Sunday, May 8, 2011

Five Rings

Swords seem ripe for tactical possibilities, but rings seem more personal to me.  Here are five rings that might be interesting to your players:

One malady will but darken it, any more rebound on all in sight.

Ring of Flight
Shatter it with a word, and foes, blinded by shards, will let you flee.

Ring of Extrication
Taken off, it transports you to the place you put it on, but the ring stays behind.

Martyr's Ring
The awkward thing will never come off your hand, but when you end, they'll all know how-- family, guild, or clan.

Ring of the Eight States
On each finger it reveals another facet of your nature: slumbering, drunken, fearful, meek, bold, tireless, serene, unswerving.


  1. All sound good - I'd be interested in hearing more about some of the ways you would implement the Eight States in a game.

  2. I love your ideas for magic items, they are very nice for low level characters, give them some bonuses without overpowering them!

  3. @squidman: Thanks! That's what I'm aiming for. As my players get higher level maybe I'll come up with more powerful stuff.

    @WtD:Well, the player will have to roleplay some of it. I was thinking any time someone puts on the ring you roll to see which state is associated with that finger. Players might mistake the ring for doing only that thing, or doing different random things to different people. I figured the boon would be resistance to Charm, Sleep, Fear according to the opposing state. But . . .

    I just came up with that one and was excited about the way the fingers are a dead simple mechanic for a magic item. If only we could come up with 8 (or 10) cool and interesting things for them to do. The states were my first try. What else could have it do? Maybe each is a different decade of age for the wearer. Eight directions? I don't know?

  4. I could also see a kind of summoning ring that evoked a different beneficial spirit relevant to each finger.


    If you wanted to be more grotesque about it, maybe turning the ring causes the finger to drop off to grow into the spirit, so that if it dies before you reattach it, you lose a finger. I guess it's also sort of like a weird set of figurines of wondrous power if it's more physicalized like that.

    Or maybe the finger stays on your hand, and the spirit is incorporeal, but if it's somehow destroyed, the finger withers.

  5. I love these - unexpected effects, possibly hard to communicate unless someone gives you the ring/you have some way to research it.

    Eight winds. Wear it on your thumb for calm. I'd put this on the hand of my big enemy pirate NPC. But then, I'm obsessed with saltbox seacrawls at the moment.

    Eight elements(!): either allows magical mastery of the elements or resistance/immunity to their effects (left and right hands?). Apart from the usual earth, air, fire and water there could be the Chinese-inspired wood and metal, or thinking on Pokemon lines, frost or lightning or bug or dragon (with a nice implication that both those things are completely Other from the rest of the world: categories apart from animal, vegetable and mineral). I've been wondering actually if I couldn't somehow steal Pokemon's metaphysical quad: they call it Psychic, Ghost, Dark and Fight. Putting my own spin on those is probably a post waiting to be written. And maybe a game.

    A variant of the Martyr (the Telltale?) could be a good adventure-starting McGuffin: it tells you exactly what happened to kill its previous owner, maybe right down to clairvoyant visions of their final moments/days, but you have to put it on to get this information.

    Ring of Reporting - tells the issuer about whatever you do with the hand that wears it or just alerts them if you do something forbidden: popular among thieves' guilds as a badge of office.

    Soul trap/Ring of Ming: if the wearer is killed their essence goes into the ring. The next wearer risks possession by this soul, but if they resist they might be able to ask the soul for advice/information.

    Alternative Ring of Ming: if the wearer dies it alerts base, so a replacement Ming can be manufactured.

    Key rings: they train the wearer's hand to do the gestures required to pass the special door or, more creepily, mutate the hand/arm to the proper shape.

    Signet ring: used for sealing letters. Reports if the letter has been tampered with (the wax blackens or emits a foul smell, the letter bursts into flames). Could also be used for sealing doors, swords into scabbards, lips...

    Ring of Mauss: if you give it to someone they are placed under a geas to return you a gift or service of greater value. Whether they are also Charmed depends on your/their philosophical outlook and cultural background.

  6. This is why I love blogging so much-- I post something a little underbaked and you folks pull out these wonderful dishes. Great stuff.

    @WtD: I'd never heard of the Dactyls. How about an amethyst band that contracts each time you are poisoned (amputating a finger)?

    @richard: The Eight Winds for a sailor sounds epic, others are nice too. Thanks.

  7. Amethyst Band

    This goes in the next dungeon I stock, rolled halfway across the room from a skeleton. Maybe near an entire nest of scorpions.

    The cigar-cutter effect could apply to any number of dubious rings, really.

  8. Re: rings with different effects depending on the finger -- just read a fairytale to my daughter that involved a witch's ring, and which finger you put it on gave different powers (flight, strength, etc.), and the hero uses it to kill a idea what the tale was now though. Been tearing through too many of them.

  9. Cool, was it newer or a classic tale? I'd like to try hunting it down.