Far Corners of the World
The Hidden Depths Below:
Magic Items of the Deep Underdark

By James Jacobs

The denizens of the Underdark are, as a whole, quite adept with the ways of magic. Even the least experienced drow or svirfneblen or duergar can use some form of magic, for example. Combined with the hostile nature of the environment, it should come as no surprise that a large number of magic items exist in the deep caverns below. The search for such unique and powerful items is perhaps the primary attraction the Underdark holds for surface explorers and adventurers. Presented here is a sampling of several items that have been created by the various races of the Underdark. In most cases, time has shrouded the source of these items, but they remain useful and much sought after commodities nonetheless.

Boots of the Xorn: The dark grey, thick leather boots of the xorn allow the user to pass through stone and earth as a xorn, which slides through the ground as easily as a fish swims through water. Your passage through stone leaves behind no tunnel or hole, and it does not create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing someone burrowing with these boots flings the wearer back 20 feet, stunning the wearer for 1 round unless it makes a Fortitude save against the spell.

The boots grant a burrowing speed of 20 feet. Activating the boots is a standard action, but they function for only 10 rounds once activated, and they can be activated only three times a day.

Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, meld into stone; Market Price: 48,000 gp; Weight: 1 lb.

Circlet of Self: For some reason, many denizens of the Underdark have potent mind-affecting powers. The mind blast of the illithids, the enslave power of the aboleth, and the confusing gaze of the umber hulk are excellent examples. The first circlets of self were invented to grant resistance to these attacks.

When worn, a circlet of self grants a +4 resistance bonus on all saving throws against mind-affecting attacks. If the wearer of the circlet makes a saving throw against a mind-affecting attack, he can choose as a free action to absorb the portion of the effect that would have normally affected his mind. Once a mind-affecting attack has been absorbed in this manner, it automatically protects the wearer from the next attack of an identical nature. This causes the absorbed energy in the circlet to vanish. The wearer cannot absorb a mind-affecting attack if one is already absorbed by the circlet, and the wearer cannot voluntarily purge an absorbed attack from the circlet. After protecting the wearer from such attacks 50 times, the circlet crumbles to dust.

Caster Level: 12th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Iron Will, resistance; Market Price: 40,000 gp; Weight: 1 lb.

Faceless Mask: A faceless mask looks like a shallow oval stone bowl with the inverted impression of a face on the inner surface. When held against the face of any creature, the mask adheres to the creature's face and bonds with it, erasing the creature's facial features (eyes, nose, ears, and mouth) completely. Removing a faceless mask is a full-round action that causes great pain (and 2d6 points of subdual damage).

Although the faceless mask robs the wearer of the ability to hear, see, smell, and taste, and prevents the use of any bite attacks, the benefits granted by the mask outweigh these disadvantages. The wearer is immune to all attacks that require sight, hearing, or a sense of smell (such as gaze attacks, most language-dependent spells, sonic attacks, a harpy's captivating song, darkness, and a ghast's nauseating stench). In addition, the wearer of the mask gains the blindsight ability to a range of 50 feet. Blindsight allows the target to maneuver and fight as well as a sighted creature. Invisibility and darkness are irrelevant to the creature, though blindsight does not allow the creature to notice ethereal beings. The creature does not need to make Spot or Listen checks to notice creatures within range of its blindsight ability.

Finally, as long as the mask is worn, the wearer is sustained without food, water, and air.

A faceless mask uses the eye lens/goggle magic item slot when worn.

Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, alter self, blindsight, create food and water, water breathing; Market Price: 74,000 gp; Weight: 1 lb.

Ring of Stone Mastery: The plain marble ring of stone mastery grants its wearer command and mastery over the stony tunnels of the Underdark. It functions properly only as long as the wearer is surrounded by stone, although the stone may be worked or unworked. When worn on the surface, the ring becomes horribly heavy, reducing the possessor's speed to one-half of normal.

While worn, the ring of stone mastery grants the stonecunning ability possessed by dwarves. If worn by a dwarf, the bonus from the ring and the racial bonus from being a dwarf stack. The ring also thickens and hardens the wearer's skin to a stone-like pallor and texture, granting a +3 natural armor bonus.

The ring of stone mastery also allows the wearer to use the following three powers once a day each: spike stones, stone tell, and sudden stalactite.

Also once per day, the wearer of a ring of stone mastery can summon a Huge earth elemental to do his bidding, as if by the summon nature's ally VII spell.

Caster Level: 13th; Prerequisites:spike stones, stone tell, sudden stalactite, summon nature's ally VI, Forge Ring; Market Price: 138,500 gp.

Sickstone: Sickstone isn't actually a magic item. Rather, it is a rare form of magic stone that exists in the deepest reaches of the Underdark. Some believe that sickstone occurs naturally, while others believe the stuff is a remnant from an ancient civilization that wielded terrible magic on the rocks to bring them to their will. In any case, large portions of the deep caverns are shot through with sickstone deposits, making a dangerous region even worse.

Sickstone is easily distinguished from normal surrounding rock and stone, since it glows with an unhealthy silvery-green glow. This glow provides illumination to a radius of 40 feet from the edge of the field of sickstone. Living creatures within this illumination are quickly seized with dizziness, nausea, and a lurking feeling of dread and oppression as the magical energies in the stone slowly start to leach out their life forces. Upon first entering the illumination area, a living creature must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 13) or suffer 1d2 points of temporary Constitution damage. This saving throw must be repeated every hour the creature remains exposed to sickstone aura. Creatures that are immune to disease are immune to the debilitating effects of sickstone.

Small amounts of sickstone (in isolated amounts of less than 50 pounds) do not inflict sickness in their area of illumination, but a living creature who comes in physical contact with any amount of sickstone must make the Fortitude save above to avoid suffering 1d2 points of temporary Constitution damage. Sickstone can be embedded into any bludgeoning weapon so that any living creature struck by the weapon must make the Fortitude save to avoid sickness. Note that the weapon's wielder must also save. Weapons made with fragments of sickstone cost an additional 2,000 gp to create.

Despite the amount of exposure, a creature is affected by sickstone only once per hour.

Apart from its glow and sickening aura, sickstone should be treated as normal stone, with the exception that natural sunlight causes it to crumble to chalky, inert powder in a matter of seconds if it fails a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15). Exposing a large vein of underground sickstone to sunlight via spells like sunbeam can cause a localized collapse if the sickstone fails to resist the attack.

The spell transmute rock to sickstone creates a field of powerful sickstone with a much stronger aura. This same technique is what gives the sickstone golem its enhanced aura as well. Raw sickstone is still dangerous, and many have been lured to its glow only to be slain by its emanations.

Sour (Magic Armor Special Ability): The sour magic armor special ability cannot be applied to shields. Sour armor exudes a horribly bitter taste that is quite unpleasant to all creatures. If a living creature makes a successful bite attack against someone wearing sour armor, the creature must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 14) or become nauseated for 1 round. If a living creature successfully swallows a target wearing sour armor, the creature automatically takes the next round to spit up the swallowed target (a full-round action) and must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 14) or become nauseated for 1d6 rounds. Sour armor provides no additional protection from damage caused by being bitten or swallowed, but it may cause creatures to avoid using such attacks against the target in the future.

Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Magical Arms and Armor, stinking cloud; Market Price: +1 bonus.

Sundisc: Surface travelers who found that certain denizens of the depths below could be combated with sunlight originally created sundiscs. A sundisc appears as a 6-inch diameter golden disc depicting a carving of the rising sun. Upon command, a sundisc glows with sunlight and provides illumination in a 60-foot radius. Creatures who suffer penalties in bright light suffer them while exposed to this magical light. If the sundisc is placed inside of or under a lightproof covering, the effect is blocked until the covering is removed. If a sundisc is brought into an area of magical darkness (or vice versa), the two effects temporarily negate each other so that the otherwise prevailing light conditions exist in the overlapping areas of effect. Once activated, the sundisc glows for 3 hours. Once this period expires, the sundisc crumbles to dust.

A glowing sundisc can be thrown as a grenadelike weapon (range increment of 10 feet). Upon impact, it detonates into a sunburst (as the spell). The sundisc is destroyed in this detonation.

Caster Level: 18th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, daylight, sunbeam, sunburst; Market Price: 19,800 gp; Weight: 3 lbs.

Violet Rod: A violet rod is a gnarly, dull purple-grey rod covered with vibrant purple nodules and tendrils. Those who have encountered violet fungi before can recognize the rod as a petrified violet fungus tendril. A violet rod can function as a rod of withering, so attacks with it are made as with a +1 light mace that deals no hit point damage. Instead, the wielder deals 1d4 points of temporary Strength damage and 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage to any creature touched with the rod (by making a melee touch attack). If the wielder scores a critical hit, the damage from that hit becomes permanent ability drain. The defender negates the effect with a Fortitude save (DC 14). Against plants, the violet rod does double the normal ability damage on a hit.

Three times a day, with the proper command word, the rod radiates an antiplant shell in a 10-foot radius, although this shell affects only fungi and not regular plants. Fungus creatures from the Monster Manual and the Monster Manual II affected by this antifungus shell include myconids, phantom fungi, shriekers, violet fungi, and the pale flenser from the previous article. Creatures composed of otherworldly fungus (such as the rukarazyll from the Monster Manual II) are not considered true plants, and as such are unaffected by this shell. Dangerous fungi such as yellow and brown mold are not forced back by the shell, but they are rendered inert and harmless as long as they are within the radius of the shell.

Finally, once a day you can command fungi (as command plants, but limited to fungi) by holding the violet rod aloft and verbally commanding the fungi to do your bidding.

Caster Level: 15th; Prerequisites: Craft Rod, antiplant shell, command plants, poison; Market Price: 71,000 gp.

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