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Tuesday Magic Item – Cornerstone Shield

21 March, 2017

Superior protection“Moon’s Gaze!” cursed Voddick as the cowering slave he was escorting away from the combat fell into two bloody pieces with only a bare squeak of pain.

Gollaon pivoted around, looking for the source of the attack, but no enemy was near to them.

Voddick knelt down.  “Dead.  But how?”

“The leader of the blighted realm, he has a magical shield, yes?” demanded Gollaon.

“Yes.  A massive and ancient thing,” replied Voddick closing the slave’s eyes.

“Damn all slave owners to hell!  We need to find out where he is fighting,” said Gollaon, pulling Voddick to his feet.

“What?  Why?”

“The shield’s magic is killing the slaves to keep its master alive!”

Cornerstone Shield

This shield is a masterwork of craftsmanship, the decoration depicting the subjugation of the some people to their, obviously in the ideology of the shield’s maker, superiors.  It weighs much more that it should, until it is strapped up, then it is as light as a feather if the bearer is a slave owner, otherwise its weight renders it unwieldy and clumsy.

For a non-slave owner, it is just a heavy shield, in all sense of the word.  But for a slave owner, it is a +3 moderate fortification heavy shield that has no weight (or armor check penalty) while worn and provides DR 10/-.

However, the damaged stopped by the Damage Reduction does not just vanish, it is transmitted to one of the shield user’s slaves.  Distance is no barrier to this damage transmission but planar boundaries and magical wards are.  If by transmittal of damage, all of the shield user’s slaves are killed (or inaccessible), the magic of the shield stops functioning.

Should the owner of the shield ever free a slave, for whatever reason, an amount of damage equal to the full amount that the shield had redirected to the slaves for the shield owner will be instantaneously be delivered to the owner, this damage cannot be reduced or redirected by any means.  The shield’s owner accepted the shield’s bargain and must live and die by it.

The shield cannot be destroyed, or even seriously damaged, as long as slavery exists on the world it is on.

Aura strong necrourgy; CL 18th; Weight 25 lbs. (or nothing, see above)

For D&D 5E:

Armor (shield), legendary (requires attunement)

First paragraph as above

For a non-slave owner, it is just a heavy shield, in all sense of the word.  But for a slave owner, while holding this shield, you have a +3 bonus to AC this bonus is in addition to the shield’s normal bonus to AC. Additionally, the bearer of the shield has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

However, the damaged stopped by the resistance does not just vanish, it is transmitted to one of the shield user’s slaves.  Distance is no barrier to this damage transmission but planar boundaries and magical wards are.  If by transmittal of damage, all of the shield user’s slaves are killed (or inaccessible), the magic of the shield stops functioning.

Should the owner of the shield ever free a slave, for whatever reason, an amount of damage equal to the full amount that the shield had redirected to the slaves for the shield owner will be instantaneously be delivered to the owner, this damage cannot be reduced or redirected by any means.  The shield’s owner accepted the shield’s bargain and must live and die by it.

The shield cannot be destroyed, or even seriously damaged, as long as slavery exists on the world it is on.

Notes: This ugly and evil item was inspired and named after the Cornerstone Speech of Alexander Stephens, made on this date in 1861 and justifying the Confederate Constitution as a tool for ensuring the continuance of slavery.  I do not do artifacts very often but this power is too terrible to be anything but.  Also, it might be worth reading my discussion of the Fortification enhancement too.

Image is of “The Milton Shield” by Elkington Co. (British, Birmingham, 1829–1963), Léonard Morel Ladeuil (French, ca. 1820–1888), British, Birmingham via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0.

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2 comments

  1. Oof. Great artifact. Slavery in a fantasy RPG is difficult — it is morally problematic to just have it going on in the background, but if it is foregrounded it then becomes what the game is about. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but not great for dungeon crawling…



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