Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Brass Sash

Brass Sash

A sash of heavy linen with thin sheets of brass sewn into the front and back.  Inscribe that brass with the names of friends and hirelings who have perished in your sight to have a better chance of escaping their fate (+1 hit points for each name).


  1. Man, with our rate of losses to hirelings some of my early characters would have been trotting around with hundreds of extra HP. So, so many dead torchbearers and random sellswords. Maybe needs to restrict it to friends and people who've truthfully sworn an oath of fealty/loyalty to you or something.

    1. Maybe it could be limited in size. The brass sheets and the lettering would have to be a certain size, thus limiting the maximum number of plates to - I don't know - something like 20.

      I'm sure there would be a limitation on the hp not extending above level maximums. What is a fighter in a lot of editions, 1d10 maximum hit points per level? So a 2nd level fighter who normally has 8 hit points would only be boosted up to 10 hp by this sash, even if it has 6 names on it.

      I imagine the sash would have to be consecrated in a special ceremony in a church or temple on the surface. It would be like making a magic item.

      Another way you could do this sash would be to have as a "shields will be shattered" kind of item.

      The player whose character is wearing it gets to choose one dire hit from an opponent which would otherwise probably be a killing stroke. That opponent's hit is then negated. The sash, with the sheet in memory of Torch McTorchface the Hapless, has saved the PC's life and is destroyed.

      The grateful PC will be sure to get a new sash inscribed and consecrated topside at the earliest possibility.

    2. Oh sure, it's easy to reign in - and honestly, I doubt even the most O of OSR games these days has the kind of casual employee death rate the campaigns of my youth did. We were objectively terrible children back in the 70s and 80s and NPCs were almost all seen as fodder. :)

  2. Oh, and in a similar theme:

    Blood Money - ancient gold coins that carry a forgotten magic, for each of these that you've personally paid to another creature, you may ignore a single HP of damage inflicted by that creature's non-magical attacks. While rare, magicians love to pay adventurers in these coins, as do spies and spymasters, wise rulers, and even the occasional cunning dragon.

    The "non-magic" restriction is mostly there to prevent the PCs "paying" their wizard as "friendly-fireball" insurance , but it probably applies to dragon breath just as well. The DM should be stinting about how many of these he hands out to keep the accounting insanity to a reasonable level, but they will tend to circulate if they get out in the general public so you can get folks walking around with limited THP buffers against random customers, landlords, tax collectors and the like. The coins are no more durable than any regular coin, and lose their magic if defaced, melted down, clipped, etc.

  3. Nice idea, D. McG!

    What could be a different name for these items, though?

    "You paid him your blood money!" gives a real-world resonance of the money paid for dirty deeds.

    Could you have the name focus on the process or ritual to imbue regular coins with this quality?

    e.g. "Wot? I can't believe you gave that scheming snake your last crowns! He's going to betray us - literally use 'em to buy the dagger he stabs you with!"

    "Relax! I passed those coins through the Fires of Inimical Friendship! If he turns on me - and I agree with you he will! - he'll have a hard time killing me."

    1. Hmmm, let me think - Tokens of Ensured Fidelity, perhaps? I'd be leery about making these something that can be reproduced (hence the "forgotten magic" bit simply because it could get complex figuring out who's got HP buffers against who if there were significant numbers of them in circulation. I envision maybe 20-100 of them still extant at most, with more in the hands of collectors who'd pay enough for them to make it tempting to sell them.

      A GM who enjoys that kind of accounting could certainly do so, though. Maybe it's a very easy ritual, or maybe it's got horrific requirements like human sacrifice for each coin or something and that's why the magic fell out of favor.

      FWIW, any given coin's magic ends (for everyone) when it's destroyed, defaced, etc, so if you know the "trick" involved you can get out of even ridiculous amounts of "HP debt" by just scarring up the money you were paid. This might have some interesting background effects on teh setting if the magic is (or becomes) well-known. Maybe people see unmarred coins as a sign that the person paying them doesn't trust them? Maybe passing marred coins is an insult to some folks because it means you think you're so tough you don't need insurance against them? Or if the magic isn't understood well, maybe all old coins are looked at askance as carrying some strange curse, or people think they'll live longer if you carry them, or something weirder still.

  4. Hey, what's all this cool conversation going on on this blog!? It's almost like I didn't abandon it for three years. :) Thanks so much for the comments, everyone.

    @Dick, Karel: I was thinking the potential power might come up. I was also thinking you might nerf it a bit by saying there is room for 1d20 names left on it. Or you might straight up consider it an Artifact/Relic and give it a downside that comes with the boon. I was thinking an easy to track one would be the sash gets heavier with each name (takes up an extra slot in experience aka ~7.5 pounds).
    But I'm inclined to let it ride and see how it goes, because, keep in mind you have to see them die and you only get +1 per, so early on it is only going to be a few bonus HP which doesn't guarantee survival. And even later, it might ensure survival of the wearer, but won't necessarily do much for the survival of the rest of the party.
    I'm interested in this idea, though, of a simple magic item that can grow in power into an Artifact/Relic. I'm also thinking I might have the player read off the names of the dead before a battle.

    As for your cool coins idea, Dick, I like it because it is treasure players will probably have to hang on to because they are waiting to spend it strategically. And, not to step on your toes, but just to share how I might do it with my flavor: I would probably keep it simple and say it blocks any damage. I might call them Coins of Cassius and they all have a crude P chiseled over the face of the emperor on the coins, p for "proditor" or traitor in latin. Maybe the player has to say "take these from me and be true."

  5. I like that idea, although I usually try to avoid Latin (or even GW's ridiculous "Gothic" pseudo-Latin) in my games so I'd probably alter the details a bit.

    You could certainly have the coins work against magic damage if you wanted, but I'd probably have them only work once if you were going to do that - maybe the coins disintegrate or turn to lead - so that the PCs can't get up to swapping them back and forth to avoid collateral damage from friendly spells.

    Come to think of it, if they turn to lead after stopping damage you could get away with having more in circulation since there'd be less tracking to do. Make it even more painful to betray someone who paid you with them. Now your damage is blocked AND you're out money - unless you spent it already, in which case your treachery just cost someone else money. What are the odds of that being traced back to you, I wonder? :)

    Hmmm. Maybe that's why the "ancient empire" fell in the first place. Some official thought it was a good idea to enchant an entire mint run of coins this way and the inevitable influx of suddenly-leaden coins wrecked the economy?