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5th Edition and Cormyr: Flexing My Idea Muscle and Thinking Out Loud

XGtE Magic Item Backstories set in Cormyr. Item the Sixth: Cast-Off Armor

OK. Next up, our friend Xanathar has given us Cast-Off Armor, from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

I figure not every item needs a description involving accidental enchantments or temporary inherited traits, so let’s stick with Cormyr lore to inform each magic item's backstory, and use the other stuff when it seems appropriate.


• Wherever warriors wear armor, there comes first the business of putting the armor on, and later taking it off. This takes time.

• Cormyr is no exception. The armorers of the Forest Kingdom are accomplished crafters of leather, cloth, chain and plate, as are the tailors, for whom the task of creating durable, easy to use straps, padding and belts to securely fasten armor to its intended wearer. This has standardized the process, at least for the Purple Dragons, and allows for some interchangeability if a Dragon is in a hurry to get armored up.

”Trust your armor. Trust your sword. Save the magic for the wizards.” These words are taught to young Purple Dragons in training.

• Magical Armor—even with minor enchantments—isn’t something most Purple Dragons wear. Officers of the Purple Dragons (Lionars, Onrions, Constals, Overswords, Battlemasters, etc.) might have an enchantment or two on their armor, to ward off magical attacks or allow for brief communication over great distances.

• Even then, the business of donning and doffing armor isn’t something most Dragon officers want given over to the War Wizards and their magic. The time spent donning one’s armor is a moment to reflect, to focus, and to think about the day (or the battle) ahead. It’s a ritual, but requires no magic.

• Armor-wearing adventurers go through a similar ritual. But most of them don’t mind magic. On the contrary, they’ll take whatever magic they can get.

• They like to wallow in the mud like pigs, too. (Really, they do.) Any veteran adventurer will tell you the last thing you want is to be traipsing through a place like the Hullack Forest in armor that’s clean as freshly drawn steel, for your foes will see you coming—even in the middle of night, when a stray moonlight reflection can mean the difference between catching foes like orcs unawares, or catching an orc spear in your throat. Better to be dirty and live another day.

• Now, unless you’ve been trained since childhood to wear armor (like the orphans given over to the Shrine of Swords in Archendale [Tempus]), sleeping in armor can leave an adventurer sore and tired upon awakening. Some adventurers wear their armor anyway, for fear of an ambush.

• There’s an advantage to be had, then, if one’s armor can be donned in an instant. This way an adventurer can sleep more or less comfortably, and call upon their armor should the party be attacked during a rest period.

• There is just such a suit of armor available within Dunshield’s Arms and Armors, based in Arabel, for a small ransom.

• Far cheaper, however, are the three suits of armor (type to be determined by the DM) that work in reverse. These are suits of Cast-Off Armor.

• Auntiver Dunshield, sole proprietor of Dunshield’s, is selling these suits for cut-rate prices: 75 gp each, plus the standard rate for the given armor type. (See the PHB, page 145 for armor prices.)

• Should a buyer be interested in a little headhunting, Auntiver is offering the pick of his arms and armors for the capture and return of the adventurer mage who’d sold Auntiver the four sets of magical armor after claiming all four worked the same.
 
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Inert Magic Items (IMI)

Let's ponder the idea of Inert Magic Items.

That is, magic items that require some sort of spell to be cast on them in order to function normally.

Here we go.

• First off, the rules for attuning to magic items sort of cover the idea of Inert Magic Items already, since a character can't access some or all of the powers of a given item if it requires attunement (DMG p.136,138). Ditto if the character isn't the right class called for in the magic item's description.

• Magic item Quirks (DMG p.143) would seem to cover this idea, too. For example, a magical tome that must be read to before it can be opened. Or an item with the Hungry quirk, that requires the application of fresh blood to function.

• Fresh blood isn't the sort of thing you'd expect Wizards of War to be applying to certain of their magic items every day, just to be able to use them. On the contrary, you'd expect the war wizards to try and impose some sort of security on their arsenal of magic so that only trusted mages can use certain magic items.

• Where's the fun? I think it'd be a surprise for a group of characters to learn that the swords of Purple Dragon officers of a certain rank are Inert Magic Items. The swords may already have active magical properties, but in cooperation with a war wizard, a spell can be cast to turn the sword into a Luck Blade (no Wishes, just the +1 bonus to attacks, damage and saves).

• Should the party recover such a sword, there might be a reward for returning it. Conversely, the characters could try to figure out what the spell is to awaken the sword's powers. If they succeed, then they have access to it each day so long as someone in the party can cast that spell.

• This wouldn't be something for a group of players new to the game to encounter. Better to introduce an item like this to veteran players that have played in a few campaigns and know the rules by heart. To such a group, the introduction of a variation/wrinkle in the rules ought to be well received, or at least provide a point of added interest to the current campaign.

• Another possibility are pieces of armor worn by everyday (non-officer) Purple Dragons that happen to be Inert Magic Items. These items are made to function only when touched by a spellcaster that casts a certain spell, and then to provide a minor benefit that lasts until the end of the day or when used up.

• For example, the cantrip Blade Ward gives the mage who casts it resistance against bludgeoning, piercing and slashing attacks made by weapons until the end of their next turn. However, if the mage touches one of the special pieces of armor (the spell only requires V, S, so the mage has a hand free), then the Purple Dragon wearing that piece of armor (a bracer, for example) gains resistance to the three listed attack forms for one melee attack only, until the end of the day.

• Alternatively, the mage draws the sigil of warding required by the spell on the piece of armor. Regardless, the Inert Magic Item worn by the Purple Dragon is fashioned to draw the defensive magic created by the cantrip into itself, in effect making itself the target of the spell.

• This way a Purple Dragon might survive a surprise attack (stabbed in the back, say, or a crossbow bolt fired from the shadows) and have a chance to fight back or take cover now that their magical defense has been used up.

• This gives more utility to cantrips without breaking the game in my opinion. I think this idea adds some flavor to the campaign setting, too.

What say you?
 
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XGtE Magic Item Backstories set in Cormyr. Item the Seventh: Charlatan’s Die

Xanathar gambles to win: Charlatan’s Die, from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

• A test for apprentice clerics (aka: underpriests) of Tymora: keep on their person for a year one die crafted to obey their will.

• The lure of gambling is a strong one. Games of chance are played in Cormyr just like everywhere else in the Realms. Tymora is called upon, sometimes, by gamblers.

• Temptation creeps up on young clerics equipped with the means to affect the outcome of games that award coins aplenty to the winner. Gambling houses are frequented by underpriests as much as anyone else in Cormyr, but not all underpriests make such visits while dressed in their priestly garb.

• Senior priests (“overpriests”) and wise old Cormyrean gamblers are no stranger to each other in Arabel, where the former has long partnered with the later to entice apprentice clerics to set aside the tenants of their faith.

• Senior priests are alerted by means of their magic when a Charlatan’s Die is used by one of the underpriests in their care.

• Underpriests that fail such tests find themselves subject to confrontation, then chance.

• First, they are stripped of their holy symbol. Then their winnings are confiscated and the soon-to-be-punished cleric is made to choose one coin from his or her ill-gotten gains.

• Second, the coin is flipped by the overpriest. If the coin lands with the face of Cormyr’s ruling monarch up, the underpriest is made to perform one month of hard labor, plus a number of days equal to the number of physical coins won, but never more than three months. This work is done in and around the Lady’s House, or in Arabel proper by joining Crown work gangs for the day.

• If the coin lands with the face of “Old Vangey” up, then the underpriest is made to undergo solitary confinement for eight hours a day, and is otherwise confined to the temple for the duration (same number of days as above).

• Regardless of punishment, the underpriest is made to keep their Charlatan’s Die in a simple pouch strung around their neck for the duration.

• Should they invoke the power of the die while under punishment, they are expelled forever from the Lady’s House in Arabel.

• As one might expect, there are Charlatan’s Dice circulating in Cormyr. Overpriests sometimes cast spells that alert them whenever the magical properties of a lost Charlatan's Die is activated (provided the overpriest helped to craft that specific magic item). They also know spells that allow them to know where each die was last used.
 
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XGtE Magic Item Backstories set in Cormyr. Item the Eighth: Cloak of Billowing

Xanathar breaks wind: Cloak of Billowing, from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

Permit me a little bit of doggerel, ere we get started:

At night beneath the Moon and Stars,

Pirates and swanmays dance.

Faerie dragons deliver drinks,

Centaurs cavort and prance.


• The chime of harp strings wanders out from the Sounds of Joy, temple to Lliira in Waymoot town.

• The harp song prances and cavorts along the hard trodden ground, dancing under the doors of The Old Man and The Cup and Spoon.

• In The Silver Wink, the harp song tickles bare ankles and climbs up boots to tickle legs and knees. In The Moon and Stars, the harp song dangles from dress flounces, sometimes swinging back and forth like children.

• Back outside, and all throughout Waymoot town, harp song finds storm cloaks and winter coats to play with.

• Stand still when you hear the temple music, and your cloak will billow and furl. Take a step and your cloak will wiggle and unfurl.

• In The Moon and Stars, tired eyes born in other lands look wearily at aching feet come alive with the urge to move. Their owners startle when old hands clap them on the shoulder, and the grizzled voice of an ex-adventurer declares, ”Nothing to fear. Tis the Song of Joy come a calling. Dance if you like. Sit if you don’t. You’re in no danger here.”

• A creature that hears the harp song may spend a bonus action to still the tingling in their feet and legs.

• For as long as the song plays, a creature may cause their cloak to billow about in dramatic fashion, in the manner of a Cloak of Billowing.

• Within the temple, music is played every hour of every day by Joydancers (priests of Lliira) and acolytles. The Song of Joy takes no specific form; it has no sheet music. It just is.

• Once per day the music finds its way out of the temple. Should the music come in the morning hours before sunrise, creatures may well find themselves dancing in their dreams.

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 12.20.43 PM.png
(Ye'll find Waymoot on the left.)
 
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The Broken Blade

A sword that just can't keep it together.

********

1. A longsword of elvish make—not that this means the sword is terribly fancy. The longsword is straight, it carries a sharp edge on both sides, its width does not vary, the cross-guard is one sturdy piece of metal, the grip is suitably grippable for repeated one-handed swinging and parrying, and the pommel is carved to resemble a howling wolf’s head without being gaudy or presenting the wielder with difficulty when fighting for his life.

2. The Blade's natural state is to be in several pieces scattered all over Cormyr. The reason why has never been learned. What is known is that heating the pieces up in a forge fire causes them first to vibrate, then to fly about, ricocheting madly off of walls, tools and anvils, until they burry themselves in something soft (flesh, wood, clothing) or the pieces cool down.

3. The wolf’s head design for the pommel is not unique. The style first became popular among nobles and adventurers in Cormyr around 360 DR, the design being “rediscovered” every century or so and finding its way onto newly crafted swords and daggers.

4. From the time of its acceptance within Cormyr, the Church of Malar has always claimed the the wolf’s head design for itself. Any priest or lay follower of the Beastlord will readily tell you that to see a snarling wolf’s head attached to the grip of a blade is a sure sign The blade’s owner is a follower of the Beastlord (this of course isn't always true).

5. The howling wolf's head is one piece of the Broken Blade. The remainder of the longsword can be found in chunks: the grip in two pieces, the cross-guard in three (the middle portion of the cross-guard includes part of the sword blade), the remainder of the blade in eight.

6. All sorts of rumors and legends surround the Broken Blade, including who’s owned it and for how long, under what conditions the blade can be reassembled, how to identify pieces, and the circumstances that shattered the blade without destroying it.

7. The last instance of the Broken Blade being wielded was in the year 1268 DR. According to the sage Crimmorn (specialties include active adventuring bands, their rosters and areas of operation, and adventurer lore dating back to about 1200 DR), a member of the Band of Bold Reavers wore a second longsword on his hip that had a wolf’s head pommel. This Reaver never drew the blade, but had a habit of kissing the wolf’s head and whispering to it. He proved impossible to sneak up on and slay; the blade would launch itself out of the scabbard and attack anyone seeking catch the adventurer

8. Whereas Crimmorn believes the Broken Blade was paired with a special scabbard, into which one must “feed” pieces of the Blade and then cap it with the parts comprising the hilt, most sages believe the Broken Blade need only be assembled as the pieces are found. These same sages frown upon Crimmorn’s intimation in his writings that the aforementioned scabbard is in his possession.

9. Regardless, once assembled the Broken Blade is said to be a dependable and impossibly sharp weapon. Stories describing the Blade slicing through monstrous creatures, armored warriors and the undead are common enough to be taken for truth.

10. Exactly why and under what circumstances the Broken Blade flies apart is yet another topic replete with contradictory rumor and “fact,” though all the tales agree that to wield the Broken Blade when it disassembles is an unpleasant experience.
 
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The Broken Blade (continued)

The Broken Blade takes out a noble family.


1. Stories of the Broken Blade describe the sword flying to pieces unpredictably, then disappearing. If you get hit with a piece of the sword before it translocates to somewhere else in Cormyr, you get the privilege of coming along for the ride.

2. Or a part of you rides along, which was a painful experience according to the writings of a Halaunt family servant who, circa 1250 DR, lost a chunk of flesh to the Broken Blade when it flew apart unexpectedly after crossing the threshold of Oldspires—the ancestral home of the Halaunt noble family in Cormyr—peppering the assembled staff, furniture and decorations in the Great Entry Hall with pieces of sword. (If you own the hard copy edition of Ed Greenwood’s novel Spellstorm, you can find a map of Oldspires in the front of the book along with a map key detailing all 69 ground floor rooms—the Great Entry Hall is #2 on the key.)

3. Pieces of the blade don’t automatically teleport when they hit something; sometimes they fly right through objects and people like shrapnel, then teleport. The leader of the Bold Reavers learned this fact the hard way. The other Reavers knew the danger of the Broken Blade, but as one they regarded its dismantling as deliberate, and they took their revenge on the surviving Halaunt lords for the crime of causing the blade to slay their leader.

4. The Halaunt line might have ended then and there, but a Halaunt son and daughter were hit by pieces of the blade and whisked away. These wounded scions arrived separately, each in the middle of nowhere.

5. The daughter had a difficult journey. Finding her way back home hardened her into a capable survivor. She claimed the House of Halaunt as her own. In time she took a husband from among the crofters that worked the family lands. She resisted the inevitable suitors from other noble houses, for each sought to fold the Halaunt lands and riches into their own in lieu of seeing the House of Halaunt thrive.

6. Her brother—older than she—arrive in the Dragon Sea within sight of Marsember. He swam for the docks, then found passage on a boat to Westgate, and a life beyond Cormyr. The tip of the Blade had left a wicked scar on his body, and he kept this piece of the sword. His was the life of an explorer, his time as a crewman sailing the Sea of Fallen Stars filled with long stretches of boredom interrupted by harrowing attacks from pirates, sea monsters and treachery aboard ship.

7. He returned to Cormyr only once, the ship he’d served on now under his capable command. The Captain had heard the story of the butchering of house Halaunt, and rejoiced at word of his sister’s return and her efforts to renew the House. He took a berth in Suzail and made for the temple of Mystra, where he turned over his piece of the Broken Blade along with a sizeable donation, saying only that the blade tip was property of the Halaunt family, and that an altar sworn priest must deliver it to Oldspires.

8. The Captain’s sister grew old as her sons grew up. Now “Lady Oldspires” quietly ruled a revitalized House, trusting more in the decisions of her children as the years went by, her beloved husband having passed away.

9. A tired and wounded priestess of Mystra collapsed at the Front Entrance (#1 on the Spellstorm map key) to Oldspires, a handful of corpses left in her wake from the two attempts on her life made during her journey. She was taken in and looked after until her health returned. She refused to speak of her purpose until she could stand again on her own.

10. Lady Oldspires met with the priestess in the Receiving Room (#3 on map key). The Lady was not surprised to see the piece of the sword that was given over to her that day. For years pieces of the Blade had found their way back to Oldspires. Now, for the second time in the life of the Lady, all the pieces were under one roof.

Below is a map showing the location of Oldspires in Cormyr. Each hex is 6 miles.

Oldspires.png
 
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A handy list of hidden magic, all to be found in Cormyr, from the novel "Swords of Dragonfire", by Ed Greenwood, p.68 of the hardcover edition:

  • Darlock's six tasked spirits
  • The Crown of the Slayer
  • The Hunting Blade
  • The Door Into Nowhere
  • The wandering cloaks of wyvernshape
  • The flying swords that guard Emmaera Dragonfire's bones

Let's get to work, shall we?

1. The name for The Hunting Blade suggests a magic item with properties tied to hunting, but this need not be so.

2. Better, methinks, if the sword is identical to a magic sword found in the Dungeon Master's Guide, with some quirks or properties to tie it to Cormyr and/or the sword's own history.

3. Thus, a sword that's good for chopping things, and one that keeps your spirits up to boot:
Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 9.25.46 PM.png

4. As to history, it suits my needs if the sword found its way into the hands of the Buckfast noble family (a "rustic" House, which is to say a noble family living well away from the centers of power in Cormyr--i.e., Suzail, Arabel and Marsember--that does a lot of the work with their own hands). The Buckfasts live east of Thunderstone, which puts them near the Thunderflow (river), the Thunder Peaks to the east and the Hullack Forest to the north. Plenty of good hunting (of animals and monsters) to be had in the mountains and forest.

5. This region of Cormyr isn't quite the frontier it used to be (esp. by 1491 DR). Yet Cormyr still hasn't built a proper north-south road through the Hullack. Purple Dragons are garrisoned in Thunderstone and occupy some excellent defensive positions, but they patrol between the Hullack and the Thunder Peaks, they don't ride through that forest. In fact, if there's a major problem (orc army massing in the Hullack), then by standing order forces from Arabel or Marsember would be called in; there aren't enough Purple Dragons and Wizards of War in the region centered on Thunderstone to deal with such problems decisively.

6. Thinking backwards, it makes sense that the further back in time you go, the less populated/settled the region ought to have been. This makes it prime real estate for robber barons, monsters, elves plotting to slay humans (e.g., the Eldreth Veluuthra), Sembian interests gathering to raise trouble, in addition to all the other history we know about (fallen Orva/now the Vast Swamp; the druid Hullack; the agreements that averted bloodshed and passed control of the Hullack Forest to Cormyr). Seems like the right place to have a limb-chopping sword.

7. When everday Cormyreans fight and die with valiant bravery in order to protect Cormyr's ruling monarch or royal family members, there's a good chance those Cormyreans (or the next surviving heir to the family, if the bravery resulted in death of the former head of household) will be ennobled. Happened all the time in Cormyr. So it was with the Buckfasts.

8. A wrinkle in their story was the need for the King that ennobled them (Pryntaler Obarskyr, circa 1200 DR) to bind lands newly secured in the region where modern day Thunderstone exists to the nation of Cormyr.

9. This meant convincing his longtime foe turned loyal friend Eltrym Drauthglass, aka "Lord of the Hullack" to agree to marry off some of his daughters (there were six of them) into recently ennobled families of Cormyr, the later obeying King Pryntaler’s decree to “move east and settle” the newly won lands.

10. These "Ladies of the Hullack" were free to choose whom to marry, for Eltrym commanded them only to find a suitable husband (he would not have dreamed of choosing for them because he didn't believe himself that wise/he trusted his daughter's judgement far more). His daugthers saw the need to bind their ancestral lands to Cormyr for mutual protection and to lessen the chances of future bloodshed.

11. Eltrym's second eldest daughter, Theera, came to love Sargrast Buckfast after a lengthy courtship. Eltrym lived long enough to see his daughter married, and gave her a sword that would have gone to one of her four brothers, had any of them survived the battles with Cormyr.

12. That sword is The Hunting Blade. The gifting of the blade was done out of sight from prying eyes. Because the sword already had a history (of which a handful of stories and one proper legend are still sung about by bards in Cormyr to this day), and because it has never been seen in the nearly three centuries since Eltrym's death (and on the handful of occasions when openly worn by later generations of Buckfasts, not recognized), the sword is believed by most sages to have been hidden away at Eltrym's command.

13. Thus, in the year 1347 DR, Sebryn Korthyn, Sage of Elturel, included The Hunting Blade in an introductory list of hidden magic in Cormyr for his "The Realm of the Dragon: Cormyr In The Time Of Vangerdahast, Vol. I".

13. Sebryn's assumption became all but truth, for in the year 1371 DR a young and foolish lording by the name of Ravance Buckfast lost the family sword to the dragon Thraxata, in a confrontation atop The Bloodhorn. The Hunting Blade has not been recovered by 1491 DR.
 
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The Wandering Cloaks of Wyvernshape

Oh boy, the Wandering Cloaks of Wyvernshape sound fun. (See the post above this one.)

Ideas follow:

1. Maybe they're cloaks that fly about like birds. Better, like large birds of prey.

2. I suppose they could move about like Helmed Horrors. That is, floating a little ways off the ground, following paths and going through doors and basically looking haunted.

3. Cloaks that fly and dart and swoop down seems more appropriate. And easier/more fun to describe at the gaming table.

4. The cloaks ought to be embroidered. Not simply cloaks of a single color with trim around the sleeves and hood and seams, but cloaks of darker colors with sewn patterns of wyverns in brilliant colors that stand out/contrast with the main color...sort of like when a tattoo artist lays down the pattern for a tattoo before starting to ink it in, but in this case the "pattern colors" are super vibrant on the wandering cloaks.

5. So, what's their purpose? Seems to me they fly about, looking for humanoids to swoop down onto and transform into wyverns. Sounds fun, hey?

6. It's never a good thing to divide a party of adventurers, but if someone doesn't show up to game and the DM needs a way to get things going, well, here's this strange cloak that flew out of nowhere, landed on Bob the Fighter, turned him into a wyvern and then Bob the Wyvern flew off that way. DM to party: What do you do?

7. A humanoid transformed into a wyvern will do whatever wyverns do during the season of the year, be it looking for a wyvern mate, finding a suitable lair, hunting for food (which reminds me, the transformed humanoid ought to be compelled to fly a ways off before they "get their senses about them" and start behaving like a wyvern) or battling other wyverns for territory.

8. Perhaps that's one answer as to why wyverns remains so numerous in eastern Cormyr; the cloaks help keep their numbers up.

9. A humanoid transformed into a wyvern by a wandering cloak that is killed will revert to their natural form (and by at 0 HP/start death saving throws) and the cloak will attempt to fly away. Might be a collection of these cloaks held by the Wizards of War in Cormyr (one of their jobs in eastern Cormyr is to slay wyverns that nest too close to settlements like Thunderstone). This might explain the "hidden" wyvern cloaks, too.

10. Just how long the cloak keeps someone transformed might depend on whether the wyvern becomes pregnant, whether the wyvern has sired offspring, whether a remove curse or powerful dispel magic has been applied...

11. The cloak would need to possess some form of guiding intelligence, but not like a sentient magic item (DMG p. 214). In fact, it'd be more like a monster.

Game stats: always best to use what you have. Let's start with the game stats for a Swarm of Ravens (DMG p.339), but upgrade it to a Swarm of Hawks. Hawks are more like hunters, which makes 'em more like Wyverns. Let's take some inspiration from the behavior of Dr. Strange's Cloak of Levitation in the last couple of Marvel movies.

Please feel free to leave feedback. I've never built a hybrid monster/magic item before.

[EDIT: The full writeup for the Wandering Cloak may be found for free on the DMs Guild. See my sig for the link.]
 
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Encounter Location Ideas: Tethered Spells

1. Suppose there are places where spells have been cast and the spells themselves never quite dissipated.

2. That is, the spells are no longer visible. They went off and they seemed to go away. Maybe they lingered a bit longer than one might expect, but ultimately the audible and visible portions vanished.

3. How, exactly? Well, in the Forgotten Realms you could say the spells found their way into a wrinkle in the Weave of All Magic. A spell "filling a gap" in the Weave is no substitute for the Weave unmarred by blemishes, but it is a start. This means raw magic flows through the remnants of the spell as the Weave works to naturally repair itself.

4. So, what does this mean? Hrm...OK, a Fireball, for example, might slowly re-ignite if you start a campfire within the area where the spell went off.

5. Another effect might be that the outer edge of the Fireball slowly reforms if fire is lit within it or a fire (such as from a torch) passes through it, creating a globe-shaped shell of fire centered on where the spell originally went off.

6. So a group of adventurers marching down a dungeon corridor might walk right through the (invisible) border of a tethered spell, their torches in hand and lit, and notice a handful of paces later something that appears to be a slowly roiling wall of fire that now fills the space in the hallway behind them.

7. If we go with the Fireball slowly filling in, then depending on how fast the fire spreads (as determined ahead of time by the Dungeon Master), the PCs will either see the fire moving towards them or notice it right before it overtakes them.

8. If we go with the idea of the outer shell of the fireball filling back up with fire (say an inch or a foot thick shell of flame), then once again depending on the speed of the "refill", the PCs might notice the fire behind them, then see that the corridor up ahead has filled with a "wall" of fire too. How thick the "wall" is will be something for intrepid adventurers to determine (or wait out in the hopes the wall goes away).

9. Now suppose we're talking about a Scrying spell. I figure if a PC is standing near the place where a Scrying has been tethered to the Weave, and the PC drinks a vial of holy water, looks at themselves in a mirror or regards their reflection in a puddle of water (i.e., all things to do with the material component for casting a Scrying spell), they might see or even hear something to do with the creature that was being scried upon (assuming the creature is still alive).

10. If a character happens to be wearing a silver ring (a pair of linked silver rings being required for the spell Telepathy), and they come into contact with a creature that cast the spell (who's to say Spell Tetherings can't follow a caster around?) or that was the willing target of the spell, the character might get a glimpse of what that creature is thinking.
 
1. DUNGEON FEATURE Terror Fall: This super deep pit or enclosed chasm holds a permanent *Feather Fall* effect at the bottom. Meant to scare the crap out of low-level characters. Can be part of a faith test or similar.

2. SPELL Divide and Conquer: During combat you may cast this spell. You may target all animated skeletons you control that are within 30 feet of each other. This spell causes each skeleton to divide into two new skeletons. These skeletons are under your control. At the end of combat half of the skeletons disappear. Divide the number of remaining skeletons by two and round down to determine how many you have left.

3. SPELL Last Ride: This spell requires the skull of a warrior that rode horses into battle as a material component. When you cast this spell, you summon a body for the skull and a jet black horse for it to ride. The rider comes equipped with armor and a sword. Alternatively, the rider is equipped with lance and shield. Your DM has stats for the rider. The rider attacks anyone you designate as a foe. This spell lasts for one day and one night, or until the end of a combat the rider participated in, at which point both the rider and its skull disappear.

4. SPELL Gone For A Moment: This spell causes the next creature hit by one of your ranged melee or ranged spell attacks to phase out of existence for one round. The creature reappears at the end of the next turn after the turn on which you successfully hit it with your ranged melee or spell attack. Saving Throw for this one? The creature reappears in the space it previously occupied. If there is no room, it appears in the nearest adjacent space.

5. SPELL Theft of Speed: You steal the movement of a creature within range. The targeted creature must make a saving throw or you gain a bonus action that allows you to move up to the targeted creature's speed. The movement is lost if you do not use it by the end of the turn on which you cast the spell. The creature may act as normal on its turn, but it cannot move until the end of your next turn. If the creature has more than one mode of movement, you may choose a mode which you are already capable of doing (if you can't fly then you can't borrow a dragon's flying speed).

6. SPELL Portrait Walk: You fuse yourself with a painting in range. You now appear in the painting On the following turn you may move from the painting you occupy to another painting, provided the painting you wish to move to is in range (determine range from the occupied painting to the destination painting). You may spend an action to leave a painting and appear in a space adjacent to it. Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute. You may take no other actions while you are fused to a painting.

7. MAGIC ITEM Bench of Shared Thoughts: This long bench seats up to four Medium size creatures. Whenever two or more creatures sit on the bench, they can hear each other's thoughts and converse telepathically.

8. SPELL Saddle Swap: You must be riding a mount when you cast this spell. This spell causes you to change places with another creature up to one size category larger than you that is also riding a mount. Save involved.

9. SPELL Saddle Jump: During combat, you may cast this spell to teleport yourself from a mount you are riding to another mount that is riderless.

10. SPELL Twin Tome: You must open a non-magical book as part of casting this spell. When you cast this spell, you create an identical copy of the book you opened. The copy lasts for as long as the book remains opened, or until 24 hours have passed. Writing in the copy or altering does not alter the original, and vice versa, while this spell is active.
 
Bones and skulls. Skulls and Bones...

1. SPELL Bone Sacrifice: As a reaction you may cause a ranged spell targetting you to target an animated skeleton under your control. If the ranged spell targets more than one creature, the other creatures remain targets as normal.

2. SPELL Summon Bones: You summon forth bones. You may fill a space 5' on a side with bones. You can summon more at higher levels. The bones are a mix of humanoid bones, including skulls, etc.

3. SPELL Skull Duplicate (ritual): You create a duplicate of your own skull. This skull duplicate can be used as your arcane focus. It may also be used in spells requiring a Skull Duplicate as a material component. You may have a maximum of skull duplicates equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

4. SPELL Stored in Bone (ritual): You store a spell you have prepared into a Skull Duplicate created by you. If the spell requires material components, these are consumed as part of the ritual when the spell is placed into the Skull Duplicate. While the spell is stored in this way, you may not prepare the spell or otherwise cast it yourself. As a bonus action, you may cast a spell stored in a Skull Duplicate that you are holding or carrying. During the ritual, you may store one spell in each Skull Duplicate you have created.

5. SPELL Skull Float: You cause a skull to float by your side. You may float a number of skulls this way equal to the highest level of spell you can cast (e.g., 3 skulls if the highest level spell you can cast is 3rd level). You have limited control over the skulls. You may cause them to slowly rotate above your head, to float in a circle behind you, to lurk over your shoulder and so on. Reorienting the skulls is a free action. The skulls do their best to avoid objects and move to avoid striking walls, etc., but must always occupy the same space as you. A skull that is forced to move more than 5 feet away from you falls to the ground.

6. SPELL Harden Skull: This spell increases the durability of a skull.

7. SPELL Accio Skull!: You cause a skull within range (120 feet) to fly to your hand. You do not need to be able to see the skull, but you must know where it is located relative to you for this spell to work. This spell does not remove skulls that are worked into objects (such as a throne made of skulls) or skulls that are part of a creature (such as the skull belonging to an animated skeleton). If the nearest skull is stored (such as a skull in a coffin), the skull will do its best to shake and rattle and bump its way free. The skull stops moving towards you if you move more than 120 feet away from it, or after 1 minute.

8. SPELL Pound of Flesh: Target - 1 humanoid creature. Material component - A small piece of the a creature (flesh, bone, fingernail, hair, scales, or blood). You cause an animated skeleton that you control to sprout flesh, hair, eyes, etc. identical to the creature you took the material component from. This effect lasts for one day, or until you dismiss the animated skeleton or it is destroyed. You may extend the effect by one additional day by feeding the target another small piece sourced from the same creature. You may feed the target only once per day. You may do this for as long as you have pieces with which to feed. (Feeding the skeleton part of a different creature does not cause it to change into a different creature.) If the duration ends, the flesh melts away and becomes dust. (It's a really dumb Terminator!)

9. SPELL Conversation Companion: You create a Conversation Companion. You enchant a Skull Duplicate created by you with the ability to float at your shoulder, and to speak and converse with you only. You may have only one Conversation Companion at a time. If you are seated, you may cause the Conversation Companion to move to face you or to occupy the space over a chair or similar that is within 5 feet of you. The Conversation Companion thinks and speaks as you would, though it only pays attention to you and not to any events going on around it. Duration??

10. SPELL Skeletal Perfection: This spell causes one misaligned bones in the body of a creature you touch to become aligned and otherwise shaped properly for a creature of the target's type. This spell does not work to heal freshly broken bones; it only fixes bones that have healed improperly or that have otherwise grown improperly. This spell requires a bone from a creature at least the same size as the target of the spell, which is consume in the casting of the spell.
 
Yet more skulls and bones...

1. SPELL Bone Shell/Mimic Statue: This spell causes a very thin shell of pure white bone to encase you from head to foot. You resemble a statue made of white marble. The shell does not restrict your ability to breath, and does not block your vision and hearing. Any movement by you or a successful attack against you causes the shell to crack and break, which ends the spell. Duration: until broken. A close inspection reveals you are inside a shell of bone. DC = your normal DC (intelligence investigation probably).

2. ENCOUNTER LOCATION IDEA: Bones Under the Moon.
By day, soldiers appear to march back and forth on the battlements of a run down keep in the middle of nowhere. By night the soldiers appear to have fallen in on themselves. Their tabards hang limp. Under the light of the moon, wicked skulls shine beneath helmets.

- 2a. This effect is fixed on the old keep. It animates the skeletons of the once-living guards, and causes the spell effect of Pound of Flesh (see the post above this one) on all the skeletons in daylight. The spell effect goes away at night.

- 2b. Under the light of the full moon, all the skeletons glow (candlelight).

3. SPELL Theft of Traits: You grant yourself one trait (Speed, Ability Score, Vulnerability, Resistance, Immunity or Sense) from an Animated Skeleton that you control and is in range, such as Darkvision 60 feet or immunity to poison. For the duration of this spell, all of the animated skeletons under your control have this trait. Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour.

4 SPELL Unfair Fight: You cause the arms of the animated skeletons under your control to detach and spin. The arms fly towards a target in range and each makes one attack against the target. The arms and any weapons carried fall to the ground. Your animated skeletons each gain 1 bite attack. and lose all attacks that utilize arms or appendages.

5 SPELL Skull Hammer: You cause the skulls of one or more animated skeletons under your control to detach and fly towards a target in range. Make one ranged attack for each skull. If the skull hits, it deals 1d6 Bludgeoning damage. Any skulls that miss return to the skeletons they came from. Your animated skeletons without skulls behave as normal.

6 SPELL Skull Friend: You lend one of your Skull Duplicates to a willing creature. The Skull Duplicate floats over the creature's shoulder. While a Skull Duplicate is lent out in this way, the willing creature may spend an action to communicate with you as though you and the creature were adjacent to each other. You may do the same. This spell cannot cross between planes of existence.

7 SPELL Skull Fortress: You create a fortress of bone. See the Dyson Map for what it looks like.

8. SPELL Skull Tutor: You infuse your knowledge of one subject into a Skull Duplicate. While the duplicate possesses this knowledge, you do not have access to it. The duplicate may teach the knowledge it possesses to someone else.
 
Last edited:
08/20/2019
Monday

1. SPELL Flock of Daggers - This spell causes a flock of birds to become daggers with wings. The daggers fly within range and fall upon an area you designate. The daggers then revert to normal and fly away.

2. MAGIC ITEM - Avian Dagger - On command, this magical dagger takes to the air and follows a flock of birds, flying at their speed. An enchantment causes the dagger to be viewed as friendly by the birds. The dagger attacks anything that tries to cause harm to the birds (be it a predator, a bowman, a spellcaster, etc.). The dagger returns with incredible speed to the flock when the threat retreats or is slain.

3. SPELL - Truth in Flies - This spell causes all flies in the area of effect to watch for travelers, creatures and other beings that pass through the area. Other flying insects in the area of effect are not affected by this spell. Before the duration ends, you may command the flies to show you who or what passed through. Your magic causes the flies to fly in formation in the approximate shape of each creature that went by. The flies resume their watch until you end the spell or the duration ends.

4. SPELL - Martial Tribute - This spell causes one weapon to float within 10 feet of a corpse you designate. The weapon remains near the corpse until funeral rights have been completed and the corpse laid to rest (buried, burned, etc.). The weapon automatically attacks any creature that attempts to harm or steal the corpse. The weapon comes to rest over the body (becoming part of the burial, for example, or laying itself over the corpse after it has burned in a pyre).

5. For the spell Martial Tribute, there exist other spells that allow a caster to enchant a weapon that completes the burial process so it remains as an eternal guardian for the corpse it guarded. Other spells cause the corpse (or a ghost/facsimile of it) to appear with the weapon in hand. Still others can summon all the weapon in an area.

6. SPELL - Trail Loop - This spell causes two ends of a trail to become linked. Travelers that pass through one linked area and continue to the next linked area will teleport back to the first linked area. Duration: 24 hours.

7. SPELL - Trail Forbiddance - This spell causes an area of trail to become an obstacle to any creature walking it that is not the correct type. A creature of the wrong type that attempts to walk the trail must content with a Gust of Wind that continually pushes them back the way they came for as long as they remain on the trail.

8. SPELL - Stars in the Water - This spell causes a body of water to remember the formation and appearance of stars in the sky at night when the spell is cast. If the moon is present, this is remembered too. The caster designates a word or line of words that must be spoken or sung. Forever after, and so long as there remains water in the body of water targeted, the surface of the water changes to appear as the sky reflected on the water when the spell was cast if the word/words are spoken. This change lasts until the speaker/singer stops concentrating.

9. SPELL - Wake of Song - This spell trails music in your wake--up to 100 feet behind you--as you travel. The music is a repetition of what you or someone else is singing or playing in your vicinity when you cast the spell. For every two additional spell slots higher, you extend the wake an additional 100 feet.

10. SPELL - Water Warden's Count - When you touch a fish within a body of water (river, pond, lake or similar, but not an ocean), you know how many of that kind of fish are alive in the body of water.
 
08/21/2019
Tuesday

Magic, Mystery, Music and More in Waymoot

1. The stag heads within Woodbrand's keep, where the Queen's Lord resides ("Queen's Lord" meaning the Queen's appointed representative who speaks and rules on her behalf in Waymoot and the surrounding woodlands; also called a "local lord") glow by night. If the proper stag head is touched and the correct word spoken, one may ascertain how many stags are alive in the King's Forest.

2. The Guardian Golem within the Temple of the Sheltering Hand (Tymora) has smashed its share of trolls. Few know the eyes of the golem have been further enchanted to blaze with fire whenever trolls more than three in number come within a mile of Waymoot.

3. The merchant Ostramagarus has retired to a life of horse breeding and rearing in Waymoot after a career of far-flung trading in Sembia and the Heartlands. Why then, the locals of Waymoot wonder, does the former merchant entertain a different group of adventurers within his home every tenday? His latest visitors, the Men of the Horngate, are rumored to have delivered something of value from the monks within the Vault of the Restful Dead (Kelemvor) to Old Ostra.

4. Within the Moon and Stars (a tavern), there are not as many guardian rangers and ex-adventurers as their used to be. The blades of the guardians who have passed away yet remain, each lurking among the rafters overhead and blessed by the Goddess Mielikki to render aid to the master of the tavern whenever trouble gets out of hand.

5. Every Spring, a gathering of the Arms of Mielikki takes place in Waymoot. Rangers and other followers of the Forest Queen travel from all over the King's Forest to Waymoot for a day and night of song, storytelling and feasting. Just as quickly as they arrived, the Arms disappear before dawn of the next day. Most Waymootans assume the followers of the goddess return home. In truth, each Arm is guided by a vision sent from Mielikki to one of several hidden vales and chasms in the nearby woods, where druids grow seedlings of rare forest plants and tend forest animals. These the followers take and either plant or release in the part of the King's Forest from which they came.

6. Waymootans with a sense of humor have begun playing "paerehel" tunes (that is, personalized entrance music) whenever certain overbearing, rude or disliked nobles enter a tavern or other place the locals prefer remain for their use alone. The music is usually short and mocking, of the kind that apes ditties written about the many less than capable nobles that have "graced" Cormyr with their presence down the centuries.

7. The coming of Fall in Waymoot heralds the march of the forest kin. At sunset, centaurs, swanmays, faerie dragons, satyrs, and a fey representative from nearby Aloushe (an independent fey realm within the King's Forest) play music and pass one after the other in front of Woodbrand's keep. Waymootans assemble, cheer and smile, and bow respectfully when the Aloushe'alar passes by.

8. Suzail is the capital of Cormyr, but many consider Waymoot to be the true heart of the Forest Kingdom. The rumor that Cormyr's kings are all of them buried in the catacomb's below Woodbrand's Keep is long lived, though of late more adventurers than usual have chased the rumor all the way to Waymoot in order to find a means of entering the place. Such individuals are roundly turned away from the keep proper, but are allowed to go about their business beyond its walls. The mysterious clanging that rings up from the catacombs to echo through the Keep has also increased recently.

9. Even in death, Lord Woodbrand, once a popular and respected local lord of Waymoot, casts a long shadow over the forest town he helped to establish centuries ago. On the first day of the second tenday of Uktar (November), the shops of Waymoot close and locals gather in the keep named after him to celebrate his life and his doings. The night is closed in tears, bitter smiles and embraces as the celebrants listen to the song of Woodbrand's passing. The song tells the story of Woodbrand's last defense of the town from the trolls that forever plague the region, and his fall in single combat against the Troll King.

10. A symphony of harp spiders have gathered near Waymoot, some as big as the farm pigs raised by Waymootan ranchers. Royal foresters are warning travelers and explorers alike from playing lutes, harps or other stringed instruments near the symphony, as this will surely lure the spiders close.

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Last edited:
08/22/2019
Thursday

1. Make haste to the battlefield: Healers, herbalists and clerics may be found traveling to, or remaining at, battlefields where the living have departed and the dead are left to rot. After a tenday, the blood soaked, corpse-strewn ground becomes host to fleshwort, a vegetable prized for its usefulness in healing deep wounds.

2. Of the endless variety of poisons in the Realms, Belarris is more likely to be found in Cormyr thanks to the many wyverns that lair in its mountainous borders. Whereas the usual mixture of wyvern blood, tree bark and plant sap causes fatigue and then unconsciousness, certain poison makers have found that mixing fresh belarris with the ground stems of fleshwort creates a soft substance similar to bread dough that can then be cooked. The result is a black loaf with almost no taste. When consumed, there is an equal chance of one's organs failing or the total banishment of all internal ailments. Experimentation continues...

3. Swiftsleep remains an abundant poison in Cormyr, though law keepers rarely make the effort to confiscate it when commoners or families possess it. (Law keepers reserve their ire for apothecaries or herbalists who sell it for uses other than helping troubled family members find rest). A variety of swiftsleep eschews crushed flies in favor of brainflies. This rare variety of swiftsleep causes instant slumber, but subjects the victim to a riot of dreams spawned from memories stolen and consumed by the brainflies added into the mixture.
 
08/23/2019
Friday

Thinking about Waymoot...

1. A noble hung by the neck from from a tree.

2. SPELL - Puddle Reflection - This spell allows you to see all creatures that cast a reflection into a puddle or other body of water within the last hour, from the angle at which you are standing when you cast the spell and gaze into the puddle. For every 2 spell slots higher, you can see further back by 1 hour.

3. On the Road: Grain carts trundling to Waymoot with feed for the many horses reared there.

4. Jobs in Waymoot: Bailing hay.

5. Jobs: Carting horse dung.

6. On the Road: Peddlers selling trinkets.

7. On the Road: Local sellers of foodstuffs for the road-weary traveler. Also found at the small campsites spaced about a day apart on the Way of the Dragon.

8. Waymoot Family: One that has lived in, cleaned and prepped Woodbrand's Keep for generations.

9. Querry to Ed Greenwood (via Twitter):
"Hello Ed. I hope you are healing up and feeling better.

I was curious if there are any named waystops on the way of the Dragon between Zundle and Waymoot that have room for more than one large merchant caravan for a night?

#thankyou #hugs"

10. Ed's Reply:
1)
Haven’t had the surgery yet. Prelimns tomorrow (up at 3 am for the drive: ugh!), so will fall Twitter-silent for a day.
The answer is. I’m afraid, no. The roadside camping-places are very small (room for a small caravan at …
#Realmslore

2)
…best), and located where there are streams to provide water. The Crown’s intent is to discourage tarrying in the King’s Forest (and perhaps starting fires, and hunting, and getting lost, and cutting timber) between…
#Realmslore

3)
…settlements, which are sited about a day’s travel apart. (One of these small camping places can be seen early in SWORDS OF EVENINGSTAR, when we see Florin encountering a certain spirited noble lady).
#Realmslore
 

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