Notes Regarding Artifacts and Relics:
Each artifact or relic is a singular
thing of potent powers and possibly strange side effects as well. Regardless
of how any of these items come into your campaign, only 1 of each
may exist. As each is placed by you or found by PCs, you
must draw a line through its listing on the table to indicate it can no longer
be discovered randomly - if the dice indicate an item no longer available,
you may substitute a clue as to its whereabouts or simply ignore the
result so that no magic item is found at all.
Because of the unique nature of each artifact
and relic, their powers are
only partially described. You, the DM, must at least decide
what the major powers of each item are to be. This prevents players from
gaining any knowledge of these items, even if they happen to own or read
a copy of this volume, and i t also makes each artifact and relic distinct from campaign to campaign.
Those artifacts and relics which you bring
into play should be so carefully
guarded by location and warding devices and monsters that recovery of
any one is an undertaking of such magnitude that only very powerful
characters, in concert, and after lengthy attempts have any chance whatsoever
of attaining one. Naturally, each artifact and relic might have a
body of rumors, tales, and other lore. Discovery of such information should
not be by chance. Minor clues may be placed, but any extensive oral or
written information must be sought out and obtained only after considerable
expenditure of time and money, if at all.
Please note that you need not use any or
all of the artifacts and/or relics
here. If you prefer, you may rename those in your campaign to suit a
particular mythos, or you may devise your own entirely. But any creation
by you must be done so as to maintain the item in balance with the game
as a whole - and this goes for assignment of powers with respect to any
of these items, too! A super-weapon is certain to blast the whole campaign
to smithereens, unless it is given proper limitations (and also a nemesis
creature in some cases).
At the end of the descriptions of artifacts
and relics are 5 tables which list
the various powers and side effects of these items. Each item is described
with only a few of its attributes, and its other characteristics are mentioned
with respect to the number of each power or effect from the appropriate
table, i.e. each item has several powers ond/or effects you must select and
record in your copy of this book. Players can know virtually nothing about
any powers and effects of any artifact or relic. These must be discovered
by them through experimentation by their characters, legends, legend
If a player refuses to risk his or her
character when an item is discovered,
preferring to ollow some hireling || henchman to hazard the trial and
error process necessary, the character given the item or ordered to
determine its powers and effects will certainly do one of the following
1 . If the character
is evil, he or she will destroy, or at least escape
from, the player character once the artifact or relic abilities are
known to the character.
2. If the character
is neutral and neither good nor evil otherwise, he or
she will use the powers of the artifact or relic to dominate and
control his or her former employer/master or mistress, destroying
him or her if threatened.
3. If the character
is good, he or she will realize that his or her
employer/master or mistress acted in a most evil fashion by giving/
forcing upon him or her the artifact or relic; so the character
will use every wile to escape the player character and take the item
along to give to his or her religious leaders or other suzerain. (And,
of course, this character will never again associate with the player
character in question.)
&& henchmen of a player character
foisting off on artifact or
relic in such manner will have a drop in loyalty of 10%-30% if the character
having the item is permanently harmed or killed.
All artifacts and relics are of such power
that they are virtually impervious
to harm - magical or physical. Some predate the known gods, and others
were formed by the gods. Typically, each can only be destroyed by a
single means. A table after those of powers and effects gives a sampling
of the various means suggested. Any character attempting to destroy an
artifact or relic by disassembling its parts, removing a portion, or similarly
defacing it must usually save versus magic at -5; failure equals death.
Many of these items tend to make their
possessor reclusive, secretive,
arrogant, and/or greedy. These effects are best to handle through manipulation
of the player by means of powers, non-player characters, etc.
Finally, whatever befalls the possessor
of an artifact or relic, or the effects
he or she causes by use of the prime powers (or even the major powers in
some cases), is permanent and usually irreversible by the most powerful
of spells- including wishes, for example - or even bydeities. Exception:
A deity who created the item, or one which can fully control it, may (at
your option) be able to reverse effects of some powers.
|Dice||Result||Encumbrance||G.P. Sale Value*|
|01||Axe of the Dwarvish Lords||-||55,000|
|02||Baba Yaga's Hut||-||90,000|
|03-0||Codex of the Infinite Planes||395#||62,500|
|05-20||Crown of Might||-||50,000|
|21||Crystal of the Ebon Flame||-||75,000|
|22||Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar||-||85,000|
|23-24||Eye of Vecna||-||35,000|
|25||Hand of Vecna||-||60,000|
|26||Heward's Mystical Organ||-||25,000|
|27||Horn of Change||-||20,000|
|28-29||Invulnerable Coat of Arnd||-||47,500|
|30-31||Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless||-||50,000|
|32||Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty||-||100,000|
|36-37||Mace of Cuthbert||-||35,000|
|38||Machine of Lum the Mad||-||72,500|
|39-40||Mighty Servant of Leuk-O||-||185,000|
|41-47||Orb of Dragonkind||-||10-80,000|
|48-63||Orb of Might||-||100,000|
|64||Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous Nightingale||-||112,500|
|65-66||Recorder of Ye'Cind||-||80,000|
|67-68||Ring of Gaxx||-||17,500|
|69-74||Rod of Seven Parts||-||25,000|
|75-91||Sceptre of Might||-||150,000|
|92||Sword of Kas||-||97,000|
|93-98||Teeth of Dahlver-Nar||-||5,000 / tooth|
|99||Throne of the Gods||-||---|
|00||Wand of Orcus||-||10,000|
* These items bring no experience points.
Then why were their artifacts in AD&D if you do not like having them in a campaign?
Two simple reasons:
To furnish potent magical things for the use of unbeatable NPCs.
Because of demand by Monty Hall DMs to supply their power-gaming munchkins.
Do note that Brian Blume was the main creator od many of the latter sort of artifacts.
Also note that artifacts were designed so that the referee chose its powers. There was a problem at the time of players memorizing the powers of all the magic items in the game, and this was one way to combat it...
I did create an Artifact
for son Luke's PC after that worthy had gone through severe tests.
I told him to that if he found a needle in a haystack in an hour's time thet Zagyg would reward him with a special weapon.
Durned if the lad didn't burn the hay and find the "needle" easily.
Thus that PC came into possession
of the Spear of Zagyg. It is a needle until drawn forth from fabric and
commanded to become a weapon.
A d8 is rolled and the weapon size and plus is determined thus.
Somehow. though, a +8 pike is not the favored result
Originally Posted by Geoffrey
Gary, in the artifacts and relics section of your DMG, you mention several evocative names of various locations. A few of them I recognize out of mythology, but many of them leave me scratching my head. Did you make these up, or did you take them from mythology and/or weird fiction? If it's not too much trouble, would you be able to tell me the sources for these?
the Well of Time
the Earth Wound
Adonais' Deep (Shelley's Adonais, stanza III?)
the Spring of Eternity
Marion's Trench (Is this the Mariana Trench?)
the Living Stone
Mountain of Thunder
the Tree of the Universe (Is this Yggdrasil?)
the Cornerstone of the World
the Juggernaut of the Endless Labyrinth
the Ray of Eternal Shrinking
the Well of Life (Is this the Fountain of Youth?)
the River of Flame
Short answer here
I made them up, although a few were inspired by things I had read, such as Yggdrasil being the model for the Tree of Universe. To be specific would have chained DMs to my thinking. As writtem this empowers DMs to have those locations be where, and possibly what, best suits their campaign.
Now it is cocktail time
Originally Posted by the black knight
Once again, thanks for your responses. I found them quite insightful.
If you don't mind, I'd like to pick your brain on the subject of magic items and artifacts. How many artifacts have you introduced into your campaigns over the years? Have any had a detrimental effect upon the campaign? Do you regret introducing such an item?
Welcome of course.
As I recall only one minor artifact was introduced to in my campaign. Son Luke's PC discovered it when he met a deadline for finding a needle in a haystack by burning the latter. He thus gained the Spear of Zagig. When the pin was held and commanded to become a weapon a d8 was rolled, the result determining the weapon and its attack bous, with 1 being a +1 dagger, 2 a +2 short sword, all the way to a +8 pike.
This was a most humerous
artifact from the DM perspective, and I never regretted adding it to the
Originally Posted by the black knight
Lastly, how do you feel about characters creating their own magic items? Does that remove the excitement of discovering such magic? Does it better facilitate characters in the long run? Should it be reletively easy the way it has become of late?
the black knight
Mages of over 20th level cancreate their own magic items, as they are not going to be adventuring in the campaign, nor handing them out to PC that are doing so. Mordenkainen and Bigby stay home and forge and concont such things. they will smetmes trade their work for one or more other magic items that are more valuable.
You want a particular magic
item PC, you can not buy it ir make it! Go out and quest to find it. That
is a part of the RPG form now isn't it?