Features Archive | 11/18/2010
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Treasure Options
Estate of Deveron, Part 3
Miranda Horner

Why settle for giving out ordinary gold to your players when you can instead offer treasure items with rich backstories? Especially when these items also provide hooks to your next adventures!

Estate of Deveron: Inventory

Appraiser: Journeyman Aletia Cromley

Under Direction of Master Appraiser Ignatius Booth

Aletia: I know you wanted me to sort by value, Master Booth, but if you want daily updates I'd need a few months to sort everything. I have finished clearing out an inner room so that I can organize the things I've appraised, though. I'm not entirely convinced the room is secure, however. Things haven't stayed where I left them.

Ignatius: Ah. Well, you'll figure it out, Aletia.

Aletia: No tips?

Ignatius: No. What have you chosen for today?

Marble Collection: Introducing Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set

While using the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set, if you, as DM, wish to include the item above, consider adding an element of it (perhaps the moss agate marbles) to a player character's inventory before you start running the "Talking to the Dragon" skill challenge in the Dungeon Master's Book. Farallax the fledgling dragon might be swayed more easily by a hero who sweetens the "treasure" pot right away with a gift of the moss agate marbles or the meditation spheres (perhaps add a +2 bonus to the next Diplomacy check that player character makes). Of course, it's up to the players to figure out that these items could help in that skill challenge.

In a general sense, marbles might be used in games that the heroes play while talking to someone who knows information the adventurers need, or they can be used as a gift to help in a skill challenge or roleplaying encounter (as set out above with Farallax). A player might also scrap the "marbles" aspect of the item and take away the idea that his or her hero's sling bullets are always created from distinctive stones. Or perhaps an NPC's sling bullets are always crafted from a specific material and become a notable clue in an investigation that the heroes must handle. Also, a DM could design a trap or room in such a way that using the marbles to determine a slight slope or find crevices that aren't easily perceived by the naked eye could provide the heroes with a bonus to disable or find a trap.

Marble Collection

This assortment of varying rounded, polished spheres contains thirty-three different "marbles." Eleven are amber-hued glass, ten are moss agate, five are black porcelain, four are tiger's eye, two are gold, and one is moonstone. The condition of all but the porcelain marbles is excellent; the porcelain marbles are in poor condition. All but the gold spheres are 1/2-inch in size; the gold spheres each chime when handled and are 1-inch in size.

Appraised Value: 250 gp

Ignatius: Marbles? For what game? The number and type you found doesn't indicate anything except maybe a child's pastime, yet if all but the porcelain are in excellent condition they haven’t been roughly handled. And it has been awhile since someone has found meditation spheres. That's what those gold spheres are, Aletia.

Aletia: I didn't find anything to indicate a specific game—no marble boards or slotted pieces of wood. Nothing. Just the marbles and a small threadbare cloth bag stashed away in a cheap vase. Maybe something will turn up later? And meditation spheres?

Ignatius: If it does, describe it here. As for your question about meditation spheres: Hold both of them in one hand and maneuver them around each other. They should chime gently. I know of two orders of monks that craft and use these, but until I hear them I won't know which order created them. What caused you to look inside that particular vase?

Aletia: Well, the vase broke. I had a terrible time trying to find all the marbles, too. The slope of the stone floor in the cellar, where I found the vase, slopes downward to the northwest, by the way.

Ignatius: Broke? Aletia. And how did the marbles get out of the bag?

Aletia: We didn't know the vase was on the top of the bookcase down there. It fell when we shifted the bookcase. Plus the marbles weren't in the bag. I think the bag was under them or on top of them. I'm not sure. And books in a damp cellar room? What kind of idiot makes a decision like that? None of those books are worth a thing now, I'll have you know. All ruined. Such a loss. I'll compile a list of the ruined titles for you—at least the ones that aren't too damaged to figure out. Some turned into a strange brown goo. And they all smell horrible.

Ignatius: Aletia. Be more careful. Send me the vase shards in the first shipment. If it's worth something, you will hear of my decision regarding your carelessness. Next?

Astral Diamond Pendant and Chain: Introducing Currency and the Rules Compendium

The Rules Compendium takes the core rules for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and puts them in one handy spot for your referencing fun! As noted in our online product catalog: the book includes information on level advancement, combat, experience points, treasure, skills, equipment, and more. So, in terms of treasure, let's shoot right to the top in terms of currency: the astral diamond. You can find more about the astral diamond on page 296, but, to "fancy it up" a bit more, place the astral diamond pendant in your game somewhere mid-epic tier or higher. The unique clasp on the chain itself might make a hero wish to retain it for a different use (say, a different pendant with a more personal story attached to it) after she uses the astral diamond to buy that magic item she always wanted.

As for the purple hair in the clasp, you can always turn that into a means to introduce a unique NPC. Perhaps he or she is a bit of an attention seeker who wore it recently for an important social occasion. Maybe they lost the pendant after "borrowing" it from a friend or loved one. Have fun with the odd details upon occasion. They can make an NPC come to life in your game.

Astral Diamond Pendant and Chain

An octagon-cut astral diamond within a platinum setting hangs from a delicate 22-inch platinum cable chain necklace. The clasp of the chain is an S-hook clasp with an oval rainbow moonstone set within it. A strand of purple hair has been caught in the clasp.

Appraised Value: 100 pp, 600 gp

Ignatius: You've been saving this one, haven't you?

Aletia: Saving it? For what? The astral diamond itself is pretty standard, and the pendant setting is rather mundane, all told. The clasp is pretty nice.

Ignatius: So far, it's the highest value thing you've noted here. When did you find it?

Aletia: Well, early on. It just doesn't have much interest to me. Although, there was some purple hair stuck in the clasp. It appears to have been dyed that way—maybe fine white hair normally. That was the most puzzling thing about it. Who dyes their hair purple?

Ignatius: Purple hair, dyed or not, does not interest me. Please do focus on the more valuable items when you find them. Those paying for this trip would like to know they’re receiving value for the funds already put into this effort. I suspect, too, that you wish to distract me from the broken vase. I am not distracted. What's next?

Crystal Chalice of Kord: Introducing Kord and Heroes of the Fallen Lands

In Heroes of the Fallen Lands, you can choose to play a cleric of Kord, storm god and lord of battles. To further customize your cleric, take a look at the storm domain on page 109 and see what features and powers an initiate of the storm god can access. One of the utility powers, create water, allows you to fill a container with fresh, potable water. What better way to drink this water than with a chalice that features the symbol of Kord?

Although you don't need the chalice to use the power, it can serve as a plot hook for an adventure or minor quest featuring Kord (perhaps a temple recently had the chalice stolen and is providing a reward to those who return it). Or perhaps a player can use it as a character hook of sorts: His hero has been seeking the chalice after hearing about it; maybe it once belonged to a member of his family, or perhaps he had a vision from Kord stating that once he finds the chalice, Kord will grant insight into something important to the hero.

Crystal Chalice of Kord

A reticulated quartz crystal chalice features Kord's symbol in the platinum base. The carved crystal bowl is remarkably transparent, allowing the silver reticulation to show visibly and catch the light. The artisan who crafted the bowl found an excellent piece of crystal—with reticulation running vertically, it is suggestive of lightning, appropriate to the storm god. The ornate platinum base has a ring of ten square-cut dark blue sapphires around the bottom, and the traditional symbol of Kord—that of a sword with a crossguard of lightning held by a gauntleted fist—serves as the stem. Lightning bolts are also featured on elements of the base that hold the crystal bowl in place. The chalice is in excellent condition.

Appraised Value: 8,000 gp

Ignatius: That sounds like a remarkable item, Aletia. Make sure it doesn't get moved around and damaged in that storeroom of yours.

Aletia: I wouldn't worry about it, Master Booth. The thing is a chalice of Kord. Surely the storm god would smite the last breath out of anyone who dared damage it? Maybe send a few paladins our way on a holy quest to save the chalice from harm? Perhaps these worthies can poke around my storeroom and scare away any pesky poltergeists that are moving things around so indiscriminately? I think it's safe.

Ignatius: Aletia. You're being irreverent. Is that all?

Aletia: Of my irreverence? Probably not. But, yes, in terms of items. Are you sure you don't have any tips about that “things moving around” problem? And it is a problem, master.

Ignatius: I'm not there, Aletia. I have no sense of the room or the extent of your problem. Have that group I sent with you look the room over for creatures and perhaps even undead. Or secret rooms. Or—and this is more likely—watch them closely. Perhaps one of them isn't as trustworthy as he or she seems. Though none struck me as being idiotic enough to move things around just to do so. Nothing you've already added here is missing, correct?

Aletia: No, master. Things just got shifted, and randomly from what I can see. I'll check again, for the things you mentioned. This place might have a few secrets—there's so much disarray, though, it's hard to figure out if there could be secret passages and rooms.

Ignatius: No, master. Things just got shifted, and randomly from what I can see. I'll check again, for the things you mentioned. This place might have a few secrets—there's so much disarray, though, it's hard to figure out if there could be secret passages and rooms.

Aletia: Of course, master. I've been wearing it since I found it.

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