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Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Artifact IS the Play!

Watching Stranger Things this weekend has me in a mood, and if you've watched it already, I think you know what I mean.  Odd that it would remind me of things old and new, like this song below from the band Long Distance Calling...

Anyway, the internet is currently buzzing and full of Stranger Things...and that's not really what this blog post is's about something old that the internet isn't abuzz about...

The Rod of Seven Parts! 

Now, I don't need to recap this amazing Artifact for you because someone has done all that work for me...right here... so take a few minutes to read up on it if you don't know what I'm talking about, and then you can check back in...

Got it?  Great.  Moving on.

It's not the Rod i'm after here, but the concept behind the item, a magical artifact of awesome power, but built in pieces that are hard to find, and that contain their own magical abilities even separated from the others.  When 2 or more pieces come together however..LOOK OUT!  It becomes even more powerful, more dangerous, and if maybe even more evil (or each his or her own).

It's not just a magic item, or a powerful artifact, it's a quest...a campaign all tied to one thing!

I bring this up, and maybe you know all about it, or are sick of hearing it, but as I sat on the couch staring at Netflix yesterday, I recalled the Staff of Dagmar, a terrible magic item that became more powerful as my character (back in 1988) located and connected the pieces, it slowly channeled the being within the broken artifact into my characters mind and body, altering him both physically (if memory serves, it started with a clawed, reptilian hand and by the time it was over, I had turned into a 7 foot lizard wizard) and mentally (It was full of maddeningly insane power...I was definitely more evil than I started as Neutral ol' me).

It changed the entire character, and the way I played him, until in the end, the original characters name was gone...wiped clean from my character sheet and replaced with one name...Dagmar.

So....where is all this headed?  Is there a description of the Staff of Dagmar below?  Nah...I don't remember what the hell it looked like, or even what is specifically did, but it says something about that item, and that campaign that I still remember it so vividly today.  The hand turned to wicked claw, the tail that shot forth from behind whipping and lashing at my enemies, and the raw energy of new and powerful magic spells I could throw again and again channeling them all through a staff of unholy and otherworldly power.  

Sometimes, if you take care to craft the magic item and breathe your imagination into it, if you give it a story and a past life, and if you break it apart and make it difficult and dangerous to find (but not impossible), then you are going to create a lasting memory in your players mind.  Isn't that why we GM, why we tell stories?

I wrote a few blog posts last week on magic items, and they were fun and interesting, maybe even memorable.

None of them were the Staff of Dagmar though..that's for damn sure!

Seed planted...moving on.

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