Eclipse d20 – Items of Mystery

Ernst Haeckel's "tree of life", Darw...

It’s a branch from WHAT?!

The blade glitters darkly, it’s dark metal seemingly filled with a myriad dark stars, anti-glints that swallow light rather than giving it up, cutting sharp holes in the light around it. It’s hand-guard is a broken Ouroboros, eternity struck down. It has a thousand names in as many tongues. In current English we might call it “Severance” – the first sword, the blade that divided timelessness from time, order from chaos and life from death. With this blade one might sever a soul from the cycle of life and death, leaving it a vestige of mortality, adrift between the worlds. You might divide a dark avatar from it’s god, a binding between two worlds, or set a creatures future free of it’s now-vanished past – but there is always a price.

The Mirror of Truth lies hidden in the darkness, veiled save in times of desperation, for mere mortals cannot bear too much of truth. What it will show when unveiled… it may show – and therefore seal – the truth of love for eternity. It may show a miser the folly of his ways, it may strip away disguises, or self-delusion, or call the Lord of Death to weep. For that matter it may show an incautious viewer the true depths of the universe, and so drive them to raving madness. Truth is as great and terrible a power as falsehood, and far harder to resist. A falsehood can be easily exposed, while the truth cuts deeply indeed.

The Staff of Shifting was carved long ago from a branch of the Tree of Life itself, and bears with it the mastery of forms… Any creature it touches may be restored to its original form, including healing amputations, maiming, and disfigurement. It might be evolved or changed, devolved, granted health and vitality – or be carried to the distant end of it’s life. With it one may shape new species – drawing upon the endless possibilities lost to the tree when one limb was taken from it, and the universe rendered poorer thereby. Of course, to wield it, one always risks transformation themselves – and more than would be master of life has fallen to the power of the Staff.

These are classic legendary magic items – devices with mysterious and unpredictable effects, limited only by their themes, rarely used due to the terrible dangers found in doing so, and of terrible potency. These are the things you haul out when all seems lost – and hope that the fates aren’t feeling too ironic today.

OK, how do you build items like this in Eclipse?

The basic structure is easy enough. Build a relic using Action Hero/Stunts, Specialized (Stunts must adhere to the devices theme) and Corrupted (Stunts always involve some sort of price or backlash) for Tripl e Effect. It doesn’t matter whether you triple the number of action points or have them have triple effect; the effects are virtually equivalent. If you like, throw in some notes on that – that the user has to know something of the items history, or perform some mighty deed to activate it, or whatever you please. That costs only 1 CP and – thanks to the limited number of uses that come with Action Hero and those nasty limitations – should be able to pull off all kinds of legendary feats.

Given that mighty relics usually cost 3-4 points, you can spend a couple more giving your legendary item some more practical uses.

  • For the Sword… how about two from among weapon enhancements via Imbuement, or Presence/Aura of Fear while drawn, or Major Favors/Death, or some such?
  • For the Mirror… how about something like Occult Sense/True Seeing (a major effect, so a limited number of uses for it) and Blessing (Can let those facing the mirror see what it reveals in them).
  • For the Staff… Perhaps a selection of Innate Enchantments to boost the possessor in various ways? Channeling with Conversion to a set of high-powered transformation spells? Why not?

That gives us… mighty items out of legend, with a few minor useful tricks associated with them and with some lesser powers that can be called on without much risk – and with enough in the way of mechanics to actually make them playable. Somehow, when it comes to magical items, that really does take me back.

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