Friday, September 25, 2020

The Traveling Shrine

The Traveling Shrine of Anyavati - A teak box as long as a tall man that is a shrine to a forgotten saint.  The front has several horn windows through which a small body can be seen.  It is difficult to see through the yellowish windows whether the body is that of a child or a tiny woman.  Both corners on the back of the box has a tumpline of braided black hair attached.  If two holy men carry the box using these tumplines anyone touching the shrine will be unharmed be demons, foul spirits, or undead.


  1. All right, I admit it, I had to look up "tumplines" to see what they were. Learn something new every day. :)

    Sticking to a (pseudo)religious artifact theme:

    Liar's Mite Box - A small, plain wooden box has a slot in its hinged lid and makes a rattling, clinking noise when shaken. The box itself can contain any number of coins without increasing its weight and nothing but coins can be forced through the slot. When opened, the box seems to contain only a handful of copper coins.

    If you tell a deliberate lie to another sapient creature as you open the box, you can pour out whatever coins have been added to it since it was last emptied. If someone opened and emptied it "honestly" between the time coins were added and the next "liar" uses the box, those coins are gone forever - or at least consigned to the treasure hoard of whoever created this thing.

    Weirdly, if an "honest" user spends the copper coins they extract from the box, there will always be exactly enough to cover the costs of one person's food, drink, and shelter for the night, as well as basic clothing if needed - multiplying and morphing into silver, or gold, or even platinum as needed. A clever rogue could use this property to live pretty well free of charge no matter their surroundings.

  2. Hah, I didn't know the word "tumpline" till I made the post. I was looking for a distinct way to describe what I envisioned. I love that about D&D and blogging-- I was reading about weird charms against witchcraft the other day, had never heard of them.

    I love the idea that the coins in the box would be enough for and honest person to pay for their needs, reminds of Jesus and the fish and loaves. I don't understand the lying mechanic though-- if you lie before opening there is money, some random amount that people have placed in the box, but if you don't lie there is less money?

    You reminded me of trying out oaths and vows for players and how at one con game I gave a player the ability to be unhurt by blades as long as he did everything first in the party. He eventually forgot and went down a ladder last or something, it was fun. That makes me think you could make the mite box have just enough money for all your needs as long as you tell one lie a day (or if you don't tell lies if you wanted to flip it). Anyway, thanks so much for the great idea.

    1. It's mostly a thieves' trick, or at least that's the intention. Load the mite box with absurd numbers of (stolen) coins and use to smuggle them near weightlessly past guards, etc. If you get stopped you can just shake the box a bit and "prove" from the weight and sound it just has a few pennies in it, as you'd expect for a poor box. When you get someplace safe you can tell your lie and pour out the loot.

      In hindsight, maybe the added coins should only disappear if the box is opened while the opener is deliberately telling a truth about about themselves. That way having a random search by a guard who doesn't know the trick won't cost you all the loot. Opening it without telling a lie would still only show some pennies for honest needs, but any other coins wouldn't be affected until either someone speaks a lie (and gets the jackpot) or the truth (and the loot vanishes forever). That ties thematically to dishonesty getting you the rewards of your crime while honesty earns you alms when in need at the cost of not getting the benefits of your sin, yeah?

      That "do everything first" thing could be an interesting one to try to keep going, especially in a co-ed party. If it's a male PC they're going to have some issues being first to get your monthly period, for ex.

    2. Oh, now I see what you are going for a way to snuggle around coins. Another possible mechanic to use besides opening the box, is the coin slot-- put a coin in before opening, all coins there, open without donating nothing in it.

      I found the post about the vow:

      I was going for a kind of player mini-game, so the going first stuff would only be for things they had choices over: who will risk this trapdoor, who will go down the ladder, it was a boon kinda tied to bravery. It was really fun for a one-off, but it might be tedious for a player longterm. Thanks again, I enjoy your comments.