Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Smiths and Artisans are the Real Enchanters pt 3

So, the posts continue. I may be at this for awhile, since to have the level of detail I want with these posts, I need to make each material have more info than I normally put in posts. This post revolves around the mythical Solid Mercury, meaning Mercury that stays solid at high temperatures. I have tried to make each item have certain advantages that can only be used by certain classes. As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome. 

A renowned maker of Frozen Mercury. Art by A. Rackham

Frozen Mercury / Solid Mercury / Mercurius Solidus: Mercury had been the obsession of many alchemists from east to west. It's symbol on the period table of elements (Hg) comes from its Greek name of Hydragyrum. In the Chinese empire Mercury was believed to have a number of medical benefits to improve longevity, grant immortality, or give elderly men back their virility. Due to its water repelling quality, the Chinese alchemist Ko Hung believed that coating the bottoms of the feet would allow a person to walk on water. In the west, it was believed that all metals, especially gold, were combinations of other substances and Mercury, putting it at the center for the search to artificially produce gold. Others searched for a way for Mercury to keep a solid state at high temperatures, similar to steel or even silver. Naturally, this is an impossibility in the real world, but within magic lies the answers to many impossibilities. The items presented for Frozen Mercury, the preferred term for this post, are based off of legends and folklore about Mercury or items made from Mercury.

In Game / Fantasy Explanation: Frozen Mercury can either be made or found, though each path comes at great cost for those who would seek it. Alchemists can create it through the use of incredible pressures and by applying sudden shifts of extreme temperatures with the work of months being required to make a single 1 lb bar (0.45 kg). Those that go through the extreme labor of creating such a bar generally are not want to let such a creation go at any cost, but others might exchange one for a king's ransom. Small amounts of the substance can be harvest from the Pineal Glands of the idiot children of the Formorian Prince, Balor. Care should be taken when harvesting the children of Elatha, called the Lugh, since few survive Elatha's wrath when the Lugh begin their screams of fear and pain. It is said that Elatha and his children reside on the far northern island of Thule amidst the wastes of the arctic. The final source of Frozen Mercury is to steal a spool of thread from the Erdgeist at its loom on the isle of Brasil. Said to be weaving a death shroud for the world, the Erdgeist enters into murderous rages when disturbed from its appointed task. 

A legendary sword.
 
Frozen Mercury Sword: Called a Wraith's Brand for its translucent blade that is in turn reflective as a mirror or clear as glass. Perfect balance from the material of its creation, rather than the skill of its maker, the Wraith's Brand is coveted by duelists and bravos alike. The unique nature of its blade not only makes it difficult to track with the eyes, but so incredibly light as to allow lightning fast strikes.
Game Mechanics: The occasional clarity of the blade makes it difficult to react to, resulting in a penalty of up to 3 to the target's AC. This means that most characters will not get their Dex modifier to their AC. With monsters, big monsters like dragons likely won't get a penalty, while quick monsters like sylphs would. The lightness of the blade allows a character to make an additional attack with the blade with a -5 penalty to their hit/ +5 penalty to their THAC0. Fighters are able to make full use of the abilities of the sword. Other classes, however, cannot make the additional attack if they moved that round unless they are able to roll under their Dexterity with 1D20.
Drawbacks: The Frozen Mercury has a minor aura of madness and mental weakness that it radiates to the wielder of the sword. Anyone wielding a Frozen Mercury item takes a -/+ 2 penalty to resist mind effecting phenomena. There is an additional drawback depending on the origin of the Frozen Mercury:
Alchemical: -/+ 1 penalty to saves versus Cold spells, since it is a conductor/attractor of cold.
Pineal Gland: -/+ 1 penalty to avoid mind effecting spells due to the madness inherent in the Lugh minds.
Erdgeist's Thread: -/+ 1 penalty to avoid necromantic spells since the thread was created to woven into the world's death shroud.

A runic Frozen Mercury Ring.

Frozen Mercury Ring: These rings are said to grant a cloak of invisibility to its wearer, though such claims are slight exaggerations. The rings grant an individual a ghostly appearance, making them difficult, if not impossible to see, if the wearer wishes to be inconspicuous.
Game Mechanics: For percentile based systems, the ring grants a +33% bonus to the Hide in Shadows skill, or grants a 33% rating for those who do not have the skill. For the X out of 6 skill system, the ring grants a +2 bonus, meaning those without points in the skill would have a 3 out of 6 skill. Rogues / Specialists are able to take greater advantage of this ring than others, by allowing those classes to attempt to hide even when being watched.
Drawbacks: The Frozen Mercury has a minor aura of madness and mental weakness that it radiates to the wearer of the ring. Anyone wielding a Frozen Mercury item takes a -/+ 2 penalty to resist mind effecting phenomena. There is an additional drawback depending on the origin of the Frozen Mercury:
Alchemical: 2 extra damage taken from Cold effects, due to Frozen Mercury being a conductor/attractor of cold.
Pineal Gland: Mind effecting spells last 1 round longer due to the madness inherent in the Lugh minds.
Erdgeist's Thread: The wearer is more apt to attract the attention of the Undead, which also means that the bonuses granted by the ring are only +17%/+1 versus attempts to hide from Undead. 

A serpent Frozen Mercury Talisman.
 
Frozen Mercury Talisman: As Mercury repels water, it can protect the wearer from it and grants them a level of freedom from the dangers and perils of water. Frozen Mercury Talismans are highly sought after by sailors and those who work near water.
Game Mechanics: Those that wear the talisman always float in water, no matter the weather conditions or the currents. The wearer can never be pushed below the water for longer than a few moments no matter the strength of the force, or creature, holding the wearer below. Wearers are also unimpeded by water, giving them a swim speed as fast as their land speed. Rangers can take special advantage of the powers of this talisman. Rangers wearing the talisman are able to walk or run across water as if it were dry land.
Drawbacks: The Frozen Mercury has a minor aura of madness and mental weakness that it radiates to the wearer of the talisman. Anyone wielding a Frozen Mercury item takes a -/+ 2 penalty to resist mind effecting phenomena. There is an additional drawback depending on the origin of the Frozen Mercury:
Alchemical: 2 extra damage taken from Cold effects, due to Frozen Mercury being a conductor/attractor of cold.
Pineal Gland: Mind effecting spells last 1 round longer due to the madness inherent in the Lugh minds.
Erdgeist's Thread: The wearer is more apt to attract the attention of the Undead, meaning that undead will target the wearer first before others around them. 

Queen Titania and her Frozen Mercury Virge. Art by A. Rackham
 
Frozen Mercury Virge: Mercury is renown for its speed, and virges made from Frozen Mercury grant its speed to spells cast through them. These virges are sought by spell-casters who require the utmost speed when casting their spells.
Game Mechanics: If the system used for spell casting uses casting times that modify initiative, then the casting time of spells cast is reduced by 5 to minimum of 1. Casting times listed in rounds are reduced to a casting time of 9. (e.g. A spell with a 1 round casting time would be changed to a 9 initiative modifier. A spell with a casting time of 2 rounds would go into effect on their next initiative with a 9 modifier to the initiative.) For systems that do no use casting time initiative modifiers, the virge provides a -/+ 4 bonus to their initiative when the wielder casts a spell. The greatest advantage that the virge provides is the ability to quickly cast a lower level spell the caster has memorized without expending effort, meaning that they can cast an additional spell on their turn. This ability is greater the higher the level of the user:

Level 1 – 6: Quick Casts Per Day: 1 Max Level: 1
Level 7 – 12: Quick Casts Per Day: 2 Max Level: 2
Level 13 – 18: Quick Casts Per Day: 3 Max Level: 3
Level 19+: Quick Casts Per Day: 4 Max Level: 4

Drawbacks: The Frozen Mercury has a minor aura of madness and mental weakness that it radiates to the wielder of the virge. Anyone wielding a Frozen Mercury item takes a -/+ 2 penalty to resist mind effecting phenomena. There is an additional drawback depending on the origin of the Frozen Mercury:
Alchemical: -/+ 1 penalty to saves versus Cold spells, since it is a conductor/attractor of cold.
Pineal Gland: -/+ 1 penalty to avoid mind effecting spells due to the madness inherent in the Lugh minds.
Erdgeist's Thread: -/+ 1 penalty to avoid necromantic spells since the thread was created to woven into the world's death shroud.