Few things strike the fancy of man and woman, human, elf and dwarf alike quite like jewels and gems. They have magical properties, and with their rainbow of hues and color not even gold can match them for artistic value. These magnificent stones can be found in many places, and the realms of the underworld, the hells and the forlorn abysses are no exception.
A deep bloody red jewel, often mistaken for ruby by inexperienced eyes. The stone is hard, but it is not difficult to shape. The jewel can be mistaken for Garnet by well trained eyes, and it usually takes an alchemist, talented wizard, or a dwarf centuries of age to tell the difference. Apyral has many properties but the most common are sexual impotence, infertility, and in the case of large precision cut stones, consumption and death. Apyral jewels do not affect demonic or infernal creatures as such, and for them, act as repositories of lust and fertility. Most apyral finds it's way to the mortal realm either through the hands in inexperienced adventurers or in the case of tainted and hellsent jewelry.
A vivid purple stone, the color of a deep bruise or the pallor of a ruddy corpse, Methustine is a commonly found hell stone. It can be mistaken for amethyst of varying qualities but the darker the hue, the stronger the charms of the stone. Most high grade Methustine is discovered to be of infernal origin so most Methustine crystals are generally of middle to lower quality and the onset of their effects is muted or delayed. The stone amplifies the effects of poisons and toxins. In the case of alcohol, a deep purple Methustine could make one glass of wine the same as guzzling twenty, while a poor almost clear stone would only double it. This affects everything from alcohol to insect bites to alchemical concoctions brewed to kill. Another effect of the stone is that the effects of disease are greatly magnified, much in the same way as with poisons and toxins. Finally, prolonged exposure to the stone can cause the rapid rot and puetrification of food and drink. Jewelry made with Methustine is usually tagged as being cursed due the rapid deaths of the those who wear it. Infernal creatures find the stone to bolster their defence against holy water, incense and other agents effective against the creatures of Hell.
A vivid stone, the blue green color of the sea. Easily mistaken for aquamarine, Veliru is most commonly found in coastal areas and in the troves of cultures associated with the sea and sea lore. The stone is not easily worked, and once worked it is most commonly found in the pommels of daggers, crowns, and necklaces. Like the other stones of the underworld it has many unpleasant side effects. Veliru is the stone of fear and cowardice, and someone with a piece of this stone will find their courage sapped, and will soon become the slave of their own fears, groveling for their lives or killing out of frantic paranoia. The longer the stone is retained, the worse the effects become and the bearer is soon overcome by a spiritual 'blindness'. They do not lose their sight, but rather they lose sight of their own inegrity and spiritual beliefs. A kind man quickly becomes a harried recluse, while a belligerent man becomes a kill first and discourage any and all questions sort of fellow. In the hands of the infernal, veliru is a stone associated with infernal prophecy and great courage.
The jewel of hubris, adamas is among the most highly sought out of the infernal stones. The gem is nigh indistinguishable from a normal diamond and in terms of magic and sorcery is it completely interchangeable. However, whatever effect the spell had is hopelessly corrupted by the stone, such as a resurrection spell brings forth a vice corrupted evil spectre of the person being raised. Adamas is associated strongly with narcissistic rage, lack of self control and delusions of strength. Adamas has been found in the hilts of cursed swords and in the crowns of kings gone mad with power. Demons crave adamas above all other stones as it fuels them with unholy strength and resolve, often to the point of being able to resist potent divine magics and overcoming divine servitors and beings in battle.
The Gem of Lust is easily mistaken for emerald, though a skilled jewelsmith can tell the difference between the two. Emeralds often have many inclusions where zomorrods typically are of exceptional clarity and vivid color. Zomorrod is a rather common infernal stone that regularly finds its way to the surface world where is is known as the stone of lust. Where emerald is known for its associations with loyalty and love zomorrod is much more infamous for lust, depravity, misogyny and adultery. An unsuspecting demure lady given a ring of zomorrod could in a short time find herself the match for deSade's lust and abuses, while a married matron and mother of a dozen children could find herself with the appetites of a nymph. While the effects of the stone are largely non-fatal, the cost of infedility can range from sexual diseases, prostitution induced poverty to death, be it from a poorly chosen lover or by the enraged spouse that isn't involved with the perversion. Zomorrod grants infernal creatures legendary charisma and sexual stamina.
A soft silkly lustrous stone, awillix is an easy stand in for moonstone. The stone is easily worked into cameos, decorative jewelry and goods such as on mirrors, brushes, scabbards, buttons, and other things easily overlooked. Awillix is the gemstone of apathy and false emotions, feigned love that is fond hatred, offense that is only half felt, passion that is much annoyance as pleasure. The unfortunate victim of awillix is never quite happy, but the things that offend them, are only somewhat offensive and they soon become apathatic or afflicted by a terrible sense of ennui. The stone is also somewhat of a magnet for dark serendipity, the most inopportune things seem to happen to them. They are always home when the taxman arrives, or they always get the worst cut of meat, or the cheese that is most spoiled, and if there is a poisoned goblet they will pick it. The infernal and the helltainted find awillix to be a lucky stone that gives them a sense of purpose.
The jewel of bitches and bastards, xerle is easily mistaken for ruby. Xerle is a highly valued gem, as it easily masquerades as ruby and those who possess it generally abuse anyone who insults their flawless jewels. The vivid red stone causes many personality quirks to manifest in those unfortunate enough to possess it. They become arrogant, abusive, convinced of their own value and the worthlessness of others, as well as growing a tremendous sense of entitlement. This quickly causes them to become argumentative and willing to settle their disputes with others quickly with violence. They become easily provoced and fail to judge their opponents with any degree of wisdom, be it a chuckle from an ogre or a taunt from a millenia old liche violence is always the answer. The infernal favor Xerle for it's hellish nobility, and it grants them strength and self control.
Often mistaken for peridot or demon jade faridat is neither. This stone shines with the light of the sickly green sun that shines across the mouth of the abyss and across the upper planes of Hell. Filled with the light of Hell, this stone is poison to the soul. Bearers of the vile colored jewel are choked on a noxious miasma of nostalgia and sentimentalism, and when they are not lost in their memories they are seemingly afflicted with a withering of the mind. They can easily remember the most pointless of details about a silver spoon not seen in twenty years or how their childhood pet always wore this collar, but they can easily forget their own name, or the last time they ate. Victims of faridat quickly become hoarders and soon either starve to death or become recluses of the first order. The spawn of the lower planes find that a piece of faridat can restore their vision and purpose if they have been trapped in creation too long.
The jewel of poverty shines brilliantly, coveted like it's daylight brother the sapphire. Kohol is a hard resilient stone that has a long and odious history and association with poverty, loss, envy and jealosy. The beggar's Stone fills the bearer with a constant sense of restlessness and worry. Nothing seems right, so long as the stone remains in their presence and they fidget, fumble and very quickly fritter away anything they ever had. Any cure all is purchased, any promise is taken at face value and it is not long before they have nothing, having been conned, swindled or simply robbed of everything they own (excepting the tainted jewel). Within a year, a prosperous merchant might have sold his ships, his cargos, and his worldly possessions trying to ease his mind and to be sure that there isn't anything wrong with the chain his precious jewel is on. Eventually, someone will unwrap the rag clad beggar's corpse to find a single blue stone clutched in a withered bony hand.
The jewel of the Evil Eye, paedero pretends to be a scintillating piece of opal. Bearers of paedero are stricken with weaknesses of the mind, body, and spirit. They are physically weakened over time until they are hunch backed and shaking with palsy, unable to hold still or hold their bladders. Their minds become feeble and weak, forgetting things, and generally becoming unable to pay attention long enough to carry on a conversation. They become passive and emotionally void, often forgetting how to even feel emotions other than a quivering dissatisfaction. They are easily corruptable by infernal agents, and rise as new beings. Instead of being sapped by paedero, the infernal find themselves fortified by the stone, their limbs strong, their loins fiery, and and their hunger keen.
Nothing shines like a golden flashing pitdah. Even the finest topaz falls short it its inescapable glory. The stone comes in large gleaming pieces, easily made into brilliant jewelry. But a pitdah is a magnet to dark spirits, and soon the residence housing a pitdah is a nest of foul ghosts, malevolent spirits, and a cess pool of negative energy. Accidents are common, sometimes fatal. Emotions run dark and angry and violence is very common. Bearers of pitdah stones quickly become obsessed with both the stone and whatever interests they had. A bibliophile would not think twice about cracking an old woman's skull to peruse her dog eared holy book, or burn down the home of a rival book lover to claim his collection upon is grisly death. Pitdahs are favored by the infernal as the stone grants them physical protections and focuses their minds for magical prowess.
The stone pirozeh is easily worked and like turquoise can be worked into jewelry, or came be made into jewelry in it's entirety. The lustrous blue green stone isn't as highly valued as the other stones, given it's somewhat malleable nature and being completely opaque. Pirozeh is the jewel of fools. Bearers of the stone become idiotic and childish, their grasp of wisdom and consequence fading with the stones presence. This jester's gem is also associated with blind materialism and greed, and generally poor health as constant hoarding and eating to excess are common. Demons and devils love pirozeh as it is easy to corrupt mortals with, and in their hands it is a stone of wisdom and good health.
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? Responses (18)
Very nice - It brings a certain edge to the lustre of demonic jewelry, for certain.
I would presume that there's a way that the curse takes hold, and a way to strip it away? Is there any way to cure any of these?
The curse like effects of the stones are a proximal effects, much like radiation. The stones presence can affect more than one person, if the stones are large enough. The effects would be a continual test against the appropriate attribute, most likely self control or willpower (Methustine would be physical tests rather than mental) The curse like effects could be removed by simply removing the presence of the stone and time. Alternately, most magics that remove or negate curses could temporarily negate the effects. This would be temporary in nature because if the stones are removed, the effects would return when the spell expired.
The PCs could slay a Greater Demon, , or a somewhat weak dragon,take it's hoard and then find the hoard is almost as dangerous as the demon itself.
Very nice. I like Cheka Man's idea above - it could be a very amusing way to pin the blame for some disaster on the PCs. You know, kill the demon, sell his stuff, the town gets destroyed in a giant drunken orgy sort-of-thing. I could also sort of imagine demons, or even clever dragons or royalty, using the stones to weaken guests. 'Oh, Ambassador, you simply must stay in our sapphire room. It's truly exquisite.'
It could also be an interesting idea to simply define demons by their benefiting from these stones. That is, a demon doesn't have any special powers other than what it gains from these. Could create an interesting hierarchy of wealth.
I am mildly confused about the very first one, though. When you say consumption, you mean tuberculosis, right?
Tuberculosis, cancer, any sort of slow wasting disease, we're not scientists here lol
I have always loved gemstones and this is an awesome piece. The stones are ready-made to be used as components for complimentry magical devices.
I'd only fix the type in the summary - as instead of at.
Like the idea of the gems having opposing effects on mortals versus infernal creatures. Solid ideas, solid write-up.
I'd like to see more of these.
Oooooh, these are awesome!!!
Wow. Impressive. I agree with the comments above but will also echo in person: More would be nice.
What effects does Kohol have when in the hands of the infernal?
This is a wonderful building block submission -- the idea is simple, yet vivid enough that others could easily incorporate these gems into their own settings. I especially enjoyed the physical description of each stone, how each could be mistaken for a normal gemstone. The only thing I didn't like was the repeat effects you gave to several of the later ones -- Faridat, Paedero and Pirozeh for example all describe a generalized weakening of the mind, body and soul. If their effects are supposed to be noticeably different, it didn't come across in this piece. Still, that is only a very minor point -- this piece is still fantastic.
Brilliant sub Scras, would love to see a few more of these. Maybe expand it into a 30?
One of my most enjoyed themes is 'Infernal', and this is right up that alley!
It would be interesting if a new settlement was made somewhere over (or perhaps dwarven, deep underground)a rich formation of one of these gems (perhaps Adamas). Then, over the course of the next several months, the townsfolk begin to become violent and more bloodthirsty. After a year or two, they turn on each other and a bloodbath ensues. The town and area are deemed cursed, the area known to cause great rage and granduer in a person.
Anyways. expanding this to a 30 would be neat.
The original inspiration for the Gems of the Underworld is quite simple, the twelve stones listed are the traditional gemstones associated with each month of the year, hence why there are only twelve. All gemstones have magical properties associated with them, and their infernal counterparts have the normal effect for the infernal and the damned, but when in the possession of a mortal or celestial aligned character, the infernal properties are manifested. The stone will either demonstrate the normal effect of the stone inverted, such as amethyst and methustine, or it will magnify the usual effect of the stone evil wish stile like diamond and adamas.
Feel free to expand the list of stones above, I only used the traditional list of birthstones, and there are many many more that can be delved from the pits of Hell.
While at first this seems very similar to the Demon Jade entry, the detailed description of how the stones vary in their effects, and how the Infernal profit while mortals are weakened by them, make this a more interesting scroll.
One thing that is not clear to me: how difficult is it to recognize these crystals? If the effect is magical, can any mage with 'detect magic' identify them? If the effect is non-magical, something inherent to the crystal, then knowing your gems becomes a lot more important! A well-meaning wizard, crafting a magic sword to help the noble paladin, might unknowingly set him on the path of corruption! Buying magic items with gems in it would be potentially very dangerous, possibly requiring certificates and testing, thus opening a black market for less distinguishing clients...
Better take a couple levels of Gemcraft, unskilled people cannot tell the difference, while most are easily identified by competent professional gem cutters. A few are more difficult which makes them all the more insidious.
An infernal demoness would love jewellery made with those stones.