Features Archive | 8/25/2010
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Treasure Options
Estate of Deveron, Part 2
By 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! Continued from Part 1.


Estate of Deveron: Inventory

Appraiser: Journeyman Aletia Cromley

Under Direction of Master Appraiser Ignatius Booth

You’d think that after figuring out duties equitably, that these people you sent with me wouldn’t bicker. But they do. A lot. It’s like the worst combination of an old-married couple , village politics, and a military tribunal all rolled up in one ongoing petty squabblefest. The next time I do this, I want to help choose the group, master.

Aletia.

Yes? Oh. Yes. The items. Check out my notes below… I’m not sure what to do about two things.

White Gold Pendant with Crystal and Seed

The Crystal and the Seed: Introducing the Forest Ridge and Dark Sun Campaign Setting

Though you can use this treasure item in any campaign, if you want to tailor it to Dark Sun Campaign Setting, you can implement the following lore checks to add a bit of interactive fun to your game.

Nature DC Moderate: The crystal does come from a crystallized plant and originates from the Crystal Forest. The seed is that of a carnivorous plant that is common to the Forest Ridge.

Nature DC Hard: The crystallized plant shard was also once a carnivorous plan—the same plant that will sprout from the seed.

A white gold oval pendant dangles from a 20-inch wheat chain (also of white gold). The pendant is 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1 inch deep, and a design of flowering vines winds its way around the pendant. A well-crafted hinge clasp can be opened with a simple press of the finger to reveal an inner compartment. Within this compartment is a sliver of dark brown crystal and a pale yellow seed.

Appraised Value: 1,500 gp

If you know the maker of the pendant, you could possibly figure out the seed and crystallized plant matter.

It’s pretty ordinary—a common enough pendant from about seventy years ago, I’d say. It isn’t of the original designer’s make, but is a lookalike with no jeweler’s mark.

Then you might luck out and determine the crystal based on the seed. That’s not a given, however. We might need to consult someone on that. Add it to the items you intend to send here for further research.

Yes, sir. Here’s the next one. It’s another crystal, but I don’t know its purpose.

Introducing the Twilight Dreamers and Psionic Power

If you’re using psionics in your game and wish to introduce a group of primarily evil-oriented ardents, adding the Twilight Dreamers might be what you seek. As Psionic Power explains, various cabals are affiliated to demons, devils, and even horrors of the Far Realm. The symbol on the copper frame could indicate a specific cabal of Twilight Dreamers, and the item itself might be a way of viewing messages—perhaps the players find a strange note that makes no sense when viewed by the naked eye, but when you place the crystal on it and center the X on a specific mark, a secret message is revealed that leads the group into a new adventure or side trek that pits them against the cabal of Twilight Dreamers.

Amber-Hued Rutilated Crystal

An amber-hued, rutilated crystal is set within a circular copper frame. The crystal 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. The ebony rutilations cross each other to form a dark X in the middle of the circle. The copper that frames the crystal has an unusual structure—it has no pattern but instead seemingly random bulbous protrusions that jut from it. Each protrusion is smooth, but the copper between them is unusually rough, almost grainy in feel. The copper appears to be freshly polished. A small symbol has been etched into a valley between the two closest protrusions: It looks like a child’s drawing of a cloud with a goat’s eye in it.

Appraised Value: 200 gp

That symbol is one I’ve run across before this, Aletia. A cabal of the Twilight Dreamers focused on devils uses it.

Why would an item they marked be here? And in such good condition?

That is something we don’t need to address.

I don’t know about that. If I were going to take this place over after an inventory and clean-up job, I’d want to know why certain items were here.

So noted. If those who sought our services want to find this out, they will do so. Our job is to inventory the items. As I’ve written and said. Several times. Next item, please.

Introducing Lalali-Puy’s Nganga Templars and Dark Sun Creature Catalog

The witch doctors of Lalali-Puy have statistics in the Dark Sun Creature Catalog, introduced in a small way with this particular necklace. When doubled-up and used as part of a series of necklaces, this basic necklace adds a touch of color to both the NPC and to any treasure stash you might want to introduce. As a result, you should feel free to have multiple strands if you want to bulk up a treasure trove. Though it is more of a trinket, the necklace might come into play when a player uses it to add visual depth to his or her player character by having the PC wear it. It can even provide an adventure hook should the group run into a nganga templar. Perhaps the necklace was once worn by a nganga’s former judaga compatriot and includes a distinctive trophy (perhaps the one described in the item’s description) in its design—and the nganga does not appreciate the necklace on the current wearer. This owner could be an NPC that the player characters are sworn to protect at all costs.

To determine the nature of the bone, you could call for a Nature check (DC hard). It could be a small bone from a fierce animal that few successfully hunt, or from the original owner’s former worst enemy.

Turquoise and Onyx Beaded Necklace with Trophy

A series of beads of varying sizes are stranded on a sinew cord. The necklace is 40 inches long, and for every 4 onyx rounded beads there is 1 rough turquoise bead. No bead is larger than an eighth of an inch, and many are smaller than that. The quality of work on the beads is rough, possibly crafted by an artisan in an isolated tribe or by an apprentice. A piece of bone and a serrated green crystal shard are wrapped together with sinew and dangle from the necklace.

Appraised Value: 10 gp

Out of everything there, you chose to include a trinket, Aletia? Are there not higher priority items? Have you not been sorting according to initial value? In any case, what type of bone is it?

I don’t know what the bone is, unfortunately. It’s not from any domesticated creature that I know. And I’ve been sorting according to my own priorities, master, plus I’ve been handling various disputes with the group you sent with me. This one caught my eye because, well, the crystal actually bit me.

Bit you? That seems unlikely, Aletia.

So it does. I found it while I was pulling things out from under a chest. The crystal is serrated in one section, as I noted above.

Yes, I understand that. Next item?

Introducing Sarhan, Templar of Hamanu, and Marauders of the Dune Sea

Marauders of the Dune Sea is a Dark Sun adventure for 2nd-level characters, and Sarhan is featured in Encounter T1: Streets of Tyr. To add a bit of local-to-Sarhan flavor to his treasure, place the small pot of unguent within his treasure in place of 20 gp. The pot itself could have been crafted by an artisan from Urik, and the material within it could be something as mundane as balm for lips or cracked skin. Whether you wish to use the item in the Dark Sun setting or another setting, you can add a lore check to determine the substance’s purpose (and change the substance to suit your purposes).

Small Unguent Pot

This delicate, small, well-crafted rounded pot features earth tones and a stripe of bright red running around its center. It holds about an ounce of waxy substance that has a slight scent of mint and flecks of what could be gold within it. The lid fits snugly and is also bright red.

Appraised Value: 20 gp

What is the substance?

Possibly lip balm? I’m not going to try it.

Lip balm? With gold flecks?

You’ve not seen what some folk do to make themselves attractive. Or waste money.

I have, actually, but that’s neither here nor there. How delicate is the pot? Could it make a journey here?

That depends on the journey. Yes, I think it can. The pot is full of the waxy stuff, and the lid is snug. I can wrap it up to ensure that it doesn’t break, I believe.

Do that. I’m curious to find out what the substance is. At the very least, it will need to be cleaned out if it’s something vile.

If that’s real gold in there, you might consider keeping that somehow, but I didn’t include the substance as part of the appraisal price.