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Tuesday Magic Item – Sortition Box (for Pathfinder and D&D5)

12 July, 2016

Most are not this fancy.“Seems an odd way to chose who runs the place,” said Voddick, watching as the citizen lined up to drop their name into the box.

“It is hoped that by choosing such important roles at random, political posturing and corruption will be avoided,” replied Gollaon.

“Does it work?”

“Sometimes, but not always.  No matter how good the system, people will be people.”

Sortition Box

These boxes are sturdy and often decorated with symbolism of the state they were made for.  The size of them varies depending on the size of the group it was made for and what they use to mark the name of the candidates.  It is used to randomly select people to serve in the government.
The Sortition Box can only be used once a day, each person must pace their name in the box (or a token that represents such), attempting to put someone else’s name in will cause that token to be rejected which could be quite embarrassing.  The magic of the box insures that the names placed inside are fully randomized before the appropriate number are drawn forth.

The magic of the box also binds all participants to respect the results of the selection.  Anyone attempting to overturn them suffers brutal headaches imposing a -2 penalty on attack and skill checks.  While those selected gain a +2 competence bonus to skill checks related to their new post for the duration (and the same penalty if they attempt to avoid or subvert their duty).

Aura strong enchantment and necrourgy; CL 11th
Slot none; Price 15,000; Weight ~5 lbs
Construction Requirements
Create Wondrous Item, prayer, quest or detect thought, geas and heroism; Cost 7,500

For D&D5:

Wondrous item, uncommon

[First two paragraphs as above]

The magic of the box also binds all participants to respect the results of the selection.  Anyone attempting to overturn them suffers brutal headaches imposing disadvantage on attack and skill rolls.  While those selected gain advantage on skill rolls related to their new post for the duration (and the same penalty if they attempt to avoid or subvert their duty).

Notes: Sortition was practiced by the ancient Athenians, among others, for governance and a variation is still used today in the West to form juries.

Photo by Matt Brown used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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3 comments

  1. What is the duration? Duration of entire service? Or just one day (the “recharge” period)? Also, I did not know sortition was a word. Too long a word for J.K. Rowling, apparently…


    • Duration of term of service. To ensure a certain minimal competency of the official.


    • Rowling’s hat did not, ostensibly at least, use sortition. There was no drawing of lots. Rather, it seemed to categorize – sort – based on personality (and possibly heritage) and do so independently. Of course it could have been just an automaton acting according to that old guy in charge’s instruction.



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