Thursday, 30 January 2014

Magic Item: Nena Bleeve's Journal

Nena Bleeve was the niece of Arvik Bleeve. Like her uncle she was interested in making items of magical value, but she had not reached his heights of creation (nor the depths of his madness). Nena had few friends, though occasionally played doubles Flaming Chess with aristocrats. Her distinguishing feature was the journal that many observed her writing in; compulsively some said. Writing walking down the street at times, writing while meeting people, making endless notes...

Described as bookish by everyone who met her, she was nevertheless a ruthless killer. People who survived her attacks spoke of incredible grace, speed of attack, and how sometimes she seemed able to shrug off what should have been horrific life-ending injuries. And after that she would write in her journal.

Nena died, surprised by an elven assailant who disintegrated her with a wand firing a rainbow bolt... Her journal was not recovered after the attack, and Wethamites who knew it for what it was have been unable to locate it. It is possible that it was destroyed in the attack, but who can say for sure?

Nena Bleeve's Journal
Nena made this leather bound journal herself, stitching paper imported from faraway lands into a leather that came from another plane entirely. The journal is a focus enhancer. If anyone were to observe her writing they would see arcane shorthand (if they were a magic-user of sufficiently high level) or nonsense (if they were anyone else). Nena would not be able to understand it even, it simply allowed her to "see" things that were otherwise unclear.

The direction that someone might step. The way their arm would twist with a sword, or a bow or a wand. Intuition from observation. If someone observes another while holding the journal and a writing implement, they will compulsively write. The journal hungers for ink and the pages are never sated. When the end is reached, the pages at the beginning start again, fresh and clean.

If a person or creature is observed in non-combat situations for more than thirty minutes by anyone writing in the journal, the writer will gain a bonus in combat equal to their level: this bonus applies to their attack, their AC and their damage done but only against that person or creature. Similarly, if the writer is able to observe a target person or creature in combat situations for more than thirty uninterrupted seconds they will gain a similar bonus. In non-combat situations the writer will be able to speak and move, but must be able to see and write without any severe restrictions.

However, such a power comes with a price: a growing certainty of triggering a graphomanic episode. Starting with a base 10% chance, every time the writer uses the journal they add twice their level to the rolling probability. Whenever the journal is used, if the player fails the d100 check they will spend a number of days equal to their level in a fugue state, writing compulsively, without sleep or rest. Taking the journal from them will trigger a seizure that can prove fatal. If they make a successful save versus magical devices they will simply spend a number of hours equal to their level writing compulsively. After a graphomanic episode, or if used by a new writer, the base chance resets.

Example of Success: Dude, level four Specialist, spends half an hour hidden up a tree while a great big Tentacled Wolf-thing devours a goat that he tied up in a field. He's able to do this undisturbed, and successfully dodges the journal triggering a graphomanic episode. Later, when he and his friends go to slay the awful creature, he takes +4 to his AC, +4 to his attack chances and +4 to any damage rolls against the beast. It is soon slain.

Example of Failure: Cecil, third level Cleric, has used the journal four times already, and on the fifth has a cumulative 40% chance of succumbing to the graphomania. As he picks up the pen, he fails the check and then fails his save versus magical devices. He'll spend the next three days writing in the journal - all of which will be gibberish.

(implied LotFP system; Nena Bleeve and her uncle Arvik were rolled up using tables in Vornheim - the compulsive writing came from this and lead to the journal)


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! So yeah, that's what she was doing with the book all the time. When it came time to formalise what it did exactly I wanted it to be dangerous for all concerned. Just like a normal book...