Tuesday 8 March 2011

The Storied Mageries of Lux Familiar

The Vaults of Nagoh are an infamous weak spot in the fabric of the world, a place where echoes of things, creatures and people from numerous other worlds take on horribly distorted physical forms.  Among the reified cosmic echoes uncovered by greedy, crazy-brave explorers are the enigmatic and disparate objects collectively known as the Mageries of Lux Familiar.  Who (or what) the name Lux Familiar originally applied to is unclear, although rumours of a semi-human nature and a terrible auto-cannibalistic end have attached to this ill-omened moniker.

Annals of Pyares
This richly decorated tome initially appears to be nothing more than the records and membership list of a long-defunct bardic college.  More thorough investigation reveals it to be an artefact of substantial but unpredictable power.
Treat as Artefact (per "Eldritch Wizardry", AD&D DMG, etc) with 4 Minor, 2 Major powers.  The book also allows a character to act as a sage expert in the fields of human and demi-human art and music.
Malevolent Power: when a major power is used there is a 1 in 10 chance of the book’s wielder coming under a delusion effect which makes dangerous situations appear to be a source of delicious savoury snacks (save vs spell, or throw self into harm's way to get at them).
Side effect: While the book is possessed by a party castle encounters never have a reaction more positive than "Neutral/Ignore"; the default response of inhabitants to the appearance of the party becomes "Quick!  The drawbridge!"

Azure Sigil of Abuse
This small rectangular device composed of paper and magically treated cellulose allows the wielder to simply get away with almost anything, so long as the sigil is presented openly and confidently.  Onlookers do gain as a save vs spell/device against this effect (test once against the best chance of all onlookers).  Those unaffected by the magic of the sigil, or who recover from its effects (1-3 turns after the sigil and bearer leave their view) will in future automatically be suspicious of - or even openly hostile to - the wielder.  The Azure Sigil of Abuse does not affect mindless creatures, intelligent undead, or creatures viciously evil by nature (devils, demons, etc).

Blessed Aircloth of Equanimity

Small sheets of clear membrane, the bubbles of which are filled with a generally harmless gas noted for its profound calming effect when released (bursting aircloth bulbs acts as a calm emotions spell).  Sheets have a curious secondary enchantment, in that they are regarded as a perfectly fungible medium of exchange by almost all intelligent creatures. A person offered the aircloth in trade must save vs spell or consider it a reasonable exchange (demands for magic items, daughters, or other outrageously unequal trades grant a bonus to the save).

Dead Man’s Season Ticket
This small cardboard rectangle allows the holder to return from the dead, one time only.  There is a non-trivial likelihood of weird sh*t following them back from the land of the dead.

Depressed Beyond Tablets

One of these acrid-tasting pastilles (treat as potion) will transport the ingester to a sunless pocket universe of chasms and abysms ruled by change and indifference.  If they fail a save vs spell they are affected as maze spell (LLAEC, p52), if the save is passed they are able to exit the gloomy realm at a point corresponding to a position of their choice in the ‘real’ world.  Move as per potion of ethereality oil of etherealness.

Dukla Prague Away Kit
A maroon singlet with short yellow sleeves protects its wearer as leather armour.  Once a week the wearer is able to invoke what chroniclers have described as “a travelling army of synthetic supporters”, an array of 10-100 minuscule humanoid servants who will labour or spy for their master to the best of their abilities.  They work at the same rate as full-sized human labour, but only when entirely unsupervised by human eyes.  The supporters will not fight under any circumstances, returning from whence they came if commanded to do so.

Equilateral Chainsaw
A large and clumsy melee weapon, -2 to hit, although it can hit creatures affected only by magical weapons (“Ain’t nothing immune to chainsaws!”).  The whirling, screeching teeth of the triangular blade do 2d6 damage per hit.  The wielder can elect to inflict this damage on two or more separate melee opponents within reach at a cost of themselves taking the same amount of damage.

Existential Limeade
This lurid green potion causes the imbiber to doubt both own existence and that of reality itself.  So profound is this anomie that they are rendered wholly immune to harm from any source no less than 50% of the time.  However, the mind-expanding effect of the concoction also renders the drinker prone to distraction (50% chance of foregoing action in a round).

Joy Division Oven Gloves
These thick fingerless black-and-grey gloves are almost limitlessly heat resistant; although unable to use their hands for fine work (picking locks, etc) the wearer is able to safely put their fingers in fire, handle hot coals, scoop up lava, etc.  The gloves have a secondary effect of increasing a wearer’s equanimity towards terrifying or aggregating situations (wearer enjoys +4 to saves vs. fear-causing effects).  Unfortunately the gloves carry a curse that reduces the wearer’s capacity for settled happiness.  So long as the gloves are possessed the owner becomes obsessed with wearing them in previously unvisited places (treat as geas effect).

Non-Organic Food
These curious foodstuffs from deep within the earth look like nothing so much as vividly coloured pebbles and are usually found in small paper bags.  A bag will contain 3d6 lumps of inorganic food, each of which – if recognised as edibles rather than misshapen and rather ugly decorative stones – will act as rations for one day.  Children and Xorn are especially delighted by these strange, sweet comestibles.  Inorganic food doesn’t go off, ever.

Perpetual Biscuit
A perfectly mundane-looking twice-baked biscuit, probably with some form of embossed decoration and a dry crème filling.  Detects as magic.  A source of never-ending rations, the Perpetual biscuit doesn’t entirely replace mundane food, but does supplement other foods (reduce to half requirements/day).
Note: a Perpetual Biscuit can only reduce the food requirements of a single person per day.  Why?  Duh!  Everyone knows that biscuits contain no calories if shared...

Piccalilli’s Shinpads
Tiny hand-long greaves of verdigrised bronze decorated with rich art nouveau engraving detailing.*  The greaves are far too small to fit even the puny legs of a halfling, but may be strapped onto the legs by humanoids of any size (provided they don’t mind looking a little... silly).  These shin guards provide a +1 to AC, allow the wearer to pass without trace in sylvan environments 3/day, and improve Reaction Rolls from all encountered non-evil fey creatures by one bracket.

* Wishing I had Taichara’s way with descriptors about now.

Post-punk Postcard

Small flat card, the edges of which are decorated with blotchy, low-quality woodcut art.  Usable only after backstab.  The thief smears their bloodied weapon across the face of the card and - unless the intended victim saves vs. spell – it bodily draws them into itself over the next round, reducing them to a moody-faced stylised monochrome portrait.  The captive can be released from the card at any time by tearing it in half.  There is a 50% chance that a random creature (type limited by backstab rules) is trapped in the card when it is found.

Sea Bass Man Bag
Appears to be a satchel in the shape of a fish (the shoulder straps attaching at the fish’s mouth and tail).  If emptied of its contents (50% chance of 1d6 random pieces of non-magical dungeoneering kit when found) the bag can be pulled entirely over the head and provides air and resistance to pressure as a Helm of Underwater Action.
Note: the wearer’s vision is obscured by the bag.

Shining Singlet of the King of Hyviz
Brightly coloured over-garment decorated with silvery straps.  The singlet greatly increases the likelihood of the wearer being noticed (no Hide in Shadows possible) but all viewers who fail save vs spell believe (and act as if) the wearer is perfectly entitled to be wherever they are as a normal part of their duties.  Save may be taken again if the wearer does something outrageously suspicious.

Sign of Deceitful Enticement
Viewers of this crudely hand-lettered sign must save vs spell, those who fail feel compelled to follow the seemingly nonsensical directions on the sign (“Asparagus Next Left”, etc.) for 2d6 turns (or until the GM becomes bored with it).  Usually this merely results in exasperating detours to recover hypnotised party members, but there is a 10% chance that the sign instead creates a dirt track to a darker place (Bottomless Perdition).

Studious Banjo
All auditors must save vs spell or descend into a reverie of well-loved memories, initiating no hostile actions for as long as the banjo is played.  1in6 chance of acting as drums of panic instead. Playing the banjo requires both hands.

Surcoat of the Knight of the Shining Dome
This long, shabby duster coat improves NPC reactions to the wearer by one bracket, and acts as Scarab of Protection on the wearer, but increases rates of WM encounter.  Wearable by any class, although thieves, dwarves and Halflings are likely to find in annoyingly billowy...

The 'Roids
Potion, appears to be potion of Giant Strength. Actually acts as cursed berserking (as the sword) potion of Giant Strength.

Ultimate Gorilla Gig

A small, lightly built one horse trap.  Bodywork, wheel hubs and traces are elaborately decorated with motifs of lachrymose apes.  The runabout is capable of seating two people in comfort (four if they’re prepared to get cosy).
The coachman of this buggy can cast implant emotions (despair) 3/day and summon 1d6 white apes 1/week; the primates act as the master of the gig commands.

Wai-phur Hanging Baskets
These small, chain-suspended planters allow the possessor to use Contact Other Plane 1/week if filled with soil and carefully tended.  The medium of communication is a human-sized mouth composed of roots and leaves which grows from the soil.  Contact is always with a malignant other-planar vegetable intelligence that answers questions in cryptic euphemisms.

(Yes, the Perpetual Biscuit Reference is intentional.)


  1. So. Many. Puns!

    Great stuff; I'll try to work some of these into my next game, whatever it is. Maybe not Call of Cthulhu.

  2. You're either a madman or a genius. I'd go 60-40 on the odds.

  3. Heh, good stuff. I recognised the "psychic paper" of Doctor Who fame, but where you got your inspiration for the other items eludes me as yet!

  4. In the world of the Vaults 99% of gargoyles look like Chris.

  5. I think I have to agree with Trey, you are either brilliant or insane. Either way, these are great!


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