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Tuesday Magic Item – Gambara’s Desk and Seals

13 June, 2017

Time to write

“It is not like you to be so excited about a simple courier job,” said Voddick as he adjusted the saddle.

“It is not the job, it is who we are delivering the letters to,” said Gollaon who was already mounted and ready to ride.

Voddick pulled himself up.  “Yes?  Who?”

“The incompatible Duchess Veronika, poet, politician and patron.”

“Ah, sounds like a charming woman,” nodded Voddick.

Gambara’s Desk and Seals

These portable writing desks, if the set is intact, have inkwells, pen knifes, quills and pens, sand for blotting, paper and six seals.  It also has a fine lock.

It is a superb writing desk, keeping everything ready for use and safe from the elements, it gives whoever uses it a +4 enhancement bonus on appropriate craft and profession (and forgery) checks.  But the true magic is in the seals, any letter sealed by one of the seals is protected from casual damage:

  • Three with small alchemical symbols worked into the seals: bone, copper and silver, if the seal is not broken by the appropriate material, the letter is destroyed.
  • One with the alchemical symbol for fire hidden in the seal: it sets a fire trap (DC 19, 1d4+10 damage) on the sealed letter.  This seal can be used once a day.
  • One with a small mask hidden among the design: puts secret page upon the sealed letter.  This seal can only be used once a day.
  • One with a bird worked into seal: when the letter is opened, the sender knows it.

The lock is good (DC 30) and can be arcane locked at the will of its owner.

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 10th
Slot none; Price 25,000; Weight 5 lbs
Construction Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item, arcane lock, fire trap, mending, message, secret page; Cost 12,500

For D&D 5E:

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

First paragraph as above.

It is a superb writing desk, keeping everything ready for use and safe from the elements, it gives whoever uses it a advantage on appropriate rolls (including forgery).  But the true magic is in the seals, any letter sealed by one of the seals is protected from casual damage:

  • Three with small alchemical symbols worked into the seals: bone, copper and silver, if the seal is not broken by the appropriate material, the letter is destroyed.
  • One with the alchemical symbol for fire hidden in the seal: it sets a magical trap (Dex save DC 16 for half, 2d8 fire damage, 5′ radius, no damage to the letter) on the sealed letter.  Once this seal has been used it requires a long rest before it can be used again.
  • One with a small mask hidden among the design: magically hides the true text of  the sealed letter until a command word is spoken.  Once this seal has been used it requires a long rest before it can be used again.
  • One with a bird worked into seal: when the letter is opened, the sender knows it.

The lock is good (DC 18) and can be arcane locked at the will of its owner.

Notes: Inspired by the fascinating and capable Veronica Gambara

Image “Letter-writing at a portable desk with quill, inkwell, seal and an open book bound with clasps on a reading stand … and a clock and bell (Antwerp, 19th c.)” by takomabibelot is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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