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The Ring of Shifting Stars

The Ring of Shifting Stars
Aura strong (all schools); CL 15th
Slot ring; Weight

DESCRIPTION
This pale golden ring is crowned with a large oval cabochon of bluish-black opal. The large gemstone’s surface is wrought with dozens of tiny silvery inclusions that cause the surface to appear like the star-filled night sky.

These inclusions actually shift at a very slow rate, and accurately mimic the alignment of stars in the sky above, with the top of the stone representing the northernmost horizon and the pinnacle of the cabochon representing the apex of the night sky (stars only—no other celestial bodies are represented upon the cabochon.)
The magic of the ring is associated with the constellations that come into zenith in the night sky, of which there are twelve.
This item’s function as described assumes that the campaign setting has a 12-month cyclical calendar which allows for a repeating cycle of constellation apexes; at least one for each month. The ring may need to be modified to fit your particular campaign setting if this is not the case, or if your campaign setting already has established constellations in the night sky that differ from the list herein.

  • If the user fully understands the function of the ring, they gain a +3 to Knowledge (nature) checks related to astrology while wearing it (for using it as a reference). This is not a magical effect, but rather a result of utilizing the ring’s unique rendition of the night sky.
  • A DC 12 Knowledge (astrology) check allows the ring to be used like a calendar to determine the current date by associating the arrangement of the inclusions in the stone.
  • The ring has twelve charged magical effects, each of which cast a particular spell. These effects are associated with the constellations that traverse the night sky. The ring’s effects and their associated months and constellations are expanded upon below:
  1. The Gryphon—featherfall (CL 9th)
  2. The Hammer—shatter (CL 10th)
  3. The Great Eye—scry (CL 12th)
  4. The Tower—resilient sphere (CL 12th)
  5. The Whale—water breathing (CL 11th)
  6. The Merchant—secret chest* (CL 13th)
  7. The Knight—wall of iron (CL 14th)
  8. The Queen—lesser geas (CL 12th)
  9. The Harp—deep slumber (CL 11th)
  10. The Gate—arcane lock (CL 10th)
  11. The Serpent—rope trick (CL 10th)
  12. The Horseman—phantom steed (CL 11th)
    *For the purposes of secret chest, the ring functions as the “miniature replica” of the spell, therefore retrieval of items from the ring’s secret chest require using the ring itself. If a secret chest is in use by the ring’s effect, any user of the ring may retrieve the chest at will.
  • To use one charge of any of the ring’s effects is a free action (allowed only once per round) requiring a DC 20 Use Magic Device check. If an attempt to expend a charge fails, the ring does not waste a charge; it simply doesn’t work and cannot be used again until the next round.
  • The ring carries a maximum number of 4 charges for any of its twelve magical effects. If the ring is found as part of a larger treasure then it may be partially depleted, and this can be calculated by rolling 1d4 to determine current charges available for each of its twelve effects.
  • The ring’s effects can regain 1 charge for any given effect by exposing it to the night sky for three uninterrupted hours on a cloudless evening, but only when the recharging effect’s associated constellation is at the zenith for the present month. This means the ring can only recharge one of its effects during any given month, and which effect can be charged is entirely dependent on what month it is.
  • The ring can gain no more than one charge in a single night of recharging. It takes four cloudless nights of recharging per month for an entire year to fully charge the ring from a completely depleted state.
  • If the ring is fully charged (28 charges; 4 for each of its 12 effects), then an additional effect is unlocked. By expending all 28 charges at once, the user can activate greater teleport (CL 15th) as a free action with no additional checks required. This effect always results in “on target” teleportation 100% of the time, and the ring itself, devoid of charges, falls to the ground and remains in the user’s original location.

HISTORY
A character that makes a Knowledge (arcana) check identifies important historic information about The Ring of Shifting Stars:
DC 20     Rings of this sort have been documented, though only rarely. They are said to have originated with a mysterious order of wizards known as the Sideribus Volunt.
DC 25     The teachings of the Sideribus Volunt focused on the position and motion of celestial bodies, especially the stars and how they affect arcane magic. The little-known history of the order tells that rings such as this one were bestowed upon students when they completed the core of their studies.
DC 30     A few esoteric tomes have noted that the rings are known as stellapetram or, “stones of stars”. They were used by the Sideribus Volunt as a means of identifying one another as well as tools to aid in astrological arcana research.
DC 35     The Sideribus Volunt were more than just a meddling order of wizards. Some arcane scholars suggest that they actually discovered the most pristine form of arcane magic—a power that surpassed the knowledge of all other arcane schools.
DC 40     Legend recounts that the Sideribus Volunt ascended into the heavens, taking all other traces of their knowledge with them, leaving the world behind to wander among the stars. The very few stellapetram, being among the few remnants of the ancient order, are highly prized by arcane researchers and learned artifact collectors.

DESTRUCTION
The ring’s power, directly linked to the stars in the heavens, cannot exist anywhere except on the Prime Material Plane. If at any time The Ring of Shifting Stars travels to another plane, its powers become forever nullified, its inclusions stop shifting, and it becomes nothing more than a fine art item: a gold-banded blue-black opal ring with a value of 350 gp. This stipulation does not include non-dimensional or extradimensional spaces as created by magic items such as a bag of holding or portable hole.

Additional Information
Below are detailed descriptions of the twelve constellations that are represented by The Ring of Shifting Stars:
The Gryphon—Seven stars represent the Gryphon constellation. One for each leg, the tail, the beak, and one bluish in hue (and much brighter than the others) serves as a glimmering eye.
The Hammer—This constellation is represented by five stars that form the T-shape of a hammer. The two stars that make the opposing heads of the constellation gleam many times brighter than the three that compose its shaft.
The Great Eye—Six faint stars form this constellation, arranged in a loosely almond-shaped oval with a seventh exceedingly bright, red-hued star positioned in its center.
The Tower—Five glimmering stars make the narrow triangular shape that composes the Tower constellation. The top star, forming the point of the acute angle, gleams bright white and is the brightest star visible in the night sky.
The Whale—Four bright stars make up the body of the Whale constellation, with a fifth, dimmer and offset star attributing its tailfin.
The Merchant—The most complex of the constellations, the Merchant consists of twelve stars of varying magnitudes. Together they form the shape of a merchant’s sailing ship with the brightest of the dozen positioned in the center of the vessel’s mast.
The Knight—The Knight constellation consists of ten stars, the brightest of which serves as the “head” with the other nine falling loosely into the shape of a sword-wielding man.
The Queen—The constellation of the Queen is visually composed of seven bright, tightly clustered stars that loosely form the tines of a crown. Depending on location and/or current ruler, this constellation is also sometimes referred to as “The King”.
The Harp—The Harp is a simple constellation of three stars that form a V-shape. In the night sky, a faint silvery nebula ripples between the highest and lowest points forming the strings of the instrument.
The Gate—Nine yellow-hued stars form the shape of an arch in the constellation of the Gate. The star forming the top of the arch gleams slightly brighter than the others.
The Serpent—A single star forms the Serpent constellation. It is greenish in hue, and very faint, often overlooked in the sea of stars in the heavens.
The Horseman—The constellation of the Horseman is composed of five bright stars. Four create a vaguely trapezoid shape that represents the body of a horse; the fifth star, above the others, serves as the head of the beasts’ rider.

 

[All of today’s content (artwork and writing!) was submitted by Justin Andrew Mason!]

 

 

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)

  • one or two sentences about its appearance

  • what the item in question does

  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction

 

 

 

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Box of Wonders

Box of WondersBox of Wonders (“Leahcim’s Game”)
Aura overwhelming conjuration; CL 30th
Slot none; Weight 25 lbs.

DESCRIPTION
The Box of Wonders is an otherwise nondescript wooden cube, extolled squarely in the center of its cover with the image of a multifaceted gemstone in amethyst hues. The container has been carved down from a large block of tranteum trunk to the size of a small chest. The sides of the box have been finished to smooth, rounded edges, and the lid is affixed to the base with a pair of simple copper hinges. The rough-hewn interior has been marred with various carved sigils. The stylistic differences between each of the symbols suggest the markings are the handiwork of dozens of individuals.

The box has a permanent field of nondetection surrounding it that hinders any attempt to divine its location. This field also affects any items contained inside. If dispelled, it automatically regenerates the following day, increasing by 1 caster level for each preceding day until returning to maximum strength.

To activate the box, a character places treasure inside (coins, gems, jewelry, or art items that are small enough to fit inside a space of 2 cubic feet). After closing the lid, with the treasure inside, they knock on the emblazoned gemstone sigil eight times. All treasure items within the Box of Wonders vanish, consumed by the box.

If the treasure placed within the box is of ample value it manifests a random item in place of the valuables it consumed when activated. The random item created by the box can range from mundane to major wondrous items, depending on the value of the treasure held within when it is activated (see the Activated Effects Table for details) but never returns an item of greater value than half of what was put in it.

All treasure consumed by the box should be recorded, as it could be relevant to later use of the artifact. Any non-treasure items within the box are not consumed when it is activated.

Each time the box is activated it gains counter points. The number of counter points accumulated with each use depends on the type of random item the box creates and is determined by the Activated Effects Table. These counter points activate the box’s final effect.

If the box accumulates 100 or more counter points when activated (and the activation doesn’t result in the destruction of the artifact), the lid bursts open and the entirety of the treasure Leahcim’s Box of Wonders has consumed reappears, spilling out along with the final random item it created. The box then disappears and teleports to a random location at least 500-miles away and its counter points are reduced to zero.

Leahcim, patron of chance and aficionado of risk, despises those who would move to gain an unfair advantage by cheating. As a divine countermeasure, the god has bestowed each of these devices with a temporal linear field that prevents any altering of the activated effects by any means. Mechanics that would allow for re-rolls or other such means of altering the outcome do not work for this artifact. Any attempt to remove this fail-safe from the device results in its immediate destruction; just as if the character had failed the required roll for chance of destruction during a normal activation (see Destruction).

Amused by the struggle between greed and chance, the location where the box reappears may be at the whim of the god, Leahcim, sent by him to challenge another to his game.

 

ORDER OF OPERATIONS
When the box is activated the order of operations for its effects are as follows:
1. All treasure (coins, gems, jewelry and art items) within is consumed by the box when activated.
2. The box accumulates the appropriate number of counter points for the item it creates based on the value of treasure it consumed.
3. Check for the chance of destruction of the box if an item will be created.
4. If the box is not destroyed then determine the random item of the appropriate type, and it appears inside the closed container. The randomly generated item must fit within a 2 cubic foot space.
ACTIVATED EFFECTS TABLE

Random Item TypeTreasure ValueDestructionCounter Points
Mundane item1-99 gp10%1
Potion or Wand (1d4 charges)100-999 gp20%2
Minor Wondrous Item1,000-2,999 gp30%5
Medium Wondrous Item3,000-4,999 gp50%10
Major Wondrous Item5,000 gp+75%20

HISTORY

A character that makes a Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (religion) check identifies important historic information about the box. A character who is a follower of Leahcim receives a +10 bonus to this Knowledge check.

DC 15 – There are many folklore legends about magic boxes that can manifest valuable items for a price. In nearly all such stories: the higher the price paid, the higher the reward.

DC 30 — Also known as “Leahcim’s Game,” the Box of Wonders is a divine artifact, crafted by the hand of the god of chance and misfortune, himself. How many of these “games” exist isn’t known, but the existence of more than a few have been noted in the annals of history. It is said the boxes bring both great fortune and terrible misfortune to those who own them.

DESTRUCTION
The box cannot be destroyed except as a function of its activation. Each time it is activated, there is a chance it will be destroyed and trigger an effect from the item’s Negative Effects Table. The more valuable the random item created by the box, the higher the chance of destruction. The negative effect triggered upon destruction is dependent on the number of counter points the box has accumulated.

If the box is destroyed, in addition to causing a negative effect to the user it also explodes, sending out a blast wave of splinters that deals 1d4 damage for every 10 counter points accumulated by the box. This blast wave has a spherical radius of 300-feet (DC 25 Reflex save negates).

NEGATIVE EFFECTS TABLE

Counter PointsNegative Effects
1-20The next potion the user drinks is poisoned: lose 10 hp / round dissipating 1 point each round; fortitude DC 20 negates.
21-40The next opponent of equal or greater CR engaged targets all attacks on the user. Opponent gains a +5 to attack and damage rolls.
41-60The user is automatically teleported 3d10 miles away into the lair of a random creature of equal CR. The creature is immediately aware of the user’s presence and is hostile.
61-80The user automatically rolls a 1 on all initiative rolls for the next 1d6 days and takes a -5 penalty to attack rolls for the same duration.
81-99All magic items in possession of the user manipulating the artifact are irrevocably destroyed.
100+All of the above, and the user gains a negative level.

 

[Today’s item was brought to us by Justin Andrew Mason in both art and design!]

 

Do you have an idea for an enchanted sword, arcane-empowered armor or unique magic item? Take a look at the submission rules and send a brief summary of your proposed enchanted item titled ‘Armory of Adventures submission’ to submit(at)adventureaweek.com with the following:

  • the nature of the item (weapon, armor or wondrous)

  • one or two sentences about its appearance

  • what the item in question does

  • the components and spell(s) used in its construction

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Wild Thing & When the Ship Goes Down

 

Today I’m going to take a look at AaW’s only (so far) A-series adventure that does not take place in the frontier-town of Rybalka:

 

Wild Thing

 

This module is 62 pages long,  1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, we are left with a total of 57 pages, so let’s check this one out!

 

This pdf is the first of Adventureaweek.com‘s modules that does not take place in the wintry peninsula that contains the settlement of Rybalka and instead begins in the city of Cherrian’s Rest, which is loyal to the Black Gold Consortium at the border of a vast swamp. Thus, we are first introduced to the city and its surrounding, swampy area as well as diseases, infestations, complex rules for bug bites and even a rather large table for environmental and meteorological circumstances, assigning random encounters to the respective conditions. And yes, black gold is essentially oil…

 

That out of the way, the following text contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion!

 

Still here? All right! The PCs are hired to find a missing boat called the “Wasp” and especially the beautiful maiden and chief negotiator Sandalia, who’s been aboard. In order to navigate the swamp, the PCs will have to charter one of 3 vessels, all of which come with their own respective stats. It should be mentioned, though, that these vessels use a simplified abstract rule-set, not Paizo’s naval combat rules. What’s quite cool is the introduction of swamp points: Depending on the vessel and the captain’s skill, the PCs may spend swamp points to avoid random encounters. While abstract, this simple mechanic adds a tad bit of tactic to the exploration and serves as a nice justification for the DM to spring some unpleasant encounters in the way of the PCs. After checking the ship’s last known whereabouts, the PCs will have to track the missing ship, only to find a shipwreck and the gruesome reminders of the attack that cost the lives of most crew-men. After that, unfortunately for them, it’s time for some exploration, sand-box style: The PCs may, via logical thinking, find an abandoned camp-site on one of the islands and there encounter an empty potion bottle that once contained a variation of a philtre of love – the plot thickens.

 

A more gruesome encounter with an undead family in an old cabin may also provide for rather disturbing encounter at the island of traveler’s rest, but sooner or later, the PCs will have to brave the Fire Fields: Here, highly volatile, flammable gas erupts  from the ground and being from the elemental plane of fire roam free. Finally, the Big Rock hearkens and after an exhausting climb, the PCs will find a cave. Unfortunately for them, the inhabitants have prepared themselves: the approach of them cavern is riddled with traps and especially the zigzagging way down the side of a cliff will provide for an interesting challenge against the bog troll Nimbit and the girl who loves him. The missing Sandalia, alchemically manipulated by drinking the potion of true love the PCs may or may have not found, are actually happy and have prepared this gauntlet to get rid of his brothers, who don’t look kindly upon the budding, unlikely romance of the two. The finale thus may have the PCs not only fighting Nimbit’s brothers, but also make an interesting decision: Whether to wed the strange couple or kill Nimbit and drag the screaming Sandalia back to civilization.

 

The pdf also comes with new magical items, full stats for the creatures featured in the module in 3.5 and PFRPG-stats and THANKFULLY again player-friendly maps, which omit traps! Hell yeah! Especially the map of the area surrounding Cherrian’s Rest without any letters is awesome: Give it to the players and have them explore! This should be the standard for such wilderness sections.

DriveThruRPG.com

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect: I did notice some minor glitches. Layout adheres to Adventureaweek.com’s two-column standard and the pdf comes with an extra version sans backgrounds. The pdf is fully bookmarked and provides hero-lab files as well. The maps are of the high standard I’ve come to expect from AaW, while the cartoonish artworks left me cold – my PCs probably won’t get to see them. This adventure is interesting to say the least: While a more detailed look/map of Cherrian’s Rest would have been nice, that’s only the starting point of the module and this one actually delivers something interesting: The mini-game with the swamp-ships/skiffs makes for a neat idea and adds a bit of depths to the exploration of the swamp.

The sandboxy formula makes adding encounters easy and journeying through the Fire Fields will definitely be a memorable experience. Seeing the hints spread throughout the module come together, we’re in for an interesting take of the “Beauty and the Beast”-trope that has more than one resolution and thankfully does not dissolve into a simple good/evil-conflict, but a question of ethics, emotion and  the subjectivity of free will. Or you could just kill everything. The zigzagging escape down a cliff makes for an at first somewhat hard to grasp, but interesting showdown. So, what’s my final verdict, then? For the low price of $5.00, you get quite a bit bang for your buck and the module once again provides some interesting, uncommon situation and mechanics. In contrast to “Icecrag Monastery”, we thankfully get original environmental factors, neat ideas like the bug-sting/bite-system etc. to drive home how unpleasant the swamp can truly be. Thus, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars due to the minor glitches and none-too-great artwork and round down for the purpose of this platform – Wild Thing was an enjoyable experience and can be considered to rank among the best of the AaW-modules so far.

 

And I’m going to introduce you to one of my favorite modules by AaW so far:

 

When the Ship Goes Down

This pdf is 78 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/front cover, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving a total of 74 pages of content, so let’s check this out!

 

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.

 

All right! Still here? The weather around Rybalka has not been the best and that is an understatement of epic proportions. When the seasoned captain Duglig Merimies (identified via a captain’s token – a cool piece of culture that is also represented via a neat artwork) is found adrift in the seas, his tongue missing, dead and tied to crates, something is obviously amiss and it’s up to the PCs to find out what happened and accompany  captain Ertaran Honamatrus. After an extensive research-section (nice),  there unfortunately are some problems – Huriendor, obviously upset about the PCs (by now probably accomplished heroes in and around Rybalka) leaving and has gathered a mob to keep their precious heroes – thus we are introduced to the first cool bit of crunch in this module – a crowd-control tug of war between the sailors and the Rybalkan locals, both groups of which want the PCs. That is, the Pcs are not facing a straight-forward combat, but rather a complex, yet easy to run and ultimately more or less harmless and fun encounter, which may nevertheless turn easily ugly, making this perhaps the best introductory scenes in the whole line of adventures and making it rather easy for the DM to make his PCs encounter the results of their actions from prior adventures.

 

The journey per se will be a kind of paper chase aboard the vessel and feature elementals, a potentially friendly ice roc that may clear up what has happened and even an ice-water Elasmosaurus. And then, they reach the island that is the location of the adventure. AaW does it again. Turns out that the strange weather phenomena are the result of an artifact, the Troposheroscope: Housing a shard of the sun (see also the latest Pathways e-zine…), the device was utilized and kept in the care of a storm giant’s floating island. Unfortunately, said keeper has died in a maintenance accident of the device, which has promptly turned haywire. Worse yet, the floating island’s keel has been torn off by a collision with a cliff, flipping the whole floating island upside down. Yes. The PCs will have to explore a floating, upside down fortress of a storm giant above a lake. Now if that’s not awesome, what is? Even better,  the top of the structure is guarded by multiple traps that belong to the good category – they can be observed and worked around, much like good puzzles. The location also gets neat artworks and the fortress itself is plain awesome – magical horns, a devious trap (paralysis, gelatinous cubes, force cages – ouch!) including a respective warning, mobs of mephits, a library (including 3 sample, rather interesting  books) and one of the funniest ways to die, impaled by giant cutlery, are part of the deal. Have I mentioned the electro-hydra and the showdown against 2 young blue dragons (tundra is also a kind of desert, after all)  that comes with hoards as well as a selection of tactics? And after the PCs have braved this section of the island, they still have to navigate the upside-down caverns (with side-view map) and stop the malfunctioning artifact and defeat the now undead former keeper of the weather-control device while solving the puzzle on how to disable the artifact and avoiding its deadly blasts. Ladies and gentlemen – THIS is a climax worthy of the name! Iconic, challenging, with both a cool location, an interesting adversary and even a puzzle strewn in, this is an awesome final battle… that may see essentially a kind of magical equivalent of an atomic bomb in the hands of the PCs to determine whom to give the artifact or keep it themselves. I know that my players would try to keep it, if only to give new credence to the phrase “blaze of glory” – removing the lead from the shard, they’d look at a whopping 444 points of damage – some forces are not for mortals to tamper with…

 

26 pages are taken up by the full stats of the creatures encountered herein, both for PFRPG and 3.5. We also get player-friendly versions of all maps in the module, and a map of Rybalka and a typical Rybalkan house.

DriveThruRPG.com

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches that would have impeded my enjoyment. Layout adheres to the Pre-B2-two-column layout and the maps, as I’ve come to expect by AaW, are top-notch. The artworks are ok. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, and while the player handout bookmark doesn’t work, it’s nested bookmarks do work – no harm done. The pdf comes with a second, printer-friendly version. At the time of me writing this review, Herolab files have not yet been added, but I’m positive they will. This module is AaW at their best – an awesome, iconic location, a cool mini-game, internal consistency, cool effects and a climax that deserves the name and provides us with an excellent set of cool effects. The only potential gripe a DM should be aware of is that the Pcs may very well end this adventure with a powerful weapon of destruction that they may use as a last resort – at the cost of all their lives. However, this is easily remedied by making it impossible to dismantle said tool. Let me say it again: This one of the modules that is not only good, it is excellent, fun and exciting and your players will enjoy exploring the cool location. My final verdict for this one will be 5 stars + endzeitgeist seal of approval.

 

As always, thank you for reading my ramblings!

Endzeitgeist out.