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ID: 547


January 31, 2006, 11:52 pm

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the Upheld Lantern


The wall unsealed, Mirror Serpent peered inside, ready to gaze upon the riches within. But he recoiled. There was only a withered corpse, and in its hands, a flickering lantern…

This was it. This was the place where the mapmaker had said the treasure would be- Mirror Serpent was sure of it. He peered about, shivering with a nameless fear. The darkness within the crumbling, fire-gutted ruins of the monastery was absolute, the chill palpable.
With four quick blows from his sledge, the wall crumbled inward, two-hundred years of dust exploding outward into Mirror Serpent’s face.
When his coughing subsided, Mirror Serpent shook his head, and brushed dust and masonry from his hair. His fingers trembled with anticipation. The wall unsealed, Mirror Serpent peered inside, ready to gaze upon the riches within. But he recoiled. There was only a withered, mummified corpse, in ancient monk’s raiment, and in its hands, a flickering lantern.
He backed away. The corpse regarded him steadily with empty eyesockets, draped with cobwebs. The lantern remained burning.
“Perhaps,” Mirror Serpent rationalized, “perhaps it is sustained by some vapor in the air.” He knew that in some places, there were clouds of fog that ignited violently.
His fear somewhat abated, he gingerly approached the mummy. If he was going to come out of this with profit, he might as well take the lantern.
He stepped closer. The ancient husk’s gleaming teeth, displayed through receding lips, smiled at him from the flickering gloom. He stood eye to eye-socket with the withered thing.
He reached for the lantern, brushed it with his fingertips, and has he did, the mummy’s long-held grip gave way, and the ancient bones fell away. The lantern collapsed the floor, all light extinguished, and all life as well- Mirror Serpent shrieked in horror as his flesh caught flame, and his charred bones settled to the ashy floor.

The lantern lit once more.

Magical Properties:

The Upheld Lantern functions as an exemplary lantern, one that never has to be refilled with oil, or the wick relit. That is, until it is dropped or set down- when this happens, the lamp extinguishes, and all living beings in a hundred foot radius burst into flame, dying horribly as all but their bones are reduced to ash. The lamp then relights.

The monk in the above story was walled away, and took a sacred vow never to drop the lantern, lest his monastery be destroyed.

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Comments ( 14 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

September 15, 2004, 18:39
Seems kinda an Uber-item. Basically an apocalyptic weapon, not even a nuclear bomb would incinerate everyone in a 10 mile radius (maybe an Uber-powerful nuke).
I just don't see where this would be of any use in a practical campaign except as an infallible PC trap that could kill power-gamers.
Any uses by evil forces or even creatively used to kill the baddies is just too powerful. Kill all of Mordor's soldiers in one attack, reduce NYC or Los Angeles to ash. This isn't the sort of item that'd polish off the museum you are talking about removing a whole civilization, burnign a hole in the troposphere, and raising all fauna.
even if Mirror Serpent died, that sort of holocust even in a remote area would be discovered by outsiders and would soon be exploited.

Personally not my kind of campaign.
September 15, 2004, 20:35
I love the story and the idea and the item. That guys name is cool Mirror Serpent. Please make some more details about the monk. I understand what he was but why did he vow to hold the latern forever and never have it fall?

In my campaign I would have it be ten feet radius and the lantern wouldn't kill them outright it would do severe fire damage though. Until someone picked it up to stop the pain of burning flesh. Or they ran away in terror of the pain.

You could also have it burn just people it reflects it's light unto clearly. Or directly. I might have it do severe damage but if I were to have it kill I think it would be kinda to powerful. I like ten feet much better though than ten miles so keep it that way please.


September 15, 2004, 21:23
"Why did he vow to hold the lantern forever and never have it fall"...
Pay attention- if he drops the lantern, EVERYBODY DIES!

Yeah, about the ten mile thing... Maybe I'll stick with something in between ten feet and ten miles. Both are a bit off.
Any suggestions on a better radius?
September 15, 2004, 21:25
Never mind- edited it.
Hundred feet seems a good even number that is both significantly threatening and not too apocalyptic.
I'm gonna' stick with instant death, though. That's rather the point of holding it up.
September 15, 2004, 22:08
Ohh that makes sense I guess yeah that is a good estimate. Better than ten miles at least.

September 16, 2004, 4:08
Interesting. Most interesting. A little uber, but a great way to kill a power gamer... the monk could be an undead, but unthreatening. Just holding the lantern. Why? :D
September 16, 2004, 4:28
I've never had a problem of killing a PC if I wanted to; however, I try not to place PCs in such positions where they become "power gamers" if I do my bad, of course there are only 2 ways to deal w/ that... retirement, or ....

As a correction above "museum" should be "mauseleum"
September 16, 2004, 6:29
Does it go *BOOM* if it is hung on a hook?
September 16, 2004, 8:08
The lantern was the physical form of a curse from above...or below. The radius of 100 feet seems quite good to me, and I like the ambiance of this post, and this item. Echo has a good question...what if instead of a hook, it was placed on a pedistal, some other holding device (Perhaps one not so easily toppled)


Now for a word on nuclear weapons. The biggest nuke ever made was the Soviet SA-2, a 52 megaton single warhead nuke that was designed to burrow into the ground and detonate in a shaped charge that would force the awesome power of such a blast downward into the upper mantle of the Earth. The resultant disruption of the crust would cause earthquakes, destromost anything underground for hundreds, or more miles around, and possible produce new volcanic activity where it struck. This weapon was never tested for fear of the irrepairable damage it could cause to the Earth. 10 miles for a modern nuclear weapon is nothing...those are the people who die in the flash.
September 16, 2004, 21:50
Oh great, you got Scras started again *rolls eyes*

Er, anywho. I like the danger behind this item, and especially the way the candle relights itself, though it seems more at home in a book or especially a movie, than a roleplay :P

"The lantern dropped to the floor with an audible 'clang' reverberating off the wide walls of the chamber. All the inhabitants were silent as that sound rushed past them, and all watched in fear as the flickering of the candlelight inexorably died. Two slow, life-long seconds of silence ensued, before the room was filled with screams of agony and flames. It took only another three seconds until the room was silent again, now a forgotten chamber filled with charred bones. Forgotten - on the floor - the unlit lantern lay. But then a faint spark and, as though fueled by the souls consumed by its fire, the lantern flickered weakly back into life."

I must say 10 miles would have been too much, but 100 feet is good. Still, If I were a GM, I'd definately be hesitant about putting this in a game - it would take just one foolish PC to pick up then drop this lantern, killing the rest of the players and ending your game early :P

Still, I give it a 4/5 for the good story
September 17, 2004, 3:18
Well then, that's the risk, isn't it? hehehehehehe... no, I mean, I'm rather hesitant in killing off PCs, but THIS would be amusing. For the GM, of course.
September 17, 2004, 8:03
Ohhh... I miss a nice mythical story explaining the power, worthy of the Captain, Master Of All Myths. It has some idea, but all in all, it is a self-recycling bomb.

Pirate Penguin
September 28, 2004, 18:55
"You see a tablet"
"I set down the latern and examine it further"
"You burst into flame and die"
"... What?"
Voted valadaar
February 2, 2016, 11:10
I can see this used if the PCs are well acquainted going in, otherwise it is shooting fish in a barrel. Most game groups I've been with would not do anything special to prevent the lantern from being put down.

Could be an interesting 1-off scenario where somehow the lantern was taken aboard a ship. Sort of a form of Speed.

They need to keep it from 'detonating'. Sadly there is a storm a'brewing.

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Ideas  ( Plots ) | May 11, 2006 | View | UpVote 3xp

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