Adventuring Scholars & Devilish Devices of Power


I’m reading a book called Kellory the Warlock by Lin Carter. Carter is guilty of Conan pastiche, but I’ve found his unique stuff to be a very fun read- the Kellory book especially (a book I grabbed on a lark from the library). The title character Kellory was a northern barbarian whose land was overrun by cruel invaders, and whose people were slaughtered. The invaders made an example of the boy Kellory by holding his right hand (“the hand which holds a sword”) in a torture-fire until it burned black and dead. Then they released him to serve as an example.

Kellory seeks out a legendary wizard and convinces the old guy to teach him sorcery- if his right hand can’t hold a warrior’s sword, his left might still hold a wizard’s staff.

You get a Conan-like traveling adventure with an entirely magical protagonist… and it really works very very well. Kellory is now my model an adventuring scholar/sorcerer… and even his burned-hand-revenge mojo works great. A boy from a border village between Nemedia and Aquilonia who watched the Nemedians slaughter his whole clan, and cripple his sword-hand for their own cruel amusement… who takes up the Black Arts in order to exact terrible vengeance on the Nemedian nation… once he has amassed enough power.

Anyhow- for those who want to play adventuring action-ready scholars, check out ‘Kellory the Warlock’.

Now to the second half of this topic.

In the Kellory book, sorcerers used a number of magical tools and talismans to use their powers more freely. Kellory wields a black iron-bound magical staff (called “Haklamaklan” ) which he uses as a focus for much of his power- particularly driving off or compelling magical creatures with invocations (a better use of “master names and signs” I haven’t read) and for directing destructive witchfire… which sounded a lot like a focused and directed defensive blast. He also has talismans which grant invisibility for an hour or so (but need weeks to recharge) and carries a drug which energizes his magical powers… at some risk to his health & sanity.

There aren’t many examples of this kind of ‘utility’ artifact in the main Conan rulebook… I certainly hope there are rules for objects of powers in the Scrolls of Skellos. But in the meantime, anyone have any good ideas for PC-scale magical objects which could jaz up the lives of adventuring scholars?

Here is one to start:

Staff of Power and Fury

Description: A staff as tall as its owner cut from a living tree and crafted to the exacting mystical tolerances of its owner’s personal occult aura. The staff serves as a symbol of power and authority which other sorcerers, magical creatures, and outsiders recognize. Further, the Staff serves as a conduit and focus for a sorcerer’s most destructive powers, granting more potent offensive abilities. A Staff of Power and Fury will only function for the sorcerer who creates it.

Effects: The staff grants a +2 bonus to magical attack rolls, including those for a War of Souls.

Bearing the staff adds 4 to your effective power points when another sorcerer or magical creature looks into your soul (though it does not grant any actual power points). The Staff of Power and Fury allows a sorcerer great control over his defensive blasts. With it you may pick how many power points you expend when invoking a blast rather than using all your power points.

Further, you can project such blasts at range (with 50 foot range increment), rolling a ranged touch attack to hit. Blasts projected this way erupt normally from the target in a radius of 10 feet.

Such a staff is difficult to break, and has twice the hit points and hardenss of a normal staff. This is fortunate, for there is a serious risk to creating a device such as this. If a Sorcerer's consecrated and enchanted staff is ever broken, he immediatly looses twice all his current Power Points, and drops to a negative number equal to his entire Base Power Point total.

Prerequisites: Knowledge (Arcana) 8 ranks; Craft 8 ranks; Telekinesis; magic attack bonus of +3

Costs: 5,000 sp in materials and a month of dedicated time to craft and enchant the staff. 200XP.