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Delivane's Museum of Curiosities:

by Carl Quaif

Delivane Crookback is a 36th-level Thyatian Mage, currently living in seclusion on her Estate on Sclaras Island. Despite the name, Delivane's "museum" is actually a carefully guarded and warded private collection of ancient magical items and oddities, gathered by Delivane and her servants from many worlds and times. Those lucky few who have permitted to see the collection have remarked on the excellent condition of some ancient items, prompting speculation that Delivane has time-travel capabilities - perhaps even an operable Time Gate. Others suspect that Delivane, and many others on Sclaras Island, have access to permanent Gates to other worlds within their tiny Estates. A few of the more recognisable items are listed below:-

Wand of Scarabs

This item, of ancient Nithian manufacture (although Delivane is unaware of this), resembles a ceremonial flail of gold-plated wood, with enamelled hieroglyphs along the shaft. When the command phrase is spoken (a Nithian sentence which roughly translates as "Hail to the Sun, the Deliverer; in His name, I smite thee with His Image" - the phrase takes a full round to say), the Wand spits out a multitude of tiny insects which grow into 2" long Scarab beetles. These creatures have 1hp each, and altogether cause 3d6 of biting damage per round to each person within range. They attack by swarming over the target(s), biting and gnawing until the target is dead; a single victim will be consumed down to the dry bones within minutes of death. The scarabs move at 20' per round; if the targets are fast enough and able to do so, they can outrun them. The scarabs crumble into dust when killed, or 1 turn after they were summoned. The Wand of Scarabs holds a maximum of 8 charges; it may be recharged by placing it out in the sun. It regains one charge per 8 hours of uninterrupted sunlight. The Wand was intended for use in ritual executions, and is more effective when used this way than in a battle situation. Delivane believes the Wand may be part of a matched set of enchanted regalia.

Potion of Regression

This is a dried, crystalline substance in a cut-glass decanter. If a small amount is dissolved in half a pint of goat's milk and drunk, it places the imbiber in a coma-like trance, from which they cannot be awakened. While the body remain insensible, the drinker's mind is hurled through time, inhabiting the body of a random individual in some other place and time. The imbiber cannot exert any control over his destination, but has full use of the new body. The memories and abilities of the host body, including skills, languages and any spells, are made available to the visitor. The visitor's original skills, with the exception of memorised spells, are forgotten during the possession; unfortunately, the visitor is constrained by the intelligence of the host, so a wizard who inhabits a moron will retain his spells, but be unable to think intelligently enough to use them. Being a "native" of the past time, any actions of the visitor in the host might alter the timeline in small ways; but the chances of the visitor inhabiting someone of importance at a critical period in time is minuscule (unless the DM deems otherwise). The Potion's effects last for 3 days in both past and present, after which the visitor is whisked back to his body, whilst the host awakens with vague memories of his actions during the last few days....

The Potion was acquired in Laterre, and its creation has been attributed to Dame Genevieve de Sephora, perhaps as a step in the development of her time-travelling potion. The decanter contains enough of the powder for a great many regressions.

The Head of Memyre

A curious, somewhat gory souvenir from an alternate world that resembled the Northern Reaches in the Known World, the this item is a dried, almost mummified Frost Giant head, measuring over two feet in diameter. The skin is leathery, and the eyes sunken pits; the lips are drawn back from the teeth, and wisps of grey hair still cling to the dry scalp. Once per week, the owner of the Head may speak a command word (the Norse word for "Awaken!"), activating the Head's magic. The eyelids open onto glowing points of light, and a tomb-like voice asks the owner what she wants to know. The owner may ask three questions of the Head, and receive truthful and accurate answers. The Head has a vast storehouse of knowledge spanning arts, sciences, and histories of many worlds, including Mystara. The questions must be phrased carefully, however; Memyre was Chaotic in life and, like an Efreet, will twist the wording of any question in order to mislead without actually lying. If he can, he will always give "yes" or "no" answers; some owners have been unaware he could say anything else.

The Dagger of Ezebri

This is a double-edged long knife made of what appears to be a single piece of elephant ivory; it is yellowed with age, but otherwise undamaged. The Dagger was found within the realm of Ulimwengu, but is believed to predate that society. It is a Dagger +3, with the power to release two 3d6 Lightning Bolts per day at its wielder's mental command. The Dagger may be handled safely only by women of Lawful alignment (others may pick it up only if it is first wrapped in silk; otherwise, it delivers 2d6 +5 lightning-damage, and teleports back to its last position). Although unaligned and unintelligent, the Dagger is impregnated with the essence of its first wielder, the warrior Ezebri; those who carry it for more than three days will find themselves slowly adapting to match the Dagger's "memories" of her.

The first change is in attitude; the wielder will become more serious and forceful, and less flexible in attitude - her way becomes the only right way, and compromise is unacceptable (the words "acceptable" and "unacceptable" begin to show up with increasing regularity in her conversation). The Dagger becomes her weapon of choice during this time. Next, physical changes occur; the wielder's skin and hair darken to a shade just above that of the Pearl Islanders, and the user grows to 6'6" tall. This part of the adaptation process takes between 4-7 days; if the wielder can be convinced to discard the Dagger before it is complete, she will slowly revert to normal. Otherwise, they are lost (but see below). The third stage converts the wielder's class to that of Fighter (if it is not already) and raises or lowers her level to 21st, with accompanying changes to hit dice/points, skills, proficiencies, saving throws etc. Finally, The dormant personality of Ezebri surfaces and overpowers the host-personality (no saving throw). Once fully manifest, Ezebri will leave to continue the task which she died trying to achieve (DMs choice; it should involve a lot of travel about the surface and even the Hollow World); she may allow the other PCs to accompany her. This task may be impossible for her to complete now, since many millennia have passed, or the situation may be one she can still rectify. Ezebri retains the host's language and general knowledge in addition to her own, allowing her to function in the present day. Once the task is either finished or she realises its impossibility, Ezebri may finally go to her rest, returning bodily control to her host's own persona. The host regains her former class and level, but is left with the XP Ezebri gained during her possession, cloudy remnants of her memories, and the now-curseless Dagger. It is up to the DM whether the altered body returns to its former state, or whether the Ezebri body is permanent (resulting in alterations to Dexterity, Strength, Stamina and possibly Charisma for the host).

[Ezebri should be run as an NPC, unless the host's player is willing and able to run her as a PC. This quest provides plenty of scope for culture shock - although Ezebri has general knowledge from her host, she still looks at the world from her own unique, antique viewpoint. Ezebri's native time-period, country of origin, and original race are left for the DM to fill in. Comments made by Ezebri during her quest could result in many more exploratory adventures for the PCs.]

Living Broom

This device, from an alternate medieval world where magic was held entirely in the hands of Witches, resembles a Broom of Flying in most respects. However, this besom has intelligence, personality and considerable self-determination. The Broom will serve faithfully anyone who earns its trust; the object has a childlike personality (Int 13, Wiz 8), and responds well to kindness and attention. Ill-treatment will result in resistance or downright refusal on its part to perform any action unless coerced. The Broom can fly itself without a rider, or guide itself without the rider's command, if desired. It may also grow two spindly arms, with delicate hands, to carry out light tasks. The Broom communicates telepathically with its owner, or can reshape part of its length into a parody of a human face with a mouth for audible speech. It has no name but "Broom", which is all it has ever been called. The Broom was created by the Witch Hegerti Haggatti, who was killed in a sorcerous duel with the vastly more powerful Delivane.

NB: the Living Broom, by virtue of its mystic origins, has the potential to cast spells as a 1st-level mage, should anyone choose to teach it spells. If damaged, it may be healed by either a Woodshape or a Healing Sap spell.

Among the other curiosities in her collection, Delivane has the following:-

- - a stone statue of a lizard man-like creature. This is a Carnifex, under the effects of a Flesh to Stone spell. Delivane found it at the bottom of the Sea of Dread, in a Devilfish temple.

- - a two-foot-long shard of unbreakable, razor-sharp crystal, believed to be from the Hollow Moon.

- - the desiccated hand of a Taymoran Lich.

- - a strange, cube-like puzzle from an alternate world, with different coloured sides which can be twisted and turned to make different patterns. The cube is made of an unknown material.

- - a claw from Shen, the legendary Dragon of Doom.

- - an ornate Meerschaum pipe, which floats by itself in a glass case. Partly damaged, it has the letters ELMI on the stem; the rest has been broken off.