Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Three More Treasures

Today's post details three more treasure items, these ones taken from the legendary history of the Mediterranean region. Meanwhile, I am still working on my next adventure, "Treacherous Waters," along with more articles about the corsairs of the Barbary Coast.


Cloak of Aroudj
Baba Aroudj—otherwise known as Barbarossa, or Redbeard—was one of the most notorious corsairs ever to work in the Mediterranean. During his career he commanded corsair galleys in war with the Knights of Malta, was held captive for three years in one of their strongholds before being rescued, claimed numerous Christian vessels as prizes, and even became the ruler of Algiers for a time. Through it all he was known to wear a cloak of crimson brocade, one that he only lost when he was killed in battle. At that time the cloak was taken to a cathedral in Cordova, Spain, where it was used to adorn a statue of Saint Bartholomew. Since that time it has come to be known as La Capa de Barbarossa.
What most people don't know, however, is that the cloak in that cathedral is a duplicate. The location of the real one cannot be verified, but it is believed to have been passed as loot between Spanish sailors, Barbary corsairs and other such adventurous types. In game terms, it provides the benefits of a cloak of protection +2 (in the same manner as a ring of the same name).

Icon of Saint Andrew
One of the more visually distinctive elements of Greek Orthodox Christianity is the use of icons, small painted images that depict Biblical scenes, saints and other such subjects. Included among these are ones that portray Saint Andrew, a fisherman by trade and disciple of John the Baptist, and one of the first people to recognize Jesus Christ as his Messiah. While most are mundane in nature, a few convey a special blessing, granting a +2 bonus on Profession: sailor checks to the members crews who carry them on their vessels.

Lotus Wine
In his epic tale The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer tells of a location on the Mediterranean Sea where the native people feast on a lotus plant. It has a soporific effect, causing them to fall into an apathetic, narcotic-induced state. What is more, the Greek historian Herodotus claims that they lived somewhere off the coast of Libya, and that they obtained from the lotus plant a drink akin to wine.
Whether or not these stories are true, it is known that people occasionally find bottles of a curious beverage that does have a soporific effect on imbibers. The lesser version of it functions like a potion of sleep, while the more powerful one functions like a potion of deep slumber. Each one must be consumed by the target of the spell-like effect.

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