Monday, April 29, 2019

Treasures from the vault: d20 magic items

Before the pale folk of Beshara conquered the world and brought it under the true light of The Lord, there was an age of darkness. It was an age of tyrant rulers whose cruel rituals edified false deities, the traitor archons who spurned their duty to the eternal kingdom of grace so that they could rule their own domains. All the people of the world suffered in slavery, the goods of their labor were squandered, and all kingdoms were set against each other in bloody struggles for power.

Despite the sorry state of civilization, there was light in this age too. Antiquity has produced some of the most ingenious and wondrous items known on earth, which wizard-artificers in our current age cannot equal. Some of these marvels have been recovered and preserved, while others await discovery in the desert. So come, open the vault and feast your eyes on the treasures of the past which lay within.

Ruins of Balbeck, Miner Kilbourne Kellogg, 1844

1. Cups of Judgment: A silver goblet with the name of a crime engraved on the bowl. Any person who drinks from the cup and has committed the crime written on it is struck dead as soon as the liquid passes their lips. The cup is obviously magical and has a judgmental aura. The cup has a conservative disposition and there are rumors that a ritual exists which can change the crime written on the cup. Most cups have one of these crimes written on them to begin with:
1. Murder
2. Adultery
3. Treason
4. Blasphemy
5. Corruption
6. Lechery
7. Cowardice
8. Arson
9. Theft
10. Immodesty

2. The Book of Denial: A book with a perfect black cover and 2d10 perfect black pages. If a secret, an idea, or a spell which nobody else knows is written on one of the pages and the page is destroyed, the idea/secret/spell is annihilated from the universe. It cannot be discovered or otherwise generated again. If multiple people know the piece of information you want to annihilate, they all must sign the page before it is destroyed.

3. Eternal Ice: A ball of ice about the size of a fist that never melts. Aristocrats would carry these to keep cool on hot, dry days. One ball of eternal ice can keep a small room refrigerated.

4. Perfect Nails: Long, thin nails of an unknown material. They were once used to hold together effigies of tyrant kings and false gods. Any two things connected by the nails cannot be separated without first removing the nails.

5. Gardener's Locket: Scholars speculate that the Lord used this to make all the oddest things on earth. A simple locket of silver and dark green stone. One half is styled as a sprouting seed, the other as an embryo. If the fruit or seeds of two different plants are placed together in the locket, it can turn them into a hybrid with the characteristics of both species.
d20 sample characteristics:
1. Cactus spines, the plant can be used as a weapon
2. Aloe oil, the plant's juices can heal burns
3. Ironwood bark, the plant is very durable and a good construction material
4. Bamboo metabolism, the plant grows very quickly
5. Nightshade poison, the plant induces vomiting if ingested
6. Corpse Flower perfume, the plant has an odor which animals dislike
7. Pine resilience, the plant can grow in very cold climates
8. Potato's root, the plant produces edible tubers
9. Fey pollen, the plant's pollen causes drowsiness and memory loss in some cases
10. Coconut seeds, the plant produces very durable seeds
11. Grass roots, the plant has deep roots that can hold any soil together
12. Paradisaical fruit, eating one of the plant's fruits restores 1 hp
13. Thistle's itch, contact with the plant makes people start itching themselves frantically
14. Starfruit magic, eating a diet composed mostly of the plant's fruits grants long life
15. Joshua tree resilience, the plant can survive in dry and hot environments
16. Barley hardiness, the plant can grow in poor soils and could be a staple crop if widely cultivated
17. Sandalwood scent, the plant has a lovely fragrance and burning it draws supernatural beings
18. Morning Glory blooms, the undead cannot pass strings of the plant's blooming flowers
19. Mangrove resilience, the plant can grow in swamps and salt water
20. Tobacco resilience, the plant is almost immune to insect infestations

6. Merciful Linen: A fine white cloth which no dirt, no oil, and no blood can stain. It was woven by a priestess on her wedding night. She smothered her husband with it the next day. Wounds inflected by weapons wrapped in the cloth cause no pain.

7. Turtle Lamp: An oil lamp made from a turtle's shell embellished with gold leaf and a copper handle. Spells cannot be cast in the light of the lamp and it burns away illusions.

8. Tyrant's Seat: A fine pillow embroidered with gold thread. It is a supremely comfy pillow, anybody who sits on it will find themselves unable to rise from it without succeeding a saving throw.

9. Vessel of Alliances: A bronze bowl engraved with pagan figures, one side shows a city at war and another shows it at peace. The metal of the bowl is corroded, gone all green and black. If two people mix their blood or spit in the bowl they cannot lie to each other and can't knowingly betray each other (i.e reveal their location to an enemy, lead them into an ambush, kill them in a 'hunting accident', ect)

10. Great Drake's Teeth: A bag of black fangs ripped from the mouth of an unfortunate monster a long time ago. Planting the teeth in the ground like seeds will cause them to sprout into tall, strong people with skin the color of gold, bushy black hair, and eyes like a cat. They will obey whoever sowed them but are extremely warlike and will constantly petition their rulers to resort to violence. Once properly equipped, there are few forces in the world who could defeat these people in battle.

Illustration by Jesse Balmer, 2019

11. Composite Creature: An enchanted construct, or perhaps a gift from a forgotten deity. This creature can shape shift into kind of mundane animal at the whim of its master. It is easily frightened and has a particular fear of open flames. If the composite creature panics, it turns into a (roll 1d6) 1. Elephant 2. Tiger 3. Mouse 4. Songbird 5. Horse 6. Viper and can't transform again if it is not calmed down.

12. Infinite Mint: A device that spelled the eventual financial ruin of a whole empire. It looks like a mortar and pestle but is much heavier, a strong horse is needed to transport it. When a coin is ground in the mint, it divides into 3 coins. The copies are almost undetectable but evaporate in 1d6 months. The copy coins cannot be further split by the mint.

13. Spell Cuirass: An iron cuirass styled to look like a lithe torso. It is decorated with intricate lapis lazuli patterns and bits of metal from a meteorite. A magic user can sync themselves to the armor by sleeping in it for a night. Whenever the synced magic user casts a spell, a copy of the spell is cast on the wearer of the cuirass. If the spell is an area of effect spell, the area is centered on the cuirass wearer. Spells can't be copied this way unless the cuirass has a living wearer, their vital force is required to completes the mystical circuit.

14. Golem Stamp: A fine stamp with pagan writing on it. Stamping an object with the stamp causes it to become animate for 1d6 days. The animate object can be given a single command which it will try to fulfill for the duration of its life. The object becomes inanimate if the stamp is wiped off.

15. Flood Jewel: A dark blue gem set into a dull silver ring. It sounds like the ocean when shaken.  If the gem is broken, water gushes out. The gem contains enough water to flood a whole village for a few days or submerge an entire level of a dungeon.

16. Surgeon-Priest's Blade: A strange combination between a knife and a saw. The handle is bone and engraved with pictographs of burial rituals. Limbs chopped off by the blade remain alive and can hop/crawl around for directed by the will of the limb's original owner. After 1d8 days pass, the limb must be reattached or it dies.

17. Drum of the Revel: A huge drum made from the hide of a sacred ox. People who hear the drum beats cannot help but start dancing and singing. The revel can only end when the drummer faints from exhaustion as they too are compelled to keep beating the drum.

18. City in a Jar: A perfect, tiny city, in a glass jar. It once sat in the crown of a powerful queen and survived the fall with only a single crack running down the side. The people in the city are quadrupedal, have aquamarine skin, and do everything with their dry, dexterous tongues. The city itself is in perfect order and harmony. All of its institutions are moral and incorruptible, all its inhabitants are kind, and everything is in perfect repair. You can enter the city by running your hand along the crack in the jar and slipping inside. By resting a day in the city, you'll be restored to full hp +1d4 extra. If outsiders stay in the city any longer their influence will cause it to fall into chaos.

19. Keystone of Ur: A huge carved stone plated with copper. A building or wall that incorporates the keystone into one of its arches cannot be leveled until the keystone is removed.

20. Spying Bowl: A well polished silver bowl, the bottom has a mirror-like quality. If you slosh the blood, hair, or skin of a person along with some water in the bowl the mirrored bottom with reveal that person's deepest fears and anxieties.

This post is dedicated to Shiduri, the wise tavern keeper


  1. Lovely job. Adding to RSS feed. Please don't take my hair and put it in the bowl.

    1. Thank you! Your kind words have saved you from the bowl, for now.

  2. Lots of very flavorful items here. I linked folks here this week on my blog and podcast. Keep yo the good work!