The Alexandrian

Coins of the Damned – Part 2

September 29th, 2016

Go to Part 1


Brand of Avarice

The first brands of avarice was crafted by the Sorcerer Prince Ajan. The tributes paid to Ajan by his lords were being constantly jeopardized by the legendary rogue Ser Kella. Attempts to capture Kella had failed, even when aided by Ajan’s powerful magic. So Ajan crafted a brand of avarice for each of his lords — with each bearing the seal of the lord for which they were destined – and commanded them to include their brands with all future tributes as a guarantee of their payment. Ser Kella, after falling prey to the brands at least twice, abandoned his depredations upon Ajan’s tributes.

Today the brands of avarice are a relatively inexpensive form of magical protection against theft: A wizard or sorcerer will enchant a normal gold piece and place it within a pile of similar or identical coins. The owner of the coins will know to avoid this particular piece (which is usually identified with some minor marking and can be removed safely by anyone wearing a pair of gloves). However, the moment it is touched by bare flesh, the brand of avarice will bond itself to the person’s flesh and will resist all physical efforts to have it removed short of amputating the body part affected.

Depending on where the brand attaches itself, the character may be subject to a penalty on any affected ability or skill checks (this may include spells with somatic components – including dispel magic). For example, if the brand is grasped by the fingertips (as is quite likely) their manual dexterity will be affected. A common mistake is to then attempt to pry it loose with the other hand (thereby binding both hands to the coin). DM’s should use their best discretion as to what types of penalties to apply (and just how badly a character can get stuck to himself – or others).

Also note that the brand is capable of acting on more than one individual at a time. Thus if another PC, NPC, or monster were to touch the brand (or if the affected character were to touch another PC, NPC, or monster with the brand), the brand would effectively bind the two characters together at the point of contact.

The easiest way to remove the brand is through the use of a dispel magic spell (wealthier patrons will usually have the brand created by a high level wizard – making it comparatively more difficult to remove). However, even this will still leave a physical imprint of the coin’s surface on the victim’s skin. This mark will not usually impair the victim’s ability to take normal actions (although the DM may decide otherwise under special circumstances), but will continue to identify the character as the victim of a brand so long as it is visible.

Caster Level: 5th
Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, make whole
Market Price: 4,000 gp


Coin of Alarum

Another device for theft deterrence, the coin of alarum is more direct in its methods of persecution: When brought near coins it hasn’t been near before, it will sound a klaxon-like alarm. Typically the coin of alarum would be placed unconspicuously among the other coins of a house’s wealth, so that when a would-be thief placed it next to his personal wealth the alarm would sound.

However, as an added security measure the sound of the alarm does not appear to emanate from the coin itself – instead seeming to simply fill the air around it. The thief will assume that he has triggered an area affect, and flee – never realizing that he is carrying his own accuser with him. It may take quite some time for the victim to finally discover why the klaxon returns every time they add change to their coin purse.

The coin of alarum takes fifteen minutes to acclimate itself to a new coin. The klaxon will stop as soon as the acclimation process is finished. If a coin is removed from the presence of the coin of alarum and then returned, the acclimation process must be repeated. The coin has also been enchanted in such a way that a dispel magic spell will not only work automatically, but will also have a duration of fifteen minutes (the spell can be used to acclimate the coin without having to live with an alarm sounding). Spells such as silence will also work to quiet this pernicious little item.

Although coins of alarum can be commonly found just about anywhere today, they were originally a creation of the dragons – often serving as triggers for more elaborate magical defenses or traps. Many dragons continue to use the coins to this day, using the sound of the alarm as a trigger for a contingency spell which teleports the rest of their treasure safely away.

Caster Level: 5th
Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, alarm
Market Price: 100 gp

Go to Part 3

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