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Your Whispering Homunculus: Treasure of the Pharaohs

Your Whispering Homunculus

“Stop! Gah, too late, you selfish imp.”

“Master, help! I can’t get this pot off my hand. I was only feeling inside for spiders. Help me remove it, please!”

“It is too late, sluglet. Once you’ve placed your hand inside a gnashing scarab pot there can be only one ending.”

“Which is?”

“You lose whatever you thoughtlessly thrust into it, of course, in a little under a minute from now if it follows the usual pattern. That’s the trouble with pharaoh objects, they are almost always horribly trapped, or cursed, or both. Now, hand me my catalogue of pharaohic artifacts I asked you to find over an hour ago, and get some mint tea ready for my visitor. He has bulging pockets and an obsessive love of things looted from pyramids. And be quick about it. You have only fifty seconds left.”

Treasures come in all shapes and sizes—and from a variety of places. With treasure, variety is almost always a good thing. Our list this week is 50 outré or disturbing treasures found in the land of the pharaohs. These objects need not be looted from pyramids and temples, however. They can be found in any collection, perhaps as part of a vast trove of someone who has an unhealthy love of pyramids and tomb robbing.

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Drama vs. Realism vs. Game: Maximum Effort

Dice: An Important Convention Prep Item

A super-strong hero needs to save his girlfriend—it’s the most important thing he has ever done. Problem is, she’s trapped under a bus that’s heavier than anything he’s ever lifted.

What happens next?

Realism

In a realistic scenario, the hero has a finite and quantifiable amount of strength. Either the bus is too heavy for him, in which case he is unsuccessful, or it’s not too heavy, in which case he is successful. End of story.

Drama

In a dramatic scenario, the hero’s actual strength is not what matters. What matters is whether it’s dramatically appropriate for the hero to save the girl, or not. Perhaps the hero is supposed to save her, in which case he flexes his muscles and strains with all his might and he barely lifts the bus enough for her to crawl to safety. Or, perhaps, he is supposed to fail, maybe learning a lesson in the process, or becoming a haunted and dark hero. In the latter case, he flexes and strains but it’s just not enough and he watches her expire before his very eyes, knowing that he couldn’t be the hero this time.

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Collection of Curiosities: The Thug’s Belt Pouch

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoSo, you just brought a thug to justice. Go you! But what is in that thug’s belt pouch (or otherwise tucked away on this particular unsavory individual)? You can roll randomly for a result below, or use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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Lost Magic: Eldritch Epiphany

Lost Magic LogoAnother element of lost magic came our way, this time from Denver Edwards. This one has more of a metamagic element to it, which you might embrace in your game as is or soften through the use of more story elements. If you’re the GM, ask the player to describe how the caster’s knowledge of this ancient lore plays out in the mind’s eye during casting, for example, which can help you build more lush world detail into your game, plus personalize that character’s casting style and define what others see when this character casts spells.

Eldritch Epiphany

School evocation; Level bard 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 swift action
Components V
Range personal
Target you
Duration instant

By pronouncing an ancient syllable first spoken at the dawn of creation, you instantly know the optimal way to modify your next spell in a way you desire.

You can add any one metamagic feat (you do not need to know the feat) of your choice to the next spell you cast before the beginning of your next turn without increasing the spell level or casting time, so long as the total modified spell level of the spell is not above a level you can normally cast.

The list of metamagic feats you can choose from is based on your caster level. At 5th level, you can select metamagic feats with a +1 spell level modifier. Every four caster levels, the spell level modifier of the metamagic feat you can choose from increases by 1 (+2 at 9th, +3 at 13th, to a maximum of +4 at 17th).

At 17th level, if you select Quicken Spell to modify a spell, you can cast that spell as a free action if it is cast before the beginning of your next turn.

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Home-Brewed Hyborian Adventure

Hugh Rankin - Beyond the Black River II“Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars…” —Robert E. Howard, “The Phoenix on the Sword”

Well met, intrepid reader! If you’ve seen my other work for Kobold Press, there’s no hiding the fact that Weird Tales and the writing of Robert E. Howard have been a huge influence on my lifetime of gaming. So, I wanted to honor Howard by briefly studying the most cohesive world he ever built—the world of Conan the Barbarian.

Howard termed Conan’s time “The Hyborian Age.” And its place was the prehistoric realms of Hyboria and the outlying “savage” lands. The map of the Hyborian Age isn’t too dissimilar from what we imagine the pre-cataclysmic continent of a unified Europe/Asia/Africa to look like. It’s a time of young civilizations and forgotten kingdoms—a time of high adventure! Thus, the Hyborian Age becomes one of the best playgrounds imaginable when it comes to tabletop roleplaying. There have been many notable adaptations throughout the years of the Conan mythology for pen and paper RPGs. And the Cimmerian’s influence is no stranger to the core concepts of D&D itself—heroic adventure in the face of thrilling adversities, among them.

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