Thanks! I probably did more research for this sub than most -- I needed to find out what exactly it would take to swim in "goop", which would directly affect what kind of beasties you'd find in there. Turns out that there is a surprising amount of research on swimming in syrup, and that it's a relatively common physics puzzle. Who knew? Go to Comment
Good description, though the backstory of why the staff is not as strongly linked to the other items as these are, might use an expansion. In a campaign to re-unite the Seven Treasures, the intelligence of the staff (where does that come from, btw?) Would be an inside-job enemy.
Meanwhile, I hope you compile all the lore parts to one storyline, it sounds like a great story. Go to Comment
Very nice. The Staff could work nicely on its own or as part of the set, and the powers mean you can put it in the hands of anyone - not too benevolent or malevolent. I could definitely imagine using this. In fact, maybe I will.... If I can fit it into my game, I'll report back.
One problem I do have, minor though it is, is that you talk about powers being linked to a Cause, but that is not described either here or in what I take to be the main submission (The Kingdom of Seven Princes). And I'm not willing to look through six other submissions to hunt it down. It's not that important to this item, though, so not a big deal, just a little nitpick. Go to Comment
As mentioned, I did indeed use this submission: brought it in as a malevolent magic item in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer game. I thought it worked pretty well, though I did have to rather dramatically alter the lore to make it work.
Still, the powers here are good and dramatic - giant snakes, assassin snakes, tempters, hypnosis, protection - all the stuff you want your villain types to have. Laurang can serve as kind of a nice boss, and Apophis as a solid introduction of sorts. The staff is definitely a neat item - it lends itself to being used stylishly, and it's kind of fun to describe.
On the other hand, using it this way kind of diminished Abraxas's ability to spread discord, even letting him talk without being specifically asked questions, so I not certain that I got the most out of it.
I'm planning on expanding the "Kingdom of Seven Princes" sub to provide biographies of each King and to better link the lore together. I might do it in short-story format, but I haven't decided yet. To try to answer your questions:
The intelligence of the summons was always there, from the moment of the Staff's creation. Linus came to rely heavily on the advice and council of the various snakes of his staff, especially when the rift between him and his brothers began to grow. Obviously not a sound idea -- enigmatic magical beings are a poor substitute for one's own family or friends in times of mental distress.
Linus became increasingly paranoid during this time, and it was he himself who began to decouple the Staff from the other King's Items. He was a master of the arcane arts, after all; tinkering with his own item was well within his abilities. The Staff did not deactivate for him before he was through because he never really abandoned his Cause -- he truly believed that he was working for the good of Adelheim, by securing his own power so that he could continue to lead in the event of his brothers' betrayal.
Once the summoned snakes began to be fed sacrifices in return for their services, however, their demeanor immediately changed. They enjoyed the change and wanted to encourage it. The unintended consequence of unlinking the Staff from the other items, therefore, was to provide the snakes with motivation to keep that distance; hence, the desire of the various snakes to cause strive within the fellowship even where none exists before. If they are successful, they get "paid" for the services that they otherwise have to render for free.
Not sure if that was entirely clear, but I'll try to work it into the sub itself when I have time. Thanks for your thoughtful comments and suggestions on many of the items in this series. Go to Comment
Fair enough. The "Cause" is kind of nebulous, since it will be different for every group. Basically, it is a sort of sworn pact all the bearers must follow. It can be anything from "We shall defend the city of Valyria" to "We shall avenge our people by destroying the Empire and its army." In this case, each prince swore to serve the kingdom to the best of his abilities and to support his brothers in doing the same. Go to Comment
Well, it seems Verrin was hard on the path towards blackguard, so that might be a suitable curse on future users. This horn seems to be ideal for defending armies, not for conquerors, unless the Horn can be convinced the landgrab is justified. Maybe it sticks to the borders at the moment of its crafting. A Leonidas might use it justly, but an Alexander not.
Which leads me to the following question: was Verrin the only one of the brothers to misuse his item, or just the first? Go to Comment
On some of the islands off the coast, the rites of the local fertility god revolve around ceremonial death and rebirth. The religion's priests have overcome this cycle, however: Each of them is actually undead, ceremonially slain and "reborn"! Their religion is otherwise unremarkable, being an odd offshoot of the mainland's religions. The priests vow to resist their undead cravings, seeing these as the "cycle of life" attempting to reclaim their spirits.