Kobold Press

Relics of Power Finalist: Izellia’s Branch

Welcome to the Relics of Power finals! Our seventh of ten finalists is the artifact called Izellia’s Branch. Remember, these entries are unedited so that you can have a similar experience to the one that the judges had while reading them. As a special treat, we are posting each one with an illustration that Chris McFann made for the item. Take a look!

Izellia’s Branch

Izellia’s Branch is appropriate for mid- to high-heroic tier characters. Druids gain the most benefit from this artifact, but wizards specializing in fey magic will also find it an appealing item.

Izellia’s Branch Heroic Tier

This small tree branch is perpetually in bloom despite being severed from the mighty oak it must once have been a part of.

Izellia’s Branch is a +2 magic staff with the following properties.

Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls

Critical: +2d6 damage

Property: You ignore difficult terrain that is the result of plants.

Property: Attacks made with this implement deals 1 extra point of damage to creatures with the aberrant type.

Power (Daily*Healing, Zone): Standard Action. You create a zone in a close burst 10 that lasts until your next extended rest. The zone becomes difficult terrain and is filled with enough edible plants to feed five medium sized creatures for a day.

Izellia’s Branch Lore

Nature DC 16: This branch of oak radiates powerful primal magic that can command nearby plants.

Nature DC 24: Izellia was the first dryad to take a mortal lover. As her forest was consumed by a blight spread by foulspawn, her lover sacrificed himself to save her. He bound her soul to this branch, the last untouched by blight, but the ritual cost him his life.

Goals of Izellia’s Branch

  • Prevent aberrant creatures from despoiling nature
  • Defend pristine forests

Roleplaying Izellia’s Branch

Izellia is capable of communicating telepathically with any creature holding the branch of oak to which she is bound. The loss of her lover deeply affected her, and she has sworn to avenge both him and the forest that was once her home by destroying every last aberrant creature in the world. She demands the same level of dedication from her owner, exhorting that character at every turn to preserve the wilderness of the world.

Concordance

Starting Score 5

Owner gains a level +1d10

Owner kills a creature with the aberrant keyword (maximum 1/day) +2

Owner prevents a plant or creature with the plant keyword from being destroyed (maximum 1/day) +1

Owner harms a plant or creature with the plant keyword –1

Pleased (16–20)

“You have earned my trust, mortal. When you have need of my aid I will fight by your side.”

Izellia finally trusts the dedication of her owner and is willing to assist them in the battle against the aberrant scourge.

Property: The enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls increases to +3.

Power (Daily*Summoning): Standard Action. You summon a Dryad (Monster Manual 96) in an unoccupied square adjacent to you.

Satisfied (12–15)

“The depredations of aberrant creatures must be ended at any cost!”

As the owner demonstrates commitment to preserving nature, the magic of the Branch allows that character to commune more deeply with the wilderness.

Property: You can telepathically communicate with plants within 5 squares.

Property: When you score a critical hit against an aberrant creature, the target is weakened and dazed (save ends both).

Power (Encounter*Polymorph): You and all of your gear and clothing transform into a large oak tree. This transformation lasts until you take any damage, take any action, or take a short rest. You retain all of your statistics but cannot use any powers or perform rituals.

Normal (5–11)

“You hold the bounty of nature in your hands, will you protect it?”

When she first comes into possession of a new owner, Izellia waits for her owner to discover what the Branch is capable of and carefully watches what is done with that power.

Unsatisfied (1–4)

“Without the proper respect for the natural world, you will never know my secrets.”

Izellia is unimpressed with the actions of her owner, and the magic of the Branch withers until their dedication improves.

The Branch’s enhancement bonus decreases to +1. The owner can no longer use any of the Branch’s properties.

Angered (0 or lower)

“You have made an enemy of nature!”

Izellia can no longer stand idle as her owner fails to protect nature. Plants rise up at her command to restrain her negligent owner.

The Branch’s enhancement bonus decreases to +1. The owner can no longer use any of the Branch’s powers or properties.

Property: When you enter a square to any plant, you are immobilized (save ends).

Moving On

“We have made the aberrant hordes tremble, but there is more that I must do.”

Once the Branch’s owner has defeated a power aberrant creature or ended the plot of a notable aberrant, Izellia decides that it is time that she leaves to find and foster others for the defense of the world. If the Branch was at least satisfied when it left, the owner gains a permanent +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls against creatures with the aberrant keyword.

4 Replies to "Relics of Power Finalist: Izellia’s Branch"

Jarrod Camiré

July 22, 2011 at 9:21am

Nice background story. The item can be helpful to any character that extensively travels in the wilderness.

Gary S Watkins

July 24, 2011 at 3:01pm

The little details, such as the perpetual blooming, really enhance this piece. I also like the mechanism for the branch to seek out a new owner. I just have two questions: Is the summoned dryad the soul of the branch or a random dryad? And how would the branch be destroyed?

Mario

July 29, 2011 at 11:32pm

Neck and neck the whole way–it’s like a gentleman’s edition war in KQ’s digital mead hall. It’s my Pathfinder “Gordian Knot” vs. your 4E “Izellia’s Branch,” penduluming within 5 votes of each other for the entire contest (more or less–I don’t have access to the records).

I love your artifact–seeing mine lose or win to it will be an honor. I think what distinguishes 4E artifact philosophy with that of Pathfinder is the way that personality is built into the stat block itself, so no artifact is complete without a vivid personality nested within it.

The Branch does this beautifully. Izellia is a vivid embodiment of nature–mother earth personified, weakened and forlorn and wrathful.

4E needs more good heroic tier items like this. That’s so classy, by the way–heroic tier. There are many artifacts out there that are far more powerful than any item I would willingly hand to my players. This is not one of them. It’s balanced, vivid, and just the right thing to give a low-level druid a sense of direction.

If your gaming network is anything like mine, I suspect that your artifact has been going demi-viral. I scoffed at the idea of calling my old gaming groups to generate votes–I just put a link up on my Facebook account and gave a step-by-step on how to register.

Now, in the final hours of the competition, my friends have been contacting every nerd with whom I’ve nerded. Entire gaming groups, old co-workers overseas, anyone whose been cheering me on amid that slow, don’t-quit-your-day-job crawl up the game design food chain. My roommates have appointed themselves my campaign managers. They all know they’re playing into the Kobold-in-Chief’s hands, boosting his web traffic and getting familiar with his website. After all, once they’re registered, they’re that much closer to getting a subscription.

Respect, man. mpodeschi[at]hotmail[dot]com if you want to chat sometime.

Ben.

July 31, 2011 at 6:25am

@Gary:

I think it’s Izellia. From the heroic tier:

Nature DC 24: Izellia was the first dryad to take a mortal lover. As her forest was consumed by a blight spread by foulspawn, her lover sacrificed himself to save her. He bound her soul to this branch, the last untouched by blight, but the ritual cost him his life.

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