An' it were more'n 200 years agone that the pirate Draksonne sailed the Kentarr seas. He were a strange sort, never venturing in to any port known to mortal men, with a crew what made men fall to their knees an' beg not to be dragged down to the ever black hole that is the Abyss. Eyes all shiny white and glowin', his crew had. Skin pale an' pasty as elephant ivory. Gums bare of any gnasher but for two long an' pointy fangs drippin' poison. Forked tongues flickerin' in an' out. They'd stumble about, all twitchy like, with cutlasses wavin', making no sound but that soul-chilling hissss. They'd slaughter most of the poor souls an' drag their bleedin' meatsacks back aboard. Ever' now and then they'd take a bit o' loot, like, but naught more than they'd need ta keep sailin'.
Ye may wonder how I know it so well, this tale of that pirate long gone. Well, I'll tell ye. I ha'e in my possession the Geat Glyph of Tarnos Krae. What's that? Ye know naught of Tarnos Krae? Well now, that be a tale for another day. Needless to say, he were a powerful sorcerer, he were. Able to comman' the elements, from water to eart'. But, more ta the point, he were a master o' time. Ye hear correct, my friend. Tarnos Krae were obsessed with all forms o' knowin'. He created the Glyph to peek at any time in history he wish't to see.
Now back to my tale of Draksonne. It were told that old Drak, well once 'pon a time he were a great wanderer and soldier of fortune who stumbled on an ancient horde o' gold an' silver an' all manner o' glitterin' and glowin' things. Great power these things gave ol' Drak, power over weak minded men. So he built himself a crew spat out by the Bone Lord's own maw and kept all wanderers from findin' the home o' his good fortune.
One thing did ol' Drak lose. The Glyph. It be a fair beautiful thing to look at, it do. All silvery platinum, jewel-encrusted, with a great glowin' sigil drawn 'pon its fair surface. For any what knows the secret word, that fair bit o' shiny lets its bearer see along the great river o' time, in the exact spot he stands, to any thing, great or small, what happened there.
Now I comes along an' happen 'pon it, if you take my meanin', an' I been searching these past ten years for sight or sign o' old Drak's pile o' treasure. Sure, I do see bits here an' there with the Glyph, but not near enough ta trail that sneaky bastard across all the oceans of the world. So, here I be, hat in han', hopin' that ye lot'll find my tale curious enough to tag along with me and help me find that blasted loot. For I be fair tired and my purse it do be gettin' a bit light. Come with me and this here Glyph 'll make us richer than all three Emperors.
– Oeren, the Salvager
Tarnos Krae's constant quest for knowledge drove him to create many an item whose sole purpose lay in gathering information. The Glyph is one such item. It is a rectangular plaque 18 inches wide by 12 long. The base is made of a silver and platinum alloy mixed through purely magicial means. The front is covered in tiny gems of all shades and colors, making it look like a scintillating rainbow in the light. Inscribed in the middle is a glyph of ancient design, its dark form in stark contrast to the brightness of the setting. Few there are in this world able to read such an inscription, yet these words must be read aloud by one who can speak with power in order to gain mastery over time.
When activated, the glyph glows bronze and the bearer is surrounded by a fog shot through with indistinct lights of gold and red. Through the fog flow glimpses of events that have occurred in that exact spot. With practice it is possible to force some mental control over this flow of images, looking closer or further back in time as the bearer wishes. It is also possible to look more closely at any one event, causing all other images to float away until the bearer is surrounded by the events and can observe them as they happened with all available senses. In no way can these events be affected; the glyph only allows the bearer to observe and learn what he may.
Tarnos Krae disappeared without a trace over a thousand years ago. His old stronghold quickly became a target for adventurers, though many fell to its magical protections. The Glyph passed from looter to fence to curio collector and sat for many years unused. During the Sheltanish invasion it was taken as spoils of war by one of their wizards, who used its power to rise in political rank in his home country. Near the end of his long life, he fell out of favor and had to flee his home. He managed to save much of his personal fortune and collection of powerful items. It was this treasure which the pirate Draksonne discovered, locked away and forgotten for centuries.
Draksonne went mad after ignorantly delving into those great treasures. He knew not how to use the Glyph, yet he enjoyed it as art upon the wall of his cabin. When he and his crew were defeated it made its way into the hands of Oeren who had just enough knowledge and greed to know what he had and to wish to seek out the rest of the treasure.
Oeren is obsessed with Draksonne's treasure horde and will make all manner of promises to anyone who will help him find it. He uses the Glyph to try to pick up places Drakonne has been, but tracking him this way across the ocean has been extremely difficult.
The uncharted island fortress which Draksonne used as a base is surrounded by many strange and dangerous creatures created by the twisted magic of the old wizard's horde, so even if they are able to find it the treasure will not come easily.
- Those with weak wills who use the Glyph often find themselves becoming obsessed with the past. The more they see, the more they are compelled to use it. Examples include: an obsession with a particular sequence of events, family, or area; paranoia about the motives of those around the bearer (whether they be friends, family, business associates, etc.); seeking something lost to the past (as in Oeren's case); or even egomania that drives the bearer to show supernatural knowledge.
- There are demons living in the time fog. Using the Glyph has a chance of catching some unwanted attention.
- Each time the Glyph is used, it leaves a small crack in the ethereal plane, inviting strange beings through into the mortal world. Repeated use in one area creates larger rifts and the risk of bigger beasties making it through.
- While in the time fog, the bearer is invisible.
- Occasionally, a strong-willed bearer will be able to peek into the future. As the future is fluid, each viewing may show slightly different events. This invites the same danger of overuse, where an obsession develops around controlling the flow of time. This often ends in complete madness where the bearer can no longer tell the difference between hundreds of possible outcomes and what actually happens.
More Plot Hooks
- The PC's are approached by the intermediary of a nervous noble. They are offered a substantial reward for finding out who is blackmailing this noble. The blackmailer, of course, is using the Glyph to gather dirt on his rivals in an attempt to increase his own wealth and power. Staying a step ahead of the villain will be tricky.
- A town has been overrun by creatures of the ethereal realm. A reward is offered for clearing it. Within lies the Glyph and the dessicated corpse of its wielder, who unknowingly created cracks into the ethereal through constant use. His attempts to satisfy his obsession with the local mayor's lovely young wife ended up destroying everyone for miles around.
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? Responses (9)
It could be used to solve murders by seeing who committed them.
Indeed. There would need to be some limitations to prevent this from having a huge impact on ones world.
Perhaps the breach of time this item brings attracts other, dangerous, attention.
Nice item, though there needs something from making it too easy to get the secrets of the past.
Of course those with secrets to hide would seek - quickly - to control or destroy such an item.
Good point. I added more details to round it out a bit, including some optional hazards in case the GM wants to limit player use.
A neat idea that seamlessly integrates the 3 freetexts. I like the blockquote and the completeness of this sub.
Mixing the freetexts is giving me an opportunity to explore some different ways of writing. I find that I like weaving different elements together in a single package and will probably do more subs along those same lines.
A powerful, not to be fooled around with item.
Personally I'd be too tempted to keep taking a peek, that'd be me doomed!
4/5 - An enjoyable read, well written and presented. Use/abuse at will but beware!
My favorite part of this one is the box of flavor text at the beginning, but I think that the whole thing is good. There are a lot of ways that you could use this or that it could come up in a game. Finding it could be a very major event in a game, and really, I think that this is an item that could be quite legendary itself. Need to discover an ancient password? Where the secret entrance of some tomb is? This could be your golden ticket.