As a civil engineer, I know that the greatest gift to all mankind would be a cheap source of fresh water. Therefore, I believe Nobody's Rod of Arcane power is of unlimited value. Here is my suggested backstory:
Near the Madlands, where no one lived (for long) the nomadic Koolono people passed by. They were outcasts, derided by other kingdoms, and never allowed to settle. The deserts were home to them, but desert life was hard. They longed for a land of their own.
Their leader, Nolostos, saw the storms in the forbidden area, and wondered. His wise woman, the crone Kratela, pointed her bony finger toward the storm-ripped land and said, "Water." It flowed from the nearest hill, frothing and churning down from the heights, gouging out a riverbed and streaming into a crack rent in the earth, lost to use.
Kratela told Nolostos late one night, when he had pleased her, how to give his people their wish and establish himself as Forever Great. When they returned to this area next year he was prepared.
In their nomadic travels, he had taken his people to the secretive People of the Mines and in the usual trading, had the Miners craft a heavy pole. Kratela had told him what it must look like -- from a vision she had received from a storm goddess, she claimed. It was easy enough to construct from common metals, but the Koolono people were dismayed at the cost, not to mention the weight. Still, no one would contest Nolostos' right to lead -- especially with Kratela's blessing.
They transported the object back to the stormy area, around the crack that swallowed the river, and thirty of the tribe's strongest men pulled the 400-lb object up the rain-soaked hill on a sledge with long ropes, near to where the storm was strongest. Kratela chanted a long invocation she received from her dream... and the storm paused momentarily. A shard of glowing metal was seen then on the rocks on the hilltop.
At the crone's command, Nolostos scooped up the piece of metal with a clay pot, and quickly carried it to the pole, dropping it into the hollow space in the base. The quelling spell wore off in a few moments, and everyone ran for cover as lightning slammed into the hole in the pole with such force that the metal flowed and arc-welded the opening shut, trapping the shard within. From then on, the effects were more regular and subdued, although still quite dangerous.
When they got over their fear, the men dragged the pole with the long ropes back down the hill, and over the next few weeks, away from that area to an uninhabited desert valley. With the pole set up on higher ground a safe distance away from camp, rainwater always flowed downhill to them. Kratela commanded that a temple be constructed around it, although because of the unconfortable working conditions the pole created, the temple never amounted to much more than a heavy rock wall from which water gushed outwards.
Nolostos became a leader of successful farmers, who irrigated their soil with an unending supply of fresh water that washed away the salts usually found in many desert lands. They were not subject to raiders, for there were few enemies who would attack a people who had powerful storm magic.
Not surprisingly, Kratela was killed by her too-often visits to the pole to soak up the mystical energies that called to her. Still, other women in the tribe had enough of her gift (and more good sense) to use the pole more discretely and provide the magical protection a tribe needs without getting themselves electrocuted too rapidly. With food and security in abundance, the Koolono people thrived for generations. Go to Comment
A canny wizard might take up the notion to put the Rod of Arcane power inside a brass screen, a Farraday cage (not 100% on the details there, saw it on Mythbusters) to insulate the rod from lightning strikes. Otherwise a very interesting item. Go to Comment
Certainly a novel idea, but I do image that wearing a pear of metal boots would be very uncomfortable. Wearing a pair of steel-toed shoes is a pain in the rear as it is. I like the electrical weakness of the boots, especially the part of drawing in naturally occuring lightning. Worthless for a thief, with all the crashing and booming. Go to Comment
I could see some tragic hero barrelling into the close ranks of his enemy, the sky heavy and brooding. He is being battled, overwhelmed by numbers even with the booms of the boots. Then the main villain closes with him and defeats the hero. As he yanks his serrated blade out of the dying hero, he notices the shiny boots.
The next moment, a lightning bolt crashes down, killing hero, villain, and many others nearby. The event is viewed as divine intervention by the Hero's allies, inspiring them to surge forth and route the enemy. Go to Comment
Updated: Updated: I would like to note that my third role playing idea for this item would not work. The maid would have to have not only worn the item for over a week, but then the rest of the maids would have to have worked on her to get her to become feminine again, and all of this would have to take place before the Emporer put the item on for the celebration. Go to Comment
Well written, and sound. This is the kind of post that does make me wish I ha dthought of that. I think that the King acting like a silly maid was my favorite of the potential uses of the clasp. The religious origin of the clasps also neatly sidesteps the cliche 'A wizard made it'
Outstanding. And perfectly written, to boot. Well, almost perfect... I had to get to the examples before I understood it. If you ever rewrite your submission, put a good example or two at the top to make it clear from the first. Just a suggestion.
And keep that clasp away from me! As bad as my personality may be, I don't want to take chances with someone else's. Go to Comment
Thanks to MJS for using it and letting us know how it went!
I really enjoyed the confusion I got just reading it so couldn't imagine it happening for real. I am sure we have all done similiar things with the duplicate or a dream or whatever, but this is the best description on how to run the confusion I have seen! Go to Comment
In cultures and langauges with very few acceptable personal and family names, nicknames will be used. These nicknames will be based on their physical traits and personalities. So instead of five Ryon Khans, you have Big Ryon, Little Ryon, Fast Ryon, Ryon the Priest, and Ryon with coin. It will make finding people, for an outsider, difficult.