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The Crests of Traldar:

by Carl Quaif

These are shield-shaped medallions of bronze, measuring 1.5" x 2", with coats of arms enamelled on the surface, hanging from a heavy bronze chain. Although in good condition, they are obviously of ancient manufacture. There are 7 Crests, each bearing the ancient devices of one village or town in what is now Karameikos (these devices bear little or no resemblance to the coats of arms currently in use in any of the places named; it is believed the Crests were actually personal devices owned by the first wearers).

Each Crest shares the following powers; when worn about the neck, it functions as a Ring of Protection +1. If the wearer is of Traldar descent, the Crest also provides a permanent Protection from Normal Missiles effect. The major power of the Crests, however, only comes into effect if Traladara/Karameikos is under threat from external forces, humanoid raids, or any other suitably serious danger (DM's choice). Once per day, on any day this occurs, a Traladaran wearer can call upon the Crest to "Arm me!"; upon receiving this command, the Crest transforms (with a suitably impressive display of lights) into a suit of magical, weightless field plate armour, bearing the device on its chest, and tailored to fit the wearer exactly. The wearer may also summon magical weapons to hand, if desired. Both armour and weapons last for 1 Turn, before reverting to Crest form. Any clothing or armour normally worn by the wearer, whether magical or not, is transformed along with the Crest, though the wearer's normal weapons remain separate.

The individual "active" forms of the Crests are as follows:-

Crest of Marilinev: Golden Armour +4; Longsword +2, Flames on Command (and can release a 2d6 Fireball twice/day); Dagger +1, creates Wall of Fire once/day if planted in the ground. The device is a crossed sword and dagger, surrounded by a halo of flame.

Crest of Lavv: Bronze Armour +4; Bastard Sword +2/+3 vs. Gnolls, Cold Brand (as per Flames on Command, but cold damage), casts Ice Storm (5d6 damage) once/day); Javelin of Disarming +1 (teleports back to user's hand 1d2 rounds later). The device is a bronze bastard sword, point up, with what looks like hailstones falling from top right to bottom left.

Crest of Luln: Red Armour +3; Spear +3 of Returning, fires 2d6 Lightning Bolts twice/day; Mithril Net, causes 1d4 electrical damage per round to those trapped within it. The device is two fish (top left/bottom right) divided by a stroke of lightning.

Crest of Krakatos: Blue Armour +2; Shortsword +4 of Speed, releases a Magic Missile on command, 5 times/day; Buckler +3 of Flying. The device is a shortsword, point down, with winged quillions, over a pale blue circle.

Crest of Halag: White Armour +3; Battle Axe +3, casts Dimension Door twice/day (caster only); Club +2, casts Earthquake 1/day (must be struck against the ground to activate - wielder is immune to the effect). The device is a white tower, without windows or doors, cracked down the middle.

Crest of Sulescu: Black Armour +2; Morning Star +3, creates Shield effect when whirled; Black Rod +1(allows bearer to transform into wolf or bat form and back, 1/day each). The device is two small shields, top left/bottom right. Top shield bears a silhouette of a bat, bottom a silhouette of a black wolf.

Crest of Vandevicsny: Green Armour +3; Quarterstaff +2, absorbs spells cast at wielder, which can be hurled back in the next round; Mace +1, renders user invisible while grasped (attacking cancels power for 1 round). The device is a crossed mace and staff, superimposed on a green pentagram.

Part of the magical nature of the Crests allows any wearer, whatever the class, to both wear the armour and use the weapons as if a Fighter of the same level. Spellcasters may use their magical abilities without penalty while the armour is active.

Most of the Crests are lost to time; only the location of the Crest of Marilinev is known. It is currently in the possession of Sergyev, Patriarch of the Cult of Halav, who seeks to use it to "reveal" King Stefan as "Halav Reborn". Rumours of the others surface from time to time; at least one Crest is supposedly still hidden in the unexplored, secret depths of Koriszegy Keep, whilst another is believed to be resident in Delivane's Museum of Curiosities on Sclaras Island. As for the remainder, they may be found anywhere - perhaps even in the Hollow World.

The true age of the Crests is unknown; a theory currently gaining popularity is that they were originally created in the land of Haven and placed in the keeping of a few gifted individuals, who were then sent out from their home to dwell in the Traldar lands, but this has not been verified.