Magic Item: Twin Blades

“Well, I’m sick of it. Do you know what they call us back in town?” said Vilas the Halfelf arching his eyebrow. “They call us the Ravens. And rightfully so, for, remind me, when was the last time that we ventured onto the Road and into the Forest and did not stumble over a dead body?”

Osborn shrugged and kept silent. Where the redheaded ranger was tall, lean and talkative, he was short, stocky and taciturn. And yes, as of recently, they both have developed a rather unusual knack for finding dead people. This time, there were two. 

It seemed that they came to the clearing together, set up the camp, started a fire and then casually proceeded to slaying each other. The one they found first was pinned to the trunk of an ancient oak with a longsword that run through his chest, but he still gripped his own weapon – a twin blade of the one that killed him.

They found the other man kneeling half-way to the camp. He died of blood loss trying to tie his belt around the stump of his right hand. Osborn guessed, from the position of man’s scabbard,  that it was his sword-hand and that the pinned man had cut it off as he got run through.

“I’m taking the blade.” Vilas informed him, already trying its balance. “You’ll have to pull yours from the tree, I’m afraid.”

Long time ago, when men still worshipped reptiles and newborn children were already able to speak, there lived two princes, twins, who were to inherit the greatest empire of that time. The snake folk of Ulan presented the twins with two identical swords called Zenith and Nadir. Each sword was over three feet long with cloudsteel blade and razor-sharp edge. These were the swords that the brothers eventually killed each other with during the civil war that ended their empire. And since that time, Zenith and Nadir continue that fight.

Zenith and Nadir are both +1 magical longswords. And both are cursed. Whoever has one of the blades in his possession starts having strange dreams about snakes, blood and revenge. Each sword subtly works at getting its master close to whomever carries its twin. When both the swords are drawn within sight of each other, they take over and compel their masters to fight to the death.  They will fight until one of them dies or both are unable to continue fighting.


Magic Item: Rug Trap

Barber was unhappy. Usually it was he who produced some obscure piece of magical paraphernalia to save the day or at least vex his foes. Now, thought the mage, he was on the proverbial other end of the stick.

His feet and ankles already turned into embroidery and he kept sinking into the rug that he so foolishly stepped on. Around him the swords rang as Tariq and his men fought the vizier’s guards. And he was helpless –  sinking into the damned quicksand carpet.

“I’m too young to become a wall decoration.” said the mage glumly as he sunk into the carpet up to his waist.

This 6′ to 3′ rug is expertly crafted with line of elegant oriental writing running along its borders. Whoever steps on the carpet must make a saving throw or be drawn into the fabric in 1-3 rounds, becoming an embroidered representation of themselves. Once the rug is “full” it won’t trap anyone else until its prisoner is released.

While in the rug, the captured can hear and see, but cannot move or speak. They need no food or water and do not age. Releasing someone from the rug is accomplished by uttering a command word that is inscribed in the oriental writing adornig the carpet (deciphering of which is no easy task) or by casting Dispel Magic.

Magic Item: Monstrous Manual

“Poor kid. How old do you think? Fourteen, fifteen?” mused Vilas the Halfelf as he crouched next to the fallen rider resting his chin in his palms, his elbows supported against his thighs. 

“About that age, Redhead, yes. Used to riding, with nice high boots.” observed Osborn, scratching his two week’s beard. “And it wasn’t the fall that killed him, look.”  Young rider’s fine green cloak had two small holes in it and, when pulled aside, revealed two leather-fletched bolts burried deep in the boy’s back.

“Seems to me the thing he’s clutching to his chest might have something to do with why he’s dead. Turn him arround and see what it is, Os.”

There was a book in the dead rider’s hands. It was quite thin, bound in worn leather and all in all of rather unassuming appearance. Before the rangers had any more time to investigate, there was a sound of hooves from behind the bend.

These tomes are well known and sought after by adventurers and monster-hunters. Penned by the famous slayer of monstrosities, Konrad of Loevenburg, there are seven volumes of the Monstrous Manual, each dealing with certain creature or species. Whoever studies the manual for one week, learns enough about the weaknesses of the subject creature to gain +2 to damage when fighting it. Also, he will know any of its weaknesses, strengths and abilities that the author considered important.

The themes of six the books are: Basilisks, Dopplegangers, Ghouls, Ogres, Snake Folk, Vampires. The subject of the seventh volume is unknown.

Also, there is a rumor saying that anyone, who collects all the seven tomes will have the means to find Konrad’s secret hoard. Considering the fact that late Hunter Baron’s heir dug in the cellars of Loevenburg until several of its walls collapsed,even put his younger brother to torture and still found none of the fortune his father had collected, we can assume there’s at least one person who would do anything to possess all the seven volumes.

Spell: Anabasis

“We won’t be ale to catch up with the villain before he reaches the security of his ship!” wailed Tariq, his dark face full of disappointment. He gave his companion a thoughtful look, saying “We won’t unless you can work your magic and turn us into birds to fly over the desert.”

Barber, the Mage, red-faced from sunburn, winced – he hated desert. He hated the heat, the sand, the sun… yet he owed his life to the former soldier and also sympathized with his desire to avenge his sister.

“I am only initiate of the Art, turning men into birds is beyond my ability. However, while in the caliph’s library, I have prepared for contingencies .”


Spell Level: Magic-User, 1st Level

Range: Touch

Duration: 1 day of travel

With this spell, the Magic-User empowers himself and up to a number of other creatures equal to his level so that they can endure forced march without need for a check, also, their speed will be as if they were unencumbered. The only condition is, that the direction of their travel must be from a coastline into the interior of the country. There is mirror-spell called Katabasis, which works reversely (i.e. from the interior to the sea).

Magic Item: Thrombobezoar

“Shouldn’t we be more interested in the head that ran off, than the body that lies obviously devoid of life?” inquired the stocky ranger as he nervously watched the treeline for any sort of spidery movement.

“Yes, Osborn, we will. But we can spare a moment to gain some… compensation for the reward we won’t be getting for the poor lad killed by the strix.” With a disgusted look on his face Vilas the Halfelf wrigled his hand in the hole he cut in the pale belly of the headless carcass until he finally pulled it out, and with it a small egg-like stone glistening with blood.

“See? This bauble will fetch us a handsome price from the mages at the Observatory.”

Also called blood bezoar, his coppery red stone with surface rippling with curious patterns is a byproduct of a diet based on humanoid blood. It can be found in the bodies of blood drinking monsters such as vampire or fthinoporinostrix and it is greatly prized by alchemists and mages.

Whoever finds the courage to swallow the stone finds that it has several interesting qualities. Firstly, it makes its host crave rawer meats and even blood. Secondly, it helps to heal wounds its host sustains while the bezoar is in his belly. For every hit point worth of intelligent humanoid blood drunk (or for every two points of animal blood) the bezoar immediatelly heals one hit point of damage.

There are however several dark rumors that circulate about the blood bezoar, all of which tend to reach the poor experimentator only after he has ingested the said stone. Some say, that the bezoar is an egg that can reach only its first stage of evolution in the body of its first host and needs another living being to hatch. Others speak of dreams of blood and slaughter, that drive the host mad. And maybe the most important of all the rumors, the stone won’t leave the body on its own, it needs to be cut out.

Monster: Fthinoporinostrix

“The fool! The whole camp is looking for him!” whispered Osborn through his teeth. He and his changeling companion tracked the lost forester for a better half of a day, several miles into the dark Tesenvir Forest. And here he was, not lost or in any apparent danger; the young man stood several score feet away from them in the embrace of a naked girl.

The two stood in the center of a glade, up to their knees in fallen leaves of all the colors of the autumn. They seemed to pay no attention to their surroundings as they kissed; pale skin against leather jerkin, alabaster cheek against shaggy beard.

“Well, his mother will be relieved, I think.” said Vilas the Halfelf to his Easterling friend as they backed away from the clearing. “Although I doubt his bethroted will be very happy to… BY THE FURIES! Did she just bite his head of?”

Fthinoporinostrix. The name is hated by all the students of arcane lore who try to memorize it, but other than that is this fairy little known. The creature looks like a beutiful young woman with thick black hair and big eyes. Although it spends spring and summer in joyful glee just like its cousins, it has to hibernate during winter and for that it needs human blood.

When autumn starts, fthinoporinostrix seeks lone men and lures them in the forest, to its lair, a task which is made easier by a rotting smell that enthralls men (women  however, find the smell vile and repulsive). When the fairy and its prey are alone, fthinoporinostrix finally reveals its true nature. Its body slumps to the ground yet its head springs forward on eight glistening black spider-legs. Its jaws open up to three times of the normal human span, revealing a set of sharp teeth. Everything is usually over in seconds. Then Fthinoporinostrix feeds, stores the blood in its body and hides the carcass, usually in its lair, along with any valuables the unfortunate wretch had on him.

Depending on its age, fthinoporinostrix needs two to five victims to collect enough blood to last the winter. It stores the blood in its human body (which is usually very skinny with the coming of autumn); should it lose this body, fthinoporinostrix will desperately try to “acquire” a new body from any young woman it can find. However, even if it succeeds, the loss of the original body always leads to the death of the creature within three days.

Armor Class: 9/4*

Hit Die: 2/2*

Attack(s): Teeth (1d8)

Saving Throw: 13

Special:  Charm (smell, 50 feet, save negates), immune to Sleep and Charm

Move: 12

Challenge/XP: 3/240

* number before the slash is for the human body, number after the slash is for the spider body

Note: I finally had to use at least some rules to sketch out the capabilities of the creature. As I neded something simple I used an oDnD inspired clone – Swords and Wizardry.

Magic Item: Blackgammon

“There is a way to get our revenge on the vizier, Tariq.” said Barber the Mage. He wore gold embroidered black kaftan and his face was burnt red. The sun in these parts made his skin itch and blister and peel off in scales so he had to hide from it during the day. Yet this one forray to the market was fully worth the sunburn. The mage casually gesticulated towards the table, where a black iron box lay.

“You have a reputation as a rather competent backgammon player, I believe…”

Athough the black iron box looks crude and shows signs of rough handling on the outside, when opened, it reveals beautifully crafted backgammon board inlaid with mother-of-pearl striped with spikes of black iron that attracts metal. Fifteen and fifteen stones are semi-precious gems of red and blue encased in silver-gray filigree of an unknown alloy. Curiously twisted dice seem to be carved from bone, their pips are tiny garnets. The set is beautiful, yet it has an eerie feeling about it, as if it was not meant to be in possession of a living man.

Whoever plays a game of backgammon using this set and loses will die within two days. A saving throw at a penalty might be permissible at referee’s discretion.

The origin of the set is shrouded in mystery, as it often is with magical trinkets. However, first of its rumored owners was the infamous Assassin King, who is said to be hunting for his treasures far and wide even after his demise.