From time to time we like to have a Best in Class article that reminds you that your character’s class isn’t all about mechanical crunch, but can also be a source of flavor and personality for your character. We do this with Top Ten-style articles providing flavorful elaborations on certain class features, such as sorcerer bloodlines, or shaman spirits. Today, we’re turning this attention to a pair of classes that both come with certain items: the occultist and the gunslinger.
Sure, your gunslinger has a battered old gun, and your occultist has an implement or three, but what makes them special? Does your item have a storied past? A famous owner? Is it a historical relic, or a cultural curiosity? Does it have some (primarily cosmetic) magical properties all its own? I present to you a number of items with just such traits for you to use in your game, or perhaps inspire you to think up a few of your own.
1. Heartstop Pendant (Abjuration Implement). This unusual pendant is made of amber, and it holds a pair of items of exceptional curiosity. At its core is a mithril locket in the shape of a heart, which was once an amulet all its own. Half-buried in the locket is the tip of a crossbow bolt, which would have pierced the heart of the one wearing the locket, had the accessory not miraculously stopped the assassination attempt. To commemorate his good luck, the previous owner had the pair, still interlocked as they were after the bolt was stopped, preserved in amber and made into a new necklace.
2. Storyteller’s Lantern (Conjuration Implement). This ornate brass lantern is hexagonal in shape, and the panels on each side can be easily removed and replaced with only a minute or two of work. It comes with a set of 17 panels, each cut in such a way that the lantern casts shadows of animals, knights, wizards, and other figures from popular tales and legends.
3. Fate-Touched Tarot Deck (Divination Implement). This deck of tarot cards is beautifully illustrated, with the images on each card resembling stained-glass windows, bright and colorful. The most interesting feature of the deck is the backs of the cards, however, as a handful of the cards have sweeping lines painted on the back. These lines are meaningless when each card is examined individually, but when all the cards with these designs are arranged in the right pattern, it forms a sigil. Curiously, each time the deck is shuffled, the designs change, resulting in a different spread of cards each time.
4. Fool’s Tiara (Enchantment Implement). This tiara is said to be a relic of a cruel tradition found in rural towns in a few out-of-the-way provinces, which dates back for hundreds of years. Every five years, on a certain date, a single girl from the village would be made queen for the day, and all the village would treat her as royalty, catering to her every whim. At the end of the day, however, she would be ritually stoned to death, serving as a sort of effigy for the real monarch. Whether this tiara was actually used in any such rituals is unknown, but it does have a few odd dents and an unusual tarnished spot that may well have been bloodied.
5. Winter Wolf Fur Gloves (Evocation Implement). These fluffy white gloves are indeed made from winter wolf hide. While they are very warm and snug on the inside, and seem to protect the wearer’s hands from just about any cold, the fur on the outside is always cool to the touch, even in warm environments. This particular pair of gloves is said to have been made from the hide of a legendary shapeshifting winter wolf who fell in love with a hunter and could not bear to tell him her true nature, so they were lovers by day and foes by night. However, the truthfulness of this legend is impossible to determine.
6. Inquisitor’s Mask (Illusion Implement). These ritual masks are worn by inquisitors in a particular religious order. The masks are perfectly smooth, with mirrored, reflective surfaces, causing those who gaze upon them to see only their own reflection. According to the teachings of the order that uses them, these masks are designed to hide the faces of the inquisitors from their deity’s sight, and remind everyone that any dark deeds or tortures the inquisitors must perform are sins made necessary not by the inquisitors themselves, but by their victims, shifting the blame entirely onto those sinners who make such things necessary.
7. Styx Ferry Coin (Necromancy Implement). This grim and foreboding coin is made of lead, and features the image of a skeletal, hooded ferryman on one side, while the other features a large, grinning skull. The coin is not actual currency, although it has value to certain collectors: instead, there was a period in history where these coins would be regularly commissioned by the grieving families of deceased knights and nobility, and typically buried with the deceased, in order to secure safe passage for the person’s soul into the afterlife. Whether or not these coins had any such effect is unknown, but they remained popular for a few hundred years before the custom died off.
8. Scrimshaw Athame (Transmutation Implement). This ornate dagger has a handle made of carved whalebone, and a blade made of lead. Both are carved with intricate designs, showing a number of fantastical creatures in various poses, all of which are amalgamations of different creatures, such as minotaurs, sphinxes, manticores, pegasi, hippocampuses, and so on.
9. Ornate Dueling Pistol (Firearm). This beautiful firearm was as much an art piece as a functional firearm when it was created, and though it is still beautiful to behold, it has also clearly seen better days. The mother of pearl handle, engraved with the image of a snarling dragon, is faded and chipped in a few places, while the oak paneling is slightly warped with age and use. The gun fires crooked—slightly high and to the left—and only those familiar with its peculiarities are able to compensate effectively.
10. Trick Shooter’s Musket (Firearm). This fine musket was once owned and used by a famous trick shooter, “Bullseye” Jane Grey. The butt of the gun is engraved with her signature, surrounded by a bull’s eye design which has been burned into the wood. The musket itself is not particularly accurate or powerful—in fact, part of the reason “Bullseye” Jane favored it is because it is a notoriously inaccurate model of gun, the better to show off her skill in her traveling sharpshooting show.