Sunday, May 1, 2011

Legendary Treasures--The Beam from the Argo's Prow

Today's post is another treasure, one sure to be desired by all captains who learn of its existence.


Beam from the Argo's Prow
Of all the voyages ever undertaken at sea, few are more famous than that of the ship Argo and its crew of heroes. These Greek adventures set sail from their homeland, heading out in search of the fabulous golden fleece as a prize for their captain, Jason. According to the legends, their vessel's prow contained a beam of oakwood from the sacred grove at Dodona, one that protected the vessel and that even possessed the gift of prophecy. While the tales of their adventures are well known, the ultimate fate of their vessel and of this marvelous component itself is not. The only clue is one story that Jason was killed when struck in the head with a timber from his ship, implying that it was eventually removed, but then it disappears into the shadows of history.

There is another possibility, however. According to various authors, the Amazons originally lived on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but somehow managed to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea and South America. Although they are well regarded for their skill at arms, however, the Amazons were never known for their sailing prowess. Because of this, some scholars have speculated that the women managed to acquire the beam from the Argo, building it into their own vessel and thereby gaining its protection for the perilous voyage across the ocean. If this is true, the beam could still be in their possession and would certainly be a treasure that they guard well.

Judged by appearance, this item seems to be unremarkable, just a stout but otherwise ordinary oak beam. When built into the prow of a vessel, however, the beam grants it a +3 deflection bonus to armor class and a +3 enhancement bonus to hardness. Additionally, characters traveling aboard the ship sometimes experience dreams of a prophetic nature, ones relating to important upcoming events. These might be straightforward in nature, but they are just as likely to take the former of cryptic hints or even riddles.

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