Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Curse of the Ring and the Sword (Encounter/Plot Hook)

Written by Justin Mason

This encounter can take place in pretty much any dungeon, though it will make more sense if related to a person of great arcane power. Somewhere in the dungeon, there is a 5-foot by 5-foot simple chute-trap. The chute itself is angled at 45-degrees and is coated with a thick, wet, slippery substance (natural algae and moss grown from years of water drainage). This substance makes it very hard to climb back out of the chute unassisted (Climb DC 22).

At the bottom of the sixty-foot chute, the characters will tumble into a 20-foot by 20-foot room filled with three feet of stagnant water. There are no doors or exits from this room other than the chute opening upon the center of the ceiling. Near the northern wall of this room is a 4-foot-tall stone pillar, and atop of it is a clear glass bottle. Inside of the bottle is a very valuable looking ring, however the opening of the bottle is too small to remove the treasure from within (the bottle must be broken).

Description of the Ring:
This ring is fashioned from polished gold. The wide band has been ornately carved with an intricate stylized flames design, offset by a row of tiny garnets. The face of the ring is adorned with an perfectly spherical ruby that faintly glows within with a rolling fiery luminescence.

The container can be easily shattered, however this will activate a magical repulse effect that causing the ring to remain one-foot away from anyone trying to grab it. The characters should eventually be able to “capture” the ring with ingenuity, such as by cornering it or having more than one character attempt to obtain it. However, this repulse effect remains on the ring until it is worn by someone (a challenging feat considering the nature of this effect).

If the characters try to place the ring into a pouch or sack, they will find that the repulsing push of the ring will simply force the ring out of the container. If secured, the ring will leap from the container whenever it is opened. Only wearing the ring will nullify the repulsing effect.

Assuming one of the characters wears the ring, they will be surprised when a grim-covered longsword rises from the water, darts with blinding speed towards the wearer, and lands perfectly in the palm of their hand, as if ready to be used. When the longsword is grasped by the ring-wearer, it will burst into magical flames (+3 magical flaming longsword). If the sword is thrown down (or knocked from the wearer’s hand), it will land upon the ground (or in the water) and distinguish the flame -- however in the next turn it will quickly levitate back into the wearer’s hand and burst back into flames. This is a very useful effect, since the character cannot be disarmed.

The attraction and activation of the sword cannot be disabled or turned off. Which may lead to some interesting situations requiring creative solutions such as when the character needs to sleep. Though the wearer is immune to the flames, bedding and surrounding furniture is not.

The ring is an artifacts of sort, and as such cannot be identified. If the characters do not put the ring on in this room, the sword will still magically seek out the wearer when if it is eventually worn. The sword will levitate/fly to the ring dodging all obstacles no matter the distance (flying at a speed of 1000-feet per minute [Roughly 12-miles per hour]).

The Curse of Fire:

Initially, this will be the only obvious effect of the ring, and is intended to entice one of the characters to use it. However after one week of use, the character (and those around him) are inexplicitly attacked by 1d4 Small Fire Elementals. The next day, they will be attacked by 1d4 Medium Fire Elementals. The third day will result an attack by 1d4 Large Fire Elementals, and the fourth day with an attack by 1d4 Huge Fire Elementals. On the fifth day it is 1d4 Greater Fire Elementals, and on the sixth day 1d4 Elder Fire Elementals. The attacks will continue on a daily basis after this with 1d4 Elder Fire Elements each day with the attacking Elementals becoming more powerful than those from the day before by 3 Hit Dice.

These elementals are summoned by the ring at a random time throughout the day, and the summoned elementals are magically driven by the ring to attack its wearer any anyone assisting him. Regardless of the character’s level, this should eventually become a challenge as the toughness of the ensuing elementals becomes greater and greater with each encounter.

Eventually the characters will likely figure out the attacks are being caused by the ring, and stop using it, but it is the trap designer’s intent for them to eventually be killed for “stealing” from the dungeon.

Note: Once the ring has been attuned to a character, it “knows” who the character’s allies are, and the curse effects of the item cannot be negated by passing the ring around to other party members. Likewise, if the ring is passed on to an unsuspecting NPC, the effects are reset. The ring always remembers who its past owners were, and the curse will continue for that wearer accordingly.

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