Making Generic Items Athasian
Athas is a world unlike any other, with a history and enviroment that differ drastically from more traditional campaign worlds. As a result, standard magic items found in the Dungeon Master's Guide may not apply. There are a few ways that this deviation can happen.
First, Athas is a world were magic is shunned, but psionics are common place. A cloak of elven kind does not exist on Athas, as elves here differ drastically from those on other worlds. Such items are still useable but must somewhat be created using different spells, or using psionics. For example, renaming the cloak of elven kind into cloak of the chameleon, and utilizing the chamelon power in its fabrication, will solve the issue. Similar other items can be reintroduced in this manner.
Magic items that refer to creatures that either never existed or no longer exist need to either be renamed so as to fit, or thrown out, as they would never be invented on Athas in the first place. This should be done on a case-by-case basis. For example, the Dungeon Master's Guide has an item of great value to combat-focused characters: gauntlets of ogre power. Ogres have been cleansed from the world by the Cleansing Wars and no longer exist on Athas. These gauntlets as named do not fit the feel or theme of the setting; however, their use does. Renaming them to gauntlets of b'rogh strenght, for instance, would solve this issue.
Some of the items that simply do not exist on Athas include:
In some cases, the rules descriptions for these items can still be used, if a new name and rationale for having been developed on Athas can be found.
Finally, some items rely on planar travel. This is difficult on Athas, as planar travel is restricted by the Gray. Items that travel to the inner planes or access them do so normally, with the exception that items that would create endless sources of water or wealth do not fit the theme of a Dark Sun campaign and thus do not exist on Athas. Items that rely on extra-dimensional spaces use the Gray instead of the Astral Plane.
Defiling items are magical objects―either staves or wands―that no longer need charges to activate the spells they contain. To be activated, a spell from a defiling item must be powered by energy gathered through defiling by the wielder: the wizard gathers energy at the time of activation as if he were about to cast a spell in his repertoire, but instead uses the energy to power the spell in the item. As such, the spell effects obtained from activating defiling items are susceptible, for better or worse, to terrain modifiers. The radius of the ashen circle the defiler leaves behind when he activates a spell from a defiling item is the same as if he were casting a spell of the same level from his repertoire. Use of a defiling item is considered defiling.
Activating a defiling item uses the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a defiling item is usually a standard action that doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. (If the spell being cast, however, has a longer casting time than 1 standard action, it takes that long to cast the spell from a defiling item.)
Staves are a special case amongst defiling items. The spell effects obtained from activating defiling staves can take advantage of the wielder's Raze feats, any class features that affect his defiling (such as those class features gained from the arch defiler and leech prestige classes; see Prestige Class Appendix I for more information), and items that improve his defiling (such as an ashbound scarab or mask of fell defiling). The wielder of a defiling staff can elect to extend the activation time of a spell to 1 round, gaining a +1 caster level bonus. (Spells with a normal casting time of 1 round or longer require an extra round to be cast in this manner.)
Creating a defiling item requires the Razing Craft feat as well as the appropriate item creation feat. Defiling items must be carved from the bones of defilers, or the bones (or other hard material) of those creatures capable of using spell-like abilities that produce defiling. Also, each defiling item is inscribed with the arcane mark of its creator, and as such is intricately linked to him and cannot be used by anyone else unless the mark is removed and replaced by the new owner's arcane mark; a full day must pass before the item becomes attuned to its new owner.
When pricing a defiling item, use the pricing rules for staves or wands found in the Dungeon Master's Guide, but add 25% to the base price. The cost in XP and raw materials is calculated using this new figure.
Once created, a defiling item loses its 50 charges. Instead, its wielder can spend a number of charges per day equal to (1/4 the unmodified caster level of the wielder + his Intelligence modifier). Once all charges for a given day have been used, the spells contained within a defiling item can no longer be activated for that day. This applies only to spells that are specifically described as having a cost in charges. Each spell cast defiles once as if the wielder had cast a spell of the same level from his repertoire, no matter the cost in charges.
Deep in the wastes of Athas a white marble castle of white constantly spews a stream of water. In the swamps near the Jagged Cliffs, a mighty inverted pyramid rises out of the bog. These are examples of power conjunctions, magically– or psionically–infused locations that have powerful effects or some strong connection to a Plane, but that cannot be moved. Discovering one of these power conjunctions might be the focus of one or more adventures, or even an entire campaign arc. A few examples of power conjunctions are provided here, but these should be considered inspirational rather than a comprehensive list.
The Cerulean Storm
A raging blue storm, known as the Cerulean Storm, covers the entire Valley of Dust and Fire with lightning and thunder, roiling clouds, and torrential rain. The storm has been raging since FY 10, and it shows no signs of venting its energy any time soon. Those who are able to survive long enough to access this conjunction's special ability gain the power to resist the elements that compose the Storm.
Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about the Cerulean Storm by making a successful Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (history), or bardic knowledge check at the appropriate DCs, as given below.
- DC 20: The Cerulean Storm is a power conjunction said to grant resistance to the elements that compose it.
- DC 25: The Cerulean Storm was created when the First Sorcerer was re-imprisoned.
- DC 30: The Cerulean Storm began when Rajaat's cloudbody was engulfed by Rkard's sun-spell. Though it was formed from the remains of Rajaat's cloudbody and fueled by the First Sorcerer's bond with elemental water, the Cerulean Storm was tied to Tithian due to his reaction to the sun-spell and the Dark Lens.
Description: The constant rain that strikes the sea of lava creates great clouds of scalding steam that rise high into the sky. This boiling steam has made the valley's deepest interior uninhabitable. Even the rim of the valley is deadly, because lightning flashes dance across the ground and scalding steam drifts upon every breeze. Ur Draxa and its citizens are dead, and only the most suicidal adventurers would attempt trying to reach its gates while the cold, stinging rain continues to fall over the sea of lava.
Those who are brave enough to reach the outer rim of the Valley might encounter the disembodied form of Tithian of Tyr, who was permanently tied to the Cerulean Storm and now haunts the valley and inadvertently protects the Dark Lens that could otherwise be used to free him.
Prerequisites: Only a creature with at least five character levels can access the power of the Cerulean Storm, and then only if it possesses no special ability that would lessen the damage it takes from the Storm.
Conjunction Activation: To gain the benefit of the power of the Cerulean Storm, a character must draw its powers into himself by sheer force of will. Doing so requires a full-round action and provokes attacks of opportunity.
Recharge: Once the Cerulean Storm has granted a character its benefit, it cannot grant the same character the benefit for one year.
Special Ability (Su): A qualified creature gains resistance to electricity 10. A creature that already has resistance to electricity from another source (even a temporary one, such as a spell or item) gains nothing from the Cerulean Storm. A creature can gain this benefit only once, and its effects do not stack with any other resistance to electricity the creature might subsequently gain.
Duration: The electricity resistance lasts for a year.
Aura: Strong evocation.
Ability Value: 10,000 Cp.
The blood-red needle called the Crimson Monolith rises from the eastern dunes, piercing the blazing sky like a stone sword blade. No one knows who built it or how long ago it was constructed. It simply stands alone amid the rise and fall of the sand dunes like a lonely trail marker.
Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about the Crimson Monolith by making a successful Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes), or bardic knowledge check at the appropriate DCs, as given below.
- DC 15: Travelers claim that on nights when the twin moons are high in the sky, strange creatures emerge from the monolith to explore the nearby dunes. These creatures simply step out of the solid stone, for no doors appear to open the way. When the moons begin to disappear, giving way to the crimson dawn, the beings step back into the monolith as silently and mysteriously as they arrived.
- DC 20: Gates that connect Athas and the Outer Planes still exist, but their links function only when the Gray's interdimensional barrier is weaker.
- DC 25: If the proper ritual is performed at the right time, those who touch the monolith instantly vanish from the face of Athas.
Description: The needle is made of an unknown red stone. It is smooth and warm to the touch, and some claim it even pulses like a living thing. The base is about 15 feet around, and it tapers to a point about 40 feet above the ground. It has no seams, no obvious doors or windows, and no apparent function.
Prerequisites: Only a creature with five or more character levels can access the power of the Crimson Monolith.
Conjunction Activation: To claim the power of the Crimson Monolith, a character must touch the monolith at night during the end of the Endlean Cycle, which occurs only once every eleven years. The Crimson Monolith can affect eight creatures on any given night. If the number of qualified creatures it is greater than that, the monolith affects eight of them (chosen randomly).
Recharge: Once the Crimson Monolith has conferred its benefit, it cannot confer them again for one day.
Special Ability (Su): A character who touches the Crimson Monolith is instantly transported to a random Outer Plane, unless the character speaks out loud in Rhulisti the name of the plane he desires to go to.
Duration: The conferred ability lasts for 8 hours.
Aura: Overwhelming conjuration.
Ability Value: 8,000 Cp.
The Memory Shrine
Just below the Elven Tower in Kurn, on the steep slopes of Mount Temeia in the city-state of Kurn, a garden filled with ancient trees and young flowers sits open for any Kurnan citizen. A stream of fresh water runs zigzag down the hill. Although steep, the ground is easy to climb if one goes slowly, and even easier to find a comfortable spot to sit in the quiet and peaceful shade. The Memory Shrine is used as a way for the Kurnans to keep their location and secrets just the way they are: secret.
Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about the Memory Shrine by making a successful Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (local [Kurn]), or bardic knowledge check at the appropriate DCs, as given below.
- DC 15: Memory Shrine is open to any Kurnan citizen. From any part of the garden, one has a breathtaking view of almost the entire city below them, the Banding Slopes and the White Mountains. And yet while dozens of persons walk the garden at any time, the steep slope, trees, and the shape of the path make it easy to find solitude. Kurnans in mourning often go visit Memory Shrine to find comfort, some to remember, and some to forget.
- DC 20: By custom, Kurnans often spend a few days every year visiting the tombs of their ancestors in the northern canyons, and then, immediately upon returning to Kurn, visit Memory Shrine before they return to their homes or talk to anyone else.
- DC 25: Sometimes foreigners who have rendered great service to the city, or who have gained Oronis's attention, are allowed to visit Memory Shrine, and drink from the waters of the enchanted stream.
- DC 30: Korgunard, that popular Urikite wizard that used to visit Kurn, used to visit the garden before coming to speak with Oronis.
Description: Some of the trees in the garden are trees of life. The stream that runs down the hill runs into the city's water supply, but its supernatural powers only affect those that drink from the waters inside Memory Shrine.
Prerequisites: Anyone may be affected by the powers of Memory Shrine, if they drink the water, knowing that the water has the power to modify memory.
Conjunction Activation: In order to enjoy any of the effects of the water, one must willingly drink the water knowing that the water modifies memory. Someone who is tricked or coerced into drinking the water is unaffected, and those that drink it willingly, give up any saving throw against all of the stream's effects.
Recharge: There is no limit on the number of times that one can use power of Memory Shrine.
Special Ability (Sp)': All mind-affecting spells and psionic powers will fail against the subject so long as he remains in Memory Shrine, except for the effects of the shrine itself. The subject is immediately cured of any mental control, coercion, or possession. A subject can recall any experience in their life with perfect clarity. If the subject has had his memories altered, then his complete and correct memories are restored, but only as long as he remains in the garden.
When he leaves the garden, his memory reverts to what it was before, and he doesn't recall anything that occurred during his visit to the garden, either. Two or more persons that visit the garden and drink the water together may choose to alter their memories together. Couples that have had a quarrel sometimes visit this spot to forget the terrible things that they said to each other. This ability functions like the modify memory spell, with the following differences: the effect is instantaneous the moment that the subject leaves the garden, there is no time limit on the amount of time forgotten, and there is no saving throw, since the subjects choose to be subject to the enchantment. One cannot drink the water willingly and then attempt to resist, trying to get others to forget while maintaining one's own memories.
Duration: The subject's memories are permanently modified, but whenever the subject returns to Memory Shrine, the subject remembers all the true memories at once, and realizes the falsehood of the false memories, as explained above.
Aura: Overwhelming enchantment.
Ability Value: 2,000 Cp.
The Mud Palace
The Mud Palace is located in a huge mudflat in an inland silt basin, in one of the most deserted parts of the Tyr Region. The entire mudflat is populated by horrid monsters, the like of which have never seen before outside this basin. It lies in the middle of a dense forest with its grounds haunted by venomous spiders and snakes of every sort.
Because the magic of the palace is tied to its location, not to the water within it, any water removed from the palace is simply normal water.
Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about the Mud Palace by making a successful Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes), or bardic knowledge check at the appropriate DCs, as given below.
- DC 20: The Mud Palace is the remnant of a longstanding connection to the Elemental Plane of Water, and it holds the essence of that watery realm.
- DC 25: Those who stand within the Mud Palace can pull some of its power into themselves to increase the power of their watery spells.
Description: At the center of the island, where the foliage grows so thick it is a veritable jungle, a magnificent castle of white marble rises out of the mud. There are no windows, doors, or entrances of any sort in the castle - save for the windows at the highest levels of the tower, which gush forth a constant stream of water.
Prerequisites: Only a 5th-level or higher spellcaster can access the power contained in the Mud Palace.
Conjunction Activation: Only a creature with five or more character levels can benefit from the effects of the Mud Palace.
Recharge: Once the Mud Palace has conferred its ability on a single divine spellcaster, it cannot do so again for one year.
Special Ability (Su): A spellcaster who draws forth the power of the Mud Palace has an effective +2 caster level for all spells with the water descriptor.
Duration: The conferred ability lasts for one year.
Aura: Strong evocation.
Ability Value: 8,000 Cp.
In the swamp that lies at the bottom of the Jagged Cliffs, an ancient pyramid was created by Rajaat to serve as a magical storehouse, complete with traps and guardians, although the Sorcerer took almost everything out of it to arm his champions during the Cleansing Wars. This conjunction is imbued with so much raw arcane energy that the very air seems to hum with unfocused power.
This is not the only pyramid Rajaat has constructed during the period when he developed and refined his sorcerous knowledge and there is at least another one heard of.
Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about Rajaat's Pyramid by making a successful Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (ancient history), or bardic knowledge check at the appropriate DCs, as given below.
- DC 15: Rajaat's Pyramid is a wellspring of magical power.
- DC 20: Rajaat's Pyramid uses the raw magical energies of the Swamp to enhance spells from a particular school of magic.
- DC 25: Rajaat's Pyramid is a magical citadel, constructed by Rajaat himself. The Warbringer fashioned this place so that various sectors within it reflect the nature of one basic focus, or “school” of magic.
- DC 30: The ancient pyramid was created as a magical storehouse, complete with traps and guardians, although Rajaat took almost everything out of it to arm his champions during the Cleansing Wars.
Description: The water around the Pyramid is much deeper than it appears. The entire area is 50 feet deep, and a pair of gigantic, rusty iron doors lies at the bottom of a confluence of two thick, mossy streams. The water around the Pyramid is far too murky to see through, but divers can probably feel the doors. Each door is 250 feet wide and 500 feet long.
There is no way of physically opening the doors, although magic (even a simple knock' spell) can accomplish the task, forcing the ancient portals to slide open. If the doors open, an inverted stone pyramid, each of the four sides of its base over 400 feet long, rises from the shaft below the doors, thrusting up through the water to float 100 feet in the air. The shaft beneath the doors is empty, other than the pyramid, and filled with water down to its bottom, 500 feet below.
At night, the doors magically open on their own, and the pyramid rises from the depths, dripping mosses and slimy water from its smooth stone surface. If the player characters arrive at the confluence at night, they see the inverted pyramid already hanging magically in the air. If they arrive by day but camp at the side of the confluence until dark, they will see it rise, apparently of its own volition. The next sunrise, the pyramid sinks down into the shaft and the doors close again.
Prerequisites: Only an 8th-level or higher arcane spellcaster can access the power contained within a Rajaat's Pyramid.
Conjunction Activation: To claim the power of one of the pyramid's rooms, a qualified arcane spellcaster must stand inside the room and draw its powers into himself by sheer force of will after speaking the school name in Rhulisti aloud. Doing so requires a full-round action and provokes attacks of opportunity.
Recharge: Once a Rajaat's Pyramid has conferred its ability on a single arcane spellcaster for every room, it cannot do so again for one year.
Special Ability (Su): An arcane spellcaster who draws forth the power of a Rajaat's Pyramid can cast spells from a specific school stronger than normal. Once per day, he can cast a spell of 3rd level or lower extended, empowered, maximized, or quickened without using a higher spell slot. In addition, creatures inside the Pyramid are immune to the adverse effects of Rajaat's swamp (see page 6 of the Life-Shaping Handbook for details).
Duration: The conferred ability lasts for 30 days.
Aura: Overwhelming universal.
Ability Value: 15,000 Cp.
The Star Rock
One of many mesas in the western portion of the Broken Deep, Star Rock has its name for the unnamed structure built on its crumbling surface. It has many different worn symbols on its stone doorways. The Star Rock grants the power to see the future and the ability to foresee the location of stars and the moons to anyone capable to recover its crystals.
Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about Star Rock by making a successful Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (ancient history), or bardic knowledge check at the appropriate DCs, as given below.
- DC 20: Sages have referred to the Star Rock structure as a “primitive orrery” but the truth is that no one has ever built a more accurate device, if one knew how to use it properly.
- DC 25: Astronomers that have studied Star Rock agree that if one were to reassemble or re-create the original crystals, that one could not only predict the movement of celestial bodies with perfect accuracy, but also gain tremendous knowledge regarding the past and future. Since recent celestial events such as the Messenger's failure and the Hour of Blue Sun, a growing number of astronomers have made pilgrimages to Star Rock, where, they believe, lie the answers.
- DC 30: Trolls began reconstructing Star Rock during the dawn of the Rebirth, and spent two thousand years completing it. Unfortunately, over the ages, wanderers have stolen the tablets containing instructions and information learned from King's Ages of studying the stars. These thieves also removed the original crystal blocks that belong in some of the doorways. At certain times of the day, these blocks focused sunbeams on specific troll-runes carved into the dolmens.
Description: Colossal stones called dolmens sit upon each other in threes, forming stark, doorway-like structures. These doorways stand in circular formations; the formation above Star Rock includes four intact concentric circles. The center-most circle has four layers of staggered doorways. On the eastern side of the formation, the outer circle has two isolated doorway-like structures forming part of a second level. If one stands in the right location, these outer doorways capture the sunrise on the mornings of High Sun and Low Sun.
Prerequisites: Star Rock only confers its special ability if all of its crystals are put back into their place.
Conjunction Activation: To claim the power of the Star Rock, a character must first retrieve all of the missing crystals and put them into their right sockets. This process takes 1 minute and provokes an attack of opportunity.
Recharge: Once Star Rock has conferred its benefit, it cannot confer them again for one Endlean Cycle (seven years).
Special Ability (Su): Star Rock heightens the perception of an affected creature towards the future and the stars. The character can cast any divination spell or manifest any clairsentience power at an effective caster/manifester level five higher than his actual caster/manifester level, and Star Rock itself replaces any required focus or material components for any divination spell.
Without the crystals, a character with ranks in Knowledge (nature) or Knowledge (ancient history) learned astronomer who spends at least a day studying this structure gains +10 to all Knowledge (nature) checks relating to the movement of the stars and moons, and +2 to all Knowledge (ancient history) checks.
Duration: Star Rock affects creature while they are within its confines, and a full 24 hours after the creature leaves the observatory.
Aura: Overwhelming divination and clairsentience.
Ability Value: 10, 000 Cp.