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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Sep 2012

    Default Re: GiTP Pathfinder Grab Bag Competition XIX: How the !@#$?

    So, since we don't have to stick to the normal rules, I'm writing a template for intelligent magical items. Pretty much the same, except some terminology has to be changed.

    Talisman of Terror

    Cold water drips slowly from the ceiling as the small band of adventurers creep slowly down the cavern halls. Gerki, the rogue, spots a bit of treasure up ahead, and announces it to his comrades eagerly. Fiona and Zot examine the find carefully, studying the desiccated corpse and the faintly glowing items that adorn it.
    Fiona slaps Gerki's hand away from a particularly brilliant bauble, whispering a cautionary warning as she awaits approval from Zot.
    The old wizard's eyes churn with arcane mist as he examines the items with scrutiny. His lips curl into a frown, and he shakes his head slowly.
    Gerki, moping, turns away from the forbidden treasure at the prompting of the warrior behind him, and the three continue into the dark recesses of the underworld.
    Behind them, clinging to the decaying flesh of their former master, a half-dozen talismans of varying shapes and sizes mutter angrily about their terrible fortune and the ill tides of fate. Meanwhile, chuckling silently to himself, the smallest talisman hides in the rogue's coat pocket, eagerly planning the mutiny and murder of three wandering adventurers.

    Creating a Talisman of Terror

    "Talisman of Terror" is an inherited template that can be added to any intelligent magical item. A talisman of terror uses the base item's stats and abilities except as noted here.

    CR: A talisman of terror has a CR equal to its Ego modifier +3.

    AL: Always evil, though talismans of terror are eager to be used, and may choose to not inflict a negative level on characters of opposing alignments who wield them. Furthermore, a talisman's abilities protect it from any attempt to discern its alignment.

    Size and Type: Like other intelligent items, a talisman of terror is considered a construct. Its size remains unchanged.

    Senses: Low light vision, darkvision 60 ft., constant detect magic

    Armor Class: A talisman of terror gains a natural armor bonus equal to its hit dice, in addition to any AC bonuses which the base item provides to its wielder.

    Hit Dice: A talisman of terror gains a number of construct hit dice (d10) equal to its ego modifier. A talisman larger than 'tiny' gains bonus HP as normal for a construct (+10 small, +20 medium, +30 large, etc). If its ego modifier increases, it gains additional hit dice as well.

    Defensive Abilities: Construct traits. Furthermore, talismans of terror are immune to any attempt to discern their actual alignment, and always appear neutral.

    Weaknesses: None

    Speed: Most talismans cannot move unless through the effect of an intelligent item ability.

    Attacks: A talisman of terror gains a BAB equal to its hit dice, though usually only talismans which possess the ability to move may make attacks. Weapon-shaped talismans gain an attack as though they were wielded, while other types of talismans gain a slam attack appropriate for a creature of their size. Talismans with an intelligence of 16 or higher may gain special attacks based on their design, such as amulets with the ability to strangle, or gloves which can disarm. These are considered natural attacks for the talisman.

    Damage: While most talismans cannot attack or move, talismans which can attack may add their charisma modifier to their damage rolls and CMB instead of their strength or dex modifiers.

    Space and Reach: No change, though most talismans cannot attack or move. Weapon-shaped talismans sized for creatures bigger than large size gain reach equal to the standard reach for humanoids of that size.

    Special Attacks: Rare. Specific special attack varies, as appropriate to the talisman.

    Special Qualities
    • Unforged: Each talisman of terror can be destroyed through a single process unique to that talisman itself, or to its parent talisman. This process should involve time and resources at least equal to the cost of crafting the talisman. When subjected to this particular process, the talisman and each of its offspring are completely destroyed, with no chance to resist or save. Offspring talismans may have their own individual methods of destruction, but are still subjected to annihilation if their parent talisman is unforged.
    • Telepathy: Each talisman of terror gains the telepathy quality of intelligent items, but may also communicate with any intelligent items within 30 feet.
    • Corrupt Thoughts: A talisman of terror can project the evil, corrupt thoughts of itself and its past wielders out to a distance of 30 feet. These thoughts are utterly unrecognizable to non-items, but they can slowly infuse magical items with a sadistic hatred. Each day, the talisman projects a number of "corruption points" equal to its ego modifier that it may distribute between any magical items within range. When the number of corruption points on an item equal or exceed that item's hit points, that item must begin making will saves (DC 10 + 1/2 talisman's Ego score + talisman's Cha modifier) every day in which it receives at least one corruption point or it becomes a talisman of terror itself. Items which succeed at their save gain no additional benefits or abilities. Any item failing its save immediately gains the talisman of terror template, and is forever considered the offspring of the talisman which corrupted it. If the parent talisman is destroyed through the Unforged process, then its offspring talismans are also unforged. Offspring will usually have their own methods of being unforged, though doing so does not destroy the parent talisman.
    • Soulforging: Talismans of terror feed off of the tortured and tormented souls of those that wore them. When a creature wielding or wearing a talisman of terror dies, every talisman in his equipment immediately gains extra magical abilities worth up to 200 gold pieces x that creature's hit dice. Alternatively, a talisman may not gain these abilities immediately, but may save them up for stronger abilities after more souls are consumed. These abilities may be pulled from the intelligent item powers list, from the effects of cursed items, or from the rules for crafting wondrous items.
    • Moment of Weakness: Talismans of terror enjoy the thrill of combat, but not as much as they enjoy feasting on souls. At any moment on its wielder's turn, the talisman of terror may decide to invert its benefits, changing all bonuses to untyped penalties. Particularly cunning talismans may wait for months, slowly building their ranks, until the heat of an epic battle, when they all turn and work together to drag their former master into an early grave. Talismans of terror can also control the use-activated abilities which the base item possessed, and often use those abilities against their masters.

    Ability Scores: In addition to the benefits of an intelligent item, a talisman of terror gains +4 to intelligence, +2 to wisdom, and +2 to charisma. A talisman of terror gains an extra +1 to its ego modifier.

    Skills: +5 bonus to bluff, sense motive, and survival.

    Feats: No change.

    Sample Item: The Phylactery of Atrocitus

    The Phylactery of Atrocitus is a small adamantine amulet forged in the shape of a dragon's face, with radiant inset rubies to give it a menacing look. The amulet at one point housed a portion of the soul of Atrocitus, high priest of the ruby dragon, Scorsus. Powerful heroes put both Scorsus and Atrocitus to the blade, and forever banished their souls to Abaddon. As Atrocitus' soul was ripped free of the Phylactery, the amulet underwent some dark and potent transformation. Desperate for warmth and hungry for the power of a soul to again reside within it, this unassuming amulet became the first Talisman of Terror. It gained intelligence, and quickly grew clever and malicious. It forged for itself a magical aura, a reason to be desired. And it has hunted, ever since.

    As a magical item, the amulet gives its wearer a +4 deflection bonus to AC, and resistance 10 vs fire. The amulet can cast one 5d4 burning hands per day at its discretion, though it usually reserves the spell for desperate times or the downfall of its wearer. The chain attached to it can expand or contract to any length, allowing it to be worn around the neck of nearly any creature. It has become somewhat famous as a powerful relic of history, and would be immediately recognized by any historian or artificer. Despite its protection being worth only 59,000 gold (32,000 + [1.5 x 18,000]), the amulet usually brings a price of 75,000 gold when sold at auction. The cone of fire it breathes is regarded as an unnatural and mystical effect, as few of its previous owners realized that the amulet was intelligent and capable of casting a spell, and no one knows the secret to "forcing" the effect.

    The Phylactery of Atrocitus

    The Phylactery of Atrocitus is a small adamantine amulet forged in the shape of a dragon's face, with radiant inset rubies to give it a menacing look.
    Phlactery of Atrocitus . CR 15
    XP 51,200
    CE Diminutive Construct
    Init +0; Senses Low light vision, Darkvision 60', detect magic; Perception +10


    AC 25, Touch 13, flatfooted 25; (-5 dex, +4 deflection, +4 size, +12 natural)
    hp 106 (12d10+40); Hardness 20
    Fort +4, Ref -1, Will +6
    Special Defenses: Construct traits, Fire resistance 10, immune to any attempt to discern its alignment.
    (note, the Hardness and +40 HP arise because the amulet is forged from adamantine)


    Speed 0 ft.
    Melee Choke +12 (3 damage and attach)
    Space 0 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
    Special Attacks attach, constrict (3 damage), strangle


    Str --, Dex --, Con --, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 14
    Base Atk +12; CMB +10; CMD 20
    Feats none
    Skills knowledge (arcana) +11, bluff +15, perception +10, spellcraft +11, sense motive +15, survival +15
    Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal, read magic

    Spell-Like Abilities
    1/day - Burning hands, caster level 5th (5d4 fire damage, 15 ft. cone, Ref DC 12 for half)

    Special Abilities

    Magical Item Properties: Any creature wearing the Phylactery gains energy resistance 10 vs fire, and a +4 deflection bonus to AC.

    Moment of Weakness: The phylactery can suppress its magical item properties at will, or even reverse them. While reversed, the creature wearing the phylactery takes a -4 penalty to AC and double damage from fire, to a maximum of 10 extra damage.

    Intelligent Item Properties: Base ability scores 12 Int, 12 Wis, 12 Cha. Telepathy, Senses 60 ft., Darkvision, Read magic. Characters wearing the phylactery take 1 negative level unless they are CE in alignment, though the phylactery can suppress this effect. Ego score 12 (will save DC 12 if the phylactery attempts to control its wearer). May cast a burning hands spell (CL 5th) 1/day.

    Choke: Other than its cone of flame, the phylactery's only attack is made by tightening its chain around the wearer's neck. This attack initiates a grapple in addition to the listed damage. If this grapple succeeds, the phylactery begins constricting for an extra 3 damage each round, in addition to the normal grapple effects. The amulet is too small to completely grapple its foe; its victims do not gain the grappled condition, though the phylactery does as normal.

    Strangle: Creatures the phylactery grapples cannot speak or cast spells with verbal components.

    Telepathy: The phylactery can communicate telepathically with its wearer, though it rarely chooses to do so. It can also communicate with any other intelligent item within 30 ft.

    Unforged: Though the phylactery can be destroyed through many methods, it can only be unforged through one: it must be melted down over a fire of the burning flesh of an adult metallic dragon. If subjected to this particular method of destruction, the phylactery is summarily destroyed, and any offspring talismans of terror which it created are immediately unforged as well.

    Corrupt Thoughts: The phylactery radiates evil thoughts into magical items near it. It projects 12 corruption points each day, distributed in any way to the magical items around it. When the number of corruption points in an item exceed its hit points, that item must make a DC 18 Will save each day thereafter that it receives at least 1 corruption point or else it becomes a Talisman of Terror and is considered the offspring of the phylactery.

    Soulforging: When its wearer dies, the phylactery improves itself by an amount of gold pieces equal to 200 x the number of hit dice its wearer possessed. This improvement can include new abilities or powers from the magical item creation rules, or from the powers available to intelligent items.


    Environment The phylactery can usually be found in a museum or in the private collection of wealthy benefactors. It hungers for souls, and rages that it cannot escape and feed, and vents its anger into the magical artifacts around it.
    Organization Single, Collection (Phylactery and 3-7 other talismans), Museum (Phylactery and 8-30 other talismans)
    Treasure None, though if the evil can be purged from it, the phylactery would have incredible value as a magical item in its own right.
    Last edited by gr8artist; 2013-09-18 at 02:04 AM.
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