Sunday, February 20, 2011

Legendary Treasures

I'm still working on the next adventure in the Come Hell and High Water campaign. In the meanwhile, here are some items that could be added to a pirate's treasure hoard. The Skull & Bones book introduces a few magical items inspired by real-world history, but that list is by no means comprehensive. Detailed here are three new relics, the first in a series for use with a campaign during the Golden Age of Piracy.

Legendary Treasures
The history of piracy is filled with stories of bold and bloody action. On occasion, these tales also tell of wondrous items—weapons and otherwise—that are used in pivotal moments. Detailed below are some such relics, ones that have powers beyond normal reckoning.

Captain Kidd's Hanging Rope
The story of Captain William Kidd could serve as a lesson in integrity. Ostensibly he was a pirate hunter, hired by English merchants to hunt down those scallywags who preyed upon trading ships around the world. At first he seemed dedicated to that mission, seeking out pirates and bringing them to justice, but eventually he wavered in his intentions. Some say his motives were questionable from the outset; others argue that the “no prey, no pay” arrangement for privateering led his crew to mutiny against him and attack innocent vessels. However it happened, his ship, the Adventure Galley, began to confront targets for whom he had little or no justification.

Eventually Captain Kidd was called to account for his actions. Despite his arguments that his targets were legitimate ones, and that his crew did not heed his commands, he was condemned as a pirate and sentenced to hang. The once respected captain was marched out to the gallows; the rope was placed around his neck, and he was dropped to what should have been his death. He gained a temporary reprieve, however, when the rope broke. Had he not been drunk at the time, he might have seized this opportunity to escape or, failing that, to plead for mercy. Instead he was walked back up onto the platform, a new one was placed around his neck and he was executed.

Captain Kidd's hanging rope appears as nothing more than a short length of rope, frayed at both ends, suitable for use as a belt or for similar purposes. In game terms it lets a character reroll one attack, saving throw or skill check, or force another character to do so, once per day.

The Highlander's Broadsword
Among the legends of the sea, few are better know—or more dramatic—than the tale of how Captain Maynard and a loyal crew of sailors and soldiers defeated the dreaded pirate Blackbeard. For years he had terrorized the people of the Atlantic coast, but eventually he was called to account for his misdeeds. Even so, the story holds that he was stabbed and shot dozens of times before he fell. In the end, it was a might blow from the broadsword of a mercenary highlander that finally separated his head from his shoulders. Even then, some claim that his body swam around the boat a number of times before sinking into the depths. They say that Captain Maynard hung the grisly trophy from the prow of his boat as he sailed homeward, a grim testament to the battle that had been fought.

The Highlander's Broadsword looks like other weapons of the kind, but those who are aware of such things can recognize its true power. In game terms it functions as a Broadsword +1, Bane against pirates.

The Skull Cup
While the origins of this item are contested by scholars, the effect that it has are not doubted by any who have experienced it. Some claim that it was made from the head of Blackbeard the pirate, made into a drinking cup by the triumphant Captain Maynard. Others argue that it is too bizarre an item for such a respectable servant of the king, but there is little proof to settle the matter.

Whatever the truth, the cup is made from an actual skull, with a gold stem attached to it. If it is filled with wine, the person who drinks from it gains the benefits of the Heroism spell, caster level 20. This can only be done once per day.

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