Art and Music
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ID: 338


October 28, 2005, 12:32 pm

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The Paintings of Marcus Diellus


It is said that Marcus Diellus was an artistic genius.  It is true that his paintings are magnificent, but they also have a dark secret.

Marcus Diellus was one of the greatest artists of his time.  His work was much in demand, and he became quite wealthy.  That was before he ran afoul of a dark wizard.  For reasons lost to history, Diellus was afflicted with a terrible curse, which ultimately drove him to madness and suicide.  But the curse did not end there.  It lives on, in the very canvases and paint of the last set of paintings he ever created.

The last paintings are generally said to be Diellus’s finest works, even if they seem very dark and foreboding.  There are several of these paintings, of different subjects.  Landscapes, portraits, vistas, still lifes, etc.  All are of dark, sininster, and somewhat frightening subjects, such as a grove of dead trees, graves, a portrait of a rather evil looking family, a stormy sea, etc.  And every one of them carries the curse, manifesting it in different ways.  One kills veiwers outright.  One brings the curse of misfortune and sickness.  Another attracts ghosts and evil spirits to wherever it is located.  Still another drives people mad.  Other things like that.  Oddly enough, many are not aware of the curse, and will pay handsomely for one of the last Diellus paintings, not knowing what evil they are.  Some do know, and are willing to use the paintings for their own dark purposes.

Magical Properties:

Each painting carries a different strain of the curse, and therefore does something different.  Some of the paintings are triggered by someone looking at them, some are triggered by being touched, and some are triggered merely by location.  The number of paintings and the nature of the curses are left to the GM.  The paintings are always in good condition, even if in an abandoned house, so as to attract victims.

Additional Ideas (4)

The Headsman

This sullen piece has a nearly monochromatic pallet - dark blues, greys and blacks, depicting an obviously well-used gallows in some village square.  Standing on the gallows is a burly headsman and a victim with his head on the block.  At a distance, the victim appears indistinct, blurry, as if someone has defaced or smudged the painting.  

However, if one gets closer to the statue, the image will change and the headsman axe will come down, severing the head of the victim. At that point, the viewer will see their own visage upon the severed head and die from the shock*.

*Normal counter-magic game mechanics appy of course.


2012-11-26 01:55 PM » Link: [338#84343|text]

The Secret

A brooding piece with a creeping sense of terror. It depicts a pale, well-dressed young man, alone in his study at a table with a lit lamp. He faces the viewer directly, eyes wide and mouth tight, but he appears ready to say something.

Those who view the item will begin to hear a frantic whispering, distantly at first, gradually closer. The voice whispers the viewer's darkest secret, whatever it may be. Eventually the whispering turns to screaming accusations, driving the viewer mad.

The curse is stronger with more viewings, and can be negated by leaving the place it is displayed for a few days. The whispers gradually die down, leaving only a creeping fear of hearing them again.


2012-11-26 02:27 PM » Link: [338#84344|text]

The City

This broad panoramic landscape of a great stone city is perhaps on of the largest of the works, nearly seven feet wide and three high.  The name of the city is not given, even though its distinctive architecture should by all rights provide a clear clue.  No-one can recognize this city, though it holds the echo of some distinct memory. In any case, it has the same aura of malice that mark all of Marcus's works.

Careful inspection of the piece can make out shadowy, indistinct inhabitants, which never appear to be the same on different viewings.  

The painting's curse is a slow growing obsession with finding this city, that will eventually cause one to either seek it out, or spend ones fortune having the city located.  


2012-11-27 11:50 AM » Link: [338#84378|text]
I like this one. I feel like, if not for the grace of IMDb, I would do this trying to get the names of obscure-but-shouldn't-be actors in film and TV.

2012-11-27 12:41 PM » Link: [338#84379|text]

Cealdish Market in Springtime

Done in somewhat surreal, jarring colors, this painting depicts a bustling marketplace. The viewpoint is of an odd angle, almost as though viewing the scene from the dirt of the street. At first the image seems otherwise ordinary, save that one of the figures - a young gypsy girl - looks directly out at the viewer with a wide smile. She appears to be stealing an apple from a vendor cart, with her other hand reaching for another market-goer's purse.

When a viewer sees the girl in the image, they may find an item from their person goes missing, often replaced with another item they don't recognize. It is said the gypsy girl trades out whatever she steals from one viewer to the next.


2013-01-04 11:56 AM » Link: [338#84842|text]
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Comments ( 10 )
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August 10, 2003, 2:19
Very nice. A touch of history, with a lasting curse. Sounds like something from the old Friday the 13th Series.
August 10, 2003, 3:19
Reminds me of an episode of the sucky new Twilight Zone I say in which a painting trapped a person inside.
August 21, 2003, 16:16
Art. One of the most overlooked things in many a campaign. The owner of one could understand the uses and curse of a painting he bought, matter of fact he bought it just for the curse it carries. Instead of hiding treasure behind tons of traps he simply puts it in a cache behind a painting. Easy enough, just open the painting like a door and pick the lock and you have his treasure. The painting however could put any number of curses on the person that touches it or more immediate retribution. Sleep, stun, death. Sounds an alarm or summons a demon....
August 22, 2003, 3:03
Then there must be a way to bypass it. If the would-be thieves know all before them perished miserably, it will force them to do research. Hopefully they find the painting is the beast, and a way to avoid the curse.

(This one could simply be active at night only.)
August 25, 2003, 8:13
I very much like the idea.

As Strolen and Manfred correctly point out, a curse sometimes may be turned to good use.

PC's may not like this one much, but how about a painting that cancels good magic? I can imagine that a necromantic inclined wizard would feel this is a very nice asset...

I can also imagine this item to be a perfectly intresting plot hook...
I picture the PC's joining a perfectly hospitable dinner with a important person, perhaps the major of a major town. One one of the walls hangs a nice landscape painting, in which the peasants almost seem to move.... almost? on close inspection, the peasants are moving and tending the land....
I realy can not imagine that I would have to explain the rest of the plot...
Voted Zylithan
November 29, 2005, 20:10
I like the background you wrote. Art is very underused in many campaigns, so its cool to have a nice piece... and I like Ylorea's comments very much as well. There's an old computer game I used to play, Legacy of the Ancients, where you awake in a museum, and all the different paintings are different worlds and adventures you find out. Kind of neat.
Voted valadaar
November 26, 2012, 13:48
A great item type that can be gateway to many things, perhaps quite unwholesome.

Voted Dozus
November 26, 2012, 14:28
Altogether, this would be a terrible museum.
Voted Moonlake
June 2, 2013, 6:18
Bonus 0.5 points for the added paintings, otherwise a solid 3.
* Commented on for the Commenting Challenge

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Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Monument

When the characters approach a clearing in the forest, they will see 4 ogres who are guarding, and preventing from escape, 4 human males, and 3 human females. The ogres will see the party and leap to attack. The females will scream "OUR SAVIORS!!" and run screaming straight across the currently forming battlefield, in between ogres and party members, to hide behind the rearmost party members. They will be safe there. The males will try to skirt the battle to the north side to join the women.

To the south, giants will be hiding in the thick underbrush until the party has engaged the ogres and then attack the most opportune target EXCEPT the ones that the females are next to.

It should be noted that the female commoners are not female commoners at all, nor are the male commoners actually male commoners. The female commoners are the hags, who have polymorphed themselves as the commoners in their stewpot to escape detection. The males skirting the battle are actually MORE ogres, the hags were in the process of polymorphing ALL the ogres into regular humans for ambush purposes. The REAL commoners are already dead, having found their way into the coven's cauldron for dinner.

The hags (the women) will position themselves near to any spellcasters in the rear first, and then near anyone else in the back of the fight. The ogres (the men) will wait until the hags shift form, and then attack first the rear folks, then shift into the melee.

It is possible that the characters, as they approach the ogres, will notice the giants in the bush, and be able to warn the others of the ambush.

GAME NOTES: If you sell the screaming women correctly, they will not even be suspected until it is too late. Therein lay the problem. This encounter is ESPECIALLY deadly to the rear eschelon of the party. It is entirely possible that the hags will finish off half the party before they even realize they have been duped. Caution is required if the game master wishes to avoid a TPK(total party kill).

Encounter  ( Forest/ Jungle ) | July 14, 2005 | View | UpVote 2xp

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