of pepper poisons the bird's mind, makes it seek out what it would normally recognize as danger, makes it easy to catch. The bird even comes pre-stuffed with piquant seeds (which humans and other large animals can spread more easily in the Shitholes' conditions than birds).

12. Mottled Snitch: A drab, lanky relative of the sparrow, universally despised by thieves. When it spots a sneaking creature (normally quite stupid, the snitch has a preternatural sense for spotting creatures that would rather not be spotted) it screeches quite distinctively. This screeching will either attract predators (or lawmen), leaving scraps for the snitch to feed on, or the would-be sneak will be forced to appease the snitch by tossing it food. This will inevitably attract more snitches to follow the easy mark.

13. Ornery Goatbird: An aggressively territorial grey mountain-dwelling ratite renowned for its tremendous flexibility and instinctual mastery of martial arts. A kick from a goatbird can burst a man's chest like confetti, without getting a single drop of blood on the bird itself. The monks of Gravedancer Temple require prospective recruits to climb to their goatbird-infested mountain's peak to winnow their numbers and instill an appreciation for the foundation of the Gravedancer fighting style.

14. Dummy Roc: Actually a small kite which bands closely together with others of its species to make a convincing facsimile of a roc, so it can scare competitors away from their kills.

15. Pyre Goose: Sometimes called "Fool's Bane" or "The Disappointing Phoenix". Pyre geese have coppery feathers which shed crumbling barbs, leaving them coated in dust. They defend themselves from attack by flapping this dust at their attackers and then causing it to ignite by unknown mechanism. Their eggs, which appear to be made of gold, collect similar dust as their feathers, and are quick to ignite if improperly handled. Pyre goose nests are a sure sign to prospectors that an area is a good site to dig for pyrite. Images of pyre geese blowing themselves up (a not uncommon occurrence in nature) are commonly used to mock alchemists.

16. Canal Devil: A cryptid said to dwell in urban waterways, sewers, and the deepest, dankest swamps. It is a duck the size of a destrier, with crocodilian hunting habits. Disappearances popularly blamed on canal devils are officially claimed to be cultic murders, but what cult would go through the effort of making that godawful quacking?

17. Weathercock: A wild relative of the chicken and junglefowl. The weathercock has peculiar adaptions to its comb and vocal sac which, when it stands with the wind, compress air within its body that it can then release by way of capillary-bursting crowing. As the creature is a reliable indicator of wind direction, weather vanes are often made in its image.

18. Flying Stiletto: A war-bird created long ago by the Lords Teratomata to hunt and kill heavily armoured warriors. Since their fall they've escaped into the wild, and are sometimes caught and used in the old manner. Through training and particular lobotomization the flying stiletto would be compelled to hone in on and bore through the weak points of armour in search of tasty grubs. As the Lords and their living weapons didn't wear shiny metal armour, flying stilettos could be deployed without fear of attacking allies. Contemporary users have to make do without wearing armour, or coating their armour in soot.

19. Tar-and-Feathers: A skin infection caused by colonial microorganisms that were once birds (wizards are likely implicated). The infection causes patches of swollen, discoloured flesh and feathers to grow, similar in appearance to someone who's been tarred and feathered (hence the common name). It's spread by contact, and contact with things the infected have touched recently, stiff barbules breaking off into flesh. Tar-and-feathers is tenacious but rarely lethal, and many victims go on pilgrimage out east to beg the King of Birds for a cure.

20. Sacred Solar Crane: A beautiful and terrifying species of carnivorous crane with translucent feathers. They cooperate in flocks to concentrate sunlight on their prey, burning them to death. Held by priests of Adonaios to be avatars of their god, whose favour they enjoy (though they still wear mirrored hats, just to be safe).

Friday, May 1, 2020

D20x5 Headstrong Helmets

Wear protection.

D20This helmet is
1sculpted like a ram’s head, with a protruding faceplate and curling horns.
2a frog-mouth helm.
3a kettle helm.
4a barbute.
5a bascinet.
6an armet.
7a burgonet.
8a sallet.
9a heaume.
10a galea.
11a Corinthian helmet.
12a lamellenhelm.
13a turban helmet.
14a zischagge.
15tall and conical like a capirote, with a stoically molded face-mask.
16a morion.
17shaped like a spiny conch shell.
18a spangenhelm.
19shaped like an isocahedron.
20a kabuto.
D20This helmet is made
1of carved kraken beak.
2from scrimshawed behemoth ivory.
3from a hoof of the Bull of Heaven severed in the tauroctony.
4from the melted-down crowns of conquering kings.
5of reforged fragments from a thousand bloody battlefields.
6with iron chipped from the walls of Dis.
7from dragon-scale.
8from the pit of a peach of immortality.
9from silver smelted with concentrated moonlight.
10from an impossible alloy of theoretical metals.
11from the gilded reliquary of a saint’s skull.
12from the horn of a rhinoceros-god.
13from a single piece of deep viridian jade.
14from ectoplasmic resin extracted from the crushed brains of psychics.
15of bronze plucked from the dreams of a reciter of heroic epics.
16out of a ruby pried from a giant-queen’s diadem.
17of honest steel etched with mandalas of micro-runes.
18of cold-forged meteoric iron.
19from the torn-out and layered pages of an abjurer’s grimoire.
20from the fossilized cap of a prehistoric mushroom.
D20This helmet has
1a ribbon trailing from its peak.
2a red feather crest.
3a pair of spectacles welded over the eyes.
4a mail coif attached.
5a family of pixies living in it right now.
6a shining halo appear around it when used.
7a secondary enchantment placed on it that adjusts its size and shape to comfortably fit the head of whoever wears it.
8the image of a third eye painted in blood on its forehead-covering section.
9a pair of wings on its sides.
10a striped zebra-hair crest.
11inlaid jewels tracing out the zodiac across its dome.
12a glowing holographic sun-disc flashes above its wearer’s brow when its power is used.
13a secondary enchantment placed on it that always obscures its wearer’s facial features in shadow.
14enamelled golden trim.
15a lion-mane crest.
16a secondary enchantment placed on it that, if it is currently unclaimed, cause it to ring like a gong when humanoids come close to it.
17flower and thorn patterns engraved across its surface.
18a crescent moon emblem on its brow.
19its maker’s signature stamped on its inner surface.
20an illusory enchantment placed on it that makes its wearer’s head appear to be a skull.
D20While this helmet is worn,
1the wearer receives a curious sort of longevity. Should they die while wearing it, their mind is transferred into the helmet. If another person then puts the helmet on, the former wearer has a chance to permanently possess them. If this attempt fails the former wearer’s mind is lost forever.
2any attacks on or attempts to influence the wearer’s mind are reflected back on their origin.
3its wearer’s thoughts and reflexes are accelerated. If they’re not surprised, they always act first in the initiative order.
4its wearer can deliver smashing headbutts, as a +1 warhammer, with double damage against inanimate objects.
5its wearer cannot be blinded, deafened, affected by scents, or suffocated.
6its wearer suffers no distance penalty to ranged attacks.
7the wearer will regenerate any lost limbs or other organs as fully-functional prosthetics made from the same material as the helmet.
8its wearer can expand it into an invulnerable hemisphere around them for up to 1d6 10-minute turns.
9all of its wearer’s enemies are filled with unnatural awe and terror, and so have disadvantage on morale checks.
10its wearer can disguise it as a hat of such fabulous splendour that they receive a +2 bonus to all reaction rolls with intelligent parties.
11its wearer gains an awareness of space within a ten foot radius around them. This awareness is not precise enough to discern fine details, but can detect things like covered pit traps, secret doors, and people sneaking up behind the wearer.
12its wearer can access the memories of past wearers. When encountering ruins, ancient monsters, artifacts, and the like, they have a 2-in-6 chance of remembering a useful detail about it.
13its wearer can wreathe themself in spectral fire, dealing 1d6 damage per round to anything that’s grappling them, swallowed them, possessed them, or is otherwise in intimate contact with them.
14its wearer can shoot lasers from their eyes, as per a +1 longbow with infinite ammunition that ignites flammable materials it strikes.
15the wearer can communicate telepathically with any being by pressing heads together with them (beings must have heads).
16the wearer cannot be petrified, mutated, transmuted, or otherwise unnaturally transformed by a cause they did not bring upon themself.
17all of its wearer’s allies are filled with unnatural courage, gaining advantage on morale checks.
18its wearer suffers no penalties from pain, exhaustion, hunger, and the like. These things can still eventually kill them though.
19its wearer can change their own size, as per the spells enlarge person or shrink person cast by a magic-user of the same level as the wearer, once per day.
20its wearer can become invisible, as per the spell cast by a magic-user of the same level as the wearer, once per day.
D20This helmet was once
1the prized possession of a paranoid emperor, who wore it every moment of his short and brutal reign.
2used as a cook-pot by a devilish chef, and still smells faintly of sharp spices.
3made in a previous cycle of the universe, and is one of that cycle’s few surviving artifacts.
4tapped by a forge-wizard to mass produce inferior imitations, degrading the helmet from its original power.
5a grave good in the tomb complex of the first emperor.
6worn by a demilich.
7worn by a mystery knight who won countless tourneys over centuries (or at least many knights assuming their identity did).
8passed between the warriors of a dozen undersea nations after its first bearer’s ship was wrecked.
9claimed to be a sign of divine favour by the warlord who wore it.
10the symbol of a dynasty that collapsed under its own ambition.
11among the regalia of a demigod of war.
12shattered in catastrophic battle. The secret of its reforging is coveted.
13given as tribute to a barbarian horde to spare a city-state from their depredation.
14thought forever lost after it fell down a fissure, until it reappeared at the head of a troglodytic crusade.
15worn by the leader of a slave revolt.
16pursued by the revenant of a former wearer, and might still be for all anyone knows.
17worshipped as the earthly abode of a tutelary spirit.
18used as a mendicant’s cup by its most famous bearer, who swore off violence and lived an ascetic life thereafter.
19part of a full matching suit of enchanted armour. Anyone who bears a piece of the suit dreams vague omens of the others’ positions.
20a bearing-component in a vast eldritch machine.