Lucky Trinkets, Heirlooms and Named Items
Where do magic items come from? Yes, some are conjured by mad wizards high atop their towers or fervent alchemists in their labs bending the laws of nature to their wills. Some are crafted in eldritch smithies or woven by fey creatures. But other items of power are born by the deeds of men, heroes who rise to become more than their origin.
Much like these heroes, certain items, by virtue of their use, gain a power of their own. Happenstance can awaken a potential that further use nurtures. Over time, this mundane item reflects a shadow of the hero who bears it. The item becomes an item of power.
In the course of gameplay, if a PC rolls an 01 for a skill check or an 00 on the resistance table, they may invest a point of POW into an object of their choice. In combat, if a PC rolls full damage for their weapon and the strike is a killing blow or if they roll full protection for their armor and that roll saves them from death, they may invest a point of POW into an object of their choice.
Their character attributes their success on the the presence of said object and that belief, coupled with the investment of POW, is enough to empower the object with a touch of magical ability. The object grants the bearer bonuses depending upon how it was created.
If the object was granted power through use of a skill roll, the object now grants the bearer a +5% on all rolls involving that skill.
If the object was granted power through use of a Resistance Table roll, the object now grants the bearer a +1 on the stat that was involved in the original contest.
If the object was granted power through a damage roll, the object now grants the bearer a +1 to their damage.
If the object was granted power through an armor roll, the object now grants +1 to their armor.
Once an item has become empowered, its enchantment can continue to grow. When a PC repeats the extraordinary action that allowed for the POW investment, the item gains in strength.
If the PC rolls a 01 in the itemís skill, they increase the itemís bonus by +5%.
If the PC rolls a 00 on the Resistance Table on the relevant Stat, they increase the itemís bonus by +1.
If the PC rolls full damage on a killing blow, they increase the itemís damage by +1.
If the PC rolls full protection on an armor roll that would have killed them, they increase the itemís protection by +1.
These empowered increases are limited. An item can only gain a specific bonus a maximum of four times, matching but not exceeding either a +20% or a +4. Note that any item can be empowered. For example, it may seem natural to empower a pair of boots or a cloak with a Move Quietly bonus but one can also choose to empower a necklace or a dagger with the Move Quietly bonus.
As long as the person is actively wearing or using it, the bonus will apply. Itís a matter of the characterís belief and concentration that imbues the magic to the item.
Items with more than one Empowerment
Items may be empowered multiple times, granting bonuses to more than one skill or attribute, following the guidelines above. Gurdo the fighter has a pair of gloves that currently have a +10% combat empowerment. Gurdo just made a check and is able to increase damage by +1. She spends her point of POW and decides to place it on the gloves as well, so now when wearing the gloves she has a +10% bonus to hit and a +1 on her damage.
Bonuses on items do not stack. If you have an item that gives you a Listen bonus of +15% and an item that gives you a bonus of +5%, your total bonus defaults to the highest. You would have a bonus of +15%. If an item already has maxed itís bonus out at +4 Strength you cannot empower it again for additional Strength bonus points.
An empowered itemís bonus can only be increased once per game session.
That's the playtested part. I've got a basic sketch for more powerful items developed in this manner, but it really needs some work. Perhaps the minds of BRPCentral will lend some brain juice?
Thanks for putting this back up, Chaot!
My pleasure.! Like I said before, does no good just sitting on my hard drive.
Unfortunately, the examples I posted for the second part, the named items stuff, isn't saved anywhere. I need to write it up again in order to post it.
Very cool stuff. I had something like it in the Green based on Luck and Fortune, but it was not near as cool as what you have here. Glad to see you posted it again. I am certainly going to add this to my optional house rules. You may want to put this in the download section so it doesn't get lost.
Thanks! It was inspired long ago by Simon Lipscomb's RQ Dragonlance page, folk magic in particular. Once I get my head around the whole thing I'll do a write up for the download's section (and I won't make the mistake that I made when I expanded and posted the Named section of the rules. )
Originally Posted by Puck
Here's some more.
Questions that came up last time. The POW sacrificed to empower is permanent POW, not pp or mp. When I ran it, I allowed a POW x5% roll for someone handling the object to sense that it was empowered, and an INT x5% roll to figure out what it did, in general.
Some really interesting questions regarding investigating the history of a Named Items and slowly ‘unlocking’ powers through play were raised. I’m wracking my brains to remember who posted though. My bad for not making a mental note. Also, another poster posted a brilliant bit about how the items could be developed in interesting ways. An example was something like a sword in a war with the underworld could then gain the ability to transport someone in and out of the underworld. Again, I wanted to come back to it but didn’t make a mental note on who actually said it.
Here’s the basics on named items. When an empowered item reaches it’s maximum empowerment, either a +20% or a +4, it has the potential to become a Named Item. For this to happen, the object must be used or present during an important event. Examples are overthrowing (or being killed by) a despotic tyrant, winning (or losing) a battling in an ongoing war, finding (or losing) your true love, etc. For gaming purposes, the Naming should occur during a pivotal moment during the game or after a major accomplishment.
Naming an item costs 2 permanent POW points. The first turns the empowered item into a named item, the second is to pay for the new power that the item has. The new power should be tied to the event in which the item gained it’s Named status.
The way I was thinking, actually naming a Named Item is just a conceit to show it’s importance. The name isn’t necessary but is there to show the importance of the item.
Effects and consequences of Named Items is the shaky section that needs some work. It’s still pretty sketchy and boils down to ‘Talk with your GM.”
Thoughts on POW, Named Items and Sorcery
Empowered items fill a magic niche in Elric!. POW 16 is the magic number. Below that POW is used to defend against certain spells and to act as supplementary mp for things like the Chain of Being Spell. Rather limited. Below POW 16 is the prime range for PC to make empowered items. Losing POW isn’t a big deal as such for the potential long range bonus.
POW 16 lets you cast spells, which is a significant advantage. You drop POW here and you no longer get to cast spells.
When you hit POW 17 and above you get into some serious magical advantages. It’s where a sorcerer should be looking at binding an demon or an elemental if they want to be a heavy hitter. Binding costs a POW, dropping the sorcerer down to 16, allowing them to continue to cast spells. A POW of 18 will let you bind two critters or, in conjunction with something like Brazier of Power, lets you bind a a really big beastie.
The point is, empowered items aren’t something that a sorcerer will necessarily be interested in because their permanent POW is far more valuable invested elsewhere. The exception to this is would be for an empowered item that imparts a POW bonus, which is kind of an interesting consequence to this system.
If a sorcerer rolls 00 during a POW : POW roll and they have a POW of 16, they can create an empowered item that they then need in order to cast spells. Their actual POW is now 15 but their effective POW is 16 and has the potential to go up to 19 if they roll 00 on three more POW : POW rolls. I think it’s a neat consequence of the system, but it’s something to be aware of if you use empowered items.
Beginning play with Empowered Items
If you want to let PCs being play with empowered items, I suggest just charging them the point of permanent POW. If they want their item to be a bit boosted (+10% instead of +5% or +2 instead of +1) I suggest charging them additional permanent POW for each increase they want to make, up to expending 4 POW.
So, say a player’s character begins play with the spear that his uncle fought with in the dragon wars. Player marks a POW point off and gives the spear a +5% to combat. If the player wants, she can spend up to three more permanent POW on the item. She could boost the spear up to +20% to combat, positioning it to become a named item later in the game. She can split the POW for different effects, 2 POW for +10% combat, 2 POW for +2 STR, or some other variation.