Tablatura Ni' Shockra, the Book of Surprises
Nerundill caught hints, snippets of conversation. The rumors surrounded a book, a book of magnificent power. A book that contained the knowledge of the ancients. With every new tantalizing bit of information he heard, his resolve to possess this book increased.
Full Item Description
Book of Surprises
Nerundill shivered as he stepped into the library of the ancient tower. The book he sought lay on a podium at the end of a long row of book shelves that ran from the floor to the top of the 15' ceiling.
As he draws near, he sees that the book lay open. He notices that the pages are gilded at the edges. What he could see of the cover seemed to be rich brown leather. Golden corner protectors and gleaming red rubies adorned the outer edges of the cover.
Nerundill stopped a few feet away and began chanting and weaving his fingers in increasingly intricate patterns. 'No sense taking any chances being this to the prize', he thought. The wizards who created this tower had been extremely devious in setting the lower levels with a multitude of traps, as is evident with his lack of companions. He had hired them to get him to this point. They had been very helpful in finding most of the traps. The ones they hadn't found, they had conveniently sprung themselves. He felt a small twinge of guilt at having used them so, but nonetheless they had been beneath his station as an Archmage and therefore expendable.
Nerundill pulled himself from his from his reverie. No traps had been detected and it was time to proceed. He began another round of chanting and gesturing. Pausing as he finished, his eyes flew open as the auras surrounding the book sprang to life. The dancing golden and silver auras seemed to give the book a life of its own. The thick tome contained immeasurable power as the rumors had hinted.
Shaking badly in anticipation, he could hardly move toward the book. As he eagerly stepped up to gaze upon the pages, he laid his hands on both sides of the book. In the blink of an eye, the book snapped shut with such violence that it took him a moment to realize what had just occurred. He looked at the end of his arms where his hands used to be. The room spun around as Nerundill staggered back and turned to see two figures with swords drawn. They were clad from head to toe, except for a slit in their masks for their eyes, in deep charcoal gray, bordering on black. Nerundill saw it all clearly in his last moments in this world. The book itself had been a trap. An enemy of his warlord had hired Ruyin Isham, The Shadow of Fists. Nerundill knew no more.
These were troubled times in Tellram. The Hanril chieftains seat of power lay across the jagged peaks of the Dragon's Teeth. The lands on the chieftains side of the Teeth were settled and stable. In the lands on the other side of the Teeth things were less than settled.
The warlords on this side fought with one another on a nearly constant basis. Usurping land and the peasants that worked it in an attempt to garner the power and the garrison of the defeated warlord.
Many of these warlords enlisted the aid of mages to bolster their own forces. These mages were usually powerful, which opposing warlords were keen on eliminating them before committing their forces to battle. Unfortunately they would send their own mage to do the job.
It seemed a reasonable way to eliminate an enemy mage. Much to the warlords dismay, mages battling with fireballs and other enormously destructive spells often left many soldiers and peasants alike near death or dead. The ensuing fight could also make a shambles of the crops and outlying areas. Occasionally leaving some fields unable to sustain any form of plant life for several seasons.
Enter a mysterious, enterprising clan of assassins from high in the Dragon's Teeth, The Ruyin Ishram, The Shadow Fists. They developed methods of emanating these mages with far less destruction and nearly no loss of assets the hiring warlord wished to remain intact.
To that end, they developed tactics and methods of defeating mages abilities leaving them open to physical attack. One of these methods was the Tablatura Ni' Shockra, the Book of Surprises.
The Book of Surprises is exceedingly beautiful to behold with gilded pages, aged parchment, leather bound and intricately worked with gold and gemstones. Designed to catch a mages attention. To make the book appear to be an ancient magical tome, the Fists imbued the book with five powerful but illusionary auras, calling to the mages innermost desires for the power that are rumored to be held within the book. All of this makes the Book of Surprises an effective bait for the trap that is the Book, for that is what the book truly is.
The book, a bear trap in disguise, with razor sharp blades instead of teeth, was designed to snap violently shut by means of powerful springs enclosed in the bindings. The trigger is located in the outer edges of the pages. When the book snaps shut it quite effectively removes the mages ability to use somatic components, as well as leaving them with grievous wounds.
In order for a mage to see through the illusion, he must make a DC25. Once the trigger has been tripped, because of the heavy spring within the books binding, it takes a reflex save of 22. If the mage fails the reflex save, it takes a fort save DC20 to not go into some form of shock. If the mage fails the fort save, he is in shock for 1d4 rounds, where he will get another chance to save.
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? Responses (13)
It took me 3/4 of the submission to finally clear my confusion and when the fog lifted, I smiled. Aside from needing a bit of polish, (spelling and formatting) the post is pretty darn solid. Gives me some world knowledge explaining the need for the Shadow of Fists (which would be a great post too) and justifies the creation of the book. Giving it a bit extra because I enjoyed the way everything tied itself up at the end.
It seems okay. Just okay.
The story behind it and all that is good... But where did the Shadow of Fists come from? Is their motivation money? Saving the townsfolk? Ending the war? Stability? Hatred of wizards? What is it about for them?
Skip the stats and the dice numbers and all that business, we are a non-system site.
Also, for such a well-named and described item, the actual trap of it (a bear trap?) seems kind of... I dunno', mundane. Ridiculous, even. Sure, the wizard now has no hands and is bleeding; but I think it would be more interesting if the book somehow trapped the wizard's soul or something of that nature. I dunno', maybe I'm just full of bad ideas.
Well, actually it is an interesting twist, to use a common, completely non-magical trap to catch a wizard off guard. It is so ridiculous that it might easily work - which is of course the point.
To add to what the others said, that group could need a little more detail. They seem to be using magic, too, so they are not that extreme magic-haters. :)
The way I read it is that the assassins, and the book, were defined by the war so to kill a magician is simply a contract against a powerful enemy, not so much anti-magic but taking out the opposite powers.
Good, but the backstory could have been better and the stats are not needed.
A change of formatting (extra lines between paragraphs), some grammar and spelling fixes, and a few more explaining details (who, what, where, when, why...) and this would be an awsome post.
I am a little less enamored by the DC game mechanics. You need to give a generic explanation of the difficulty, using comparisons, not all of us play D20 (or understand it). In short give us a description of the difficulty in English, then maybe add some game mechanics. Or put the game mechanics as an extra appendix at the end of the write up. After all such a write up as 'Gurps and Hero would use a DEX-4 MOD, with bonuses for lightning reflexes or quickdraw. This probably makes as much sense to you, as yours did to many others.
Still Paws up.
A book thats a bear-trap...cool idea! you know, I WILL use this actually. Interesting item Fearghus. Nice work.
OK let's see
Basically a bear trap with a series of illusions cast on it to make it look like a magical tome and a lot of rumours to attract enemy wizards
Cool idea that gets you 4/5 before we even start
The backstory is not bad but I would like a little more info about the Ruyin Isham so only a ½ point bonus (would have given you 1 point if the assassins were better explained)
As stated by others: spelling (even taking into account American rather than English spellings), grammar and layout made it a little difficult to read and the d20 specific game stats are unnecessary (we like to be all system here so try to translate effects into English descriptions)
In of themselves neither of these are major problems, but together I think they add up to a ½ point penalty
So final score is 4 (for a neat idea) + ½ (for a reasonable backstory) ½ for layout = 4/5
Overall pretty good actually
Simple, nasty. I like it.
Since the stats are unnecessary to understand and use the item, and are not imbedded in the description or history, I'll ignore them in my vote.
What valadaar said.
I remember this one!
Looking at it again, it's kind of sloppy. But, still a great idea. Nice Daily Highlight.
Mossad would probebly like to have this.