[Age of Dusk] The detrius of ages past

Many are the treasures and buried wonders of the Age of Dusk. A thousand times a thousand gilded statues, shimmering gemstones, gleaming suits of ornate armour and the coinage of a thousand forgotten empires lie buried in aeons-old vaults, only to be discovered now and inspire once more the bloodshed that is their rightful due.

Within these hoards that can buy kingdoms or damn them to oblivion lie objects far more dangerous and of interest to those who scoff the concerns of the material world for concerns altogether more fearome and alien. To those empty-eyed ghouls with sallow cheeks and skin like ancient parchment it is not gold they seek, but eldritch secrets.
But the fabric is breaking, and not all items still function as they once did, and even if they do, it is said sorcery is a double-edged sword that should never be employed lightly. Even the ancient texts describing the forging and purpose of such dire artifacts are of limited use, for not all is as it once was.

The Sixty-Six Cinder-blades of Tel-Quor – Stolen from the molten heart of the vicious and spiteful Sun by the Sybaran hero-deity Tel-Quor, each of the sixty-six shards is a wickedly curved dagger no more then two fingers in length, its handle wrapped in strips of fabric spun from Final Night itself (or so the legends would have you believe) and thus proof against the hottest flame. If they are carried into battle, the cinder-blades glow with the heat and fury of the Sun and will cut through anything they touch, turning flesh to vapour and bone to ashes.
The weapons are fickle and carry with them the Ire of the Sun for humankind’s presumpuous thieving arrogance, however, and at inconvenient times the weapons will emit great heat, setting fire to dwellings and maiming loved ones. Those who carry a cinder blade for a prolonged period of time tend to be covered in burns.

The Cinder-blades function as daggers+3 and inflicts 1d6 fire damage on each hit. On a natural 20, the target must save vs breath weapon or take 5d6 additional points of fire damage. Additionally, its wielder may cast heat-metal 3/day at caster level 15th.

The weapon does possess several drawbacks. It has an ego of 18 and an Int of 8 and will seek to inspire his wielder to acts of wanton cruelty and arson. It can cast produce flame at CL 6th at its own initiative three times a day.

Etheric Bauble – A small marble, The Etheric bauble floats and emits coloured light in the presence of sorcerous energy. The colour varies depending on the intensity. In an area of dead magic, or an area so saturated with enchantments that the very life is bled from the air, the bauble turns black. So many of these have been fabricated over the long ages that it is one of the few ‘common’ magical items.

Sybaran Weavestone – A currency among the magician-caste of long lost Sybara, Sybaran Weavestones absorb ambient magical energy for easy release. They can expend charges to fuel sorcerous artifacts and spells in areas of dead magic. Sybaran Weavestones are rare in the Age of Dusk, and are much sought after by both the Undying sorcerors of Tzyan and the adventurers that seek to plunder their sorcery-wreathed tomb-cities.

A malfunctioning/cursed weavestone is fuelled by the lifeforce of its owner and will drain it from him if ambient magical energy is not available. These cursed stones are potent tools of assasination used by the secretive assassin-mathematicians of the Three and Twenty-Seven.

Stone Plague: An ancient weapon whose creators have long been lost to antiquity, stone plague is a magical contagion that infects stone, warping and twisting it and making it run like wax. Although it is very effective against magically animated statues or golems, and it will cripple fortifications and render walls brittle and twisted, sages speculate that its primary function is to target the primordial Morr’d. Stone plague is usually held within an ornate ceramic container and will spread to any stone within 20 feet of the point of impact, rendering it brittle and twisted. The contagion will expand exponentially per hour until the entire structure is affected. Structures in close proximity to the infected structure run the risk of also contracting stone plague.

Animated creatures get a saving throw vs polymorph and are affected as if slowed. Morr get a second saving throw after 1 hour. Depending on the size of the Morr, a single dose of Stone Plague can be fatal to them.

Inquisitor’s Eye – One of the few reliable countermeasures against the dreaded and half-mythical Empty Men, the Inquistor’s Eye is a sphere of overlapping brass-bands roughly the size of an eye-ball. It will only function when inserted into an empty eye-socket. Once placed there, it will embed itself into the eye socket and fuse with wearer’s central nervous system. The eye functions like a normal human eye, but also grants the ability to see in the dark. It’s most important function is that it allows the wearer to detect anyone who has been co-opted into an Empty Man.
The Empty Men recognize and fear this device from the wars of ages past and will treat anyone with access to it as immediately hostile. They will go to great lengths to find and destroy any of these artefacts they come across.

Muiran Rithkyish – An elaborate Muiran headdress of woven branches, silk and gem-stones crafted by the master hatters of the Vermillion Quarter, the coveted Rithkyish is a symbol of great status in Muir(unless it is worn by the wrong caste, or in the wrong district, or on the wrong day). The Rithkyish houses 1-3 Rithkyasi, scaled birds with serrated teeth and truculent temperaments. If bonded to their owner, they will perform acts of spycraft, theft or reconnaissance for him. A Rithkyasi can imitate human speech and can memorize over half an hour of conversation. It can even be tought a few simple code words. Rithkyasi are extremely ill-tempered and often peck or sting their owners, sometimes without provocation. If mistreated, they become increasingly unreliable, though they will never leave their headdress. Rithkyasi eat only a rare form of mulberry that is cultivated in the orchards of Great Muir. Feeding a Rithkyasi costs about 3 gp per day, more if one is particularly far away from Muir.

Rithkyasi (HD: 1/4 (2 hp), Mv 160 feet per round, AC 5, Att: Peck (1-2 damage), Int 7, Morale 7).

Arrow of Nzembar – One of the few weapons the Nzembarese deigned to use, the Arrow appears to be made from an alloy of silver and lead, though it is unusually light. It functions in all respects as a normal +1 arrow, unless it is given the name of the person it is to slay. Against that person, it will act as an arrow of slaying. A more detailed description of the person (this includes history, personal secrets and so on) will grant it additional powers against that person, such as improved accuracy, the ability to pass through walls and, in extreme cases, the ability to cross huge distances or penetrate magical and even planar boundaries.

Deiophage(Weapon): Accursed half-living weaponry forged by the Tzyanese to fight their divine adversaries. Now they are in the hands of the savage H’San, who live under the baleful radiance of the Tempest. A deiophage looks like a khopesh, zweihander or dirk(there are other types) forged from black glass, with purple veins running through it. A Deiophage will inflict severe damage (double damage) against any being of divine origin, leave permanent wounds and will, to a lesser extent, protect its owner from divine magic (25% magic resistance and a +2 bonus against saves vs divine creatures). In addition, it will pierce any form of immunity or projection that is the result of divine power.

As a side effect of this great boon, the wielder gradually transforms into a Tzyanese half-human creature, with alien appetites and alien mindset, as the purple veins spread their mutagenic toxins through his body. Every time the weapon is used to slay a creature of divine origin (Sial-Atramentar, the Progeny of the Storm or a re-animated divine carcass) the wielder must make a saving throw vs death. A failed save indicates the corruption has gained more ground in the body of the wielder, reducing his cha and con by 1. Once three consecutive saving throws are failed the wielder and the weapon are irrevocably bonded, and the wielder will die after 24 hours of separation from the weapon.

Once either the cha or the con of the wielder has been reduced to 0 the wielder is permanently transfigured. He regains all his missing stat points and becomes an NPC under the control of the GM. The transfigured behave in wholly alien ways, following ancient agendas and communicate exclusively in the Tzyanese tongue.

Hushed whispers told in dark places say that each Deiophage is but a fragment of the Weapon.

The Mail of the Requiem: A beautifully ornate suit of chainmail of composed of an unknown crimson alloy, the Mail was forged in the dying days of Old Nzembar, and infused with all the bitterness of the last of the artificers. The wearer of this accursed suit is protected from injury as though he were wearing Full Plate Mail +1 and gains a +2 to all saving throws and only half damage from special abilities.
The mail does not grant its protection lightly. Those who bear it are wracked with nightmares and waking dreams of the fall of Old Nzembar. In addition, the wearer must exact a dire retribution upon the world for the death of its greatest civilisation. Any time the wearer is slighted, he must exact upon the perpetrator a retribution sevenfold. As long as the wearer neglects to do so, leaving grievances left unavenged or insults unanswered, the wearer suffers grievous agony, causing a -2 to all attack rolls, skill checks and ability checks. The Mail can only be removed by immersing the wearer in the tears of a grieving widow that has forgiven her husband’s slayer.

The Obelisk of Ursk:  In the heart of the crumbling city-state of Ursk is a hidden place where the obelisk of Ursk grants salvation at a terrible price. Perfectly smooth and black as Final Night, its only distinguishing feature are the miniscule prayers to a long forgotten deity that cover every square inch of its outer surface. It emits a barely audible hum that can be felt in one’s teeth.

The Obelisk is Ursk holds great power. It can cure any wounds, diseases, missing limbs, mental illnesses and more. It can even bring a body back from the dead. But it will always demand a price, which is imprinted upon the supplicant afterwards.

The price the obelisk demands is inevitably a heinous one, and will require the blackest of deeds to acquire. Those that refuse to pay its price instantly have their boon retracted, becoming as they were before the Obelisk saved them. These quests to give the Obelisk its due often impart further misfortune and injury upon its subjects, neccesitating further intercessions and thus, more prices. As the injuries accumulate and the threat of reversing the touch of the Obelisk becomes ever more dire, the Obelisk will eventually ask its final price; Total subservience to its every command, and eternal service in its name. So dire are the injuries inflicted upon the supplicants in their long careers that some prefer a life of heinous servitude to a slow, agonizing death.

Mazhurian Blades, Paired – These two wickedly curved ornate daggers are most commonly found in the hands of the holy assasin pairs of the Northern Tribes. The daggers are enchanted (+1) but will function as +3 in if each of the pair is wielded by lovers or siblings. If the pair are both lovers and siblings, the weapons count as poisoned (save vs death at +2 or die (comatose in 1d6 rounds, death in 1d6 hours). If one wielding a Mazhurian dagger takes damage his partner takes half.

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2 thoughts on “[Age of Dusk] The detrius of ages past

  1. All killer, no filler. I am getting a bit of a ‘Book of the New Sun’ vibe, specifically the scene in which Severian climbs down a cliff face that is made up of the strata of various lost civilizations. I also like the way that there are ways to defeat the ‘nigh-unstoppable’ opponents of the setting.

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    1. The comparison with Book of the New Sun is very flattering, thank you, I consider it an excellent source of inspiration. The post is a bit of a work in progress, I have more junk to transcribe. I’ll try to avoid filler as much as I can.

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