Most Precious Beauty

Twinkling and glimmering, shimmering and shining; atop a massy pile of golden coin, perhaps, or the brilliant crowning glory of the head that wears that heavy burden.

Or perhaps that gleaming gem came prized from between a dragonlord’s lyre-curved horns; or drawn from the throat of a frozen phoenix; or

… Whether gathered from a bloodied altar, gifted from a a dying spirit’s grasp, conjured from strange wombs by witchcraft or willpower, some jewels are unique in their oft-strange beauty.


This 4d20 table offers a quick route to generating unusual gemstones. Roll more than once and combine, if desired, for chaotic results.

ColourFormDescriptiveOrigin
01. Lemondrop01. Orb01. Pearlescent 01. Angel’s tears
02. Oxblood02. Pyramid02. Adamantine02. Petrified organ
03. Sooty03. Cabochon – round03. Vitreous03. Unicorn’s brow
04. Ultramarine04. Cabochon – oval04. Oily04. Daemonheart
05. Orange-Violet05. Teardrop05. Iridescent05. Rose’s heart
06. Moonsilver06. Cushion06. Opaque06. Coagulated ichor
07. Bile07. Brilliant-facet07. Twinkling07. Divine breath
08. Osseous08. Lenticular08. Glowing08. Solidified dream
09. Smaragdine09. Eyeball09. Pulsing09. Marrow of the earth
10. Golden10. Spiral10. Waxy10. Last emperor’s soul
11. Heliotrope11. Uncut crystal mass11. Twinned11. Worldfire flashpoint
12. Carmine12. Egg12. Bearing inclusions12. Six overlapping magics
13. Smoky13. Figure – humanoid13. Frosted13. End of the rainbow
14. Starlight14. Figure – bestial14. Chatoyant14. Death’s gift
15. Ember15. Scale15. Starred15. Seven-generation curse
16. Chartreuse16. Amorphous16. Murmuring16. Dragon brain
17. Verdigris17. Cylindrical17. Shivering17. Cobra’s wisdom
18. Bronze18. Shard18. Warm18. Imperial honey
19. Tyrian19. Plume19. Cold19. Witchbond
20. Cerulean20. Cross20. Snowflake-scattered20. Martyr’s fallen blood
of course, since gems can show different colours at different angles (pleochroism), like water sapphire, or sport multiple colours, like rainbow tourmaline or banded agate, the more colours the merrier — and what about some of those other things, aha

Trinkets, Trifles and Treasures

You can pick up all sorts of oddments as you wind your way around, across and through the worlds, really ~


d100
01psychopomp’s lantern, a staff of black heartwood hung with lantern-cage and
soul-pyxes
02double handful of solaurum and lilyglass clockworks, eternally moving and
softly chiming
03shard of ivory-like substance shot through with silvery paeans to infinity
in delicate script
04six bluestone tablets inscribed with invokations to a comet-crowned exarch
saint
05slender sword of ruby-rust wood, sharp as the wind and hard as steel
06mantle of soft cloud that shifts in subtle hues of grey
07packet of waxed parchment tied with string, inscribed on the inner surface
with a ring-pattern
08three bangles of blue-silver, eternal ice, slender and gleaming
09choker and pendant of red gold and sapphire in the most baroque of
Cerulean Hell styling
10a rune, viridian, luminescent and undecipherable, that floats idly around
the flesh
11fractal censer of a dozen metals, smoking with honey myrrh kneaded with
souldust
12the black iron Blade That Sunders Oaths, with two strikes remaining before
shattering
13a sprig of radiantly luminous eternal asphodel
14a memory pearl large as one’s palm, translucent like a feather-engraved egg
15hundred hell-jade coins, waxily golden and ruby, sealed in a sculpted,
fang-jawed coffer
16tattered fragments of an ancient cerulean scroll naming seven Cores and
their imperial desires
17ledger of translucent silk paper recording the exchange of souls between
several afterlives
18violet-and-rose torc shaped from fragments of Wilusan sky-shards
19scaly saddlebag filled with thirst-quench-stones, smooth and inviting
20brace of corpse shadows knotted together for transport
21porcelain and bronze swanbolt caster with a dozen charges of cygnine
22flower-embossed crystalline box containing nine cubes of delicate
dream-marrow
23diary of a long-lost ringwalker, bound in copperscale and sealed with Iron
Judge’s solder
24petrified reptilian skull, long of jaw and of a deep tyrian hue, and still
quite chatty
25a string of minuscule suns in the colours of the visible spectrum
26a robe of stardust, glimmering softly
27a skin-tight full-covering suit of bony chitin, with a spore-body filter
in its snarling mask
28delicate crystal globe filled with pale rainbow flames
29a perfectly matched pair of void sapphires the size of a thumbnail
30personal cutlery set carved in delicate lacework from a death’s black bones
31three arrows formed of fire-omen shards
32cake of crumbling ambrosia, soft, sweet and sticky, wrapped in godskin
33nearly complete collection (7/10!) of pearl-bound volumes of Deific
Battle-Lands Reclaimed
34half-melted sheet of crumpled copper with the lion’s share of a
“bounteous” ring-pattern scratched on it
35two cobalt blue stoneware bottles, sealed, of finest crimson garden sweetwine
36drinking bowl carved, with delicate fluting, from a hollowed out firepearl
37delicate woolen blouse embroidered with shadow prayer in faithglass seed
beads and gold thread
38matched bronze daggers inlaid with calligraphy praising the largesse of
the cerulean host
39folding starshell writing tablet and stylus, its wax impressed with
angel’s sigils
40paired flutes, transparent and cool to the touch, carved from a
songwraith’s core
41five glass-smooth sparkling orbs, palm-sized, that orbit one slowly and
randomly
42a single massive, peach-like pit, head-sized and silvery, wrapped in heavy
waxed cloth
43a roughly bound folio, bloodily fingerprinted, supposedly copied from an
Iron Court archive
44a fluttering, singing nightingale of animate, rosy crystal
45twelve skyjade death masks belonging to a lineage of sphinx-kings
46a halo, a thin semi-tangible ring of brilliant ruby-gold light
47full set of long voidstone nails, black and glittering, to cover or
replace one’s own
48a leather satchel containing a loaf of sweetbread, a horn of nectar, and four
sable peaches
49two bundles of porcelain and steel limbs shorn from Eternal Forge workers
50a titan-brass blightcaster, slim and spiraled, needing only to be recharged in balefire
51painstakingly dyed cloth scroll detailing half a dozen incursions into one
single realm
52a slender necklace forged of tiny herringbone links of bleak carbuncle
53four thick, plush furs, deeply violet-bronze in colour and trimmed to be
blankets
54three bolts of gossamer woven from midnight whispers
55Pakrathi’s Joy, a luminous blood emerald, pendaloque-cut and the size of
one’s eye
56an elaborately engraved adamantine flask containing a great lord’s
soulstuff
57paired finger rings of an impossibly hard, matte black substance,
strangely cool
58a gelatinous, faintly lavender voidmask for nose and mouth, good for
twelve hours
59six palm-sized tablets of pink glass whose cinnabar etchings describe the
Caul-Render’s Seventh Cycle
60a gnarled teardrop ingot of of orange-violet metal, tears forged from a
wailing sun
61rough crystal prism, a blunted shaft of greenish gold, imprinted with
scenes of flame-winged glory
62a net large enough to catch an ox knotted from coarse, green and white hair
63a water-heart, fist-sized, teal and aqua and azure, translucent and cool
and soothing
64string of a dozen smoked angel-faced trout, tied up neatly for storage
65bluelight sword blade, with finished frosting, ready for mounting
66the tangled silvery maze drawn with difficulty from an elder monolith’s
mind
67a well-worn folio sporting battered brown leather covers, scores of
unknown flowers pressed between its pages
68a single deep indigo horn, recurved, etched with a trail of scarlet
glyphs, hollowed for drinking
69a chaplet of briar canes insubstantial as milky shadow
70set of snakestone aegis jewels meant for implanting into the skin at the
pulse points
71a palm-sized aloes box containing a rosy-orange sliver of bone that
murmurs prophecy
72multi-stranded necklace of pressed-petal beads, green-black with age and
still headily aromatic
73creamy brow-stone, rippled with patterns of flame-and-waves, filled with
lost dreams
74a riding cat of smoky spun glass, harnessed with bright bronze lace
75six bales of mistgrass basketry, wrapped up in speckled olivine oxhides
76a collection of teeth of many and varied shapes, all of glittering
ruby-red metal
77arm-length ribbonsnake of blue-gold flame that coils slowly along the body
to warm one
78an apple green lens, palm-sized, that reveals ringwalkers and other such
travellers
79plans for a ten-crew umbraship, metallic bone-ink on battered starfilm
80six silverglass amphorae of plasmic wine from a Corerealm afterlife
81mummified arm sporting two forearms with taloned paws, studded with
flesh-pearls
82seven turquoise foam-leather scrolls, a portion of the Ooailaen Theurgy
83a delicate finger ring woven of a dozen different hair-fine jewel filaments
84fist-sized, shivering black jewel drawn from the brow of a nightmaster
85a fragment of the abyss, quivering, suspended in a tiny solaurum cage
86a changestone, lenticular and rippling chromatically, wrapped in rough wool
87a warrior’s panoply fashioned by a master’s hand from black scaled leather and
pale cherry-pink, milky metal
88a cutting from a golden sugar plum tree, heavy with roughly glistening fruit and carefully
trimmed
89pair of heavy torc-like armbands of lunargent, finials filled with stars
90four cloak-lengths of finest cloth-of-moonrise
91twisted staff of gnarled wood, its ashy bark cracking to reveal black wood
veined with still-wet blood
92dice set carved of nightmare amber, warm and concerningly inviting to the touch
93wanderer’s astrolabe of smoky adamantine, set with delicate needles ready
to inscribe the patterns it finds
94a spare shadow folded in a limewood box
95an IOU on silver tissue for two units of soulstuff from a sage of the
graven heavens
96a frozen note, its ancient sound lost to the planes for now
97diviner’s stones in a dragonsaint’s crop, sundrops and glassy shards and
ovals of strange greenish metal
98tucked in a worn linen pouch, ten silver coins, a wooden toy frog, and a
folding knife of bloodiron
99a glassy ampoule filled with the breath of the elder sun
100a radiant lacquer case of hundreds of pigments, a dazzling array of
impossible colours all tied up in squares of voidskin
where did all these come from?
who can say for some of them?
why not try to find out?

Dicember 2021 – reverse

After you’ve gone and expanded your game’s toxic repertoire, what next is there to do?

Why not offer a broader palette of ways to avoid, lessen, or undo some of the various terrible things that adventurers manage to inflict on themselves and others?

In the name of balance, then (hee), here are a dozen treatments and tonics:

01. Crystal Cordial: Clears the mind of fuzziness and confusion.
02. Sunbalm: Protects against infection from undead-inflicted wounds. 4 hrs.
03. Winerose Elixir: Bolsters resistance against poisons (allows second save or equiv.)
04. Saintkiss: Maximizes next applied (or cast) healing ability. Expensive!
05. Silverfog Drops: Clears artificially-induced blindness or misdirection.
06. Heaven’s Hero Elixir: Boosts a single attribute by 1 for 1d3 hrs. Multiple doses not recommended.
07. White Wind Balm: Heals recent burn-related injury.
08. Golden Earth: Repels insects and similar small creatures. 8 hrs.
09. Rainmist Oil: Repels (most) jellies and fungi. 4 hrs.
10. Moon Tarnish: Protects against lycanthropic infection. 2 hrs.
11. Crimson Vision Elixir: Nerve tonic, allows test against paralysis.
12. Lightning Juice: Energy boost, wakes you right up; undoes sleep and sleeplike effects.

Dicember 2021 – gold

They say that Sussuranukuth is prideful even of the most prideful beasts.

They say that Sussuranukuth treads so daintily that the grass does not dare to bend beneath his talons; that his wings glitter in the light like the sun itself.
They say that his breath is that of sweet myrrh and sleep-bringing fog, or else ravenous flames all the colour of the rainbow, of all the jewels known to mortals.

They say, also, that Sussuranukuth, The Gleaming Glory Scholar, will suffer no part of his treasures failing to match his own dazzling, golden hide.


What else might be found, then, amongst the coin and the ingots and the glittering sun-coloured jewels?

01. golden pomegranate, cunningly hinged to open into quarters; inside, its pips are amber nuggets strung on hair-fine gold wire
02. topaz pendant the size and shape of an acorn, mounted in a “cap” of granulated gold and suspended from a heavy gold loop
03. long-tailed blouse of byssus sea-silk, darkly golden and lighter than air
04. necklace of amber spheres interspersed with rose petals of pale gold
05. heavy gold signet ring, stirrup-shaped and engraved with the seal of the Second Queen’s Fang
06. glass amphora sealed with glittering wax, containing luxuriously luminescent celestial honey from the gardens of paradise
07. knife honed from golden coral, stained with a martyr’s blood
08. waxed-leather-wrapped brick of tissue thin sheets of pounded gold for gilding food and sweets
09. heavy ritual mantle of cloth-of-gold on tawny silk, trimmed with silken tassels
10. golden rosebud locket containing a tiny braid of honey-blonde hair
11. six waxed paper screws of golden lotus dust
12. paired delicate cups of deep yellow jade carved in the shape of peonies
13. roughly-smithed goblet of heavy, unornamented gold, battered with long and careless usage
14. golden ceremonial dagger, its grip inlaid with a scale-pattern of amber and milky-gold glass
15. slender gold circlet inset with a crescent moon of six pale citrines
16. half a dozen bottles of the finest dandelion wine
17. death mask of stiff gold sheet, depicting a sleeping face with wild hair and slightest hint of horns
18. five phials of glittering golden ink tied up with a yellow ribbon
19. heavy multi-layered robe of thick silk velvet dyed with saffron
20. pair of golden haircombs, sculpted with stars and the sun-in-glory

Dicember 2021 – huge

Something I poke at on occasion is oversized (“dire”, “grand”, etc) weapons.

Because yes, sometimes I just want to play Cloud for a while, and I’m not even sorry.

So how to go about it with most of the games I’ve been poking at lately? (Exalted, of course, has this answer baked in already, so it can doodle in the corner over there for a while.) What needs to be covered to fit a sword that’s more like a sharpened steel ironing board into a game?

The way I see it, you need:

– the ironing-board-sized sword (or whatever)
– how its going to be wielded
– what it’s going to do
– what other results/effects

Now, the last thing I want is anything complicated, and while I could just try to bolt on Exalted’s reasoning, it’s fairly intrinsic to Exalts-as-existing-in-universe so that could get a little weird just about anywhere else. (but hold that thought for another time. lol.) I want something fairly simple, so I can apply it to OSE or Black Hack or Wandering Jewel Moons or whatever; sort of like my scratch rules for adding mecha.

So, I think I’ll tinker around with the following.

– A “grand” weapon adds a die of the appropriate type to its damage. Big chopper based on a standard sword in OSE? 2d8. This does still have a low end, but even slabs of metal can just graze.

– You cannot deal subdual damage with a “grand” weapon. (come on, now.)

So how to introduce these? Maybe

– If your system has any kind of class or other abilities, make “Grand Weapon Wielder” an optional choice. Replace one of the Warrior abilities in TBH; make it a selectable Trait in Wandering Jewel Moons; add it to the list of OSE Fighter combat options from Carrion Crawler #1 or let it replace a feature from the Cavalier or Paladin. You get the idea.

But what if your Fighter is a basic Fighter type, with no extras? Or if you don’t want someone to pay for the ability mechanically in quite that way?

– Then I suppose you can say a Strength/Body/whatever minimum is needed; say 17-18 on the usual 3d6 possibility. Maybe 16-18 or even 15, you want PCs to be able to do this or why put it in there as an option?

Yes, it’s a lot of damage. Yes, that’s the entire point.

What these behemoths will do, though, even if their wielder knows what they’re doing, is get in the way the rest of the time. Even if you can and know how to carry the thing, that slab is big, awkward, and intractible.

Which means they eat up encumbrance like a mofo.

Play a game with equipment/encumbrance slots? A Grand weapon eats at least two. Probably three. Definitely twice a normal weapon of its type, for sure.

Track encumbrance by weight? The thing weighs a shitton. This will vary by actual weapon of course, but come on now, the Buster Sword is surely easily comparable to a pile of armour in weight at the very least.

And if you want to be devilish, say if Grand weapons are enchanted (if they are enchanted at all) they have a high chance of being sentient if not sapient. And willful. Lol.

Dicember 2021 – skull

You’ve found a skull!

It happens more often than one might think, in this line of work. Unlucky adventurers, remnants of raiding parties, the aftermath of some beastie’s dinner — skulls turn up in all sort of places.

This one’s … kind of different, though. Starting with the fact that there’s only a skull. No other body bits, no fleshy stains, no hints or clues. Just a skull, sitting neatly all on its lonesome on the floor, or on a shelf, or a stair, or … well, you get the idea.

But that’s not the only interesting bit!

Your new-found skull …

01. … has a sealed scroll, smeared with golden wax, clutched in its jaws
02. … is engraved all over with arcane notations, filled with cinnabar stain
03. … is animated and hostile! sharp fangs sprout as it snaps at you!
04. … is animated and lonely. please, just a chat for a little while, at least …?
05. … is completely covered with delicate mosaic-work in obsidian and rose quartz
06. … has been filled with pellets, stoppered and painted; a macabre rattle to be sure
07. … has been sectioned around the middle, hinged, latched and locked
08. … is overgrown with rust-green moss, and azure mushrooms grow from its orifices
09. … has every second tooth replace with one of silver or crystal or pearl
10. … has been converted into a lantern, candlelight glowing from its eyes and sinus
11. … is surrounded by a corona of pale violet flame that does not burn
12. … is missing the top of its vault, the cranium filled with an iridescent, red-violet ichor

Dicember 2021 – blade

Beneath a canopy that sparkles like the night sky — a cunning work of midnight-purple velvet, golden threads and silver beads — a large and fluffy white cat paces to and fro on hindpaws across the length of a raised wooden platform, adjusting racks of exotic textiles, setting out baskets of tiny wonders and tweaking the displays in the worn blackoak booth-front.

Suddenly the cat’s attention is squarely on you, golden eyes like inquisitive twin moons. Snowy white paws cradle a weapon that surely, surely no cat should wield so easily.

A purr.

“Perhaps this humble merchant may have something that catches your eye?”


The ghost cat’s armoury

01. Paired ivory-hilted daggers, etched with silvered prayers to the Saint Of Iris
02. Pyre Tyrant’s Needle, a rapier of frosted steel hilt and basket and blade of crimson flame
03. A sabre polished to mirror brightness, mounted in brass and blackened steel fittings
04. Regret, a longsword consecrated to be the bane of spirits, rosewood-hilted and perpetually damp with blessed tears
05. A belt-knife of bone split and polished from a wyvern’s sting, grip wrapped with tawny silks
06. A perfectly plain-looking shortsword, yet it is sheathed in shadepanther pelt and crystal droplets
07. The Moon Calls Me, a silver-trimmed crystal blade that cycles from dagger to shortsword to hunting sword to greatsword and back
08. An ancient broad-bladed sword of greenish bronze, sporting black gold hunting figures that glow faintly
09. Mistine, the white steel bastard sword trimmed in sapphire and white enamel which ballads claim was the oath-blade of Teitaia, Warqueen of fallen Oakhaunt
10. A slim rapier, basket-guard of twisted ivy and gilded, stained with the blood of a vampire prince
11. Aaite, a curved sickle-like blade of deep red horn, said to be carved from a fragment of an angel’s talon
12. Matched set of broadsword, hanger and three daggers, all smoky steel mounted in bronze and ivory and engraved with the same motto — “Endure” — flanked with tiny inset garnets

Dicember 2021 – ice

It’s a long cold trek, in the Brilliant Lands, from sunken sod hamlet to briar-walled village, from clusters of longhalls to lonely roundhouses; and the wind wails cold and icy through dark forest boughs, across frozen bogs, piling the snow and the spars of ice.

There’s strange and beguiling things to carry away from the Lands, mind, if one cared to dare the cold —

01. A slender bone phial of eternal snowflakes
02. The trimmed, smoke-like pelt of a ghost lion
03. Birch-staff, spiked and hooked, incised with spirals of dead-wardings
04. Blue-golden shard of frostflame, death to the frozen ones
05. Small pine box, polished with tallow, with a frozen dream inside
06. Blessed caribou sledge-blanket, meant to warm the life back into the lost
07. Pair of snowhounds, golden-eyed and white of fur, and their harnesses
08. A handful of winterdrake scales, blue and frosted and sharp as ice
09. Icerune etched into a pale birch pendant, glowing faintly blue
10. Swan-bone flute, to charm blizzards and snow-witches
11. Curved knife honed from a ghost lion’s great fang
12. Three wax-sealed polished horns filled with tingling ice-honey

Knightober 2021 – paladin

As it turned out, the fair young man in question — one Mairah by name, scion of a long line of glassweaver nobility — possessed a certain paleness of eye and angle to face that suggested ties to Cor-cael’s lord. This explained a good deal to Liamath, though he kept his observations to himself as he paced silently alongside the chattering Mairah.

Discretion, always discretion …

He was learning a good deal about the state of affairs in Ranah, to be sure, and the glances he kept receiving from pale-coated, patchwork-embroidered locals were — did the newly-gifted blade at his hip look so terribly mismatched with the rest of him, then? Did the shining thing not suit? Or was it something else ~?

“– So you see, Wolf Corvan, Lord Kaerna frankly dispatched you here ahead of expected, mm, disruptions. I’m not unskilled with a blade, but against …”

Liamath shook his head, dark mane swinging in its formal braid.

“There’s no reason for you to cross swords with dissenters and the lawless. It’s a different sort of fight, that one, all the more when it’s unavoidable.”

He cocked his head to fix Mairah with his hale eye, a thin smile creeping out for a moment. Oh, the lad looked puzzled; very well, then.

“I’m just as pleased that you recognize the difference between a duel, or a skirmish, and what we’re waiting for, young lord. But, rest assured that I have no intention to draw unnecessary blood. That’d be no better than the wretches I’m watching for.
“We protect those needing protecting, and cull when culling’s called for; nothing more, nothing less.”

-*-

Hundred-silver: A tradition still held by many older Ranai families of presenting a gift — a new knife or sword, philtre or pen-set, brooch or buckler — to one who has proven faithful, joined them in an oath, or become new kin. Whatever the object, it is at least partially surfaced in mosiac-work of tiny mirrored tesserae, as a reminder that the whole is made up of its parts.

Knightober 2021 – chivalry

Of course Liamath agreed to make the trek his liege requested; it would never have occured to him to refuse. Though off-balance from his earlier exploits, he’d sworn his oath and would not break it, certainly not for so petty a thing as being out on the road once more. Lord Kaerna did not command his loyalty — and for that, she possessed it until his dying breath.

What he hadn’t expected was what he — and the grumbling Swift — rode to the Mirror Of The Mirror for.

Or, for that matter, how Lord Kaerna planned to have them present themselves.

Oh, milord, you are a clever one. But I know very well that you have more than the favour of loaning out a fancy honour-guard in mind, else you would’ve chosen most any of the youngsters.

Well, I’ll do my best, and hope that a one-eyed swordhand doesn’t put off the fair young man.

Compared to their backlands travels, the road to Ranah was an easy one of waystops and pocket-villages and Swift earning treats from cheerful travellers; when Ranah’s bleached-silver walls loomed ahead before Liamath’s eyes he almost felt that it should’ve taken at least few days longer. And on that fine evening, Liamath drew Swift towards the side of the broad road to brush away the dust and settle their unaccustomed finery of shining dark furs and falls of tiny sparkling beads cascading from caparison and trailing coattails.

Swift stamped one hoof, tossing his head, as Liamath remounted, earning a chuckle and a scratch in his thick ruffed mane.

“Yes, we both look quite fancy, I’m sure. Let us present ourselves and our pledges to the gatekeepers, eh?”

-*-

Heart’s-pledge: One of several oaths and similar promises common to the northern reaches of the Edge, similar to the wolflord’s oath, the blood-binding oath and the guardian’s sword oath (and the Alabaster Blades have a similar tradition). Frequently represented by a special series of glyphs, with or without an inscribed copy of the oath itself; the specific form of the physical pledge varies, from illuminated documents to inscribed crystal prisms, precious-metal pendants or stone tablets. Many carry the physical representation of their pledge as a ward or charm.