Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Cursed" Treasure Emerging From Play

No, this isn't about that -2 cursed backbiting hayfork or transgendering girdle, but about treasure that acquires a "cursed" nature due to the greed, betrayal, misfortune and death that it engenders. There have been a couple of such items in my current Planet Algol game...

Gan-Ron's Silver Needle Sword

One of the first adventures in the Planet Algol Campaign involved the party being commissioned by intoxicant distributors to retrieve a synthetic prostitute that had run away with a  "Hero," Gan-Ron the Silver Man, a dim witted but good hearted crusader. The party sorcerers befriend, ensorcel and than murder Gan-Ron and take his magic, silvery, needle-bladed long sword as loot.

The party members were excited to acquire their first magic weapon...and than every character that wielded the sword died. Every character. It was random happenstance, but it was ....appropriate.

Eventually Kalervo, the folksy, stoic cactus man bore it, and even though he died a few times always managed to come back...until the "Eye of Restoring Life" ran out of charges while Kalervo lay there, a mass of pulpy green shreds and splintered wooden bones...with Gan-Ron's Silver Needle Sword lying broken next to him (failed save vs. crushing blow from the BIG monster that slew him). The curse ended with the shattering of the blade and the loss of beloved, useful member of the party.

The Magic Helmet

In their adventures the party came across a friendly, good-natured gossip that told them all sorts of tales of treasure and adventure scattered across the hexmap. One of his tales involved a cache of loot including a magic helmet.

An expedition set forth to fid this treasure. They defeated the guardians, but were slain by nocturnal emissions from poisonous blossoms before they found the treasure.

Another expedition set out, on a R&R (recovery and resurrection) mission. The dead characters are found, and Kalervo is resurrected (leaving only one charge in the party's Eye of Restoring Life). The treasure is found...several thousand gp worth of jewelry and a magic helmet. Identify is cast upon the helmet and it is revealed to be a Helm of Teleportation...a real top-shelf magic item.

The party sets out on their long, grueling return journey and during the next night a roll on the "Which Wilderness Encounter Table Do I Use" table results in the Arduin Wandering Monster Table. Which results in a crazy badass wandering monster, which results in the wholesale slaughter of every party member that can't outrun said monster (Dave Hargrave...he was a maniac!).

Kalervo...dead. Buzz Brazelhach...dead. Sleestakuras...dead.

One of the survivors, a new 1st level character that also managed to nab the jewels and Helm of Teleportation by virtue of finding them in a tank of slimy alagae water, returns to the scene of the carnage, loots Buzz Brazelhach's corpse for all of his valuables (Buzz had been rude and pushy with him), and uses the last charge of the Eye of Restoring Life to bring back Rodan the Scrounger...who sees his rescuer wearing the Magic Helmet and carrying his dead companion Buzz's magic sword reacts by reaching for his laser pistol to blast the 1st level character to atoms for his impudent greed.

The bearer of the Helm reacts by using it's power of Teleportation to escape back to "safety" before the laser pistol clears leather and Rodan is left in the wilderness, sans companions or supplies (ruined by the monster) and with much of his gear ruined by the same monster (including all of his radiation crystals...power cells for his energy weapons).

To me, that is an epic pulp adventure tale of greed and death. Sure, an expedition ended disastrously, characters died, but The Curse of Fucking Greed In Effect!! ...just fucking harrowing, the stuff of legends...How Many Men Died Seeking That Helmet and How Many More Will Yet Die? As Kalervo died and Gan-Ron's sword was broken in this misadventure, did the curse transfer to the helmet? I know not...but I am eager to see what ensues.

Also, now we have a PC with a serious murderous vendetta against another PC that possesses the power of teleportation...crikey, the drama that may unfold!

Also, here's some sublimely transcendent Krautrock I've been listening to a lot lately, perfect tunes for psychedelic space deaths...


  1. Awww, mang, Amon Duul II, dimensional travellers parallel to the the Pink Floyd Ethereal

  2. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. I love how things that you don't even plan work out... Excellent!

  3. Yup, sure sounds like everything worked out! HA HA HA.

  4. I wouldn't say 'worked out' so much as I am in awe of the trainwreck...sheer poetry.

    Every DM must gaze into the Eye of the Owlbear Storm Peter...

  5. ...and the Eye of the Owlbear Storm gazes back at you ; )

  6. A truly cursed session. A black day for the party.

    Funny you use that Owlbear expression Blair, I was considering something quite similar for a blog about gaming, music and food.

  7. And hells yeah, Amon Duul II is a killer album.

  8. Blair, not sure how much of a crusty Klengon you are, but are you into the Japanese band Abraham Cross? They have a couple of kraut-influenced tunes that are just killer, particularly a song called "Message to Forever pt. II" on a split EP w/another Japanese noise band, Struggle for Pride.

  9. Nice Steinbeck reference. Only if our situation had been as slow, tedious, and obvious! Wait, it was.

    Rest In (final) Peace Kalervo!

    I am, however, super stoked on my new mutant: Kroa the Face Changer!