Fools' gems form where there once were (or may still exist) elemental/magical energies of high purity. Completely colourless in its natural form, these gems will ‘acquire’ colour according to the nature of the energies within a radius of 50 ft from them. Hence, depending on the locale at which they are discovered, they may be mistaken for a range of gems including ruby, turquoise, malachite etc. In particular, they may appear to be so like a real gem that even an experienced jeweler cannot tell these apart from real gems. Magical spells also do not help in detecting fools' gems since they do not store any of the energeis that cause the colour change.
The colour of fools’ gems hinge on the continued presence of energies of high purity. It often takes between 50 to 100 years for these to take on any colour at all. Moreover, gems which have been exposed to such energies for longer are always of a relatively darker shade.
Once removed from the site of discovery, fools' gems gradually revert back to its natural colour. Depending on the shade of the gem, it takes about 6 months to 1 year before the gem completely "loses" its colour.
PCs might find some of these 'gems' while exploring ruins and other such locales. It may be that when they arrive at the jeweler or not long after they sell these to the jeweler, these 'gems' revert back to their natural colour. Either mistrust between party members, a chase for the 'culprit who switched the gems' (may be a too friendly innkeeper, a sneaky looking individual met along the way etc.) goes on or a looming trial over fraud occurs.
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? Responses (16)
What can you do with these? Is it possible to tell fools gems from real gems, or does it take a magic spell to tell the real from the fake?
It's very short. A good idea but it needs to be fleshed out more.
How do jewelers find out which gems are genuine?
Update: Added more information and clarifications on request. I conceived this idea when thinking about adding things to the Red Herrings codex so I was basically trying to write a sub on a gem that's quite useless and its sole use in roleplaying might be to annoy and confuse players. I thought this aspect already comes through in the previous edition but may not it hasn't. I was sort of submitting in a rush so thanks for pointing out things I haven't really made clear.
Short but sweet. Gives me an idea...the Court of the Colorless Crown.
The name sure sounds interesting, maybe you should throw up a stub for it if not a sub. This is what I will be doing for stuff that's been sitting in my in-work for ages and other odd pieces.
An interesting idea, with some potential application. If only these were faster-acting, they could be used as a sort of magical litmus test, checking to see what kinds of magic are found in a place.
An interesting idea, though something that reacts to magic, by definition, needs to be magic. That said, I would expect it to be sufficiently low power as to require a very powerful spell to detect.
A good point raised (and resolved!). When I first conceived of the idea, I guess I was thinking more along the line that the stones were changed in some way with long time exposure to high purity magic but not quite taking on magical power themselves.
I'm a little confused about the 'magical energies' comment about coloring the stones. Most magic only happens in instants... So it sounds more like a permanent enchantment (like another magic item) or like a ley line or something does the coloring. Interesting idea. I would still see a value in it, even after it's discovered, as it behaves kindof like a mood ring.
Right, I was thinking that it is more 'permanent' magical sources that are colouring these stones as opposed to normal enchantments that could be cast by PCs/NPCs. I guess I was thinking of these magical sources like maybe a source of radiation or something i.e. if you get exposed to it long enough, you get cancer but for short periods, you are okay sort of thing.
Well, I designed it to be a quite useless thing b/c it's for the Red Herring Codex but like Dozus mentioned, if you changed it so that these gems are quicker to react, then certainly they would be good 'mood rings' as you suggest. And then maybe they would be part of a mage apprentice/someone who dabbles with new spell's standard gear in that they could set onto some kind of ring or whatever so that they will always know what types of magics they are dealing with and how strong the magic is (basically a kind of safety mechanism to prevent magical disasters).
A good idea for its purpose- annoying the players to death. That said, I personally would feel these would be better if they have some use, in certain situations, that they need to think about. I'd almost like them to be faster acting, maybe change in about an hour or something along those lines. I'd also make them detectable to highly skilled, and very experienced, jewelers and other people who work with gems.
But good write up for the actual idea. 3/5
It's nice to see old submissions being revised.