Waharom, what’s this now hawarom? Waha! Sisters! Looks like we have customers! Awaha!
In the post about keeping bad guys alive, I mentioned getting creative with magic as a method for granting NPCs some survivability. The ritual Spell Trap and the lesser artifacts Spell Seals and Ritual Seals from the Advanced Player’s Guide give a ton of opportunities for you as a game master. They allow you to directly turn mystical powers into limited-use items that can make your bad guys more challenging, or give your players some interesting loot.
This post contains 15 examples of consumable magic items that store mystical powers to be cast by whoever carries the item in question. Five of these items are spell traps bound to wearable objects which cast their stored power under specific circumstances. Spell traps are interesting in this way because they effectively allow you to turn Active mystical powers into Reactive ones.
My original thought when creating these spell traps was to give them to enemies to grant them a limited number of “counterspells” or something approximating Legendary Resistance in Dungeons & Dragons. But this quickly grew into the inventory of a magical shop – a magical shop that serves anyone willing to give the sorceresses what they want in return for their treasures.
Diruvira, Acewyn, and Iptyx are three very different practitioners of the mystic arts who found themselves drawn together by the strange strands of fate. Their skills and powers complement each other, and when they collaborate they can create a wide variety of items. They sell these items to anyone that stumbles on their shop – which you can put anywhere in the path of your players or your players’ opponents.
Finding the shop
On the road: It’s possible to come across the sorceresses’ caravan while travelling through Ambria or Davokar. In those cases, it’s usually Diruvira and Acewyn acting as the faces of the group, lending them an air of legitimacy wherever they go. They use Illusory Terrain and Witch Circles to conceal their carts from unwanted visitors, but have a good eye for business opportunities and happily invite passing adventurers to sample their wares.
In a dungeon: The sorceresses set up doorways in places they pass through, including dungeons, ruins, and other strange locations one would not normally expect to find a point of commerce. The portals to their curious emporium are usually magic circles inscribed into existing doorways and portcullises with lines of silver, but most often require a traveller to be carrying an enchanted item to whisk them away to the true location of their shop or caravan.
The Sorceresses’ Portal Key
An uncut gemstone that appears to have a symbol of three interlocking circles deep inside it.
Ritual Seal: Seven League Stride (to a specific magic circle)
Trigger: When the holder passes through a magic circle belonging to the Sorceresses.
Effect: The holder is immediately transported into something that appears to be a room, a natural cavern, or a large tent – overflowing with mystical objects and hosted by the three talented mystics. Being transported this way inflicts 1D4 temporary corruption on the transported.
I have a feeling that these may come in handy.
Diruvira was once a magister of the Ordo Magica in Kastor, sent as a sort of exchange student to the barbarian clan Vajvod to study their art of Symbolism. Learning the methods of a new tradition sparked an ambition to learn all the secrets of how the universe functions.
She will accept payment in the form of performance of any mystical powers or rituals she has not already seen, and she will store these in fresh traps and seals to be studied and fashioned into future wares.
Diruvira’s Mirror of Fate
A small pendant with a silvery surface holding a mystical sign inscribed inside the reflection.
Spell Trap: Illusory Correction II
Trigger: A Mystical Power or ritual is cast with the wearer as a target or within the area of effect.
Effect: The mirror shatters, sending shockwaves back a moment in time. The wearer rolls Resolute+5. If successful, any roll made for the effect on the wearer must be re-rolled (no matter what it rolled the first time)
Diruvira’s Anathemic Chime
A tiny cylindrical device inscribed with lines of silver.
Spell Trap: Anathema I
Trigger: A Mystical Power with a continuous effect is cast with the wearer as its target.
Effect: The device shatters with a piercing ringing and the mystic who cast the power must roll Resolute-5 to resist the power being dispelled.
Diruvira’s Blackened Glass
A medallion of obsidian infused with squirming sigils within its smoky surface.
Spell Trap: Exorcise I
Trigger: The wearer is struck and harmed in melee.
Effect: The glass shatters with a shriek and the character who made the attack must succeed at a roll of Resolute-5 or be pulled through a rift to the Yonderworld for one turn. They suffer 1D4 damage (ignoring armor) and 1D4 temporary corruption. If the attacking character succeeds on the roll to resist the effect, a daemon instead enters through the rift.
A bundle of feathers woven together with a complex pattern of red string.
Spell Trap: Levitate I
Trigger: The wearer is falling from a height that will cause falling damage.
Effect: The thread holding the feathers together dissolves with a bright light, and the feathers tumble all around the wearer. The character stops falling and can move one stride per turn in any direction.
Diruvira’s Scaly Escape
A pendant made of a small reptile set in a stone of amber.
Spell Trap: Shapeshift I
Trigger: The wearer is the target of an attack while flanked in melee.
Effect: The wearer’s form turns to mist and is drawn into the pendant which shatters, releasing the wearer in its new shape as the tiny reptile. The transformed character can re-roll all Discreet and Quick rolls, and can move out of melee without triggering Free Attacks. Reverting from the transformation takes a full turn and requires a successful Resolute roll.
Waharom! Come, come – Iptyx has what you need hawarom.
Iptyx is a truly ancient troll, having recently awoken from a centuries-long slumber to find her marrow infused with strange new knowledge. She is keen to explore her new skills and to weave them into objects that strangers may find useful.
Always curious to explore how others bind mystical effects into objects, she will gladly accept payment in the form of alchemical elixirs and lesser artefacts.
Iptyx’s Ghostly Flame
A small candle made of blood and beeswax with a wooden wick.
Ritual Seal: Variant of Holy Smoke
Method: Set the candle aflame in a location with no other light. It burns with a haunting color that is difficult to describe.
Effect: Objects and creatures that the candle’s light falls upon cast their spiritual shadows behind them. This will reveal the color and nature of all shadows and also their degree of corruption
Iptyx’s Skeleton Key
A short wand made of white clay worked from marrow glue and bone meal.
Ritual Seal: Sealing/Opening Rite
Method: To seal a door or container, insert the key into the lock or a crack, and break it off. The lock or crack will become invisible and impossible to open. To open a lock or seal, insert the key and turn it – the key is destroyed.
Effect: The key is destroyed when it is used, releasing an ethereal tune that hangs in the air for a minute. Sealing does not require a roll, but forcing a lock to open requires a roll of Resolute+5 vs the difficulty of the lock or seal.
Iptyx’s Dust of Desire
A tiny vial full of luminous spores.
Ritual Seal: Retrieve
Method: Inhaling the spores will allow the user to see a glittering trail that leads towards a lost or misplaced object.
Effect: The user or someone in the user’s immediate vicinity must know the object well enough to describe it in detail. If the object has been deliberately hidden, the user must roll Resolute+5 minus the Discreet of the character who has hidden the object.
Iptyx’s Blessed Soil
A pouch of moist earth and dirt that is slightly warm to the touch.
Ritual Seal: Quick Growth
Method: Pushing a seed into the pouch and burying it will quickly cause the seed to sprout and grow.
Effect: The user can control the growth to a certain degree. They can direct a tree to grow into a bridge or force open a gate, or vines to grow into climbable lianas – but the growth is limited by the natural conditions such as sunlight and the season, unless used inside a Witch Circle.
A cracked geode full of chromatic crystals that change color with the weather.
Ritual Seal: Turn Weather
Method: Leaving the geode out to the elements and then keeping it in a waxed pouch will store that weather in the crystals. If the geode is then smashed inside the pouch and the dust released, it will alter the weather to whatever was stored in the geode.
Effect: Whatever weather is present in the area is quickly replaced with the weather that was stored in the stone. It lasts for twelve hours before returning to the natural weather of the day.
Oh. Another bunch of marauders. What do you need this time, cur? Done any useful violence?
The Enoai witch Acewyn fled the Blood Oath’s wave of witch-slaying and left a trail of blood a hundred miles long in her wake. A spectacularly talented necromancer and spirit-seer, Acewyn uses the bodies of the dead to fetter and amplify mystical effects.
She will take payment in the form of body parts from beings that were violently slain, which she uses as binding components for her memory weapons.
Acewyn’s Raging Inferno
A chunk of blackened flesh or coal-charred wood from a site of deadly arson, smoldering with reawakened anger and fear.
Spell Seal: Flame Wall I
Method: Blowing into the smoldering object will cause it to erupt into a memory-made-real of a terrifying blaze.
Acewyn’s Memory of Violence
A piece of bone sliced by a sword or crushed by a maul.
Spell Seal: Dancing Weapon II
Method: Using a weapon to smash the bone will cause it to be possessed by a vengeful spirit who will wield it eager to do violence.
Acewyn’s Cry of War
A waterskin full of blood that never dries and never loses its warmth.
Spell Seal: Combat Hymn II
Method: Pouring out the blood onto the ground will instill the character and all its allies with bravery and hot rage.
Acewyn’s Echo of Battle
Ash of several corpses drawn from a battlefield.
Spell Seal: Confusion I
Method: Blowing the dust in someone’s face will cause them to relive the events of the battle, hallucinating the events vividly and being unable to tell friend from foe.
Acewyn’s Animated Quiver
Pieces of bone perforated by arrows.
Spell Seal: Storm Arrow I
Method: If the holder casts the bones into the air they will call up five nearby arrows to be animated, and called to orbit the character until they give orders to the projectiles.
2 Replies to “The Sorceresses’ Shop of Charms and Seals”
Hey, Xaras! Great article, as always; helpful, thoughtful and nicely written.
However, I’ve got a question (probably because I don’t have my APG with me, having given it to a friend to read): a spell sometimes requires some test to be made, but what about these charms? For instance, Confusion asks to roll Resolute vs. Resolute, but what if you use Echo of Battle? Do you (a player who uses it) still roll to see if you succeed with the test or not?
Good question! For the Spell Traps and Ritual Seals I made the assumption that the original ritualist’s work would determine the power level of the effect (hence a +/-5 modifier to the effects), but for the Spell Seals I think you’d follow the letter of the power as if it was cast by the character that activated the seal. But even as I say this it sounds kinda arbitrary.
Since they’re single-use items, I wouldn’t really have a problem with someone arguing that they’d use Acewyn’s Resolute (which would be 15).