Artifacts

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New Minor Artifacts

Mark of the Dark Ministry: Upon being appointed to the Dark Ministry, a pit fiend is granted a Mark of the Dark Ministry. The Mark not only identifies its wearer as one of the supreme generals of the Legions of Hell, it also confers tremendous power.

The Mark of the Dark Ministry grants its wearer a +9 bonus to saves against the spell-like and supernatural abilities of demons and other Chaotic Evil creatures.

When traveling beyond Hell, the wearer is resistant to attempts to return him or her to the Pit: within the Depths Below or within the Mortal Coil, the wearer cannot be forcibly returned to Hell through the use of magic such as word of chaos or Holy word, feats such as Planar Turning, or any special ability to censure fiends.

When in other Realities, the wearer receives a +9 bo-nus to any saving throws against such attempts that allow one. With turning or censure attacks, the attacker takes a -9 penalty to the checks. The wearer gains a basic saving throw against attacks that do not allow a save.

The Mark of the Dark Ministry confers additional powers against diabolical beings. At will, the Minister may use greater command on any other devil; the devil receives no save nor does its Spell Resistance apply. Three times per day, the Minister may use dominate monster on any other devil; again the devil receives no save or Spell Resistance against the ability. The caster level for these powers is 27th. pit fiends are allowed Will saves (DC 27) to resist. Dukes of Hell and higher rank-ing devils are immune to these abilities.

Those bearing the Mark can cast the epic spell accursed as a spell-like ability 3/day. The Mark drains the user of 900 XP each time this ability is used.

Finally, the Mark bolsters diabolical troops within 90 feet of the Minister. All troops receive the same resistances against attempts to being returned to Hell when in another Reality as described above; furthermore, all troops (including the Dark Minister) find that their sum-moning ability is doubled in terms of % of success and the number of devils that can be summoned.

The Mark of the Dark Ministry appears as a simple pentagram forged from cold iron drawn from the blood of thousands of humanoid creatures. The pentagram rests on circle of black leather crafted from the protoplasmic remains of a balor; the circle is trimmed with the molted feathers of a solar’s wings. Precisely who made the Marks is unknown, but common theories suggest As-tarte, a former Lord of the First, or The Overlord himself. When awarded to a newly promoted Dark Minister, the Mark magically and painfully stitches itself into the breast of the pit fiend. Although it can be hidden from non-diabolical beings, devils and other “natives” of Hell (including petitioners and gods) automatically sense the power of a Mark of the Dark Ministry.

Strong Abjuration, Strong Conjuration, Strong Enchantment; CL 21st; Weight: 1 lb.

Rod of Tyranny:

Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights tryptich, right panel - Hell; detail 1 (ca 1504-1510, Oil on panel)

Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights tryptich, right panel - Hell; detail 1 (ca 1504-1510, Oil on panel)

Each Governor of a major city in Hell receives a rod of tyranny. These minor artifacts not only reflect the station of the Governor in Hell, but they also confer great power to the wielder.

A rod of tyranny may be wielded as a +3 axiomatic, unholy great club. Once per day, the Governor can call on the rod to exchange either its axiomatic or unholy quality for another magical quality of equal or lesser value; this change lasts for 9 rounds. Three times per day, the rod of tyranny may be used to cast tyranny as though by a 21 st level sorcerer; the Will save DC is 28. Finally, the rod of tyranny can be used once per day to close all gates and portals in the city to which it is attuned; to make matters worse, all beings within 90 feet of the rod (except for the wielder) are under the effects of dimensional anchor for 9 rounds (Spell Resistance does not apply against this effect).

A rod of tyranny is a gargantuan rod of glimmering ebony cold forged from iron drawn from the blood of thousands of humanoid beings. The body of the rod is cluttered with glowing, red runes in the Infernal tongue while its tip is crowned with a golden pentagram. It may only be wielded by beings with Lawful Evil alignments; other beings suffer three negative level while carrying the rod.

Strong Evocation; CL 21 st ; Weight 10 lbs.

Atlantian rings

New Major Artifacts

The Last Trumpet

mural from Manastirea Voronet, România (1488)

mural from Manastirea Voronet, România (1488)

Roleplaying

Originally Posted by

Palindrome of the Dicefreaks d20 Community.

On this Thread

The demon princes of The Abyss have no shortage of powerful artifacts at their disposal in order to twist and destroy aspects of Creation. The Last Trumpet, dread weapon of the most infamous denizen of The Bottomless Pit: Apollyon, the Demon Prince of Destruction.

The Last Trumpet appears to be a plain, unaugmented horn with no fingerstops approximately two feet long and slightly upturned at the end of the horn. According to the rare survivors who witness the Dark Angel wielding The Last Trumpet, the dread artifact appears to be composed of a tarnished, golden metal. However, other depictions of The Last Trumpet exist claiming that it is stained red, or even black. These reports give credence to the possibility that the Trumpet's appearance is upon some dim level a reflection of its viewer's mindset. Upon those occasions in which beings have had the opportunity to examine it more closely (typically through remote magicks), the most disturbing aspect of the Trumpet's appearance is that any being that gazes into it sees nothing but a distorted reflection of destruction and wreckage in its mirror-like sheen. Tomes are only shown burnt; landscapes are ashen and ruined plains. Viewers are often seen as broken corpses or as piles of black dust.

How Apollyon acquired The Last Trumpet remains a mystery. Those scholars who believe that Apollyon at one time was a being of law before his fall point to Apollyon's possession of it as proof for their theories. They claim that the trumpet is often affiliated both symbolically and officially with those angels of the hashmal choir or derivation. Others claim instead that Apollyon acquired The Last Trumpet from some other being, as it seems implausible that the Demon Prince of Destruction would be responsible for the construction of anything, even an item of such awesome destructive power as the Trumpet. If the Demon Prince of Destruction did not create The Last Trumpet himself, opinions are even further divergent as to its origins. Some that are familiar with the incredibly ancient nature of The Abyss believe that it dates from the Time Before Time and is in some way was associated with the sundering of The Primal Coil into The Abyss and The Mortal Coil. Others instead think that The Last Trumpet is a remnant of the first layer of The Abyss to wholly fall into The Bottomless Pit, and compressed into a form that incarnates destruction in its own right.

Operating The Last Trumpet requires ranks in Perform (wind instruments) and the outcome of the Perform check determines what options are available when The Last Trumpet is used. However, using the horn untrained always triggers a dissonant note, cursing the wielder with possessing ears only for the song as if they had used it successfully. Using The Last Trumpet is a standard action, and all effects except for the dissonant note occur in a 180 foot cone.

Dissonant Note (Perform check 0-19): A sonic blast as described later erupts around the wielder of the horn, causing everything around the wielder in a 60 foot radius including them to make a Fort save DC 71 for half damage or else take 36d12 points of corrupted sonic damage.

Shatter (Perform check DC 20-39): The blast from The Last Trumpet causes any object with a hardness less than 10 to explosively shatter, spraying everything around them with shrapnel dealing 12d6 points of damage to creatures in immediately adjacent squares except upon a Ref save DC 71 for half damage. The tone of shattering can be played once a round.

Note of Agony (Perform check DC 40-59): Every creature in front of the Trumpet which can hear must make a Fort save DC 71 or else their ears or other auditory organs rupture from the power of the noise. This effect renders them permanently deaf, stuns them for the next 6d6 rounds, and inflicts 2d6 Constitution drain from internal injuries. Healing damage caused by the note of agony requires the casting of a wish or miracle by a 41st level caster or above. The note of agony can be used 24/day.

Sonic Blast (Perform check DC 60-79): A blast of extremely potent noise erupts, dealing 36d12 points of sonic damage, half of which is corrupt in nature. A Fort save DC 71 halves this damage. The sonic blast can be triggered 12/day.

Death (Perform check DC 80-99): The blast of The Last Trumpet is so potent that it rends the very form of every living creature in the affected area, and every living creature in front of them must make a Fort save DC 71 or else die instantly. Making the saving throw results in victims taking 6d6 +66 points of damage instead. Those who succeed in a rank check against Apollyon are unaffected by the tone of Death. This tone may only be played 6/day.

Unstable Tone (Perform check DC 100 or higher): The blast of The Last Trumpet destabilizes every built object. All buildings Crumble as the spell; stone walls and other edifices are affected as the spell Earthquake. Even magic itself is temporarily destroyed through the blast, and everyone with any magical property in front of the Trumpet must make a Ref save DC 71 or else be affected as the spell Reaving Dispel. In all cases, the effects produced are treated as originating from a 66th level spellcaster. The unstable tone can only be played 3/day.

Ears Only For The Song: Once a being has played The Last Trumpet save for Apollyon himself, they have ears only for the song of destruction and must make a Will save DC 71 or else fall victim to its effects. They are otherwise deafened to the world, and cannot hear even the voice of telepathy within their heads. When they sleep, however, the din of The Last Trumpet will play endlessly in their heads, resulting in hideous nightmares that leave them exhausted the next day and causing them to take 1d6 points of Wisdom drain. Victims of ears only for the song can only purchase themselves a temporary reprieve from it through playing the trumpet once a day and destroying something, increasing the probability of their own destruction in turn. Those who have played the trumpet no longer lose Wisdom per day, and regain 1 point of Wisdom for every consecutive day in which they destroy something using the fell artifact, although should they fail to play the trumpet again for longer than 24 hours, all of the Wisdom that was restored is again lost permanently. A being that has ears only for the song can only be restored to normalcy through a successful rank check against Apollyon. Apollyon is always considered to reside within The Abyss as far as this check is concerned.

Possible Means of Destruction:

The Last Trumpet must be used to kill Apollyon himself.

The Last Trumpet must be used to play a song of redemption.

The Last Trumpet must be used to herald the creation of a new plane.

The Last Trumpet must be played at a particular time and against a particular target in such a way as to guarantee the end of all things that Apollyon desires

Witches Artifacts

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team

Full netbook can be found on the followng website

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.

Powerful witches make power magic items. Some are so well known or infamous that they have become legends.

BabaYaga’s Hut

Nicholas Roerich, ("Hut of Death", sketch, 1905), an artistic expression of burial traditions of Ancient Slavs

Nicholas Roerich, ("Hut of Death", sketch, 1905), an artistic expression of burial traditions of Ancient Slavs

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team

Full netbook can be found on the followng website

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.

BabaYaga’s Hut: The legendary abode of the witch Baba Yaga has appeared in various tales over the years. And predictably, the details have varied over the years. Baba Yaga often herself lies and spreads rumors of the Hut’s abilities.

The hut appears as a small, 15’ by 15’ by 10’, windowless and doorless Izba made of logs with a thatched roof. It stood on two (sometimes three) giant chicken legs, and spun rapidly in a yard that contained her geese and horses. The hut was surrounded by 11 skull-lanterns on poles with a 12 th pole standing empty. The hut could spin faster than any person could run and if someone managed to grab on it would fling them of into the woods.

Getting inside the hut was a secret only Baba Yaga knew. She could will it to stop spinning and open it up, but other times it took the use of a command in folk magic to get the hut to obey; usually something like, “Hut, hut! Still you should be, with your back to the forest and your door to me!”

Inside the hut was much larger than the outside, at least 10 times greater. Also no one could leave the hut unless Baba Yaga willed it, this includes the souls of the dead. Occupants inside were immune to all magical effects from the outside.

The hut is known to have the following powers, all are at caster level of 20.

Movement. The hut could travel over any land terrain or water at speeds of 60 feet. It could not fly, but it could go up shear cliffs and mountains or over seas.

Protection. The hut has protections against all forms of magic, psionics and environment. In each case the proper protection spell is used at 20 th level spellcaster. Magic effects are also hampered inside the hut. Spells cast within the confines of the hut have their DCs increased by +5.

Travel. In edition the travel over land the hut could become Ethereal or Astral when needed. In every case Baba Yaga could invoke these powers by will. Others will need to learn the folk magic
command phrases in order to use the powers.

Semi-Sentient. The hut is semi-sentient. Not truly alive, it does have an awareness about itself. It mimics Baba Yaga’s personality in that attempts to lure people to it and it then spirits them off to Baba Yaga who will decide what to do with them. Usually it is a split between putting them to work or eating them. Other times the hut stays in possession of someone for a much longer time before disappearing again. It is rumored that the mage responsible for the Tiny Hut spell was in possession of Baba Yaga’s hut for years.

Caster Level: 20th ; Weight: NA.

Baba Yaga’s Mortar and Pestle

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga’s Mortar and Pestle: The Hungry witch is known not only for her famous abode, but for her rather unique means of travel. Baba Yaga can travel about the forest in a large mortar and pestle. She sits in the mortar, steers with the pestle and sweeps up her tracks with her broom behind her. This way she can travel over any surface, including water, but not air.

The mortar and pestle’s only power is it’s speed and it travels at a blinding 120 feet. At this speed most spells are at an increased +5 to affect the person driving the pestle and AC is increased by +12. Within the pestle the driver also acts as if they had a metamagically heightened haste spell cast on them. Only one person may sit in the mortar at one time.

Caster Level: 20th ; Weight: 200 lbs.

The Sampo

Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865)–1931) Forging of the Sampo

Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865)–1931) Forging of the Sampo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Finnish mythology, the Sampo was a magical artifact of indeterminate type constructed by Ilmarinen that brought good fortune to its holder. When the Sampo was stolen, it is said that Ilmarinen's homeland fell upon hard times and sent an expedition to retrieve it, but in the ensuing battle it was smashed and lost at sea.

The Sampo has been interpreted in many ways: a world pillar or world tree, a compass or astrolabe, a chest containing a treasure, a Byzantine coin die, a decorated Vendel period shield, a Christian relic, etc. In the Kalevala, compiler Lönnrot interpreted it to be a quern or mill of some sort that made flour, salt, and gold out of thin air. The world pillar theory, originally developed by historian of religions Uno Harva and linguistic Eemil Nestor Setälä in the early 20th century, is the most widely accepted one.

Description in the Kalevala

The Sampo was a pivotal element of the plot of the Finnish epic poem Kalevala, compiled in 1835 (and expanded in 1849) by Elias Lönnrot based on earlier Finnish oral tradition.

In the expanded second version of the poem, the Sampo is forged by Ilmarinen, a legendary smith, as a task set by the Mistress of Pohjola in return for her daughter's hand.

"Ilmarinen, worthy brother,
Thou the only skilful blacksmith,
Go and see her wondrous beauty,
See her gold and silver garments,
See her robed in finest raiment,
See her sitting on the rainbow,
Walking on the clouds of purple.
Forge for her the magic Sampo,
Forge the lid in many colors,
Thy reward shall be the virgin,
Thou shalt win this bride of beauty;
Go and bring the lovely maiden
To thy home in Kalevala."

The defence of the Sampo by Akseli Gallen-Kallela

Ilmarinen works for several days at a mighty forge until finally the Sampo is created:

On one side the flour is grinding,
On another salt is making,
On a third is money forging,
And the lid is many-colored.
Well the Sampo grinds when finished,
To and fro the lid in rocking,
Grinds one measure at the day-break,
Grinds a measure fit for eating,
Grinds a second for the market,
Grinds a third one for the store-house.

Later, Louhi the sorceress steals the Sampo, provoking Ilmarinen and Väinämöinen to enter her stronghold in secret and retrieve it. Louhi, in reply, pursues them and combats Väinämöinen. In the struggle, Louhi is vanquished and the Sampo is destroyed.

By Timothy S. Brannan and The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Team

Full netbook can be found on the followng website

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.

The Sampo: In the epic Finnish myth, the Kalevala, the Sampo is a precious object, a magical mill that grinds out meal, salt and gold. There is more than one Sampo, but no more than one ever appeared at one time. The great smith Seppo Ilmarinen, friend to Väinämöinen, knew the secret to making one, but he seems to be the only one, and the one he made was destroyed in a battle with the great witch Louhi. Väinämöinen claims that he will one day bring a new Sampo to his people.

The Sampo can create ten pounds of meal, one pound of salt or 100 gold pieces per hour for anyone that knows the command words. The Sampo is sought after so much because there is no end to amount of items it can make.

Due to its magical nature, the Sampo is very rare and wildly sought after. Characters that gain possession of one my find themselves with an endless supply of trouble as well.

Caster level: 19 th ; Weight: 500 lbs.

Artifacts

Ink & Quill
Author Thomas Knauss
Series Dragonwing Games/Bastion Press
Publisher DWBP
Publish date 2002
Pages 65
ISBN none
OGL Section 15 i-q
Content Puller {$content}

Netbook can be found on the following website

The Grand OGL Wiki

The material below is designated as Open Game Content

While most magical books grant readers one or more beneficial effects without harm, a few extremely rare books bestow tremendous powers at a terrible price. Hushed whispers describing these dreadful tomes of ill-gotten knowledge circulate amongst an overly ambitious circle of nefarious beings seeking their power regardless of the cost. Between the covers of these unique written creations lie secrets preferably left undiscovered and sickening rituals utterly defying logic. Most were written countless centuries ago by long deceased authors whose names still conjure fear and terror. Despite the horrific risks and foreboding legends surrounding them, scores of foolhardy and arrogant individuals remain convinced that they possess the inner strength to master the books’ dreadful mysteries while taming its malevolent side effects. Yet without fail, they eventually succumb to its will irretrievably enslaved and corrupted by its enrapturing words and awesome magical potency.

Artifacts possess unusual properties that differentiate them from other magical books; consequently they are governed by a different set of rules. All artifacts are unique creations incapable of being duplicated. Although its coverand pages can be physically removed or destroyed, mortal magic proves unable to alter, copy, destroy or dispel the written contents of an artifact. Physical destruction is merely a temporary setback, because the book inexplicably repairs itself, replacing damaged pages and covers virtually instantaneously. In contrast to other magical books, reading an artifact does not erase its mystical writing or dissipate the magical energy bound to its words. Furthermore, the powers bestowed upon the reader remain in effect so long as she maintains actual possession of the artifact.

Losing possession of the artifact negates all of the abilities bestowed by the artifact. Of course, separation from an artifact proves hardly an amicable split. The book’s reader faces a constant internal struggle against its baneful, hypnotic control over her mind. The battle only ceases when she reacquires the artifact or meets her demise.

Acquiring an Artifact

Artifacts by their very nature are extremely rare and difficult to acquire. The artifact’s current and previous owners constantly vie for its possession, unwilling to cede it without a protracted and often fatal struggle. Unlike other magical items, artifacts possess a limited Intelligence that craves attention and revels in the jealous emotions stirred by its mere presence. Imbued with its author’s obsessive vanity and primordial lust, their creators flaunt the item’s tremendous power, crafting the artifact from only the finest and most exotic materials. Despite its lustrous or sinful exterior, only magical investigation reveals its true nature. Artifacts possess SR 30 against magical inspection; otherwise they remain unaffected by mortal magic.

The act of merely reading a single word triggers an artifact’s incredible magical powers as it attempts to bestow a powerful curse upon the reader. At that point, she must decide whether to stop reading the book or continue. If she chooses to stop reading the artifact, she must make a successful Will save against the artifact’s difficulty class. Success enables her to walk away from the artifact without any ill effects. On the other hand, failure compels her to continue reading the artefact to its conclusion. Any external attempt to prevent a willing or unwilling reader from reading the artifact book to its conclusion subjects them to the
consequences of its potent curse described in much greater detail in the next sub heading. The artifact’s owner continuously reads the book without respite for food, water, sleep or other necessity, even though she still suffers the effects of deprivation. Because of her maniacal drive to acquire its secret and powers, she reads a number of pages per hour equal to her Intelligence score.

Completing the artifact book bestows its dreadful abilities upon the reader.

The Artifact’s Curse

As previously mentioned, artifacts never willingly release its readers from its dreadful curse. The curse manifests itself in a manner unique to each artifact, however the basic principles remain unchanged. Somehow the artifact entrenches itself within its reader’s mind, subconsciously attacking her beleaguered psyche without respite. It remains a constant presence, never relinquishing its suffocating grip irrespective of the passage of time. In fact, artifacts use time as a weapon, eventually wearing down the resistance of its quarry until it again succumbs to its venomous will.

While the act of separating oneself from an artifact remains a conscious decision, the actual abandonment of the artifact proves a subconscious battle of will. Each artifact possesses a unique difficulty class that measures the artifact’s grasp upon its subject. Once per month, a reader may attempt to escape the artifact’s control by rolling a Will save equaling or exceeding the artifact’s difficulty class. If successful, the reader relinquishes possession of the artifact and is temporarily free from its influence. Failure reaffirms the artifact’s control over the reader, preventing her from making another attempt until the following month.

Those that succeed initially experience a wave of euphoria falsely believing that she exercised the artifact’s presence from her body. However, a day later she senses the return of its ominous force. At first, its yearning seems passive and meek, however in time the potency of its calling increases, constantly beckoning her to join it.

Resisting the urge to heed its call becomes a daily struggle of wills. Every morning, the character must make a successful Will save where the difficulty class equals the number of days that she has been separated from the artifact. Regardless of the length of separation, the Will save’s difficulty class can never exceed the difficulty class required to initially separate oneself from the artifact. For instance, if a 10th level wizard abandoned the artifact ten days ago, she must make a successful Will save (DC 10) to resist its influence. Failing this saving throw overwhelmingly compels the reader to retrieve the artifact as if under the influence of a geas/quest. However, unlike the geas/quest spell, no mortal magic is potent enough to remove the artifact’s curse. The reader either rejoins the artifact or dies trying. Some readers attempt to circumvent the artifact’s curse through the use of spells such as magic circle against evil and protection from evil. Although these spells inhibit the exertion of mental control, they do not negate the necessity of a daily Will save or prevent the consequences from a failed Will save. The artifact’s influence is the result of a curse and not a charm or other mind affecting magic.

Destroying an Artifact

Despite their virtual omnipotence, all artifacts are vulnerable to at least one means of destruction. However, any attempt to destroy an artifact or obtain information to that end subjects its owner to the same effects as separation from the artifact. Likewise, the artifact’s owner reacts to external attempts to destroy or acquire knowledge of the artifact’s means of destruction in a violent and hostile manner. For instance, if Shuranda the wizard possesses the Book of Insatiable Avarice, and her colleague casts a Legend Lore spell on the
artifact to determine its potential means of destruction, Shuranda immediately attacks her ally. Of course, this situation is not applicable if neither Shuranda nor the artifact has any actual knowledge of the effort, such as her ally obtaining the services of a renowned sage without consulting Shuranda.

There are several methods of acquiring the knowledge necessary to permanently destroy an artifact. Powerful spells such as Legend Lore, limited wish, miracle and wish reveals this information subject to the artifact’s Spell Resistance against magical probes. Furthermore, a successful Knowledge skill check provides the information as well. (Each artifact describes the difficulty class and field of study necessary to acquire the data.) Either way, destroying an artifact proves an arduous and dangerous undertaking.

Format

All of the artifacts presented here share the same format. Each subheading describes and discusses the artifact’s particular feature in detail.

Title: Self-explanatory
DC: This is the difficulty class used for all Will saves related to the reading, separation or destruction of the artifact.
Physical Appearance: The artifact’s physical appearance as well as its number of pages and materials used is described here.
Background: The artifact’s origins, previous owners and current whereabouts are described in this section.
Powers: All of the abilities bestowed upon the reader are discussed here.
Curse: All of the artifact’s malevolent side effects are described in this section.
Destruction: This section describes the means of destroying the artifact.

The Book of the Dead

The Book of Insatiable Avarice

DC: 23

Physical Appearance: A dozen small diamonds are inlaid into the book’s magnificent golden cover that bears the engraved image of countless coins and remarkable jewelry. The edges of its 216 vellum pages are embossed with gold that matches the unusual color of the book’s ink.

Background: The frugal wizard, Mitros the Miser, penned this abominable book nearly two centuries ago. Initially intending to write his will within its gilded covers, Mitros grew disgusted by the unscrupulous behavior of his greedy relatives hoping to lay claim to his vast fortune.

Disheartened by their abhorrent actions, Mitros perpetrated an unspeakable act of spite, pouring the remainder of his estate into the production of his cursed book. While on his deathbed, Mitros bequeathed the accursed book to his eldest son, Egros, the most loathsome and despicable of Mitros’ six children. Covetous of Egros’ treasure and despondent about their non-existent inheritance, the remaining siblings conspired against him, hatching a plot to steal the book from their brother. However, the book’s spell quickly enraptured the corrupt and wicked Egros. Blessed with its tremendous powers, Egros murdered his scheming brothers before they set their plan into action. For the next thirty years until his death Egros lived in complete solitude incessantly counting his vast hoard of wealth, while society actively shunned the despicable and ruthless penny-pincher. Egros’ decaying body remained undiscovered for almost sixty years until a group of intrepid thieves infiltrated his mansion. To their horror, the palatial estate proved completely bereft of material goods except for the enticing golden book still clutched in Egros’ skeletal hands. The disappointed thieves grabbed the book and left Egros’ home, vowing to keep their treasure a secret.

From there, the book passed through many different hands especially among the ranks of thieves. At last count, six different thieves’ guilds in four cities possessed the book for at least a few years. The book’s current owner, Erastius Backsplitter, a half-orc rogue and guild master, keeps the book within the sanctuary of his vault beneath his bedchamber. The book remains under constant guard, unseen by anyone other than Erastius for the last six years.

Powers: The dreadful book conveys the following abilities upon its reader:

•Rogues and evil beings reading the book gain an additional 2,500 xp. Neutral creatures reading the book gain an additional 1,000 xp, while good creatures lose 500 xp.

•Three times per day, the reader may cast clairaudience/clairvoyance as if she were a 20th-level sorcerer. This power is treated as a spell-like ability.

•Twice per day, the reader may cast passwall as if she were a 20th-level sorcerer.

•Only the reader receives the benefits of protection from spells once per day as if she were a 20th-level sorcerer.

•The book grants the reader a +2 luck bonus to AC, attacks and saves at all times.

•The book bestows the rogue’s sneak attack ability upon the reader. She inflicts an additional +3d6 points of damage on all sneak attacks. This bonus stacks with all other sneak attack bonuses regardless of their source.

Curse: The reader becomes a kleptomaniac, driven by the insatiable desire to steal any item valued at more than 100 gp that she sees. She cannot resist the urge to pilfer them, regardless of the potential consequences. She takes the most valuable item first and descends down the list in order of value. Naturally, this side effect results in either the destruction or ostracism of the reader. Furthermore, the reader’s actions also cause the loss of 1d4 points of Intelligence and Wisdom as well as the reader’s conversation to chaotic evil, while she owns it. The book itself demands sustenance, literally devouring the gold piece equivalent of the sum of its owner’s adjusted Intelligence and Wisdom score. The items must be placed within its cover no later than sundown; otherwise the book withholds all of its powers until its owner sates its appetite. For instance, a wizard with an Intelligence of 14 and a Wisdom of 13 must feed the book the equivalent of 27 gp per day. The book also records deficits, hence if she failed to feed it for two days; it does not function until she places 81 gp of valuables inside of the book.

Destruction: The book may be destroyed by burying it in a pauper’s cemetery within the simple, pine coffin of a penniless humanoid. The grave must remain undisturbed for one year before the book finally disintegrates. In addition to magical investigation, a successful Knowledge (Arcana) skill check (DC 34) reveals the means of its destruction.

Caster Level: 20th

The Book of Mourning

DC: 24

Physical Appearance: Unlike most artifacts, The Book of Mourning appears as an ordinary songbook with a simple leather bound wooden cover and 84 parchment pages.

Background: From an extremely early age, Sara Uthurbund, demonstrated a prodigious ability to sing and write music. Despite her lack of formal education and money, her amazing talent blossomed throughout her childhood and adolescence until her genius exceeded the brilliance of the kingdom’s greatest musicians. Envious and threatened by the young diva’s remarkable musical abilities, her older but vastly inferior musical colleagues plotted to rid themselves of the upstart composer, enabling them to maintain their lucrative positions within the musical hierarchy. Aware of the king’s private audience with the budding performer to commemorate his 60th birthday, the jealous incompetents devised a wicked scheme. They decided to intoxicate her by presenting her with a potent flask of honey liquor disguised as tea prior to her performance. After the unsuspecting and naïve Sara quaffed the warm, sweet concoction, she experienced an immediate and violent allergic reaction. Anaphylactic shock overwhelmed her frail body, swelling her throat and permanently scarring her vocal chords. When the condition finally subsided, Sara’s angelic voice vanished forever. Distraught by the cataclysmic chain of events, the impressionable young woman fled, unable to console herself from the loss of her precious gift.

Wracked by melancholy and anger, the bereaved musician poured her aching soul onto the pages of her blank songbook, a gift given to her by the king a week before her final performance. As she purged her somber and bitter emotions from her spirit, her resolve for retribution stirred within her. When Sara completed the songbook, she scheduled another private audience, this time with her scheming colleagues. Unapologetic and startled, her enemies gladly accepted her invitation, hoping to ruin her composition abilities in a manner similar to her singing talents. When she arrived for the performance, her audience became fearful and confused.

“How can she sing?” they mumbled to themselves as she held her songbook aloft. “This must be some type of trick. There must be a choir hidden somewhere, perhaps in the balcony.” They scanned the small, crowded hall, but perplexingly saw no one. Then, a wry smile overcame the demure young lady’s face and with a single measure of song, she silenced her critics, permanently.

The Book of Mourning and Sara disappeared from sight more than fifty years ago. The current whereabouts of either party remain unknown.

Powers: The Book of Mourning bestows the following powers upon its reader.

•Three times per day, the reader may Sculpt sound as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•Twice per day, the reader may shout as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•Once per day, the reader may cast power word, kill as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•Once per day, the reader may cast wail of the banshee as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•The reader is impervious to all sonic attacks.

Curse: The Book of Mourning permanently deafens its owner even if she rids herself of the book. Whenever she uses any of the book’s powers, her throat begins to swell causing 1d6 points of subdual damage and preventing her from using the book again for another minute. The book also exacts a physical and psychological toll on its owner, inflicting 1d4 points of Strength and Charisma damage.

Destruction: Placing the songbook at the center of a hive of giant bees destroys the book in one month, provided the book remains undisturbed. A successful Knowledge (Arcana) (DC 35) or (Music) skill check (DC 31) reveals this fact.

Caster Level: 20th

The Book of Unbinding

DC: 26

Physical Appearance: The book’s 290 pages of paper rest safely between its polished covers of meteoric rock. Alien veins of colorful cosmic matter give the book a reflective property.

Background: The lustful court astrologer, Berthiume di Miazza, wrote this unusual book less than two decades ago. Originally intended as a collection of love poetry, the spurned Berthiume instead created this cataclysmic collection of dire prophecies aimed directly at the former object of his affection, Vernadette di Luna. Sickly and ill tempered from birth, Berthiume’s father, the influential and wealthy nobleman, Leonardo di Miazza, quickly surmised that his only son’s future lay in the development of his mind rather than his frail frame. He enrolled Berthiume in the local university where the clever, but introverted, boy excelled at his studies, especially in the field of astrology. Unfortunately, his quick wit and able mind also bred an acerbic tongue, inhibiting his ability to socialize with his peers. Regardless of his social shortcomings, the intelligent young man graduated his university as its valedictorian and with his father’s assistance, he secured the position of court astrologer. Despite his initial success, the introspective and lonely young man grew despondent as he watched his peers meet and marry their respective loves. In time, Berthiume resigned himself to his solitary fate, thrusting himself completely into his official duties. However, the arrival of Vernadette drastically altered his perception.

Vernadette, a beautiful and aspiring astrologer in her own right, became Berthiume’s apprentice. At first, Berthiume attempted to suppress his feelings for the attractive young lady, butb eventually her charm and grace withered his resolve. The two began a passionate romance with the tacit approval of Leonardo and the king. As the months passed, Berthiume decided to propose to his lovely apprentice. Hoping to present his betrothed with an engagement gift, the fledgling poet began writing a book of poetry dedicated to
Vernadette. After a few weeks of intense and secretive labor, the enraptured Berthiume completed his volume of sonnets and odes. However, Vernadette’s family loathed the intelligent but physically weak astrologer. Without her approval, Vernadette’s father arranged her marriage to a brash, young lieutenant in the kingdom’s cavalry unit. Unable to confront her true love with this horrific news, Vernadette fled the court and dutifully obeyed her father’s wishes.

When the enraged Berthiume discovered the truth, he cast his book of poetry into the fire, watching the pages crackle in its embers. However, the book’s cover remained unscathed. Dripping with venomous hatred, the spiteful and dejected Berthiume retrieved the surprisingly cool book from the fire and began the task of authoring his weapon of vengeance, The Book of Unbinding. A year later, Berthiume emerged from his solitude, bearing his completed masterpiece. Intend on achieving his revenge and armed with his terrible book, the spiteful Berthiume sought Vernadette’s father and husband. Driven by the book’s dire power, Berthiume literally tore them asunder. Proud of his grisly accomplishment,

Berthiume convinced himself that nothing stood between him and Vernadette. Yet, unknown to Berthiume, Vernadette and her father agreed to divorce her philandering and abusive husband and return to marry Berthiume. Although initially elated by his sudden and unexpected appearance, his ghoulish deeds sickened the innocent Vernadette. Overwhelmed by the tragic and shocking loss of her father and the malevolent transformation of her only love, Vernadette took her own life. Unmoved by her melancholy death, the amoral Berthiume resumed his career as court astrologer where he and his dreadful book remain to this very day.

Powers: The Book of Unbinding confers the following abilities upon its reader:

•Twice per day, the reader may cast ice storm as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•Once per day, the reader may teleport without error as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•Once per day, the reader may cast meteor swarm as if she were a 20th level sorcerer.

•Once per day, the reader may unleash a crackling black ray at one living creature within 300 feet. The ray strikes its target as a ranged touch attack. Any creature hit by the ray must roll a successful Fortitude save (DC 19) or the ray tears their body asunder instantly killing them. Even if the saving throw is successful, the creature stillsustains 5d6 points of damage.

Curse: Born from the dark recesses of space, sunlight inflicts 1d4 points of damage per round to its reader. Furthermore, the book’s reader is incapable of loving anyone else, instantly converting her alignment to neutral evil. The book’s tremendous cosmic energy also warps and distorts its owner’s physiology causing 1d6 points of Constitution damage. Ridding oneself of the book does not restore her alignment or emotional state.

Destruction: Scratching the book’s pages with a new bride’s ring negates the book’s powers for one day. Melting the wedding bands of a newly arried couple and pouring them onto its pages permanently destroys the book. The bride and groom may be married for no more than one lunar cycle; otherwise it has no effects. A successful Knowledge (Arcana) or (Astrology) check (DC 33) reveals this fact.

Caster Level: 20th

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