March's Magic Item Compendium explores a number of new item types. The first three entries in this series discussed a few of the new types -- augment crystals, runestaffs, and magic item sets -- and provided examples and discussion of sample items from the compendium. The last installment will discuss how some of the items in the book can be used in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Of course, these items can just as easily be placed in the Eberron as well; we simply chose Forgotten Realms as one example of how to better introduce these items in the context of a campaign setting.
The easiest method of introduction may be to link new magic item types to ancient or lost magical traditions and empires. These include fallen Ammarindar, Netheril, Narfell, Imaskar, the Shoon Imperium, and the ancient elven kingdoms. Numerous other ancient empires kept hidden magics, most of which have been lost to the residents of current day Faerun. They might be unearthed by tomb raiders scouring the graves of ancient Illefarn, rediscovered by Halruaan elders researching recovered Netherese libraries, or collected from an unsealed network of Imaskari tunnels. Regardless of the source, ancient magics are constantly being revealed and recovered by intrepid adventurers and greedy grave robbers.
Provided below are a few examples you might use:
Nearly two thousand years ago, dwarven wizards studying at Xothol--the school of magic in Ammarindar--developed a new form of magical crystals to empower dwarven weapons and armor. They believed these would be vital in bolstering Ammarindar's armies against possible Netherese incursions. These crystals were meant to give the forces extra magic in their weapons and armors to thwart and circumvent Netherese assaults, but they never came into use. After the fall of Netheril, King Tormalk ordered the school magically sequestered until a time when it was needed. Before it was closed, however, one of the dwarven wizards, a greedy student known as Abathron Silvermelder, secreted some of the stones for further study.
Recently, some of Xothol's augment crystals have been rediscovered in the ruins of the dwarven city of Ascore. It seems unlikely that Abathron transported them there, given the disparity in time between the closing of Xothol and the fall of Netheril. A Shadovar expedition from the City of Shade discovered a cache of one hundred stones during an expedition to study the pyramids of Ascore. They had to trade more than a few when their party was surrounded by an overpowering Zhent caravan. Since then, the crystals have been dispersed across Faerun. When attending a nobel revel, for instance, visiting Halruaans made note of one of the crystals in the hilt of Alroy Adarbrent's blade. Two more of the crystals have made their way into the hoard of Amilektrevitrioelis, a mature adult blue dragon hoarder DrF. It is believed that "Amilek" may still have access to portals to Anauroch, and may have "acquired" the gems from the Shadovar during one of his forays into the desert.
Crystal of Mind Cloaking
This crystal is black as a clouded night sky.
A crystal of mind cloaking protects you against mental infiltration.
Least: This augment crystal grants you a +1 competence bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting spells and abilities.
Lesser: As above, except the crystal grants a +3 competence bonus.
Greater: As above, except the crystal grants a +5 competence bonus. In addition, if you fail a save against a mind-affecting spell or ability, you can choose to reroll the save as an immediate (mental) action. This ability functions once per day.
Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, resistance.
Cost to Create: 250 gp, 20 XP, 1 day (least); 2,000 gp, 160 XP, 4 days (lesser); 5,000 gp, 400 XP, 10 days (greater).
Crystals of mind cloaking were one of many armor crystals designed to protect dwarven forces from Netherese spells. Of the greatest fears of the dwarves, a tight knit and brotherly people, are spells that turn one against another. These crystals help to prevent an enemy caster from taking control or befuddling the mind of their wearers.
Deep Imaskar was founded by Ilphemon, a powerful wizard-lord of the Imaskari civilization. During that time, the wizard and his heirs created a number of powerful runestaffs to bolster their defenses against usurpation and betrayal. In the end, the staffs were not enough to defend Ilphemon's heirs against a coup by a cabal of necromancers. After Chaschara freed the city from tyranny, declaring herself Lady Protector of the Realm, it is believed that the staffs were lost--a casualty of the cabal's tyranny. Unbeknownst to the Imaskari, the staffs were secretly hidden in the treasure of family Shalphor, a greedy merchant family that secretly backed the coup.
Recently, The Great Seal, an enormous magical barrier blocking entrance into and out of Deep Imaskar, was broken, allowing a small number of Imaskari to sever ties to their homeland forever. One of the Imaskari who left was Gandar Shalphor, a merchant and sorcerer of middling power and incredible greed. Shalphor took his family's valuables in extradimensional storage devices, intent on selling the ancient magics to the outside world for exorbitant prices. He has since sold a large cache of the staffs to a caravan of elven settlers traveling to Cormanthor, as well as to a chartered Cormyrean adventuring group known as the Staves of Immersea.
Runestaff of Time
When you look at this staff, it becomes hard for your eyes to focus, as if the item is constantly blurring and shifting.
A runestaff of time allows you to cast any of the following spells (each once per day) by expending a prepared arcane spell or arcane spell slot of the same level or higher.
Prerequisites: Craft Staff, expeditious retreat, haste, temporal stasis, time stop.
Cost to Create: 17,500 gp, 1,400 XP, 35 days.
Under the guidance of wizard-lord Ilphemon, Deep Imaskari wizards created the runestaffs of time. They used these items to maintain a ready set of time-related spells for use in their experiments to halt the aging process. Part of the longevity of the race is probably due to their comprehensive use of these items.
In the beginning of his travels, Gandar Shalphor came across a band of moon elves on their way to Cormanthor. He sold a runestaff of time to the leader of the band, an adventurer by the name of Elrithian Taelethendri (CG male moon elf cleric 13 [Labelas Enoreth]). Elrithian hopes to use the staffs in his efforts to unravel a time stasis field surrounding the hidden resting place of the Arcstaff of Khavoerm, an ancient artifact of great power.
In addition to runestaffs, augment crystals, and set items (as described in the previous installment in this series), the Magic Item Compendium also has a number of other items. These include items for most of the standard and non-standard 20-level classes, as well as for characters that use psionics, incarnum, Tome of Magic material, and other sourcebooks. Following are a few items more from the Magic Item Compendium with brief discussions of how they might be included in a Forgotten Realms campaign.
The surface of this sphere seems to constantly flash with words in your native tongue, but you can't make out what they say.
Created by alienists (Complete Arcane, pg. 21) and other cultists who worship aberrant entities, an aberrant sphere allows its wielder to summon creatures from beyond space and time at the cost of a fraction of his own sanity. A sphere has 3 charges, which are renewed each day at dawn. Spending 1 or more charges causes the sphere to shatter, as it summons a particular kind of aberration, which appears anywhere within 30 feet of you and serves you (as summon monster I) for 7 rounds. You also take a penalty on your Will saves as long as the creature is present.
1 charge: Summons a choker; -1 penalty on Will saves.
At the end of the duration (or when the creature is destroyed), the sphere reforms in your hand (or at your feet if your hands are full) and the penalty on your Will saves disappears.
Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, summon monster IV.
Cost to Create: 1,400 gp, 112 XP
The aberrant sphere is one of the more minor of the many items and artifacts attributed to Zceryll, "the star-spawn," a strange extra-planar entity believed to communicate with alienists. At least two powerful scepters, one in the Well of Dragons and one buried under Unthalass, are also attributed to Zceryll; these items are believed to have had a significant effect on the Tiamatan agents searching for them and to have transformed the red dragon Arsekaslyx into a strange alien form of dragon. Most items related to the entity have one thing in common: wielders hear or see alien words, whispered or uttered by unseen beings--perhaps by Zceryll itself.
Chime of Harmonic Agony
This constantly vibrating silver chime is inscribed with bizarre, alien musical notes.
A chime of harmonic agony allows you to channel musical power through your own body to wreak harm on your enemies. When you activate the chime, you must spend one daily use of your bardic music ability and target a creature within 30 feet. The chime deals sonic damage equal to 3d6 + your Charisma modifier (Fort DC 16 half).
If you also wear a magic item that grants an enhancement bonus to your Constitution score, you can add the item's bonus to the damage dealt by the chime.
A chime of harmonic agony functions three times per day.
Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, shout.
Cost to Create: 1,550 gp, 124 XP, 4 days.
The chime or harmonic agony is a tool seemingly better suited for the Maiden of Pain's clergy than that of the Lady of Joy, but during the Time of Troubles nearly everything was turned on its head. When agents of Loviatar murdered Selgaunt's High Revelmistress Chlanna Asjros (a mortal lover of the Lady of Joy during this brief period), Llira became enraged. A group of militant Llirans known as "the Scarlet Mummers" now tours Faerun with their Lady's support, destroying agents of Loviatar in elaborate dances of pain. They frequently employ chimes of harmonic agony in a show of defiant irony, teaching the followers of Loviatar that true pain comes from the loss of love, not from a scourge.
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