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Tuesday Magic Item – Twinned Hearts Amulets

19 May, 2020

Love is“It seems a long journey just to deliver a letter, a portrait and some jewellery,” said Voddick quietly while watching said items being presented to the local rulers.

“Such is the way of arranged marriages among the nobility,” replied Gollaon equally quietly.  “At least they are making an effort to make this a happy and pleasant experience for their children.”

“Yes?” asked Voddick curiously.

“The amulet is one of a pair, if both accept them willingly, it will help their love to blossom.”

“Hmm, I thought that magic could not compel love,” said Voddick.

“It is tricky but not impossible.”

Twinned Hearts Amulets

These amulets are always made in pairs, either matching or complementary and often bearing the coat of arms (or similar heraldic markings) of the families it was first made for.  They are usually made of valuable material, gold and gems, showing the   Due to their nature, of agreements and debits, fae enchanters are often tasked with the creation of such items.

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Game Theory – Charming Morals (or the Morality of the Charm)

19 May, 2020

Is it charming?My, it has been a while since I did one of these.  I was reading a discussion on social media where it called out the original designers of D&D as essentially bad people for having included charm spells in D&D.  That seemed . . . well wrong to me. As I believe charms were included as part of the long tradition of such magics in myths, tales and legends not for any other reason.

Thus this discussion which is focused on the GM’s use of charm magic:

To start with, Charm spells and their variants (love potions, suggestion, dominate, and so many more) are troubling, deeply so in fact because they take away one of the primary aspects that make playing roleplaying games fun:

Agency/Autonomy, when your character is under the effects of such a spell, you (the player) are not getting to play the character you signed up for.  You are being forced to act against your will and it is just not enjoyable.  This is an extremely important point, such effects basically steal the character from the player for the duration and is very likely a “you do not have fun” moment for the player.  Do not do that, it is rude and will stress the social bonds of the group.

Now, some people will say, well just get rid of Charms all together.  This is an option but using magic to subvert peoples’ control / emotions / will has a long tradition in myths and legends and is a good indication that anyone doing so is evil.  Arguably, fear of such control is one of the reasons people have historically been so afraid of the idea of magic, if it can make you do things you do not want to do or want to do something so much that you violate laws and morality, it is something deeply terrifying.  Again, depending on your group, these may not be subjects they people wish to explore but they can be interesting and terrifying to encounter in a game setting.

Now, there are still ways to use Charm effects successfully in a game, but you need to warn the players and get them onboard first. For example:

The Big Bad has enacted a powerful ritual that gives them control over the Royal army, the characters are part of the army so . . . If the players agree, they get caught up in the spell.  Montage of autocratic control over the land and then the character end up somewhere that breaks them from the spell.  Now, they have to try an free their home from the Big Bad, possibly while being concerned with the safety of their former comrades, possibly (if people want to) grappling with the terrible things they did while controlled.

Or:

The Evil Noble wants to get the Royal to marry them and slips them a love potion . . . it works!  And the characters have to free the Royal from the induced false love before something terrible happens.  Or, the comedy approach, thing go wrong and one of player characters now has a Royal in love with them or has fallen in love with the Evil Noble (or both!).  The humor version requires a light touch on everyone’s behalf though.

Some players will still not be be willing to let their characters be charmed (or love potioned).  Do not force them, it is impolite and not being a good friend.  But others will enjoy the chance to try something different with their character.

As always, communication is king.  Talk to your players to learn what they want to see and try in your game and what they definitely do not want.

Notes: Another in my occasional discussion of game theory.

Image A strange portrait from “Spring-heel’d Jack: the Terror of London. A romance of the nineteenth century. From the The British LibraryPublic Domain Mark.

 

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Tuesday Magic Item – Sling Snake

12 May, 2020

Snake not sling“Not that I have anything against anyone keeping snakes for pets,” said Gollaon quietly.

“But many snakes for pets is a bit disturbing,” agreed Voddick, sipping at his beer and watching the people.

Gollaon shooed one away with their boot.  “I . . . am not a person who likes snakes as a general rule.”

“Well, we must at least pretend while we are here, it would not do to insult our hosts.”

“Indeed not and they seem to have done well by them.”

Sling Snake

These snakes are specially bred and fed a diet of magical treated food buy the Fae, they gain the ability to flatten themselves and they become docile in the hands of a bonded owner.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Mirror of Three Kingdoms

5 May, 2020

Three visions of you

“That noble did not seem that charming yesterday,” said Voddick in a whisper.

“Nor as clumsy,” mentioned Gollaon, equally quietly, as they almost tripped on the edge of a carpet.

“But that speech, its quite good.”

“Surprisingly so.”

“Something is up, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I am not sure what,” said Gollaon studying the noble carefully.

Mirror of Three Kingdoms

These mirrors are always beautiful in unusual and unexpected ways, something about the design is just slightly off.  Which would be because the mirror was made in the fae lands.  The mirror will sometimes decide it is needed by someone else and will move of its own accord which has been known to cause all sort of problems.

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May begins, April and the A to Z Challenge ends

30 April, 2020

Maia and her son, HermesWe are almost to the first day of May.  May was Maius in Latin and was named after the Greek goddess Maia, probably, who is associated with Spring.  So, what theme would you like to see for May?  Spring and nature?  The fae and faerie?  Something else?  Let me know.

Unsurprisingly April’s writings were primarily for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, which I am pleased to say I completed though, since I accidentally double up on K several were a day later than they should have been).  So, the posts for April, 2020, were:

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Zymology and Zoophagy (A to Z)

30 April, 2020

Have a drink!Zymurgy is the science of brewing and fermentation because, as we know, if it can be turned into alcohol people will find a way to do so.  That is as true in the Sea of Stars as it is here and in the Sea of Stars there are even more bizarre things to brew drinks such as:

Blood Wine, a red ice wine fortified with spices and . . . other additives.  Packs a very potent punch even though it has a moderate alcohol content.

Flame Mead, brewed from fire bee honey, which is naturally warm and will self-ignite if left out in the Sun.

Liquid Lightning, captured in the outer banks of North Battavel, where the lightning and rain mix together, this charged water is used to brew the local beer which causes an electric tingle all the way through the drinkers system.  Definitely an acquired taste.

Ruby Wine, made from the ruby raspberry of Uvenhome, it has the most beautiful ruby color and if allowed to freeze, it crystallizes and retains that crystal shape unless it is raised to almost boiling.  Making it very useful for decoration.

And so many others (such as Badgerkin Beer).

Zoophagy is simply the feeding on animals by other animals, this can be natural or forced.  Many dragons keep pets and prefer predators.  Some of those dragons in turn feed on those predators reinforcing their place at the top of the food chain.

A few even agree with:

The Ogre philosopher Gnerdel believed the purpose of life was to live as high on the food chain as possible. She refused to eat vegetarians, preferring to live entirely on creatures that preyed on sentient beings.

(From the Magic: the Gathering card Grey Ogre, not a great card but a great quote)

NotesAnd with that, we wrap up another Blogging from A to Z.  Hope you enjoyed a wander through the odd corners of the Sea of Stars.

Image Visitors in a brewery storeroom full of casks of ale. Wood-engraving, c. 1847. Wellcome Collection. License CC BY.

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Years and Yesterdays (A to Z)

29 April, 2020

Time and Seasons pass for allThe Empress controls the seasons and the time of day across the entirety of the Sea of Stars, indeed the seasons and day length are universal across the all the lands, via her control of the Sun.

The year in the Sea of Stars is thirteen months long, each month consisting of twenty-eight days (divided up into four weeks, each of seven days); Fall, Winter and Spring are each three months long while Summer lasts for four.  The Empress’ Birthday an extra-calendary day is placed in the middle of Summer making a total of three hundred and sixty-five days a year.

While some cultures maintain their own calendars, most use the Imperial calendar for taxes and official business, it is easier (and safer) to coordinate with the Imperial officials after all.

While many cultures and traditions look back on the time before the Sundering as a Golden Era before the dragons ruined everything, the dragons themselves rarely look backwards in time, nostalgia has no place in their make up.  The majority of dragons live looking forward, making plans for decades or ever centuries in the future, though a small few are pure sensualists that live only in the present and near future.  People are advised to avoid the sensualists among the dragons as they are mercurial in mood and very dangerous to more fragile creatures.

While one can use magic to travel forward in time is the Sea of Stars, traveling to the past is impossible.

Notes:  Y is a another tricky one, so just some cultural bits for the day.

Image Clocks: a watch-maker seated at his workbench with a long-case and a bracket clock behind him, diagrams of movements above his head. Engraving. From the Wellcome Collection.  License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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