Far Corners of the World09/09/2003

Mire and Mud: Magic Items of the Wetland

Explorers and denizens of the wetlands often employ magic to protect them from the dangers found therein. Rings of water walking are valued not only because they let the wearer move throughout the swamp with ease, but also incidentally provide complete protection from quicksand, mud pits, and similar hazards. Items that provide protection from disease and poison, such as cloaks of resistance or periapts of health, are also sought-after items. Yet there also exists numerous other magic items specifically designed to aid swampland explorers, and even more items draw upon the latent magical power of the wetland to provide dangerous and deadly offensive capabilities.

Bag of Endless Swarms

This is a ratty-looking leather belt pouch cinched shut tightly with a length of thick twine. The bag itself bulges and writhes, almost as if it were filled to near-bursting capacity with insects and vermin. In truth, this gives an excellent clue to the purpose of the bag.

As a standard action, you can open a bag of endless swarms and pull out a handful of writhing vermin. You can then hurl this handful of vermin at any target square within 760 feet. The ball of vermin remains compact until it reaches its destination (or impacts on a solid barrier), at which point it explodes into a swarm of biting flies and mosquitoes. Treat this swarm of biting swamp insects as a locust swarm. The swarm attacks any creatures occupying its area, and it is stationary after being summoned. You can use multiple swarms to create a wall of insects in this manner, hurling one swarm per round. You can also aim the swarm at a location in midair; when the swarm forms in midair, it hovers there. A swarm, once created, lasts for 9 minutes or until it is destroyed. The bag can produce up to nine separate swarms of insects a day.

Moderate conjuration; CL 9; Craft Wondrous Item, insect swarm; Price 54,000 gp; Weight 3 lb.

Blight Bracers

Blight bracers look as if they are made of spongy, fungus-riddled and flaking wood, and they carry with them a faint odor of rotting vegetation. Nevertheless, the bracers are quite strong and possess powerful magic against plants. As long as they are worn, the wearer gains a +2 competence bonus on all attack rolls and weapon damage rolls made against plants, and he gains a +4 resistance bonus on all saving throws made against attacks from plant creatures. If the wearer must make a grapple check or Escape Artist check to defeat a plant creature's grapple check, the wearer gains a +10 competence bonus to his check to avoid becoming grappled. Finally, once a day the wearer can cast blight on a plant creature he touches, causing 10d6 points of damage to plant creatures (Fortitude saving throw for half damage) or instantly slaying a noncreature plant.

Moderate necromancy: CL 10; Craft Wondrous Item, blight; Price 54,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Cloak of the Lizardfolk

The cloak of the lizardfolk is a cloak made from the shed skin of a lizardfolk, and it was magically treated to retain its coloration, flexibility, and toughness. When worn, the cloak infuses its wearer with the characteristics of the lizardfolk; her skin and features shift slightly to appear vaguely reptilian in nature while the cape is worn. Additionally, the cloak tapers into a long tail behind the wearer, which provides an excellent aid when jumping, swimming, and balancing.

As long as the cloak of the lizardfolk is worn, it grants a +2 enhancement bonus to the wearer's Strength and Constitution scores, and provides a +2 natural armor bonus. Additionally, the wearer can hold her breath twice as long as normal for her race. Finally, the counterbalance provided by the tail-like extension of the cloak grants a +4 competence bonus to Jump, Swim, and Balance checks.

Lizardfolk are naturally more inclined to trust and befriend those who wear a cloak of the lizardfolk, since lizardfolk druids create these magic items and present them as gifts to their allies or their chieftains. The wearer of a cloak of the lizardfolk gains a +4 competence bonus on Diplomacy checks against lizardfolk.

Moderate transmutation; CL 8th; Craft Wondrous Item, barkskin, bear's endurance, bull's strength, creator must be a lizardfolk; Price 31,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Hildebrant's Boots of Swampwalking

Rumor holds that the first boots of swampwalking were created ages ago by a bard by the name of Hildebrant. After an unfortunate incident involving the king's birthday party, a feral bulldog, and a poorly timed pyrotechnics spell, poor Hildebrant found himself running for his life from a castle full of enraged royalty. And since this was the fifth time something like this had happened, Hildebrant had run out of civilized nations to live in without fear of royal revenge. So he was forced to move into the swamp.

Hildebrant refused to adapt to the swamp; instead he tried again and again to use his magic to make the swamp adapt to him. He did his best to keep his mud shack clean and his yard free of diseased swamp critters, but eventually realized his bardic lore wasn't helping. He began to study the way of the druid, and he slowly grew more and more comfortable with the swamp and knowledgeable in the ways of its magic. Eventually he created a pair of boots that not only allowed him to walk above the filthy waters of the swamp and ignore the filth and disease in the water, but it even allowed him to move from one end of the swamp to another in an instant by transporting him between the plants.

Ironically, once he finished the magic boots, he realized that his years of druidic study had instilled in him a love of the swamp. No longer worried about getting his feet wet or getting covered with filth, and now able himself to move through the plants with astounding magical ease, he gave the boots to a gnome explorer he rescued from a pit of quicksand. The gnome, a crafty character named Bezelkus, knew a good thing when he saw it. He returned to civilization and made himself a tidy profit selling copies of the magic boots to adventurers.

Hildebrant's boots of swampwalking protect the wearer from all forms of disease, supernatural or otherwise. In addition, they constantly keep the wearer clean of filth, mud, and grime. The wearer never need fear ruining the boots by walking through water, for they constantly allow him to walk on water (or similar surfaces, such as mud or quicksand). Finally, the wearer may transport via plants once per day.

Moderate transmutation; CL 11; Craft Wondrous Item, remove disease, transport via plants, water walk; Price 57,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Maanvaki Grog

This vile concoction must be stored in glass containers; its high acidic content quickly eats through metal, wood, or stone containers, leaving nothing but a filthy stinking stain in its wake. Maanvaki grog is a thick, purple liquid that reeks of the swamp and tastes like rotting cabbage mixed with rancid chunks of cheese; the whole thing has a terrible burning sensation and a surprisingly powerful alcoholic kick. The maanvaki secrets of its distillation are unknown, mostly because the truth behind the grog's manufacture may be too horrible to bear.

Maanvaki enjoy drinking this vile concoction during their feasts and celebrations, and they often take part in drinking contests that can leave the loser mortally wounded as the acidic stuff eats the imbiber from within. Yet those who can stomach the vile stuff quickly realize that it has some potent and useful side effects.

Anyone who drinks a dose of maanvaki grog suffers 1 point of acid damage and must make a Fortitude save (DC 15 + the number of previous doses of grog imbibed that day) or become nauseated for 1d10 rounds. Assuming the drinker can stand the stuff, he gains a +2 enhancement bonus to his Strength score, a -2 penalty to his Wisdom, and +2d6 temporary hit points for 10 minutes. Each additional dose of maanvaki grog imbibed increases the Strength bonus by +2 and the temporary hit points granted by +2d6, to a maximum of +6 enhancement to Strength, -6 to Wisdom, and +6d6 temporary hit points. Multiple doses must be taken within 1 round for the effects to stack.

Maanvaki grog is not addictive, but it can be dangerous to drink in excess nonetheless. A character that drinks more than six doses a day must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15 + the number of doses of grog taken that day) or the grog begins to eat away at him internally, dealing 1d6 points of temporary Constitution damage per minute until the victim is saved. Any effect that neutralizes poison neutralizes this effect -- until the character is foolish enough to drink more grog.

Faint transmutation; CL 6; Craft Wondrous Item, bull's strength, false life, Craft (alchemy) 9 ranks; Price 700 gp; Weight 1 lb.

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