An interesting magical "memory metal". I like the presentation and the many suggestions for how it could be used within a campaign.
I could see a key made of this material being reforged into something else to hide it from those who would magically seek it. A mask of iron could be made so that it is easily placed on the victim's head, then becomes a confining mask of solid iron locked onto the skull, held in place with no vulnerable lock or rivets to allow escape.
Perhaps other variants of these alloys could be found: One made with black meteoric iron (loaded with nickel), resistant to rust and corrosion; or one laden with copper and tin, forming a strange pale bronze. Go to Comment
I don't have a problem believing the unusual rules for succession (odd rules of various types have cropped up often through history), but so far, the information given is really just a sketch of the idea. A greater level of detail would be desirable.
As it is, the GM would have to come up with how the murder was done, what clues exist, who they point to, and why the antagonist killed the king. Their desire to seize the throne leads to more questions about why and what they will do if they achieve their ambition.
An interesting series of adventures could be built around an assassin who successfully blames someone else for the deed. If the evidence of the murder only surfaces after the murderer is crowned, do the player characters risk plunging the land into civil war to overthrow the usurper?
The murderer may not even have had evil motives: Suppose that the doddering, aged king refused to pass the reins of power to his eminently qualified successor, instead trying to manipulate the system to put a favorite (but unqualified) princeling onto the throne after he steps down. The murderer could have thought (rightly or wrongly) that the king's death would save the land from endless suffering and chaos. Go to Comment
Although these phantoms of battle are basically benevolent, as time passes they could become increasingly out of touch with current political realities. Hundreds of years later, they may still be defending their land against invaders.
I could see a party questing for a way to finally lay these spirits to rest, either for beneficient purposes ("The Church would have these tormented souls freed from their eternal battle,") or sinister motives ("Only after these interfering ghosts are put down will we be able to bring the rebels of the district into check!"). Go to Comment
I like these melodramatic villains, but I think that many of them ought to be developed into their own full submissions. This format doesn't give the villains the opportunity to fully shine. Go to Comment
Far across the calm waters, a small dinghy rocks gently. Battered and parched, his cracked lips blackened by the hot sun, a seaman lies in the bottom of the tiny vessel.
His ship was attacked by undersea marauders, revolting abominations combining the traits of men and fish. Fleeing in the chaos, this lone sailor escaped the carnage by leaping off the ship's stern and quickly clambering into one of the ship's boats towed behind it. Setting the tiny boat's sail, he watched his ship suddenly founder after the alien things swarmed aboard it.
He had little water: Thirst has tormented him in the days since the attack, but not nearly as cruelly as the guilt over his cowardly flight. Nightmares and visions of his lost shipmates haunt him constantly.
Even worse, he feels like something has been watching him... something inhuman. Perhaps the things from below the waves aren't done with him. Go to Comment
This one just didn't work well for me. Corinth, it seems that you were trying to explain how systems of magical thinking have their origins where superstition intersects with developing knowledge.
To some extent, I think that your description does an injustice to those who labored to bring meaning from ignorance. Mankind seeks patterns and tries to understand how things relate to each other: It's in our nature. When one has little solid information, apparent patterns may deceive us.
My problem with this essay is its assumption that we have evolved past our foolish ancestors, when we actually seem just as prone to error. It is true that our advanced knowledge makes us wiser? Go to Comment
...But, before that, (in Geoffery of Monmouth) Arthur's sword was named Caliburnus.
Not all the sources agree that Excalibur was the same blade as the Sword in the Stone. Later sources claim that the Lady of the Lake gave it to Arthur, suggesting that it was a different sword altogether.
(Of course, the scabbard's magic was much more valuable than the sword itself, a lesson to all of us: The things we treasure are often less precious than the things we take for granted every day.) Go to Comment
Well-presented and credible, these materials seem to be a reasonable advance on current aerogel-type technologies. Like Scrasamax, I picture nanofoam readily used as riot-control gear: A material that can be used to immobilize civilian rioters, then selectively shut down to enable police/troops to deal with the rioters.
The incindiary foam could readily be used as an area denial weapon or deployed for demolition work, while the bioactive foam would be used as a medium to support other agents when adverse wind conditions would otherwise prevent their use. Go to Comment
An interesting concept, amusing and quirky. I like the profane "command words" needed!
In order to make it more useful, I'd want to amp down the power level quite a lot: "Nailing down" the local weather could be really potent. I'd say that it temporarily pins the weather in place, but the spike tends to work itself loose. This effect would be quite rapid if the weather being held was particularly severe or differed greatly from the surrounding weather. Additionally, local nature spirits and elementals notice objects like Stormspike, and become greatly aggravated when they are used frequently. Those wielding the spike should avoid using it for more than a few hours each week unless they choose to fight the local spirits of the earth and air. Go to Comment
This one has grown and flowered into something very useful. The life-twisting magics of the school could add a touch of unnatural, blasphemous horror to any campaign...
From out of the tunnel's darkness, the creaures shambled and hopped awkwardly, the horrifying legions of the the enchanter Nekrovan. We had feared that he was a necromancer, able to raise armies of the walking dead.
None of us had suspected the terrible truth: His army was made up of horrors beyond imagining: A legion of twisted travesties of humanity, madness in their oddly-placed eyes and gelatinous ichors dripping from their barbed claws.
We clutched our weapons and prepared for the horde's assault.Go to Comment
Well written and described: I find that I like Hisa a great deal. I also appreciate the additional information that you included to clarify her abilities.
A spirit of revenge, drawn to inflict vengeance, she seems like a natural pawn for the powers of evil; I would like to see a party learn her origins and try to end her cycle of destruction. Go to Comment
Updated: I corrected a few typos and eliminated a couple of small errors. (Such as listing criminals among the occupations held by the society's members: While they may have a few members who have fallen into criminal ways, they would be very reluctant to bring such people into their organization. The Brotherhood's members would be more likely to be branded as criminals only in those lands lost to evil customs, where they would quietly strive to overthrow the corruption darkening the land.) Go to Comment
The helm and the plumes reward the faithful, even if they have some doubts. Those who just pay lip service to the Brotherhood's purpose and beliefs are the ones who will fail to recognize them.
"Is this person trying to be faithful to the Quest?" is the question. Someone who has become cynical or who has decided that the quest is not real will not truly see the helm or the plumes. On the other hand, someone who is struggling with doubt, but is earnestly trying to find the truth, will perceive the items as they are. There's more than one reason that the Outer Order is called the Searchers. Go to Comment
His worshippers think the Lord of Battles is good...
I pictured them as a group that tries to embody all that is good and noble, but vulnerable to many of the same excesses that plagued other medieval religious groups. Their status as a "secret order" could lead them to being hunted as heretics, or they could decide that they have the right to judge and eliminate members of their church who fail to uphold the standards they support.
Just because someone is basically good, doesn't mean that other "good" folks won't come into conflict with them. Go to Comment
Is it necessary to pound on Munchkinesque spells? I think that some of the worst items that this site has seen have inspired the most interesting discussions about how to "rehabilitate" them. Go to Comment
I would expect that those purchasing such a device without obvious non-sexual requirements for it would risk getting an unwanted reputation. After all, people ordinarily hide the details of their sex lives, so a man with one of these would be likely to conceal that he had one of the "fully functional" models.
Cultural change and acceptance of such things would be a gradual process, taking place only as such robots became part of the societal matrix in other ways. Go to Comment
A typical wand with offensive capabilities (magic missiles, fire, fireball, lightning bolt) that was either damaged in combat or made just under par. When the wand is discharged, there is a 1 in 4 chance that it fires an additional 1d6 charges simultaneously or in rapid succession. Wands that shoot fire may incinerate innocents and friendlies, or burn whole buildings and even villages down. Those which shoot fireballs have a considerable radius, and lightning bolts that bounce upon contact with ground and stone can cause catastrophic random collateral damage. Those who have paid large sums for such a device may go seeking a refund, possibly even retribution.