Kobold Press

Relics of Power Finalist: King’s Mirror

Welcome to the Relics of Power finals! Our eighth of ten finalists is the artifact called the King’s Mirror. 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!

The King’s Mirror

The Mirror is appropriate for paragon to epic-level characters.

The King’s Mirror Paragon Level

The heavy reflective silver covers protect gold-limned pages. Filigreed designs loop around exquisite gems. The title of the book is inscribed in scarlet down the spine. But as precious as the book appears to be, its real worth only appears after it is read. Few monarchs employ wiser advisors than the spirit inhabiting this weighty tome.

Wondrous Item

Property: You gain a +2 item bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff and History checks.

To use the Mirror’s additional properties and powers, the character must read the book from cover to cover. If the character gains a level without selling or losing the book, this will be assumed.

Property: You gain a +1 item bonus to saving throws.

Property: You and your allies gain 2 extra healing surges.

Property: You can read and speak two additional languages.

Power (Daily): Standard Action. Trigger: You make a skill check and dislike the result. Effect: You reroll the check and add 1 to the result. You must use the second result.

The King’s Mirror Lore

History DC 20: The title of the book, noted in ancient bibliographies, may lead treasure seekers to search for an enchanted mirror. While the artifact is shiny, it refers to something else. The author, Tembath the Wise, a cleric of the Sun God, filled the book with sage advice. The worthy king would comport himself to the behaviors dictated, and therefore the book would reflect Tembath’s ideal of the wise and just monarch.

History DC 30: Unfortunately Asm the Tyrant did not like unsolicited advice. Tembath was slain moments after presenting the tome to his king. As Tembath lay bleeding onto the book, he commended his spirit into its pages. Asm added the book to his treasure-houses, and ruled with an iron fist for twenty years, though his dynasty did not outlast him. If the Mirror is studied by a worthy candidate, Tembath will act as vizier to the would-be king.

Goals of the King’s Mirror

  • Assist the owner to acquire and rule over a kingdom.
  • Protect the prospective king and his subjects from external forces and steer the king away from corruption, brutality and iniquity.

Roleplaying the King’s Mirror

As the Mirror’s owner reads of anecdotes of hypothetical and historical sovereigns, vivid images of the stories are telepathically projected into his mind. Once the last page is read, the silverwork design on the cover changes to resemble the face of the cleric Tembath. The Mirror can communicate telepathically within a 5 square radius and, rarely, verbally. Tembath’s unctuous facade can slip and reveal blistering sarcasm. He cannot abide types of government beyond monarchy, but he would assist a worthy commoner or a woman to become a monarch.

Concordance

Starting Score 5

Owner gains a level +1d10

Owner is good or lawful good +1

Owner makes a skill check with the Mirror’s aid +1

Owner takes another’s oath of fealty (max 2/day) +2

Owner attacks good or lawful good creatures -3

Owner is defeated in combat -1

Pleased (16–20)

“Your Excellency, I pray your reign will be long and well-remembered.”

The mirror smugly insists that if the reader isn’t a monarch yet, it won’t be long.

Power (Daily): The reader can cast any scrying or divination ritual at his or her level or below without cost.

Property: The reader gains a +6 bonus to skill check rerolls instead of the initial +1.

Satisfied (12–15)

“Great progress, my liege! Next we’ll consolidate the pasturelands to the south….”

The Mirror continues to encourage the character to protect the weak, including the other members of the party.

Property: The reader and allies within 5 squares gain a +3 bonus to all defenses in area or burst attacks.

Property: The item bonus to skill checks is increased to +6.

Normal (5–11)

“Stick with me, kid, and you’ll have a crown on your head in a month.”

The Mirror wants its reader to embody its precepts.

Unsatisfied (1–4)

“We’ll start with something small for you to rule, like a henhouse.”

The Mirror cajoles and insults the character to act more kingly.

Special: The character cannot use the daily power that allows the reroll of a skill check.

Angered (0 or lower)

“By all the gods, Asm was a better king. Drop me off at the next library.”

The Mirror fills the character’s mind with horrific visions of tyrants and weak kings. It reduces all its bonuses and properties to the initial +2 item bonus to Diplomacy, Bluff and History checks.

Moving On

“Read my book, rule the land.”

The Mirror announces its retirement after a coronation. It becomes a ordinary book bound with precious gems and metals worth 15,000 gp. The reader gains a permanent +6 bonus to all skill checks.

6 Replies to "Relics of Power Finalist: King’s Mirror"

JoJa

July 22, 2011 at 1:14pm

Love the concept and back story. The quips included with the different satisfaction levels really cement the artifact’s personality, and I’m stealing the “unsatisfied” remark for a courtly adviser in my next game. Good stuff!

Psynister

July 22, 2011 at 2:13pm

I really love the flavor of this item. This is something I could definitely see myself using in one of my own games.

Kobold Quarterly

July 23, 2011 at 10:01am

JoJa, yes the format for 4E artifacts is pretty useful in defining their personality. And I think the Mirror’s monarchist snootiness does come through!

I think this might be the first 4E D&D nominee posted.

Jarrod Camiré

July 23, 2011 at 11:35am

An interesting item with a good back story. Nice work!

Gary S Watkins

July 24, 2011 at 2:56pm

Wonderfully depicted, what a great item personality! I love the inclusion of History DC’s for item lore and the book’s retirement once its possessor is crowned. This would be perfect for a Kingmaker campaign.

Joel Dehn

July 27, 2011 at 1:49pm

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! I based the King’s Mirror on the idea of the “speculum literature” found in medieval literature. Machiavelli’s “The Prince” is probably the most famous of these, although none of them were possessed by the author.

I have some tough competition, so congratulations to my competitors for crafting some excellent relics.

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