These items, potent wards against spirits, were once commonplace. Following the end of the old Empire the methods of their manufacture was lost and none new have been made in the intervening centuries.
The Arch-Magus Jovis was accredited with creating the first Disque Esprit, or spirit disc. During the early years of the Old Empire, the land was all but bursting with fallen shades and corrupted spirits that some would name demons. The organization of the Imperial Legions, the building of stone roads, and the proliferation of relics such as the Disque Esprit consolidated the power of the empire.
Each disc is similar in basic shape and construction. The key point is a stone torus, or donut. It is a minimum of 18 inches wide, or the span of two hands outstretched. It is also three inches thick and made of a single piece of hand carved stone. Most of the surviving discs are durable granite, basalt, and other hard stones. Records from the empire relate the discs were also made of serpentine, silver, gold, and other semi-precious stones. Few, if any, of these have survived to the current day.
The disc is suspended by a rope from a stone crossmember made of the same material as the torus. Most houses and buildings dating back to the old empire have an alcove, or hearth with odd stone fittings for the placement of the Disque Esprit. In the latter days, the artistic value, as well as material value of a disc was as important as the spirit protection it provided.
A Disque Esprit creates an area that is effectively off-limits to spirits, IE - ghosts, elementals, demons, and other incorporeal outsiders. Some even generated an effect that warded a building against corporeal spirits such as materialized demons, elementals and physical undead such as zombies and vampires. Some rumor that the Disque is the source of the legend that a vampire must be invited into a house before he may enter.
A spirit cannot physically touch a disc. Doing so, or having the disc touched to them threatens to destroy said spirit, unless it is able to resist the power of the disc. Some discs, generally the smaller ones, are weaker as are ones that are made of less valuable materials.
Following the end of the Old Empire, the ranks of spirits, long bent to the laws and wills of the imperials retaliated as best they could. Many cities remained secure as their disques repelled spirits. Others were undone as the fell spirits corrupted wanderers and vagrants, enticing them to destroy and despoil discs, and leading to the ruination of many outlying communities.
Fetch - A city noble, or castellian has managed, to his great embarassment, loose his families Disque. The loss has remained secret, but the Castellian is willing to do most anything to see that it is returned, and to make sure no one knows it was ever lost. As a corollary, the Castellian, after the disque is returned from the thieves den/monsters lair/wherever, decides to have the PCs executed, or otherwise murdered.
Desperate Gambit - The PCs are approached by the lord of a desperate land, overrun with demons and monsters. He beseeches the PCs to find, and return with a Disque. The rewards are impressive, but the potential to make enemies is equally impressive.
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? Responses (7)-7
Simple, but interesting and usable in pretty much any fantasy world. The historical bit can be inserted easily, too. (The vampire thing is very nice!)
This is what should be called a 'common' magical item - something that is actually useful to everyone. And centuries later, it can become an unassuming treasure of great value.
I personally like 'class of' items. There are many basic spells and charms found in a culture. This is one of them. It defines its space.
This is certainly a campign mode item, as to have this in your campaign world effects the entire world.
I like this - I like it a LOT
Like manfred says, it's simple and generally useful. But it's highly believable - I can just see this (or something so similar as to be indistinguishable from it) being developed in world plagued by spirits.
A thought - maybe some of Jorvis - his notes or grimoires has survived, perhaps buried with him in his tomb or held by some unsuspecting descended - possible plot hook there
BTW - yes manfred, I too like the bit about vampires - can just see such a legend developing
On the whole I don't find highly original, but that might be because I tend to use RuneQuest where this type of magic is quite common
Simple, useful, and believable - a good solid post
I was playing a new game, Shadow Hearts II, and in the background of most of the rooms in one location had these neat looking stone discs hanging from rods, kind of like a cauldron would hang in a fire, save that there was no fire and each room had a central fire-pit. I sat back and wondered to myself, just what in the heck these little knick-knacks could be, and this was the idea I came up with. Just FYI, the discs are only background decoration in the game and have no value, nor any part of the story.
BUMP. A simple item that deserves more attention.
Useful for keeping the hauntings out of your house.
I really like this idea. Adds details to a culture, especially if it is a local adaptation instead of a world-wide affair. Perhaps these were adopted due to a specific spirit or group of spirits that happens to be haunting this region for generations.