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ID: 3771


March 22, 2007, 2:28 pm

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The Aohd Charm


Gauranteed to protect you from nightmares, hexes, and the diseases of the loins

Full Item Description
Aohd Charms are generally some sort of small vial that is worn on a chain around the neck. Most tend to be small pewter and brass vials originally used to hold small amounts of blessed water. More peasant versions tend to be made out of wood or animal horn, and though very rare there are bone and ivory vials that often appear as Aohd Charms and sell for great deals of money. The Charm is filled with the tears of elf maidens, who according to tales are most reluctant to shed tears through their long and ageless lives.

Before the advent for rapid transit and near instant communication, all sorts of strange ideas and notions were formed about unknown people. In Aterrizar there are elves and those of mixed heritage, but they are a distinct minority. The lands to the west are called ‘the elven lands’ with an air of mystery. Central to that mystery is the great city of Aohd, the gateway between the world of man and elf. Genuine elven goods command high to exorbitant prices at market, and well made counterfeit or well presented shams can also bring high prices. The Elven Green Tea Company has made a huge fortune by playing on this common perception.

Some less than scrupulous cons have also come from the misconceptions between man and the elusive elves. In many of the old tales from the west, the tear of an elf maid falling on the face of a slain man can bring him back to life. Other tales speak of elven lords cleansing the ill of plague, healing mortal wounds with whispers of ancient songs and springs of commonly found herbs and berries. It is certainly a fact that the elves, most ancient of races, are masters of magic and the natural order of the world. The most common of these cons is that the tears of an elf will protect a wearer from nightmares, curses, and prevent them from catching diseases from unclean prostitutes.

Of course this is patently false. The charm is not in the vial, but in the charisma of the charlatan selling them to naive commoners, gullibles nobles, and easily duped ‘wise men’. The liquid inside is most often local water with a pinch of salt in it, and perhaps, if the seller is especially good a pinch of lavender oil or atar of roses.

While not going into full detail here, Aohd is indeed the ‘gateway’ between the lands of man and elf, but there is nothing magical about it. Aohd was built along human construction lines and the bulk of the population is indeed human with a sizeable minority of elf half breeds. It is a trade port, though it is eclipsed by the greater port of Glenn on the Peninsula. There will be more forthcoming about this region in future submissions.

Magic/Cursed Properties
The Aohd Charm has no magical properties or protections.

Plot Hooks

  • Scammed - The PCs come across a charm dealer who sells them Aohd charms to protect them from the plague, mysterious witch, or dirty whores in the next town. The PCs might be pick-pocketed after they buy the charms, or while he tries to get them to buy something else.

  • Give Me Your Tears, or I Will Take Them - A PC elf is accosted at a local village by peasants demanding that the elf cry for them so that they can make said charms to protect themselves. Does the Pc shed tears for the ignorant commoners, what happens when the charms fail? What happens if for some reason they start to actually work? Sit back and watch the Pc/player squirm.

  • The Collector -  a mage has started collecting the charms being made by a certain charm dealer who moves from town to town. The mage hires the PCs to find the charm dealer and bring him to the mage. Finding the wanderer is half the battle, the other half is getting him to confront the mage, something the dealer has ZERO desire to do. While the dealer fears being unmasked for being a fraud, the mage is looking for a worker to start making vials and bottles for him, something the dealer is very good at.

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    Comments ( 5 )
    Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

    Voted valadaar
    March 23, 2007, 12:14
    A good solid item to add depth to a campaign and of course incorrect superstitions are always fun :)
    Voted Wulfhere
    March 23, 2007, 12:37
    Ah, the power of belief! No wonder those elf chicks are standoffish!

    In a lot of game worlds, the peasants and other folk encountered tend to fall into two camps: "Regular folks", who resemble the people found in an typical 1950's Hollywood Western, or "Torch-bearing Mob", who resemble the people in a typical 1930's Universal horror film.

    The problem with this is that the common folk of a pre-industrial culture don't fit well into either of these cliches. They are ignorant and superstitious, but not unintelligent. Their thoughts are shaped by their culture, but they have many of the same hopes and goals that we value.

    The reason that I really appreciate this type of charm is that it illustrates the type of thinking that should be commonplace in a typical fantasy culture. Living in a land where magic is real and present would reinforce the people's superstitions. Religious figures would have their opinions about whether this sort of thing was "white" or "black" magic, but the power of the charms would likely go unquestioned.

    Nicely detailed and believable, this is a useful contribution to the superstitions that adventurers would encounter. Extremely odd ideas about different races and cultures permeated Medieval culture and are still common among Third-World nations today: Compared to some of them (For instance: "Jews have horns and sacrifice infants" or "Sleeping with virgins cures venereal disease"), this is actually quite reasonable.
    Voted manfred
    March 23, 2007, 14:08
    What he said!

    A bit of fun, and a serious thought coupled together produce a great item. Also the two last plot hooks just beg to be used. Plus it fits into a certain neat little Codex. What's not to like here!
    Voted Iain
    March 23, 2007, 18:35
    I quite like this one, especially when read in combination with the tea.
    Voted Murometz
    March 23, 2007, 18:36
    yep, Wulf summed it up nicely. Love red herrings! And nice connection with the Elven Green Tea Company. It fits.

    The Collecter could make for a fun mini-adventure.

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