Monday Morning Magic 003 – Abraxion’s Coin

In many ways wizards are a breed apart from humanity, in other ways they are just like us. They can have appetites and sometimes those appetites can prove to be expensive.

Many years ago, Abraxion was one such individual. He was the chief wizard of a growing town – soon to be a city in a newly civilised vale. Magically powerful, emotionally lustful and egotistically full of himself Abraxion led a lavish lifestyle paid for by his many patrons; even though most found his rather pompous attitude wearisome. Then a young wizard named Beritz showed up in town and offered similar services to the chief wizard; but at half the cost and without the attitude.

The chief wizard’s patrons flocked to this newcomer, but the chief wizards lavish lifestyle continued unabated. Consequently, money became tight and eventually turned into debt. As his debt mounted Abraxion started to chance his luck and gamble, first in high-quality establishments and then in less respectable places.

These locations were warded to keep the games free from magical influence, but this didn’t stop Abraxion trying to enhance his luck; but nothing worked. Finally, one night in a drunken fit of misplaced rage and anger he created a summoning pentagram and threw all his magical might into powering a summoning spell. His target – Lady Luck herself.

In a burst of arcane energy and flame, that destroyed his workshop. but amazingly (luckily?) left him alive, a figure appeared in the centre of the pentagram. It was a hooded and veiled woman cloaked in pale blue with dark blue arcana fire flickering and rising around her. The lace veil before her eyes was a darker midnight blue and seemed to reflect the firelight as if made of metal.

Motionlessly she gazed down upon Abraxion lying in the shattered remains of the room. Crawling forward to the edge of the pentagram he began alternatively berating her for abandoning him and begging her to intercede in his fortunes.

For long moments, he raged and begged before, with the faintest nod of her head, she extended her right arm and, opening her hand, dropped a silver coin at his feet. The coin bounced once showing the veiled head of a lady on one side and a grilled gate or portcullis on the other.

In his distraction of retrieving the coin, Abraxion took his eyes off the lady. As such, it was several minutes before he realised she had vanished.

Chuckling to himself Abraxion staggered from his ruined tower and headed straight to the last gambling den that he was welcomed in. Upon entry, he went straight to the high stakes table and joined in a game of cards.

Time wore on and despite holding the coin, rubbing it and even kissing it, his misfortune grew. Betting more than he owned, including a fake copy of the deeds to his tower (he had already lost the real deeds in a game of chance the week before) he entered into a final round.

He lost.

His opponent, a hobgoblin general demanded payment, Abraxion paled, he was lost. And then it dawned on him. He had commanded Lady Luck to appear and bend to his will. He had applied all of his skills and magic to summoning her. The coin was the answer. He proposed a final bet. Winner takes all, with his life thrown into the bargain.

The hobgoblin general examined the coin for trickery then grunted acceptance. A single coin toss – heads Abraxion won, the gated side and the general won.

The gambling den fell silent, everyone watching the wizard hesitate, weighing the coin in his hand. Onlookers swear that slivers of doubt were visible on his face before his normal arrogance and ego asserted itself and he tossed the coin high in the air.

The silver coin glittered in the candlelight as it rose and fell before being caught in Abraxion’s right hand and palmed down onto the back of his left. There was a pause and then as Abraxion lifted his hand and saw the gated side looking up at him everyone heard a female voice whisper “There is more than one kind of luck.”

Item Description

This item is a magic coin which confers either good or bad luck to an individual.  Not unique there are more than one of these in circulation and as such they are referred to as ‘An Abraxion coin” although not everyone knows the history if the item.

It always has the face of a veiled lady on one side with the counter side varying but usually depicting a grated gate or cage. When tossed, the coin confers positive luck when it lands on the portrait side and bad luck when the grated side. That luck lasts for approximately an hour.

The coin often catches out the owner unaware, who believe that it only provides good luck. It is those people, who are more ignorant of the ways of the universe, who tend to suffer the harshest downfalls from this item.

 Mechanically – Generally this should provide the option to reroll failed dice rolls when positive and reroll successful rolls when negative – but only once per roll. For example, if I roll and fail, I can reroll that first failure. Should I fail again then tough luck!

5th edition Dungeons and Dragons

I think this could be easily reproduced in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons by providing advantage on all rolls for a period of time – 5 minutes to an hour. Should that be deemed too powerful then all skill checks but not combat rolls. That said, give it could provide disadvantage on the gated side there is an inherent risk!

The coin itself should have a one use a day power limit.

4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

 In 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, I’d suggest either a +4 to all rolls for an encounter or for an hour.

And this would be a daily item power.

 Editor’s note

 I would like to mention that I saw the idea for this coin somewhere online recently. Sadly, I can’t remember the source, or I would happily credit. I had been working on a collection of magic items that have random outcomes – due out in 2018 – and whilst doing some research came across the elegantly simple idea of a two-headed coin that confers either good or bad luck.

I had forgotten about that until I was halfway through writing the story of the item, but I suspect that it was lurking in my subconscious from somewhere and I do like to give credit where it’s due. If by some chance someone reading this has produced such an item then do let me know in the comments!

Image

The image was the closest I could find to fit the story! It comes the generous hands of Kellepics who shares his work for free on pixabay.

Until next, happy gaming!

Stephen

Chief Scribe

@thegrinningfrog

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    

More via our published items page here 

Monday Morning Magic 002 – The Sister’s Answer

Legend tells us that a long time ago in a desert land, two squabbling sisters led rival factions in the royal court. They were almost identical to look at save for one had jet black hair and the other red hair that glowed in the sun. Eventually, tired of their machinations and scheming, the court wizard cursed them both to take the form of sphinxes.

They retained some aspects of their original forms including their lions tail fur matching the sister’s original hair colours.

The curse further compelled them to act as a true sphinx and pose riddles to travellers. Should the travellers be unable to solve the riddles then the sisters would be compelled to slay the unfortunate traveller. The wizard decreed that the curse would only be lifted when the sisters worked together, and a traveller succeeded in passing by both of them.

Time passed, and the body count grew. Whilst some travellers would get past the first sister they all failed at the second (who had always been the trickier and more devious of the two).

Eventually the first sister (who many say was the brightest of the two) came up with a plan. They both knew riddles, that knowledge had come with their transformation, and they could solve each other’s riddles with ease. They were forbidden to directly answer each other’s riddles in front of a traveller, indeed they were forbidden to meet the same traveller at the same time, but the first sister had a plan.

Travelling by night they watched and waited for many days before they spotted a lone witch on the roads. Following her secretly they observed her performing powerful magic in the aid of fellow travellers that she encountered on the road.

The sisters put their plan into action and the second sister, the trickiest one, went on ahead to wait at the next mountain pass.

That evening, the first sister appeared before the travelling witch and challenged her to solve a riddle. She did so with ease but rather than passing on immediately she stayed with the sister for many hours. Passers-by reported seeing magic lights and sounds coming from the dell that the witch and the sister occupied.

Hours later, under a cold, clear, dessert sky the witch travelled on and encountered the second sister. The riddle was hard, almost impossibly so. Time passed, and the sister felt the rage coming on as she felt the witch was unable to answer. Then, with a smile, the witch lifted her head and gave the correct answer in a voice that sounded a little like the first sister. The curse was lifted, and the second sister felt herself transform back to her real self.

The witch stayed with her during the transformation and afterwards during the night. In the morning, the first sister walked into camp and the sisters were reconciled. The witch bade them well and continued on her way. It was at that point that the second sister noticed the unusual bracelet on the witch’s arm made of red braided hair which twinkled in the sunlight.

Item description

Made from sphinx main hair infused with magic this item typically takes the form of a braided bracelet. The braids often appear to shimmer and sparkle in the light.

More refined versions have been made into rings or metal bracelets with the hair inlaid in the metal.

It enables the wearer to, once per day, solve any one riddle or puzzle. When used the wearer often appears to be speaking in a voice that is not their own – almost as if they are channelling some unseen presence.

The riddle or puzzle does not have to be verbal, a practical puzzle or contraption (such as a mechanical trap) can also be solved. In that instance, the item enables the wearer to know how to solve the puzzle but it does not facilitate them physically overcoming it. That they need to do themselves!

 

Monday Morning Magic 001 – Charm of Soliri

Charm of Soliri

Soliri was an eladrin fey witch and the daughter of a minor royal house. Her mother died in child birth and her father was a strict man with lofty ambitions for the future of their house. When her father discovered that she had been seeing a drow ambassador’s son and was considering eloping with him, she was confined to a remote tower and forbidden to receive visitors for a year. The solitude would, her father stated, help teach her the importance of keeping the right company.

Knowing the futility of begging for her freedom, her only request was that she be allowed to take into the tower a figurine of a cat that had belonged to her mother. Seeing no harm in it her father acquiesced.

Many would have gone mad under such confinement but Soliri was as strong willed as she was independently minded. And she had a plan. She laboured over her spells and enchantments and on the third month an explosion of magical energy was seen to come from the top of the tower. The guards investigated and found Soliri unconscious on the floor surrounded by the ruined remains of a magical workshop.

Whilst her wounds were tended, the workshop was cleared out, and all magical contents destroyed. Her father came to see her to find her in bed recovering, cradling the figurine of the cat. He fiercely forbade her to practise her arts until her captivity was complete before taking his leave of her. To his surprise Soliri agreed to this new restriction without protest, all the while stroking the figurine of the cat in her hands.

It is said that when the time came for her to leave her tower she strode out, confident and alert followed by a beautiful black cat with stardust shimmers in its fur. Other versions of the story say that in fact two cats left the house. Whatever the truth, it is well known that Soliri never returned home but that there were many sightings of an eladrin fey witch and a drow noble travelling the countryside often accompanied by a beautiful black cat.

This magic item comes in the shape of a cat ornament in either obsidian or similar dark material. When the activation – (command word spoken, and the figurine’s head and belly rubbed) an apparition of a beautiful black cat appears within 5 feet of the ornament.

The cat mews loudly and is playful and attentive, seeking attention from anyone in the room. It can be touched and feels like a real cat.

The apparition lasts for 1d4 x 5 minutes. At the end of that time it slowly fades away purring loudly. Once used the power cannot be used until the following day.

Monday Morning Magic is a new series of articles that provide a free magic item, monster or other creation every Monday Morning!

They will be system free.

Enjoy and happy gaming!

Stephen

Chief Scribe, @thegrinningfrog

Like Magic Items? Free items via the previews – simply click the image:

 

Sneak Peak – 20 Seashore Magic Items

In Britain, we have a real tradition for rushing to the seashore when the faintest glimmer of sun peaks out from behind the clouds.

In fact, I was there last weekend – suitably wrapped up against the bracing wind that was blowing off the north sea! Ah well, it was sunny and the fish and chips tasted good!

With a summer theme running in my head I have put the final touches to the next publication to come out from The Grinning Frog:

20 Seashore Magic Items!

I mention in my introduction, in the publication, that I think this is a sometimes neglected terrain location to run adventures in. And what a shame that is. The ocean and seashore is a rich source of the fantastical and wonderful – and that’s in the real world, never mind dungeons and dragons!

I have taken some real effort to ensure that there is a wide range of magic items from simply helpful to out of this world powerful!

At the more common level, we have items such as the Shell of Messaging which enable you to magically record a message into a seashell. It can then be set to play the message at a specific time or in response to a specific trigger such as a specific person picking up the shell.

I’d like to think that it might be handy to use when leaving clandestine messages when spying, to share romantic notes with a particular loved one or be a means to give a story clue to a party who stumble over a recording made by someone they are investigating.

At the other end of the spectrum is the God Stone. Now, this is, as the name might suggest, a stone which literally, (if you are high enough level and preferable in the right location) lets you summon either the avatar of a god or a god itself!

If the god, or its avatar, appears (there are no guarantees with this item) then you suddenly have some real firepower at your side and for any high level aquatic based adventure it’s going to make for a really cool quest objective or be a very powerful ‘get out of jail card’ for when the players really need some help.

The help isn’t guaranteed of course and you need a little luck and ideally to be in the right location to activate the most powerful aspects of the stone. If you are a dwarf, down a mineshaft dug into a desert a hundred miles from the nearest coast line then it’s going to be a lot harder to summon a god of the sea. That reality is built into the summoning table. And yes, being a different race can affect the likelihood of your ability to summon a sea god …

So, here’s a glimpse of the inside of the publication – I have to say I am really pleased with how it looks and I think it’s my favourite cover that The Grinning Frog has produced so far!

The 20 magic items are as follows and you can see the rarity indicated after the item name:

  1. Shell of Messaging, uncommon
  2. Shell of Announcing, uncommon
  3. Octobag, rare
  4. Anchor of Time, rare
  5. Anchor Weight, uncommon
  6. Kiss of the Sea, uncommon
  7. Sand of Revealing, uncommon
  8. Shield of Brachyura, uncommon
  9. The God Stone, artefact
  10. Breast Plate of Many Shells, uncommon
  11. Coral Diadem, rare
  12. Lobster claw gloves, unusual
  13. Pseudomorph ink cloud, unusual
  14. Aquam Amor Staff, rare
  15. Aquatic Rod, very rare
  16. Electric Eel Coat, unusual
  17. Cry of the Gull, uncommon
  18. Saltwater Tonic, uncommon
  19. Turtle Talisman, unusual
  20. Giant Deep-Sea Turtle Talisman, very rare

In the publication are included full descriptions, short narrative histories and stats for the items.

The first two will be available via the free preview just as soon as the publication has been approved and uploaded by the drivethrurpg staff.

I will edit this article and link to the document just as soon as it’s available!

EDIT – Available now with the first two items free via the preview!

So I think it’s time you all took your players off to the seaside!

Enjoy, and until next time; happy gaming!

Stephen Hart
Chief Scribe