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.
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.”
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.
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!
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!
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