Friday, 14 August 2015

Cursed Items to Screw Up Your Players - The Albatross Pendant

Cursed Items to Screw Up Your Players 

 The Albatross Pendant

"Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung" Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The ship creaks and moans. It is an old place, filled with ghosts and old trinkets of little monetary value. You have been disappointed by this ill advised adventure. As your comrades ransack barrels and the long dead crews personal chests, you find yourself drawn to a small box heavily locked on the Captain's rotting bedside table. You usher over your sneaky thief who resents you calling her such. She breaks open the lock with little difficulty and suddenly an overwhelming urge to vomit takes hold of her. As she rushes to the upper deck, you roll your eyes. Seasickness, wimp.

 You turn the box over and out drops a small, simple silver necklace with a pendant of a large bird. A whisper makes you turn your head to look behind you but all you see is your dwarf companion  stuck halfway inside a barrel, attempting to scrabble for the contents at the bottom. You look back at the pendant. 

You reach out and pick it up. You suddenly want to put it around your neck. Without knowing why you do.

The chain feels heavy and begins to dig into your skin. You reach to take it off but it does not budge, it's too heavy to lift back over your head. You frown and ask the strange witch you travel with to have a look. She observes the pendant curiously, then bursts out in a haughty laugh, calling you a fool for putting it on. 

You frown. She cackles and says that you can do nothing more but wait to see what horrors the pendant might bring, although, you shrug off the words of the witch as nonsense. You continue on your hunt for treasure with the silver chain burning the back of your neck and you do not notice as blood begins to pour.

The Albatross Pendant can only be removed with a high success in a Save Vs. Will/ Save Vs. Magic roll. A magic user may be able to remove it if they have the appropriate skill and the game master is feeling generous. This should not be easy to take off.

Every day, the pendant adds encumbrance to the individual wearing it. It grows heavier and heavier until eventually the silver chord cuts through skin, flesh, muscle and bone to severe the victims head slowly from its body.  The player begins to lose hit points from the start and each day must roll a D4/D6 to see how much they lose.  I would increase the dice needed based on character level to deliver a suitable punch.  This pendant will kill a player after three to five days of wearing it through decapitation. The pendant will also, after three days, cause the player to be fully encumbered (if you keep track of this). From day one, all climbing or acrobatic rolls are hindered with a -2 on the first day, a -4 on the second, a -6 on the third and so on.

Once per day, however, the Albatross Pendant allows the wearer to call upon a thick ocean fog from nowhere. This obscures enemies ranged attacks, however, it also causes allies to lose -2 to any ranged roll. The fog also allows the players to make a clever escape however does not turn the players invisible. 

The Albatross Pendant also makes the wearer a great shot. They are able to shoot in the fog with no penalty and gain a +3 to any ranged attack rolls in order to improve hit.  It will improve any sneak attacks as if the player is stepping from fog.

 If the pendant is removed the player can put it back on again and the cycle will start again. 

"Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Matiner.