Thursday, November 24, 2011

Slay the monster or Keep the magic sword?

Usually a player character goes out to slay a monster and take the magical item it guards.  But in my current game I had set that up rather differently for one location and sets of magical items.

The various potent magical items were made by a wizard who had a special little version of the permanency spell.   For OSR or D20 equivalence,  this version of permanency did not cause a loss of con, xp or what have you from the wizard.  Magic item factory right?  Kinda.

Magic has a price, and rather than the caster being harmed this had a secondary side effect.   Somewhere in the surrounding area (a large area the more powerful the spell being made permanent) a monster would spawn.  The power of the monster is likewise related to the power of the enchantment to be made permanent.  This monster is always malevolent, seeking to cause destruction and ruin (especially to the caster).  But the enchantment will only be held permanent while the creature lives.

So the first question the party comes to is whether or not to slay the giant jellyfish comprised entirely of flame as it destroys a village or keep their +3 sword.   The next question is what to do with the spell when the party's wizard gets a hold of it.  Giving the player a +4 sword is so hard can it be to track down and capture a monster anyway?  and what are the odds that all the monsters you keep in locked cages will kill their zoo keeper and escape?

Linking back to Zak's Vornheim,  you could potentially add a great twist to the Immortal Zoo adventure.


  1. Interesting twist. I definitely see a ton of gaming possibilities coming from this.

  2. VERY cool. I'm of the opinion that magic in fantasy should always have consequences, something that is seriously missing from most forms of D&D. this does a great job of forcing meaningful choice without necessarily punishing. I might adapt this, widen the affect to greater spells (or rituals depending on your edition) and look for other effects in addition to monsters. I've been looking for a good way to include demons or devils in my campaign (where the hells don't really exist) and this might just be it. A simple little rule like this can add so much flavour to a game world.

  3. Law of equivalence. I like it. Also, a nice bit of naturalism to explain the presence of some monsters.

    Does it work in reverse as well? Maybe the only way to truly destroy some very powerful monsters is to locate and destroy their associated magic item.