A blade that increases your charisma and political savvy would be very useful indeed, though I imagine that the owner would try to hide the source of his newfound fortune from other potential hosts if he knew. The victim would probably begin to suspect that there was something special about the day he got the blade, and might begin to consider it a lucky talisman of sorts. Those suspicions would only be confirmed when Kingmaker passes on to a new host.
For those reasons, I don't believe that Kingmaker would be very successful in his quest to find more and more powerful hosts. The previous ones would be desperate to get the blade back, and would use what influence they had left to that end. Of course, Kingmaker could hide his appearance at that point so that he won't be recognized, but I'm not sure if that helps.
One question: when you say that Kingmaker changes appearance, do you mean that it physically alters itself into, say, an axe? Or does it use illusion? I ask because you say it tries to make itself appealing to new hosts even while in the possession of another person. Wouldn't the current host notice that his jeweled dagger was suddenly a war axe?
Overall though, an intriguing blade. I'd love to put this into the hands of a PC's most hated rival, then make the player watch as the rival was vaulted to power. This is an interesting series of items, and I hope you continue them.
Brilliant! I would love to see a quest where a party of newbies is convinced to become partners in this sort of "business venture." Their sponsor gives them a sample of the *very expensive* chalk, talks up the potential market value of the product, and strokes their egos a little. He then has them sign a contract as harvesters, and gives them vague directions to the nearest source. When they arrive, their contact in the area explains exactly what they are supposed to do. . . and reminds them of the severance agreement in the contract they signed if they refuse to go through with collecting these things.
The Charter: a contract that was signed by all of the original settlers to Kremik. It formed the basis of Kremik's various legal systems and provided several important unifying ideals that withstood the upheavals. However, it was also at the heart of the original dispute which caused the formation of the three original nations. Each of the three factions interpreted various key sections of The Charter differently, and their inability to resolve those differences led to the ships parting ways.
Potentially divisive provisions (need more here):
Attitudes towards and influence of The Charter:
First generation settlers had all signed it personally before being put into cryosleep for the long journey to Kremik, and were faily well-versed in it. They would be the most ardent defenders of their faction's viewpoint.
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Later Kremikian nations would either discard The Charter entirely, twist or pervert its intentions, or cleave to it in an attempt to claim the moral high ground.
While I like the basic premise, this system doesn't hold much that inspires me to use it.
The good: When compared to D&D, it definitely condenses things and offers a tiered system that is better for "rules lite" games. I appreciate the distinction you are trying to make between mundane summons and epic summons, and agree that summoning should be generally more awesome. I also like the stability mechanic as a way of restricting their power.
The "bad": I guess I would just like to see the system fleshed out a little more. Exactly how does one perform a summoning? Are there any materials/preparations that are needed? How common is this sort of magic? Is there any agreement that has to be reached with a particular being before you can attempt to summon it?
Other thoughts: Given the power of level 4 and 5 summons, I would almost expect that an entire group of seers/casters would be required to bring them forth and maintain their stability. I'm also a little concerned about the sheer amount of power that you give in immunities, but I guess that I can see the reasons for doing so.
I agree with dark_dragon -- this is both interesting and useful. One minor quibble is that this is more of a write-up on an entire people than an individual, so the NPC tag is a miscategorization. If I was looking for a unique alien race to add to my campaign, I probably wouldn't be able to find this one.
I will admit that I wasn't really thinking about balance when designing these items -- it would indeed be foolhardy to give the party anything with this much power straight up. However, that's the whole point of the set really. Even if the party manages to recover 3-4 after years worth of effort, they still will not have access to the full powers of each artifact. Since most gaming groups have fewer than seven players, they would also have to find some trustworthy NPCs to wield the remainder if they ever wanted to unlock the full potential of the Seven.
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On the other hand, a group which has collected several of these would be strongly motivated to cooperate. I *think* that the price of betrayal -- losing most of their item's power and suffering additional ill effects -- is high enough, but more penalties can always be added by the GM. I never considered that the party might be motivated to recover these for someone other than themselves, but I like really your campaign idea. Thank you for the constructive feedback, and I hope that you enjoy the last three artifacts as well. :)