The Circle of Life Armoury is a magical room that appears and can be entered when a certain condition is met (See How to reach it). The door to the Armoury opens in a large, circular room, roughly 8 meters (27 feet) across. There are no windows, but once inside you don’t have the feeling that you are underground, more like in a sealed building. The ceiling of the room is not very high (3 meters/10 feet maybe) and is covered with the same nondescript gray stone masonry that covers the floor. The ceiling is held aloft by seven columns, evenly spaced around the central space of the room. The columns do not carry any special markings or figures. In the middle of the columns the floor is 10 to 15 centimeters lower and it is visible that there is a similar difference in the ceiling, which is higher there. In this central space lingers a kind of unearthly white light that drifts between the columns and reaches the walls, making the frescos and tapestries that cover them alive with shadows. There is no visible light source.
The walls of the room are decorated with a series of pictures describing the life of nature and man through the year. Several objects can be found in front of each of the sceneries. Only the characters born in the particular time of the year can see and touch the objects in that spot. Every character can take only one item, at which point the others become non-existent for him. Here is a description of the walls or the Armoury, as one would see them and feel them:
Starting on the left as you enter the room can be seen a heavy tapestry depicting an early spring forest. There are still patches of snow on the ground, but flowers can already be seen here and there and the branches of the trees carry a mention of green where the buds should be. The air in front of the tapestry is cold and fresh, you can hear the sound of birds on the edges of your hearing. A few steps along the wall a stretching green plain is drawn on the rough stones, the uneven surface making the grass of the plain "move" in the wavering light that comes from the center of the room. Birds can be seen in the sky and the atmosphere warms up considerably in front of the picture. The eye is drawn in the distance where a river winds its way across the plain and somehow leads the onlooker to the next picture. In it heavy eared wheat is almost swaying in an endless field of gold. People with scythes and sickles can be seen on the side, others carrying sheafs of wheat. You can feel the heat of late summer on your neck as your eyes follow them to the right, where in the shadow of the next column standing between the wall and the light the picture melts into an autumn scene with a two story stone house, surrounded by trees with yellow and red leaves. The suns rays you have been feeling weaken and little shivers start running down your spine as if cold rain drops touch your skin. A large bird of pray can be seen in the sky over the house, and a man with an axe is splitting wood on the side of the building. You follow the shivering leaves of the trees to the right again, and snowflakes start falling in the picture, covering everything until you are looking at a white forest and jump at the sight of a wolf peeking around the covered form of a bush. The air is suddenly chilly and a smell of snow and smoke fill your nostrils. A step to the right the forest gets thinner and finally your eyes fall on the endless starred sky over a plain of snow. No living thing is seen or heard and the cold of the earth and air fill you with silence. You break out of the stupor and look further to the right, where the door stands. You have come a full circle.
This magical place is governed by several rules:
1) Every person can enter the Armoury only once in their life, independent on whether they touched or took anything from it when they got in.
2) Every person can only see and touch the items corresponding to the time of their birth. Once an item is taken in ones hands it becomes visible to everyone, but has its special effects only when used by the person that picked it up. For everyone else it’s just an ordinary item, even if beautifully made. When an item is taken, all other items disappear for the person that took it.
3) If more than one person is born in a particular time period, by choosing which one they pick up they connect to it, and only it. If these people swap the items they picked up their special properties are not activated in the right time. This, however, does not stop the characters from thinking about "that other item" (See the special properties - Memory curse).
4) A person can stay in the armoury indefinitely (if they can survive of course - there is no food and water there). Once a character leaves the armoury he returns to the place from which he entered it. The time elapsed in the real world while the character was inside equals the time he was inside - no time is gained or lost.
How to reach it
A person has to witness both ends of the cycle of life (the birth and death of a living being - not necessarily a human being and not the birth and death of the same being) in a single day to have a chance of opening a door to the armoury. Once this condition has been met, any door the person opens (even the flap of a tent) has a chance of opening to the inside of the Circle of Life armoury. It doesn’t matter whether he knows that such a place exists. The chance of opening the door can be adjusted by the GM. If 24 hours pass and the opening has not occurred the chance is lost.
Once the door is opened any number of people can pass through it. People that have already been inside the armoury do not see the opening, but rather what really should be there - the street, the next room or the inside of the tent. When the door is closed the connection is severed until the people that entered start coming out. When the door is opened from inside no one can enter the armoury, only leave it. In the real world people exiting the armoury appear directly through the door (or the place where it was, if the door is not present any more) they used to come in.
Contents of the Armoury
The Circle of Life armoury contains a number of items with special properties, that are activated only at a certain time of the year, and if used by the person that picked them up.
Common properties of the items:
- Strife for purpose. The items exert their own will in a subtle way. They push in a direction, not by changing the mind and thoughts of the person, but by facilitating chances that lead to what they "want". The characters can take those chances, or not. For example, the weapon the character took may feel uncomfortable on his waist or back, causing him to adjust it and look at a certain spot, drawing his attention. It may trip him, make him bump into people, the interaction with whom may lead to the development the item "wants". The character may feel compelled to do something, or go somewhere, just for the sake of doing it, because it feels right and good for him. He is not ordered to do it and has the freedom to go and do whatever he wants, it’s just an urge to do it that the GM mentions to him.
- Conditional powers. Each item has special properties that are in effect only through the time of the year they correspond to. In this period the item is "consciously" trying to affect the one carrying it so that he uses its power. These powers, once noticed, are knowable by the characters.
- Memory curse. Once the time of year corresponding to the item starts, the character that picked it up starts remembering it, even if he does not own it any more. This is a kind of memory curse - it makes the people that entered the Armoury remember the items they took every year, until their life ends.
- Birthday wishes. On the birthday of the character wielding the item, it has the power to grant them a single wish. This power only works if the character has fulfilled the purpose of the item by following its leads first. This is not known to the characters and can’t be known in any way. The wish can be anything, and the character is led to it in the same way the item hints on its will. The wish is not granted directly, and things like bags of money falling from the sky are out of the question. The path to the object of the wish can be long, and the item leads the way as long as the time of year is right. Once out of its time, it stops, and resumes its subtle actions the next year, and the next, until the wish is granted. Once this is done the item and the character are even, and the cycle starts anew with the item needing to do something.
- The final bond. Every item has three wishes, and once they are all fulfilled, and the third wish of the character has been met, the item becomes soul-bound to the character. It can feel him/her and strives to be in his/her hands. The character in turn has an unexplainable feel for the item and can find it wherever it may be hidden, and no magical and physical barrier can severe this connection. When they are together the item is unbreakable by any means and the character has a certain physical or mental reinforcement, specific for the item. Achieving this is a long and hard process, as the character’s wishes are only initiated on his/her birthday. This means that the minimum period for the creation of this soul-bond is three years. After the bonding the temporal abilities that the item showed may become permanent and act at any time, but again only when it is used by the character it bonded to.
- The players are trying to break into a place for some reason and they unknowingly fulfill the requirements for entering the armoury. They think they have gotten inside the place they meant, but later understand they have been somewhere else. Any equipment they have taken from the armoury is normal until its time comes. The effects of the equipment may remain hidden if the players do not connect all the coincidences to it.
- Fulfilling the items’ and the characters’ wishes can drive a party for a very long time, if they so wish. It doesn’t stop them going anywhere else and doing anything they want to, so the only thing left permanently is the reminder of the items’ memory curse every year.
How to add to this scroll
To add to this armoury of wonders you have to design an item with the following notable characteristics:
Description: Detailed physical description of the item.
Time of the year: The months through which the item has its special powers. It may be one, two or three specific months, usually consecutive, but not more. It is possible to have an item that is only active on a certain day. In that case you have to state the reasons for this - why is that day important in the cycle of life of man and/or the nature.
Special properties: Abilities of the item that are only active in the set time period, and are connected to its purpose in the cycle of life. (Don’t forget to state whether these properties become permanently active once the item is bound to a character’s soul)
Wishes: The special tasks that the item pushes the character towards. The wishes must be three, in order from the simplest to the most complex and dangerous.
Abilities that the character gains after bonding with the item: The boon granted to the character, once all three wishes of the item has been fulfilled and all three of the characters respective wishes have come to be, in a way that satisfies the character. This boon is permanently active when the character carries the item with him.
As creating a character with a certain profession and choosing his birthday are not generally connected, and as the variety of items that may be connected to the respective time of the year is great, the use of this special area may lead to interesting combinations - a wizard walking around with a scythe over his shoulder, because he believes it is important and connected to him (and it really will be), a warrior carrying a fishing net that allows him to carry water in it (that was off the top of my head, but isn’t it worth developing?), etc. Also, even if this is called an Armoury, it doesn’t mean fishing nets have no place here. They have a place in the Cycle of Life of people somewhere, and this is the Cycle of Life Armoury, so everything that can be connected to this theme can be found here.
Here can be found some items I designed for the Armoury. I was going to make it a normal submission, but then different minds think differently, so it is worth it to see what everyone can think of, with original tasks for the character and original bonuses.
Additional Ideas (2)
Description: The Spring Wind Bow appears to be an ordinary masterwork long bow made out of gray wood (or maybe the wood is colored gray afterwards). Upon closer inspection one will notice that the string of the bow, while being normally hooked on one of its limbs, actually goes into the other. This means it can not be changed, but it seems that it never needs to.
Time of the year: March and April
Special properties: Through the last winter and early spring months the string of the bow has the ability to mystically regenerate to a perfect state. Even if the string has been cut in half at some point through the year, it slowly grows longer and finally splits on the end to make the loop, connecting it to the far limb of the bow. Full regeneration takes 3 days.
Wishes: 1) To shoot down a forest animal needed for food (not hunting for pleasure or any other reason); 2) To protect the forest life by going after a group of poachers or trappers; 3) To kill a powerful undead creature (like a lich) with a budding arrow (for this task the bow itself sprouts an arrow that ends with a sharp green bud at the tip; it can produce one such arrow a day if the previous one is used (so only one arrow available at a time) and stops producing them when the task is done. Budding arrows have an adverse effect on undead, causing a small tree to rapidly grow in their flesh or spirit essence. The type of undead does not matter).
Abilities that the character gains after bonding with the item: Eagle sight. The eyesight of the owner of the bow becomes so sharp, that he can discern a bird in the sky at twice the distance normal people can, or see the blades of the grass twenty meters away. The bow also produces budding arrows if the owner so desires, at the rate of one per week, and only through its special time, meaning that eight arrows can be produced every year. While sprouting arrows the bow is not usable as a weapon and has to be unstrung and kept safe. The sight bonus is still active. The bow also regenerates at any time once the bond is complete.
this blade apears in shape a long sword though it shifts with glacieral coulors.
logical thinking the wielder will even beserker in the thick of battle will think with an ice like logic and calm.
has a very potent affect on fire elamentals ,fire dragons, fire undead, fire demons and pyromancers.
it can in winter summon a horde ice demons but all but an esteemed ice magus will die thus causing the demons to vanish.
in winter it can animate contructs of ice and snow only an ice mage can do this.