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Tuesday Magic Item – the Shah’s Chessboard of Strategic Insight

5 June, 2012

“It is always a challenge to divine the intentions of your enemy,” said the Shah, moving his knight forward.

“Yes, father?” inquired his eldest daughter, fascinated as always by the game.

“In chess and war, you must understand your enemy in order to defeat him,” he tapped his finger as the opposing pawn moved to threaten.  “Knowing your pieces and their strengths is key to victory, but failing to understand your enemy’s strengths and talents can cost you battles if not the war.  Do you understand?” he asked sliding a pawn forward.

“I think so, father,” nodded the young woman.  “Knowledge is one of the keys to victory.”

He smiled.  “Scribe, take a letter.  To my brother, commanding the army of the North.  Dearest brother, the invaders mean to strike through the pass of camels . . .”

Some play for high stakes

Your move

the Shah’s Chessboard of Strategic Insight

These chessboards come in all kinds, from battered wood to inlaid tables set with precious metals and squares of semiprecious stones.  There form follows the desires of whom they were created for, mercenary generals usually like portable ones, while rulers like something to impress their subjects with.

The chessboard helps the board’s owner to tease out information about military forces.  The more information the owner has, the more specific the information he can learn from the chessboard.

If this is Known:            This can be learned:
A force exist       /         If it is moving closer or further away

Commander’s name and rank  /  If he is planning on engaging in battle in the next 48-hours

The composition of a unit   /     If their morale is good, average or weak

The name of a unit and where it is /   If it is on the move and in which direction it is traveling

Each of the four things listed above can be asked about once a day.  Unless the owner of the board has a personal item from a person or unit, in which case they can ask about the former owner of the item once a day in addition.  Further, a chess piece made to represent a commander or unit also allows an additional question to be asked about the person or unit the piece represents.  However, the chess pieces are limited by the board, sixteen to represent the owner’s forces and no more than sixteen to represent others.

Aura strong divination; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 50,000; Weight 2 lbs or more
Construction Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, contact other planes, guidance, scrying; Cost 25,000

Notes: A useful tool in the right hands but it does not negate the need for intelligence gathering or a clever strategic mind.

Photo by Dan Zen and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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