Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Artifactsby André Martins
I have just finished creating 4 artifacts for my campaign (three, actually, as the last one still needs to be detailed), so I decided to share them with the list. They are VERY, VERY powerful and will not come into play for long, many years, real time, but, eventually, either my players will need one or two of them to have a small chance of surviving impossible odds, or will have to find a way of destroying them, for the same amount of danger.
Depends on which side they will choose to side with. Currently, at 3rd level, my players don't even have a +1 sword, so they are far, far away from this whole thing. Although I might just give them the Armour soon, once they manage to stop the Kartoeba (B10), as it will be FAR more trouble to them than of any benefit, and they will start realising what they will eventually be against. They have just discovered the valley, I hope to be able to send my own modifications to B10 in a day or two.
The year in my campaign is 1003AC, so WotI, or my modified version of it, hasn't started yet. Eventually, I'll add my campaign notes and adventures and make a whole campaign available somewhere. Until then, I'd appreciate comments on the work I have done so far. Finally, as I am using 3ed rules, some parts are incomplete, as we still have no rules for Immortals there.
Anyway, most of it is nor rules specific.
The Artifacts of the Pharaoh
These artifacts are collectively known in Pandius as the Artifacts of Pharaoh, because they used to belong to the last Nithian pharaoh. Their main uses is in campaigns centred around quests for Immortality and the PCs' careers as Immortals. They all were gathered or created for the same purpose, waging war against the Immortals and their enforced rules, but they do not have a common origin, though. Note that the Claw of the Reptile is an extremely powerful artifact and should never be given to PCs, even Immortal PCs, except under the most exceptional circumstances and for a very short period of time. In any case, simply locating it should be almost impossible and even the most powerful mortal party would have no chance of surviving a confrontation with its current owner and her followers. If it appears at all, it should be at the hand of its current user, in an epic, battle, of continental, even planetary proportions.
The artifacts can be controlled by mortals, eventually, but that is extremely unlikely. Whenever its owner has its level increased, he can try a Will check against DC 40 to overcome one handicap or penalty. Which one can not be chosen and must be determined randomly. A natural 20 on the roll won' t do it, the modified roll MUST be 40 or more.
Glasses of Identification
These glasses were created by the last Pharaoh of Nithia, Thanorisre (Taphose, for the Milenians) around 550 BC. After establishing a cult to himself as the Supreme God of the Nithians, the Pharaoh decided to take measures against the intervention by the Immortals, that was certain to follow. In order to monitor his subjects for signs of any immortal worship, he created these glasses. Their purpose is to identify powerful magics, as well as the followers of the Immortals. When Thanorisre quest brought him the other ancient items of powers needed to battle the Gods, he also made the glasses sensitive to them. He knew, in his last days, that his days were numbered and he prepared a way to recover his most important items, should he manage to escape and survive.
When the Immortals struck, the Pharaoh used his powers to teleport his belongings to specially prepared temples, protected from the prying eyes of the Immortals by powerful spells he had researched. All of these temples are underground and protected by Exalted beings, among them, some Burrowers.
These creatures were to form part of the Pharaoh army and would have allowed him to fight the Immortals, should he had more time to prepare. Their Exalted status was disguised by a previously prepared curse, so that they could go undetected by the Council of Intrusion. Today, these creatures are just shadows of their former selves, unable to use many of their powers, until the curse is lifted. However, their physical mighty and the powers they still have are enough to make them formidable opponents for all but the most powerful men and women in Mystara.
The glasses were sent to the Nithian colony in Karameikos, to a hutaakan servant of the Pharaoh. They remained in their valley ever since and are currently under the power of Raniel. Raniel is an elf who has been hiding in the valley for the last 100 years, since he found notes about powers that could make one Immortal, while breaking into the house of a Glantrian noble.
He was spotted and recognised and barely escaped alive.
Already a little paranoid, he dreamt of the Gods gathering to hunt him and he travelled the Known World, looking for somewhere where neither the archmage nor the Immortals could find him. After a disastrous expedition on the Altan Tepes, where his two guides were killed during a snowstorm, he wandered in the mountains for 2 weeks before finding the valley. The Traldars tried to convince him to join them on their war against the hutaakans, but he was not interested in making new enemies. The ruins in the Lake Wykita, in the hutaakan area of the valley, attracted his attention and he has spent all his efforts to turn them into a good hideout. It was there where he found the glasses and he has been studying them since. He hasn't gone very far, away from any libraries and not willing to leave his haven to research and gather extra evidence. He knows how to operate the artifact perfectly well, but has manage to collect only small bits of its history.
From times to times, he leaves the island to investigate the caverns in the valley, but an early encounter with the Kartoeba he almost didn't survive has convinced him not to be very bold.
Lesser Artifact, 250PP
Detect Magic (20 minutes, 60', 15 TP) - it detects all kinds of magics, revealing their true nature and source. Mundane sources cause a colourful aura to appear around the object, the colour depending on the kind of magic.
Artifacts also have a colour aura, but their colours seem somehow stolen by a dark light, one that attracts and captures all the light originated by the magic.
Detect Flock (4 hours, 60', 20TP) - works as a Know Alignment spell, but, instead, it detects whether there are followers of some Immortal around (clerics, paladins and devout followers are detected). The wearer sees a dark aura around them, as if there were a threatening presence about to take them over.
Locate Object (20 minutes, 1200', 20TP) - by concentrating, the wearer can feels if any of a number of magical items tuned to it are within range and the general direction to them.. Among the objects it can detect are the Claws of the Reptile, the Helm of Undetection and the Ring of Forbidden Knowledge. It works for no objects it wasn't tuned to find.
Gaseous Form (40 minutes, wearer only, 30 TP) - the wearer becomes insubstantial, as in the spell, with all the equipment he is carrying.
Anytime the Detect Flock power is activated and a Immortal follower is detected, the wearer has a 10% chance of undergoing an involuntary transformation to Gaseous Form. When that happens, only the wearer and The Glass change, all the equipment is left behind. The Pharaoh had this as a contingency that would allow him to escape. The wearer can avoid the transformation by succeeding a Will save against DC 30.
When detecting any follower of the Immortals, even if the penalty is not activated, the wearer must also succeed on a Will save against DC 20 or lose control. If it is clear the wearer is more powerful than the follower and his companions, he will attack them at the best of his abilities. Otherwise, he will flee, as if affected by a fear spell.
The user become paranoid, sure the Immortals are after him. After having the artifact for more than a month, the owner must find a place where no Immortal has followers or leave in permanent seclusion, locked away from the world. Somehow, the sighting of Nithian ruins can decrease the problem, but not eliminate it.
Claws of the Reptile
These barbed gloves adjust perfectly to the hands of anyone who tries them, automatically changing their size to fit whomever is currently holding them, be it a pixie, a man or an ancient dragon. They were fashioned long ago, by the Carnifex, to help in their war against the Immortals and are an effective weapon against them, as well as against any other creature.
Thanorisre found them at the end of his reign and was still researching its functions when he was deposed. Some Immortals fear what he might have been able to do, should he had mastered this artifact completely. The news of the uncovering of the Claws were what made the Immortals act immediately and Ixion spent a lot of time and effort trying to track it down after Nithia was destroyed.
The artifact is ever since in a secluded cloister in Thothia, in the heart of the Great Escarpment. The place is under 1 mile of solid rock and can be reached only by tunnels that wind down for about 30 miles, in the shortest path. The temple, dedicated to Thanorisre and Thanatos, is protected by a Great Wyrm Shadow Dragon (Exalted status) and her followers, a small but strong community of stone giant mystics (monks) and dwarves. These dwarves are the remnants of the original race of dwarves (the Modrigswerg?), before they were altered by Kagyar. They discuss to this day what right had Kagyar to alter their relatives and consider that episode an insult to them as a race. The tunnels leading down are filled with all sorts of stone traps, prepared by these dwarves to protect the underground kingdom and all passages could be sealed within minutes, if needed.
Greater Artifact: 500PP
Weapon Artifact: The artifact allows for rake attacks for a base damage of 1d10. It is also a +5 weapon/+10 against Immortals in their Manifestation Form.
Disrupt Mortal Identity (instantaneous, touch, 100PP): If used against an Immortal in a Mortal Identity and the Mortal Identity is hit, it must pass a Fortitude Save or be killed, banning the Immortal back to his Home Plane.
This feature is not known by the artifact current owner and it is debatable if it was planned by the Carnifex or added by other powers. In any case, it is perfectly possible that it will never be discovered, as the only visible effect is that the weapon inflicted a mortal wound and the victim died from that. The only measurable effect is the expenditure of TPs. The power is automatic and needs not to be invoked.
Death Strike (4 minutes, touch, 500PP): if fully charged, the artifact can be ordered to kill an Immortal in his Manifestation Form when hit. If in his Home Plane, the Immortal is completely destroyed, unless.(introduce proper rules for Immortal save here). On other planes, the Immortal is simply banished back to his Home Plane where he/she loses 100PP and is trapped, by the usual WotI rules.
Whenever the Death Strike power is activated, the wearer of the claw loses half of its maximum hit points, no save allowed.
Obsession: The owner of the Claws will gradually start to hate the Immortals with passion. He will not do anything obviously stupid, but will plot to overthrow them and will attack any Immortal he finds, if she thinks she has a good chance of winning the fight and that will further the destructive purposes of the Claw. The owner becomes Machiavellian and will ally with Immortals in order to further her purposes. That usually means Thanatos, as he is the only one willing to destroy all Immortals.
Aura: every cleric or paladin of every deity, except Thanatos will feel unsettled on the presence of the wearer of this artifact. A detect evil/good, etc. will reveal its owner as the most vile creature, an enemy to be utterly destroyed, regardless of the faith of the cleric. This effect can be turned off if the owner is also wearing the Helm of Undetection.
Armour of Undetection
It is currently in the Lost Valley of the Hutaakans, lost inside the caves where the Kartoeba lives. It was crafted in Blackmoor, as a personal cloaking device and it looks, when not worn, like a spacesuit, not like any type armour. Once worn, it is absorbed by the wearer clothing, changing its appearance and becoming completely invisible, even with the use of True Seeing. Exalted beings specifically casting True Seeing because they suspect the wearer will see it for what it is, otherwise will be subject to the Going Unnoticed power of the Armour and will simply ignore and not check the wearer, whenever it is reasonable (it is reasonable to miss someone in a crowd, not in a small room with half a dozen creatures around you).
Greater Artifact, 500PP
Mind Blank (permanent, while worn, 100TP per hour (the artifacts recharges at a slower rate while worn)) - as per the spell, protects from all forms of detection, influence or reading of emotions or thoughts
Blend with Surroundings (2 hours, 90TP) (see WotI, Book One, p.95)
Going Unnoticed (permanent, while worn, TP cost included in the Mind Blank description) - the wearer is seems as a common, unimportant person and ignored, as well as those with him, unless they do something to attract attention as shouting, attacking, etc. Therefore, the owner can easily disappear in a crowd, leaving no traces. If an Immortal knows the wearer is near and is actively checking people after him, he must succeed on a save against .. in order to not be fooled by the artifact.
Create Double (3 hours, 50 TP) - The wearer can create an illusionary double of himself, who will seem, by all standards, to be himself, behaving like he were. The double can be instructed to flee, to deliver messages and to enter combat and will obey the instructions as well as possible, being no more than a projection of the will of the wearer. However, it can not cast any spells and any damage dealt by it, disappears when the Double disappears. Killed people, however, remain dead.
Clerics who wear this armour lose contact with their patron, they can not gain their daily spells or commune with their gods. This effect lasts for a whole week after the last time the cleric donned the armour.
Even if the cleric is not wearing the armour or its owner, but if he is within 20 yards of it, his prayers for spells will fail and he will not be able to establish a link with his Immortal.
The effect of Immortal blessings on the wearer are weaker. Whenever a spell is cast on him that will be beneficial to the wearer, he gets the minimum possible benefit. Cure spells cure the minimum amount possible, if the duration has a random component, it will last the minimum possible and so on.
While wearing this armour, familiars can't be contacted, followers become less loyal and the wearer can not command army units, as it is as if he had no leadership at all. The armour also causes a -4 penalty to its wearer charisma, for effects of interactions with other people, as he is seeing as someone dull.
Ring of Forbidden Knowledge
The wearer of this ring automatically gains the knowledge of the old Immortal history, as only the most ancient Immortals know it (see the Ancient Secrets of Mystara article in the last volume of the Tome of Mystara - no longer available). He gets a version close to the one Thanatos would tell.
It is believed that a fifth artifact was placed in Glantri, where currently is Nouvelle Averoigne, one tied to detection and mastering of Immortal level magics, and it is possible that a sixth artifact exists.