The helmet was made for one of the Deep-Kings of yore, Hjotar Zan Madroszal, the tenth to ever sit on the dark iron throne. The ornate helmet was purposed as a crown fit for a millitary minded sort. Alas, the helmet/crown was lost during a coup, countless years ago. One of the pretender's supporters, one Twarz Gwikstrom, managed to stash it away, before he was executed for his crimes. He never told anyone the whereabouts of the helmet, and so, after having been rediscovered by a goblin, it kept on switching owners and finally found its way to the surface. Specifically into the hands of a beekeeper named Capou, who with his meager holdings and creative spirit, fashioned an apiary out of the ancient crown. And so it remains today, the dwarven monarchs having long ago abandoned the search, and a new, more practical crown made for them.
Hjotar's helmet is an unwieldy heavy thing, shaped similar to a stove, it holds a hidden compartment which was originally intended for a light source, to better bathe the monarch in splendor. However, these days the helmet contains a colony of honey bees instead. Furthermore, the helmet sports overlapping iron bandings hanging down to the shoulders, serving as a neck guard. And the chipped remains of what used to be a piece of heraldry, depicting the head of a bearded cat, jutting from the top of it. It is made from dark iron, same as the throne. Although it was originally plenty gilded, most of it has now been chafed off, leaving a dark, dull, matted thing, similar in appearance to cast iron.
The helmet weighs 15 Ib (7kg).
Dark iron, is a metal, at least as strong as steel, though much harder to shape.
The properties of which is that it lacks all magnetic attraction, and has an innate resistance against magic. As such, the helmet can never be enchanted, and its bearer will be next to immune to magical effects directed at them, including healing.
Once per encounter, a medium sized swarm of bees can be summoned forth from the helmet, by knocking on it; roll a d20, on a roll of 9 or less, the swarm will instead turn against the knocker. This could be used either to attack your enemies or simply to provide a distraction as you flee. If someone hits the wearer on the head, the swarm will instead target that enemy for the rest of the encounter.
The swarm is weak against fire, cold and smoke.
The loud buzzing of the bees, amplified by the echoes of the empty helmet, makes it extremely hard to be stealthy while carrying it, though it most certainly could help with intimidating most foes. After all, what sane creature walks around with a beehive on their heads?
Additionally, once every week, its bearer can harvest one jar's worth of honey from it.
- Capou recently and unexpectedly passed away, due in no small part to the axe buried in his back. Leaving behind no apparent heirs, nor any clues in his hovel pointing to any living relatives(perhaps this is because the whole place seems to have been ransacked). Out in his backyard, the helmet still sits, buzzing. Waiting for curious adventurers to stumble upon it. However, Gnoll raiders have been spotted in the area. Maybe they've acquired a taste for honey.
- A dwarven surface enclave, devoted to preserving ancient history, have learned of the helmet turned beehive, and wants it back. Unfortunately, Capou is a wellknown racist and has refused all offers so far. The dwarven enclave, and its representative Hanlock Gwerdzsal, are willing to pay a handsome sum, to anyone willing to procure it for them, on the condition that Capou parts with the helmet willingly.
- A wizard named Hargrim De'Lapel, wants to get his hands on a piece of dark iron, to study its mysterious properties. However, so far, his scrying attempts have all met with failure(the only thing the mirror showed was static, and a strange buzzing sound). In exasperation, he has posted a reward on the village board, asking for assistance. Anyone willing to find a piece of dark iron for him, may not only retrieve and keep the specimen after an unspecified time of research, but also walks away with the modest sum of 200 Silver pieces. Of course, noone local knows much at all about dark iron, and certainly no more than what Hargrim has learned. But another seemingly unrelated task may put the PCs at a nearby yet secluded hovel, belonging to one surly beekeeper named Capou...
- When travelling through the wintry/barren landscape, your bees are having a hard time finding enough food (No honey is produced this week).
- When trudging through the ash covered smoky landscape, the buzzing of the bees grows quieter (The swarm cannot be summoned for the duration of the stay).
- This lush verdant area is wellknown for its beneficial herbs (The honey harvested this week gains a minor healing effect).
- With quivering arms you lift the cumbersome helmet off your sweaty scalp. It feels as if the world has been lifted off your aching shoulders.
- Suddenly the bees start swarming all around you, stinging everyone in sight. After a while, a large portion of the swarm flies away while the rest settle back into the helmet again. An expert would be able to tell you, this was due to a new queen being born.
Made for a medieval fantasy setting. This submission was lost to the void and recreated using the original draft and fragmented memories. Many thanks to Elbin for his ideas, I ended up using them all.
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? Responses (11)
I was a bit uncertain whether or not this fell under Magical, since it technically has no innate magic, but since it repels it, I figured what the hey.
Nice one, however I think the properties can be amended a bit:
- The knocking on it to summon bees part should have a chance to turn the bees on the character knocking instead.
- However, when a blow to the head is received while wearing the helmet, the swarm is summoned immediately and focuses exclusively on the one that delivered the hit for the rest of the fight.
Also, there should be some penalty for wearing 7 kilos of iron on your head and shoulders. On the other hand the honey harvested can have special (for example minor healing) properties if certain herbs can be found in the region through which the character is travelling, but it should not be available in winter or extremely barren places.
The piece can require some special attention too, if the bees decide to swarm (split in two because a new queen has been born).
On a side note, are you applying for the dwarves guild too? :)
Thank you. I think I'll add those first things you suggested, when I find the time. The penalty for weight however, I'll leave up to the realistic DMs. After all, there are plenty of adventurers swinging around huge bastard swords on an everyday basis. Otherwise it should be restricted to flavour text. 'You take off the cumbersome helmet and feel like the world has been lifted from your shoulders, your hair is dripping with sweat and your neck is aching.' That kind of thing.
The honey and splitting the swarm up parts seems rather complicated though. I wouldn't want to keep track of such things, I don't know if a lot of others would. But naturally that could also be used for flavour, by all means.
And no, I'm not applying. Not yet anyways. :)
Ah well, I just let out all the ideas the item brought to mind. Being a biologist has the side effect of thinking about honey and swarming bees.
An item that's sort of whimsical (as in a normal item but somehow became silly thru chance).
I love it. It's serious and yet hilarious, which is the best kind of serious. Also functional from both a DM and player standpoint. It's hard to find things in what I consider 'classic' D&D style nowadays; Flumph-slashing McGuffin-oriented greed-motivated games driven by circumstances somewhere between absurd and dire. I think this fits perfectly.
XP for Elbin because I like the additional ideas.
Totally a munchkin-esque item. I wonder if Capou actually intended the thing to be worn, or if he was just keeping it out in his backyard. Not quite sure how I would use this, but it was a fun read.
PoisonAlchemist said exactly what I was thinking after reading this. So, what she said!
I had a helm similar to this one in one old campaign. Angry bees would erupt from inside the helmet whenever the character wearing it was struck on the head(helm) in combat. The bees would swarm toward any adversary, while the wearer would experience migraines...
Anyway, your version is better. Quirky, silly but serious, and has that great old-fashioned magic item vibe.
This is great! It's just ridiculous enough to work.
Neat! I could see this being intentionally created by beings with more creativity then common sense...