Full Item Description
The Chessboard of Ruthur appears as a typical Thyanian chessboard crafted from fine black and white jade. The pieces are similarly crafted from the same materials and appear as armored soldiers of various types.
The Thyanian chessboard is different then most by having specific names for each square and piece. The squares are named after actual locations along the border shared with their Twin Kingdom of Salatra, and the pieces are named after specific military units belonging to either side. Each piece bears the livery and coat of arms of said unit. Pawns are infantry brigades, Knights are calvary, Rooks are named after castle garrisons, Bishops are Church forces, and the King and Queen are represent the King and Queens guards.
The chessboard is named after a Thyanian court mage named Ruthur, but it has not been proven that he was involved in it’s creation. It has been used by a succession of Thyanian mages through the centuries and has led to unfortunate outcomes with some of the less competent…
It is still held in the Blue Tower, the traditional home of the current Thyanian High Mage and advisor to the King.
The chessboard is actually a carefully crafted holder of secrets. Each square on the board can contain a secret which can either be as small as a single word, or as long as an entire work of the dark arts.
Each square is opened and closed through the playing out of a sequence of moves on the board, which usually result in a checkmate with a king placed on the appropriate square. A separate person must move each side. The interval between moves must be short, or the sequence is broken, and no errors can be made or again the sequence is broken.
The danger in taking too long lies in the nature of the Demon Jade used to make the board. Excessive contact with the pieces or proximity with the board will lead to certain mental changes.
In generally, the sequences are carefully documented using the formal names of the pieces and places. Some of these can resemble battle reports due to the naming conventions used - "The Red Brigade advanced through Amasarr to Redriken, routing the Salatrian’s Queens Guard…". Sequences have been recorded also in bard’s songs and other writings.
The nature of the recorded Secrets varies, but here is a brief table:
|1||Plans for military attack|
|2||True-name of lesser Demon|
|3||Details of rare spell/ritual|
|5||Controversial/Politically damaging personal account|
|6||Command words for magic item/portal|
|7||Map to treasure/dungeon|
|8||Formula for potion|
|9||Bestiary information on numerous rare and dangerous creatures|
|10||Plans for powerful magical siege weapons|