‘The fires have all gone out
The furnace has gone unfed
What once glowed red and hateful
Is now cold, cold, ash and dead
Wither the power?
Where has it gone?
Once it was screams of sacrifice
Now it’s naught, but wind-song.’
Arena Tempus (Sand of Time)
‘Some scholars proclaim that Time is there to shepherd events to occur in sequence: from past to present to future. While others honour that time is not a solid object, nor an occasion, but a fluid substance, and thus is perfectly malleable, and not as linear as first thought.’ Tempus Edax Rerum
It was with this in mind that Artimes, the Great Architect of the Samonic Brotherhood, gave us his last perfect creation, the Sand Timer. Fashioned with the help of the, ‘men-who-will-not-be-blamed-for-nothing’, the timer is said manipulate the great river itself. Forwards, backwards, even to stay temporarily in place, the Timer does it all. But, as anyone knows, those who parley with powers beyond their ken have a price to pay. Tampering with the time stream comes at a cost: old age and ruin will befall those that use this item too frequently, no matter whether they go forward or backward in time.
Made from bone, and fired glass, it contains the dark sands of Night’s Plutonium Shore, mixed with the ashes of the Serpent Queen, Boudicca. Turn it upside down, let the sands flow, and watch as all is altered, albeit for a few fleeting seconds.
(The device works in a completely random fashion for X amount of seconds and can only be used once per week. It will only affect the person holding it and no one else. You would not be able to make a daisy-chain of people holding onto the wielder for example.
It’s possible to freeze time, to go forward, or back, or nothing can happen at all. The player has no control over this and it is left completely up to the whims of the dice. However, with each successful use of this item, the player will start to lose ability points as if they were aging. Again, this will be random, as will the amount to be penalised with. There is also a possibility that the players may be lost to the sands of time, caught somewhere in time as it were, thus they would be unable to move or interact with the world, paralysed in the time stream while those that they love carry on without them. While moving either back or forward in time, it would be as if you had disappeared from those around you but you would be able to see all that goes on around you.)
1) Nothing happens
2) Move forward in time by 1d20 seconds
3) Move backward in time by 1d20 seconds
4) Stay precisely where you are, while all around you is frozen for 1d20 seconds. You can step out the time stream and alter what you find e.g. move a potentially fatal sword blow out of the way?
5) Nothing happens
6) Move backward in time by 1d10 seconds
7) Move forward in time by 1d10 seconds
8) Stay precisely where you are, while all around you is frozen for 1d10 seconds. You can step out the time stream and alter what you find e.g. move a potentially fatal sword blow out of the way?
9) Nothing happens
10) Caught! Make a Save vs. Spells or be caught in time.
Save Vs. Spells. If passed nothing happens. If failed, roll 1d6, with 1 being your first stat and 6 your last (or however many stats you have, just change the dice) then roll a d6. A result of one, two or three then deduct one point, four, five or six then deduct two.
For the DM
Right, there you have it. Blueprints and ideas only. How it plays in your game is up to you. I see it as almost a, Get-out-of-Jail-Free Card for a player, granted it comes at a cost, and, there’s also a chance they could be snared forever in time, but sometimes the risk is worth the reward…it’s up to you.
The Dues-Ex-Machina (The Machine of the Gods)
It was discovered amidst the ruins of Zambambia (on the continent of Ki’Afra), by the famed explorer, Felonious the Feigned. The Machine of the Gods is reminiscent of a sarcophagus in its shape, splendour and size. However, there is one key difference between the two, whereas the sarcophagus is an elegantly clad coffin for housing a dead god, it’s rumoured that the Machine of the Gods, is a chamber for giving birth to one. Alongside this magnificent ancient item, is a wooden case containing six silver vials of effluvia from the loins of the gods themselves.
Made from a marble that has withstood the ravages of time, the Machine is carved in the shape of a vivacious female figure, large of girth, and abundant of breast,she is reclining on her side. A small incision above the belly button is where the vial is to be placed. Once this is done, all the owner of the Machine can do is wait approximately 90 days, before it will birth a fully formed adult being.
All of this was carefully documented in the wizard’s notes that were found in the smoking rubble of his tower. It seems as if his first ‘creation’ had gone terribly wrong, and instead of birthing someone as magnificent as Herculat or even Orpheum, the ancient Machine spawned a monster that quickly destroyed everything, and everyone around it. It disappeared into the bustling harbour town of Utrecht before vanishing for ever. It seems as if the Machine has also gone; maybe to the Princes of Galantri? Or even further afield, over the Teeth, to the court of the D’Ambervilles? It is well known that Felonious courted royalty for their patronage, perhaps they came to collect? In the right hands, the Machine could be an instrument of wonder, in the wrong hands however, it could be an instrument of slaughter…
(Obviously, having characters gain access to a machine that pops out gods, and supposedly lets you control them, would be milieu destroying for all referees out there, not to mention the inflation it might do to their players ego… because,’ Dude…I control a GOD! A Golden GOD! He polishes my armour and everything!’ would just be insufferable….so, bearing this in mind, I propose that all the contents of the vials are corrupted, and that the machine was actually built to birth an army of slavish Giants called Nephilim, not Gods, and the Nephilim were then used to fight for whomever controlled the Machine. (You could possibly have the Nephilim come and look for it the moment it’s used?)
However, it’s also rumoured that placing one’s own blood into the Machine, will not only create another you, physically, but also mentally. It would be as if there were two of you running around, sort of like a permanent Mirror Image. You don’t have to stop at one either. You would share a Hive-Mind as it were, working as one. If one takes damage, you all do, but they can operate independently of you. This however, should come with a caveat before the player becomes too powerful… For every one created, there is a 85% chance, rolled by the DM, that the carbon copy develops homicidal tendencies and will stop at nothing to kill the ‘original’ so that it may be free of its/your control. At no point should the Machine be the ultimate Healing potion. It should go wrong for the players at every conceivable turn. You could ramp up the paranoia levels to the extreme and get the party thinking they are all out to get one another when it is in fact their creation/s plotting their downfall.
No magic item is ever fool proof or player proof, so what would happen if one of them climbed inside? I’m glad you asked, because believe me, one of them WILL try. When it happens (not if) they will be teleported to the inside of another one that’s located in the area of your choice, and, controlled by the people of your choice. Maybe they become beholden/controlled to another group of adventures?
If the players decide on using the vials, roll on the following chart. Whatever is birthed/created, becomes not just a Lizardman (for example) but THE Lizardman. Strong, clever, functionally better at everything than his normal species type would be. She/he could possibly be under the group’s control, or maybe not, or maybe, it gives the illusion that it is working for the group. That’s up to you. In my games, the creation gives the illusion that all is well, but actually, it’s just waiting to kill them.
1) Nothing emerges from the smoke and noise…
3) Giant Spider
5) Owl Bear
6) Giant Snake
7) Carrion Crawler
8) Hill Giant
15) Nephilim (Frost Giant stats)
17) Giant Fly or Fly-man perhaps?
20) Flesh Golem
Despite these being mostly creatures, because of their high intelligence, they should be able to communicate with the party by some means.
Just as Occam’s razor allows one to sort the wheat from the theoretical chaff, Occam’s Lenses, allows one to see in various ways. Occam was a theorist, physician, watch maker, and keen modeller, who built his now famous set of lenses to assist his ailing eyes. However, due to his countless years of gainful employ at Hamlet’s Mill, old Meneer Occam, was imbued with more than just a smattering of dweomering.
Not only does Occam’s lenses allow you to spy those who would remain invisible, but one can sharpen ones focus and magnify what is before you nearly one thousand times over. Grains of sand now become the size of pebbles, and the humble (yet irritating) flea, as large as a house cat. All it takes to do this is use the adjustments located on the side of the lenses. The wearer can also see in complete darkness, as if they were blessed with dwarf sight.
When a mage uses the lenses to transcribe a scroll to his spellbook, because of the sharpness of focus, it takes but a single day to do so, instead of the weeks that it usually takes. No matter the level of spell, it takes but a single day to copy it across into their spellbook only, no one else’s.
When a thief uses these lenses to disarm traps/detect for traps, count them as operating as a 15th level thief, instead of what they actually are. Once they are of the same level as what the lenses allow, they get a re-roll on any failed throws for these skills. They must use the second roll, regardless of the result.
If in the hands of a gem-cutter, add an extra 40% value to what they would normally be able to get for their cut gems.